‘Tis the season to be charitable, and to think ahead to the winter cold. With Thanksgiving next week, Christmas on the horizon, and the winter months looming, the DMV region’s focus is turning to helping those in need, and providing shelter for those without it.
But the Salvation Army is anticipating a lean season for its trademark red kettles now that Giant Food of Maryland has limited the bell-ringers to just one week in November and another in December. Last year, the local Salvation Army took in 45 percent of its donations in front of Giant stores.
DCentric’s Anna John says this is unfortunate. "A spokesperson for Giant said something perfunctory about serving customers and being committed to the community. Apparently, the red kettles 'hinder' the shopping experience. That’s a confusing reason to stop a decades-old tradition, though. If Giant were truly interested in the 'experience' their stores provide, they’d focus on customer service, cleaner stores and courteous employees... but getting rid of a red kettle is probably easier and faster."
John says she has always associated the bell-ringers with the holiday season, as have I and many others. It adds to the experience of shopping during the hectic holiday season. Giant’s action just doesn’t make sense.
Others in D.C. are feeling more giving. The Hill is Home writes that the annual block party on Walter Street S.E. last weekend was "a chili cookoff and fundraiser for [the nonprofit So Others Might Eat]. Anyone from the neighborhood is welcome to come sample the food and anyone is welcome to enter into the competition... for a small donation to the local nonprofit."
And Prince of Petworth shares a video about the great work being done by D.C. Central Kitchen.
The Georgetown Dish defends Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells against the New York Times, which accused him of "being personally 'inhumane' for attempting to distribute the cost of sheltering homeless families to Washington-area jurisdictions. While The Times editorial board can opine comfortably from the relatively new Manhattan skyscraper the newspaper owns, the reality is that services in the District cost money, and the D.C. tax base is restricted by longtime resistance to a commuter tax such as New York City effectively imposes on users of its bridges and tunnels." Meanwhile, the Annandale VA blog says Fairfax County is getting its own shelter plans in order.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
- The Washington Post’s Tim Craig reports Reuben O. Charles II is not likely to become Mayor Vincent Gray’s chief of staff, "but could land another role in the administration." While he has a "close working relationship with Gray, Charles has been battered by a series of media reports about a series of liens and judgments that have been filed against him in other states."
- Washington City Paper’s Alan Suderman says Vincent Orange "is displeased with recent editorials" in the Post and elsewhere "decrying the fact that the 81-member D.C. Democratic State Committee... has the power to appoint a councilmember" to replace Kwame Brown. That’s not surprising, since Orange is courting the committee to get the seat for himself. In an e-mail to members of the committee, Orange warned, "There is a movement to manipulate the DCDSC out of its power granted to us by the Home Rule Act. There is a desire to weaken the DCDSC by placing an Independent or Republican on the DC Council through the Special Election process. We must stay focus[ed] on the mission granted to us by the Home Rule Act."
- The Washington Times reports Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry "displayed his own brand of conservatism Monday during an hours-long hearing on welfare reform." Barry said "the D.C. program is broken and needs fixing because it may be adding to the disintegration of the family." Barry and Ward 7's Yvette Alexander want to impose a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance from the District. The current limitless policy costs the city about $35 million per year.
- The Post says Maryland Republican Mary Kane, who lost her bid for lieutenant governor this year, "has emerged as a leading candidate to take over the reins of the state party." Not running: former Ehrlich Administration official Larry Hogan, who considered a gubernatorial run this year and who "wants to keep his political options open for 2014."
- The Washington Examiner reports Prince George's County Executive-elect Rushern Baker, "who rode into office as a reformer of waste and abuse, tried Monday to convince disillusioned residents that his administration will be different from that of his predecessor -- epitomized by County Executive Jack Johnson being led from his home in handcuffs." Baker said, "Despite recent events, these are not sad days. Unfortunate, yes. But the alleged acts of a few in no way should deter the direction of all Prince Georgians ready and eager -- in fact excited -- to move this county from good to great." Meanwhile, Taiwan's Next Media Animation -- the folks who brought us Rambo Rhee -- have produced a video on the Johnson scandal.
- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) "is incredibly concerned about the amount of lead in our reusable grocery bags -- so much so, he is calling for an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission into whether the bags pose a danger," DCist’s Aaron Morrissey writes. But "the District’s bag tax has been wildly successful in many ways, so I can’t imagine that such an investigation would really have any kind of long-term effect on D.C.’s legislation or our new-found habit of carrying such bags when we go to the grocery store."
What happens when you don’t? WashingTina blogs about forgetting her reusable bag when visiting her local farmers market. "Nobody pointed, but I felt their stares and judgment." At the checkout, "the woman who was weighing my vegetables looked expectantly at me. ...'Do you need a bag?' she whispered, looking disappointedly at me.... like she didn’t want to get stuck ringing up such an environmentally irresponsible ogre. 'Yes, I must’ve forgotten my bag today,' I replied, praying for her mercy. 'They’re ten cents,' she said, unforgivingly (a five-cent markup from the usual five cents the grocery stores charge). 'I don’t have a car! My carbon footprint is very small,' I wanted to scream, but instead I paid my penance and slunk off amidst the disgusted stares of the more thoughtful shoppers."
The Post says among the 405 friends and fans of Archbishop Donald Wuerl traveling to Vatican City to see Wuerl get the red hat of a cardinal will be "a rabbi he knows from Pittsburgh, the D.C. barber who cuts his hair, and the fast-talking (and devoutly Catholic) television commentator Chris Matthews."
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC