For once, D.C. Watch’s Gary Imhoff asks something completely noncontroversial: "Why are you reading stuff on the Internet when it’s coming on to the third day of a three-day holiday weekend, and the weather has been beautiful?"
I have mixed feelings about Columbus Day for all the usual reasons. I don’t take any particular pride in him as an Italian-American -- we had the Roman Empire and one of the Three Tenors, too. And with a bit of Choctaw in me, Columbus makes 1/64 of my blood boil. But Columbus Day Weekend happens to fall right around my birthday, so the three-day weekend is nice.
If you must stay in and seek amusement from local political news, Kojo Nnamdi has got you covered.
Mayor for Life Marion Barry joined Kojo and NBC4’s Tom Sherwood on Friday’s "Politics Hour." The clip below gives a fair example of the discussion -- and others are online as well.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
In the spirit of discovery of today’s holiday, the Washington Post discovers that there are Republicans in the District of Columbia. In an editorial, the Post says that while it’s not endorsing anyone yet, "voters do themselves and the District a disservice by not weighing all the alternatives available to them on Nov. 2. Single-party rule is never healthy, and GOP officials deserve credit for this year’s imaginative efforts to build a stronger party." The Post says the party "presents an unusual demographic mix for a GOP ticket. Three candidates (Mr. Morgan, Mr. Hedgepeth and Mr. Day) are African American, and two (Mr. Morgan and Mr. Day) are gay."
What’s the cost of financial security in this region? The Post reports that according to a "detailed cost-of-living analysis by Wider Opportunities for Women" that will be released today, financial security for a family of four in Fairfax County requires a household income of $108,000 per year, while a single person with no children who doesn’t mind Metro can make it on $32,000 in the District.
The Post also reports that "from 2007 to 2009, the District paid more than $50 million in legal settlements," according to city records. That’s about $85 per resident -- or 10 times the per capita rate in Montgomery County during the same period.
DCist’s Dave Stroup talks with Chuck Thies, who is "known as one of the most quotable political operatives in D.C." Thies says the District’s biggest problem is poverty. "A lot of people talk about school reform as though it will address the poverty issue," he said. "I think the two need to be tackled together. You don’t dream about the future if you don’t know when you’re going to have your next meal."
Maryland gubernatorial candidates Bob Ehrlich and incumbent Martin O’Malley are taping their first televised debate this morning; it will be broadcast tonight on Maryland Public Television. Meanwhile, Maryland Politics Watch says the Sierra Club has made its endorsement. Guess who it picked?
Former mayoral candidate Leo Alexander says Robert McCartney’s latest Post column, in which he says "Mayor" Vincent Gray is doing a good job winning over skeptics, is actually "part of the Team Fenty/Post strategy," intended to "give Gray a sense of comfort, while Team Fenty is mobilizing their District wide write-in campaign. Gray better concentrate on getting his base back to the polls or history will be made in the general election,” Alexander warns. Fenty has disavowed the write-in campaign.
Maybe Fenty doesn’t want to run a write-in campaign, but in Frederick County, "a Republican candidate who didn’t make it through the primary" will do so, the Frederick News-Post reports. Elaine Kessinger says moderates were squeezed out in the Sept. 14 primary, in which she came in eighth of 12 candidates in a race where the top five advanced to November.
The Post breathlessly writes that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli drew "lusty cheers" at Saturday’s Virginia Tea Party Convention, telling "more than 2,000 activists that the tea party would not exist if not for Republican Party failures."
The Georgetown Dish reports that "an online petition is circulating in support of D.C. Council legislation to address 'food deserts' in Washington." Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh’s bill is intended to allocate resources to help get more grocery stores into Wards 7 and 8.
A writer on the LBO-talk listserv visited D.C. after seven years away, and found Columbia Heights "has changed so much that it is unrecognizable to me," as if Ballston had been "plopped... down over the course of 7-8 years in a residential neighborhood." On the other hand, "Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle felt the same, just with some different restaurants."
The blog of the Black Squirrel pub in Adams Morgan suggests that, rather than a bag tax, the district should dispatch its parking ticket enforcement workers, "paragons of persistence and diligence" who "pursue their duties with conviction and valor," to clean up the Anacostia River: "Given their dedication, they would have the river cleaned up in short order. Or they would fine it."