Washington, DC, Mayor Adrian Fenty (L) speaks as U.S. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) (R) listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill February 26, 2009 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Senate earlier passed the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act.
A bit of hyperbole from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton: “Seeing a revolution succeed in Egypt before our eyes should give D.C. heart as Republicans pile on like the new autocratic rulers of the District.”
John Boehner as Hosni Mubarak? No, we’re not Egypt. We may not have a full vote, but we don’t get locked up for complaining about it.
Norton is steamed over a bill from Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross that would “would repeal the D.C. semiautomatic gun ban, restore the right of self defense in the home, authorize D.C. residents to purchase firearms and ammunition, repeal overly-restrictive registration requirements and ensure that firearms may be transported and carried for legitimate purposes,” according to Ross’s office.
The New York Times is riding to the rescue. In a Saturday editorial, the Times said the District’s “district’s hard-won home rule came under assault from day one” of the new House session, with the “overreach…rationalized by cynically redefining the city as just another part of the federal government. These hobbles smack of the very evil denounced by the Tea Party newcomers -- wholesale federal intrusion into the precincts of local government.”
But the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate came out in favor of a constitutional amendment to give D.C. full congressional representation… three decades ago. D.C. for Democracy’s Keith Ivey found this old Washington Star story online.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* It’s Valentine’s Day, and the Washington Post hearts Walmart. In an editorial, the Post welcomes the prospect of four Walmarts in the District, saying the chain should not be expected “to make concessions or jump through hoops not expected of other businesses that want to lawfully open up shop in the city,” as it tries to “create 1,200 retail jobs and 400 construction jobs.” The Post praises Walmart for planning to build “in parts of the city that lack access to fresh, affordable food. Even better, though Walmart is not seeking tax relief or government assistance, it promises to form charitable partnerships on hunger and workforce development.”
Even more loving is a flyer blogger Richard Layman says is floating around Ward 4, which says Walmart is “Wanted & Needed in D.C.”
But if Walmart’s not romantic enough for you, how about Metro, the B and T Crowd blog asks.
* The At-Large D.C. Council special election will be confusing enough already, with the possibility of more than a dozen candidates on the ballot -- petitions are due Wednesday. Now it seems voters might not even be officially notified of the April 26 vote, the Washington Examiner reports. Under severe budget pressure, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics may not send out a notice to voters. Past citywide special elections have had turnout as low as 6 percent, with turnout over 20 percent a rarity.
* The Post reports Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown “will make their maiden appearance together before Congress” on Wednesday for a hearing on restoring the D.C. school voucher program. Gray “appears to be the only voucher skeptic on the hearing panel.”
* It’s not exactly FDR’s court-packing scheme, but Gray “is pushing to expand the governing board of United Medical Center after four members appointed by his predecessor” refused to resign, the Post reports. Gray “wants to return the Southeast hospital to private ownership, a position at odds” with the Fenty appointees and D.C. Council Health Committee Chairman David Catania. So Gray wants to boost the board from 11 members to 16.
* Washington City Paper’s Alex Baca says Gray is taking his sweet deliberative time on medical marijuana, “and the process to implement cannabis growth and distribution in the District is at an impasse until Gray gets around to acknowledging it.”
* Is Gray a man with a plan? Not really, writes the Examiner’s Jonetta Rose Barras.
* The Post notes that Gov. Bob McDonnell, “who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate,” dined with likely GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, on Saturday night.
* Olivia Harris, the former campaign treasurer for Maryland state Sen. Ulysses Currie, pleaded guilty to stealing $157,350 from Currie’s campaign. The Post writes that “the scheme appears unrelated to Currie’s own legal troubles. He was indicted in September on federal charges that he took more than $245,000 in bribes to use his position and influence to do favors for a grocery chain.”
* At Rockville Central, Councilmember John Britton spends 2,000 words defending Rockville’s new three-word slogan, writing that “anyone has the right to criticize my analytical process on a substantive basis and my artistic pretensions on even a WTF basis.”
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC