The Washington Post has always been for sale, but never like this: Paper has a new program to help lobbyists meet D.C.'s movers and shakers.
There are no surprises in the latest round of endorsements from the D.C. area’s newspapers. The Washington Post this morning endorses the incumbents in the three Maryland and three Virginia congressional districts closest to Washington, calling the strongest challenger, Virginia 11th District Republican Keith Fimian a “politically extreme, scantily informed” candidate “who has embraced much of the Tea Party’s dogma.”
The Post also backs Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
The Washington Examiner, no less predictably, endorses Fimian and two other Republicans, 10th District incumbent Frank Wolf and Eighth District hopeful Patrick Murray, in Virginia. The Examiner says Murray’s rival, Rep. Jim Moran, “was among the top recipients of dirty money” from the now-defunct PMA Group lobbying firm, and that he also deserves ousting over his “profligate earmarking.” (The Falls Church News-Press reports congressional debates that took place earlier this month in the Eighth and 11th District races “will be available ‘On Demand’ to Cox cable TV customers in Fairfax County and Falls Church.”)
The Examiner also endorses Bob Ehrlich for Maryland governor, calling Gov. Martin O’Malley’s 2007 tax hike “disastrous,” and saying the Democrat “has done nothing to avert the state’s rapidly approaching collision with the $35 billion in unfunded pension and health care liabilities.”
The Gazette endorses Democratic incumbents for Senate and House in Congress, but says they “only deserve tepid support. They have toed the party line but missed the mark on the crises of the country.” But “viable choices offered by other parties are few.”
The Gazette also backs Ehrlich, saying he “is the best candidate to take on Maryland's unavoidable financial problems, all while maintaining quality schools, investing in vital transportation improvements, protecting basic human and health services and restoring a can-do business climate.”
The Post reports Vice President Joe Biden will raise funds for O’Malley in Chevy Chase today, while Bill Clinton will be in Baltimore for a rally and fundraiser. Ehrlich and O’Malley debated this morning on Baltimore’s WOLB.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* The Post reports Hans Riemer, a Democratic candidate for Montgomery County Council, “stumbled into a gaffe in the final moments of a debate Wednesday night.” After Republican candidate Mark Fennel said she considers himself part of the Tea Party movement, Riemer said, “Think about that for a moment. What would it be like to have a Tea Party candidate on the Montgomery County Council? The Tea Party is associated with racism.” Fennel replied, “My spouse is from Honduras. My son is half Honduran. I hope you’re not referring to me as a racist, especially considering that she’s half African-American as well, and half Hispanic.”
* Washington City Paper reports “Mayor” Vincent Gray “has settled with the city over the seven fines he was assessed for building a too-tall fence around his Hillcrest home without permits” for $300.
* The Washington Times profiles the campaign of anti-abortion activist Missy Reilly Smith, the Republican nominee for D.C. congressional delegate, who is running without the support of the D.C. GOP.
* There’s a Twitter war between the Black Squirrel pub in Adams Morgan and the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Permits for an entertainment space inside the Squirrel have been held up for a year and a half, and the pub’s owners, Amy Bowman and Tom Knott, have launched a new line of attack. As DCist writes, since Monday afternoon, “the Squirrel’s Twitter account has pounded out at least 40 tweets which directly reference the agency, and several more that bear at least a passing reference to their beef with DCRA, several of them quite barbed.”
Knott, a former Washington Times columnist, used to use his column to regularly poke at confusing city regulations and their overzealous enforcers. As for DCRA, it formally replied to Bowman on Wednesday, saying the building plans do not comply with city codes, and that “insulting our staff online” won’t change that.
* Greater Greater Washington writes that speakers at a Committee of 100 forum on the centennial of D.C.’s Height Act said the law, which limits most buildings to about a dozen floors, doesn’t necessarily need to be changed. Some argue the city “is missing out on the tax revenue that could be generated by additional property built higher than the Act allows,” but “there are many opportunities for new development in the District that would not require a change to the law.”
* The Post says the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer is seeking more than $750,000 from the Historical Society of Washington due to a mistake the CFO itself made. In June, the CFO accidentally sent the Historical Society a scheduled $249,771.08 payment twice. The city is now seeking a large penalty, “using a city procurement law that makes recipients of inadvertent payments liable for three times the amount if they fail to repay the money,” as well as “unspecified attorneys’ fees and damages.”
* Speaking of mistakes, DCist reports that the D.C. DMV (the motor vehicles one, not this column) recently sent a letter to some residents which “stated that recipient had to pay $248 to fix the registration issue -- and threatened a $300 fine and jail time if the recipient drove without remedying the situation.” Turns out it was an error. “Customers who received this notice with the Oct. 11, 2010 mail date for an effective suspension notice of Oct. 10, 2010 can disregard the notice because the action has been reversed and your registration is not suspended,” the DMV says in an automated message. If there was an apology in there for threatening to jail people for no reason, we must have missed it.
* DCist reports Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans “will shelve controversial legislation that would have given Shiloh Baptist Church a tax break on the development of several properties it owns along 9th Street NW.”
* Independent At-Large D.C. Council candidate Richard Urban, who is running on a socially conservative platform that stresses his opposition to same-sex marriage, surprised some members of the progressive group D.C. for Democracy by showing up for a candidate event last night. When addressing the group, Urban had to consult his notes when saying where in the city he lived.
* The Post reports D.C. lawyer and occasional candidate A. Scott Bolden, who has represented White House crasher Carlos Allen and Fenty frat brother contractors, among others, recently made an attempt to climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, but fainted about 17,000 feet up the 19,341-foot climb.
* As the trial of Chandra Levy murder suspect Ingmar Guandique gets under way in Washington, news comes from AOL News that ex-Rep. Gary Condit, who was romantically linked to Levy, is working on a book. Condit attorney and spokesman Bert Fields, who has the draft in his office safe, said, “I’ve read it. I think it’s one of the most dramatic stories I’ve read. It’s a Shakespearean drama.”
* New Columbia Heights says “some kind of competition show” was filming yesterday at the Sticky Fingers vegan bakery. “They wouldn’t say what show.”
* Megan McArdle, the hipster Libertarian economics blogger for The Atlantic, has mixed feelings about being part of the gentrification of the District. “The reason we moved into our neighborhood is that we want to live in a place that’s affordable, and economically and racially mixed,” she writes. “We don’t want to take the city from them; we just want to live there too.”
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC