GOP Congress Takes Issue with DC Contraceptives Bill

House Republicans take issue with another D.C. law

By Aaron C. Davis April 20 at 8:34 PM

After months of fiery rhetoric and even a threat to jail the mayor, conservative House Republicans on Tuesday are poised to take yet another swipe at the District’s liberal leaders by trying to throw out a new law.

For the first time in 23 years, a powerful House committee has scheduled a vote to upend a D.C. law that bans employers from discriminating based on reproductive health decisions. Some conservatives have interpreted the bill to mean that employers in the District, including religious organizations, could eventually be required to provide coverage for contraception and abortions.

The odds that Congress will overturn the law remain slim. The 30-day review period for Congress to take action is more than half over, meaning both the House and Senate would have to repeal by May 2. President Obama would also have to sign off on doing so.

A more likely scenario is that the effort to repeal spills into the next federal budget battle, when Congress has the power to undo D.C. laws by restricting the city’s ability to spend its own money to carry them out.

The District may be in for a “rough go” during this year’s budget process with Republicans in charge, said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), the city’s nonvoting member of Congress.

The city has fought back for decades against Republican efforts to impose socially conservative policy on the federal district. A city needle exchange program, another for medical marijuana and funding for abortions have been repeated flash points. More recently, congressional Republicans and city leaders sparred fiercely over the city’s decision to move forward with legalizing marijuana.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) introduced the latest measure last month — just days before he announced his candidacy for president.

Several other Republicans have since vowed to upend the measure. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called a committee vote to rebuke a D.C. law for the first time since 1992.

In a statement from Utah on Monday, Chaffetz said he saw no choice but to take a first step toward repealing the D.C. law. He said D.C. leaders had failed to carve out an appropriate exemption for religious organizations to continue to set their own employment policies.

“As a result, the House Oversight Committee must take immediate action to prevent this flawed legislation from being law,” Chaffetz said.

Surrounded by women’s rights groups and a pro-choice Catholic group, Norton blasted the congressional interference at a news conference Monday.

Norton said Republicans were abandoning their “much professed” love of states’ rights when it suited them to score points with conservative religious constituents.

“We need to tell the country what the Congress is trying to do to a local jurisdiction here in the District of Columbia,” Norton said. “Inevitably it will be seen as a resumption of the Republican war on women.”

The D.C. measure at issue is the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act. Passed last year by the D.C. Council and signed into law in January by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), the measure broadens the definition of discrimination to include an employee’s reproductive health decisions. Under the law, employers cannot discriminate against employees who seek contraception or family planning services. They also cannot act when they know an employee has used medical treatments to either initiate or terminate a pregnancy.

In testimony before the D.C. Council last fall, a spokesman for Catholics for Choice said the group knows of instances in the District in which employees have been discriminated against for such issues but did not cite specific examples.

Casey Mattox, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposed the law, said it was drafted in a way that could also require religious organizations to pay for abortions and other reproductive services that employers object to on moral grounds.

The council passed a temporary fix to the bill to make clear that religious organizations would not be responsible for such medical care, but Mattox and other critics say the fix was insufficient.

“We are certainly happy to have Congress moving forward to correct what is grossly illegal and unconstitutional and . . . bring some sanity to D.C. government,” said Mattox. “If not stopped the effect would be to eventually force employers, including pro-life organizations like the March for Life, to pay for abortions.”

Michael Czin, a Bowser spokesman, said that characterization is false and said critics have clouded the central issue, which is to prevent discrimination.

“The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and family members based on private reproductive health decisions. This legislation isn’t controversial. It’s common sense,” Czin said in an e-mail.

“There are numerous issues that deserve Congress’s immediate attention, from fixing our broken immigration system to investing in our nation’s ailing infrastructure. Meddling in D.C.’s affairs shouldn’t be one of them.”

Some Republicans have pointed to a Supreme Court decision last year to show that Congress would be within its rights to disapprove the D.C. measure. In that case, the court ruled that family-owned businesses do not have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act if doing so conflicts with owners’ religious beliefs.

Mattox said that if Congress moves forward with killing the measure, it would keep D.C. taxpayers “from being on the receiving end of a large legal bill.”

Bowser is scheduled to be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, but on the Senate side of the building, where prospects for what’s known as a disapproval resolution are considerably dimmer. The upper chamber’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee has not taken action on the resolution.

Another measure that remains alive in both committees would upend a separate D.C. law that lifts the exemption for religiously affiliated educational institutions from the city’s gay nondiscrimination law. Ending the exemption could require universities in the city to fund LGBT groups.

Under the District’s congressional charter, disapproval resolutions are “highly privileged” and can be brought quickly to a floor vote once passed in committee. But with only two weeks remaining in which to act, Republican leaders in both chambers eager to spend floor time on national issues like Iran and trade, and with the near certainty that Obama would veto any disapproval measure, the more likely route for congressional intervention is through the appropriations process.

Last month, an influential group of House conservatives, the Republican Study Committee, wrote to the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee handling the city budget, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), advocating that Congress “wield its constitutional ‘power of the purse’ to prevent infringement of the fundamental constitutional protections for District-based employers and institutions.” It pushed for the committee to cut funding for both the reproductive and gay rights laws.

Aaron Davis covers D.C. government and politics for The Post and wants to hear your story about how D.C. works — or how it doesn’t.

EEOC files discrimination suit against Maryland Insurance Administration

EEOC files discrimination suit against Maryland Insurance Administration

By Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post, April 20 at 6:40 PM

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Maryland insurance regulatory agency over allegations that it paid female employees less than their male counterparts.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the Maryland Insurance Administration in U.S. District Court in Baltimore last week on behalf of three women who work as investigators or enforcement officers in the agency’s Baltimore office.

“It’s not just unfair when women are paid less than men when they do substantially equal work under similar working conditions — it’s a blatant violation of federal law,” Debra M. Lawrence, an EEOC regional attorney, said in a statement. “The EEOC is committed to ensuring that all employees, both public sector and private sector employees, receive the equal pay they deserve.”

The Maryland Insurance Administration, which is an independent state agency, “strongly” denies the allegations, spokeswoman Vivian D. Laxton said.

“The case will be vigorously defended,” she said in an e-mail.

The agency regulates the insurance industry, enforces insurance laws and investigates complaints that state residents have about their insurance coverage.

“It’s ironic and disturbing that a state law enforcement agency would pay female investigators and enforcement officers less than their male colleagues simply because of their gender,” Spencer H. Lewis Jr., the EEOC’s Philadelphia district director, said in a statement.

According to the EEOC complaint, the Maryland Insurance Administration has paid Alexandra Cordaro, Mary Jo Rogers and Marlene Green less than their male colleagues since December 2009. The lawsuit alleges that other women have also been discriminated against.

The complaint accuses the agency of violating the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.

The EEOC is asking a jury to order the agency to stop paying wages based on gender, to create and carry out policies and programs that provide equal employment opportunities for women, and to pay back wages and damages to the defendants.

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.

Medicare assigns poor-to-middling scores to Washington area’s hospitals

Medicare assigns poor-to-middling scores to Washington area’s hospitals

By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News, April 19 at 7:47 PM

Few Washington-area hospitals won recognition as the federal government handed out its first star ratings based on patients’ appraisals.

Nationally, only 7 percent of the hospitals Medicare evaluated were awarded the maximum of five stars in the government’s attempt to make comparing hospitals more like shopping for refrigerators or picking movies. None of the top scorers were in the Washington area.

Throughout the country, many leading hospitals received three stars, while comparatively obscure local hospitals and others that specialized in lucrative surgeries frequently received the most stars.

Evaluating hospitals is becoming increasingly important as more insurance plans offer patients limited ­choices. Medicare already uses stars to rate nursing homes, dialysis centers and private Medicare Advantage insurance plans. While Medicare publishes more than 100 quality measures about hospitals on its Hospital Compare Web site, many are hard to decipher, and there is little evidence consumers use the site very much.

Many in the hospital industry fear Medicare’s five-star scale won’t accurately reflect quality and may place too much weight on patient reviews, which are just one measurement of hospital quality. Medicare also reports the results of hospital care, such as how many died or got infections during their stay, but those are not yet assigned star ratings.

“We want to expand this to other areas like clinical outcomes and safety over time, but we thought patient experience would be very understandable to consumers, so we started there,” Patrick Conway, chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in an interview.

Medicare’s new summary star rating, posted on Hospital Compare, is based on 11 facets of patient experience, including how well doctors and nurses communicated, how well patients believed their pain was addressed, and whether they would recommend the hospital to others.

In the District, Medicare gave a single star, its lowest rating, to United Medical Center in Southeast. Others did only marginally better: Medicare gave two stars to George Washington University Hospital, Howard University Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Providence Hospital in Northeast and Sibley Memorial Hospital in Northwest. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital got three stars, the highest of any in the city.

In Montgomery County, two stars were awarded to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, and Adventist HealthCare’s Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park and Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville.

In Prince George’s County, Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham received two stars. Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Fort Washington Medical Center, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton and Laurel Regional Hospital each got one star.

In Northern Virginia, Reston Hospital Center, Novant Health Prince William Medical Center in Manassas, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge and the Inova Health System’s hospitals each received three stars, except for Inova Alexandria, which received two. Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County was the only four-star hospital in the Washington area.

In assigning stars, Medicare compared hospital against each other, essentially grading on a curve. It noted that “a 1-star rating does not mean that you will receive poor care from a hospital” and that “we suggest that you use the star rating along with other quality information when making decisions about choosing a hospital.”

Some hospital officials doubt that the differences are that significant. “A one-point difference can change you from a two-star to a three-star hospital,” said Lisa Allen, chief patient experience officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine, which operates Sibley and Suburban among others (including Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, which received four stars). “I’m not sure they’ve designed it to truly differentiate a hospital that provides a great experience from one that doesn’t.”

Deneen Richmond, an executive at Inova, said the star ratings should encompass more than one aspect of a hospital. “I’m a Consumer Reports junkie, and I look at TripAdvisor whenever I’m out of town, but the difference is those ratings are comprehensive and take in multiple dimensions, whether it’s for a restaurant or a hotel,” she said.

The American Hospital Association also issued a caution to patients, saying: “There’s a risk of oversimplifying the complexity of quality care or misinterpreting what is important to a particular patient, especially since patients seek care for many different reasons.”

Nationally, Medicare awarded the top rating of five stars to 251 hospitals, about 7 percent of all the hospitals it judged, a Kaiser Health News analysis found. Many are small specialty hospitals that focus on lucrative elective operations such as spine, heart or knee surgeries. They have traditionally received more positive patient reviews than have general hospitals, where a diversity of sicknesses and chaotic emergency rooms make it more likely patients will have a bad experience.

A few five-star hospitals are part of well-respected systems, such as the Mayo Clinic’s hospitals in Phoenix, Jacksonville, Fla., and New Prague, Minn. Mayo’s flagship hospital in Rochester, Minn., received four stars.

Medicare awarded three stars to some of the nation’s most esteemed hospitals, including ­Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

The government gave its lowest rating of one star to 101 hospitals, or 3 percent.

On average, hospitals scored highest in Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Thirty-four states had zero one-star hospitals.

Hospitals in Maryland, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Florida, California and the District scored lowest on average. Thirteen states did not have a single five-star hospital.

In total, Medicare assigned star ratings to 3,553 hospitals based on the experiences of patients who were admitted between July 2013 and June 2014. Medicare gave out four stars to 1,205 hospitals, or 34 percent of those it evaluated. In addition, 1,414 hospitals, or 40 percent, received three stars, and 582 hospitals, or 16 percent, received two stars. Medicare did not assign stars to 1,102 hospitals, primarily because not enough patients completed surveys during that period.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Nothing is certain in the fight for Marion Barry’s D.C. Council seat

D.C. Politics

Nothing is certain in the fight for Marion Barry’s D.C. Council seat

By Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post, April 18

The ghosts of mayors past and present are haunting every step of the District’s Ward 8 council race.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) showed up at a barbecue for LaRuby May ahead of a straw poll earlier this month; former mayor Vincent C. Gray appears side by side with his endorsed candidate, Sheila Bunn, on fliers; and just about everyone invokes the name of the late D.C. legend Marion Barry as they place calls and go door-to-door.

As Bowser’s pick, May has attracted high-profile business endorsements and raised more money than anyone — four times as much as Gray’s pick — ahead of the April 28 vote.

But whether May, whom opponents have labeled a big-money “outsider,” can capture the vote of the District’s poorest ward and lure residents away from a long tradition of personality politics tied for years to one familiar face remains unclear.

“LaRuby is perceived as the front-runner because she has so much money,” said Bunn. “But as we know in politics, money does not always win you a race.”

In a rapidly gentrifying city where pricey restaurants and yoga studios have sprung up on what were once the District’s most destitute avenues, Ward 8 is still referred to as the “forgotten ward.”

It’s the city’s largest swath of land, across the Anacostia River in the District’s southeast quadrant. Yet it was the last to acquire a grocery store.

It is the “dumping ward” for the rest of the city, as one voter described it, the section of the nation’s capital with the highest proportion of families living in poverty and the place where city authorities once tried to put a private prison.

Barry, as the city’s longest-serving mayor and council member, was a symbol of the politics and priorities of Ward 8’s underclass. But the area was Barry’s turf for so long — up until his death in November — that no one seems sure about how residents will vote when the “mayor for life” is no longer on the ballot.

The evidence of that uncertainty may lie in the sheer number of candidates — 13, more than any Ward 8 race in nearly 20 years — but also in the variety of sales pitches they make as they talk to voters and huddle over campaign strategy meetings in their neighborhood headquarters.

Eugene Kinlow tells voters that he has big dreams of development, including expanding commercial real estate at the Anacostia Metro station, while May has echoed the campaign promises of her backer and D.C.’s rising star Bowser to fight for city resources so that “hardworking families have a pathway to the middle class.”

Bunn argues that she has the most experience, having served as the chief of staff to the District’s non-voting congressional representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). She is banking partly on the ward’s loyalty to her own backer, Gray, who lost to Bowser in last year’s mayoral race but won Ward 8.

“If you talk to folks in the ward, they don’t really know who LaRuby May is,” said Bunn, whose father was a community business mainstay and whose campaign office is housed on the ground floor of the “Bunn building,” a family legacy.

And yet everywhere you go in the ward, where campaign signs adorn lawns, street corners and telephone poles, the May signs loom the largest. The funding is palpable. And at the end of the day, the guiding factor in who wins may still be one that Barry excelled at: busing the largest number of people to the polls.

On Friday evening, a team of campaign workers clad in May’s campaign color, purple, canvassed Woodland Terrace, a public housing project, urging people to get in a van they had ready to ferry them to the city’s central early-voting location downtown, where voting began April 13.

These workers have been helping Ward 8 residents register to vote for five months. They cheered when people accepted the offer of a ride, and they handed out fliers for a free barbecue and concert on Saturday, which coincided with the opening of early voting in the ward.

May, who hit the pavement with her team, greeted some residents by name and snapped selfies with residents. When purple-shirted workers ran into more of their own, they broke into a call-and-response chant: “Vote LaRuby May”—“So Eight may rise!”

Nearly all of the candidates have taken aim at May’s Florida upbringing, her ties to Bowser and her endorsements from key business and labor power brokers.

“It’s good not to have all your money coming from the mayor,” said Marion C. Barry, the late mayor’s son and another candidate who argued that Bowser’s support would make May “beholden to a political machine.”

May, who runs a local housing nonprofit group and two day-care centers and whose pledges of affordable housing and community policing sound much like her competitors’ campaigning, dismissed such labels as baseless.

“I’ve been working hard in the ward for the past 15 years to build infrastructure,” she said. “There definitely can be benefits of being a legacy child,” she said of Bunn and Barry. “But I know there are also benefits of hard work.”

Charlie Dunn, a Ward 8 resident who was standing with friends at Woodland Terrace Friday night, said that Bunn lives nearby but that only May has visited.

“I haven’t met any other candidates who’ve come through this neighborhood,” he said. “I have one who lives right next door to me, and she hasn’t knocked on my door.”

All of the candidates, including Barry, Trayon White and Natalie Williams, the president of the Ward 8 Democrats, say they will improve education and foster opportunities for youths and ex-offenders.

But for them, the funding has been thinner.

Kinlow set out to knock on doors last week with only one staffer in tow. Bunn set out with only a few more, targeting the doors of men and women who had proven voting records, many of them senior citizens.

One elderly widower told Bunn that he’d vote for her if he “can keep it in my mind to vote.”

“Well,” Bunn said, making a note of it, “I will remind you.”

Abigail Hauslohner covers City Hall for The Washington Post. Previously, she served as the Post’s Cairo bureau chief.

Driverless Cars: Unintended Consequences for Insurers to Watch

Driverless Cars: Unintended Consequences for Insurers to Watch

Robert McIsaac
Insurance Experts’ Forum, March 30, 2015

While I embrace many (most?) things with a technology flair, I have to admit to being a bit amused with all the recent breathless excitement exuded over the idea of self-driving cars. To be sure, technology is making them ever safer and more fuel efficient. It is also augmenting the driving experience so that paper maps are going the way of LP recordings and being “lost” is now something of a personal choice rather than a state of condition, but I suspect that the rush to sell ad space may have people overlooking a few practical realities that could lead to surprising, if not dire, unanticipated, consequences.

I’m quick to point out, by the way, that driving my vintage BMW has a completely different set of experiences than driving a new one. No airbags, crash avoidance alarms, proximity radar or backup cameras. Driving it requires real and significant concentration and the consequences of an error can be real and immediate. While I’d never want to retrofit a blind spot warning system, I can appreciate the value. Heck, from the dark ages back in 1984, the vintage ride doesn’t even have a single cup holder.

I can appreciate ABS brakes and traction control too. These technology dependent devices can make drivers feel invincible … or at least support the idea that training and engagement are less important than they once were, since mistakes can much more easily be recovered from. Further, I can also appreciate that under “normal” conditions while cruising down the Interstate and experiencing the commuter equivalent of the “Talladega Draft”, where any open space on the road is an invitation for someone to dive in for advantage, advanced computer control can stay on top of following distances and emergency braking procedures better than the average distracted commuter trying to manage the car, the coffee cup, the kids and the cell phone concurrently.

No, my real concern will come about when we get to the point of auto-driver being a real possibility. At that point, under normal conditions, the onboard systems could handle all the easy stuff with a minimal amount of drama or trauma. Parking between 2 stationary objects? No sweat. Maintaining following distances at 70mph? Again, not much of an issue. The concern will emerge when bad or unexpected or unusual things happen and the computer control gives up and hands it back to the now, even more woefully unprepared occupant, under the tag line of “I don’t know what to do, you take it!”. A failed sensor, a set of road conditions that are unexpected, and a wide range of other factors could create scenarios where the on-board systems decide that they have reached max capacity. Or there’s just the Help Desk Rule #1 for electronic devices: when all else fails, reboot, and start clean.

In other forms of transport, such as high-speed trains and airliners, there is significant control automation even for such dicey maneuvers as station stops and landings. In the main, it works great. But when it goes wrong, it can go spectacularly wrong.

As a backup, these devices have alternative systems, called engineers or pilots, who are well trained and capable of taking over navigation in mid-transaction. They have a full training and testing regimen that they need to follow in order to maintain their certifications. When the training kicks in, the auto pilot comes off, and the results are generally good. Even at that, however, they aren’t perfect as some recent plane crashes have suggested. Training really does matter. A lot.

Which gets back to the driverless car concept. If the occupants are going to be expected to “take over” at any point in the journey, where is the training and experience going to come from? How will they practice dicey moments to build an experience base rather than becoming unwitting guidance systems for land-locked missiles that run amok?

Renting a car today can provide an interesting view if the future. Mastering such simple tasks as turning cruise control on and off varies so much between brands and model years that the first few miles out of the lot are like a training mission of their own.

So, one consequence of increasingly automated vehicles could be fewer, but sadly more spectacular, crashes that are hard to pinpoint “blame” for. The conversation around who is liable in such circumstances could be both long and full of rich legal entanglements. Breathlessly talking about self-driving cars and the end of accidents as we know them may be both significantly premature and a preview to different and more nuanced or complex dialogue.

Of course, on a weekend that required a surprisingly large number of re-boots to both my real world laptop and tablet devices at unfortunate moments, I find myself a little less concerned. If the technology crashes on an Excel problem, how can it possible handle a Jersey Jug-handle first time, every time? Or, maybe I should be more concerned. Time will tell. And that could be the actuarial nightmare scenario.

This blog entry has been reprinted with permission.

Results of Recent Ward 3 and Ward 8 Straw Polls/Bowser Candidates Prevail

Ward 8 — 584 residents attended the event to vote.

LaRuby May 177

Trayon White 79

Natalie Williams 77

Sheila Bunn 53

Eugene Kinlow 30

J Abraham 26

Marion C. Barry 21

Leonard Watson 12

Greta Fuller 3

Ward 4 390 votes cast in the straw poll.

Brandon Todd 310

Renee Bowser (no relation to the mayor) 58

Dwayne Toliver 22

(A number of Ward 4 council seat candidates boycotted that straw poll, including Ron Austin, Acqunetta Anderson, Leon T. Andrews, Gwenellen Corley-Bowman, Judi Jones, Doug Sloan, Edwin W. Powell, and Bobvala Tengen.)

Bowser Picks Win Special Election Straw Polls

Posted by Will Sommer, City Paper, on Apr. 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

LaRuby May at the Ward 8 straw poll

The Green Team knows how to win straw polls. Muriel Bowser launched her mayoral bid last year with a surprise straw poll victory over Vince Gray, and last night, her picks in the Ward 4 and Ward 8 special elections demolished straw poll rivals of their own.

In Ward 4, Bowser favorite and almost-sorta-councilmember-elect Brandon Todd easily defeated the other candidates, taking in 310 out of the 390 votes cast at the Ward 4 Democrats poll. Rival Renée Bowser came in second with 58 votes. Most of Todd’s opponents boycotted the poll because Todd runs the Ward 4 Democrats, but the vote itself was organized by D.C. Democratic State Committee members from outside of the ward.

Ward 8 Bowser pick LaRuby May had a similar, if not quite as sweeping, success at a Ballou High School straw poll organized by civic groups. May won 177 votes, followed by former State Board of Education member Trayon White with 79 votes, and Ward 8 Democrats President Natalie Williams with 77 votes. Grayfavorite Sheila Bunn won 53 votes, while Eugene D. Kinlow received 30 votes. Everyone else, including Marion C. Barry, received less than 30 votes.

Here’s the part of every straw poll blog recap where LL has to write that straw polls, which rely on campaign muscle and the most die-hard voters, are usually wonky at predicting who’ll win the actual vote. That might not be true this time, though, since special elections also rely more than regular elections on campaign organization and driven voters. That goes double in low turnout Ward 8.

LL went to the Ward 8 straw poll, where May’s advantages showed before the poll even began. May put her substantial fundraising advantage to work, organizing a BBQ a few blocks away from the straw poll. Muriel Bowser showed up and waved a May sign on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.

For a forum pervaded with worry about residents being pushed by gentrification (every candidate opposed extending the streetcar to Anacostia), even the long shots played it safe with their answers. Only Ward 8 heavy Anthony Muhammad, who received only nine votes in the poll,has decided to go in for some plans so crazy that they just might work. Muhammad’s tactics include the declaration that only he has the "testicular fortitude" to represent the ward and an extended monologue accusing Seventh District Metropolitan Police Department officers of preying on the ward’s young girls (not without some accuracy).

Muhammad also threw the harshest jabs of the night, using his opening statement to say that he doesn’t owe the District $600,000 (a diss for candidate Jauhar Abraham) and that he’s voted in every election (a not-so-subtle nod to Barry’s spotty voting record).

Despite all the Green Team organization at work outside Ballou, the mood inside the straw poll forum was decidedly opposed to the mayor and her endorsed candidate. To cheers, longshot (and cranky!) candidate Leonard Watson Sr. declared that attending Bowser’s State of the District address Tuesday night would amount to a "waste of time."

May’s late arrival was met with a little applause and a lots of boos, while candidate Sandra Seegars urged the crowd to vote Bowser out in 2018 if she doesn’t deliver for the ward. Presumably, Seegars wouldn’t mind if voters applied the same scrutiny to her Bowser-backed rival.

Mayor’s Office Budget Summary — “Pathways to the Middle Class”

See attached.

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

2016 Introductory Budget Rollout_v12.pdf


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.