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A political power fast lane from Baltimore to D.C.

July 19, 2011

Bonding can be a good thing, either on Wall Street or between two big city mayors whose domains are less than an hour apart on I-95.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is an odds-on favorite to be elected to a full term as mayor of Baltimore city,” said D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray at a fundraiser for the incumbent Tuesday night in the District. “I’m predicting here and now she’ll get 65 to 75 percent of the votes.  I’m delighted to call her a friend.” 

Early in 2010, Rawlings-Blake succeeded Sheila Dixon as mayor when Dixon resigned as a result of her conviction for embezzlement.  Rawlings-Blake had been president of the city council. Under Baltimore’s charter, the president steps in as mayor when the elected sitting mayor no longer is able to serve.

It was two hours of mayoralty bonding, as Gray and Rawlings-Blake greeted some 70 contributors to her election campaign. Baltimore’s primary is in September.

The mayors have common ground:  they headed their respective city councils before succeeding controversial mayors.

The fundraising reception was held at the Northwest D.C. home of Donald Richardson.  Besides Gray, other co-hosts were public relations executive Linda Mercado Greene, who has known Rawlings-Blake for years (they refer to each other as political sisters), and Zina C. Pierre, a D.C. civic leader and former broadcast journalist.

Among the guests were Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse of the Republic of Botswana and D.C. City Councilmember Yvette Alexander.

In her talk, Rawlings-Blake, 41, said she has accumulated a record as mayor that she is proud of:  reforming the school system, closing a large deficit without raising property taxes or laying off public safety employees, and leading a city that has experienced its lowest homicide rate in a generation.

“We are linked,” in many ways, she said of D.C. and her city. “We have our challenges, and we are meeting these challenges.”

Nobody asked her what she thought of the oft-floated alternative to Statehood for the District – returning all but the federal buildings core to Maryland, where Washington would be a big-city competitor of Baltimore for state dollars and political power.

     -- by Natalia Janetti

 

  


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Time on your hands, Tommy? Visit the Wharf Concerts

July 16, 2011

As the newly irritated councilmember heading up the D.C. Parks and Recreation Committee, Tommy Wells might want to bike over to the wharf pavilion off Maine Avenue to take in the late afternoon jazz, blues and rhythm concerts. On Thursday, the concerts are from 5-8 and on Fridays 6 pm to 8 pm.  It’s a civil way to relax among Ward 6 constituents and boat owners, and even build up some now-diluted political muscle for a possible run for mayor in a few years.

There’s lots of shade at the umbrella-topped tables and lawn chairs under the trees to discuss the slings and arrows of politics in DC.  Local produce is sold at an outdoor market, and plenty of hot dogs, BBQ, ice cream, wine, beer and lemonade.  The SW waterfront, represented in the council by Wells, is destined to be overhauled with developments of modern hotels, restaurants, high-rise living and a refurbished dock, among other structures.

In the meantime, it’s a nifty place to chill out.  Or, jaw-bone a bit.  It’s not an official D.C. park -- but close enough.

  

    As the newly irritated Councilmember heading up the D.C. Parks and Recreation Committee, Tommy Wells might want to bike over to the wharf pavilion off Maine Avenue to take in the late afternoon jazz, blues and rhythm concerts. On Thursday, the concerts are from 5:00 to 8:00 pm and on Fridays 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  It’s a civil way to relax among Ward 6 constituents and boat owners, and, who knows, even build the fan base for...a run for mayor in a few years?

There’s lots of shade at the umbrella-topped tables and lawn chairs under the trees to discuss the dramatic turns of politics.  Local produce is sold at an outdoor market, and plenty of hot dogs, BBQ, ice cream, wine, beer and lemonade.  The Southwest waterfront, represented in the council by Wells, is destined to be overhauled with developments of modern hotels, restaurants, high-rise living and a refurbished dock, among other structures.

In the meantime, it’s a nifty place to chill out.  Or, jawbone a bit.  It’s not an official D.C. park -- but close enough.

 

 

  


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EastBanc submits plans for West End, again

June 20, 2011

Anthony Lanier's EastBanc has submitted its application to D.C. officials once again to build 10,303 square feet of retail, 172 market rate residential units, and 192 underground parking spaces around the West End Library and fire station at 23rd between L and M Streets NW. The project also includes construction of a new fire station beneath 52 affordable apartments, if they receive District public funds in support, reports the Washington Business Journal.

EastBanc founder and president Anthony Lanier (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) EastBanc founder and president Anthony Lanier
The $149 million project has been a saga of stops and starts, including a sole-source contract with the administration of former Mayor Adrian Fenty, a reversal following community outcry, hearings before the D.C. Council, and on and on. Financing of an $18 million part of the project -- once thought to come from public incentives -- is in question. 

EastBanc founder and Georgetowner Lanier also envisions an eight-court, international regulation-size squash club with a special emphasis on young players. Lanier's daughter Camille is a top-ranked competitive player.

The developer and exercise devoté can often be seen riding his bicycle around Georgetown and downtown before his long work days begin. "When I'm feeling down, I ride to the monuments on the Mall," he says. "They give me inspiration." But in the winter, Lanier admits, he would rather play squash inside.

 


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