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Breakfast links: Our elected leaders


Photo by KCIvey on Flickr.
Vote now: Today is DC's special election for at-large councilmember. Vote at your local polling place until 8 pm. We've endorsed Bryan Weaver; for more details on candidates, see Martin Austermuhle's voter guide.

Biddle fades at the finish: 8 DC councilmembers endorsed Sekou Biddle, but they're not doing much to help him over the finish line, and it seems his campaign hasn't really asked. Yvette Alexander even switched to Vincent Orange, claiming Biddle told her he doesn't need Ward 7. (Loose Lips)

Seegars makes interracial marriage an issue: Vincent Orange's Ward 8 supporter Sandra Seegars keeps trying to make race the issue in the race by saying Sekou Biddle doesn't mention his white wife when speaking to black audiences. (Examiner)

Coalitions can be contradictory: Why does Respect DC coalition pushing for a Walmart community benefits agreement want both more transit and more parking? It's a coalition, and coalitions are tricky. "Activism is easyorganizing is hard." (Housing Complex)

MD legislature ignored environment: The Maryland legislature struck out on environmental policies in this year's session, failing to pass a 5¢ bag fee, wastewater rules for development, drilling protections, and more. (The Capital)

Costco returns would take a decade: The proposed $4 million subsidy for Costco would take nearly a decade to recoup. Still, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says he has enough support on the Council for the deal. (WBJ, Danila S.)

Boat club nixed public plaza: The Old Dominion Boat Club has refused to move its surface parking lot into a below-grade garage proposed by the city, effectively blocking a proposed public plaza for the Alexandria waterfront. (Examiner)

St. E's at risk?: Might Congress cut money for the DHS headquarters consolidation at St. Elizabeth's? It would save $4 billion. GSA is trying to see if they can fit more people in than originally planned, through desk sharing and teleworking. (Capital Business)

And...: An elderly couple were pulled to safety by other riders after falling into the tracks at Gallery Place. (Examiner) ... A new highway sign directs northbound drivers from Richmond around the east side of the Beltway to New York. (Potomac Local) ... Several days after drawing scrutiny for a high-speed escort of Charlie Sheen, MPD escorted the New York Rangers around the city. (DCist)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 

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The stabbing at the National Zoo presumably doesn't qualify for GGW's links, but no link to the TBD story about the Saturday beating at Anacostia station? http://www.tbd.com/articles/2011/04/witness-saturday-commute-had-beating-at-anacostia-station-rowdy-teens-at-l-enfant-plaza-59408.html

by EJ on Apr 26, 2011 9:25 am • linkreport

A-holes at a boat club?! You've got to be kidding.

by aaa on Apr 26, 2011 9:27 am • linkreport

I'm trying to figure out why the addition of "New York City" to a highway sign on northbound 95 south of the beltway is news. Is there some sort of unsaid commentary here about something? Like why promote destinations over 200 miles away when there are plenty of significant ones much closer? Is that it? If so, are we that insecure? If not, what? Slow news day? I don't get it.

by Josh S on Apr 26, 2011 9:43 am • linkreport

Linkfail on the DHS St. Elizabeth's link.

by OctaviusIII on Apr 26, 2011 9:45 am • linkreport

@OctaviusIII:
Thanks for alerting us. I've fixed the link to the article on St. E's.

by Matt Johnson on Apr 26, 2011 9:49 am • linkreport

I hope the MPD continues to escort Capitals opponents around town. And get them lost.

by TGEoA on Apr 26, 2011 9:52 am • linkreport

Here's another idea on saving money at St. E: fire DHS workers.

by charlie on Apr 26, 2011 9:54 am • linkreport

@EJ: The Breakfast Links is a collaborative effort between Erik, the editors, and you the readers. Erik is volunteering to do this every day between waking up and going to work because he cares about GGW and finds this interesting.

He doesn't necessarily have time to read everything from every news source. We depend a lot on readers submitting tips. Nobody submitted the Anacostia story.

If you see something that you think should be in the links, please don't assume we know about it; submit it as a tip.

There are lots of ways. There's a link at the end of every links post. There's a bookmarklet. You can tweet it with the hashtag #ggwtip. If you use Google Reader, you can put GGW on the Send To menu.

@Josh S: I also thought it was kind of interesting. Some people here enjoy discussions of wayfinding or of highways.

by David Alpert on Apr 26, 2011 9:59 am • linkreport

I'm surprised that Va. just added "New York" to the sign rather than replacing "Baltimore" with it. That's what they did some years back when on the other half of the Beltway they replaced "Rockville" with "Tysons Corner" ...

by Lance on Apr 26, 2011 10:00 am • linkreport

@Josh S - maybe Virginia just likes to have the "first" signs for everywhere - southbound there is (I think) the first sign for "Durham NC, Miami FL" at the 95/295 split near Ashland as well. I'd love to know the percentage of vehicles in Ashland that are headed to Miami without stopping. :)
Do remember that the northbound sign in the article is just above Lorton, where the AutoTrain lets out, and it seems like 80% of the AutoTrain is folks from Philly/NY/NJ that drive to Lorton, and ride the rest of the way.

by Joe in SS on Apr 26, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

I'll add my name to the list of people who find the story about the NYC sign to be interesting and relevant. The beltway and springfield interchange have long been a source of confusion for drivers traveling through/around DC, who might not be aware that Baltimore lies along the most direct route to New York City. Of course, this is all due to the fact that I-95 was not built according to its original design, through the Northeast Freeway.

The interchange between I-95 and the Delaware Memorial Bridge also frequently misdirects drivers intending to travel to Northern New Jersey and beyond, given that I-95 has a (soon-to-be-corrected) discontinuity north of Philadelphia, resulting from the cancellation of the Somerset Freeway.

After all, I-95 is very much a through-road. Personally, I think that it would have been cute/amusing if NJ started building signs that said "I-80: CALIFORNIA" on them, to make it clear that the road travels almost directly east to west and traverses the entire country, even though very few (if any) drivers are actually driving from New York City to California.

by andrew on Apr 26, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

Just a thought ... 20 years from now, when GPS units will be even more ubiquitous than are already ... and more advanced ... not needing a human driver to hear/read their directions ... but communicating with the car itself, will we still need directional highway signs?

by Lance on Apr 26, 2011 10:26 am • linkreport

I've always assumed the distant highways signs were local rivalry. I-80 in Ohio has mileage markers to NYC, but none to Pittsburgh. I'm sure D. Willinger can come up with a better explanation, though.

After the flooding in Georgetown, I can understand why building an underground parking garage next to a river isn't popular.

by charlie on Apr 26, 2011 10:54 am • linkreport

10 years for the Costco subsidy to pay off? Small potatoes compared to the tax revenue it brings in.

by TGEoA on Apr 26, 2011 11:02 am • linkreport

Re: couple on tracks - ...the crowded Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station. I think crowded metro platforms are dangerous for this very reason and thus WMATAs role in frequency of service is not just transportation but also public safety.

by Tina on Apr 26, 2011 11:03 am • linkreport

@andrew: at the beginning of US-50 in Ocean City, MD, there's a sign that says "Sacramento Ca 3073". Sacramento has a corresponding "Ocean City, MD 3073" sign.

by thm on Apr 26, 2011 12:02 pm • linkreport

@TGEoa:

10 years for the Costco subsidy to pay off? Small potatoes compared to the tax revenue it brings in.

Isn't this an argument for tax reform?

I mean, sure, we could continue to provide site-by-site "exemptions" or other tax breaks. But if the project is good but for bad tax policy that we're already committing to alleviate on a specific site, aren't we really saying our taxation scheme isn't doing what it's supposed to do?

(Insert "regulatory scheme" for tax scheme and I think my question becomes even more valid)

I'm not really familiar with the technical ins and outs of the Wheaton Costco development. Does anyone know a good rundown of the issues?

by WRD on Apr 26, 2011 12:21 pm • linkreport

@TGEoA Why wouldn't the tax revenue already be part of the 10 year calculus?

by eb on Apr 26, 2011 12:23 pm • linkreport

KHCA Official Position: We are not opposed to the gas station if it is moved to the other side of the plaza on Viers Mill Road; We are not opposed to the store and $4M if community concerns are addressed. Right now Costco is not even talking to the community because we are so "unreasonable" about the gas station that is slated to be the busiest retail fueling operation in the entire County being shoehorned amidst single-family residences and an outdoor community swimming pool. Furthermore, the Costco development got a grandfather loophole waiver for Environmental Site Design, an exemption from the Forest Conservation Plan, and does not have to file a traffic study or even a site plan.

by Danila on Apr 26, 2011 12:34 pm • linkreport

It may have already been noted (I confuse diff't blogs) but a Costco is slated to go up on Richmond Highway in "Alexandria" (the quotes are another issue for another time). The contexts, politics, etc. are different, but I bring it up just because in one case a jurisdiction gives subsidies, and in the other they get (probably modest) proffers.

by spookiness on Apr 26, 2011 12:52 pm • linkreport

On I-81 in Pennsylvania, there's a sign telling you where to turn off for "Jersey Shore", which I thought was an oddly far away place to considered for an exit sign. Turns out there's a town in central PA literally named "Jersey Shore". I guess it's better than Intercourse, PA or its neighbor Blue Ball, PA. Pennsylvanians and their silly town names...

by TM on Apr 26, 2011 2:13 pm • linkreport

I grew up 5 min from Intercourse... I'm not kidding when I say that it was on my way to Paradise. I also lived 5 min from Blue Ball and Bird In Hand, but I intentionally tried not to take those routes. There's also Lititz and Mount everything... Mount Joy, Mount Gretna... ::sigh:: I miss PA.

by Bossi on Apr 26, 2011 2:50 pm • linkreport

@Charlie I've always assumed the distant highways signs were local rivalry. I-80 in Ohio has mileage markers to NYC, but none to Pittsburgh. I'm sure D. Willinger can come up with a better explanation, though.

LOL ...

by Lance on Apr 26, 2011 3:35 pm • linkreport

@TM, Jersey Shore, PA actually has an interesting history. It is on the west bank of the Susquehanna River. Back in the late-1700s through to the early 1800s, it was called Waynesburg. The founders of Waynesburg were from New Jersey. The people on the east bank hated the people on the west bank and insulted them by calling their side the "Jersey" shore. And then the name stuck and became official.

by Sam on Apr 26, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

@Lance, I-80 actually goes to NYC and passes through towns like Dubois on the way. I haven't been there in a while, but the I-80 signs around the Skyway and roads leading to it used to say "Ohio". No mention of anything along the Indiana Toll Road, but then Indiana tends toward the xenophobic and probably doesn't want anyone to stop.

by Rich on Apr 26, 2011 8:50 pm • linkreport

@Rich, actually I was chuckling about Charlie's comment that D. Willinger would come up with an explanation ... If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you'll know that Mr. Willinger believes a lot of the roads in DC are where they're at because of what he claims is the subterfuge influence of the Catholic Church ... and/or the Masons ...

by Lance on Apr 26, 2011 9:45 pm • linkreport

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