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Breakfast links: More jobs

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Gray unveils more economic development details: Mayor Gray unveiled more details of his economic development plan, including rebuilding Ballou High School and reassessing city development projects. Gray also said the Skyland development could bring 1,000 temporary jobs and 1,600 permanent ones. (Post, WBJ)

Electronics maker to St. E's: Computer equipment maker MVM Technologies will move its HQ to St. Elizabeth's. It will employ 2,800 DC residents in three years. (WBJ)

Demolition by divine neglect: A church in the Mount Vernon Square area revised its previous plan to demolish 3 Civil War-era row houses for a parking lot. Instead they want to demolish all but the fašades in order to pave the parking lot. (DCmud)

MetroAccess riders suing over possible TB exposure: A group of MetroAccess riders is suing Metro and a contractor that runs the service for possibly exposing riders to tuberculosis. Metro has filed a motion to dismiss the case. (Examiner)

In transit-rich neighborhood, but transit not so useful: The 14th and Yous sympathize with neighbor Tom Coumaris, who commented here that Metro isn't very useful for his needs. Buses don't serve them well either; one drives and the other bikes or walks.

Get searched to hear music, see sculptures: Getting into the Sculpture Garden for the weekly jazz is now more difficult, as several entrances are closed and guards are searching bags at the others to keep people from bringing in alcohol so they have to wait in interminable lines at the concession instead. (DCist)

Keeping Md. drivers & cyclists ignorant: Cyclists in Maryland are already allowed to take the full lane in most circumstances, but state officials are refusing to put up signs that remind bicyclists and motorists of the existing law. (WABA)

Arrest made in parade shooting: MPD arrested 19 year-old Terry Jimenez in connection with Saturday's Caribbean parade shooting that left one dead. (Post, City Desk)

And...: The GAO will release its Metro governance report Thursday (@davidbschultz) ... The Atlantic is launching in September; Sommer Mathis (Washingtonian, TBD, DCist) will be editor. (Min Online) ... Bethesda Magazine complains about how hard it is to park in garages but doesn't mention driving alternatives ... A new DC park will be sponsored by Planters and peanut-shaped. (City Paper)

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Jamie Scott is a resident of Ward 3 in DC and a regular Metrobus commuter. He believes in good government, livable communities and quality public transit. Jamie holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at Georgetown. 


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I was blow away by the MVM move. So here are a few more details:

1. HQ is moving to the St. E (about 450 jobs) sooner rather than later.
2. Rest are moving to another location in SE time TBD
3. Maybe somebody else can tell me what this means: "The project is the subject of an $80 million Industrial Revenue Bond package currently before the D.C. Council. "

The company makes refilled printer cartridges, and cites the feds as an important customer.

by charlie on Jun 28, 2011 8:53 am • linkreport

Industrial Revenue Bonds are a type of bond issued through a state or local government to support small manufacturers building plants. The manufacturer pays the principal and interest, but since the bonds are issued by state or local government the interest is not taxed at the federal level.

by Kate W. on Jun 28, 2011 9:19 am • linkreport

That MVM story is really something...but an $80 M "Industrial Revenue Bond" is a lot of money. How does that compare to other subsidies given to business to build somewhere?

by goldfish on Jun 28, 2011 9:19 am • linkreport

All off-street parking in Bethesda is free on the weekend, and many of the most desirable parking spaces are taken up by cars and trucks that just sit all weekend. The high-demand spaces (the two garages mentioned in the article, and a few of the surface lots) should require payment from 6:00 to 10:00 on Saturday night.

by Ben Ross on Jun 28, 2011 9:31 am • linkreport

How firm is the commitment to hire actual DC residents? Or does "DC residents" just mean "people who live in the Washington area"?

by Paul on Jun 28, 2011 9:44 am • linkreport

@KateW; thanks.

Good question on the DC jobs question. Didn't the ballpark have a commitment to hire DC residents? Could that be a valid condition of the bonds?

I'd be curious to know the terms of the bonds. Cleary refilling printer cartridges is not a viable business, in say 30 years. Conditions change. But how long are the repayment terms on the bonds.

by charlie on Jun 28, 2011 10:15 am • linkreport

I for one am estastic that the ~2800 manufacturing jobs are not only moving to the area, but to the District. DC's a professional services town long short on these jobs which are specifically the ones needed to reduce our enormously one sided unemployed demographic.


80 million is a lot. No doubt. The best known example of District subsidies for development are DCUSA in Columbia Heights, which the District dumped 42 million into, so yes...80 million is a heck of a subsidy especially considering I doubt there is a firm commitment to actually "hire" District residents. I am sure a large portion won't end up being District residents, but we will see.

Some real rough numbers:

Lets assume only 1/3rd of the 2800 end up being District residents, and they are paid a base salary averaging 40K a year.

Thats 37,000,000 a year in taxable income. At the 6% rate, thats 2.2 million a year to the District Treasury.

However, I would venture that many of those DC residents are currently receiving some kind of public assistance, so you have the tax dollar savings involved there.

Then you have the corprate taxable revenue and increased property taxes where their manufacturing and office facilites are and I would say roughly..very roughly that this deal is worth 6-8 million a year minimum directly to the District, making it a 11 year payoff.

by freely on Jun 28, 2011 10:17 am • linkreport

@ freely; small correction to your math.

Assume the 40K salary (sounds high) and 1/3 of the 2800 jobs (about right)

Tax would be more like

40K= (6% of 30,000 + $400)=2300 a year x (1/3 of 2800) so more like 2,145,900 in taxes, no?

If anything, a powerful argument for bumping the exemption up to 50 or 60K and raising the higher rates a bit more. 40K would be tough to live on.

by charlie on Jun 28, 2011 10:38 am • linkreport

I think the "no alcohol in parks" rule is B.S. in general. What, the French are grown-ups but we aren't? I'm all for a "no unruly behavior in parks" rule or a "no broken glass in parks" rule, but those are different issues.

But enforcing the rule during Jazz in the Garden is even dumber. They sell alcohol themselves, so they can't complain about the presence of booze. They could claim it's lost sales, but they don't have the capacity to serve all their patrons -- that's why the lines are ridiculous -- so it's really not. If they could serve people in a reasonable manner, that'd be one thing; but they can't, so I BYOB. Now that's done too. I'll go somewhere else.

by Ridiculous on Jun 28, 2011 10:41 am • linkreport

The mind numbing stupidity of that Bethesda article is matched by the mind numbing stupidity of Bethesda's parking policies. How can it not occur to them that by making parking free, too many people will try to drive there? This is Idiocracy level of thinking.

"Free parking, it's got what cars crave! It's got electrolytes!"

by TM on Jun 28, 2011 10:51 am • linkreport

If (according to Kate W.) in an industrial revenue bond, MVM pays the principal, then the subsidy is the difference between the city bond rate and a regular commercial bond rate, which is a much smaller amount than then numbers Charlie & co have calculated.
OTOH, the city takes the risk if there is a default. What are the chances of that? Can MVM just pick up and move if it gets a better deal elsewhere?

by goldfish on Jun 28, 2011 10:53 am • linkreport

It's not an $80 million subsidy. The city issues the bonds, but the city is not responsible for debt. It lowers the cost of barrowing the money because it's not subject to federal taxes (although it is taxable in some states and localities).

DC's website provides limited information about the program, but a number of other states and localities have information about IRBs on their websites. It appears there are a few variables about property taxes and such, so I can't say what the total subsidy is, but's not $80 million dollars.

by Kate W on Jun 28, 2011 10:56 am • linkreport

can't type today *but it's not $80 million."

by Kate W on Jun 28, 2011 11:02 am • linkreport

what's funny is right here, a few weeks ago, we were being told the market for DC municipal debt is so weak. And now they want to go out and raise 80M...

details are key here. Kate, I'd assume DC is on hock for the debt, what you meant to say is the company is making the payments. If the company defauts, DC would still have to pay....

Why a company can't raise 80M on its own..given low interest an interesting question as well.

by charlie on Jun 28, 2011 11:07 am • linkreport


You are correct re my numbers.

And while yes, the company is the one who services the debt (minus the difference between DC's rate vs commercial. However, people need not forget that the city would be on the hook if MVM went belly up.

I tried looking into the size of the company but since it is private couldn't find anything of real value except some old revenue numbers which are kinda low.

by freely on Jun 28, 2011 11:22 am • linkreport

@ freely -- from what I've read the city is *not* on the hook if the company goes under, but I really don't know much about the subject. I just was doing some research the other day about the extent of federal tax losses from tax exempt bonds and the kinds available. I'm no expert.

Here's a link to the only site I can find that discusses the issue that's not an individual city/county

by Kate W on Jun 28, 2011 11:27 am • linkreport

The bigger risk is if MVM moves somewhere else if it gets a better deal. Just like they are doing now.

by goldfish on Jun 28, 2011 11:32 am • linkreport

In case anyone is interested, these are called "private activity bonds" and don't receive the full tax benefits of regular municipal bonds. Private activity bond interest is not deductible for the purposes of calculating alternative minimum taxable income.

by WRD on Jun 28, 2011 11:43 am • linkreport

MVM doesn't even look like a real company from their website.

"Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $2,500,000 and employs a staff of approximately 11. "

Don't count your chickens. This is a big bet on a teeny company.

"It will employ 2,800 DC residents in three years" I have big plans of becoming a billionaire and having a household staff of 30. I wonder which one is more likely.

I hope to god someone, -other than the DC government- audited their returns and contracts before signing this deal.

by ahk on Jun 28, 2011 11:43 am • linkreport

I repost my comment this morning to 14th and You hoping residents will get vocal:

""Our neighborhoods were built because of the Columbia Streetcar line running up 14th Street. People depended on it being down their residential street. When it disappeared we became transit dysfunctional.

Then Metro was built not as an urban transit system like New York but as a suburban commuter rail line. The lines didn't follow the established urban commuter routes which were the main streets and expansion now is going to cow pastures in Loudoun County so they can become exurbs instead of opening additional center city stations.

The proposed streetcar line is a weird combination of Georgia Avenue and 14th Street which each originally had it's own line. And if it's like the 50's buses it will be full at rush hour by the time it gets down here.

As usual with our neighborhood, the solution has come from the residents themselves. City Bikeshare has been adopted in a huge way. So much that the 14th & R and 14th & V Stations are often full or empty. That's our immediate transit problem.

Last night I took City Bikeshare from 14th&V to Florida&19th. On return at 9pm 14&R was full so I went to 14th&V. Full. Then so was 17th&Corcoran. So I finally got one of two remaining empty slots at---Florida&19th. I could have walked faster.

CaBi can solve at least this problem inexpensively and immediately by installing additional docks at the stations already here even before they can afford additional bikes. And we need more stations here a.s.a.p. The Dupont/Logan stations are by far the busiest CaBi stations. Our transit planners who seem to live on the moon don't get how vital CaBi is to us. It solves most of our problems immediately and makes us a unique neighborhood. For $70/yr. it is a bargain.

We need to be pestering the hell out of the city to get more CaBi here, now. I did at the Gay Pride Parade assemblage button-holing every Councilmember there on my CaBi.

(We also need to be pestering for Performance Parking so that people pay a fair rate to city revenues to party here and residents get a fair shot at a viable RPP spot so they don't have to concrete their rear yards to store what car they may have. But that's a separate crusade.)""

by Tom Coumaris on Jun 28, 2011 1:01 pm • linkreport

I was thinking yesterday as I rode across the Hill, I'd love to see WABA put together a little reference card that had a simple and comprehensive list of cyclist's rights. They could just hand them out to folks around town. It's pretty obvious that a lot of the older, poorer cyclists around town really don't have a clue what their rights are on the road.

I'd love to see an army of old retired dudes "taking the lane" and generally putting "bikes on the street". Probably all the traffic calming most neighborhoods need.

by oboe on Jun 28, 2011 1:39 pm • linkreport

@ No booz, just Jazz in the Park: I still see plenty of bottles wine at the park. I agree with Ridiculous about the silly alcohol rules in parks. Didn't know the Sculpture Garden was a park though. Isn't the garden just Smithsonian grounds?

And if they want to sell drinks, they should do so efficiently. When you want to sell beer to large crowds, Heineken has better equipment than a small home draft set-up. There are draft systems automatically filling up to 12 glasses perfectly. Similarly for the sangria.

by Jasper on Jun 28, 2011 1:58 pm • linkreport

Gray sure does love talking about Skyland...

by andrew on Jun 28, 2011 2:00 pm • linkreport

And, gosh. MVM's website certainly looks fake.

by andrew on Jun 28, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

@andrew, Gray sure does love talking about Skyland...

He lives in the same Ward and knows firsthand the lack of attention paid to the area....why wouldn't he LOVE talking about Skyland?

by HogWash on Jun 28, 2011 2:12 pm • linkreport

The vast majority of those 2,800 jobs will go to Maryland and Virginia residents, most likely recent immigrants. Just like nearly every single construction job in the city.

There are a lot of reasons why, but plain good old fashioned work ethic is a big part of it. Ask anyone who has ever tried to hire for unskilled/semiskilled labor in DC. The horror stories will amaze you. Drunk employees, failing to show up to work, disability and workers' comp claims, etc etc etc.

Yes I am painting with a broad brush here and there are no doubt some very good potential employees living in DC (although most of them are probably already working), but the reality is that the massive amount of construction and service jobs that the DC economy saw before the recession nearly all went to non-DC residents, even when there were "DC hiring" rules in place. Its even worse now.

At 5:00am tomorrow Route 66 will be filled with new immigrants commuting into DC from Leesburg and beyond, doing whatever it takes (12, 14 hour days) to get and keep a job. You just don't find that among enough DC residents.

by dcrealist on Jun 28, 2011 4:07 pm • linkreport

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