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Where the rubber meets the road: New interim councilmember Anita Bonds is not alone when it comes to outside employment. Though her position with DC's main street paving firm is noteworthy when she is calling for more street paving. (Post)

No Alexandria streetcar?: Alexandria may be getting cold feet on the Route 1 Streetcar, which would leave Arlington on its own. Alexandria will focus on the Potomac Yards Metro stop and will use BRT as either a temporary or permanent substitute to the streetcar. (Patch)

2 candidates announce: Pat Mara announced he will run as a Republican in the April 23 at-large special election, and former U Street ANC commissioner Brianne Nadeau plans to run against Jim Graham for the Ward 1 seat in 2014. (DCist)

Improve before CaBi: Bike advocates have called for more bike facilities, including bike lanes, sharrows, and the completion of the Metropolitan Branch and Silver Spring Green Trails in preparation of CaBi's arrival in Silver Spring and Takoma Park. (Patch)

More taxes, please: Local officials like Ike Leggett went to Annapolis to call for more transportation funding by raising the gas tax, which has been at 23.5 cents in Maryland since 1992. (Post)

Passenger could reopen after a ride: The Passenger and a new bar, Hogo, will have to close when Douglas redevelops the corner of 7th Street and New York Avenue, but the developer wants to see the popular bar return in that space or nearby. (City Paper)

Someone's listening: The Department of Homeland Security is providing grants to increase audio surveillance capabilities on public transit in cities like Baltimore, worrying privacy advocates. (Daily Caller, @SamuelMoore)

Toll debt: Orange County, California's pioneering toll roads might not be able to pay its debts because fewer people than anticipated are using the roads, making revenues far below forecasts despite steep toll hikes. (LA Times, Ben Ross)

And...: Is Silver Spring growing too residential and not adding enough jobs? (Patch) ... Loudoun's Silver Line tax districts won't get any bigger. (Leesburg Today) ... DC seeks to lease the Lincoln Theatre instead of finding an operator. (WBJ)

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Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

Comments

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Again, I understand about user-submitted links, but critizing a DC councilmember for conflict of interest -- and ignoring Chris Zimmerman's -- is not good.

As we saw with Zimmerman pushing Bondi -- a very unqualified and suspect canididate -- there is something rotting in the Arlington County Board. As bad as DC -- no. But we need term limits for all board members.

That being said, Garvey is probably wrong about the Crystal city streetcar and right about Columbia Pike. Columbia Pike is redeveloping because the county is allowing more density, and traffic has not been a problem. Crystal City is going to be a giant empty zone and really needs something to kick-start it.

by charlie on Dec 13, 2012 9:00 am • linkreport

@Charlie

Did you submit a link? If there is a reasonable article discussing, I am sure GGW would be happy to include it.

Regarding this Anita Bonds lady, the more I learn about her, the more I dislike her. Could she have had a worse first few days in office? She gets picked in secret by a committee of people no one understands, and then her first complaint is that asking her about her outside employment is chauvinistic. Where did we find this lady?

Also, how is having an employee of Ft Myer on the board NOT a conflict of interest? She specifically mentions that she was planning on taking a leave of absense, but her "bosses" didn't want her too? Are you kidding me? Was excited about first, but it took her all of a few days to lose me with the "chauvinistic" thing. Get over yourself.

Here is hoping we are finally able to rid ourselves of the old guard on April 23rd, and move forward with a quality candidate.

by Kyle-W on Dec 13, 2012 9:21 am • linkreport

Alexandria's choice to go with BRT for now is old news. All that is new is that Ms Garvey has brought it up as part of the Arlington debate. The statement that Alexandria is getting cold feet is misleading.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 13, 2012 9:24 am • linkreport

Re: Patrick Mara

Can a white Republican effectively represent the entire city of DC? Yes, Carol Schwartz and David Catania show it is possible.

Forgive my rant, but I have serious doubts about Mara. He seems too much of an opportunist and too accommodating of the national GOP (support for marriage equality aside).

Feel free to correct any details, but my understanding is that he first burst on to the local scene when he has anointed by the chamber of commerce to punish Schwartz for a vote she made, by defeating her in the GOP primary in 2008. After being elected to the Ward 1 seat on the Board of Education in 2010 and serving only two years, he now wants to run at large for the council. Despite his claim that he is not "not someone who runs for the sake of running", all indications point to otherwise.

If he is elected (which may happen due to opponents' weakness), will he be too tied to his party? Catania focuses on improving services, not spouting the latest anti-government party line. I don't see that so far in Mara. In fact, I am afraid his support will hurt any needed reforms in DC if he becomes the lightning rod he seems to want to be.

by Watcher on Dec 13, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

Do we need more transportation taxes, or less transportation waste and stupidity. Two current wasteful projects in PG County's Marlow Heights area.

Intersection of MD 414 and 28th, one short block from MD 5:

Just a couple of years ago, SHA replaced the traffic lights, which had been supported by cables, with new lights supported by big crossbars. Then, this past summer, they came back and added a complete newer set of lights, with new poles, crossbars, etc., partially blocking the relatively new ones. Months have gone by, but they haven't gotten around to turning the newer ones.

Around the corner, on MD 5 (Branch Avenue), they have just installed continuous guard rails on both sides of the road and in the median for almost a mile. This is an area that has been fine with limited guard rails for over 50 years, and an area where they've already had public meetings on plans to completely rebuild the highway to "improve" access to the Branch Avenue Metro Station. Most of the new guard rails will have to be ripped out in just a couple of years.

So, does the state really NEED money for ESSENTIAL transportation projects, or are they just trying to rip us off so they can waste even more?

by D.C. Russell on Dec 13, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

Nice to see that Garvery has moved from ambivalent to firmly against even the streetcar project that has seen little to no controversy (in Arlington at least).

by drumz on Dec 13, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

People are worried about being listened to on public transportation? Haha. They should be worried about those random TSA searches that are occuring at Metro stops. The notion that TSA may want to search me prior to riding an overpriced Metro system that's never fully functioning is absurd. But it is amusing to me that they mounted it at the Tenleytown Stop last summer. Surely that's where they're going to find their hypothetical terrorist/criminals/etc.

Part of why I love biking. They have yet to figure out a way to stop and search me, although I'm sure they're hard at work on it. Not that I have anything to hide, but it is becoming a little absurd that privacy is basically non-existent anymore.

by T1 on Dec 13, 2012 10:03 am • linkreport

The Department of Homeland Security is providing grants to increase audio surveillance capabilities on public transit

Yeah, that fourth amendment. Does it still exist?

by Jasper on Dec 13, 2012 10:03 am • linkreport

Potomac Yard, people. Come on, this is nothing new.

by movement on Dec 13, 2012 10:03 am • linkreport

@movement: thanks for calling that out. It also drives me crazy: there's only one yard! I wasn't going to say anything, but since you broke the seal...

by MDE on Dec 13, 2012 10:10 am • linkreport

@Watche, Pat Mara has been running for at-large seats for several years now. I'm almost certain he ran for at-large in 2008, before he decided to run for Ward 1 School Board. He ran in the 2011 at-large specil election and came close to winning (in a highly fracture field, of course). I would say he's much more of the old style Northeastern business conservative, rather than the current ultra-conservative pseduo-libritarian firebrand type that is so popular in the national GOP these days.

He also serves on the DC Vote board. And that about exhausts my knowledge of Pat Mara.

by Birdie on Dec 13, 2012 10:28 am • linkreport

The Post's Anita Bonds article is...well it's a Post article. Although I'm no fan of outside employment, I don't get what's particular special about her wanting more paved roads. Shouldn't we all? She just happens to work for a company that does a lot of it.

Regarding this Anita Bonds lady, the more I learn about her, the more I dislike her.

Wasn't Sekou Biddle selected in the same manner as Bonds? Did you equally dislike him or is the real issue her statement about chauvinism? I still would like to know how the discussion came up but Debonis said it was in response to the idea that she should step down while two mail CM's keep their jobs. Then there's Mary Cheh

I believe this will be yet another ridiculous battle between the two warring DC factions. Old Guard/EOTR vs. New Guard/WOTR. Her relationship w/Barry will serve as the main sticking point.

Patrick Mara is now a LaRouche. Time to sit down guy.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 10:39 am • linkreport

@Jasper:

Sad... but the 4th Amendment is nearly dead. All political stripes are to blame. And all will soon regret.

by JFMAMJJASON on Dec 13, 2012 10:41 am • linkreport

@Hogwash

I bought my rowhouse in DC in 2010, so wasn't nearly as informed then as now. The Chauvinism thing is absolutely absurd. I don't think CM's should have any outside employment, but that is beside the point. As it stands, one of her first actions was to accuse a reporter of being chauvinistic for asking about her outside employment. Defend it if you like, but chauvinism?!

Have more to say, but I am certain this won't be the last comment on the matter, so I will hold off for now.

by Kyle-W on Dec 13, 2012 10:46 am • linkreport

Putting Ms. Bonds' blatant conflict of interest aside, DC really does need to repave vast swaths of roads in the District. Anyone who's biked, driven, skateboarded, or even walked on our rutty roads knows that it's becoming a safety issue in many parts. Since speeding is a concern, there are other ways to control it whether via cams, police traps, or speed tables.

by John Marzabadi on Dec 13, 2012 11:06 am • linkreport

@Kyle, thanks. But the answer is yes. Sekou was elected by the same group and had the support of Gray/DC Progressive baked-candidate.

If I hadn't worked for a woman for years I would be as adamant as you. It's not that I even always agree, but it's not uncommon for women to play the sexist card...and get away with it. It happened with Sarah Palin and Hillary. I didn't like it then. But the chauvinism charge ain't the same as the racism one. So IMO, her making the charge ain't too bad...and could be how she feels.

Maybe there's more you've read to inform your dislike other than the chauvinist charge that you will bring up later? I responded because this was the only one you mentioned.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 11:08 am • linkreport

Anita Bonds is welcome to have outside employment, as are all CMs. I just think that all business dealings etc should be completely open and any conflict of interest clearly managed. In most professional corporations or bodies, Ms Bond's conflict of interest would prevent her having ANY say on roads, and might prevent her from being an office holder. I understand why we have looser rules for politicians, but in the current climate of corruption, perhaps tighter standards are needed.

by SJE on Dec 13, 2012 11:09 am • linkreport

Although I'm no fan of outside employment, I don't get what's particular special about her wanting more paved roads. Shouldn't we all?

No. We have far more than we care to pay to maintain now. The last time I looked at satellite imagery it seemed like we've done quite a bit of paving already?

by thump on Dec 13, 2012 11:12 am • linkreport

The article quotes Brian Weaver as saying Mara is "his friend" and says Weaver won't run. That's a big factor.

If Biddle does run he truly will become a perennial candidate who always under performs.

With the tiny fraction who vote in special elections (10%) and the reliable high turnout in any election of Republicans, Mara would seem the strong leader. He would probably start with a reliable base of the number of votes he got in the last special election.

Michael Brown's best chance would be if Weaver were competing with Mara. Otherwise Brown would have to count on Shapiro entering and running a strong campaign.

I don't think Nate Silver would have much trouble figuring out this race. Probably Mara 90% odds of winning.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 13, 2012 11:25 am • linkreport

Ms Bond's conflict of interest would prevent her having ANY say on roads,

Some of the others in Geekdom might know for certain but I believe there is some sort of rule barring involvement in matters related to the respective employers. If not, there should be. I think DPW does the city's roads and unless she somehow ends up heading the committee with oversight or some other, I do not see how any one CM could have any say on roads. So this might be consistent with most of the professional corporations and bodies you mention.

No. We have far more than we care to pay to maintain now. The last time I looked at satellite imagery it seemed like we've done quite a bit of paving already?

HA! I'm sure you're just joking. But just to let you know, I will forever advocate for more paved roads. Shouldn't we all?

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 11:27 am • linkreport

I don't know why you'd be sure. I'm not joking. Where do you want to put your new roads? Are you just talking about repaving? That's different.

by thump on Dec 13, 2012 11:31 am • linkreport

to me, when you're an employee of the city's largest paving contractor and you have just been elevated to a seat on the Council, perhaps you shouldn't talk about how you wish DC would go on a paving binge. It certainly gives the apperance of a serious conflict of interest, and being rather tone deaf to the calls throughout the city, on both sides of the river, for good governance.

Actually, scratch "apperance." It is, undoubtedly, a conflict of interest. I hope Bonds will recuse herself from voting on anything that affects Fort Meyr Construction, and just stops talking about paving. There's plenty of other stuff to focus on.

All that said, I firmly believe that council members should not be able to hold outside employment.

by Birdie on Dec 13, 2012 11:33 am • linkreport

Re: Mara

In 2008 he endorsed McCain-Palin. Isn't supporting Palin for VP an almost disqualifying indictment of Mara's judgement?

by ahoya on Dec 13, 2012 11:34 am • linkreport

"Sekou was elected by the same group and had the support of Gray/DC Progressive baked-candidate."

This is not true, the shady process by which Biddle was selected turned off a lot of potential supporters. Many of them ended up voting for Weaver. The resulting split of the progressive vote basically handed the election to Orange.

by Phil on Dec 13, 2012 11:35 am • linkreport

@ SJE:I understand why we have looser rules for politician

I don't. We should hold office holders to very high standards. Transparency is an easy one.

by Jasper on Dec 13, 2012 11:55 am • linkreport

I will not vote for Bonds- old guard;

I will not vote for Mara- Republican and opportunistic;

I want to find out more about Matt Frumin and also see who else gets in the race.

by Luke on Dec 13, 2012 12:04 pm • linkreport

she should step down while two mail CM's keep their jobs.

Which CMs work for the Post Office?

by Vinh An Nguyen on Dec 13, 2012 12:12 pm • linkreport

Where do you want to put your new roads? Are you just talking about repaving? That's different.

I didn't. The blurb here says she advocates for more paved roads. Arguing with yourself? :)

The resulting split of the progressive vote basically handed the election to Orange.

You're right although I believe the manner in how he was selected was second to his association w/Gray and Brown. Barry will affect Bonds in the same manner.

perhaps you shouldn't talk about how you wish DC would go on a paving binge.

Dogma aside. I hope we aren't at the point of our US congress where we can't agree that more paved roads is a good thing.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 12:14 pm • linkreport

Shouldn't we all?

I will forever advocate for more paved roads. Shouldn't we all?

So, um yeah...pretty sure you did. I wasn't arguing w/ myself or you. I was asking a question? Where would you like to see more pavement laid down or are you talking about repaving?

by thump on Dec 13, 2012 12:20 pm • linkreport

Which CMs work for the Post Office?

Is there something substantive you missed?

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 12:21 pm • linkreport

<>i>Where would you like to see more pavement laid down or are you talking about repaving?

Does Debonis's article talk about more pavement laid down or repaving? Was Bonds suggesting pavement laid down or repaving?Did GGW suggest pavement laid down or repaving?

Neither distinguished one from the other but I assume they all meant repaving. DAl could easily correct me there.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 12:27 pm • linkreport

Neither distinguished one from the other but I assume they all meant repaving. DAl could easily correct me there.

I assumed the same thing. If she's suggesting that DC needs an entire new network of roads, she's certifiable, and I'm don't think that's the case. That said, I don't think roads shodul be repaved just because - if they need it, sure. And I'm going to take the urgings of someone who works for a paving company that MORE DC roads need to be repaved with a very large grain of salt. She's not exactly a disinterested observer.

by dcd on Dec 13, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

That said, I don't think roads shodul be repaved just because - if they need it, sure. And I'm going to take the urgings of someone who works for a paving company that MORE DC roads need to be repaved with a very large grain of salt.

I'm rather certain that we're all in agreement that we should for those in need. I'm still not sure what influence her opinion would have on whether roads are actually paved. Her opinion aside, we should all be in favor of such improvements.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 12:58 pm • linkreport

She's not exactly a disinterested observer.

No. And that's the danger of allowing outside employment. The questions would be asked about anyone and have. But it's still allowed and shouldn't be a disqualifying factor.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

If you watch the video on the post article it seems pretty clear that she is talking about road repair.

Doesn't seem like there's any more conflict of interest on this issue with Bonds than any of the other CMs' outside employment. I wouldn't be worried about it on it's face, but people should be on the lookout if she tries to get DDOT to drastically change priorities.

by MLD on Dec 13, 2012 1:07 pm • linkreport

Does Debonis's article talk about more pavement laid down or repaving? Was Bonds suggesting pavement laid down or repaving?Did GGW suggest pavement laid down or repaving?

I've read the articles so I know what they said, what I'm interested in is YOUR statements. You said you want "more paved roads"...twice. That doesn't sound like repaving to me or you would have said "repave". That sounds like you want more roads, paved. Again, it's two different things and I'm simply asking for clarification.

by thump on Dec 13, 2012 1:07 pm • linkreport

Jasper: " 'I understand why we have looser rules for politicians' I don't. We should hold office holders to very high standards. Transparency is an easy one.'

We do not have clear rules for politicians in part because they make the rules, in part because conflicts are difficult to disentangle when you are involved in so many decisions (any one of which could affect a donor), and ultimately because the voter decides whether the conflicts etc are a problem.

That said, I would like to see far more transparency and accountability. See e.g. Nancy Pelosi and questions about inside trading.

by SJE on Dec 13, 2012 1:14 pm • linkreport

That doesn't sound like repaving to me or you would have said "repave". That sounds like you want more roads, paved.

This is a weird semantic argument. I already said that I agreed with Bonds, Debonis, and GGW's characterization of her advocating for more "street paving." The idea of building new paved roads in DC is so foreign to likely at least 90% of DC residents, I just can't imagine why you think I'm suggesting otherwise.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

On downtown Silver Spring becoming too residential - ?

If Silver Spring existed in a vacuum then, sure, perhaps there would be a concern about becoming too residential and having a lack of new jobs. But Silver Spring does not exist in a vacuum, it is part of a busy metropolitan area.

I have sisters in New York City - one in Brooklyn and another on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Each of them lives in a neighborhood that is much more residential than commercial but each has a subway stop within a short walk and each uses her monthly Metrocard to get not only to work but all over the city. Each of their neighborhoods seems to be doing just fine.

The distance from downtown Silver Spring to K St. is about 7 miles. The Upper West Side to the financial district of Manhattan is about the same. What is wrong with Silver Spring being a bit more like the Upper West Side and a bit less like Midtown Manhattan?

by gooch on Dec 13, 2012 1:42 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

Interesting. I will say, what I know of the lady is limited. Despite very actively reading articles on GGW, POP, Wash Post, TWT (but not the comment section haha!) and anything else city related, I can confess I have never heard of her before about a week ago.

With that said, what I know of her as of now:

She was picked in a secret meeting of long-time DC operatives. She worked for Marion Barry, and appears to be semi-closely aligned with him. Her first comment was about how it was chauvinistic to ask about her outside employment at a firm that has a stranglehold on basically all DC road construction. Working at Ft Myers, she is certainly not going to be a streetcar/smart growth proponent.

I mean, can you blame me for having a low opinion of the lady?

by Kyle-W on Dec 13, 2012 1:45 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

Regarding how she can affect this without voting on specific contracts. Come budget time, when they are trying to figure out how much to allocate to DDOT, if they get allocated an extra 20 million, you can safely assume that Ft Myers will get a healthy portion of that allocation.

Not implying that she is corrupt, just that truly being independent is incredibly difficult.

by Kyle-W on Dec 13, 2012 1:52 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-W, you forgot that Bonds has been serving as the head of the DC Democratic State Committee for that past 4+ years, the very body that elevated her to her position on the council. She is also the person, as I understand it, who decided not to hold elections for DCDSC in 2012, which is almost certainly a breech of party bylaws. But good luck gettign your hands on those bylaws if you're not a DCDSC member.

by Birdie on Dec 13, 2012 2:27 pm • linkreport

Kyle, I understand your concerns. But my point is that they will only matter to those who have issues w: longtime residents/old guard b)association w/Barry.

I think it's quite unfair to assume that someone who works for a company that paves DC roads can't possibly be an advocate for smart growth. But even if she weren't...as long as she is anti-smart growth, that certainly doesn't seem enough to justify disliking and having a low opinion of the woman. Forgive her for having to work for a living...like her male colleagues.

Not implying that she is corrupt, just that truly being independent is incredibly difficult.

I believe this has worked for David Catania quite well.

by HogWash on Dec 13, 2012 4:09 pm • linkreport

@Birdie

Just didn't forget. Just learning about this lady as mentioned above. As you mentioned, the DCDSC doesn't appear to have much interest in being above-board and transparent with its operations.

by Kyle-W on Dec 13, 2012 4:17 pm • linkreport

@ JFMAMJJASON: the 4th Amendment is nearly dead.

Funny that I never hear all those constitution-fans about that.

by Jasper on Dec 13, 2012 8:21 pm • linkreport

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