The baseball ticket standoff between Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the D.C. Council ended quietly Saturday when a young woman from the office of deputy mayor Neil O. Albert handed them over.
Starting with Wednesday's game against Pittsburgh, the council members will have access to the 19 seats in Suite 61 until the end of the season, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) announced in an e-mailed statement this morning.
The council and the mayor had the same tug-of-war over the baseball tickets last year and over tickets at the Verizon Center before that. Fenty (D) was being seen as increasingly stubborn for failing to turn over the tickets for the suite that has been designated for council use. Since baseball season began, Fenty repeatedly dismissed criticism by saying he had more important tasks than worrying about tickets. "It's tickets," he would say. "I'm working on the budget."
The council approved the mayor's budget last week but not without major changes. The tickets could be a peace offering as Fenty tries to convince the council to restore some of his original budget proposal before a final vote on the budget support act.
And then there's the timing. The mayor, council members and their staffs are likely leaving today for the annual International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas, where deals are often made.
The ticket delivery also came from Albert, deputy mayor for economic development, who Fenty named the new city administrator with the pending departure of Dan Tangherlini.
Tangherlini has been nominated to be assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary by President Barack Obama.
Yesterday, Gray sent an e-mail to council members, explaining that the tickets would be "equitably distributed to all members as soon as possible but not earlier than Wednesday, May 20th since I will be away at the ICSC conference until Tuesday, May 19th."
Gray sent out his media statement this morning.
"The unnecessary delay in giving the Council its tickets was an unfortunate distraction from the real and important work of the government," he said in the statement. "My colleagues join me in welcoming the opportunity to make tickets available to constituents who might not otherwise be able to attend a game at the ballpark. I will be working on a permanent solution that will avert this controversy from being repeated again."
- Nikita Stewart