Pay-to-play on full display?

December 17, 2013

D.C. Council member Vincent Orange said price concerns led him to question parking contract award. (Rebecca D’Angelo/The Washington Post)

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large) took to the council dais Monday to raise many, many pointed questions about the city’s move to award Xerox a five-year, $33 million contract to manage parking meters. What was more unusual was that the discussion turned to Orange’s motives after colleague Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) asked a losing bidder about his recent contributions to political campaigns — including $20,000 in related donations made to Orange’s mayoral campaign. The bidder, WorldWide Parking, denied any attempt to buy through the political process a contract it had lost through the procurement process. But one of Orange’s defenses, pointing out that a Xerox-affiliated contractor had also given him donations in the past, backfired. “Yes, but not in the amount of $20,000,” the contractor, Pedro Alfonso, said. More from WAMU-FMLoose Lips and the Titan of Trinidad.

In other news:

Possible Medicaid fraud is at center of a federal inquiry into Options Public Charter School (Post)

Options parents fight back against possible closure (WUSA-TV)

Lax parks department oversight allowed Wilson pool mischief, council members say (PostWAMU-FMWTOPCity DeskWRC-TVWUSA-TV)

With fewer guaranteed shelter beds, homeless youth retreat into the shadows (Post)

Wizards make plans for new practice facility — outside the Verizon Center, but nearby (Post)

Andy Shallal addresses anti-gentrification town hall hosted by noted anti-Semite (Loose Lips)

Final minimum wage vote is today; Vincent Gray says he will sign bill (AP@mikedebonis)

Transgender woman says she was sexually assaulted in D.C. jail after officer put known rapist in her cell (WRC-TV)

Streetcar, towed along H Street and Benning Road, passes first tests (WAMU-FM)

Explore the region’s 200 largest companies (Capital Business)

City is putting key parcels in Shaw and Anacostia on the block (WBJ)

Another long-running contract fight — over streetlight management — ends in five-year, $73 million deal with French firm (WBJ)

Todd Purdum on the Height Act debate (Politico)

Navy Yard building where gunman rampaged will get new entry with “remembrance area” (AP)

Federal judge who sentenced Kwame Brown now at center of NSA challenge (PostNYT)

Bicyclists push city officials to pick up the pace on new infrastructure (WRC-TV)

Granting immigrants a local vote would “invigorate political participation and update our democracy for these global times” (Post letter)

Former Senate staffer charged with child pornography is released to parents (AP)

No evidence, police say, that Bloomingdale assault was related to “knockout game” (WTTG-TVDCist)

Fire at Woodley Park apartment building injures two (PostWTTG-TV)

Big fight Monday afternoon outside Booker T. Washington charter school leads to hospitalizations (PostWRC-TV)

Thirty years ago, there appeared a little movie called “D.C. Cab” (PostDCist)

Dupont Circle water main break messes up Connecticut Avenue commuters (Dr. Gridlock)

Canal Park ice rink is open (JDLand)

Oh noes! Cleveland Park package thieves are back! (WJLA-TV)

How Uber can better handle surge-pricing outrage (The Switch)

Archstone’s new NoMa apartment building comes with “jam roof” for “budding DJs” (HuffPo)

H.D. Woodson girls basketball team loses first league game since 2006 (Post)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · December 16, 2013