Budget autonomy goes to court

April 17, 2014

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will file a lawsuit Wednesday against the mayor and CFO, challenging their refusal to recognize validity of last year’s budget autonomy referendum. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

It was probably destined to come to this: With all sides locked into conflicting positions on the validity of last year’s budget autonomy referendum, it will now be up to a judge — or, more likely, a D.C. Court of Appeals panel — to determine if the ballot measure means the city can now spend local funds without a separate congressional appropriation. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will file a lawsuit this morning on behalf of his colleagues against Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt, asking the court to determine whose legal rationale is correct. If the council prevails, it will vindicate their novel, long-shot approach to a nettlesome problem; if not, it’s back to beseeching Congress to address the issue.

In other news:

Why it has come to this — and why it needs to come to this (Post editorial)

Two bodies found under Interstate 295, apparently homeless men who froze to death (Post)

Emancipation Day parade goes on, with its typically thin crowd (PostWUSA-TVWAMU-FM)

“[I]t’s time to consider how much of the Emancipation Day money is being used to honor freedom, and how much is being used to honor [Vincent] Orange” (Loose Lips)

Tony Cheng and son plead guilty in taxi bribe scheme and could escape jail time; no political bombshells are dropped (PostLoose LipsDCistAP)

Zoning rewrite won’t be approved until September at the earliest (WAMU-FMHousing Complex)

Historical quirk of zoning means five-story, 18-unit condo building could go up next to Hill East row houses (PostPoPville)

Don’t expect to see HOT lanes in D.C. anytime soon (Dr. GridlockWAMU-FM)

Why “rapid rehousing” isn’t a lasting solution to D.C. homelessness (Housing Complex)

Yes, McCutcheon v. FEC applies to the District’s campaign contribution limits, too (WAMU-FM)

Jonetta Rose Barras wants end to at-large set-aside party games: “Illegal cash and shadow campaigns aren’t the only ways to thwart the democratic process” (Post column)

So does the D.C. Republican Party, which apparently conceded it can’t beat former Democrats in the set-aside races (WaTimes)

Top Metro officials resign (Dr. Gridlock)

Meet Mr. Jury Duty, a.k.a UDC law professor Andrew Ferguson (City Desk)

D.C. Health Link again — again! — extends enrollment deadline (WBJ)

A statehood activist’s case for the constitutionality of statehood (HuffPo)

Reed Smith’s lease renegotiation appears to make room for the Post on Franklin Square (WBJHousing Complex)

Rayful Edmond and Tony Lewis were arrested 25 years ago this week (Post)

Man found shot to death Wednesday inside home on Chillum Place NE (Post)

Juror airs misgivings about conviction of former D.C. cop on sex abuse charges (WTTG-TV)

At least 13 Georgetown liquor licenses are in “safekeeping” limbo (G’town Metropolitan)

This Banneker High senior was accepted to five Ivy League schools (WTTG-TV)

Muriel Bowser set to headline Washington Real Estate Summit (Bisnow)

Are the salad days of D.C. house-flipping long gone? (UrbanTurf)

Now on bookstore shelves: The history of Woodies (Post column)

Leader of Mount Pleasant Solor Cooperative gets White House recognition (Housing Complex)

The last Potomac Video is closing (Roll Call)

“Sex in restrooms is, after all, a fact of restaurant life” (Young & Hungry)

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.
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