In D.C., a Spat Among Spongers

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Those are the council's tickets," said D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D).

Since Gray's Solomonic pronouncement, I have searched the Home Rule Act, pertinent passages of the D.C. Code, and the council's rules and strategic plan. There is no language in any of those documents that entitles city lawmakers or the mayor to tickets that allow free admission to professional sports events anywhere within the vicinity of the nation's capital. "Nope. Nothing. Nichts. Nada. Rien. Niente," as The Post's electronic archive tells staffers when inquiries come up empty.

Gray, of course, was referring to the food fight between the council and Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) over 19 season tickets to Suite 61 at Nationals Park, where the city's major league baseball team plays its home games.

As reported in earlier news accounts, during negotiations over the return of major league baseball to the District, the city worked out an agreement with the Nationals team that a stadium suite and tickets would be made available to the council.

Apparently, the mayor got his hands on tickets that the council thought it should have received, and His Honor won't turn them over -- even though the deal with the Nationals gives him access to a separate suite at the ballpark.

Hence Gray's gripe: 'Taint fair not to share. Besides, they're ours, not yours. Boohoo.

Are there any grown-ups out there who can give the mayor and council a timeout?

Better yet, the city's ticket deal with the Nationals should be thrown in the trash.

There is absolutely no reason that the mayor and council members should get freebies because of their official positions.

That also applies to football, basketball, hockey and theater tickets, breakfast, lunch, dinner or anything else that average citizens must pay for themselves.

Who do those local politicians think they are, anyway? What makes them think they have anything coming except their taxpayer-provided remuneration for taking a stab at running -- and not ruining -- the government? Their salaries should take care of their desire to take themselves out to ballgames or anywhere else they want to go to have a good time.

About now, the pols reading this are sputtering that they are being unfairly maligned. They want you to believe that their ticket demands spring from a bottomless fount of selflessness; that they desire tickets only to hand them out to deserving constituents, especially little ones.

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