At least one D.C. Council member is sick and tired of the perennial squabbles over the distribution of sports and concert tickets to elected city officials.
To be clear, Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) isn’t sick and tired of the tickets, just the squabbles — so rather than abolish the practice of handing out freebies, he is proposing to institutionalize it by putting a distribution scheme into law.
A budget amendment Evans sent to his colleagues Monday afternoon proposes splitting the tickets to Nationals Park and Verizon Center precisely between the mayor and council members.
For instance, at Nationals Park, the 38 box tickets available per event will be split as follows: eight for the mayor, four for the council chairman and two each for the other 12 council members. Of the 25 lower bowl seats, 11 would go to the mayor, two to the chairman and two to alternating groups of six council members.
For Verizon Center events, where officials have access to a pair of 18-seat boxes, the mayor would get 10 tickets and the 13 council members would get two tickets apiece.
Notably, neither the mayor nor the council chairman would have any discretion is distributing the tickets — it would fall to the CEO of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority to hand them out according to the law.
”I just want to clarify it once and for all,” said Evans, who recalled a similar system being in place when tickets to Redskins games at RFK Stadium were a hot commodity.
Tensions most recently rose in April, when the mayor and council members were forced to share a Nationals Park box after having two separate boxes for three seasons. Last year, some council members expressed displeasure with Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s handling of Verizon Center ticket distribution. But that conflict paled in comparison to the 2009 tussle between council members and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who refused to share any baseball tickets with legislators for more than a month.
Evans’s amendment will be considered tomorrow as part of the council’s final consideration of the fiscal 2013 budget. Talk of sports tickets is likely to be juxtaposed with discussions of homeless service cuts, speeding camera expansion and economic development funding.
UPDATE, 6/5, 1:10 P.M.: Evans did not offer his amendment Tuesday before the budget bill passed the council unanimously.
Earlier today, Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert decried the proposal, writing it “tells voters that [Evans], and anyone else who votes for this idea, share the sense of entitlement of far too many DC officials, some of whom are going to jail.”