Some trees can’t be cleared until Pepco clears downed power lines first. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) is back from China, and his first order of business has been to capture the Zeitgeist — that is, put the heat on Pepco. “They need to move faster,” he said at a Monday news conference, his first since the Friday storm. “How many times have we been through this before?” He went on CNN Tuesday morning to continue the crusade, noting that Pepco customers ought to get a rate reduction rather than the hike the utility is currently seeking. Good politics, right? Perhaps the bulldog act is more surprising than you think: WAMU-FM’s Patrick Madden takes a look at Pepco’s otherwise cozy relationship with the powers that be in the District, and finds lots of lobbying, lots of campaign donations and the “revolving door aspect” of having a D.C. Council member move to the Pepco lobby shop and back.

In other news:

Has Pepco really improved its performance? (Post)

Is it time to bury the power lines? (Post)

Pepco’s pledge of restoring power by Friday “must qualify for a special mention in the Lowered Bar Category.” (Post editorial)

Why did firefighters spend an hour Saturday filling a Northeast pool? (WaTimes)

More on the mayor’s response (WUSA-TV, WRC-TV, WJLA-TV, DCist, WaTimes, Examiner, We Love DC)

Taxi drivers are again threatening to strike (Examiner)

Welcome to Petworth, the “arts-based niche” neighborhood (Post)

Under pressure from activists, police work to “institutionalize” better handling of anti-gay hate crimes (Examiner)

Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff return to the Interwebs (themail)

What It Takes ... to keep a neighborhood blog going (Post)

Still waiting on academic evaluation of public education spending (Examiner)

Government bureaucracy: sometimes frustrating (Examiner)

Rulemaking would formalize procedure for Potomac swimming events (DCist)

”Major network” to feature “Strip Club Queens,” a reality show set at the Stadium Club (The Root DC)

No meatballs for you (PoP)