Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 23, 2014

Posts in "Capitol Hill Neighborhood"

July 21, 2014

Queen Bee Hawking Jewelry for the ‘Powers That Bee’ on Capitol Hill

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Brooks brings her creations to the Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Allison Priebe Brooks)

A jewelry designer with a knack for brightening up Washington’s prim business attire brings her signature necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings to Capitol Hill this week for an exclusive trunk show and sale.

Senate staffer-turned-accessory entrepreneur Allison Priebe Brooks, founder of Queen Bee Designs, will set up shop at Cornerstone Government Affairs, 300 Independence Ave. SE, on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. With a client list that includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.; Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., and plenty of congressional spouses, she expects to see plenty of traffic from the powers that be — “or bee” — as Brooks likes to joke.

“Working on the Hill, people seem to dress really conservatively,” Brooks said in an interview with CQ Roll Call. “Our jewelry creates a buzz,” she said, pairing well with everything from neutral power suits to cocktail attire. Full story

July 16, 2014

D.C. Pot Decriminalization Takes Effect, but Don’t Bring Bud to Capitol Hill

weed 9 120408 440x293 D.C. Pot Decriminalization Takes Effect, but Dont Bring Bud to Capitol Hill

If it’s Thursday, this is now a civil offense. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite House Republican attempts to derail decriminalization, marijuana possession becomes a civil offense in the District of Columbia on Thursday, punishable by a $25 fine.

“The government is prepared,” said Pedro Ribeiro, chief spokesman for Mayor Vincent Gray, said in an interview. “We’re ready for this to go into effect.”

On language blocking the District from lessening its drug penalties that was included in an appropriations bill that cleared the House Wednesday on a 228-195 vote, Ribeiro said, “We don’t believe that it will be a problem.”

Bringing bud to the Capitol, and on other federal property, however, can still land you behind bars. Full story

June 27, 2014

Body Recovered in Lower Senate Park (Updated)

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Investigators construct a crime scene barrier in Lower Senate Park where an unconscious man was discovered Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:58 p.m. | The D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner removed a body from Lower Senate Park on Friday afternoon, following an investigation by Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

Capitol Police received a report of an unconscious man in the park at about 12:15 p.m., according to department spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider.

Police cordoned off the northern third of the park with crime scene tape and closed Delaware Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and C Street in Northeast D.C.

ABC7 news reports the victim was a homeless man who may have died as a result of exposure to elements. Temperatures were in the mid-80s.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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June 26, 2014

Norton Challenger Thinks a Transformed District Deserves a New Delegate

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Krepp is an independent candidate to be the District’s congressional delegate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While Washington’s streetscape, city government and demographics have changed dramatically over the past quarter-century, its representation in Congress has stayed constant over roughly the same period of time.

District voters first elected Eleanor Holmes Norton to be their non-voting delegate to the House in 1990, as a crack epidemic and related surge of violence made the city notorious as the nation’s “murder capital.”

During the mid-1990s, she helped the city navigate a series of managerial crises that led Congress to take control of D.C.’s finances and fought against further erosion of home rule. She routinely won re-election with more than 90 percent of the vote throughout the 2000s, as she worked to soften some Capitol Hill attitudes toward the revived and growing city. This April, she began cruising toward a 13th term with 97 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.

Local tour guide and historian Tim Krepp looks at all the changes the city has undergone during Norton’s 24 years in Congress — from budget deficits to surpluses, from an exodus to the suburbs to some of the nation’s fastest urban population growth — and says it’s time for voters to re-evaluate whom they want advocating for their interests on Capitol Hill. Full story

June 25, 2014

Self-Proclaimed ‘Senate Comedian’ Shows His ‘Caucasian Skills’ (Audio)

Scanning the crowd in the back room of a downtown D.C. sports bar, Senate doorkeeper Scott Muschett, the self-proclaimed “Senate Comedian,” decided the script for his five minutes at the mic was all wrong.

“When I wrote the material tonight, OK, I thought there was going to be a whole bunch of brothas in the house, but it’s all skinny, progressive, urban, young millenials,” Muschett said, pausing before his punchline — an off-color joke about Mel Gibson, delivered a little too quietly to be heard over the excited crowd. He stood at the head of a 12-seat table scattered with beer cans and cocktail glasses and surrounded by Senate sergeant-at-arms employees who came out to Chinatown’s RFD bar to support their longtime co-worker. Full story

June 13, 2014

Wonks Go Into Warrior Pose to Defend D.C. Yoga Tax (Updated)

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Is that headstand about to get more expensive? (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:07 p.m. | The wonks at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute want to explain why the so-called gym tax, a 5.75 percent tax on health club services that has outraged some fitness buffs, makes sense for the District.

“Taxing health clubs isn’t anti-fitness,” according to DCFPI policy analyst Wes Rivers. Rather, it’s one piece of a larger package that will broaden the city’s base of sales tax, making it fairer and more reliable as the economy shifts from goods to services, Rivers explained in a Thursday blog post on the topic.

DCFPI points out that promised tax cuts for Washington residents and businesses — about $400 for those with incomes between $50,000 to $75,000 — will more than offset the price of an annual gym membership, and benefit gym and yoga studio owners. Full story

June 10, 2014

Tax Proposal Draws Protest From Capitol Hill Gyms, Yoga Studios

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Betsy Poos tries to keep politics out of the classroom at Capitol Hill Yoga.

The co-owner of the Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast studio spent a decade working for members of Congress and the Democratic Party before opening, in March 2009, the small business  six blocks from the Capitol. When teaching, her classroom philosophy is: “This is the time to let your day job go.”

But a tax change working its way through the D.C. Council has recently caused Poos to “measure the line” on her credos. The city is looking at implementing a 5.75 percent sales tax on gyms, yoga studios and other health club services as part of its fiscal 2015 budget, part of an effort to revise its tax structure and reduce the overall burden on D.C. residents. Poos and other wellness practitioners are worried the proposal will hurt their industry.

(Get breaking news alerts from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.)

Full story

June 2, 2014

Eastern Market Violence Spurs Calls for Better Street Lighting

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In response to a series of violent robberies around the Capitol Hill neighborhood, D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells wants to increase lighting in the area.

Brightening the dark areas around the Hill is tricky, however, because a large part of the neighborhood falls within a historic district. Wells says that designation makes “acquisition and installation of new equipment a complicated and lengthy process.”

To help increase lighting, he wants to trim back the trees and foliage that tend to create dark areas on the leafy, green streets around Capitol Hill. Wells will be working with the Urban Forestry unit of the D.C. Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for street lighting under the Home Rule Act, to ensure trees are not blocking lamp posts and to identify areas that could benefit from additional lighting. Full story

May 28, 2014

Tommy Wells to Talk Public Safety in Wake of Eastern Market Attacks

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill has seen an uptick in violence and robberies over the past two weeks.

A man who targets women walking alone at night and robs them after pressing a sharp object to their throats may be behind two recent attacks in Eastern Market, according to D.C. police. A similar robbery also occurred near the NoMa Metro station last week.

Two of the women were cut or stabbed.

In response to the attacks, Tommy Wells, who represents Ward 6 on the D.C. Council, will join members of the Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday night at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

During the 6:30 p.m. public meeting, police will provide an update on the incidents and answer questions.

Police have released video of a person of interest in the May 15 attack near 9th and C streets Southeast.

They have also released video of a man they believe was involved in the May 21 attack on the 200 block of 8th Street SE.

The department has increased foot, car and bike patrols in the area in response to the incident.

May 27, 2014

D.C. United Stadium Deal Could Be Hard Sell For D.C. Council

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Is D.C. United shedding Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium for Buzzard Point? (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Soccer fans in the District finally have details on the long-awaited plan to make a new stadium for D.C. United a reality, although D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has signaled some initial skepticism and other concerns could derail the deal. Full story

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