- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2011

The best way to use additional dollars that enter the D.C. piggy bank prompted hours of debate on Tuesday among council members, prompting one to term it a “bizarre bazaar.”

But did they talk long enough? Here are the council’s first four priorities, versus what they could have done with that cash:

1. $1.8 million to fund Green Team jobs, a beautification program that employs many ex-offenders

OR: Do Friendship Heights a solid by paying for its entire fiscal 2012 budget!

2. $32 million to the Department of Healthcare Finance for costs associated with managed care contracts for public financed health care programs

OR: Pick up the tab for the Royal Wedding!

3. $12.5 million to Department of Health for the school nurse program

OR: Compensate whoever paid this amount to Ben Affleck for “Gigli”

4. $10.8 million to increase the number of sworn Metropolitan Police Department officers

OR: Enough to pay for the Nats’ Jayson Werth this season, with $229,000 left to throw at the Lincoln Theater!

Off the bench

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown’s role is usually limited to behind-the-scenes work and the occasional public appearance, but he stood in the spotlight at last week’s Board of Public Works meeting.

Mr. Brown filled in for Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who traditionally presides over the biweekly meetings — alongside fellow board members Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp — but was in Chicago attending a Democratic Governors Association event.

It was the second straight meeting at which Mr. Brown sat in for the governor, who was in Asia two weeks earlier on an economic development trip.

Rather than play the role of passive seat-filler, Mr. Brown took control of the room, questioning guests and occasionally injecting his opinions. He even chided a group of attendees who, as is common at public works meetings, noisily filed out after their agenda item had been heard.

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