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‘Outrageous’ talking points from Barry, Brown

- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2011

When D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown didn't even seem to notice fellow council member Marion Barry's entreaties to speak one last time at a subcommittee meeting on Thursday, you could tell things were about to get awkward.

Little did everyone know that they would talk over each other for the better part of a minute.

Mr. Brown, co-chairman of the subcommittee on redistricting, held his ground as he wrapped up the sometimes-heated session to approve a draft plan that reorganizes several of the District's eight wards.

"I'm just gonna recite the alphabet if you're just going to continue to talk," said Mr. Brown, at-large Democrat.

"That's all right," said Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat. "You wanna look silly? Act silly."

Council member Harry Thomas Jr., Ward 5 Democrat, suggested a technician cut Mr. Barry's mic at the dais, then council member Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, reached over to make it happen.

Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat and co-chairman of the subcommittee, added his voice to the mix by moving to adjourn the meeting.

"Mr. Brown, you're being outrageous," Mr. Barry continued. "I don't believe this."

Silver Line naming rights

In a region where residents are occasionally defined by the name of their neighborhood Metro station or rail line color, the new Silver Line - set for service to begin in 2013 - has held the interest of commuters and Metro officials alike.

Eleven stations will be added to the new 23-mile line, which will connect Tysons Corner and Washington Dulles International Airport to areas inside the Capital Beltway.

Fairfax County already has pitched ideas for the eight stations that will run through its border. Loudoun County has the other three, and it's up to Metro's board of directors to give the final say on the names.

While board members have typically jumped at the chance to be a part of any decision making, one last week good-naturedly recognized where his opinion stands on the matter.

"I couldn't care less what the Silver Line stations are called," said Anthony R. Giancola, a federal government alternate board member. "Certainly, it should be the choice of the stakeholders and focus groups."

Viagra coverage stays

There's good and bad news in Montgomery County's newly approved budget, as property taxes will go up and schools are slated to lose local funding.

The good news? County workers will get to keep their Viagra.

Prior to approving the budget last week, the County Council shot down a proposal by County Executive Isiah Leggett, a Democrat, to remove the erectile dysfunction drug from the county's employee health plan. Officials estimated the move could have saved the county $400,000.

While made in earnest, Mr. Leggett's proposal drew tongue-in-cheek responses from the media. Stories reporting the debate typically included all the requisite puns about county workers wanting to protect their "performance" and opponents "rising" to dispute the use of tax dollars for the little, blue pills.

County Council President Valerie Ervin, a Democrat, chided reporters last week for making a joke of the issue.

She pointed out that the drug, also known as sildenafil, was originally developed to treat hypertension, and that it is used by many county employees to do just that.

"Many of the men who are using this drug in our community are using it because they have prostate cancer or other forms of serious heart disease that are no laughing matter," she said.

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