Let’s face reality. Whether you are a lefty or a righty, there never is a shortage of sound bites from the D.C. Council, and this budget season is no different.
Organic yogurt for school children instead of regular Dannon.
Fewer school buildings.
Newer school buildings.
D.C. bars and restaurants getting the go-ahead to make the last call at 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends.
Proposing that indigent and working-class people help pay for their health-care coverage.
Those issues are but a few items on a very long list that the council is chewing over as they try during oversight hearings to reconcile demand for city services with the supply of revenues.
Fortunately, the media, and lawmakers themselves, are providing some insight into the annual budget follies.
• Here’s the Washington Examiner quoting council member Jim Graham to WAMU-FM’s Kojo Nnamdi on why he opposes extending last call for alcoholic beverages: “Slamming car doors, arguing, cursing, singing, talking, cars starting, stopping, cabs coming and going — this is a very major issue for anyone who lives nearby. … What we’d be doing … is extending that problem another hour.”
Guess Mr. Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, hasn’t noticed that slamming car doors, arguing, cursing, singing, talking, cars starting, stopping, cabs coming and going are 24-hour occurrences in all eight wards of the city.
• Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, announced last week that he is considering legislation that would require “small co-pays or premiums for [some subsidized health insurance] participants in order to maintain hospital-based service coverage.”
How radical, proposing health care co-payments.
• Mayor Vincent C. Gray exposed his radical side, too. One week after he froze and then thawed funds for charter schools, as The Washington Post put it, the mayor commented on why school closings are inevitable.
As the Examiner pointed out, traditional schools have 20,000 fewer students than they did just 10 years ago, but the school system has an estimated 40 buildings that the city can no longer afford. “Just do the math on it — it’s not sustainable,” the newspaper quoted the mayor as saying.