- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Take out your fingers, D.C. residents, and wag them at D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander for lining the pockets of MGM Resorts International, which plans to open a hotel/casino on the same turf where the Redskins play — and it ain’t named Washington.

Give Anita Bonds and Jack Evans a pat on the back for being frugal in Sin City, where they and other officials attended the Global Retail Real Estate Convention.

See, it’s not just about the dollars and cents when elected officials attend such conventions.

It’s the deliverables and return on investment (ROI).

Muriel Bowser has some explaining to do.

Area residents are today seeing the ROI of years past with Costco, Wegmans, Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s and other big-boxers and chain retailers opening shop inside and outside the Beltway.

Ms. Bowser automatically got a shot to travel to Las Vegas as the chairman of the council’s economic development panel.

And it seems she lived large.

Reporter Andrea Noble writes in Friday’s editions of The Washington Times that six members of the council only racked up a $14,000 tab while in Vegas at the retail real estate convention, and that’s not much money — unless we get nothing in return.

That brings us back to Ms. Bowser.

If she’s blessed enough to become mayor, it’ll be up to us to remind her what’s called ROI.

Ms. Bowser, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and other notables were all grins Wednesday, when they posed for dog-and-pony shots at the groundbreaking for Donald Trump’s new hotel.

As Ms. Noble’s reporting shows, Ms. Bowser knows that Trump+Hotel=pricey — always. She knows because her convention tab totaled $2,820.

Rooms at the Trump Hotel were going for $424 a night, which hardly can be considered “affordable housing.”

Indeed, right now, this very minute, D.C. is paying for homeless families to stay in motels with names like Days Inn.

The Bowser tab: $2,820 divided by four nights equals $705 per night.

I know, I know. I know some of you think Ms. Bowser should get a break because The Donald is building new digs at the Old Post Office site.

But I say no go.

The Bowser big grin was there for all to see Wednesday during the groundbreaking — and I do mean grin, not smile.

So she has to at least explain herself and the potential ROI for D.C. taxpayers.

She can’t take credit for the current Trump project, unless she approached The Donald and/or his organization about how to claim an address on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Besides, the $2,820 includes $78 on “breakfast food.”

Our hungry families should be so blessed.

Look, as I already said, $14,000 for a few days’ stay in Vegas to woo retailers and developers isn’t a big deal.

When one of those who helped to spend the money has pulled out her big guns to become mayor, however, it is a huge deal.

I know the summer doldrums have set in, folks. But if Ms. Bowser were a Republican in true-blue D.C., The Washington Post, The City Paper, The Washington Blade and the blogosphere would have been critical of the fact that The Times rounded off Ms. Bowser’s total, which according to the records was actually $2,820. 41.

What happens in Vegas can’t always be allowed to stay in Vegas.

And certainly not this election year.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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