D.C. Council summer recess? Not Quite Yet!
For those who can't get enough of Jim Graham, Vincent C. Gray and Marion Barry, you're in luck.
The D.C. Council will hold a special session on Thursday, delaying its summer recess, which was to begin today.
The decision to hold the Thursday meeting came late Tuesday night, as the clock ticked toward midnight, and the 13-members were debating emergency legislation to dispose of a city-owned property known as the Gales School. The property, located in prime downtown real estate only steps from the U.S. Capitol at 65 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., needed to be declared surplus and disposed of so the mayor could sell it to the Central Union Mission.
The mission, loyal Washington Post readers will recall, tried to move to Georgia Avenue NW after selling its valuable and iconic location on 14th Street, but the NIMBY forces of Columbia Heights and Petworth fought back successfully, aided by Ward 1 council member Jim Graham.
David Treadwell, executive director of the mission, told this Washington Post reporter that Graham was instrumental in helping coordinate the sale of Gales. Here's the deal Graham helped concoct: The city would swap the Gales property in exchange for the mission's property on Georgia Avenue.
But even as Graham extolled the benefits of the deal at 11:15 p.m., and Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas Jr. leaned back in his chair with his eyes closed, several colleagues started to question facts and figures in the deal.
For starters, why was the city giving away a property worth almost $9 million, when it was getting only a $3 million property in return?
And then there was a mysterious document attached to the fiscal impact statement, which said that along with the Gales deal, the Franklin shelter, at 13th and K Streets NW, would close in October.
The frantic debate also exposed the hazards of voting on complicated development deals on an emergency basis.
Even Carol Schwartz, who famously summers in Rehoboth, decided that a little more time was needed to iron out the details. Her questioning of the deal prompted Gray to table the measure until Thursday.
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