How to salvage Metro? Rewrite the compact, says influential D.C. business group

November 20th, 2016


Mayor Anthony Williams in 2004. Williams leads the the Federal City Council, which has a a proposal to fix Metro: Blow up its founding document and start over. (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post) By Robert McCartney November 19 at 5:50 PM Follow @McCartneyWP

Almost everybody agrees Metro’s governance structure and finances are broken. But almost nobody agrees about the best way to fix them.

Metro Chairman Jack Evans favors a federal board to take over Metro. Other top officials said that would be hoisting a white flag of surrender.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) wants a regionwide sales tax to pay the bills. Maryland and Virginia say “wait” or “no way.”

Now the Federal City Council, an influential business and civic group led by former D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams, has joined the debate with a plan to rally the region around a proposal to start all over again. The best way to fix the troubled transit agency is to blow it up, the council says.

In an opinion article for Sunday’s Washington Post, the council urges a rewriting of the Metro compact, or founding document. The amendments would shrink and professionalize Metro’s board of directors, weaken union protections and require area governments to provide a reliable stream of funds.

“Without making extreme changes, we will perpetuate the degradation of the system, its safety and its benefit to the region,” the article says. It was signed by two top area business executives, Robert J. Flanagan and W. Edward Walter. Flanagan is chairman of the Federal City Council, and Walter is its vice chairman.

[Federal takeover of Metro? Board chairman’s proposal triggers debate but has some support.]

The proposal, issued after more than a year of study, serves as a guide to the structural problems that have contributed to Metro’s troubles with safety, reliability, lack of maintenance and underinvestment.

Previous studies also have identified these shortcomings, such as a lack of a dedicated tax or other funding source, and a board of directors struggling with split loyalties to Metro and to the jurisdictions that appointed them to the board.

This reform effort may succeed where others have failed, because the council and Williams, its executive director, enjoy high regard throughout the region. Williams said in an interview that the council plans to solicit support from the region’s employers, nonprofit organizations, transit advocates and others.

“We’re out to build a coalition of the willing,” Williams said. “We hope and believe that by the time we finish, we’ll represent a consensus of the broad leadership across the DMV,” he said, using the initials for the District, Maryland and Virginia.

But the initiative risks running aground on the same political shoals that sank earlier reform efforts.

In particular, union-friendly politicians in the District and Maryland are likely to resist the council’s proposal to drop the requirement that disputes over labor contracts be settled through binding arbitration.

Such arbitration was put in the compact originally in exchange for unions’ promise not to stage strikes. Critics say it has effectively guaranteed that labor costs rise with each round of negotiations.

Separately, Republican state legislators in Virginia have vowed to oppose tax increases that might be needed to give Metro a dedicated source of revenue. Even Fairfax County’s top Democrat, Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, said the failure of this month’s referendum on levying a meals tax in Fairfax was a strong sign that county voters also would reject higher taxes to fund Metro.

[Region’s leaders split over a 1-cent regional sales tax to pay for Metro.]

Finally, there’s the perennial challenge of getting all four jurisdictions responsible for Metro — the District, Maryland, Virginia and the federal government — to agree on anything big. Divisions among their representatives on the Metro board have repeatedly stymied progress there.

The Federal City Council has an unusual idea for breaking that impasse. It says the federal government ought to threaten to take over Metro temporarily by some specified date, perhaps in 12 months, if the city and the two states do not make the necessary reforms on their own.

The prospect of a takeover serves as “a sword or a heavy hand to come in and take the corrective action that you otherwise can’t,” Williams said. “If you can’t come to a desired result, then you’ve got this kind of undesired alternative.”

But it isn’t clear that Congress or the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump would go along. Area officials said they have no idea what attitude Trump would have toward Metro, or whether Congress would be willing to get involved.

Trump has proposed a massive increase in spending on infrastructure, but much of the rest of the GOP would prefer to invest in roads rather than transit.

Spokesmen for Bowser, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said they had not seen the full proposal from the Federal City Council and could not comment. But Bowser’s office said the mayor would support revising the compact under certain conditions.

“Opening the compact is worth it as long as negotiations are focused on safety, reliability, adding the federal government as a financial partner, and securing a regional, dedicated funding source,” said Bowser’s chief of staff, John Falcicchio.

[Metro sank into crisis despite decades of warnings.]

Evans, the Metro chairman, was enthusiastic that Williams, who usually prefers to work behind the scenes, was becoming publicly involved. He cited Williams’s experience in helping to rescue the District from its budget crisis in the 1990s.

“Tony is very well respected,” said Evans, who also is a Democratic member of the D.C. Council, representing Ward 2. “He was an architect of restructuring of the District’s finances and governance. He would be a good ally in redoing the governance structure and financial structure of Metro.”

The council echoed Evans’s desire, expressed earlier, to reduce the number of Metro directors from 16 to make it easier to reach consensus. It also endorsed his proposal to fill the board with individuals who have professional experience in transportation or management, and who do not have divided responsibilities.

“There is a clear conflict between the roles of representing the jurisdiction and representing the [transit] authority — it’s real,” said Emeka Moneme, the council’s deputy executive director. Moneme, a former District transportation director and Metro board member, oversees the council’s work on transit and infrastructure.

Another Metro board member, Jim Corcoran, who also heads the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, predicted that the proposal would get support from the region’s business leaders.

“With a clear-cut and balanced presentation, I think the business community could certainly support changing the compact,” Corcoran said.

A wary note was struck by Roger Berliner, chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. He has been helping to lead an effort to obtain regionwide agreement on a plan for dedicated funding to be submitted to the Maryland and Virginia legislatures in early 2018.

[In safety and reliability, Metro ranks in middle of pack of nation’s big systems.]

Berliner, who also is a Democratic member of the Montgomery County Council, representing Potomac-Bethesda, was concerned that a debate over the compact would distract attention from the push for reliable revenue.

“To the extent that other issues are put on the table, it makes obtaining dedicated funding dicier,” Berliner said.

Williams said it was necessary to correct Metro’s unwieldy governance structure to assure area jurisdictions that taxpayer funds would be well spent. Once the region agreed to commit more money, he said, the Republican-controlled Congress might be persuaded to contribute funds as well.

He said that the proposal to weaken labor protections would not lead to massive job reductions but that unions needed to make concessions.

“We’re not talking about firing a lot of people, but we do think that everybody’s got to contribute,” he said.

Asked why he thought the Federal City Council’s initiative could succeed where previous reform efforts have failed, Williams shrugged and said: “It’s a big, heavy lift, but we do heavy lift here. That’s what we do.”

Washington | Posted by Terrence OMailly

Lastest Washington Concert News

September 25th, 2016

They Might Be Giants
washington concert
Image by cliff1066™

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NYU Tisch Undergraduate Drama: In the Heights

September 25th, 2016

NYU Tisch Undergraduate Drama: In the Heights
Event on 2016-10-05 20:00:00
New York University Tisch School of the Arts Allyson Green, Dean Institute of Performing Arts Department of Drama Sarah Schlesinger, Associate DeanRubén Polendo, Chair   Presents: IN THE HEIGHTS Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda Book by Quiara Alegri?a Hudes conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda   directed by Melissa Maxwell Performances:  Sept 29 – Oct 8   This musical explores the lives of characters living in the New York City Latino neighbourhood of Washington Heights over the course of three days. With a hip hop, salsa, merengue, and soul music score, the bodega owner Usnavi is dating Vanessa, who works in a beauty salon. This show is not one to be missed!   Ticket Info: – All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. – There will be no late seating. – Tickets not picked up by 5 minutes before the scheduled curtain time will be released for sale at the door.   Public Transit information can be found at  HopStop.com Parking near the theater can be found using Google Maps.

at Abe Burrows Theater
721 Broadway , 1st Floor
New York, United States

Washington | Posted by

Cheap Flights to Sydney

September 25th, 2016

After you have experienced a long flight, often all you feel like doing is having a long rest to recover. However, there are some destinations where you’ll just want to hit the ground running and get into the swing of things, and Sydney undoubtedly falls into that category.

Although you may have flown a long way to get there, culture vultures will undoubtedly want to spread their wings and instantly take off to explore the array of stunning sights and attractions.

First of all with flights to Sydney you aren’t going to be flying straight there, the majority of flights need to have a stopover in either Singapore or Taiwan, which is no bad thing as it gives me a chance to see some Far Eastern countries on the trip, when arranging the flight it is normally a predetermined location and not something I can change, although by comparing different flight companies I could easily choose my pit-stop country. Most flight companies insist my flight goes from home in Manchester down to London’s Heathrow then onwards and eastwards!

Search cheap flights to Sydney for your travel to Australia. Sydney is a multicultural city and known as Harbour City. To maximize your duration in Sydney, search for cheap flights to Sydney. Low cost flights and deals are one of the good ways to minimize your expenses during your travel.

The Darling harbor is a beautiful harbor which is located close to central business district, Sydney. The Sydney aquarium, good restaurants, Chinese garden of Friendship and the wildlife World are some of the beautiful places that this harbor offers. You can get a monorail, a bus or a train to reach this harbor. You can experience the thrill of this beautiful place by booking a cheap flight, Sydney and visit this place.

The Rocks is another important place to visit in Sydney. Many travelers hunt for flights to Sydney to visit this popular place. You can witness the beautiful archeological wonders, pubs, galleries, hotels, shops and the colonial architecture. This place is the oldest place in Sydney. When you will visit this place you will not realize how time flies off and the day is over.

Log on to http://www.tripnmore.co.uk/ and you’ll find everything that you need for a flights tickets to Sydney

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Washington | Posted by Victoria Addington

Lunchtime Lecture Series: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park

September 24th, 2016

Lunchtime Lecture Series: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
Event on 2016-10-05 12:00:00
Come learn more about the National Park Service’s role as warden of historical locations. This Wednesday lunchtime lecture series spotlights several Park Service sites in greater Washington, DC that reflect significant people and places associated with African American history.
Robert T. Parker, superintendent of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, will evoke the life and times of the woman who risked her life on the Underground Railroad rescuing African Americans from slavery and scouted for the Union Army during the Civil War. The National Historical Park is located in Cambridge, Maryland.

at National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Washington, United States

Washington | Posted by

Throw’d Radio

September 24th, 2016

Some cool Radio images:

Throw’d Radio
Radio
Image by WizKid Media™
Mixtape artwork

Continental radio
Radio
Image by matteoartizzu

Radio | Posted by

Senate House

September 24th, 2016

Some cool Senate images:

Senate House
Senate
Image by IanVisits

Senate Building
Senate
Image by TechSavi

Indiana Senate Chamber
Senate
Image by indianaglbtconnections

Washington | Posted by

The Lap Band System Benefits

September 24th, 2016

When it comes to lose excess body weight, lap band is the best way to go. Lap band is actually an adjustable gastric band designed to use as a new weight loss surgery in order to lose your weight, reduce health conditions and increase quality of your life. It helps in improving the stomach capacity and restraining the food that you can consumed at one time.

The “lap band” is the name derived from the name of the implanted medical device, gastric band and laparoscopic. During the procedure, surgeons generally use laparoscopic techniques in order to wrap the lap band system around your stomach. This band is a silicone ring  filled with saline on its inner surface and placed around the  top portion of the stomach. This produces a small stomach pouch to hold a small amount of food, therefore, the storage area for food in the stomach is minimized. This band also controls the stomach outlet between the bottom portion of the stomach and the new upper pouch. When you have a smaller stomach then you will feel full, whereas the food will move very slowly from the upper part to lower part of the stomach as it is digested. Therefore, you will eat less and lose excess weight.   

Benefits of the Lap Band System

Minimum Trauma
Minimizes your pain as well as recovery period
Small incisions and minimum scarring

Risks and Side Effects of Fewer

Operative and short-term mortality less than ten times of gastric bypass
Lowers the risk of nutritional diseases related with gastric bypass
Minimizes the risk of hair loss
There is no “dumping syndrome” related to dietary intake restrictions

Adjustable

It is adjustable as it adjusts without more surgery requirement
For ideal rate of weight-loss, it allows individualized degree of restriction
Helps in pregnancy by opening the stomach size to accommodate enhanced nutritional requirements

Reversible

Breakable at any time
Stomach and other anatomy are normally restored to their real forms and functions

Weight Loss For Long-Term

Above 300,000 lap band system devices placed all over the world
A standard for hundreds of surgeons around the globe
Academic publications with up to ten years of follow-up

TopSurgeons.com provides information about Lap Band Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery in Los Angeles, Lap Band Surgery Guide and Lap Band System for weight loss.

Related Washington Bands Articles

Music | Posted by Victoria Addington

VENDOR OPPORTUNITY: SEPTEMBER 25: BEAUTY*ART*STYLE*HOME POP-UP!

September 23rd, 2016

VENDOR OPPORTUNITY: SEPTEMBER 25: BEAUTY*ART*STYLE*HOME POP-UP!
Event on 2016-09-25 12:00:00
Interested in Being A Vendor?   ?  BEAUTY, ART, STYLE AND HOME POPUP  ? September 25th, 12-4pm, Edgewood Arts Center (3415 8th Street, NE, Washington DC) FREE TO ATTEND #BASHPOPUP #fashionpopup  Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C. – metro accessible, Monroe Market and near Arts Park in NE Washington, D.C.  VENDOR CATEGORIES VINTAGE SELLERS ART VENDORS INDIE DESIGNERS APPAREL BOUTIQUES CRAFTERS SHOE RETAILERS BEAUTY CLOTHING BOUTIQUES WELLNESS PRODUCTS HAIRCARE BRANDS HOME DECOR SMALL FURNITURE LIFESTYLE LIVING SKINCARE PRODUCTS BOOK SELLERS ACCESSORIES DESSERTS  YUMMY BITES LEMONADE and more!!! *PLEASE NOTE AT THIS TIME WE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING DIRECT SALES and MLM BUSINESSES – Thank You!  Don' forget to secure your space TODAY! or visit us at www.FASHIONISTAFLEAMARKET.com

at The Edgewood
3415 8th Street Northeast
Washington, United States

Washington | Posted by Fabrice Dollmach

Guys Extreme Adventures in Washington

September 23rd, 2016

Do we have anything that even remotely extreme in Washington State? Not quite, but here are a few ideas:

My first pick (and my favorite one) is…Stuntman School. Yes, right here in Mukilteo, Wa. This three week intensive training, with an emphasis on the most basic stunts found in film production, will include : precision driving, fire burns, martial arts, foot/stair/high falls, special effects and more. Whether you want to use this trainings to pursue a career as “stunt performer” or just want to perform your own basic stunts for your friends, you will have a lot of fun during those three weeks. To remember this unforgettable experience ( and show it to your friends), your entire training will be video taped. Who knows, may be you will become some big action star’s double, living in Los Angeles or at least working at Six Flags or Disney.

My second pick is a bit more intense. While on a leisure walk around Pike Market, you are kidnapped and held for ransom. A terrorist attack closes the district and you find yourself in a fix. How do you stay alive? Let’s start with… why you were at Pike Market… Just kidding. But if Pike Market happened to be captured by terrorists, you will need to know how to get to safety on your own and that what “Scout Urban Escape and Evasion” course will teach you. Even if you don’t live in “challenging urban environments”, you can feel like James Bond for a day and learn : ” urban baseline movement and urban awareness training, the use of urban disguises and false papers/identification, lock picking, escaping from unlawful custody, obtaining and driving local transportation, the use of “specialized” urban gear, and instruction on how to develop urban escape and evasion go-bags, etc.” Besides it’s all very practical knowledge (the use false papers/identification,lock picking ? isn’t it?) used in everyday life.

My next two pick are less extreme, but no less fun or practical.

NOLS – National Outdoor Leadership School takes people of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions, teaching technical outdoor skills, leadership, and environmental ethics in some of the world’s wildest and most awe-inspiring classrooms. No, it’s not another adventure company. You won’t be treated like a tourist and don’t expect anybody to do everything for you. It takes practice to learn outdoor skills and time to develop leadership and the wilderness provides the ideal setting for this unique education.The Outdoor Educator courses, featuring backcountry travel, glacier travel, and rock climbing, are truly signatures of NOLS Pacific Northwest. One of their state-of-the-art facilities is located in Conway, Washington. “The Pacific Northwest Trip Leader” one week course is designed for those who don’t have a lot of time or a huge budget but are motivated to learn the ABCs of leading groups in the backcountry.

My final pick is similar to NOLS with more in-depth approach to wilderness survival, ethnobotany, wildlife tracking, permaculture, and outdoor leadership. The Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program prepares students to readily apply nature skills in environmental conservation, outdoor education, sustainable living, and beyond. With today’s economy we all pretty soon will have to go back to our roots -learn how to build natural shelters, purify water, create friction fire, find wild food, and master a variety of wilderness crafts; develop the ability to accurately read tracks and signs made by mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects; learn how to properly identify, gather, and prepare wild plants for meals, medicines, and tools. Tell me it’s not practical? And skills like these will serve you for a long time. But I am sure that is not all we have. There have to be crazier and more extreme adventures for man.

After my post on target shooting, I got a request to organize a “bachelor” party: booze, guns and camping. Isn’t it the idea of “mancations”? What would your ultimate “Man Adventures” be? http://www.adventures-wa.com

Radio | Posted by
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