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D.C. Mayor Gray may change parking, taxi rates

Tuesday - 5/17/2011, 2:04pm  ET

Gray512.jpg

The mayor also indicated he is open to raising the rate for taxis in D.C., following complaints from some drivers that fares under the meter system are too low.

"We're open to creating a fair rate," Gray said, pointing to some who argue the current price is fair.

In case you missed the program, check out the full audio at right and this live blog:

10:57 a.m., speaking about MPD contract stalemate for police officers:

"There are issues that have to be resolved, obviously, or it wouldn't be going on for three years."

10:55 a.m., speaking about "suspicious" white powder sent to DCPS:

FBI is leading the ongoing investigation. "It really was a model" of federal law enforcement cooperation.

We know of no untoward consequences of this. As far as I know, the powder proved to be nontoxic.

10:51 a.m., speaking about DMV locations:

We've encouraged to do all transactions with the DMV online.

I got an email from someone the other day about completing their registration online in about 5 minutes.

10:46 a.m., speaking about a Walmart in the District:

They haven't asked us for any tax breaks. The site we've heard the most concern about is on Georgia Avenue. We are concerned, too, about Walmart coming in.

We want to be sure we focus on the wages and benefits issued to their workers.

10:44 a.m., speaking about reducing Metro service to combat their budget gap:

We've looked at whether we could provide additional money. I think it would be ill advised to cut the hours.

I think the Nationals should pay for the extra Metro service following games.

We're looking at how to do this differently.

10:42 a.m., speaking about D.C. home rule and statehood following his arrest:

We had a hearing last week at the House Oversight Committee. I thought it was quite constructive.

The focus during the time of my arrest was budget autonomy. This is "everything but" falling into the background.

10:38 a.m., speaking about a federal investigation :

I have not been asked to provide information for a federal investigation. We voluntarily provided emails and my phone records.

10:36 a.m., speaking about his son's role Carlos in hiring:

"None."

Turning over to the media the emails his son sent about hiring was "completely irresponsible."

10:35 a.m., speaking about Sulaimon Brown's demand for a six-figure administration finance position:

I'm going to let the investigation unfold. He isn't the only person who requested very high level positions in my administration.

If you look at his resume, he has a degree, he has experience in the areas he was hired in.

10:33 a.m., speaking about former advisers Howard Brooks and Lorraine Green's refusal to testify before the D.C. Council:

We've encouraged them all to participate. I suggested the hearings.

"I think at this stage we just need to let the investigation unfold."

I have not talked to Brooks in many months.

"I never had a close relationship with Howard Brooks."

10:32 a.m., speaking about D.C. United:

The cost differences are stark. The D.C. United Stadium probably would cost up to $250 million, which is not money that we have.

We've appreciated that D.C. United is here, they've won a few championships.

"We could not pay for the stadium."

We certainly would try to evaluate what's being proposed in the Baltimore offer to host the team, but these negotiations have been going on during the recession.

"A soccer stadium is not at the top of the list.

10:26 a.m., speaking about additional furloughs for D.C. staff:

I don't think that's a good idea. When you do a furlough, that mean's you're going to have the same problems the following year.

10:23 a.m., speaking about Council Chair Brown's opposition to raising income tax rates:

There was a poll that was done about this, and showed overwhelmingly that the public supported this. I've heard similar support at public forums for raising these taxes.

10:16 a.m., speaking about police staffing levels:

I don't think we should assume the chief's 3,800 staffing levels is "the magic number."

I am concerned about it. We found nothing in the pipeline when I came on.

I'd like to start recruiting police candidates as early as June.

(Chief Lanier believes will get to 3,800 by September. Mayor's attrition team wants it even higher.)

If you rush the process, you're going to wind up with people who don't really want to be police officers.

10:15 a.m., speaking about biking to work:

Councilmember Tommy Wells does that every day. I have done "one or another thing" myself. My commute is a little longer.

We've continued to expand Capital BikeShare. People are using it, that's going to have an impact on the price on fuel and the number of cars on the roads.

10:12 a.m., speaking about raising parking meters rates:

We've had to make some very severe service reductions, and we have some proposed raises in revenue in the next budget.

Some argue that creates turnover in parking spaces, to free them up for other cars more frequently.

10:11 a.m., speaking about rising cost of taxis in and out of D.C.:

We eliminated the cap on trip charges in and out of the District. We approved a surcharge that will give some relief to drivers.

There's a rate study that was done two or three years ago, which will objectively determine what the rates should be. There was a lot of pushback when the meters were first introduced.

"We're open to creating a fair rate. Some may argue it's fair now," some argue it isn't.

10:06 a.m., speaking about a gas tax:

We don't have any specific proposals at this stage.

10:04 a.m., speaking about gas prices, and potential price gouging:

It's an ongoing investigation, so we're not going to comment on it. D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan is very much on it.

"We are deeply concerned."

"What a lot of people don't focus on is the government itself uses a lot of vehicles."

"The fuel prices are going up a lot for us, too."

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(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask the Mayor

WTOP's Mark Segraves speaks to D.C. Mayor Vince Gray.

Download

WASHINGTON -- D.C. Mayor Vince Gray was a guest on Tuesday's "Ask the Mayor" program with Mark Segraves.

The Mayor blasted a recent Washington Post editorial about D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas and Gray, which the paper placed next to a chummy photo of the pair with embattled Sulaimon Brown.

"I think it was way beyond the pale," Gray said, asking, "What did this have to do with the editorial commentary that was being provided?"

Gray went on to say the Post ombudsman should question "what the justification was of running such a photo like that," adding he has no recollection of where the photo was taken.

The mayor also discussed local sports teams and their financial impact on the city.

The Washington Nationals should pay for the extra Metro service to accommodate games at their Southwest stadium, said Gray. The city currently foots the bills, he said, an arrangement he does not believe is required by contract.

And speaking of stadiums, Gray had little comfort to offer D.C. United, which has recently looked to Baltimore to cure their RFK Stadium woes.

"We could not pay for the stadium," he said, estimating a new facility in D.C. would cost as much as $250 million. Facing significant budget shortfalls, Gray added "a soccer stadium is not at the top of the list."

This yielded a surprised response from some on Twitter:

Seriously, I think Mayor Gray just said if Baltimore wants #DCUnited, they could have the team.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

The mayor also indicated he is open to raising the rate for taxis in D.C., following complaints from some drivers that fares under the meter system are too low.

"We're open to creating a fair rate," Gray said, pointing to some who argue the current price is fair.

In case you missed the program, check out the full audio at right and this live blog:

10:57 a.m., speaking about MPD contract stalemate for police officers:

"There are issues that have to be resolved, obviously, or it wouldn't be going on for three years."

10:55 a.m., speaking about "suspicious" white powder sent to DCPS:

FBI is leading the ongoing investigation. "It really was a model" of federal law enforcement cooperation.

We know of no untoward consequences of this. As far as I know, the powder proved to be nontoxic.

10:51 a.m., speaking about DMV locations:

We've encouraged to do all transactions with the DMV online.

I got an email from someone the other day about completing their registration online in about 5 minutes.

10:46 a.m., speaking about a Walmart in the District:

They haven't asked us for any tax breaks. The site we've heard the most concern about is on Georgia Avenue. We are concerned, too, about Walmart coming in.

We want to be sure we focus on the wages and benefits issued to their workers.

10:44 a.m., speaking about reducing Metro service to combat their budget gap:

We've looked at whether we could provide additional money. I think it would be ill advised to cut the hours.

I think the Nationals should pay for the extra Metro service following games.

We're looking at how to do this differently.

10:42 a.m., speaking about D.C. home rule and statehood following his arrest:

We had a hearing last week at the House Oversight Committee. I thought it was quite constructive.

The focus during the time of my arrest was budget autonomy. This is "everything but" falling into the background.

10:38 a.m., speaking about a federal investigation :

I have not been asked to provide information for a federal investigation. We voluntarily provided emails and my phone records.

10:36 a.m., speaking about his son's role Carlos in hiring:

"None."

Turning over to the media the emails his son sent about hiring was "completely irresponsible."

10:35 a.m., speaking about Sulaimon Brown's demand for a six-figure administration finance position:

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