Monday, November 08, 2004

Mayor seeks vote without Cropp

By Eric Fisher

District Mayor Anthony A. Williams, pushing to save his proposal for a ballpark in Southeast near the Anacostia River waterfront, seeks a majority vote on the D.C. Council without the aid of powerful chairwoman Linda Cropp.

Long thought of as a key vote for the mayor's plan, Cropp sent shock waves through the city Friday with her last-minute plan to move the ballpark location to the grounds of RFK Stadium, a maneuver that would violate terms of the city's relocation agreement with Major League Baseball.

But rather than hinge hopes on a resurrection of Cropp's support for the mayor's plan, city sources said yesterday Williams is looking for the majority seven votes without the powerful Cropp. Sources close to the mayor said Williams believes he has six solid votes, with a full-throttle effort under way to secure the crucial seventh.

The full D.C. Council is scheduled to vote on the ballpark bill tomorrow. MLB is mandating legislative approval of financing for the Southeast site by Dec. 31.

"[The Southeast plan] has got to get through on Tuesday," a city source close to the mayor said. "There's still technically time to come back if it doesn't, but it's going to be real tough."

According to several city sources, the most likely road map for Williams to get to seven votes is with Democrats Jack Evans, Harold Brazil, Kevin Chavous, Vincent Orange, Sharon Ambrose, Jim Graham and Sandy Allen.

Graham widely is seen as a potentially critical swing vote. The Ward 1 councilman strenuously lobbied for a direct link from the gross-receipts tax on large District businesses that would fund much of the ballpark costs to city amenities such as libraries and recreation centers.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.