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Gray: 'Park with impunity' under fed. shutdown

Thursday - 4/7/2011, 1:26pm  ET

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On the potential government shutdown and resulting D.C. furloughs, Mayor Gray said 'If people want to park with impunity, they will be able to do that.' (WTOP Photo/Paul D. Shinkman)

'Ask the Mayor' with Vince Gray

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

With a federal shutdown potentially furloughing city workers -- including those at parking enforcement and the D.C. Department of Transportation -- Gray said people would be able to "park with impunity" throughout the city, and the Cherry Blossom Festival would likely be canceled.

Police and fire personnel will still operate in full force, Gray said, which will include issuing tickets.

He is considering the fiscal impact of an "All Hands on Deck," but this would be a significant expense when the city would already lose revenue from a government shutdown.

He expressed his general frustration with the way the federal government controls the city budget, which leaves D.C. as the only "disenfranchised" city or state in the country.

In case you missed the interview, check out the audio above, and the WTOP live blog:

10:57 a.m., speaking about medical marijuana:

The rules that we are about to publish will become effective immediately. That will start the process of people submitting applications to establish dispensaries of grow marijuana in a regulated environment.

I think we're less than a year way.

This referendum was passed by the city a decade ago, but it's been tied up in Congress.

"We are oppressed by legislative overseers who inappropriately involve themselves in the city."

10:55 a.m., speaking about police staffing levels dipping below 3,800:

We took the steps the first opportunity we had. We're trying to reestablish the pipeline.

I supported keeping levels around 4,000 when I was on the council.

"We've also seen the perils of moving too quickly on these things."

The previous administration submitted a budget that didn't account for this.

10:54 a.m., speaking about Kwame Brown's SUVs, and the $100K+ unaccounted for on the campaign:

I think Chairman Brown will probably continue to roll out information on the report.

His brother has worked on every campaign he has ever run. I see nothing wrong with his brother running the campaign. What I know of his him, he's been someone who's done a great job with that.

The first person that should be turned to, is Brown. (Not an attorney general or inspector general investigation)

10:53 a.m., speaking about the Thursday City Council investigation of current and former Gray staffers:

I've told them to be there, and answer the questions.

10:47 a.m., speaking about pay-to-play allegations among staffers:

(Campaign Chair) Lorraine Green is an absolutely sterling professional. (Campaign Consultant) Howard Brooks worked on the campaign, but he is not an employee of this administration.

10:45 a.m., speaking about the firing Rochelle Webb and other D.C. employees for inappropriate conduct:

It's a personal issue, we're not going to get into the details about that. There were some issues (regarding her staying at the W Hotel, having a personal chauffeur).

The issues are positions that seem like there are more people than there actually are.

10:42 a.m., speaking about allegations of pay-to-play, cronyism, high salaries and the controversy of raising taxes:

I have stepped in more directly myself. You have to have people around you who will exercise good judgement. There were nine salaries that were above the cap, and we lowered those.

If you aggregate all of these salaries, you will find they are all lower.

10:37 a.m., speaking about building large parking lots downtown:

Municipally operated parking lots are hard to create because we have limited land space. The question is "what is the best use of that land?" And frankly, it's building office buildings or other entities because that produces more revenue.

10:36 a.m., speaking about traffic blocking intersections:

I've urged our law enforcement people to issue a ticket to those people. They know better than that.

10:35 a.m., speaking about communicating with constituents:

I'm out in the community a lot.

The lowest attendance we had for community town halls was 800 people. Throughout those meetings we had 7,000 come out.

10:27 a.m., speaking about the Convention Center leasing a D.C.-owned building:

It's not raiding the Convention Center fund. They have said a number of times they would like to have access to that building, and that's the cost of doing business.

10:23 a.m., speaking about the D.C. budget, including potential income, garage, alcohol and theater taxes:

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