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D.C. Mayor: Driver arrests for expired registration must stop

Thursday - 10/13/2011, 11:46am  ET

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask The Mayor

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


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

Following a letter from Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Gray said he wants the arrests to stop for drivers whose registration has expired.

The mayor would be open to emergency legislation, which would not need congressional approval, to amend the existing law, opting instead for impounding those cars. This, like an arrest, would keep these vehicles off the road and avoid liability, since they would also be without insurance.

Gray talked about the recent move to better secure information coming out of the police and fire departments, including encrypting all of their radios to prohibit public access, and silencing their public relations Twitter feeds.

"I think it does, potentially, compromise the police being able to do their jobs," Gray said, when asked about the existing secure channels to which police can switch.

It's difficult to balance the "explosion" of technology with proper security policy, he said of those who used to rely on primary access to the scanners, like news stations.

Gray also declined to comment on the removal of police spokesperson Pete Piringer, calling it a "personnel issue."

The mayor also addressed concerns from Maya Angelou and other Civil Rights activists that a quote on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial was taken out of context.

Anyone who would come to a conclusion about Dr. King based off one quote "has been living on Mars," said Gray. That won't change his legacy, he said.

Listen to the full audio at right, and check out this live blog for more on what Gray had to say regarding cheap contractors versus those who hire in D.C., and the ongoing conflict with Congress over gun rights:

10:57 a.m., speaking about concerns over Council productivity and decorum:

I worked with them all. I think they need to work together, and at the end of the day, need to understand the decisions are made by the body, not individuals.

10:56a.m., speaking about the weekend dedication of the MLK memorial and a supposed misleading quote:

Some have said that by not stating the full quote, it paints a different Dr. King than who he was.

I think anyone who would come to a conclusion on Dr. King based on this one quote, "has been living on Mars."

The decision as to whether that quote or statement will be changed remains to be seen.

That won't change the legacy of Dr. King one way or the other.

10:52 a.m., speaking about the demonstrators in Freedom Plaza and resulting traffic concerns:

We have the rally and march on Saturday, so our folks have gone over and met with some of the people there. They've been very cooperative, and agreed to move some of their things out of the way. They've even said they'd like to participate.

We'll figure out when enough is enough on this and other protests on a case by case basis.

10:47 a.m., speaking about D.C. gun rights:

The Supreme Court's decision did not affect our gun control laws.

It's up to our jurisdiction. The courts have said so far what we've done is constitutionally sound. The rest should be up to us, not someone who doesn't live in this city.

10:42 a.m., speaking about cutting cheaper grass-cutting contracts that don't employ D.C. residents:

We received a letter from one of the cut contractor's attorney. I was "extremely aghast." It's unclear if it was a threat. I can't read the mind of whoever wrote it.

Whether it's more important to save money or hire D.C. residents, is a good public policy question.

But you have to look more than just cost. Hiring D.C. residents may help keep some reformed criminals from getting into trouble.

10:35 a.m., speaking about nominating a chair to the Board of Elections and Ethics:

We thought we had a candidate, but the issue was raised that he hasn't been a continuous resident of the city.

We nominated three people. We're working now on filling this situation. It was unanticipated and we'll have it as soon as we can. We recognize the importance of it.

10:31 a.m., speaking about encrypting police and fire radios and social media feeds to prevent direct news access:

We have some very clever and intelligent criminals who can engage with our radio system as closely as WTOP and other news organizations can.

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