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Gray behind D.C. license plate scans; $1M to Rawlings family

Wednesday - 11/23/2011, 1:11pm  ET

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask the Mayor

D.C. Mayor Vince Gray


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

The mayor unveiled the ballpark settlement amount for the DeOnte Rawlings case, following the announcement earlier this month that the family's $100 million lawsuit against the city had been resolved.

Given the circumstances surrounding the "14-year-old kid, who himself, had a checkered past," the city agreed to a less than $1 million settlement, Gray says.

He also discussed his recent trip to Tampa Bay to check out the Buccaneers' training facility. Gray hopes to attract the Redskins' training grounds, currently housed "way out" in Ashburn, Va., back into city limits.

His administration is "in discussions now" with the Redskins.

Regarding another "football" team, the mayor says he hopes D.C. United will remain in their home city, but it "comes down to finding" a stadium and having the money to do it.

Gray was unapologetic on two D.C. initiatives: HIV tests at a city DMV office and new police cameras that can record thousands of license plates and the cars' locations, and store that information for up to three years.

"We're trying to reach people wherever we possibly can," Gray says of the tests for HIV, which has a 3 percent prevalence rate in D.C.

"We have the ability to ensure, if caught early enough, people's quality of life will not be affected at all."

Most of the cost is footed by a private institution that runs the tests in government space, though public health employees contribute to the process.

However, Gray adds he thinks the cause is worthwhile even if the city was paying for everything.

He says also the license plate scanners are an essential element to combating crime.

"Right now I look at it as an absolutely wonderful addition to our arsenal of tools," the mayor says.

Learn more about what the mayor thinks of the six planned Walmarts in D.C., and congestion and speeding on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway by listening to the full audio at right, or checking out this live blog:

10:56 a.m., speaking about his administration's communications team shakeup, and negative media coverage:

"I think the media have a job to report balanced news. I would assume you guys are skilled, so you get at the news yourselves. If there are ways you think we could do a better job of getting news out, I can tell you, sincerely, we would like to hear that."

We've had 491 people placed into the "One City, One Hire" program. Those who need a job, or those who have a job to offer, can call 311 and ask to be connected to DOES.

10:56 a.m., speaking about the Florida Ave. Market:

I don't know. It's a privately run organization. I went over there after the fire and congratulated our Fire & EMS folks. I don't have a specific date yet.

10:55 a.m., speaking about making D.C. greener:

We are focused on becoming the greenest city in America. We are close to, if not at the top of LEED certified buildings. "We are working now to get people more oriented to recycling programs."

10:54 a.m., speaking about Southeast-Southwest Freeway congestion:

Relief is on the way. I noticed, once, most of the tags were from Maryland. Those drivers will be rerouted in the future.

10:51 a.m., speaking about the DeOnte Rawlings shooting and ensuing suit settlement:

We're paying less than $1 million to the family. Given the circumstances, "a 14-year-old kid who, himself, had a checkered past," it seemed the prudent thing to settle this.

10:47 a.m., speaking about keeping D.C. United with a stadium:

We would love to have D.C. United stay, but it comes down to finding a stadium and having the money to do it.

10:45 a.m., speaking about taking a trip to Tampa to check out training facilities:

The Redskins training facility and camp is "way out in Virginia." The best opportunity to have the Redskins play in Washington would be to have their training facility here.

(I paid for this trip out of my own pocket)

Tampa's is a "phenomenal facility." We're "in discussions" right now.

10:41 a.m., speaking about the Turkey Bowl:

It will be an exciting game, the Coolidge Colts versus the Dunbar Crimson Tide.

Their recent matchup was one of the best high school games in the city.

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