Heard on the Hill: Norton’s No Meter Maid

Posted March 2, 2009 at 6:47pm

Washingtonians often gripe about Members using their privileges in ways that inconvenience residents — speeding through red lights (without punishment) to get to a vote, for example.

[IMGCAP(1)]But it’s particularly aggravating to locals when the city’s lone Congressional representative is the one flouting traffic laws.

A Capitol Hill resident and HOH tipster spotted D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) at about 1 p.m. on Sunday walking out of the corner market at Third Street and Massachusetts Avenue Northeast. Norton carried her bags to her dark sedan (adorned with EHN1 tags), which our spy noted was parked illegally outside the nearby White Tiger restaurant.

“EHN represents the DISTRICT, and her illegal parking — going unpunished — screws over constituents,— the tipster griped in an e-mail to HOH.

Norton spokeswoman Sonsyrea Montgomery told HOH that Norton was returning from official business — an appearance on local television station Fox 5 to discuss the D.C. voting rights bill — and had stopped at the market to grab bread and yogurt.

“She was parked legally under Congressional statue; no constituents were inconvenienced because she was parked near the end of the corner,— Montgomery said. “Sometimes when the Congresswoman is on Congressional business even if there is a legal place, she leaves it open for someone who does not have the same privileges.—

Somehow, we don’t think that excuse will bode well with our tipster, who wrote: “Someone should offer an amendment to this week’s House debate on District voting rights that makes lawmakers pay all parking tickets.—

Frank-ly Speaking. Among the facts we know about the first family’s wildly anticipated dog: It won’t be named Frank.

First lady Michelle Obama reportedly vetoed that name for the Obamas’ yet-to-be-adopted pooch, along with the moniker “Moose.—

What’s so wrong with the name Frank? We expected an outcry from Members of Congress named “Frank— (hello, Barney?), defending their fellow Franks. We heard crickets.

But at least one Member of Congress doesn’t want to have anything in common with the first dog.

“You never want to be in the president’s doghouse,— said Scott Mulhauser, spokesman for the dean of the Congressional Franks, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

A Vacant Senate Seat. You just can’t keep a good woman down. Sen. Amy Klobuchar had to be reminded of the “please fasten seat belts— lights at least twice by flight attendants on a Washington-bound airplane on Sunday night. The Minnesota-nice Democrat, who was returning to the capital from Southwest Florida, stood in the aisle to chat with a few other fellow passengers, including a Roll Call reporter who was conveniently on the same flight.

Klobuchar’s aisle-side socializing got her busted, though, when the flight crew repeatedly reminded her that the captain had asked for all passengers to buckle up because of the snowy conditions outside. She finally returned to her seat when a crew member used the intercom to broadcast the reminder.

A Contest for the Contest. While Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) finds herself getting scolded on airplanes (see previous item), the battle rages on between the two men vying to join her in the Senate representing the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

With that contest still undecided, the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund — a group that usually lobbies on conservation and global warming — is offering the chance to wager whether it will be former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) or would-be Sen. Al Franken (D) who’ll join the most exclusive club.

The federation launched an online contest on Monday asking people to pick the eventual winner in the race. Contestants also must guess when the winner will be sworn in and, as a tiebreaker, must name what color tie the new Senator will sport at his swearing-in ceremony.

(The site also jokingly ponders whether a swearing-in will happen before the Land of 10,000 Lakes Walleye Fishing Opener, which is set for May 9.)

Executive Director Sue Brown told HOH that the group’s associate director is from Minnesota and so the staff has followed the contest especially closely. “We just thought this would be a fun way to engage political junkies … a fun thing to do on a snowy Monday,— she said of the contest.

So what does the eventual winner receive? A copy of the federation’s Congressional directory — signed by the new Senator.

Thank Blago for That Campaign Cash. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has stayed out of the spotlight since being identified as “Senate Candidate No. 5— during that whole Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) seat-selling scandal.

With that mess now largely behind him, the Illinois Democrat is re-entering the public fray — and using his recent notoriety to raise some campaign cash.

Jackson will host his “Annual RO@$T— fundraiser on March 21 in Lynwood, Ill., inviting fellow politicians to use the Bluetooth-headset-wearing, Segway-riding, martial-arts-practicing Congressman as a comedic punching bag.

“It’s an event that I think the entire community looks forward to, because they get to see elected officials in a different light,— Jackson spokesman Ken Edmonds told HOH.

According to the party invite, Illinois Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Roland Burris (awkwardness alert!), Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and a number of local politicians all have been invited to roast Jackson. Illinois Reps. Mark Kirk (R) and Jan Schakowsky (D) are among other Members who have been asked to attend, Edmonds said.

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report.

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