Axios D.C.

Picture of the D.C. skyline.

Happy Hump Day, D.C.

🌤 Today's weather: Chilly with a high of 57, but we'll see more of the sun than we did yesterday.

📍 Situational awareness: Over 1,400 people are expected to attend the funeral of Madeleine Albright this morning at the National Cathedral. It will be livestreamed starting at 11am.

Today's newsletter is 1,116 words — a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: 😓 Oy, inflation

Animated illustration of a scared face made from the zeros on the top corner of a one hundred dollar bill
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Some of Washington’s favorite pastimes from socializing at restaurants to going to the gym are being impacted by the highest inflation in decades. Unfortunately, it looks like high prices are here to stay.

By the numbers: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent report shows that prices around the region were up 7.3% over the last year, which is staggering, albeit lower than the national increase of 8.5%.

  • Local food prices increased by 7.2%.
  • Fuel costs (for both homes and vehicles) have increased by 27.8%.
  • All other categories (which include medical costs, new and used cars, hotels, and pretty much everything other than food and fuel) increased 6%.

What’s happening: Here’s a sample of the sticker shock that’s hitting Washingtonians.

Sweetgreen: Paige’s build-your-own salad order with blackened chicken cost her $10.95 last fall, and this week the same order at the same location was $11.95.

Rose Bakery: A passion fruit donut at the downtown hotspot was $4.25 back in February, according to its website, and is $4.75 now. The bakery has been upfront with its customers about price increases due to more expensive ingredients.

Bambini: The popular Spanish immersion D.C.-based daycare raised tuition from $2,700 a month in 2021, according to its website, to $2,800 a month in 2022 for infants.

Read the full story for more rising prices.

2. 🥁 Town Talker: How D.C. landed Pharrell’s fest

A poster of the Something in the Water festival lineup

👋🏼 Cuneyt here, with how D.C. lured a music fest after a political fracas in Virginia Beach.

In early October last year, rapper Pusha T was on a phone call with John Falcicchio, the top aide to Mayor Muriel Bowser, shopping for a new home for the star-studded Something in the Water music festival.

His friend Pharrell Williams, the festival’s founder, had just shaken up Virginia Beach, pulling the event out of the city over what he called the “toxic energy” in his hometown’s leadership.

What I’m hearing: The event had drawn $24 million in revenue for the resort city in 2019, the last time it had been held. D.C. was very into it.

Why it matters: Williams and Bowser yesterday stood together to reveal the festival is moving to Independence Avenue, bringing some of music’s hottest artists to town on Juneteenth weekend.

  • In addition to Pharrell and Pusha T, here’s just a short sampling: Ashanti & Ja Rule, Calvin Harris, Lil Baby, Chloe x Halle, Tyler, The Creator, Dave Matthews Band, and Jon Batiste. Go-go bands Backyard Band, Rare Essence, and Sound of the City are also involved.
  • Three-day passes go on sale at 10am this Saturday.

The buzzy event is a win for the District, and a loss for its southern neighbor.

  • Williams’ distaste of Virginia Beach’s leadership stems from the March 2021 police killing of his cousin, Donovan Lynch. It led to Black Lives Matter protests on the oceanfront. Outrage grew once it became known the officer who shot him had not turned on his body cam. A grand jury later cleared the officer.
  • “I love my city, but for too long it has been run by and with toxic energy,” Williams wrote in an Oct. 5, 2021 letter.

Read the full column.

💬 Town Talker is my weekly column on local politics. Are you happy? Send tips: [email protected]

Wake up to a brighter future

Finding, connecting, and building success with our Job Board.

  1. Operations Associate at The Aspen Institute.
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3. A green public housing model

Janeese Lewis George stands behind a podium on the steps of a government building with supporters behind her holding signs for Green New Deal
Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

Dubbed a Green New Deal for Housing, a D.C. lawmaker wants to bring an initiative called “social housing” to the city, a European model for public housing that mixes households with widely varying incomes in rental buildings.

Why it matters: The District — facing an affordable housing crisis and backlogged repairs to federal public housing units — would be the first in the nation to implement such a model.

  • Ward 4 council member Janeese Lewis George unveiled her legislation yesterday, with five council members signing on as co-sponsors. The project would meet ambitious sustainability targets, such as being net-zero.

How it works: Unlike traditional public housing, the idea is to mix income groups, so that higher earners in the building would pay market-rate rent to make up for lower-income tenants paying less rent.

  • The bill proposes that a third of the units be available to extremely low-income earners, with another third going to very low-income earners. The rest would be offered at market-rate rent.

Yes, but: The sweeping idea is still a long shot. The legislation will first face scrutiny in three committees.

Be smart: Another Green Deal-esque idea was unveiled recently by at-large council member and mayoral candidate Robert White.

  • If elected, White said he would go on a massive hiring spree to counter crime, investing $1.5 billion in new climate-related jobs.

4. Around the Beltway: Wild turkey wanted

Illustration of a bass drum, a snare drum, a conga drum and a hi-hat, playing.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🦃 A wild turkey has been attacking people (not with tryptophan) on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and is wanted by authorities. (Fox 5)

🛢 In the latest edition of D.C.’s real estate market is insane: A former toxic waste dump on a 0.32-acre lot in upscale Spring Valley is for sale for $1.3 million, and already under contract. (Washingtonian)

5. 👋 Hey, I'm new here

Illustration of a lanyard attached to a card in the shape of a speech bubble.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

👋🏾 Hi, it’s Paige.

As the Axios D.C. team’s resident newbie, I’ve got a lot of unanswered questions about my new town. 

“Hey, I’m new here'' is a new series where I’ll ask a savvy, opinionated local to answer a question about a Washington folkway, ritual, or quirk.

To kick off the series, we reached out to Jack Shafer, Politico’s senior media writer.

The question: The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is a thing again this year. And lots of people are talking about it. I haven’t scored an invite...Should I care? 

Shafer’s take: “Whether you're new to Washington or have lived here since the Bullets won the NBA championship, you should never attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner or feel bad about missing it unless you're a journalist. 

  • "Accountants, short-order cooks, dentists, plumbers, taxidermists, and other working Americans would only be disappointed by an event whose high point is hanging out with tuxedoed and gowned journos, government officials, lobbyists, and the few random celebrities who attend. I suppose that students of sociology would get a kick out of it, too, as they observe the displays of status and class rank in real-time. 

"But those of you who work for the Fourth Estate should plan on going at least once just for the plentiful drinks, the after-event parties, and the hangover. You'll see your friends, develop a couple of sources, and have a few laughs at the expense of other people.

  • "Watching the WHCA dinner on C-SPAN instead of attending it is like the difference between watching an orgy on the web as opposed to participating in one. Anyone with an abiding interest in the virtual thing should try the literal thing at least once.”

📩 Got a burning question about Washington you want me to get answered? Reply to this email.

🤦🏻‍♀️Cringe: Yesterday’s newsletter said The Salt Line is on the Potomac when of course it is actually on the Anacostia. Thanks so much to those of you who reminded us!