Developments From DC Mayor Gray Press Conference

5:24 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- DC Mayor Vincent Gray is standing behind his embattled fire chief. It's one of several developments at the Mayor's bi-weekly press conference.

"The chief is continuing to be the chief," Mayor Vincent Gray said.

DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe, has been taking heat from the union and council members over his management and the readiness of the department's vehicles.

At his press conference today the Mayor gave the chief a vote of confidence but the firefighters union voted the opposite.

"I think the fire chief has to depend upon a number of people working with him," Mayor Gray said.

The presser was held at the Industrial Bank branch in Southeast on Wednesday. The administration announced that 4,000 DC residents had opened new banking accounts -- part of a public/private effort to encourage people to save.

At the same time, city officials conceive that an estimated 146,000 residents, many of them undocumented, will continue to use the scattered check cashing business. They are paying an average of $800 dollars per year in unnecessary fees. 

"One of the things we are seeing a lot of with our undocumented population, is that they do go to these check cashing places and they carry the cash and they get robbed," said Roxanna Olivas from the Office of Latino Affairs.

In other economic news, city officials said that residential foreclosures are down. In 2010 DC lawmakers required lenders to enter into mediation with homeowners before moving on a property. In 2010 there were more than 1,300 foreclosures--last year there were only 89.

"We want to keep people housed," Mayor Gray said.

In one last piece of news, Washington Nationals owners are reportedly looking to sell naming rights to Nats park in a move that could net up to $15 million dollars annually-- under the agreement with the city the owners get to keep all of that. DC gets no cut even though tax dollars built the stadium.

"I think somebody negotiated a pretty good deal for the Nationals," Mayor Gray during the press conference.

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