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A deliberative roundup of one city’s local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!


Good morning (and 2012) sweet readers! LL is back from vacation revitalized from no longer having to fret over the fate of a schizophrenic football team. Now LL can devote 100 percent of his focus to The Bachelor, err, his job, err, his family. This morning’s roundup will look at some of the biggest stories in the last two weeks. News time:

Vince’s First Year: The Post runs the obligatory Mayor Vince Gray‘s first-year-in-office story. Here’s what you need to know: He thinks about the federal investigations of his campaign and his colleagues “every day;” he keeps shoe polish in the Lincoln Navigator;  he says he doesn’t like being driven around in said Navigator, “that’s not me;” he is still working to win back supporters who felt dissed after he won the primary; and he’d prefer you call him by his first name, “I would be fine being Vince and wouldn’t be disrespected at all,” he said. “I miss Vince.” Vince misses you too, Mr. Mayor.

AFTER THE JUMP: D.C. Council, Now With Ethics; Worst Poll Ever; Gray Lady Look-Sees…

Let’s Get Ethical, Ethical: The D.C. Council is now ethical. At least, that’s what you’re supposed to believe after the city’s august legislative body passed a series of ethics reforms just before Christmas. Post lede: “The D.C. Council approved the most comprehensive overhaul of city ethics laws in a generation Tuesday, toughening disclosure rules and creating new penalties for misconduct, including for the first time giving members the power to impeach a colleague.” The mayor says he’ll sign it. Someone gave LL the new Steve Jobs biography for X-mas, which discusses in detail the computerman’s “reality distortion field.” Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry shares a similar habit, as exhibited during the debate before the ethics vote: “There has not been a history of corruption and pay to play in this government at all.” Umm, okay. Meanwhile, Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells tried to limit the influence of city contractors in funding elections and failed miserably, leading him to be the sole no vote on the bill. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans successfully persuaded seven of his colleagues not to limit his ability to spend developer/contractor money on buying premium season tickets to almost every sporting event in town.

Worst Poll Ever: During the mayoral race, then-Council Chairman Vince Gray often touted a Clarus poll that ranked the D.C. Council as one of the most popular legislative bodies in the country. Well no more. The latest offering by Clarus shows that not only is the council and its chairman, Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown, wildly unpopular, but that Gray would lose in head-to-head matchups against either Adrian Fenty or Anthony Williams.

Gray Lady Look-sees: The New York Times, the nation’s premiere sorta-free newspaper, published two stories ’bout the District over the holidays. In the first article, the gray lady summarizes the various ethical woes plaguing city elected officials. “The incidents have cast a pall over the government and have hastened efforts to polish the city’s tarnished reputation” sayeth the Times, which had to issue not one, but two corrections. Yikes! In the other piece, the paper looks at some of the big bonuses “high effective” teachers have been pulling in—like $30,000 in two years, big. #careerchoicefail

In Other News:

  • Powerful D.C. taxicab owner Jerry Schaeffer and powerful gas station owner Joe Mamo among Councilmember Vincent Orange‘s biggest donors. The Office of Campaign finance says it’s never fined anyone for exceeding the limits on campaign giving. OCF apparently does investigations on Colby King‘s behalf, finds massive campaign bundling going on. King predicts federal probes will “center on the city’s campaign finance laws and the mockery made of them by both contributors and recipients.”
  • Charge against Ward 8 School Board Member Trayon White is dropped.
  • New details emerge on the expanded federal probe of Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. and the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corp. The Post ed board says let’s take a look under the hood of the ol’ CYITC.
  • Recall effort of the mayor, HTJ and others to kick off this week.
  • Speaking of the recall,  Fenty’s right-hand-man Sinclair Skinner will be leading efforts in Ward 5, per TWT. Politico reports that Skinner will also be raising money for a new Super PAC aimed at helping President Obama’s re-election chances. (Five gets you ten that the Politico reporter never bothered to google Skinner before writing that story.)
  • The mayor and some council members are headed to New Hampshire to promote D.C. voting rights.
  • D.C.-rights hunger striker and onetime self circumciser has ended his fast after more than three weeks. Adrian Parsons broke his fast outside Gray’s house, “which was still festooned with Christmas decorations, including an over-sized inflatable Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa Claus.”
  • D.C.’s water and sewer infrastructure needs some upgrades.
  • Test your knowledge of D.C. politics with this quote quiz, courtesy of Jonetta Rose Barras.
  • Kwame Brown says some job-training non-profits are stealing city money.

Gray sked: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: ANC 7A Town Hall Meeting.

Council sked: Kwame Brown holds first press briefing, limits questions to only those related to tomorrow’s legislative meeting.