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Good morning sweet readers! It’s Thursday, and you all know what that means: Washington City Paper staffers will be out panhandling for bail money in advance of tonight’s holiday party. Our dead tree edition also drops today. This week is our giving issue, in which we partnered up with the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington to vet the nonprofits that deserve your hard earned charitable giving. (Hint: don’t donate anything to any nonprofits controlled by a certain Ward 5 councilmember.) LDP wonders why D.C. keeps getting new hotels. Dave McKenna looks at possibly the most depressing race track in America. Chris Shott profiles Cafe St-Expensive. And LL takes a look at the Gray administration’s efforts to win over the Washington Post, which probably liked the last mayor a teensy bit more than the new one. News time:
Only Suckers Pay Their Bills: This morning we have a double barrel news burst of elected officials being fiscally irresponsible. Round one: The federal government is out to get Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry again, TWT is first to report. This time in the form of tax lien for more than $3,200 for unpaid 2010 taxes. Barry and tax problems, you’ll remember, are nothing new. As for the latest lien, the former mayor-for-life told the Post: “I don’t know anything about that.” Barry’s attorney, Fred Cooke Jr., wasn’t available for comment. This morning Barry is saying it’s the IRS’ fault. Round two (same lawyer, different councilmember): Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. has settled his $16,000 in unpaid student loan debt that dates back to ’83 and ’84. Thomas is said to have agreed to begin making monthly payments. But we might not get to find out the details of the settlement, as Cooke may try and keep the settlement under seal. LL was first to report Thomas’ student loan debt way back last summer. At the time, the councilmember told LL that “all his loans have been ‘satisfied,’ and the whole brouhaha originated from an ‘administrative error.'” The error, apparently, was him not actually making payments on his debt.
AFTER THE JUMP: Responsive D.C. Gov’t; It’s Party Time; School Crime…
D.C. Gov’t, Now With Responsiveness: The Post teams up with a Georgetown University researcher to report that the District “has vastly improved its delivery of basic services over the past decade” and continues to improve. That, or the city is getting better at juking the stats. “The data, as well as polling and interviews, suggest that the ethical controversies and federal investigations that have surrounded Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and some D.C. Council members have not affected the functions of the city.” East of the river readers take note: “In 2001, a Ward 7 resident could expect to wait 25 days longer than a Ward 1 resident to see a service ticket closed. This year, the difference between the fastest service and the slowest has been reduced to slightly less than eight days. [Calls in Ward 2 are resolved in 3.5 days while those in Ward 8 are fixed in 11.2 days.]”
Sounds Like An Awesome Party: The D.C. Council will try and compete with City Paper to see who can throw the better holiday party tonight.Per the Post: “In recent days, Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s efforts to organize the annual party have been roiled by controversy and infighting among members over concerns the celebration will send the wrong message as the body struggles over ethics reform legislation. Unwilling or unable to pay out of their own pockets, Brown has told members they can dip into their constituent service funds to pay their share of the function. Each member has to come up with $380 for the party.” So yeah, that’s a great use of corporate-sponsored constituent service funds.
School Crime: TBD has a massive FOIA dump of all the police reports involving D.C. schools going back to 2009. Takeaway: kids can be mean. “C-1 states while at Aiton Elementary School viewing a soccer game, C-1 was approached by S-1 and S-2. S-1 walked up behind C-1 and stated (My friend wants your bike). C-1 stated no that he couldn’t have her bike. S-1 began pulling on the bike trying to pull it away from her at that time S-1 pushed C-1 to the ground and began kicking C-1 in her stomach, S-2 got a hold of the bike and pulled the seat off of the bike and threw the bike seat on top of the roof of a building.”
In Other News:
- $3.7 million per streetcar. Yeah, that sounds sustainable.
- Tattoo artists welcome regulation.
- Gray promises swift action when snow starts to fall.
- Lottery contractor has had problems with biz license.
- Chuck Thies says April election is a great time to gather signatures to recall Kwame Brown and Thomas.
- Mitt Romney‘s son apologizes for handing in petitions.
- DPW boss Bill Howland defends kitty-littergate.
- Adrian Fenty and Chris Tucker among those at Joe Robert’s funeral.
- Community schools hearing brouhaha.
Gray sked: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Media Interview: NewsChannel 8’s NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt; 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: AARP Penn Branch Chapter #3473’s Annual Christmas Luncheon; 12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.: D.C. Chamber of Commerce 2011 Annual Meeting; 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Recreation Wish List Committee’s 15th Anniversary and Holiday Celebration; 8:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: D.C. Council Holiday Party.
Council sked: Director of the Department of Corrections Thomas N. Faust Confirmation Resolution of 2011 at noon; Oversight Roundtable on Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture in DC at 1p.m.; Winter Sidewalk Safety Amendment Act of 2011 at 2 p.m.; Holiday Party, Washington Court Hotel at party thirty.