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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 sweet readers! It’s Thursday, and you all know what that means: Washington City Paper will spend most of the day wondering why salsa goes bad. It’s also when our dead tree edition hits the streets. This week’s cover is a look at all the dirty artwork the District’s restaurants put in their bathrooms. LDP looks at how downtown is becoming a real neighborhood, complete with NIMBYs. And LL reports that City Administrator Allen Lew‘s inner circle includes private contractors who work for politically connected firms that regularly do business with the city. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. News time:

You’re All Better Off Thanks To Barry: Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry went on Fox 5 yesterday for a throughly entertaining interview about his re-election bid. Some choice quotes: On his legacy: “There’s not one person in the District of Columbia who has not been helped positively by my leadership, simple as that.” Handicapping his chances: “I’ll probably get 70, 75 percent of the vote.” On the rumors that he’s planning on bequeathing his seat to his son Christopher mid-term: “I put that out as bait to a couple people, and they bit right into it.”

AFTER THE JUMP: More Ethics! More Secrecy!; More Montel Williams!!!…

Yippee, Another Ethics Hearing: Yesterday saw another long, hard slog of a hearing on the council’s ethics bill. Most interesting was Attorney General Irv Nathan‘s appearance, in which he used not-really-that-veiled language to chastise not only the council, but his boss, for not publicly condemning Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. after he got caught using public funds to buy an Audi and eat at Hooters. “A number of our citizens have expressed disappointment that there so little condemnation by most elected officials of apparent violations of others,” says Silent Irv. Wonder what Mayor Vince Gray thinks about his underling calling him chicken. In related news, TWT crunched the numbers and found, surprise, that constituent service funds are helping politicians a lot more than the needy. “A Washington Times review of 10,000 payments totaling $3.3 million since 2004 shows that just 3 percent or $84,000 has gone to power and water bills, presumably for needy constituents, and $37,000 for phone bills. More — $133,000 — has been spent at pro sporting events. Members also spent about $22,000 for delivery of bottled water and wrote $63,000 in checks to themselves, reimbursing themselves for meals with constituents and undisclosed other expenses from the so-called constituent services funds.”

Overly Secretive: Wonder how much of your tax dollars go to potential layabout/conquering hero U.S. Attorney Ron Machen‘s office? For some reason, he thinks you’re better off not knowing. But at least he gave a clue: less than $500 million.

In Other News:

  • Montel Williams stumps for medical marijuana.
  • Turns out a Walmart in Skyland won’t break the neighboring Safeway’s covenant after all, at least according to the city.
  • A city booze inspector is suspended following allegations he was comped $1,280 worth of booze in one night.
  • Chuck Thies says ethics bill should allow for councilmembers to expel each other.
  • D.C. spends $26,000-a-year on transportation per special ed student.
  • TBD still exists, and they sent a photographer to follow Ron Moten.
  • Fight over moving firefighters from 24 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts will likely not be pretty.

Gray sked: 9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.: Volunteering at Food & Friends/Launch of Many Hands, One Purpose Food Drive; 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Severe Winter Weather Tabletop Exercise; 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Mayor’s One City Community Service Awards Luncheon; 1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Dunbar Senior High School Post-Turkey Bowl Victory Rally; 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Whitman-Walker Health World AIDS Day 2011 Candlelight Vigil; 6:50 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals.

Council sked: Hearing on D.C. government compliance with CBE requirements at 9 a.m.; Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Amendment Act of 2011 at 11 a.m.; Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Regulatory Practice Enhancement Amendment Act of 2011 at noon.