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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
AG Nathan to Councilmembers: Quit Torturing Me Barry’s Bishop Ministers to Hospital Board Letter Showdown 2
Good morning sweet readers! How about them Cowboys? Undefeated! (By the way: LL apologizes for yesterday’s lack of an LL Daily, but he was feeling under the weather. Better now!) News time:
Councilmembers And Mayors Slush Fund Corp.: The Post has a good story on how the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp. has often been used by elected officials as a way of earmarking funds to their favorite causes without actually having to call them earmarks. LL No. 6 first reported last year on Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. doing this, and the Post adds to the narrative by noting that several other councilmembers, particularly Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, have done the same.
Unfortunately, the Post tries to take a good story about the council’s undue influence on CYITC and sex it up into a great story for A1 by dishing some weak sauce about campaign contributions. Witness the story’s first bullet point: “Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) secured $387,000 from the trust for an ice arena whose board over time donated more than $13,000 to 10 city officials, including $550 to Alexander’s 2007-08 campaign.” Couple of things are goofy there: 1) $550 is nothing, so let’s not pretend it’s related to her earmark. 2) Alexander ran two campaigns, one special in 2007, one re-election in 2008. 3) What significance does the $12,000 to the other nine councilmembers have? They likely didn’t even know about the earmark—and at any rate, if most of the money went to people besides Alexander, why single her out? LL’s already taken calls on this indecipherable graphic the Post runs with the story, which appears to be suggesting that every councilmember is up to something shady by receiving campaign contributions from board members of some nonprofits that received CYITC funds.
What instead deserved a lot more play in the story is that former City Administrator Neil Albert once called CYITC on behalf of former Mayor Adrian Fenty to have them give $400,000 to Ron Moten‘s Peacoholics. LL readers with memories may recall that Fenty tried to get Peacoholics another $400,000 last year in a similar way, but Washington City Paper‘s Rend Smith may have put an end to that with a story on it. The Post doesn’t say when the first $400,000 was given to Peacoholics, but adds that “the trust denied subsequent attempts by the Fenty administration to direct money through the trust.” [Trust Chairwoman Winifred] Carson-Smith said. ‘When we found out that money was not being administered in a fair and equitable manner, outside of what we considered appropriate, we asked that everything come to the board,’ she said.” Now that’s interesting. (Cue angry call from Moten in 3 … 2 … 1)
AFTER THE JUMP: Metro Bonuses; D.C.’s Trilateral Commission Exposed; Nathan = Nickles?
Metro Bonus: Some great accountability journalism by the wonderful Kytja Weir shows that in a year when cash strapped Metro was asking for big fare increases, it told the D.C. Council that it wasn’t giving out bonuses to its employees but then did exactly that. One top executive got an extra $30,000 for a housing allowance last year, on top of his $231,000 a year salary.
Just Like Gray: Post columnist Mike DeBonis checks in with the Federal City Council, better known as D.C.’s version of the Trilateral Commission, and finds that the group’s new strategic goals look a lot like Mayor Vince Gray‘s strategic goals. Conspiracy!
Look Who You’re Turning Into: Georgetown Dish’s Beth Solomon says Attorney General Irv Nathan needs to cool it with his mean letters comparing Councilmembers Mary Cheh and David Catania to former President George W. Bush. “We hate to say it, but we’re reminded of a movie we have seen before. The Georgetown Dish passionately hopes that Nathan is not slipping into the behavior patterns of his predecessor, Peter Nickles, who under Mayor Adrian Fenty, was given the freedom to have a verbal knife-fight with anybody who crossed him or the Mayor, whether they were journalists, Councilmembers or colleagues in the legal community.” Burn.
In Other News:
- Where would the District be without commercial real estate taxes? Broke.
- Harold Pettigrew will head the District’s Department of Small and Local Business Development.
- Wal-Mart opens its wallet.
Gray sked: 10:30 Anacostia Metro sustainable design announcement; 6 p.m. appearance at the Yards for Quiet Fire concert.
Council sked: Recess, Ward 7’s Alexander is on Kojo.