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Good morning sweet readers! It’s Thursday, and you must know by now that free copies of Washington City Paper are available for pick up exclusively at the District’s finest hotels. (And, if you know where to look, a few other spots.) In this week’s dead tree edition, WCP goes big on education. First, there’s has a cover story profile by Dana Goldstein of Diane Ravitch, the anti-Michelle Rhee. Plus, LL contributed a sidebar on who and what is behind the success of Rhee’s group StudentsFirst (with a great quote from Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson that has the word “booty” in it), and Suzy Khimm looks at Rhee’s rightward drift. For this week’s column, LL looks at whether the District is getting its money’s worth from the Office of the Inspector General (hint: lots of people think not). News time:
Like Magic, the Magic Money Disappeared: CFO Nat Gandhi presented new revenue forecasts to lawmakers yesterday. The good news: revenues are higher than previously expected. The bad news: they aren’t high enough to fully fund even two of the council’s wish list items. This development, which the TWT‘s literary Tom Howell Jr. dubbed a “Pyrrhic victory,” caused confusion, shouting matches, general ill will and a chance for Mayor Vince Gray to calm the council down again, at the mayor’s monthly breakfast with legislators yesterday. Everything would be find, says Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, if the mayor hadn’t saddled the council with a $32 million payment to the District’s private Medicaid managed-care providers at the last minute. (The Post editorial board weighs in on that move, calling it dumb in light of past troubles the city’s had with Chartered Health, a managed-care provider owned by uber-connected accountant Jeffrey Thompson.). Evans and Councilmember Phil Mendelson make the sure-to-be-ignored suggestion that the council revisit its budget debate in light of Gandhi’s new numbers.
AFTER THE JUMP: Cameras on Street Sweepers Not Working Hard Enough; Reporters Arrested…
Better Parkers Than We Thought: Give yourself a pat on the back, District parkers, you’re much better at obeying the law than the District’s bean counters gave you credit for, reports WTOP’s Mark Segraves. “In 2009, the Fenty administration estimated the city could raise about $7.1 million per year by putting cameras on street sweepers to ticket parking violators. But on Wednesday, D.C.’s Chief Financial Officer, Natwar Gandhi, said the program has only brought in about $390,000 since it began last July. In fact, only 23,500 tickets were issued in the first few months of the program, a number far below the 237,000 estimated for the time period.”
Photography Is A Crime: A pretty poor response by the mayor’s office yesterday to the news that two reporters were arrested for trying to cover a public meeting. The best the mayor’s office could do is put out a statement by interim D.C. Taxicab Commission chairwoman Dena Reed that basically suggests the Park Police took it upon themselves to march into a public meeting and arrest the reporters on its own. LL is guessing that the Park Police are too preoccupied with harassing dog owners at Lincoln Park to give two hoots about what goes on at DCTC hearings. Meanwhile, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells has asked the attorney general to investigate. See more coverage here, here, and here.
Election Fever: DCist has a handy guide to the candidates who have already or are about to declare for the 2012 primary elections (which are only nine months away!). One new name LL hasn’t previously mentioned on this blog, “Community activist and all-round Twitter curmudgeon Keith Jarrell has also thrown his hat in the ring, announcing earlier this week that Ward 4 ‘needs and deserves leadership that is both caring and engaged in what affects all of our lives.'”
In Other News: Gandi says, no, he did not neglect to collect $100 million in taxes from developers, but the council should clarify its real estate tax laws anyway. Wal-Mart is giving the District $665,000 for youth-related programs, but it is not, repeat not, in any way shape or form a quid pro quo type thingy, says the mayor’s office. Former Mayor Anthony Williams‘ advice for Gray: create jobs. On two year anniversary, Gray commits to building memorial park at site of 2009 Fort Totten Red Line crash. The mother of one of the victims of the South Capitol Street shootings last year is suing the District government, claiming there was “gross negligence, racial discrimination and indifference” on their part. Metro bus drivers raise safety concerns. Convention center will see more Marriotts. GWU Prez cracks seven-figure salary. S.C. behavioral clinic will no longer accept DYRS wards.
Gray sked: Welcome remarks at Continental Society’s National Conclave Conference, Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, 10 a.m., One City Summer Fun press event, Columbia Heights Community Center, 10:15 a.m., Meeting with Albanian ambassador, 11:30 a.m., Desk work and staff meetings, 12:30 p.m.
Council sked: Committee of the Whole round table, Room 500 JAWB, 11 a.m., Committee on Housing and Workforce Development hearing, 11 a.m., Hearing on MPD’s police escort protocols, Room 412 JAWB, noon, round table on confirmation of Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright, Room 500 JAWB, 1 p.m.
Councilmember Michael A. Brown will roll the electronic dice and appear on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt at 10 a.m.
Nick DeSantis contributed.