IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! It’s Friday, and it’s rainy. LL gives you permission to call in sick today. News time:
Sulaimon Brown, Come On Down: Gray confidante Lorraine Green is scheduled to testify today before a Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh’s committee, which is investigating the Gray administration’s hiring practices. LL’s not sure what to expect in terms of news value from today’s hearing. Will Green say anything new? Will Sulaimon Brown, who has been mailed a subpoena but says he’s not coming, show up? What will recently fired former Taxicab Commissioner Leon Swain say? LL is getting fatigued just writing these questions; this story has dragged on forever with only little increments of news every now and then. The Post‘s Mike DeBonis has a smart piece summing up how frustrating these hearings have been so far and looks at the larger question of whether the council should be in the investigation business at all. Asks, reasonably enough, A. Scott Bolden, who has clients in this investigation and in the long drawn-out council inquiries of former Mayor Adrian Fenty’s less-than-stellar moments: “What’s the point?” Answers Councilmember David Catania, who has been the only councilmember interested in getting to the bottom of this mess (albeit, perhaps with a little too much zeal at times) says the hearings are worth it “if for no other reason than to have the public see other public officials condemn what happened.” Curiously absent from the discussion: Cheh.
AFTER THE JUMP: More On Those Emails; Congress Lays Off; Parking Meter Wars…
So Rude: LL felt like he was in Human Resources hell yesterday combing through the 800 or so emails between Green, the mayor, his former chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall, and former H.R. director Judy Banks. Everybody be wanting jobs! Fortunately, other members of the press corps had to share in LL’s pain. The Examiner reports: The team that directed hiring in the Vincent Gray administration often placed priority on prospective employees who had helped raise cash for Gray’s campaign, had “political capital” or were otherwise well connected.” The Post reports how Banks wrote a few mean things about prospective employees: “I know her very well, I could not recommend her to you if you are looking for speed, accuracy, proficiency,” Banks responded. “She’s 300 lbs . . .” And this one about another prospective hire. “Listening to him . . . Articulating it in the proper King’s english is another issue. I still think he should be considered.” LL reports that the emails show that the Gray team paid $1,500 for an investigation of Gray’s girlfriend, Linda Greene, because they were considering her for a job. And the Examiner has more on Banks & Co. talking about Greene. This is all after the Post cherry picked most of the good stuff Wednesday night. Trust LL when he says that there’s plenty more juice to be squeeze from these emails. LL is working on a greatest hits package and will try and get that out later today.
Federal Follies: The city’s political and media types were quaking yesterday, ahead of a somewhat unusual hearing in the House Oversight subcommittee that minds D.C.—why, exactly, was the hearing scheduled, given that Appropriations usually holds the only federal confabs on District affairs? And why did Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who runs the panel, mention the words “control” and “board” in his announcement of it? Turned out all that was some sort of psych-out; by the end of the morning, Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the Oversight committee, was saying there was no reason Congress couldn’t deal with D.C.’s local revenue separately from its federal revenue, which would mean a federal shutdown wouldn’t lead to worries about local trash. The Post‘s Ben Pershing quotes Gray saying, “It wasn’t negative at all.” But we all know he’s only saying that because he wasn’t arrested afterwards!
Charter Charges: A complaint filed with the Justice Department says charter schools in the District aren’t really open to all students, because special needs students are far likelier to remain in DCPS public schools than enroll in charters, the Post‘s Bill Turque reports. The complaint, brought by legal non-profit the Bazelon Center, “does not cite specific instances of discrimination. But it draws together anecdotal and statistical evidence suggesting that children with disabilities are underrepresented in D.C. charter schools. According to District officials, 18 percent of the city’s traditional public school population receive special education services. That figure includes more than 2,000 students in private schools at public expense because it was decided that their needs could not be met in the city system. Eleven percent of the charter population is made up of special education students.”
Don’t Follow Leaders, Watch The Parkin’ Meters: Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans “wants to roll back parking meter rates and hours of enforcement in some the District’s busiest neighborhoods,” the Examiner reports. LDP has a complete roundup of what Evans want to do with the budget, including what looks like a repeal of combined reporting (which would make multi-state corporations pay taxes on the profits they make in D.C.) which Evans was for, before he was against it.
Gray schedule: 9:45 a.m., East of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative Second Annual Workshop, Washington Seniors Wellness Center, 3001 Alabama Ave. SE; 6:15 p.m., reception honoring Latinos in mayor’s cabinet, Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, 1100 Harvard St. NW.
Council schedule: 10 a.m., Government Operations hiring investigation continues, running all day.