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Good morning sweet readers! LL is back from vacation, where he learned that traveling with a four-month old baby is not as glamorous as it seems. News time:

There Can Be Only One: Congratulations Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, you appear to be the swing vote in the rapidly approaching showdown over whether rich District residents will have their income tax rates increased. You could side with your political patron Mayor Vince Gray and the more liberal members of the D.C. Council who say that those making more than $200,000 a year ought to have their taxes raise to avoid severe cuts to social services. Or you could go with more fiscally conservative councilmembers, led by Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown, who say heck no to higher income taxes. “Income and property tax increases are not on the table,” Brown tells the Examiner. (Actually, not only are they on the table, they’re also in the mayor’s proposed budget.) As for Alexander, the Post reports: “There are signs opponents may not have to look far for their seventh vote on the 13-member council. Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) joined a majority of her colleagues in successfully resisting a tax increase on wealthier residents in the current budget. Alexander said she supports Gray’s proposal but is willing to vote against it if Brown ‘is able to find money from somewhere else.'” You’re sitting on a gold mine, Yvette, use it wisely. Meanwhile, the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute commissioned a poll that — surprise — shows strong support for DCFPI’s view that the”city’s highest priority should be maintaining public services, not holding the line on taxes,” the Post first reported. The poll also finds that there’s been a sharp drop in the percentage of people who think the city is on the right track compared to last year when former Mayor Adrian Fenty was in office.

AFTER THE JUMP: Barras v. Cooke; Graham Unhappy with New Beginnings;  Rhee’s Homecoming…

Barras v. Cooke: The Examiner’s Jonetta Rose Barras has found “indisputable evidence of the council’s malfunctioning ethical compass.” The proof: no one on the council seems to care that long-time D.C. politics staple Fred Cooke Jr. is a registered lobbyist, an officer on non-profit boards that receive city contracts and the de facto defense attorney to Brown, Councilmembers Harry Thomas Jr. and Marion Barry. “Government sources told me the council has never discussed Cooke’s representation of certain of its members. ‘There has never been an opinion issued,’ said one source. ‘How is Cooke being paid?'” With money?

Going After Chuck: The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott reports that both the inspector general and the attorney general are investigating allegations of ethical misconduct by Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Chairman and Fenty pal Chuck Brodsky. Klopott says new allegations led to the IG and AG looking at Brodsky, but doesn’t say what those allegations are. The mayor’s office orginally had its eye on Brodsky after allegations were made that “he gave favor to a liquor wholesale company after it hired an attorney who is his friend.” Brodsky says he’s being made a “pariah” because of politics.

In Other News: Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham is not happy with what’s going on at the city’s juvie prison, New Beginnings. “This is like a rest home for young thugs.” Crazy overtime being paid at Metro. Michelle Rhee is back in town (along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker), and pro-union protesters are ready to greet her.

Grad sked: Ward 2 budget briefing at 7 p.m., Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.