IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Gray Orders “Top Down” Background Checks The Kwame Brown Rehabilitation Efforts You’re Hired! Another Questionable Gray Administration Hire
Good afternoon sweet readers! Whoa, what happened to Washington City Paper? It looks… different. After nearly a quarter century of planning, @WCP unveils today its new redesign. And guess what? It looks pretty awesome. The website’s got a new look too, but you really need to pick up the dead tree edition to appreciate the awesomeness, like a chart explaining the differences between the politicos with the last name “Brown” who dot the District landscape. Go get a copy. Seriously, you need to get out from behind that devil box you are always staring at. Also, LL’s column this week looks at another questionable hire by the Gray administration, in the very same department where Sulaimon Brown was just let go. This week it’s Talib Karim, who appears to have used physical force against his ex-wife, has unpaid debts, and isn’t likely to win the Matlock award anytime soon. “The hearing did not go well for Karim, who is an attorney and represented himself. [Judge Lee] Satterfield became exasperated and lost patience with Karim’s lack of preparation for the hearing, according to appeals court records. Karim “recognized that he was doing a poor job in representing himself,” and asked the judge to reschedule the case, the court of appeals wrote. Satterfield said no, “finding it hard to believe that a member of the bar could have been so ill-informed, and made so little inquiry, about the nature of the proceedings.” Three hours after LL published his article, the Gray administration acknowledged some gaps in its past vetting and ordered that all of his political hires undergo a background check courtesy of MPD. How’s that for impact journalism? Also, Housing Complex’s LDP delivers a fun article that somehow makes the Historic Preservation Review Board interesting.
AFTER THE JUMP: Navigatorgate, Reborn; Yvette Alexander in Hot Water; Jack Evans Gets Walloped…
Navigatorgate, Reborn: The story that Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown wants to go away gets some more life this morning. First, the Examiner’s Freeman Klopott reports that the city paid $17,000 upfront on the pair of leases for Brown’s Lincoln Navigators. Klopott reports that the Office of Attorney General, which has canceled Brown’s two leases, “is now negotiating to get back some of the cash the city already paid for the sport utility vehicle.” Good luck with that, Irv. The second Navigatorgate story comes courtesy of WTOP’s Mark Segraves and Paul Shinkman (Hi Paul). The pair report that the cost of leasing the luxury Navigators is many, many times more than what the District pays to lease its other rides. “The average cost of a D.C. public vehicle lease costs taxpayers about $430, almost 4.5 times less than Brown’s Lincolns. The cheapest is a 2003 Chevy Venture the Department of Corrections began leasing in July 2007 for $207.43 per month. The most expensive vehicle is the Department of Disability Services’ 2007 Grand Caravan, specially equipped for handicap use, for which the city pays $1,600 per month.” Yikes, paying more for a Navigator than for a handicap van? More bad optics.
Where’s the Money?: The Washington Times‘ lede says it all: “A D.C. Council member who represents some of the city’s poorest households has spent less than 5 percent of the money she has raised since 2007 to help constituents with urgent needs, such as funeral expenses, rent and utilities, a review of campaign finance records shows.” Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander has some explaining to do to some upset constituents who are wondering why her constituent services fund isn’t helping constituents.
Are You Crazy, Jack Evans?: That’s what the Washington Post editorial board wants to know after Evans’ proposed legislation that would put Patrick Pope back as principal at Hardy Middle School. LL can’t even remember the name of his own middle school principal, but now knows all about Pope, who was removed from Hardy by former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. When will this story go away? Please, Lord, help us! The mere sight of the words “Hardy” upsets LL’s stomach. No wonder Evans introduced that crackpot legislation. Who can blame him? Well, the Post does. Witness how it tees off on Evans: “APPARENTLY, NEITHER his work as the Ward 2 D.C. Council member nor his job at a blue-chip law firm keeps Jack Evans (D) busy enough. How else to explain his desire to do Interim Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson‘s job?” Boom. The Post then goes on to give Gray some love, saying he has “wisely chosen to stand by the decisions of the professionals who are in charge of school operations.”
More Bad News for Kwame: Buried in this Robert McCartney column is the news that Chairman Brown is not expecting good news from the soon-to-be Office of Campaign Finance’s investigation into his old campaign reports. “[H]e’s likely to endure more bad publicity soon when the Office of Campaign Finance issues a report that he himself expects to describe inadequate record-keeping in his campaign operation.”
In Other News: What’s the bad news about higher revenue projections? The Georgetown Dish has “two raised eyebrows” about Brown turning to Georgetown U. for ethics help. Fenty pal Chuck Brodsky should step down from the ABC on G’Town issues, says the Current. Coffee shop coming to Wilson Building? The District’s favorite Swissman has the details about At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle‘s petition challenges, and the heartburn they’ve caused. Of note: Fenty’s old campaign treasurer Ben Soto prepared the challenges. See the Post, too. Did you know that Taxicab Commission Chairman Leon Swain helped arrest the guy who shot Ronald Reagan? Washington Hospital Center prepares for nurses’ strike. Can the school building/renovation boom continue? Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham not looking for credit. Seriously, what’s wrong with an Escalade?
Gray sked: 11:30 appearance at Covenent Baptist on S. Capitol to celebrate “D.C. Marriage Equality First Anniversary” Board of Trade dinner at 7:30 p.m.
Council sked: Community affairs and health committees have hearings, at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.