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Good morning sweet readers! On this day in 1885, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel with naughty words that LL’s Bean will probably never hear of. News time:
Pill Bill Fight: Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander was blowing it up last night on the social media network known as Twitter. Alexander let it be known that she will not be support Councilmember David Catania‘s proposal allow birth control pills to be sold without a doctor’s prescription. “I will not support any woman taking birth control pills w/o a visit to her doctor. Condoms don’t require a Dr.’s visit, use them instead!” Alexander tweeted, launching an online debate of sorts, 140 characters at a time. Alexander’s point seems to be that pharmacists are a sketchy bunch, and women should avoid making eye contact with them, let alone taking their advice on which pills to take. Kidding! Alexander’s point is that a doctor’s visit is a prudent and necessary step before taking birth control. “Guys, I know it’s great to have sex without the risk of pregnancy, just tell the ladies to schedule with the Dr #CaseClosed,” she concluded. Meanwhile, the Examiner reports that even if the council approves Catania’s bill, it would still take several years before over-the-counter birth control becomes a reality.
AFTER THE JUMP: Ethics Committee Dead?; Take the Money and Run; No Dough For School Sports;
What They Said: Yesterday, the District’s 13 councilmembers huddled together at the convention center for a private “retreat.” The Examiner’s Harry Jaffe spoke with a couple of them afterwards, and reports that 1) there will be no silly fights over free tickets to sporting events 2) the council has no 9/11-type emergency plan and 3) the council does not want an ethics committee. “On the campaign trail, Kwame Brown vowed to establish an ethics panel. He told me two weeks ago he was committed to one. His colleagues? Not so much. When the subject did come up, [Marion] Barry fumed. He railed against former Attorney General Peter Nickles for starting ‘politically motivated’ investigations. His colleagues piled on. No matter that Barry committed the most egregious ethical breach of recent years by bestowing city contracts on a paramour and taking kickbacks, for which his colleagues censured him and stripped him of his committee assignments. Ward 5’s Harry “Tommy” Thomas has been asked to provide records for Team Thomas, a group that accepted funds from the city and businessmen, while it also paid for Tommy’s trips. Nickles started the investigation; new Attorney General Irv Nathan has taken it on. Was it an ethical lapse when Barry and at-large member Michael Brown neglected to pay D.C. taxes? Guess we won’t find out from the city council; Chairman Brown’s proposed committee seems to be dead.”
You’re On The Wrong Side, Vince: The WaPo editorial board tells Mayor Vince Gray that he ought to think of the children and support congressional efforts to revive the school voucher program. “By no means is the Opportunity Scholarship Program a cure-all, but it has the ability to help some children—those who are most disadvantaged—right now. And, as Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) pointed out, it doesn’t come at the expense of public education. Indeed, the three-sector approach has in fact pumped millions of additional dollars into traditional public schools and charters.” This debate reminds LL of an old column he wrote that no one read about a scholarship program for tony boarding schools that DCPS has never bothered to give the time of day.
Just Like an Episode of Friday Night Lights: Lisa Gartner of the Examiner has a nice scoop about DCPS coaches not getting paid in what anyone would consider a timely manner. ”Meanwhile, D.C. Public Schools officials never allocated athletic budgets for the current school year, leaving some schools’ programs ‘running on fumes.’ … Schools spokeswoman Safiya Simmons said DCPS doesn’t have a policy on how quickly it must pay coaches. ‘We endeavor to pay all of our employees in a timely fashion, but in the situation of coaches and similar positions, sometimes external factors beyond our control affect that,’ such as criminal background checks. Simmons confirmed that the high schools have not received their sports budgets for the 2010-2011 school year, which athletic directors said they expected last summer. … After The Washington Examiner called DCPS about the absent budgets, Marcus Ellis, DCPS athletic director, e-mailed schools: ‘We have received great news! We will be able to disseminate your individual school budgets beginning next week.'” Power of the press!
No More Dinners at Morton’s: Fox5 has the news that the Fraternal Order of Police union is going to sue the city to stop Chief Cathy Lanier‘s all-hands-on-deck initiative, which an arbitrator has already ruled is a no-no but Lanier is set to continue. Money quote from FOP boss Kris Baumann: “If this is going to be the pattern where [Gray’s] going to perform the same sort of shenanigans that the prior mayor did, which actually got the prior mayor put out of office, it’s going to be a long four years for everyone in this city.” Man, it sure did not take long for Gray’s relationship with the FOP to go south.
Victor Hoskins is Angry: Not really, but Housing Complex’s LDP notes that Gray’s new deputy mayor for planning and economic development has been making the rounds ’round town. Here’s Hoskins on his thoughts about developing poorer areas, which are leaking development bucks to the burbs: “It’s wrong, it’s just wrong. Inappropriate! Our dollar should stay here as long as possible, it should turn as many times as possible. But the way that you do that is you create incentive programs to really reduce their risk. Because you see, what they are worried about more than anything else is risk. A lot of times, they’re not even worried about being able to finance an opportunity. They’re not even worried about finding a franchisee. What they’re worried about is the risk of endangerment.”
In Other News: District to stop paying rent on vacant building. Water ain’t free. White collar penalty for white collar crime. DOES employees lack “basic training” for how to process unemployment claims. New DCRA boss Nick Majett personally inspects alleged slumlord-controlled apartments. Either Majett likes attention, or DCRA is really short on inspectors. Republicans are optimistic that Pat Mara‘s pledge to not raise taxes will help him seal the deal. Ted Loza plea hearing scheduled for this afternoon. Speaking of Loza! The Georgetown Dish wants Councilmember Jim Graham to look into this Chuck Brodsky fellow.
Gray sked: Meeting with Moco’s Ike Leggett and PG’s Rushern Baker at 10 a.m. Celebrating Toni Morrison’s b-day at Library of Congress at 6 p.m.
Council: 10 a.m. hearing on DOES, 1 p.m. hearing on park contract investigation.