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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Marion Barry: Let’s Hire Men Ted Loza Still Politically Active
Good morning sweet readers! LL is probably not the first new dad to think this, but some of the one-piece outfits LL’s bean wears are pretty stylin’ and just might look good in adult sizes. News time:
A Rose By Any Other Name: Scoop o’ the day awards go to WAMU’s Patrick Madden, who finds, via a FOIA request that the children of Mayor Vince Gray‘s best friend, Lorraine Greene, and his new chief of staff, Geri Mason Hall, just landed new city jobs. “Green’s daughter, Leslie, works in the mayor’s office as a senior communications manager. Hall’s son, Nicholas, has been hired as a writer/editor in the Department of Parks and Recreation. … D.C. is governed by federal nepotism rules, and there is no evidence any laws were broken. The mayor’s office says while Gray was not personally responsible for the hirings, he stands by them. The statement adds these young people ‘were interviewed and selected because of what they can offer’ and calls them ‘the next generation of leaders.'” No laws may have been broken … except those of political optics. Isn’t the cash-strapped city in a hiring freeze? Is a communications manager and a writer/editor really necessary? LL imagines that the city government could somehow continue to function if those positions had been left open. If you look at the accompanying list Madden provided of new hires, you’ll see that Nicholas Hall was hired as “exempted service,” which means he’s a political hire. It might be worth asking why a “writer/editor” for the parks department would not need to go through the regular career track hiring process.
AFTER THE JUMP: UMC Beat Down; Budget Plans; School News…
There Will Be Talk: If you’re into lively legislative debates, then today’s Council hearing has the potential to be off the hook. The main event is set to be Councilmember David Catania versus the powers that be in a fight over the fate of Ward 8’s United Medical Center. Gray, along with CFO Nat Gandhi, wants to sell the hospital quickly, but has a bunch of Fenty-appointees on the hospital’s board sitting in his way who won’t resign. So Gray is looking to stack the board with his people and is pushing emergency legislation that’s set to allow him to do so today. Catania, though, is not going to go quietly into the good night and might offer some harsh words from the dais about Gray’s plan. “Catania said that other than asking for the board members’ resignations, Gray has spent little time trying to work with them on any issue, including selling the hospital,” reports the Examiner. The Washington Post editorial board takes the mickey out of both Gray and Catania this morning and urges them to work together. “Mr. Gray’s bid to pack the board with his own appointees is a tad unsettling; there’s no evidence the current board has anything but the hospital’s best interests at heart. Indeed, even the critical Mr. Gandhi has acknowledged the signs of improvement. Equally unsettling, though, is the grip that Mr. Catania—to whom former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) deferred many decisions—seems to hold over the hospital’s direction. He has been an important and passionate champion for the hospital, but he also played a major role in the disastrous recruitment of the hospital’s previous owner.”Council Chairman Kwame Brown was on Bruce DePuyt’s show yesterday, saying that he wants the hospital sold quickly and praising Catania’s leadership. And Harry Jaffe says any plan to sell the hospital quickly to businessman George Chopvisky w0uld take into a “thicket of cronyism” because of Chopvisky’s hiring of Gray’s special lady friend Linda Greene.
Budget Plans: President Obama’s budget goes easy on the District, reports the Post. “In the proposal released by the White House, Obama urges Congress to steer more federal resources to move the Department of Homeland Security to the campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Ward 8, allocate additional funds to fight HIV/AIDS and create a $5 million fund for local nonprofit arts organizations. Obama’s budget also continues funding for a program that allows D.C. students to pay in-state tuition at hundreds of colleges and universities across the country, maintains stable funding for city public and charter schools, and keeps the federal government’s commitment to supply Metro with $150 million to pay for upgrades to the system.” But the House Republican plan, you’ll remember, is not so nice.
Culture of Corruption: LL is still going back and forth on what organization he thinks is worse: Pepco or Metro. Today, Metro wins, thanks to Kytja Weir‘s report in the Examiner that a former Metro supervisor will get away with stealing a bunch of stuff because stealing is an “implicitly tolerated practice” at Metro.
So Much School News: Michelle Rhee biographer Richard Whitmire writes in the Huffington Post that the former schools chancellor uses the word “like” and “crazy” a lot, had a Tiger Mom, and knows how to organize a restaurant. She’s also, according to the guy trying to sell a book about her, “possibly the nation’s most interesting lunch companion.” More locally, the Post reports on squabbles between Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and WTU President Nathan Saunders over an email Henderson sent to a fired WTU employee. Also, principals are getting schooled on the proper way of firing teachers, possibly in anticipation of having to fire teachers due to budget reasons. Also, teachers’ union honchos Randi Weingarten and Saunders explain that Rhee didn’t “play by the rules” in firing 75 teachers, which is why an arbitrator recently ordered them reinstated. And the Washington Examiner pens an editorial calling those teachers “zombies” and says things are starting to look like pre-Rhee days. And the Department of Health is looking into why so few DCPS girls get HPV shots.
In other news: If the District is willing to give a developer $8 million to bring Whole Foods to Southeast, you might one day be able to overpay for groceries after watching the Nats lose. Azalea’s are saved, thanks to $1 million gift. Having your landlord get foreclosed on blows. “I ain’t got no crystal ball.”
Gray sked: Full day for the mayor: News conference at noon, going to Vice President Biden’s house to honor Black History Month at 6:30 p.m., then off to a frat meeting at 6:50 p.m.
Council: Full council, supposed to start at 10 a.m.