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Good morning sweet readers! Happy Valentine’s Day for all of you with a special someone. For those currently single, happy Monday. News time:
Allen Lew, We Hardly Knew You: Today’s topper is the Post’s weekend profile of City Administrator Allen Lew, the man who is really in charge of making the city run. “Things go right, [Mayor Vince Gray] gets credit. Things go wrong, I get . . . blamed,” says Lew. Lew’s got a stellar reputation in this town for getting things done, but reporter Nikita Stewart that “git-r-done” attitude often comes with a higher-than anticipated price: “Although he repeatedly says he completed construction projects ‘on time and on budget,’ a Washington Post review of more than a dozen projects shows that most ballooned in price. The convention center jumped from $714 million to $834 million by the time it was completed in 2003. The baseball stadium price tag swelled by $80 million to $691 million before costly amenities are added in. Out of a list of 16 schools and a pool built under his leadership, 12 went over budget. In each case, Lew bulldozed his way to additional spending with the power of persuasion.” See the article for the rebuttal, CM Jack Evans wondering whether Lew’s skills at getting things built will translate to running a government, anonymous developers saying Lew plays favorite, and some more details about Lew’s personal life.
AFTER THE JUMP: Gray Goes FDR; Welcome Wal-Mart; School News …
Going all FDR: Mayor Vince Gray isn’t having any luck pushing uncooperative Fenty-appointees off the United Medical Center’ board, so he plans on expanding the board and stacking it with his appointees to help “expedite the transfer of this hospital to private ownership,” reports the Post. Councilmember David Catania, who wants to hold on to the hospital for a couple of years, is likely displeased. Also, according to the story: “The mayor also dismissed concerns about a conflict of interest with the hospital and lobbyist Linda Greene, whom he is dating. Greene previously lobbied city officials on behalf of entrepreneur George Chopivsky. ‘I’ve never had a conversation with Linda,’ Gray said. ‘I don’t talk to her about her business. She doesn’t talk to me about my work.'” LL has one small point with what Gray said: According to the Office of Campaign Finance, Greene lobbied Gray about UMC on Chopivsky’s behalf on July 9, 2010, the same day the city foreclosed on the property. That doesn’t sound like “never had a conversation” to LL.
Bond Rating Kings: Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the city’s top elected officials went before Wall Street bond rating agencies last week to make the case that yes, we are responsible, and no, we won’t default on loans. “There is arguably nothing more important than the bond rating,” Evans told the Georgetown Dish, which has a recap of the meetings. Witness this lovefest: “At a meeting in Evans’ office last week, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi said Evans plays a key role in the annual Wall Street meetings. “Jack does the heavy lifting. He represents the city very well,” Gandhi said. Evans returned the compliment to the one-time protege of former CFO and Mayor Anthony Williams. “He gives us credibility,” Evans said of Gandhi.
School News: The Examiner’s Lisa Gartner has some details about some of the 75 fired DCPS teachers who are now eligible for reinstatement and back pay thanks to an arbitrator’s ruling that they were improperly dismissed. According to evaluations from principals, some of the teachers were not, shall we say, at the head of the class. One was AWOL for a month, another told his students to go to “H-E-L-L,” others were just unprepared, bad teachers. But the Washington Teachers’ Union says the teachers never had a chance to defend themselves against those allegations and some teachers were canned just because their principal didn’t like them. The Post also reports that DCPS has big plans for the mountain of data it’s getting from its IMPACT teacher evaluation, like using the numbers to see which colleges are producing good teachers, which administrators are retaining the best teachers, and how often good teachers go to the bathroom. Ok, LL made that last one up … maybe.
Hooray for Wal-Mart: Last week, Wal-Mart execs met with writers and editors of the Washington Post. This week the editorial board writes an editorial how Wal-Mart would be a welcome addition to the District (which follows a similar-themed column from Robert McCartney). Put yourself in for a raise, Wal-Mart press guy! “Unsubstantiated criticism should not be allowed to derail a private investment that, on balance, appears to be to the advantage of the District and its residents,” says the board. LL has no idea why the Post felt the need to write this editorial. The resistance to Wal-Mart coming to the District is tepid at best, councilmembers are cheering the company’s arrival, and the store isn’t asking for any special favors to come here. Boom, done deal.
In other news: Uniontown Bar and Grill is a symbol of Anacostia’s hope for a more development and “antibiotic-free meats and fresh juices.” Councilmember Marion Barry will no longer have Clarence Carter, the head of human services who just took a job in Arizona, to kick around anymore. Speaking of Barry, be sure and check out this picture of him (it’s No. 9) from 1963 during his SNCC days. Republican congressmen reintroduce a bill to make it easier to buy and own guns in the District, also submit spending resolution that hammers the District and Metro. Eleanor Holmes Norton responds by saying that they “are out to get us.” Kwame and Vince will get to argue over the voucher program in front of a Sen. Joesph Lieberman Wednesday. The Office of Inspector General is looking into the purchase of $13,000 worth of electronics by the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking — this is in no way related, but Prince George’s alleged bra-stuffer Leslie Johnson used to work in that department. If you need to be informed via mail that there’s a special election going on, you probably weren’t going to vote in it anyway. Jonetta Rose Barras becomes the latest pundit to say that Gray is plodding along too slowly. District is becoming richer and whiter, says new Brookings report—just not on election day!
At-large candidate Jacque Patterson will be on Greater Greater Washington today at 1 p.m.
Graysked: Met with new overlord Rep. Trey Gowdy at 10 a.m.; 12:30 a.m. Capitol Hill Towers seniors celebration.