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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Gray’s Rumor Girlfriend Part of UMC Lobbying Effort Eleanor Holmes Norton Drinks From the Tap Gray’s First General News Conference Imagined
Good morning sweet readers! Yeah, listing your sins on your iPhone seems like a disaster waiting to happen. News time:
Welcome Back, Unwanted Teachers: The cash-strapped District received a firm kick in the teeth yesterday, with the news that an arbitrator had ruled that 75 new teachers former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee fired in 2008 should be reinstated with back pay because the termination was improper. The Washington Teachers Union estimates that back pay could come to as much as $7.5 million, not an insignificant sum for a jurisdiction that’s looking at big cuts to city services and possible tax increases. The Post’s Bill Turque has the deets on the arbitrator’s decision, which basically boiled down to the fact that Rhee never gave the teachers, who were in a probationary period, a reason why they were getting the boot. So would have a simple, “It’s not you, it’s me,” have sufficed?
AFTER THE JUMP: Basic Police Work Fail; UMC Showdown; Solar Decathlon Not Happening on the Mall…
Basic Police Work Fail: Question: How come podunk police departments around the country can successfully use breathalyzers and the District can’t? This is not rocket science. “The District’s attorney general has dropped dozens of drunken driving cases since Jan. 31 and hundreds of others could be dropped as the police department shuts down its troubled alcohol breath-test program. … ‘The alcohol breath-analysis program? It doesn’t exist anymore,’ said Ilmar Paegle, who discovered problems with the Intoxilyzer 5000s soon after he took over the city’s breath-analysis program on Feb. 1, 2010. Paegle’s contract ended last week. As he left, he said, the police department pulled off the street the Intoximeter, which replaced the Intoxilyzer last spring. “It’s a royal mess,” Paegle said,” reports Freeman Klopott in the Examiner. “Meanwhile, the two police officers who account for a third of the city’s 1,400 annual drunken driving arrests have had their trial testimony called into question. They are the subjects of an internal affairs investigation that began after they spoke out about problems with the breath analyzers. Officers Jose Rodriguez and Andrew Zabavsky learned that the medical examiner hadn’t signed off on the program and began mentioning that in their trial testimony last spring, according to an e-mail from Zabavsky to police Chief Cathy Lanier. Later in the spring, the attorney general’s office began an investigation into the officers, saying a woman they arrested for driving under the influence in June 2009 had complained the two watched her take a urine test.” Fox5 has more, and the Post obviously played catch-up. New Attorney General Irv Nathan shows poor form by only speaking to the Post.
There Will Be Blood: The Post‘s Mike DeBonis has the scoop that Mayor Vince Gray wants four members of the United Medical Center’s board to resign because they are Fenty-era appointees and he wants board members who “have expertise in governing a hospital.” But the four aren’t leaving, and Gray’s director of boards and commissions, Ron Collins, says he’ll have to come up with some other options to get rid of them. D-Bones also reports that Gray falls squarely into the camp of city leaders who want the long-troubled Ward 8 hospital off the city books soon. “There are people like me who believe this needs to be turned over to a private operator,” says Gray. “The clear business winner in all of this is George Chopivsky, the D.C. entrepreneur who wants to buy the hospital from District government,” says WBJ‘s Ben Fisher. Standing in his way is Councilmember David Catania, who only will relinquish control of that hospital to Chopivsky from his cold dead hand. Prediction: this is going to get messy. Also, if you missed it, Chopivsky hired Gray’s maybe-girlfriend Linda Greene to help meet the movers and shakers east of the river.
Josh Lopez For Real?: The Post gives at-large candidate and former Fenty campaign aide Josh Lopez some digital ink, highlighting his eagerness to attack Gray for not being more aggressive in his meeting with House Speaker John Boehner. “With so many candidates in the race, many observers believe there is room for a Democratic candidate willing to take on [Kwame] Brown and Gray, who have both endorsed [Sekou] Biddle. Lopez believes he’s well suited to position himself as that candidate, highlighting his ties to Fenty. Last year, Lopez headed up the campaign to get voters to write in Fenty’s name on their general election ballots,” writes Tim Craig. Lopez also had his campaign kick off party last night, which, according to Twitter, was awesome.
In other news: Solar Decathlon not happening on National Mall. WaPo editorial board says there are no easy answers when it comes to getting District residents working—that means you, First Source law. Gray did not like the way Adrian Fenty choose his school chancellor, will form a panel. David Alpert to D.C.: shovel your friggin’ sidewalk. D.C. Vote protesters disrupt hearing on stripping abortion funding for D.C., and yes, local public funds are funding abortions. Kwame Brown wants pro bono financial adviser to help the council. Middle school student charged with bringing Molotov cocktail to school. Gray picks pal Lorraine Green to be on convention center board.
Gray sked: Meeting with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and House Committee on Appropriations D.C. Subcommittee Chair and Bethesda native Jo Ann Emerson at 11 a.m. Off to New York, via Amtrak, for meeting bond rating agencies.
Council sked: Hearings on snow shoveling, healthcare, and resolution naming the District the 51st state.