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Good afternoon sweet readers! Sorry for the delay in today’s roundup, LL was stuck in meetings all day: LL’s bosses want LL to start writing politicians using the exact same language that Cheap Seats columnist Dave McKenna uses to talk about sports owners. Just kidding! That was a joke and should not be misread by anyone in any way, especially any lawyers. In case you missed it, Redskins owner Dan Snyder filed a lawsuit against Washington City Paper last night. You can read all about it here. City Paper‘s dead-tree edition was also let loose on the streets of D.C. today, and has the wonderful Rend Smith trying to figure out just who was Ali Mohammed, the man who died outside of DC9. LL also profiles former DCPS teacher Francis Bolden, who had a fire extinguisher dropped on his head by a student five years ago and has been fighting the city’s bureaucracy ever since. News time:
L.A. And D.C. Only Two Cities Not to Woefully Underpay Legislators: The big story yesterday was a new Pew report that says D.C. councilmembers are the second-highest paid in the nation. “Several D.C. Council members strongly defended their salaries, saying it is misleading to group them with council members in other cities. As the report noted, D.C. Council members say, they are both state and city legislators, which makes their jobs well worth the money,” reports Tim Craig in the Post. “We deserve more, quite frankly,” says Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, whose wages are currently being garnished for failing to pay past debts. LL’s not sure about the more part, but salaries are all relative, and in this government town, $125,000 a year doesn’t seem too outrageous. The bizarre part is that the councilmembers are permitted to hold outside, lucrative second jobs, while working as councilmembers. “It’s frankly absurd to compare us to other cities. Cities don’t organize prison systems. Cities don’t organize mental health systems. . . . Cities don’t have oversight over electricity regulation. . . . We are a state, county and city all under one roof,” said Councilmember David Catania in defense of council salaries, when he could also be making the point that the council is a full-time job and should be treated as such. (Because considering how much of the budget has to go to things like mental health systems and prison systems, LL suspects readers wouldn’t mind if less of it went to things like David Catania and Marion Barry.)
AFTER THE JUMP: Kwame Brown and Pat Mara Win Wednesday; Fenty’s New Gig; Metro Raises…
Wednesday is Kwame Brown Day: Whenever LL reads a story about Council Chairman Kwame Brown‘s money issues, he’s instantly transported to the rowdy Ward 4 mayoral debate last summer, when a heckler mistook candidate Sulaimon Brown for Kwame Brown and yelled out, “Pay your debts, Kwame.” Ahh, memories. Anyway, the latest story on Brown’s finances comes from Freeman Klopott at the Examiner, who says that Brown’s 2010 chairman’s campaign is $14,000 in the red, citing campaign finance reports. No it’s not, says Brown: Brown told The Washington Examiner that his campaign has no debt and that “the Office of Campaign Finance is working to reconcile the amount shown in the January 31st report as negative cash on hand.” O-K. Also weird: “finance records show that Brown’s 2004 election campaign paid $645 to consultant Charles Hawkins on Jan. 19, 2011. City finance rules require candidates to close out debt-free accounts six months after an election. Any surplus must be contributed to nonprofit groups or political parties.” Klopott also reports that the Office of Campaign Finance has completed its initial investigation of alleged campaign finance shenanigans it started last year during campaign season. Brown says he will be “vindicated” when the facts are all made public. On another front, Brown is profiled as education crusader by the Washington Times‘ Deborah Simmons.Brown repeats that he’s not going to be a “rubber stamp” for Gray’s administration, and says he’s “all in” when it comes to improving public education. “Education should be the equalizer … It’s unacceptable that we have schools that aren’t teaching the kids. I’m going to continue education reform to hold accountable not just teachers but principals and parents.”
Wednesday is Pat Mara Day, Too: Republican at-large candidate Pat Mara had a good media day yesterday. He’s got a populist quote in the Examiner‘s cover story on the council’s high salaries: “Disgraceful,” he says. (Yeah, he says that now, but wait ’til he wins!) Mara also got to type it up over at Greater Greater Washington, where he explained why he’s a Republican, what he thinks about IMPACT, and why he doesn’t own a car.
In other news: Former Mayor Adrian Fenty is going to help Rosetta Stone sell foreign language training software as fast as humanly possible, the Hill Rag’s Nose jokes about hitting CM Tommy Wells with a car, Metro employees could get raises, DCPS is looking for money. And Wells is firmly on City Paper‘s side.
Gray sked: 6 p.m. appearance at Flamboyan Foundation’s talk on venture philanthropy.
Don’t miss: 6:30 p.m. at-large candidate forum at One Judiciary Square.
Brown told The Washington Examiner that his campaign has no debt and that “the Office of Campaign Finance is working to reconcile the amount shown in the January 31st report as negative cash on hand.”
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/02/browns-campaign-red-records-show#ixzz1CuxMYeeK