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Good morning sweet readers! Today is Thursday, when the dead tree edition of the City Paper falls from the sky into vandalized boxes around town. In this week’s edition, LL tries to make the wrangling over committee assignments as interesting as possible. Fortunately, CM David Catania is employing some serious psy-ops in his quest to head the as-yet-unformed education committee. Catania’s message to Almost Council Chairman to Kwame Brown: Pick me and you are one independent bad ass; pick CM Mary Cheh, and you are Almost Mayor Vince Gray‘s lapdog. News time:
You Spell Your First Name Wrong: Yesterday morning, some Fenty kids packed up their bunks, exchanged addresses and promised to write (maybe one letter, tops), and bid adieu to the world of D.C. government. By the afternoon, new kids arrived, ready to take their place. And this morning, even more new kids are coming. First, let’s start with which agency head’s letters of resignation Gray has accepted: DDOT’s Gabe Klein, DCRA’s Linda Argo, Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos, Department of Employment Services’ Joseph Walsh, OCTO’s Bryan Sivak, Commission on Arts and Humanities’ boss Gloria Nauden, and Office of Motion Picture and Television Development Kathy Hollinger.Gray at a news conference yesterday said it’s nothing personal with any of the Fenty agency heads, it’s just business. New administrations want their own people. Klein got all candid with reporters, Sivak gushed to his employees, and the smart growth set reacts. Meanwhile, Gray announced that schools modernization tsar Allen Lew will be his city administrator and Gerri Mason Hall, an exec at Sodexo, will be his chief of staff. The first day stories don’t have much interesting info on either Lew or Hall, but their supporters say they are good people. The Post’s Nikita Stewart is first out of the gate with news that many of Gray’s council aides are coming with him. Stewart also reports that Crystal Palmer, who had Hollinger’s job for two decades before Fenty canned her, is getting her job back. Palmer is married to former CM Harold Brazil.
AFTER THE JUMP: Congressional Overlord Displeased with Lottery Maneuver; Judge to Thomas: Hand em’ Over; Control Board? No…
Your Gamble Will Fail: Interesting update from the Times on the District’s out-of-nowhere bid to legalize online gambling. Check out these quotes from Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who may or may not be the District’s next congressional overlord: “Washington, D.C., should not be the mecca for gambling. You don’t solve financial problems that way … I’m not sure how Congress will weigh in, but I will make sure my colleagues know about this, and I expect there will be a lot of resistance.” “There is no foundation that has been laid to gain any broad support … It was slipped into a budget discussion in the middle of the night. That doesn’t strike me as a good way to do business.” And the kicker: “They may want to get more creative … but they also might want to seriously look at running the city more efficiently first.” Ouch, does this guy want another control board or what? CM Michael Brown, who sponsored the online gambling measure that was given preliminary approval during Tuesday’s budget session says he has been working with his colleagues for months on the proposal, which he said could raise $13 million a year. The Times reports that it and Attorney General Peter Nickles have been denied requests to see a copy of the the council’s legal opinion that says there aren’t legal problems with initiating online gambling in D.C. Meanwhile, the Post is a day late and a mile behind on its coverage.
Speaking of the control board, Alice Rivlin tells LDP that Ward 2 Jack Evans‘ rhetoric is a little over the top. Says Rivlin: “I don’t think the city is in any danger of the return of a control board. Unless we do something extremely stupid, and I do not think the new mayor and the new council will do that.” Words to live by: “unless we do something extremely stupid,” life will be okay.
Gimme More: Twice A.G. Nickles has dragged Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr into court (figuratively speaking) to get a judge to order Thomas to hand over financial records related to his youth sports non-profit, Team Thomas, and twice the judge has sided with Nickles. Except both times, Nickles has been unhappy with the amount of time the court has given Thomas to comply. In the latest round, Nickles won the rights to get actual details about how Team Thomas raised and spent $200k since Thomas has been in office, but the info isn’t due until Jan. 8, at which point Nickles will be likely shoveling horse poop at his farm in Virginia. The Team Thomas saga is a nasty little stink bomb for incoming Gray and his attorney general pick, as Mike DeBonis points out. Thomas and Gray are super tight, but it might look awfully bad if the attorney general’s office all of sudden stops caring about whether Thomas broke any city fundraising laws, as Nickles says he has. At the end of DeBonis’ piece, we get to the good stuff: “Nickles intimated that he might have other options for pursuing Team Thomas in his remaining time—for instance, returning to court to ask for quicker compliance or attempting to force Thomas to give sworn oral testimony before month’s end. He also said that could release damning information concerning Team Thomas he had gathered—’documents from outside sources’ that indicate that some of the group’s expenditures were improper. ‘I’m not done,’ he said. ‘I’ve got another 20-some days; I’ve got a creative mind; and I don’t like it when the law is being avoided. … The day of reckoning is coming.'” Jason Cherkis offers his legal analysis via Twitter, and Thomas’ old opponent Tim Day, who got the Team Thomas story rolling, taunts.
Schools boss Kaya Henderson has booted out the private operator of Dunbar High School and reinstated the school’s old principal. A signal that Henderson is but Gray’s pawn? Nope, Henderson tells the Post’s juice-fiend Bill Turque: “Some will say it’s Gray. I’m telling you unequivocally that he hasn’t told me any direction to go in on this …I’m just going to do what I think is best. Sorry I don’t have anything juicier to tell you.”
MPD Chief Cathy Lanier responds to Examiner‘s gym-gate. LL is still waiting for a reporter to either 1) find out how much this new open space workout room costs or 2) give a first-hand description of said room.
Jim Graham: food truck wars peacemaker.
Wells manages to soften budget blow to poor grandparents.
Take “interim” off of D.C. Housing Authority Executive Director Adrianne Todman‘s title.
Gray announces seven new high level staffers at 11.
Evans is on TBD’s Newstalk at 10.
Fenty was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this, er, morning—LL couldn’t find a link, so if you can, please send it along.
Council: 10 a.m. hearing on healthy schools act, which might be infesting the schools with mice.