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  • Cheh Seeks to Block Separation Pay for Fenty Campaign Workers
  • Washingtonian Magazine: Right One Third of the Time
  • Good morning sweet readers! Baby it’s cold outside! News time:

    Money, Money, Money: It’s going to be a long day for Almost Mayor Vince Gray‘s budget team, which will probably be up most of the night hammering out the final details of $188 million budget gap. At 3 a.m. or so, they’ll likely e-mail that proposal to the rest of the council, who will wake up tomorrow morning to find out that Gray has cut funding for the streetcar program, just for kicks. Gray will also meet with his colleagues today to hash out some of the big ideas, like whether to raise taxes. The Post editorial page tells Gray not to hike ’em, as does Jonetta Rose Barras. Instead, they argue, Gray should stick closely to the Still Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s proposal. Something tells LL that Gray doesn’t much care with either the Post or Jonetta think. Ditto for Fenty fan Terry Lynch, who complains in the Examiner that Gray is cutting deals “behind closed doors.” But Gray is probably more receptive to Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert, who says:  “Unfortunately, this budget process hasn’t been any more transparent than the last one. Despite hours of hearings, these capital budget cuts are again happening behind closed doors and at the last minute. Sarah Campbell and the rest of the Council budget office have a list of cuts they are pondering; it would be really helpful to know what they are so residents can more meaningfully weigh in.” Gray tells the Examiner that there’s nothing wrong with having one-on-one meetings with his colleagues, and says he’s not very happy about having to deal with this budget mess in such a short amount of time. Gray, btw, is going to spend this morning ringside at the most entertaining show in regional politics: the swearing-in (maybe) of Leslie Johnson to the P.G. County Council.

    AFTER THE JUMP: Rhee’s New Gig; Pepco is No Goodco; No SepPay for You …

    Rhee Plans: Politico‘s Mike Allen has the scoop that former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is going to announce on Oprah that she’s starting an advocacy group for school reform. An advocacy group? Boring! What about a reality show? Newsweek has the details on said advocacy group, which will come out after Rhee’s appearance on Op. Rhee’s new website was supposed to launch at 10 a.m.  At 10:05 a.m., it hadn’t.

    PEPCO Stinks: You were right, sweet reader, Pepco really does blow. The Post puts Pepco in its place over the weekend, and tells us it’s not the trees’ fault that the power goes out so often. “In recent years, Pepco has placed near the bottom for daily reliability in surveys that compared power companies around the country. Pepco tends to have more sustained power interruptions, defined as those lasting longer than five minutes. And when the lights go dark, they tend to stay off longer. In one 2008 survey, Pepco finished last among participating utility companies on two of three reliability measurements, records filed with regulators show. Pepco stopped participating in that annual study after its last-place finish.”

    187: DCist’s Aaron Morrissey debunks some campaign sloganeering about D.C.’s low murder rate under Fenty. “Fenty will have presided over a little over a 28 percent decrease in the number of homicides that occurred during his first year in office, 2007. This is a sizable figure, and certainly something for Fenty to brag about. But it is hardly without peer. In fact, Anthony Williams, who held office directly before Fenty, presided over a 31 percent decrease in his second term. Even Marion Barry—who, in his third term as mayor, saw the number of homicides in the city more than double—presided over a just short of 28 percent decrease during his fourth term, between 1995 and 1998.” Pepco is having a morning news conference this morning to outline a 5-year improvement plan. Power of the press!

    Open Meetings, Except for Us: The Post blasts CM Mary Cheh for exempting the council from an otherwise admirable open meetings law update. “Instead of having to play by the rules that are being mandated for other public bodies, the council would be able to adopt its own rules. And whereas an independent office would be set up to ensure compliance with the law, the council apparently would be answerable to no one,” the ed board writes. LL would like to hear Cheh’s response, but she didn’t respond to the Post‘s questions.

    No SepPay for You: The Examiner, like LL, reports that Cheh plans on introducing emergency legislation that would block separation pay for former Fenty campaigner workers who were brought on to city jobs just before or even after a hiring freeze. As daily papers in this town love to do, the Examiner doesn’t give City Paper any credit for its reporting. But the Examiner does have Fenty flack Sean Madigan saying that “the mayor’s tiered system would only allow for up to one week of severance pay for the political appointees who have worked for fewer than 180 days. He added that anyone who is fired by the city is guaranteed one week’s severance under District human resources regulations.” When LL first wrote about separation pay for Fenty campaign workers a few weeks ago, a spokeswoman in the H.R. department never said nothing about no tiered system. And it’s funny how there’s no mention of a tiered system in the Fenty administration’s own exit information packet.

    Rundown of development plans that could get screwy with faltering economy.

    GW chairman gives to Gray.

    Dunbar High School, Gray’s alma mater, is in rough shape.

    Well-liked Asst. Police Chief Diane Groomes‘ fate to be decided soon.

    Liquor Board blocked from seeing MPD report on DC9.

    Voting rights, keep fighting.

    D.C. Arts District, wherefore art thou?

    Psst guard, I’d like some weed and a cell phone.

    Help with foreclosures.

    Gray, remember that promise to deliver a parity plan for charter schools? Well, people are watching.

    Sorry Orange Line riders, you’ll just have to continue taking a shower daily.

    Fenty: no public schedule.

    Council: Meeting on budget, 2 p.m. hearing on Adams Morgan hotel tax abatement.