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Good morning sweet readers! How about that four-day weekend! Who wants to go for five? Anyone? No? Okay then, get back to work! News time:
Speed It Up Vince, Pedal Faster: The Post gave outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty his Christmas gift early this year with a pair of stories that 1) highlight the single most important accomplishment of Fenty’s career: adding bike lanes and a bikesharing program, and 2) unfavorably compare Almost Mayor Vince Gray‘s slow, disorganized transition to the as-fast-as-humanly-possible Fenty transition of four years ago. In the first story, we learn that a whopping 2.2 percent of District commuters use bikes, nearly doubling from 10 years ago. (At City Paper, by comparison, only 2.2 percent of the staff don’t use bikes to get around.) But those low numbers be damned, there’s a feeling in the air, says Tim Craig. “District officials are reporting a surge in the use of bicycles to commute or for recreation, helping Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) realize a key goal as he prepares to leave office in January … But residents and city officials say the statistics do not tell the full story of how quickly District residents are taking up bicycling for fun or their primary mode of transportation.” The growth of Capital Bikeshare, Craig reports, is faster than anyone anticipated and is “what makes D.C. great,” according to one resident. Gary Imhoff at D.C. Watch has an alternate headline for Craig’s story: “Few People Bike, Despite Many Government Incentives.”
AFTER THE JUMP: Transition Blues; Voting Rights Blues; Party Blues …
In the transition story, we learn that everything people feared about the mayor elect’s governing style has come true and the city is doomed! “Gray’s slow-to-start transition is reigniting fears about his career-long cautious decision-making style and raising concerns that he won’t be fully prepared to take over from incumbent Adrian M. Fenty (D) on Jan. 2. Numerous officials inside and outside the District government say that they are having difficulty obtaining information from a transition team bogged down by meetings and confusion about who is in charge.” CMs David Catania and Marion Barry even put aside their differences to come together and criticize Gray’s pace. Point: “At this point in 2006, Fenty had named a chief of staff, attorney general, city administrator, police chief and deputy mayor for education, as well as reappointed Natwar Gandhi as chief financial officer.” Counterpoint: “Some Gray supporters note that former mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), who is helping Gray with the transition, waited until late December to start naming cabinet secretaries.” LL is guessing that most of the angst about Gray’s transition pace is probably coming from folks who just want a job in Gray’s administration. Dorothy Brizill at D.C. Watch reports some community and civic groups are concerned that Gray’s transition team leaders are all rich elitists who mostly live in pro-Fenty parts of town.
Epic Fail: Read Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s confident declaration from 2008 on the chances of the District getting full voting rights in the House and try not to laugh (or cry, depending on how serious a person you are.) “I really can’t think of a scenario by which we could fail,” EHN said, as re-reported by Ben Pershing in the Post in an update on how dead the chances are of a voting rights bill passing the incoming GOP-controlled House. “Former representative Tom Davis (Va.), who was the lead Republican supporter of voting rights until he retired in 2008, put the chance of passage in the next Congress at ‘zero.’ ‘If the Democratic Congress can’t do it, you’re not going to get a Republican Congress to do it,’ Davis said, complaining that Democrats missed their best chance this year. … ‘the chance is gone, I would guess, for 10 years.'”
The Party’s Over: Let’s do away with political parties in District politics, suggests Mike DeBonis in the Post. They add no value and prohibit a healthy chunk of voters from having any say in some of the most important races. Who would be for such a move? Why it’s Patrick Mara, a Republican who won just won in a non-partisan School Board race. Who has no interest in what DeBonis is talking about? “But moving to nonpartisan races is almost never mentioned among the city’s local political class – most of those currently wielding power got it via partisan races.”
Why Not Ask to Be Best Friends?: The Georgetown Dish offers Gray several suggestions on what he should ask for during his upcoming lunch with President Obama. The Dish isn’t too keen on Mark Plotkin’s demand that the “No Taxation Without Representation” license plate go back on the prez’ limo. LL would ask for one of those Air Force One boxes of M&Ms.
DYRS’s new boss, Robert Hildum, makes another pitch in the Times to keep his job, also suggests that reopening Oak Hill might be a smart move from a practical standpoint and a suicidal move from a political standpoint. The Times also has a rundown on how DYRS’ wards are committing crimes in the burbs.
CM Harry Thomas Jr. tells Jonetta Rose Barras that he likely won’t comply with Attorney General Peter Nickles‘ latest subpoena for a more detailed accounting of Team Thomas’ finances. Looks like it’s back to court for Nickles and Thomas’ attorney, Fred Cooke Jr.
The rent is too damn high.
Is WTU boss George Parker about to lose his job because he was too much of a pushover for former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee? Tune in tomorrow, when the votes are counted.
Warning: If you like wearing a mask and going to the houses of rich executives and shouting “you should die” because you believe that exec is abetting the torture of animals, then you are not going to like a bill the council passed last week outlawing such activity. The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott has the details.
Setting a new standard for ridiculous denials of Freedom of Information Act requests is United Medical Center’s Edward Rich, who took nearly a month to deny the request of Washington Business Journal‘s Ben Fisher to look at a UMC’s proposed budget for fiscal 2011, which UMC board members have discussed twice in public meetings. That’s right, proposed budgets for a publicly owned hospital shouldn’t be made public until after the board approves said budget, according to Rich. Frightening.
The media did a lousy job by aiding and abetting Marion Barry showboating on his welfare cut-off bill without actually taking a serious look at some of the families on welfare and the issues they face, writes Legal Aid Society’s Monica C. Bell and Jennifer Mezey.
The success of NoMa’s transformation could be undone by its lack of parks.
The D.C. Taxicab Commission kept crummy books, audit finds.
What local progressives are thankful for.
H.D. Woodson wins 41st Turkey Bowl.
Free advice: Don’t get your law degree from Kaplan, which has started looking for office space near the baseball stadium.
Six charged with sex assault at Dunbar High.
Fenty has no public schedule.
The council will outlaw bullying at 10 a.m.