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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
The Hack’s Moment Walmart, Meet Wilmot Video: Leslie Johnson Stuffing Her Bra Video: Marion Barry Saying White Advocates Wish to Enslave Poor Blacks
Good morning sweet readers! Imagine the homely girl who finally scores a hot date with the homecoming king, only to see her reputation maligned on Facebook by her school’s mean girls and science geeks. Now you have a very rough approximation of what some members of the D.C. Democratic State Committee have been feeling lately. In LL’s column this week, he looks at the hurt feelings of the DCDSC after the Post and Greater Greater Washington suggested that they ought not have the power to pick Kwame Brown’s replacement. Most aggrieved: Vincent Orange, who is the front runner to get said pick.
You Owe Us, Vince: Today’s gold star goes to Mike DeBonis, for his piece on Almost Mayor Vince Gray‘s “debt” to the unions that helped elect him. The story, starting with the headline (“As Next D.C. Mayor, Gray Will Have To Deal With Debt To Unions”), has a kind of ominous undertone, almost like Gray is organized labor’s Manchurian candidate. Four labor leaders, Kristopher Baumann of the Fraternal Order of Police; George Parker of the Washington Teachers’ Union; Ray Sneed of the International Association of Fire Fighters; and Geo T. Johnson of District Council 20 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, put the “hard sell” on Gray to run against Fenty, who they didn’t like. “In March, their wish became reality. Gray’s victory has union leaders enjoying a new appreciation of their political relevance.” Of course, there are the usual disclaimers from Gray: “Contrary to any popular belief, there were no promises of anything,” but that message is undercut by the news that Gray has quietly installed Joslyn N. Williams, president of Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO on his transition team after Williams and other union officials voiced concerned that labor wasn’t represented on said team. Williams, you’ll recall, gave an angry rant at a Democratic pep rally after the primary where he called Republicans “lost souls” and added a twist to Gray’s campaign slogan, “one city, owned by Democrats.”
AFTER THE JUMP: Mayor Peter Nickles, Titular Head of State Adrian Fenty; Walmart, Boring!; Washington Post Endorses Mayor Barry…
The best quote in DeBonis’s piece goes to Attorney General Peter Nickles, who shows how he really feels about union leaders: “I think they’ve got a chokehold on the chairman … I fear for the return of a culture of complacency. . . . It’s the question of what people think every day, every hour, every minute what they can get away with.” (That last part perfectly sums up LL’s thinking whenever he had a substitute teacher in junior high.) Once again you’ll notice that Nickles is serving as the unofficial spokesman for Fenty. More interesting is that Nickles says he was also the unofficial labor liaison for the Fenty administration, meeting with labor officials “several times on a variety of issues,” while Fenty rebuffed the labor folks. You’ll remember that Nickles also met regularly with the D.C. Council chairman and the CFO. So for those of you keeping score at home, that means that Nickles was the A.G., spokesman, labor liaison, legislative liaison, and financial liaison. That seems a little bit like overkill. When Fenty was a kid, did Nickles say to him: “Hey, I’ll let you have this bowl of sugary cereal if you promise to let me run the city, and I mean the whole city, when you become mayor?” Fenty fans will likely say that good leaders delegate, and that’s certainly true, but this seems more like abdicating. Which might not actually have been a bad thing; after all, LL isn’t stepping out on a limb by saying that Nickles is a hell of a lot smarter than Fenty.
Walmart is Coming: The four new stores are planned to be at: “801 New Jersey Avenue NW in Ward 6; Georgia and Missouri Avenue NW in Ward 4; and East Capitol Street and 58th Street in Capitol Heights in Ward 7. The fourth will likely be a parcel at New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE in Ward 5,” reports Michael Neibauer. The Post has politicians saying careful statements about the need for jobs, but jobs that pay well, yada yada yada. Says Vince Gray: “There have historically been concerns about [Wal-Mart’s] labor practices … I want to make sure workers are treated fairly and earn fair wages.” LL feels like the debate over Walmart was settled a long time ago, and Walmart won. People need jobs and like buying cheap stuff. Walmart says it’ll bring in $10 million a year in tax revenue and 1,200 permanent jobs that pay union-like wages. It’ll also allow access to grocery stores in areas where food choices are currently limited to mystery fish served behind bulletproof plastic.
Don’t Leave Us Gabe Klein, Please Stay Four More Yeaaars: City Paper‘s LDP has a smart piece on DDOT Director Gabe Klein‘s efforts to rename the District “Bikeland, USA.” “What’s stopping the DDOT director now? It’s true that Klein could be replaced in a Vince Grayadministration, though his position is considered to be safer than those of some other cabinet members. Assuming he stays on, the biggest obstacle to the development of a walkable, bikeable city is, in many parts of the city, a dearth of places to walk and bike to. There’s not much point in putting down a bike lane that runs for miles before getting to a grocery store, after all, or putting in stoplights when there aren’t enough pedestrians to use them. Places like Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle were only waiting to be connected by bike paths; drivers there are already used to dealing with foot traffic. But in the suburban expanses of Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8, where parking is plentiful and amenities scarce, Klein’s DDOT could find itself waiting for development to catch up.” LDP also has a letter from the Committee of 100 to Gray, asking him to can Klein and Office of Planning boss Harriet Tregoning, mostly because the Committee of 100 objects to anyone having more influence over what happens in the District than the Committee of 100 does.
Where’s the Budget, Fentowski?: Freeman Klopott doubles down on his story from yesterday, saying the Council has ants in their pants over waiting for Fenty to submit a budget. (A Fenty spokesman says they’ve submitted a budget to the CFO already, so just chill.) Check out Almost Chairman Kwame Brown‘s quote: “While I would love to have had the budget sent down earlier, I look forward to seeing it in the next few days and making the tough decisions needed to make the city financially strong.” OMG! That’s the most politician-y line LL’s ever heard. Ever! Klopott ends the story with a quote from Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, who says he doesn’t give a flying you-know-what when he gets the budget, as long as there aren’t any you-know-whating tax increases. Actually, he said this: “My advice to the powers that be: Make as many cuts as possible so we can stay away from revenue hikes.”
Is This Guy Good Or What? The Post EditorMarionial board gives Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry props for proposing to limit welfare cash payments to five years. Looks like Mission Accomplished! for Barry, who says he wants attention to be the poster child for welfare reform. The Post gets a nice jab in at the council: “The plan has so roiled the council that it is uncertain that it will even be brought up for a vote.” But Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells points out, via Twitter of course, that Barry himself said he wouldn’t vote for his own proposal. Sly, Barry, real sly. Anyone know what the mayor-for-life’s end game is with all this? Drop LL a line.
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh to clean up Anacostia River, says she doesn’t need Uncle Sam’s help.
Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham is to blame for all of Metro’s problems, new report says. Kwame Brown is back with another politician quote: “Confidence in Metro has been severely shaken … We must work together as a region to earn back the trust. … of riders.” The man is on fire!
The Post covers 1 percent of what was said at yesterday’s round table on streetcars, including a back and forth between Barry and an attorney who said Barry was being shortsighted. “Barry later responded: ‘The citizens of Ward 8 don’t like disrespect… Don’t interrupt me.’ ‘May I speak?’ the man said. ‘No, you may not,’ he replied. ‘I want you to spent two days walking with me in Anacostia so you can feel the pain, feel the hurt.'”
DCPS has crappy data.
Michelle Rhee chats it up at Harvard.
Jacque Patterson, who wants Kwame’s seat, responds to the Post.
Andre Agassi: Fenty fan.
Bill Clinton‘s theft spree led Paul Diego Craney to the GOP.
Fenty: No public schedule.
Council: Full plate for Public Safety Committee at 1 p.m. Gov Ops meeting at 2 p.m.