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Good morning sweet readers! LL conducted a experiment today—is it possible to to turn today into Saturday by sheer force of will? It is not. But at least it’s Friday, so things could be worse. News time:
I’ll Have The Filet-O-Fish, Hold the Funeral: Speaking of people who probably want this week to come to an end, Almost Mayor Vince Gray‘s first week has been a doozy. Yesterday the big news was that Gray missed the funeral of MPD Officer Paul Dittamo, who died in the line of duty Saturday; Wednesday brought the news that his transition director owes $236,000 in taxes; Tuesday wasn’t so bad, Gray did win the election—but nearly 30,000 people cast protest write-in votes; and on Monday Tom Sherwood broke the news that Gray’s victory party was going to be held at a club whose owner hasn’t paid beaucoup city taxes. One can only imagine what harmful revelation befalls Gray today. Did he once cheat at a hand-dancing competition? Has he used performance-enhancing drugs in his softball league? Who knows what the day will bring.
Anyway, the short version of what happened yesterday is that Officer Dittamo’s funeral was held yesterday in Prince William County. Scores of police turned out, but neither Gray, nor any of the other councilmembers went. Mayor Adrian Fenty showed up more than an hour late, according to Harry Jaffe of the Examiner (who has a horrible story of another cop’s troubles). Roughly the same time of the funeral, Gray was seen and tweeted eating at the Fourth Estate with Almost Chairman Kwame Brown. FOP boss Kris Baumann is rightly pissed. Gray’s camp says Gray has called Dittamo’s family, but didn’t intentionally miss it. He wasn’t there, Gray’s camp says, because of a staff snafu. One of the knocks on Gray during the election was that he would tolerate mediocrity or worse from city staff as mayor. Just sayin’ …
AFTER THE JUMP: Chaffetz Moving Up? UDC! UDC!: Barry Who? …
Did City Paper Run a Cover Story For Naught? Not many details here, but Postie Joe Davidson says Jason Chaffetz, the football-kicking, beauty-product-selling Utah Republican might not be the District’s new House overlord, as previously thought. “There is word on Capitol Hill, however, that he may take over another subcommittee next year, in what will be his second term,” is all Davidson says about Chaffetz giving up the subcommittee that allows him to meddle in District affairs.
City, Meet Foil: Speaking of the feds, it seems like Gray might be planning to take a page out of the Marion Barry playbook and blame Congress for all the unpleasantness that’s about to happen because of the city’s fiscal woes. Here’s the setup in the Daily Beast: “Statehood, he says, would solve most problems. ‘It would generate revenue,’ he notes. ‘It would give us the power to have a commuter tax—we’re the only jurisdiction in America that doesn’t. We have to decide, does the federal presence own the place where it resides, or does it recognize it is somebody else’s place and has to pay its way to be there? The latter clearly does not prevail.” In four years, he would “love to see the city have the vote,’ he says.”
UDC! UDC!: If you ever heard Gray on the campaign trail, you know he has mad love for the University of the District of Columbia. The U’s prez, Allen Sessoms (psst, you spell your first name wrong) is looking forward to a new day with Gray, writes Daniel de Vise in the Post. “With only sporadic help from city government, Sessoms has quietly wrought the most sweeping changes in UDC’s 33-year history. He successfully split the foundering school into two pieces, a community college with open admissions and a four-year university with higher tuition and entry standards. … ‘For the first time since I’ve been around this, there’s a real vision for the university’s future,’ Gray said in an interview. ‘I think now there’s an expectation that UDC will succeed on its initiatives. That’s a sea change.'” Vise also chronicles the tension between Sessoms and Fenty.
Not So Fast, Freedom: Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert scolds the Examiner for trying to portray Gray transition team members Thomas Downs as little more than an inept bureaucrat from the Marion Barry era. “Besides having headed up the DC government, Amtrak, and the National Center for Smart Growth Education and Research at the University of Maryland, Downs is now the North American chairman of Veolia Transportation, one of the French rail companies that have recently been providing real competition in the U.S. transit operator market. … Despite the Examiner’s spin, it doesn’t look like the Gray transition is a return to the Marion Barry crowd.”
Is This True?: There’s this tidbit at the end of the WTOP story about Gray skipping the funeral that’s tough to believe. “Meanwhile, Gray received an invitation to the White House for lunch with President Barack Obama Dec. 1. Plotkin says when Gray received the call from a staffer in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, he replied ‘Why didn’t the president call me? Why are you calling me?'” Did Gray really say that, or is that what Plotkin wished Gray had said?
Twitter tells us that the Democratic State Committee will pick Vincent Orangesomeone to replace Kwame Brown’s at-large seat on Jan. 6. Also, Twitter says Anita Bonds’ idea to have people cough up cash to be considered was rejected. But still, if you want to try and buy a seat on the council, now’s appears to be the time. Stein club also has advice for contenders. Is this election going to be fun or what?
John Catoe is back as an escalator repairman as an adviser to the company that operates MetroAccess.
City spending not slowing down.
Why didn’t you run for ANC, slacker?
Eleanor Holmes Norton is on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt
Peter Nickles is on Kojo at noon
Fenty is on HBO at 10 p.m. for Real Time with Bill Maher. (The last time a politician LL was covering was on that show was four (!) years ago when Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer went on. If memory serves, it was kind of a bore.)