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  • Good morning sweet readers! If watching videos of lion cubs learning to swim isn’t what the Internet was invented for, LL doesn’t know what is. News time:

    You Can Trust Me: Today’s big story comes courtesy of the Post’s Bill Turque, who reports on Almost Mayor Vince Gray‘s effort to woo the deep-pocketed philantrophists who’ve shoveled millions of bucks into Michelle Rhee’s school reform efforts and are now feeling jittery about Gray’s ties to the teachers’ union. “Rhee was a rock star in the philanthropic sector, which was excited by her willingness to challenge the influence of teachers’ unions and link teacher pay to the academic progress of students. A group of national philanthropists, including the Walton Family Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, pledged $64.5 million over the next several years to underwrite salary increases and performance-pay provisions in the hard-fought contract Rhee signed with the Washington Teachers’ Union last spring. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested an unspecified amount in an online professional development platform for teachers, customized to their individual needs. … But Gray’s defeat of Fenty in last month’s Democratic primary sent tremors through the donor community because of his union support, and his clashes with Rhee over her headstrong leadership style that he believed excluded important community voices. When Rhee declared a day after the election that Fenty’s defeat was “devastating” for the city, making her resignation a near-certainty, there were “people who had the impression that the sky was falling,” said Joshua Kern, executive director of Thurgood Marshall Academy public charter high school in Ward 8 and a key education adviser to Gray. … Last spring’s controversy over financing of the teachers’ contract showed that private money does not come to public coffers without strings. Under terms of the grants financing the contract, the foundations have the right to reconsider their commitments if there is a change in the school system leadership that materially changes the direction of reform efforts. What followed in the weeks after the primary was a quiet and concerted effort, led by Kern and Reuben Charles, Gray’s campaign operations director, to convince the local and national donor community that Gray was committed to continuing the work that Rhee and Fenty began.” The piece ends with some edu-philanthropists saying they are warming up to Gray. LL thinks fancy dinners are nice and all, but if Gray really wants to break the ice, he should get them tipsy and go hand-dancing. Also, does anyone else find it kind of weird that part of public school teachers’ salaries are being underwritten by Wal-Mart?

    AFTER THE JUMP: AU Prof Murder Suspect DYRS Ward; Nickles Gets Ready to Subpoena Thomas, OCF looks at write-in’s signs…

    It’s the Same Old Tune: It’s almost like clockwork: high-profile murder occurs, young suspect is arrested, news reports come out that suspect is a ward of the city’s troubled juvenile justice system. This time around, it’s the Examiner and the Times reporting (sorry Post) that Deandrew Hamlin, the 18-year-old police say they caught driving around in slain A.U. professor Sue Ann Marcum. “It was not immediately clear whether Hamlin had absconded from juvenile detention, or had been placed in a residential facility as part of his rehabilitation. A [Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services] spokesman declined to comment on Hamlin,” says the Examiner. “So far this year, at least a dozen DYRS wards have been charged with murder, including three suspects in the shooting death of District middle school principal Brian Betts. At least a half-dozen others have been killed this year.”

    Let’s Ratchet Things Up: Attorney General Peter Nickles tells the Post he’s preparing to subpoena Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. for records related to Thomas’ non-profits that “that is not registered with the Internal Revenue Service or in good standing with city regulators.” Thomas’s Republican challenger in next week’s election, Tim Day, alleged to reporters two weeks ago that Thomas was running a city funded slush fund, which led to Nickles’ probe. Nickles asked for Thomas to hand over documents listed the non-profit’s donors and expenses voluntarily; Thomas has asked for more time. Not good, says Nickles:  “If the documents are in existence, any legitimate organization would produce them in 10 minutes. … If the documents are not in existence, it could be 10 years and he still wouldn’t be able to produce them. … Failure to respond is a serious indication there has to be trouble.” In the Examiner, Jonetta Rose Barras tells us that the council is full of deadbeats and has Thomas’ response to Nickles’ probe: He said he’d provide the AG with requested documents but called the investigation an ‘abuse of power,’ hinting it’s ‘retaliation’ against him for his probe of the mayor. ‘[The complaint] should have gone to OCF,’ Thomas continued. ‘But, at the end of the day, there’s nothing there.'”

    Speaking of Probes: The Office of Campaign Finance will hold a hearing today on the write-in Fenty campaign’s use of old Fenty signs from the primary campaign, the Post reports. The beef: the write-in campaign should have to buy their own signs. “It’s unclear if the Gray campaign is responsible for the complaint. But Frederick Butler, a spokesman for Write Fenty In, said the complaints are a ‘sign of desperation’ from the Gray campaign. Butler said the signs are an in-kind donation, noting they are running a campaign on a shoe-string budget. “‘We are using the signs because they were given to us by our supporters and we need it for our candidate,’ Butler said. ‘If we are just a Web site, and the Gray campaign has nothing to worry about, why are they submitting these kinds of complaints…It’s much to do about nothing.'” LL ran into Fenty supporter and write-in leader Josh Lopez last night at the Ward 4 forum. Lopez said Gray’s son, Carlos Gray, has taken pictures of the write-in folks efforts and may be behind the complaints. Lopez, btw, was involved in some sort of heated exchange at the town hall with a Gray supporter last night that led to the police being called. Police also showed up at the Ward 3 town hall after Lopez said he was assaulted by a Gray supporter.

    Kinda sounds like the Hotel Association of Washington D.C.’s longtime president Emily Durso is headed to the future Gray administration.

    Jack Evans is trying to give bailouts to a favored few businesses, “including the developers whose plans around the ballpark haven’t paid off as handsomely as anticipated,” says Examiner.com’s Robert Webster.

    High Heel race a 1st Amendment event, unless you’re a woman.

    Get to know ANC 1B02 candidate Aaron Spencer. Get to know ANC 8C03 candidate Larry Pretlow a whole lot better.

    Gray wants vets to have Green jobs, vets probably just want jobs.

    Nickles sues condo flipper

    Council: Hearing on “Increase in Housing Affordability Act of 2010” at 11 a.m., and a hearing on “smart meters” at 1 p.m., Wilson building.

    Fenty: no public schedule.

    Gray: Last town hall, Ward 6, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 6:30 p.m. Attendence is “non-negotiable”