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Good morning sweet readers! LL’s wife has a friend who lives on a dairy farm that produces thousands of gallons of milk each day. But guess where they get their own milk: the grocery store. Is there a lesson there? LL doesn’t know. News time:
“They Really Hate Him”: Our leadoff batter today is the Post‘s Tim Craig, who reminds us that Almost Mayor Vince Gray has a tough row to hoe when it comes to getting all those white voters in Northwest to start liking him. An unnamed political strategist says “they really hate him” and Gray says he’s hoping his town hall tour, which kicks off tonight in Ward 5, will help change things. “‘I don’t want to be in a situation where people routinely don’t like you, so the onus is on me to reach out at this stage, and that is exactly what I am trying to do,’ Gray said in a recent interview.”
Some color: “When Gray attended the 17th Street Festival on Sept. 25 in Dupont Circle, where he only received 21 percent of the vote, a Washington Post reporter heard at least two passersby yell ‘Michelle Rhee’ as he walked through the crowd.” Gray has also started going to lunch and dinner parties in the Northwest. Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh says Fenty’s negative ads did a job on Gray, who she says could go a long way to making people happy by pledging to keep Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans said voters in his neck of the woods just don’t know who Gray is.
AFTER THE JUMP: Hiring Freeze; Enrollment’s Up; Raccoon Love …
Cherkis’s Job Hunt Takes a Blow: Mayor Adrian Fenty signed an order freezing hiring and promotions yesterday, as well as ordering 10 percent cuts in certain areas of city spending, in a move to help bridge the city’s $175 million budget gap. WBJ‘s Michael Neibauer reports: “The 10 percent cut would save as much as $100.2 million, according to a spreadsheet accompanying the order, but it is still less than 2 percent of the $5.3 billion general fund budget.No sacred cow was spared: The D.C. Public Schools stands to lose about $6.5 million, Metropolitan Police Department $3.4 million, Public Charter Schools $5 million, Department of Human Services $11 million, Child and Family Services Agency $13.96 million, and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services $4.6 million.” Gray was mum on how he felt about raising taxes, as two of his colleagues are preparing to make another push to increase taxes on the wealthy. Freeman Klopott at the Examiner gets the unions’ take.
The Numbers Are Up: Reversing nearly 40 years of losses, DCPS enrollment numbers this year are expected to climb, report Bill Turque and Daniel de Vise in the Post. “Rhee was hired in 2007 partly in hope that her aggressive menu of reform could reverse a half-century of decline in the District’s public school population. In 1960, D.C. public schools served 146,000 students, more than triple the number now. … The reversal could represent a groundswell of parental support for Rhee and her reforms. Or it could simply reflect the sagging economy, a force that has driven families back to public schools from private campuses.”
Former Iowa Governor Sums Up Mayoral Narrative: Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who told an Iowa Rotary Club he’d hire Rhee, shares his view on the 2010 mayoral election: “I’ve heard that the mayor lost and because they laid off a lot of teachers because they did it on the basis of results, and they’re trying to improve education. And I guess I’m willing to take a risk with somebody that’s willing to make the tough decisions to improve education, because I want to see us back in the leadership position.” It’s hard to fault Branstad for having that view, giving how widespread that incorrect/incomplete narrative has been in the national media. Which takes us to our next point…
Playing Chicken?: Post editorial writer Jo-Ann Armao wonders whether Rhee and Gray are “playing chicken” with each other with their awkward little dance over her future. “Does Rhee want Gray to fire her so she won’t be accused of walking out on the children she says she cares about? Does Gray want her to quit so he won’t be accused of abandoning the school reform he says he supports? If so, someone needs to blink.” LL isn’t sure that the two are playing chicken either, but if they are, LL thinks Rhee has already blinked. She made it perfectly clear before the election she couldn’t work for Gray and then called his “devastating.” If Rhee’s concerned about her rep if she quits, that seems to LL a needless concern. She’s already been lionized by the national media (see Iowa’s opinion) and a movie. LL thinks folks would understand.
Phil Mendelson, Drug Warrior.