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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! Be sure and pick up this week’s paper edition of City Paper, where we acquaint you with two new (possible) players on the local political scene. In the cover story by Dave Weigel, we’re introduced to Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a former college football kicker and beauty product pitchman from Utah who will likely lord over D.C. with an iron fist when the Republicans win control of the House, and Chaffetz runs the all-powerful Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It’s a great read that is sure to piss lots of folks off. LL also introduces Reuben Charles, Vince Gray’s possible chief of staff who is personable, smart, and has some unpaid debts in St. Louis. And LDP introduces us to gay real estate agents. News time:
Let Me Just Fire a Few More Teachers, Then I’m Outta Here: Uh-oh. CFO Nat Gandhi and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee appear to be at it again over who is better at math. LL smirked when he read the Post‘s Bill Turque lede: “The D.C. public school system, which laid off more than 200 teachers last October to close what Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said was a budget gap, is facing potential new financial problems in the fiscal year that begins Friday because of a projected $30 million in overspending on special education.” If she said it was a budget gap, Bill, then it was a budget gap! Anyway, as to the present situation, Rhee says Gandhi’s projections are premature but she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to plug the any budget gaps. Councilmember Jack Evans points out that the city spends most of its money on education and human services, so if there are going to be meaningful cuts, they’ll have to be there. “The special education spending in question does not involve the nearly $300 million a year spent on private school tuition, transportation and attorney’s fees for about 2,500 special needs students who cannot be served by District schools. Gandhi’s focus is instead on the $54.2 million allocated to local schools for teachers’ aides and support services provided by psychologists, physical therapists, audiologists and other specialists. A ‘spending pressure analysis’ conducted by Gandhi’s office estimates that the programs will cost $85.9 million in fiscal 2011, an excess of $31.7 million. Evans said that according to Gandhi’s staff, the overspending has been persistent. ‘They do this overspending every year but have been able to cover it with other parts of the education budget,’ Evans said. ‘That just isn’t going to work.’ Rhee disagreed and said the problem has been a lack of resources. ‘The office of special education has always been challenged by under-budgeting as opposed to overspending,’ she said.”
AFTER THE JUMP: Gray Feels Depressed, Won’t Hire Anyone; Fenty As Independent Fail; No Gangs in Ward 1? …
That’s a Pretty Convenient Excuse For All Those People Now Asking You For A Job, Vince: Gray said yesterday that the worsening economic outlook means the city should institute a hiring and promotion freeze when the new fiscal year starts on Friday. The Post’s Tim Craig couldn’t get an answer from Mayor Adrian Fenty’s office if the lame duck agreed with the idea. Neither could the Examiner’s Freeman Klopott, who staked out a presser on a fire in Columbia Heights only to be told that Fenty couldn’t make it because he was stuck in traffic. Gray also told about 200 business leaders gathered at UDC that the country feels like it’s in a depression. “People have been hesitant to call it a depression, but frankly the qualities and characteristics of it feel like a depression to me,” Gray said, per Craig.
Not Going to Happen: Mike DeBonis pours some cold water on the Fenty write-in hopefuls, using a bunch of numbers and graphs and such (see here for a laugh) to show that Fenty probably wouldn’t have won if he’d run as an independent. “The poll numbers do indicate that the city’s non-Democratic voters are more likely to be white—44 percent, versus 33 percent among registered Democrats—which is meaningful in a race where race was such a powerful predictor. But 46 percent of non-Democrats are black. Bottom line: There’s simply no evidence that Fenty would be favored enough among non-Democrats to make a difference.”
Jim Graham, Gang Expert: WCP‘s Rend Smith takes a closer look at Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham‘s claims that gangs in Adams Morgan have been largely dispersed. “The Ward 1 politician contended that with the help of a police camera at 17th and Euclid streets Northewest, the Metropolitan Police Department had “scattered” what’s known as the 1-7 crew. Graham was trying to put constituents at ease about a longstanding, bloody rivalry between the 1-7 Crew and the G-Rod Crew (14th and Girard streets NW). It’s an aggravating assertion—seeing that the 17th and Euclid area has seen several shootings of late.”
Martin Austermuhle reviews Waiting for Superman
Tom Toles sends up Obama
Courtland Milloy on NPR
Examiner looks at Census data some more, says they help explain Gray’s win.