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Good morning, sweet readers! Congratulations to the city’s best transportation reporter, the Examiner’s Kytja Weir, who gave birth to a little girl early Monday. Little Mila Carolina Weir Appelbaum and mom are doing great. Also feeling good right now: the folks at Metro, who won’t have Weir regularly exposing their shenanigans for the next few months. News time:

Ward Great Forum: Let’s hear it for Jason Cherkis, who not only gave LL a ride to last night’s Ward 8 forum, but also stayed up late and wrote a pretty funny description of what happened. Best parts: When Peaceaholics founder Ron Moten doesn’t recognize the woman he’s suing and when a fired school employee/Fenty heckler, who may have been drunk, asks Cherkis for some money to buy a drink.

“Early in the debate, Sandra ‘SS’  Seegars asked if the mayor or “the next mayor” would continue funding Peaceoholics—or in her words, treating the group like a ‘cash cow.’ Peaceoholics founder Ron Moten is standing next to me. We are both just a few feet from Seegars. Moten turns to me and asks: ‘Who said that?’ ‘You don’t know who that is?’ I ask. ‘No,’ Moten says. Moten should know: He recently sued Seegars for libel in D.C. Superior Court. And she accused him of rigging a straw poll and blabbed to the feds.” Read the whole thing, it’s a gem.

LL Tweeted the thing, as did the Post‘s Mike  DeBonis and DCist‘s Martin Austermuhle (see here and here). This feels like the millionth forum LL has been to and there wasn’t much new to report save this: Mayor Adrian Fenty actually showed some non-political emotion and spoke directly “from the heart” when he chided no-chance candidate Sulaimon Brown after Brown suggested that Fenty doesn’t respect his parents. Council Chairman Vincent Graybot, who usually gets fired up at these things when going after Fenty, was so boring for most of night that LL forgot he was there. (Since Ward 8 is a virtual lock for Gray anyway, does it matter? No.) And the 112-year-old Faith blew her horn and and provided comic relief.

AFTER THE JUMP: Profiles!; Kids Behind; Not My Fault …

Be Sure and Get My Good Side: The Examiner rolls out its mayoral edition with side-by-side profiles of Fenty and Gray. With only about 800 words to work with, scoop machine  Billy Myers hews close to the established campaign narrative: Fenty is a hard charger who gets things done, but doesn’t play well with others and has made some shady mistakes.  Gray plods along in wonky bureaucratic fashion that critics say doesn’t make him fit to steer the ship.

Best line of profile: “[Gray] said, sipping what he calls a ginger ale and grenadine and what everyone else calls a Shirley Temple.”

Of Note: Attorney General Peter Nickles takes time out of his busy schedule to dis Gray: “The Fenty team has blasted Gray for his stewardship of the city’s human services in the 1990s, when his agencies were subject to class-action lawsuits and the District went bankrupt and was placed under a congressionally appointed control board. ‘If you look at it, it’s not nice,’ Attorney General Peter Nickles said of Gray’s record.”

It’s too bad the Examiner‘s website blows, otherwise you might be able to find the fun boxes Myers put together for the print edition that include lists of reasons why people like and dislike each candidate. For instance, Myers says people like Gray because “he’s not Adrian Fenty.” He also says people don’t like Gray because “he’s not Adrian Fenty.”

Children Left Behind: The number of D.C. schools meeting national No Child Left Behind standards dropped from 54 to 15 this year, reports The Examiner’s Leah Fabel. The drop is due to an increase in standards of NCLB, Fabel reports. Here’s some details on the mixed bag of results:”Ward 7’s Kenilworth Elementary, for example, earned AYP with only 31 percent of its students proficient in reading and 43 percent proficient in math. Those statistics look like a small miracle, however, compared with the school’s 2009 scores: 19 percent proficient in reading and 21 percent in math.

Conversely, Chevy Chase’s Lafayette Elementary, attended by Mayor Adrian Fenty’s twin sons, did not make AYP even though 87 percent of its students scored proficient in reading and 84 percent met the mark for math. The school failed to meet the standards because of declining scores among its black students—reading proficiency dropped to 67 percent in 2010 from 83 percent in 2009, and math proficiency dropped to 69 percent from 83 percent.”

The Gray campaign has sent out a “in case you missed it” e-mail to reporters linking to Fabel’s story.

Shadow Time: Shadow rep candidate Nate Bennett-Fleming gets some love from the Washington TimesDeborah Simmons. Bennett-Fleming is trying to unseat Mike Panetta.“Now, he is emerging from the shadows of D.C. icons like Julius Hobson Sr. and Calvin Rolark, activists who helped push the statehood agenda to the top of the city’s political heap. He echoes their voices and those of such organizations as DC Vote, and says he relishes personal encouragement from Mrs. [Eleanor Holmes] Norton for whom he interned. But this young man vows to raise the bar.”

Not My Fault: Ward 1 Councilmember and Metro board member Jim Graham fires back at the National Transportation Safety Board for saying the Metro board was “tone deaf” to safety concerns prior to the last summer’s crash, reports The Examiner’s newest transportation reporter, Freeman Klopott. ‘”What could I have done differently?’ Graham asked rhetorically. ‘I’ve asked myself that question on a personal level, and I conclude I don’t know what I could have done.’ The NTSB has said Metro turned a blind eye to thousands of alarms a week that informed workers of the same track circuit problems that caused the system not to recognize a stopped train between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations and allowed another to slam into it in June 2009. Graham said a ‘technology failure’ was at the core of the crash” and that no one knew about the circuit failure when it happened.
The Post‘s Derek Kravitz adds that Metro Chairman Peter Benjamin also “questioned the NTSB’s findings that Metro suffered a ‘systemic breakdown of safety management” and a ‘lack of effective oversight,’ noting that Metro’s board is often criticized for micromanaging.”
Independence Day: “In a long-sought concession, the District has agreed to the appointment of an independent administrator to bring the city into compliance with court orders in a decades-old class-action lawsuit over the care of hundreds of people with developmental disabilities. D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles had resisted such a move, saying that it was tantamount to a court takeover and that it would prolong the 34-year-old lawsuit while the Fenty administration was aggressively seeking to end the case and other long-running class actions,” reports the Post’s Henri Cauvin. “At a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, who oversees the case, is expected to consider former D.C. official Kathy Sawyer as the compliance administrator.”
Is WJLA’s Doug McKelway getting canned? TBD [Post]
Profile of jobs program [Post]
Parking for Hill East [WBJ]
WAMU rips off LL’s signspotter feature [WAMU]
Low level Metro threat [NBC4]