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A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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Good morning from Washington City Paper! It’s Monday! Hope you made it outside over the weekend!

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS: Mayor Vince Gray‘s self-imposed deadline for a campaign finance reform proposal is tomorrow. [Examiner] Now that Gray wants more speed cameras, the D.C. Council is looking for a way to reduce traffic violation fines. [Times] Some people mad that Pepco is pruning trees. [Post] D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson isn’t backing off of school reform. [WAMU] Metro’s longest escalators are out of service 33 percent of the time. [WTOP]

YOUR DAILY QUALITY-OF-LIFE MEASUREMENT: On Friday, City Paper‘s Needle shot up 9 points. The bad news: The Post has too many mouths to feed. The good news: D.C. is sorta business friendly. Take a look here.


Catania Speculates on Motivation Behind Jeff Thompson’s Campaign Donations: LL notes that “Councilmember David Catania all but accused Mayor Vince Gray and Medicaid contractor Jeffrey Thompson of engaging in a quid pro quo scheme today on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.” Catania suggested that Thompson spent cash on getting Gray elected so that Gray would continue to support contracts for Thompson’s company.

No Vacancy: How Nuisance Properties Turn Around: LDP profiles the guy whose job it is to get the vacant properties turned into productive spaces by applying the city’s blight tax: Reuben Pemberton. “For all the time he spends looking at empty buildings, Pemberton deals with people a lot. Many of the problem properties are owned by families that can’t figure out to do once a grandparent dies without a will, and just let it sit until the taxes start piling up. ‘We suggest that you have a family meeting, get everyone together, and understand that your taxes are going to go up 20 grand this year,’ Pemberton says. ‘We sort of play the judge in family court, and the neighbors don’t care about the drama, because they just want the book thrown at whomever the owner is.'”

Wonks: House Plan To Get Rid Of American Community Survey “Absolutely Terrible”: Shani Hilton talks to some think-tank data analysts who are incensed by the House’s vote to defund the American Community Survey because it’s an invasion of privacy. They explain that “without the ACS, states like North Dakota and Rhode Island—and non-states like our dear District—would have to rely on the (less detailed) data that comes out every 10 years from the decennial U.S. Census.”

Setting the Tone: Theater Alliance Premieres Hum This Weekend: “The first act is completely wordless, and characters communicate only through gestures and notecards (projected onto the walls so the audience can read them). After the hum breaks, says Hovde, the married couple Van and Eva ‘have to learn to communicate, have to learn to connect and rediscover their relationship in a frightening new world.’ To the director, Wardigo’s story is ‘relevant in terms of how busy and crazy we get’ in today’s tech-dependent society.”

Jeff Eng Named Brewery Ommegang’s First “Hop Chef”: Tammy Tuck reports from the brewery’s cooking-with-beer competition. Spoiler: Things get delicious.

Ticket Madness Strikes Again: Mayor Gray is dealing with a mini-scandal—his kids have been getting tickets to sky box suites at the Verizon Center.

ARTASTIC PHOTO OF THE DAY: Nick Cave With Lesole’s Dance Project by Matt Dunn


LOOSE LIPS DAILY POLITICS LINKS, by Alan Suderman (tips? lips@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Ward 5 candidates views on public safety, transportation, other issues [Post]
  • Yvette Alexander talks gay marriage [Fox5]
  • Council to look at reducing traffic fines sometime in the future [Times]
  • Has D.C. abandoned its TIF principles? [GGW]
  • Sandra Butler Truesdale weighs in on ticketgate [NBC4]
  • Mayor Vince Gray to propose campaign finance fixes soon [Examiner]
  • Switch in leave policy causing havoc [Examiner]
  • INDIVIDUALS #2,3,4 have all pleaded guilty to charges related to giving HTJ kickbacks [Times]

REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPMENT LINKS, by Housing Complex blogger Lydia DePillis (tips? housingcomplex@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Educare ready to rock. [RiverEastIdealist]
  • Bye Elahe, best of luck! [DCentric]
  • The Lego White House. [Unbeige]
  • The middle years of River Park. [Post]
  • The Eisenhower Memorial tick-tock. [Post]
  • Dreams for replacing the FBI Building. [Post]
  • The Georgetown grads behind those spinning signs. [Post]
  • CitiBike skips South Brooklyn and Uptown, for now. [NYO]
  • Should we name places after slaveholders? [Bloomingdale]
  • D.C. has the worst commute anywhere—temporarily. [WTOP]
  • Education is an east side-west side thing too. [ExtraordinaryObservations]
  • What if D.C. government workers took vacation days all at once? [Examiner]
  • Demolishing, rebuilding affordable housing approved in Alexandria. [Post]
  • Today on the market: Grand Beautiful Victorian.

ARTS LINKS, by Alex Baca (tips? artsdesk@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Duck Dunn, R.I.P. [New York Times]
  • Michelle Obama lives in D.C., does D.C. things. [New York Times]
  • Those things that look vaguely like dresses in the windows of the convention center, explained. [The Style Blog]

FOOD LINKS will resume shortly.