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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘Mayor-Council Wars Are Headed to Court!‘; ‘Did Fire Chief Dennis Rubin Perjure Himself? Nope.‘; ‘Fenty Wants Parents to Use DCPS Enrollment Process He Didn’t Use‘; and tweets galore!

Morning all. ‘Fenty’s approval ratings plummet’ is the banner headline on the front of Sunday’s WaPo. If reality hadn’t yet sunk in for Hizzoner and his supporters, this WaPo poll of 1,135 D.C. residents ought to make an impression. Particularly this finding, as presented by reporter Nikita Stewart: ‘Residents give broadly positive marks to the police department and the quality of parks and recreation facilities. Most parents continue to see major problems in the city’s public schools, but those views have eased noticeably. More than half of residents see the city as heading in the right direction, a significantly more bullish view than before Fenty’s 2006 election. And yet Fenty’s approval ratings across a range of specific issues have dived by double digits.’ In other words, his governing style has so alienated the people of Washington that they are unwilling to give him credit for a city running better than it has in decades. Chancellor Michelle Rhee shows a similar gap, Bill Turque reports today, with her personal approval rate having ‘dropped precipitously over the past two years…despite sentiment among District residents that conditions in the city’s long-troubled public education system are starting to improve.’ Read the full polling results and take an informal poll] at D.C. Wire.

NB—-Campaign finance reports are due COB today. Check City Desk for updates.

AFTER THE JUMP—-Gandhi takes mayor and council to court; everything Sinclair Skinner touches blows up in Fenty’s face; fire chief’s sweetheart retirement deal is over; council looks at BRPAA overhaul; Rush Limbaugh is unaware that D.C. isn’t represented in Congress

BY THE NUMBERS—-‘African Americans have done a complete reversal on the mayor since a Post survey two years ago. Blacks have switched from 68 percent approval after his first year in office to 65 percent disapproval in the poll conducted last week. Overall, 42 percent of residents approve of the job he is doing; 49 percent disapprove. More than four in 10 in the new poll doubt his honesty, empathy and openness.’ As for Rhee: ‘Rhee’s performance was viewed favorably by 59 percent of residents in January 2008, with 29 percent disapproving. Now, there is a near-even split: 43 percent approve of what she’s doing, and 44 percent are dissatisfied. Those with children in D.C. public schools have nearly reversed their opinion of Rhee. Two years ago, 54 percent of those parents approved of her; now, 54 percent disapprove. Support for Rhee has eroded most dramatically among African Americans. Two years ago, 50 percent of black residents backed Rhee, while 38 percent disapproved. Now, just 28 percent approve, with 62 percent dissatisfied.’

ON EDUCATION—-Fenty won’t be able to coast on school reform, and in fact has deeply alienated black Washington. To the question, ‘do you think the mayor’s being in charge has made the school system better, worse or has it not made a difference?’ only 35 percent say better—-56 percent of whites and 21 percent of blacks. Twenty-nine percent of blacks say things have gotten worse under mayoral control.

2010 OUTLOOK—-‘The results reveal a conflicted public and one with a clear willingness to consider alternatives to Fenty this election year, even though no major candidate has announced a bid against him. In a hypothetical primary matchup, 35 percent of registered Democrats say they would vote for D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and 31 percent would pick Fenty, with significant numbers undecided. Among those who say they are certain to vote in the September primary, Gray edges Fenty 38 percent to 31 percent.’ Gray tells Examiner: ‘The poll indicates public sentiment coincides with what my colleagues and I have been saying. Our government needs cooperation between the legislative and executive branches, and transparency to best serve our residents.’

RESPONDENT REAX—-‘The mayor’s unwillingness to distribute the baseball tickets, for instance, irked Derrick Mitchell, 44, a military contractor who lives in Northeast Washington. “From what I’ve read, and his handling of the baseball tickets, he doesn’t seem like a very personable person,” he said. Mitchell said he is more disappointed in what he sees as the mayor’s catering to wealthier neighborhoods. He questioned why Eastern Market in Capitol Hill was quickly rebuilt after it caught fire in 2007 while the O Street Market in Shaw, whose roof collapsed in 2003, remains vacant….Neal Presant, a white Cleveland Park doctor, said the city seems safe, downtown is more vibrant and he’s happy he doesn’t have to worry about the snow getting plowed or his trash being picked up. But while he appreciates what the mayor has done, he said he is troubled by Fenty’s attitude and is prepared to vote for anyone else who “seems reasonable.”‘

BOTTOM LINE—-‘The poll results underscore how closely Fenty and Rhee are linked in public perceptions and how much of the mayor’s political future might be staked on the chancellor’s success in turning around the school system.’


As LL noted late Friday: The mayor-council wars are headed to court, with CFO Natwar M. Gandhi asking a judge to rule on the option-year contract dispute that’s festered for months. The lawsuit, according to Gandhi’s office, may not be filed for a ‘week or two,’ but when it does come before a judge, it will serve as, among other things, a high-stakes referendum on AG Peter Nickles‘ executive-power-aggregating legal doctrine. Also WaPo, DCist.

Apropos of said mayor-council wars, Jonetta Rose Barras isn’t inclined to lay blame on one side or the other. ‘Image making is not my forte. But surely I’m not the only person beginning to see City Hall as a gigantic sandbox, filled with squabbling, oversized children,’ she writes. Jack Evans says certain CMs are mostly to blame; an anonymous official accuses them of acting like “mini-mayors.” And Nickles is not pleased with the council’s inaction on boards-and-commissions nominations, calling it ‘a fundamental issue plaguing the relationship. They should vote [nominees] up or down….The nominating process is falling apart. It’s even worse than Congress.’ Funny, according to the WaPo poll, 72 percent of residents see mayor-council relations as fair or poor, and 51 percent say it’s mostly Fenty’s fault, as opposed to 23 percent who say it’s the council.

In Examiner today, Michael Neibauer looks at the role of Sinclair Skinner in the fishy fire truck deal, and other Fenty administration misadventures, calling the frat brother of Hizzoner a ‘controversy magnet’ for the mayor. ‘A taxpayer-funded fraternity party, parks and recreation contracting, and a failed D.C. Lottery bid—-all connected to Skinner—-have run into trouble….Skinner did not join the administration, but his sway and connections there are undeniable. That said, when his role in virtually anything Fenty-related is publicly revealed, it often implodes.’ His lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, ‘said his client merely supports the administration as a private individual. “It is fundamentally an unfair assessment by anyone that when his name appears somehow there’s something inherently wrong with his involvement.’ Says Nickles: ‘I don’t know if he has any influence on the executive. He certainly has no influence on me.’

Kenneth Ellerbe, the deputy fire chief who stayed on the District payroll as an unpaid employee after taking a job in Sarasota, Fla., has resigned from his D.C. post, Matthew Cella reports in WaTimes. Ellerbe wanted to keep the job through April, when he turns age 50, in order to reap hundreds of thousands in early pension benefits. Also: Dave Statter notes the controversy over Fire Chief Dennis Rubin‘s Sosua testimony.

SPEAKING OF CRONIES—-On Saturday, Hizzoner, like LL, took in the Georgetown Hoyas’ thrashing of the Duke Blue Devils down at Verizon Center. Unlike LL, he left the mayoral luxury box at halftime to greet President Barack Obama and veep Joe Biden courtside. Fenty had in tow his sons Matthew and Andrew and…erstwhile chauffeur and city contractor Keith Lomax? DCist snaps a pic of them all together.

It snowed! Eight inches of it! WaPo notes in Sunday paper that the winter storm ‘spoiled weekend plans and interrupted public transportation’ but it also notes that this second major snowfall of the season luckily came, like the first, on a weekend: ‘Before this snowfall, the region had surpassed the winter average of eight inches. As of Friday…17.6 inches had fallen at Reagan National Airport. But it was the second straight storm that arrived on a Saturday, its weekend landing appreciated by those who, unlike on a workday, could stay close to home.’ As for the roads, DDOT’s John Lisle tells WaPo: ‘Obviously the top priorities for tomorrow are rush hour and school areas, and we really don’t foresee any problems….I’ve looked at the traffic cameras this morning and they show that the majority of the main roads are down to pavement. They’re wet, there might have been some slick spots overnight, but they seem to be in really good shape.’ Neighborhood plowing will continue today.

In Sunday WaPo op-ed, Vinny Schiraldi looks back on his five years at DYRS as ‘a road marked by both controversy and promises kept.’ One big promise kept, obviously, is the closing of Oak Hill. He also addresses overcrowding at Oak Hill’s replacement, ‘noting that the District is squarely in the mainstream of modern juvenile justice practice and research’ by ‘turning away from the prison-like Oak Hill in favor of a smaller facility and rigorous coalitions of community-service providers.’ After citing data from other jurisdictions that set free many more kids without impact on public safety, he writes, ‘The District’s decline in youth detention, to 54 securely confined, committed youths—-the source of much controversy during my tenure—-pales in comparison. All the attendant hullabaloo smacks of a tempest in a teapot.’ He adds: ‘To be sure, our reforms were resisted by some legal system stakeholders and union bosses. No matter how bad the status quo is, it is often clung to out of fear of the unknowns associated with reform. But data from academia, experience from a majority of states and, most important, these home-grown results bear out what Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the D.C. Council knew when they established and supported our department: When youth are treated the way any of us would want our own children treated if they were in trouble with the law, we are a more decent and safer society.’ Your move, Colby.

Is a BRPAA overhaul on tap soon? WBJ’s Jonathan O’Connell notes that at last week’s council budget retreat, Gandhi noted vulnerability in commercial property tax revenues. ‘Gandhi has made a proposal for handling this issue in a way that wouldn’t require a tax increase or new fees: reform of the Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals (BRPAA). Appeals of real estate taxes are up 58 percent since 2008, and Gandhi would like his office to be able to essentially appeal the appeals that BRPAA receives from the various firms that argue down their clients’ taxes. At Gandhi’s urging, Council Chairman Vincent Gray and Jack Evans, the Ward 2 member, have reportedly already begun considering how to “professionalize” BRPAA and widening budget gaps will only accelerate that discussion.’

ALSO—-United Negro College Fund president Michael Lomax makes the case to the D.C. Council for a relocation tax break, O’Connell notes at WBJ. ‘In a three-page letter…Lomax goes deeply into UNCF’s 65-year history providing scholarships and financial aid to deserving students nationwide, including scholarships totaling more than $14 million for 284 D.C. residents. Having UNCF in D.C., he says, will enable the group to help D.C. get to college.’ Renew Shaw has drawings.

Apropos of terror trials, Rush Limbaugh seems unaware that D.C. has no vote in Congress. From a transcript of his show Friday:

RUSH: What do you like about DC?

CALLER: Well, what I like about the DC area is politically it would be a gift to the Democrats especially going into the November election because they don’t have any representation in Congress. There’s no senators or congressman, so it would be truly be a neutral venue. It would be perfect.

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I’ve had a long week. I’m not getting much sleep because I’m up late but you say there are not any Democrats in Washington?

CALLER: No, no. The District isn’t represented in Congress.



RUSH: Oh. Oh. Oh. So nobody can lose their job if Washington gets hit?

CALLER: Yes, and it’s the only place the trial could possibly be. I think you’ve shown genuine outreach to the administration.

RUSH: Look, I’m always willing to help.

CALLER: (laughs)

RUSH: You got that right. Well, but look: You’ve got a great idea here and I applaud your thought but there’s one thing I don’t have to point on you approximately they do have an advocate, a nonvoting delegate. It’s Eleanor Holmes Norton. So they do have somebody in there but she doesn’t get to vote. You’re right. … The reason for DC is that Obama and Holder… If you’re going to dole out federal money, give it to DC. The place needs it and it’s $200 million for security for the trial. They’ve got federal courthouses there. They have a big circuit there and Holder’s right there. He could monitor the trial, go in there every day, make sure that the prosecutors are doing exactly what he wants: Prosecuting it in a way so that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gets a big soapbox to really dump all over Bush and Cheney so that these wild idiots over in Europe at the international court could maybe bring war crimes charges against Bush and Cheney, which is what they want.

On Sunday WaPo A1, Theresa Vargas writes about two men named Tony Lewis, bonded in blood but not destiny. ‘Father and son share the same rounded face, stocky 5-foot-7 frame and a name recognized instantly on some of the toughest streets in the District. Whereas the older Lewis is serving a life sentence in a federal penitentiary in Maryland, the younger one works for the federal government, helping people with criminal records find jobs. Two men with one name grew up on the same block, but what “Tony Lewis” meant on Hanover Place NW during the peak of Washington’s 1980s drug wars and what that name means now are two very different stories.’ Good read.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington announces that four of its schools will close or merge, Michael Birnbaum reports in WaPo. Only one of them is in the District—-Holy Redeemer, at New York and New Jersey Avenues NW; the others are in Montgomery County. No indication if a charter conversion, a la the Center City Consortium, is/was considered.

WaPo ed board calls out AFT head Randi Weingarten for talking a reformist game while her member unions oppose basic reformist measures: ‘What’s most discouraging is what the actions say about the willingness of teachers unions to embrace change. The recalcitrance in New York [to support charter school expansion] is not an isolated instance as evidenced, for example, by the refusal of union officials to sign on to the District’s application for federal money. Washington Teachers’ Union President George Parker objected to a new system of teacher evaluations that uses student test scores as a major factor.’

WaPo’s Lisa Rein looks at Walter Reed redevelopment efforts in Saturday’s edition: ‘On Thursday night, a panel of city officials and civic activists charged with planning the property’s new identity began a process that is expected to take eight months. The most important goal: to integrate the long-isolated federal outpost with the city beyond its fence….The city also must decide how many of the 29 buildings on its portion, which are in varying conditions, will be adapted or torn down. Whatever new uses the District decides on, it might have to share the campus with a high-security tenant as federal agencies assess their needs.’

More evidential missteps in the Chandra Levy murder trial. WaPo reports: ‘Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez said his office sent an envelope to Guandique’s defense attorneys containing a hair from a skull found in Rock Creek Park at the time Levy’s body was found. But Guandique’s attorney, Maria Hawilo of the District’s Public Defender Service, said that when her office opened the envelope, the hair was missing. The hair mishap was at least the third such error involving the handling of evidence in the case.’

Man found unconscious in 7D holding cell has died, WaPo reports: ‘He was identified as Gerard E. Hayes of Southeast Washington, who had been arrested for allegedly accosting his ex-girlfriend with a gun in Prince William County. D.C. police and emergency medical services officials offered few details about the incident Thursday, saying only that a male prisoner had been found unconscious in a cell at the station about 11:30 a.m. and taken to George Washington University Hospital.’

In interview with WAMU-FM‘s Kavitha Cardoza, Rhee describes her ‘softer side’ to radio listeners: ‘”I’m warm and fuzzy when it comes to some things: kids, and I do these listening sessions with teachers,” she says. And teachers often come up to me and say, ‘you are so much nicer than I thought. I like you! And I thought I was going to hate you!'”…Rhee blames the media for highlighting one or two sentences of an interview and says she “gets” that controversy and conflict sell.’ Rhee also figures largely in CBS News piece on education reform that aired over the weekend. Meanwhile, on the homefront, Blanca Reyes is out as Spingarn HS, Candi Peterson reports on her Washington Teacher blog.

ALSO—-You can now become a fan of Michelle Rhee on Facebook. The guy who put the page together says, ‘I believe that people like Michelle Rhee are needed so much I am supporting the re-election of Anthony Fenty for another term as mayor.’

Dr. Gridlock takes a detailed look at Metro’s fare-and-service decisions for this fiscal year and the next. Here’s what could be on tap for next year: ‘Raise the bus boarding charge by 25 cents….Increase the rail boarding charge by 25 cents and increase the distance-based fare by 4 cents for each mile above three miles but less than six and by 3 cents per mile thereafter to a maximum fare of $5….Increase MetroAccess fares to the maximum allowed under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which is twice the equivalent fixed-route fare….Cut bus service on less-traveled or redundant routes….Reduce the frequency of trains and hours of operation….Reduce the hours of operation and the service area for MetroAccess.’ He also lists many interesting rider suggestions.

Portion of Green Line was temporarily closed Saturday after ‘problems in an electrical substation’ caused ‘sparks…accompanied by what sounded like electrical explosions’ in a tunnel between West Hyattsville and Prince George’s Plaza. Says rider, ‘People were screaming and yelling ‘stop the train’ and pounding on the emergency button. Service was restored by that evening.

What investment should the D.C. government make in electric cars? That’s the question posed by Neibauer in Examiner, noting that ‘critical questions remain about how deep the city government should commit to an emerging technology’ while city officials consider installing ‘hundreds’ of charging stations. ‘DDOT this month issued a “Request for Information” seeking suggestions from the private sector as to what the District’s electric vehicle infrastructure should look like—-what types of charging stations to install, for example, where to put them and who should own them. The District is leaning toward city ownership of most charging stations, sources say, at least those located in the public right of way.’

John Bryson Chane, Episcopal bishop of Washington, will retire next year after nine years at the helm of the 42,000-believer diocese. Michelle Boorstein writes in WaPo that Chane is known as ‘one of the mainline denomination’s most prominent advocates of marriage equality for gay men and lesbians.’ The 65-year-old ‘made the announcement at the diocese’s annual convention at Washington National Cathedral, where he received a standing ovation. He told the delegates he is not “burned out or bored,” but believes it’s time for someone younger to take over.’

Harry Jaffe wonders why POTUS didn’t utter a word about D.C. voting rights in his State of the Union address. ‘There were more than high ideals to make this president utter words in support of democracy in D.C….[Fenty] was the first mayor to endorse his candidacy for president. Norton and Obama are allies going way back. Both Fenty and Norton campaigned for the junior senator from Illinois. There’s more. First lady Michelle Obama has tried to bond with her new home. Their daughters attend school in the District. She’s grown a garden on our soil and invited school kids to till and harvest. The president and first lady have read to D.C. Public Schools students. For these reasons and more, D.C. voting rights activists had high expectations. And so they watched. And they listened. And they waited….”Heartbreaking,” DC Vote’s executive director Ilir Zherka told me. “With bills making their way through Congress, there’s a critical role only he can play.”‘ Jaffe says the gun amendment made the measure toxic; LL says Obama just doesn’t care.

After the controversy over his too-honest blog post last week, Bill Turque returned to the D.C. School Insider blog Friday afternoon with the latest on the Duke Ellington School of the Arts drama: Key Ellington players, including Rhee, its principal, and Peggy Cooper Cafritz, say that ‘there are no plans to move the school out of Georgetown until it gets its own state-of-the-art building. “Both the Chancellor and the mayor are committed in the long term to a state of the art facility for Ellington, as well as the full engagement of the Ellington community in a transparent planning process,” the letter states. “The more immediate focus will be on a renovation of the school in 2012, though if major funds are identified for a new facility in the shorter term, the renovation effort may be modified.” The letter does not explain explain that last dangling modifier. It could mean that the if the District can finance a new building—-at an estimated cost of more than $80 million—-Ellington might be renovated in 2012 as a general neighborhood high school, per the long-time wishes of Council member Jack Evans….In any event, the signatories promise that all stakeholders will be kept in the loop.’

75 are temporarily displaced after small fire early this morning in Columbia Heights apartment building.

First murder of February: ‘Officers discovered a man with an apparent gunshot wound in the 1300 block of Stevens Road around 12:26 a.m.,’ NC8 reports.

JUDGE-STALKING CASE—-Defendant Taylar Nuevelle told her side of the story Friday in D.C. Superior Court, and Legal Times was there: ‘Nuevelle was in turns tearful and contained as she told her version of the events at the center of her criminal trial for burglary, stalking and unlawful entry….[S]he attempted to convince the jury at the D.C. Superior Court that she and her former girlfriend, Judge Janet Albert, had lived together for months before their chaotic breakup, and that she had simply gone back to the house they shared in order to retrieve her belongings. Nuevelle said she was found unconscious in the attic of Albert’s Northwest Washington house, surrounded by pills and alcohol bottles, because she had tried to kill herself. And she had tried to kill herself, she said, because she was convinced that Albert would use her power as a judge to make sure Nuevelle never saw her own son again. “I wanted to die, and I didn’t want anyone to try and stop me,” Nuevelle said.’ The case should be handed to a jury today. Also WTTG-TV.

Stroller ban on Circulator ‘led to infuriated parents and surprised transportation officials,’ Carol Buckley reports in VotH. ‘Without city approval, First Transit, the national contractor that supplies Circulator bus drivers, sent a notice…[telling] drivers to inform bus riders that children must be removed from strollers before boarding, and that the strollers must be folded up and placed out of the way….Moving forward, according to the First Transit spokesperson, the company will “work with the client to determine whether [the hold-and-stow approach] is the safest and most acceptable for all of its riders.”‘ But not before this thing blew up on!

DCmud covers plans to turn 10th Street SW, near L’Enfant Plaza, into an ‘ecodistrict’ or somesuch. ‘Forget for a moment that there is no 10th Street, nor is the defined area a “corridor.” The environmentally friendly rehab is still a rough concept, but one without limitations as to the scope. The task force at work on the project is comprised of such disparate organizations as DC and federal property owners, the GSA, the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Education and the U.S. Postal Service, to name just a few. Then there is the group of “directly affected stakeholders” such as CSX, JBG, WMATA, WASA, HUD, PN Hoffman, and Republic Properties, a group of owners that will form a second tier of cooperation. Can such a coalition get anything done, much less make an inviting community out of a concrete jungle?’

LL’s first-ever link to Tucker Carlson‘s Daily Caller: ‘The D.C. Council is in the process of fast-tracking Bill 18-481–The Health Care Facilities Improvement Act of 2010. This is a mistake,’ write the CEO and a board member for the Washington Home. ‘Rather than improving care facilities, this bill will decimate the District’s long-term care community with unfunded mandates and untenable staffing requirements. The Council should delay the second reading of this bill until March at the earliest rather than moving ahead with it on Feb. 2.’

The Rev. Anthony Evans of the D.C. Black Church Initiative, who you might recall from his anti-gay-marriage histrionics, is urging churchgoers not to ride Metro because it’s unsafe, WAMU-FM reports. ‘”There is a crisis in the system,” he says. “So therefore it is responsible for an institution such as the church to point out to our parishioners and members and the riding public that this system doesn’t take the issue of safety very seriously.”…He says Metro’s Board of Directors created a “culture of safety negligence.” “So I think, yes—-don’t ride Metro if you fear that they have not done an excellent job in taking care of the safety aspects of this system,” he says.’

WaPo readers respond to Gene Weingarten‘s jury duty piece. One recounts a scrupulous Alexandria cop; another recalls her time on a D.C. grand jury ‘where, for six weeks, we were expected to unquestioningly swallow every bit of testimony the police officers fed us….In a grand jury, there is no opportunity for the defense to present its case so, in light of no evidence to the contrary, we had little choice but to indict. And we obligingly did so, time after time, giving credence to the old saying that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. Only these were not sandwiches but young men (for the most part) who may or may not have done anything wrong.’ Also, another reader responds to editorial on Rhee Fast Company quote: ‘Even if she can sustain her claims in the nine cases The Post says her people now cite, it is egregious to “inadvertently” (The Post’s word) tar the reputations of 257 others (97 percent of the total). The Post should have focused on that simple fact. Blurring the issue with attacks on allegedly uninterested and rude D.C. Council members, and on a union that did no more than seek due process for its members, was badly off base.’

Don’t miss Filthy Teaching’s wrap-up of his/her DCPS tenure, via a letter to former colleagues: ‘I…like so many other teachers, decided that remaining in my position would be more destructive than productive. I witnessed and heard about more than my fair share of staff members suffering injustices at the hands of administrators. I began to realize that for a few of the admin, debating best practices was much more about satisfying their personal egos than it was about providing a quality education for the students (or, if my admins really believed that changing my curriculum on a weekly basis really was good for the kids, then they were really out of touch with what it means to teach for a living).’

In themail, Gary Imhoff has a ‘Random thought: I’ve been reading for months about how city and state Tea Party movements nationwide are moving the Republican Party to the right and promoting conservative candidates within the Party. I haven’t heard a word about any local Tea Party movement, or of any efforts to promote conservative candidates within the DC Republican Party. The local party strikes me as being moderately conservative on economic issues, at least in comparison with the local Democratic Party, but as being as liberal as the Democratic Party — and more liberal that most state Democratic Parties — on social issues. Am I wrong? Would a conservative Republican Party do better in DC elections, or would it do even worse?’

DDOT gets $7M in federal rail grants to replace Union Station escalators, begin planning for replacement of Potomac rail bridge.

Eastern Avenue Bridge over Kenilworth/295 closes today.

WaPo’s Dion Haynes writes up Affinity Lab, the Adams Morgan business incubator/swing space now expanding to a second location on U Street NW.

Local home price set to spike in 2010, report says.

Mary Cheh talks to Ed Bruske about her Healthy Schools legislation: ‘If there is major opposition to this bill, I will be surprised. I think most District leaders and residents share my concerns about student health. If there is opposition, I expect that it will come from large food companies that do not have ownership over local sustainable farms and are not invested in our community.’

Incendiary blog post: ‘The [Washington Informer] rarely, if ever, deviates from the most basic commonplace, rudimentary, worn-out aged conventional wisdom from the city’s old line old guard.’

Marion Barry is ‘Monsieur January‘ on this fellow’s ‘2010 Dudes of Cancer Calendar.’ Also, The Reef has a ‘Marion Barry Stripper’ shot.

Fenty reminds us to remember the ‘Black January‘ invasion of Azerbaijan.

On fighting light pollution in Southwest.

Support streetcars on Wisconsin Avenue.

Farewell, Donnie Simpson. On his last day, Cathy Lanier and Harry Thomas Jr. stopped by.

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: press briefing, JAWB 412.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: press availability, regional public safety collaboration, 4th Floor, Jeffrey Building, 16 Francis Street, Annapolis, Md.