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Morning all. Recession? What recession? Oh, that recession: The city’s development, business, and legal elite gathered last night for the D.C. Building Industry Association’s annual awards dinner, but the Washington Hilton ballroom was not quite as full as it had been in recent years. Still, a whole lot of folks were there to leap to their feet when Mayor Adrian M. Fenty accepted an award for his contributions to the development community. The development community, of course, has contributed right back.
There, and looking fab: fellow awardees Linda Argo, Leila Finucane Edmonds, Harriet Tregoning, and Neil Albert (who earned whoops and shouts from the crowd), not to mention Gabe Klein and George Hawkins, plus Jack Evans and Mary Cheh. And outside—-about 20 Empower D.C. protesters.
Later this morning, Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray are scheduled to make a rare appearance together. The occasion? The unveiling of Bud Doggett Way on the 1000 block of H Street NW, named in honor of the parking mogul, political fundraiser, and philanthropist who died late last year. Harry Jaffe, in his Examiner column, sees ‘both irony and sadness’ that it’s Doggett bringing the two enemies together. ‘He was perhaps the only man in town who could have brought the two into a room, slapped them around and forced them to make peace….“Bud is the only guy who could have brought Gray and Fenty together and said: ‘Stop fighting. This is not good for the city,’” said one big time player in Washington who knows both the mayor and the council chairman.’
Killer scoop from Nikita Stewart at D.C. Wire: Sources tell her they’ve been contacted by FBI background investigators regarding Dan Tangherlini—-indicating that an Obama administration position may be in the offing for the city administrator. Fenty played “coy,” she writes: ‘”The only comment I can make…we always let them (the Obama administration) take the lead,” he said. Was that a yes? D.C. Wire asked. “I know what yes sounds like,” Fenty said….Fenty would not disclose whether he has talked to the Obama administration or the FBI about Tangherlini. He said he talks to federal authorities often. “I’m not at liberty to comment on any of our conversations,” Fenty said.’
RELATED—-Read (the first few paragraphs) of Jonathan O’Connell‘s Biz Journal story on how D.C. administrators have been cozying up to federal cabinet officials. ‘Between Fenty, City Administrator Dan Tangherlini, Deputy Mayor Neil Albert and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, the city has met — often multiple times — with the chiefs of the federal Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Transportation departments.’ Says Dan Tan, ‘interaction between the two governments is happening “at an unprecedented level” and the Obama administration seems intent on making the District a positive example of spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.’
EARLY CW—-Tangherlini is closest thing Fenty has to an indispensable man. Who steps in to the CA slot if it’s true?
ANOTHER NIKITA SCOOP—-Fenty budget director Will Singer is leaving to go to Northwestern Law.
Fenty & Friends lay down the law on the anti-crime bill: Pass it as an emergency June 2, or blood will flow in the streets! Or something like that. LL’s covered the rhetorical excesses at play here. But you can also read Theola Labbé-DeBose‘s very nice WaPo story, which contains this lovely understatement: ‘Fenty’s announcement sets up a possible showdown with council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.’ And WTTG-TV, too!
Examiner’s Michael Neibauer examines the fate of fallow city-owned lot near Mount Vernon Square. ‘The fence had been pushed to the ground. The still-padlocked gate was disconnected from the fence. The lot was covered in garbage. And the weeds had grown taller than the average adult. While D.C. leaders are moving to secure vacant buildings and properties left to languish by private owners…it is unclear how much effort the District puts into caring for city-owned buildings that have fallen into disrepair, or city-owned lots that have overgrown.’ Fun to see Cary Silverman and Jack Evans quoted in the same article again.
Fenty and Gray both talk vouchers before congressional panel reviewing the budget yesterday, Gary Emerling reports in WaTimes. Fenty to Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), who suggested voucher expansion: ‘I think that has tremendous merit, Congresswoman….I think [the Obama proposal] is a great foundation to figure out just how much stronger you make the program. And so we’re open to it and we’d be glad to discuss it further.’ And Gray tells Emerson he’d ‘be happy to have any discussions you would wish around this issue….I certainly, like the mayor, am committed to having the strongest possible public education system we can have in the District of Columbia,” the chairman said.’
ALSO—-Nat Gandhi: D.C. unemployment will hit 11.5 percent. ‘Gandhi said he expects that the city’s economic conditions will continue to deteriorate as employment and wages decrease and office vacancies rise.’
The Ticket Tussle is back! Vincent Gray fires off terse letter to Fenty asking for the council’s share of tickets; Fenty tells LL the usual nothings. Also WaPo, WTOP, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV. Says Nationals Enquirer of Fenty, ‘What a jerk.’
In other epistolary matters: Gray also answers Michelle Rhee‘s Tuesday letter warning of grave consequences if the council follows through on enrollment-based budget cuts. Gray’s letter, according to Bill Turque, ‘strongly suggests that while there are legitimate differences over the numbers, there are also larger tensions that have been simmering for months. Gray by several accounts is exasperated by what he sees as the evasive and disclosure-averse culture that dominates the Fenty-Rhee camp. That resentment is embedded throughout tonight’s four-page letter.’ For one thing, Gray wants a demographic report done by Brookings/Urban Institute/21st Century School Fund, ‘what is obviously a seminal document’ in the enrollment dispute.
IN BIZ JOURNAL—-Lotsa good stuff. City, business collaborate on economic development strategy to prep for stimulus funds; Q&A with broker Darian LeBlanc, ‘the prince of NoMa’; HPRB chair Tersh Boasberg remembers historic downtown; and O’Connell does a Q&A with Nat Gandhi and a profile of Kwame Brown: ‘Brown has been on a mission to help D.C.’s businesses and keep a watchful eye on the dozens of public-private real estate deals the city is aggressively pursuing in the midst of the economic downturn. Never in the last 20 years have so many partnerships been proposed, and all of them must pass Brown’s desk before they go anywhere.’
Metro board panel signs off on bank-card plan, Kytja Weir reports for Examiner and Lena Sun reports for WaPo. ‘The finance committee gave its approval, and if the full board votes for the idea this month, the agency will solicit proposals from financial institutions that would be responsible for issuing and managing the cards. Proposals would be evaluated this fall and could include plans that use mobile phones, officials said. However, it would be several years before such a system could be in place.’
ALSO—-Expanded cell phone coverage will be in place at the 20 busiest stations by fall; it’ll be three more years, though, before you’ll be able to hold on to those calls in tunnels.
More litigation among fire investigators, WaPo reports: Following in the footsteps of Greg Bowyer and Gerald Pennington, investigators Wesley Hamilton and Joseph Mitchell file a federal lawsuit alleging race discrimination in the decision to take them off the job following 2004 Georgetown fire.
Chief Judge Lee Satterfield discusses the state of the D.C. courts, and Legal Times covers. They need more room, like always, and there’s this bad news: ‘Satterfield told the room that while the court was making progress making more dockets available online, it would still be a while before the court began posting PDFs of actual documents. “It’s not imminent,” Satterfield said.’
Man shot to death around 9:30 p.m. yesterday at 7th and N Streets NW.
Rev. Henry Gaston, pastor of Johnson Memorial Baptist Church and president of the Missionary Baptist Ministers’ Conference of D.C. & Vicinity, yaps to WaTimes about gay marriage: ‘At one time, preachers were very powerful in this town as far as getting respect from elected officials like the [D.C.] Council….Today, however, it is as though they think we’re asleep, but we will let them know we are fully alert.’
As promised, executive witnesses don’t show for council fishy fire truck probe.
Turque pens a requiem for MEI Futures Academy, the residential charter school for teen mothers that had its charter revoked last month. ‘For Tequila Green, 18, MEI Futures Academy was a haven, a one-of-a-kind D.C. residential charter school where she could wake up with her 2-year-old daughter in a dorm-style room, have breakfast in the cafeteria and drop her at the on-site nursery before her first class of the day….Staff members contend that the school has made significant strides and that the board’s revocation was unfairly abrupt compared with the forbearance extended to other struggling schools….According to outside audits, interviews and staff reports, MEI lacked a coherent curriculum for its 50 students, with just two on track to graduate this spring. Last year, not one of the 15 10th-graders who took the DC-CAS standardized test achieved proficiency in reading or math.’
Robert Cane of FOCUS pens Examiner op-ed telling politicos to keep their hands off charters.
Julian Stafford, OSSE’s executive director of research and evaluation, is a finalist for the Montgomery, Ala., superintendent’s job.
WaPo ‘Going Out Guru’ Fritz Hahn is all over ABC Board’s decision to revoke the licenses of two Adams Morgan establishments for not selling enough food. ‘Bossa and Bobby Lew’s Saloon have a stay of 10 days in which they can file a motion for reconsideration from the board. If the appeals are not successful, the liquor licenses will simply disappear — they cannot be sold or transferred to new businesses….In interviews and in testimony before the board, representatives for both restaurants admitted that they are not currently complying with the law, but both claim there are mitigating circumstances.’
From WAMU-FM‘s David Schultz: Vets come to D.C. to appeal medical and retirement claims often end up on the streets.
14th Street Bridge work, originally scheduled to start Monday, is delayed until May 26, WTOP reports.
The body of Hau Nguyen, dead after jumping into the Potomac River after a young boy, has still not been positively ID’d, leading to family anguish, WUSA-TV reports.
Legal Times covers the Tony Williams move to Arent Fox.
WUSA-TV covers possible Howard Theater rehab.
WTTG-TV covers Court Appointed Special Advocates’ new program.
Five Guys voluntarily closes two D.C. locations after Inside Edition finds rats outside.
PoP gets results!
John Feinstein on the Caps: ‘The Redskins will always be this area’s obsession, but the Caps are here to stay as an important part of Washington’s sports culture. The fans who poured out in droves all winter aren’t going away. They’re all-in now, and they know that this team is going to compete at the top levels for years.’
So long to Washington’s Finest, the quarterly WaTimes magazine ‘about food, health and fashion.’
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Economic Development roundtable on PR18-128 (“District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission Bryan Scottie Irving Confirmation Resolution of 2009″) and PR18-129 (“District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission Viraj V. Gandhi Confirmation Resolution of 2009″), JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.