Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
Morning all. LL made his Daily Show debut last night—-for all of three seconds. He appeared along with other bystanders, reporters, religious zealots, and security personnel in footage taken Tuesday outside the council chambers. Jon Stewart played footage of Marion Barry from last week’s anti-marriage rally saying he was a ‘moral politician.’ His crack: ‘Normally, when someone says something that oblivious to their own reality, you might say, “What, are you on crack?”‘
$3,109 OR FIGHT—-WaPo ed board wants more, more, more from the D.C. Council in per-pupil charter facilities funding. ‘Students who attend public charter schools continue to get the short end of the funding stick from a city government not entirely comfortable with charter schools’ growth….Without doubt, economic times are tough, and the city must cut its budget when revenue is declining. What’s bothersome, though, is the disparate treatment of students in the charter schools and those in other public schools when it comes to facilities….[C]harter schools are public schools, too. They have offered a choice to thousands of D.C. children; they deserve the same level of commitment from the city.’ Also Informer op-ed.
More hot editorial action, from WaTimes: ‘Slashing school vouchers spares teachers’ unions from competition. On the other hand, car vouchers are supposed to boost demand for cars built by the United Auto Workers. The obvious explanation for this schizophrenia: Congress does whatever helps unions. A closer look reveals that Congress has it wrong in both cases – which is what happens when lawmakers let interest groups trump common sense.’ And from NY Times: ‘This week, the City Council of the District of Columbia took a preliminary step, voting 12 to 1, to recognize marriages between gay people certified in other states….Unfortunately, there already are calls for Congress to once more tread on home rule and block this progress in the nation’s capital. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right to caution against such grandstanding.’
Don’t underestimate Marion Barry, warns Harry Jaffe in his Examiner column. ‘One must weed through the underbrush of the council member’s verbiage, his backtracking and obfuscations. But when you take the time to examine why he was the only vote against the council’s measure this week to recognize same-sex marriages, you arrive at some basic realities of religion and politics in our town….Never fail to honor Barry’s take on politics in D.C. He may be old, he may speak as if he his jaw is wired together, parts of his brain may be addled by decades of hard living, but he has a keen sense of public sentiment.’ QUESTION FOR HJ—-If anti-gay-marriage sentiment is so widespread in this town, why couldn’t you find one person to go on the record with it?
ANATOMY OF A TYPO—-Note that Jaffe quotes Barry as saying ‘All hell is going to break lose.’ Jaffe wasn’t there for the mayor-for-life’s utterance; WaPo’s Tim Craig, Examiner’s Michael Neibauer, and LL were there, standing in front of the dais while Barry held court after the legislative meeting ended. Only Craig rendered the quote as “break lose”; LL and Neibauer both went with the correct “break loose.” Now the recent copy-editing apocalypse at WaPo is well documented. But this oversight has been replicated far and wide. JUST BECAUSE THE POST SPELLS IT WRONG DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO!
Electric cars! D.C. strikes deal with Nissan to bring ‘hundreds’ of electric cars to D.C. And, yes, there will be charging stations to fuel them up. Biz Journal: ‘City officials say they are working with AeroVironment Inc., an electric energy technology company based in Monrovia, Calif., to develop the charging stations. There are also plans to bring in Nissan electric cars, equipped with advanced lithium-ion batteries that can go 100 miles on a single charge. Some of those cars would go into the city’s own fleet.’ Also WTOP.
Another OTR scam sentence: Alethia Grooms, 53, gets 37 months in the clink for participating early in often in the scandal. Writes Del Wilber in WaPo, ‘U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan…noted that Grooms received the scheme’s first and last fraudulent refund checks. “She was there from day one until the last day,” Sullivan said. “She was not a minor” player….Assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Johnson said Grooms played a key role in the scam, particularly in its early days. “Without Ms. Grooms’s assistance, it’s quite possible this scheme may not have occurred in the first place,” he said.’
Examiner’s Nate Beeler:
God Bless That Neibauer: He plows through the Obama budget recommendations released yesterday, finds the D.C. ‘hits and misses.’ ‘Obama, for example, nixed a $7 million payment to the D.C. Public Library, a priority of former First Lady Laura Bush. But it includes $74.4 million for a “school improvement program” broken down like this: $42.2 million for public schools, $20 million for charter schools and $12.2 million for private school vouchers…The president also eliminates language that bars the District from spending anything on abortions or health coverage that subsidizes abortions….Obama offers $20 million for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, up from $16 million in 2009, provided that WASA match the grant 100 percent. He also provides $14 million for construction of the District’s consolidated forensics laboratory, and a $19.2 million payment for a program to place vulnerable individuals and families in permanent housing rather than shelters.’ AND WaTimes, natch, tries to make national hay out of the abortion language.
GAY MARRIAGE NOTES—-Here’s the Blade’s coverage of Tuesday’s vote, by Lou Chibbaro Jr., and Peter Rosenstein also holds forth in that distinguished publication on the ‘double-edged sword’ of ‘faith-based politics.’ LL likes the Salt Lake Tribune’s ‘Culture Vulture’ who tells Jason Chaffetz to ‘Mind you own beeswax’; D.C. Center’s David Mariner has YouTube of Jim Graham‘s Tuesday dais remarks; and Ta-Nahesi Coates at Atlantic has correspondence from a reader who attended Wednesday’s Ward 4 Dems meeting: ‘Certainly we saw last night that Barry does NOT speak for African Americans city-wide. Councilmember [Muriel Bowser] succinctly and eloquently described her support of marriage equality is a simple matter of justice. And Ward 4 Dem Chairperson Deborah Royster shared a rather poignant story from her childhood about her family being refused lodging in a Virginia hotel because of racial segregation, saying that that experience of discrimination was etched into her memory and that she cannot stand by and condone other forms of discrimination.’
And Roses to Sam Ford: The WJLA-TV/NC8 reporter stays on top of the fishy fire truck story, with piece about city’s initial refusal of subpoenas. The man gets an especially good Peter Nickles quote: ‘Nickles argues with the inspector general’s investigating the fire truck issue, the council doesn’t need to get involved. “I know what the hell I’m doing and I’m going to protect those individuals and until that separate lawyer is provided they’re not going to appear — end of story,” he said.’
So Tom Sherwood is fond of saying that Adrian Fenty‘s been the most pro-development mayor since home rule—-this in a town whose mayors have all been pro-developer. But certainly this lends credence to Sherwood’s view: The DCBIA, according to Jonathan O’Connell in Biz Journal, is ready to hand Fenty, DMPED Neil Albert, OP’s Harriet Tregoning, DHCD’s Leila Edmonds, and DCRA’s Linda Argo awards for making ‘remarkable strides in creating economic growth throughout the city, dramatically improving schools in the District of Columbia, promoting business and in so doing, raising the quality of life for residents, businesses and guests to a new level.’
Also from O’Connell—-this fascinating piece on foreclosures in the District: ‘[T]he recession has put D.C. in the odd position of paying to lower housing prices for some residents, while simultaneously paying to maintain prices for others — sometimes in the same neighborhoods. The bad news for builders of most single-family homes and condominiums is that the rate of foreclosure notices in D.C. has been steadily growing since 2006 “and don’t show any sign of slowing at least from what we’ve seen so far,” according to the Urban Institute’s Peter Tatian….His study shows that citywide more than 900 foreclosure notices on single-family homes have already been filed this year. By comparison, 597 notices were filed on single-family D.C. homes in 2008 and 368 in 2007. Notices on foreclosed condos are up dramatically as well, already at 255, compared with 134 in 2008 and 74 in 2007.’
WaPo’s Lena Sun is all over the impending WMATA board vote on allowing retail kiosks at Metrorail stations. ‘Metro has never allowed retail sales in stations in its 33 years. Officials tried once before to consider food sales at kiosks, but strong board opposition killed the idea. This time, General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. thinks that tough economic times might allow Metro to broach that most taboo of topics: breaking the food barrier. There’s also the convenience for riders and revenue for Metro.’ Yes, there’s that. Also check Examiner.
KEBAB NAZIS—-‘The ban on eating and drinking would remain even if food vending was allowed. And Metro officials are making it clear that they’re talking about food and beverages packaged “to discourage consumption in the system,” said Nat Bottigheimer, assistant general manager for planning and joint development. “The idea is not a sizzling kabob,” he said.’ Full disclosure: LL loves kebabs. Shashlik. Doner. Shwarma. They’re all good.
As Bill Myers notes, a highly competent functionary from the DCAG’s office will be appearing before a federal appeals court panel this morning to fend off an appeal on the Trinidad checkpoints case from the Partnership on Civil Justice. Says Nickles, ‘I think we have a solid case.’ LL SEZ—-Solid case not necessary. Law-and-order types David Sentelle and Douglas Ginsberg are going to let this one go. Interesting, though, to note how DCCA vet Judith Rogers will rule.
YESTERDAY AT PRETTYMAN—-District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, hearing LaShawn, tells D.C. he wants more data, and tells plaintiffs to file a brief. Hearing rescheduled for June 29.
Blade wraps up contentious Dupont Circle Citizens Association elections, which aren’t quite wrapped up themselves—-provisional ballots yet to be counted! But it looks like the party people are beating the party poopers.
Michelle Rhee interviewed by Politics Daily: ‘I’ve made mistakes, but I don’t have any regrets, because even the mistakes (helped us) move forward in a much better way. [Examples?] Last July, when we were close to making the teacher’s union contract happen, the press reported stuff about the contract that was incorrect. We were abiding by the collective bargaining laws (and) were not allowed to talk about the negotiations. The misinformation became fact in people’s minds. We’re still trying to undo all of those bits of information.’
Florida Avenue NW closed till Saturday evening for repairs.
SOMEONE’S READ THE CAFR!—-GAO finds 89 ‘outstanding weaknesses’ in District’s financial controls, O’Connell reports in Biz Journal. They will sound awfully familiar: ‘According to a tally by the GAO, the District’s 89 material reporting problems stem from three areas: fraud in the city’s Office of Tax and Revenue (uncovered in 2007), management of the District’s Medicaid program and systematic weakness in the D.C. Public Schools system.’ We knew already, yes, ‘but the GAO report could reflect badly on the the District’s ability to locally manage stimulus dollars as it goes after competitive grants.’
NCPC approves Mall signage changes and levee plans, hears from Vietnam Memorial center planners. Writes Teddy Kahn in Examiner, re signs, ‘Steve Lorenzetti, planning director for the National Park Service, said the new system would reduce “sign creep” and improve the Mall’s look. But Judy Scott Feldman of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall argued that Uniguide was inappropriate. “The Mall is not a national park,” she said. “Why do we treat it like one?” Feldman wants a historic design, similar to signs in Central Park, that “tells visitors they are somewhere special.”’ Also WTTG-TV.
H1N1 UPDATE—-Eight probables, new case at Langdon ES.
Chain Bridge rehab to start next month.
Listen to EHN hold forth on BHO’s SCOTUS pick.
WaPo’s freshly minted Pulitzer winner Eugene Robinson says Obama should suck it up and say yes to gay marriage. Examiner’s Marta H. Mossburg, not a Pulitzer winner, says: Listen to Marion Barry on vouchers!
CYCLISTS—-Lotsa good stuff discussed at this month’s BAC meeting.
More, from WaTimes, on World Team Tennis finals coming to D.C.
Hey HSBC! Hasn’t anyone told you we don’t like banks anymore?
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: Committee on Government Operations and the Environment roundtable on PR18-228 (“Public Employee Relations Board Johnine P. Barnes Confirmation Resolution of 2009″), PR18-229 (“Public Employee Relations Board John P. Isa Confirmation Resolution of 2009″), PR18-230 (“Public Employee Relations Board Mary Oates Walker Confirmation Resolution of 2009″), and PR18-231 (“Public Employee Relations Board Jennifer E. Chung Confirmation Resolution of 2009″), JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: remarks, DCRA vacant property announcement, 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NE; 11:30 a.m.: remarks, Brightwood apartment building groundbreaking, 6425 14th St. NW; 4 p.m.: remarks, DPR Sunday hours announcement, Riggs LaSalle Community Center, 501 Riggs Road NE.