Morning all. Remember when LL said, ‘This Means War’ a couple days ago? Well, things have ratcheted up a bit with news that Mary Cheh has taken an ax to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, while Yvette Alexander has halved Fenty’s constituent services office, taking it from two staffers per ward to one. Peter Nickles told LL yesterday the moves were ‘objectionable.’ Says the AG, ‘It’s been a longstanding practice that the council doesn’t touch the mayor’s budget….It’s really uncalled for, and, to me, it seems spiteful, without any foundation in logic and substance.’
Michael Neibauer files a nice budget markup story, about how David Catania is looking to crack down on illicit users of the D.C. Healthcare Alliance. And some users may be shifted to Medicaid, which the feds pay for. Under the health committee markup, ‘Enforcing the existing residency requirement will chop 6,800 members, saving $13.6 million. Another 723 people who are eligible for other health insurance will be moved out of the alliance, saving $2 million. The city also plans to use $13.7 million in federal funds to transition eligible residents into Medicaid, cutting alliance enrollment by another 4,130 members. And moving unborn children of undocumented immigrants to Medicaid will save another $788,234.’
EATING LIKE A TWO-MILLIONAIRE—-A Monday Tweet from ‘Top Chef’ finalist Carla Hall: ‘catering a Mayor Fenty fundraiser tonight.’
In WaPo, Darryl Fears explores the very real possibility (remember the Nats Park ) that the District doesn’t have enough skilled workers to fill all these new stimulus jobs. ‘The lack of skilled residents will cost the city in the coming months, when the government and nonprofit groups will compete with hundreds of other municipalities for a share of the $500 million in grants to train workers for the emerging “green” economy. To qualify for the stimulus funds, municipalities must demonstrate that they can train adults fast and put them to work on shovel-ready projects.’ Barbara Lang and Kwame Brown are skeptics; DOES Director Joseph P. ‘Ordinary Average Guy’ Walsh is a believer: ‘”We are going to be very poised to compete,” Walsh said. “We’ve been planning for months.”…”I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that the District is lagging behind other cities,” Walsh said. When the competition for the $500 million in stimulus money begins later this year, “we will already have demonstrated what we can do . . . and we’ll be able to go in and make a case for those dollars.”‘
Metro officials appear before Congressional subcommittee, and Examiner’s Kytja Weir is there when Rep. Chris Van Hollen ‘urged Metro officials to avoid service cuts during a federal oversight hearing on the transit agency Wednesday — one day before Metro’s board is expected to decide on whether to cut 72 bus lines.’ INTERESTING—-Committee chair Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) ‘added that he hoped two federal votes on the Metro board — the change that the District is considering as part of the dedicated funding push — would help eliminate some of the “Balkanized system” the transit agency has that allowed such cuts to be considered.’ Also WTOP.
AND—-Riders want budget transparency!
‘BUDGET MADNESS IN THE DISTRICT’—-So says Jonetta Rose Barras in her Examiner column scolding the council for ‘pandering to special interest groups this week…Chairman Vincent C. Gray elevated the tradition by inviting to his news conference every constituency he and his colleagues had satisfied by performing fiscal contortions.’ He did get a lot of applause, you have to say, Jonetta. ‘While legislators celebrated their budget wizardry and suggested they were more responsive to District residents’ concerns than the mayor, the reality is that some of the changes made to Fenty’s proposal may be short-lived.’ Id est, Don’t forget those new revenue projections!
ALSO—-See Barras’ report on jrbarras.com about the DPR cuts LL reported on Friday night. ‘[S]ome individuals were made to stay after office hours under the guise they were going to meet with the director. Instead, they were given pink slips….Six recreation specialists and recreation assistants along with five maintenance workers were among those fired. A sports specialist, community relations program coordinator and volunteer coordinator also were terminated.’ And. she reports, Fenty is proposing to hike DPR program and facility fees.
Bill Turque has more on the D.C. Council’s choice of schools evaluators at D.C. Wire. ‘The [National Research Council]’s selection ends, for the moment at least, the stalemate between Fenty and Chairman Vincent C. Gray over how Rhee’s attempted overhaul of DCPS would be evaluated. The 2007 law establishing mayoral control of the school system requires Fenty to submit an annual appraisal, covering academic achievement, business practices and personnel policies. He could also skip the annual reports in favor of a five-year evaluation in Sept. 2012.’
Metro Weekly’s Yusuf Najafi files good piece on Monday’s Whitman-Walker hearing.
Annapolis lobbyist Bruce Bereano settles Maryland ethics complaint over improper fee agreement, WaPo’s John Wagner writes. ‘The settlement…resolves a 2002 complaint by the commission that said Bereano had entered into an improper contingency-based fee arrangement with a client. The following year, the commission suspended Bereano’s license for 10 months and imposed a $5,000 fine….Bereano has agreed to pay more than $29,000 to cover commission costs associated with the case and to allow inspection of his fee agreements with clients for the next three years.’ WHY DOES LL CARE? Because (a) it’s a slow news day and (b) Bereano’s an old buddy of Vince Gray‘s.
SWINE H1N1 FLU UPDATE—-Six in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties contract the disease; meanwhile the WHO warns that the planet “is probably on the verge of a pandemic.” Also WUSA-TV. BE LIKE LL: Keep calm and carry on.
Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and some 100 congressional spouses show at Capital Area Food Bank, ‘passing out packages of wheat pasta and cans of pineapple as volunteers bagged meals for low-income kids in the area,’ AP reports. ‘Several of the congressional spouses said Mrs. Obama has inspired them to volunteer more frequently in the District. Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, said he flew in from San Francisco to attend.’
D.C. pursuing regional education stimulus funds with Va., Md.? WUSA-TV: ‘Virginia Superintendent of Instruction Patricia I. Wright said Wednesday the grants will be awarded to states that are most aggressively pursuing reforms. Wright says the regional proposal could include assessing adolescent literacy and creating more online resources for teachers.’
IN WAPO DISTRICT EXTRA…
—-Hamil Harris writes about Howard U. event for National Donor Life Month (Kim Dickens was there!);
—-District Notebook covers WTU veep Nathan Saunders‘ unexpected return to school and Mary Cheh‘s upcoming breast cancer walk;
—Lisa Frazier Page covers the end of Vertigo Books;
—-Timothy Wilson covers Greater Washington Servathon, ‘an annual two-day event highlighting volunteerism and sponsored by Greater DC Cares’;
—-Alan Goldenbach writes about DCPS high school baseball teams practicing at Nats Park;
—-news briefs (‘Historic Sites in District To Receive Stimulus Funds’; ‘Event to Mark Milestone For Hoop Dreams Program’; ‘Health Screenings Target Black Men in Wards 7 and 8’; ‘Poster Contest Stresses Intergenerational Effort’);
—-and health-code violations (Cameron’s Seafood, Circle 7, Figs Fine Foods, Kanlaya Thai Cuisine, Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream [U Street], and Tuscany Cafe); home sales; police blotter; and ANIMAL WATCH.
IN THEMAIL—-More on the Saunders power move from Iris Toyer and Gary Imhoff, plus ‘one branch library and its Friends are fighting back against Ginnie Cooper‘ and a fascinating item from ANCs chief Gottlieb Simon, who points out that the BSA subtitle on ‘Expedited Advisory Neighborhood Commission Permits Notification’ actually reduces notification requirements.
TOM SHERWOOD’s NOTEBOOK—-He’s on staycation, people!
Couldn’t get enough Happy the Hippo coverage yesterday? WaPo has you covered with its second day of wall-to-wall amphibious pachyderm news. Today, Michael Ruane covers just exactly how the National Zoo expects to get Happy to his new home in Milwaukee. ‘Curators are pondering: How do you move a 5,500-pound hippopotamus 800 miles? First, you’ve got to get him in his timber and steel moving crate. And that takes practice. There’s also the size of the crate. Zoo curators think the one they have might not be wide enough for Happy to lie down in during the journey. Then there’s the size of the truck — the journey will be a kind of hippo road trip, Happy’s first. And there’s the size of the crane it will take to hoist him out of his yard. That task will probably be the most delicate because the crate should be kept perfectly level, curators said.’ Also WUSA-TV.
MetroAccess customers can now use ‘EZ-Pay,’ WaPo’s Lena Sun reports—-that’s ‘a new electronic system that allows customers to prepay for trips — by phone or the Internet — using a credit or debit card.’
Caps win, businesses win—-so says Biz Journal report by Tierney Plumb and Missy Frederick. ‘[R]estaurants and businesses surrounding the Verizon Center have had reason to celebrate since the hockey team entered the playoffs because pumped up hockey fans mean big business.’
Among area principals honored by WaPo: ‘Marshall Cartland, principal of Webb Wheatley Educational Center in the District, who has worked for the public school system since 1999′; and ‘Sarah Hayes Campbell, principal of KIPP DC: Key Academy, a D.C. public charter school, since 2005.’
Two WaPo letter writers take issue with Hizzoner’s decision to pay for extended Metro hours after late Nats games. Says one, ‘Whose interests is the District government looking out for? City residents’ or the Lerner family’s? As a District resident, I would much rather see the $27,000 an hour that is to be paid for Metro’s extra costs go to help the homeless instead of helping a family get richer.’ Says another, ‘Mayor Adrian M. Fenty should not be such a spendthrift with taxpayers’ money.’
WTTG-TV SCOOP—-Wedding ring found in District alley. Says Craigslist, ‘single gold wedding band. Near corner of C and 11th NE.’
DON’T PANIC—-Low-flying military cargo plane to buzz Walter Reed this afternoon, tomorrow morning.
More on Northeast Corridor track work.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Human Services FY2010 budget markup, JAWB 500; Committee on Housing and Workforce Development roundtable on PR18-0160 (“District of Columbia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Laruby May Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), PR18-0161 (“District of Columbia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners William Slover Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), PR18-0162 (“District of Columbia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Anthony Wash Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), PR18-0150 (“Housing Finance Agency Board of Directors Derek Ford Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), PR18-0177 (“Housing Finance Agency Board of Directors Stephanie Drake Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), PR18-0178 (“Housing Finance Agency Board of Directors Michael Wheet Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), PR18-0223 (“Housing Finance Agency of Directors Buwa Binitie Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), and PR18-0224 (“Housing Finance Agency Board of Directors Jacque D. Patterson Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), JAWB 412; 12 p.m.: Committee on Housing and Workforce Development and Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs joint roundtable on Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act exemption clarification, JAWB 412; Committee on Government Operation & the Environment FY2010 budget markup, JAWB 500; 2 p.m.: Committee on Aging and Community Affairs FY2010 budget markup, JAWB 500; 4 p.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue FY2010 budget markup, JAWB 500; 6 p.m.: Committee on Housing and Workforce Development FY2010 budget markup, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:30 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor with Barbara Harrison, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV; 10:30 a.m.: remarks, 14th Street Bridge rehabilitation announcement, East Potomac Park, 1000 Ohio Drive SW.