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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Mark Plotkin Gets Into It With Robert Gibbs“; “Fenty Reaches New Heights in Blather

Morning all. LL sends birthday wishes to Marion Barry, who turns 73 today. In other news, at D.C. Wire, David Nakamura and his colleagues are starting a “Statement Watch” to track the inanity of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s official communications with reporter. LL WILL JOIN IN SOLIDARITY! REPORTERS OF THE CITY UNITE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR BLATHERING QUOTES!

STUNNING—-Nakamura also reports at D.C. Wire that not only did Fenty accept a free trip from the United Arab Emirates last month, but the city itself received money from the UAE government. AND the city took momey from the Chinese government in connection to his Olympic trip last August. “We’re told that D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles is preparing a report that will disclose the amounts of money involved, which apparently totals tens of thousands of dollars between the two trips. That report could be ready by Friday or early next week, sources said.”

D.C. Auditor Deborah Nichols releases initial inquiry into last year’s summer jobs disaster, finds that 203 kids living outside D.C., “most claiming addresses in Maryland although a handful said they lived in Virginia or as far away as Georgia, Florida or Texas,” were paid an aggregate $276,154. Nikita Stewart in WaPo, which “obtained” the report, also writes that it described “how much money was ‘wasted’ by contractors who accepted payments for slots that were never filled….Using sample invoices, Nichols found that six contractors failed to fill 291 slots, totaling $623,365. Looking at documents monitoring the contracts, three other vendors had 57 empty slots worth $70,890.”

EXECUTIVE RESPONSE—-“[DOES chief Joseph P. Walsh Jr.] said he recently spoke with the auditor but disagreed with a proposal to limit the number of jobs available this summer. ‘We are committed to the mayor’s belief that every young person should have a job.'”

Jim Graham says accusations of widespread neighborhood indifference to the January beating of Jose Sanchez are BUNK, according to Michael Neibauer‘s Examiner article. Says Graham: “The short of it is that he was left unattended for only three to four minutes…We believe based on the information that it was a very short time, and all of that national bad publicity was groundless.”

LL must tender an apology to Natwar Gandhi, because LL neglected to include in yesterday’s LLD the very nice editorial that the Washington Post penned on the AAA rating for a new bond issue. Wrote the board, “Mr. Gandhi, fiercely independent and prudent in his advice, also should be congratulated. And, in joining the select group of states and counties with triple-A ratings, the District and its elected officials once again have proved their capability in running the city’s affairs, a fact that we hope does not escape notice on Capitol Hill.”

Today, the WaPo ed board makes the case that congressional meddling in District affairs is a bipartisan pastime, equating Dems’ attempts to kill vouchers with Repubs’ attempts to gut the city’s gun laws. “In neither case were the interests, much less the wishes, of D.C. officials or residents considered or even solicited. Instead, lawmakers were more interested (in the case of D.C. voting rights) in trying to curry favor with the gun lobby and (in the matter of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program) with teachers unions and others ideologically opposed to vouchers.” LL DOESN’T BUY IT—-Wasn’t the voucher program a product of congressional guinea-piggism in the first place? And doesn’t the omnibus voucher language say the D.C. Council gets to vote for reauthorization?

The New York Times editorial board targets the NRA in their thoughts on the matter: “The gun lobby’s malevolence now extends to the House, where Democratic leaders suddenly pulled back a clean bill. The leadership is agonizing, trying to convince Democrats from pro-gun districts to resist gun lobby pressure for the dangerous amendment. ‘This is Democratic members doing something to kill a basic civil rights bill,’ Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s nonvoting House delegate, complained to The Hill newspaper.”

Harry Jaffe also takes Dems to task on vouchers: “Bowing to dogma has cornered the Democrats. Siding with the teachers unions has put them in the position of denying poor kids a chance to go to decent schools such as Sidwell, where President Barack Obama sends his daughters. Opportunity Scholarships help send Sarah and James Parker, as well as others, to Sidwell….Democrats on D.C.’s city council, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton take cues from the teachers unions, too. They would prefer to see the vouchers die; interestingly, most send their kids to private or charter schools.” RELATED—-Former Bush speechwriter wants more full-throated voucher support from Fenty.

At voucher presser yesterday, according to WaTimes’ Timothy Warren, Sen. Jim DeMint said this: “If you send a kid to [public] school in D.C., chances are that they will end up in a gang rather than graduating.” BEST REACT—-Said Phil Mendelson, “I’m a public school parent. My daughter is in third grade, and she is not likely to be a gang member.” Another good one: “You Sir, Are an Ignorant Ass.” More on vouchers from WAMU-FM.

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT—-In WaPo, David Nakamura reports the latest idea to get House action moving: ask nicely. “The task of convincing these lawmakers, who come from places with a strong tradition of gun rights, that they should not fear repercussions if they support the voting rights bill without gun amendments could be time-consuming and difficult, D.C. vote backers said. Ilir Zherka, executive director of DC Vote, a lobbying group, said the effort would take at least another week.”

THE COUNT—-“House leaders have concluded that they have 190 solid votes in favor of blocking all amendments, 28 fewer than necessary for approval, sources with knowledge of strategy discussions said. To round up enough support, the voting rights supporters will target the group of more than 60 members from conservative areas.”

MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT—-Mark Plotkin gives it to Republican senators at voucher presser; Weekly Standard blogger finds him “rude.”

Newark Star-Ledger covers Cory Booker‘s joint fundraiser with Fenty—-a story broken by LL. Booker on Fenty: “Adrian Fenty is that kind of mayor, he’s just a tremendous leader who’s making a great change in Washington, D.C., and he’s been somebody I’ve known since I was on city council. We have a whole bunch of mutual friends who raised money for his mayoral race and raised money for my mayoral race.”

Neibauer has more on Harry Thomas Jr.‘s threatening missive to Brookland newsletter. Said Thomas: “Why does everyone think I’m threatening them?…I just hope the advertisers would understand that the publication is not creating a balanced article or being fair.”

Michelle Obama slung risotto at Miriam’s Kitchen yesterday.

Still no movement on interstate domestic partnership recognitions, Blade reports.

Dupont tree removal leads to resident uproar.

Destination D.C. is crafting “Obama itinerary” for tourists, WaTimes reports. “The tour will focus on several parts of the city that President Obama visited during his campaign and since his inauguration, including the Kennedy Center, the Capitol, the inaugural parade route and the White House. Other stops highlight areas where Mr. Obama has dined in the city, running the gamut from unofficial D.C. landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street Northwest to Equinox, the upscale eatery near the White House where Mr. Obama took first lady Michelle Obama for her birthday.”

WaPo details court filing in Arthur Daniels murder arrest: The 14-year-old “was shot and killed last week after ignoring another teen’s question, according to criminal documents filed yesterday in D.C. Superior Court….The victim…and his friends were approached by two young men as they walked to McDonald’s about 10:50 p.m. on Feb. 28. The group kept walking even after the men asked twice which neighborhood they were from, according to court documents. ‘They’re ignoring you; just bust them,’ one witness heard just before a shot was fired. Daniels’s friends ran but realized that the teen lay wounded. Daniels was shot once in the back, and the bullet exited his neck, court records say.”

THANKS, WATIMES!—-In case you forgot, Ingmar Guandique is an illegal immigrant.

HALLELUJAH—-Old Georgetown board approves Apple Store, writes Paul Schwartzman in WaPo. “Gone was the modern expanse of glass that defined the storefront in past renderings, which the Old Georgetown Board had complained was out of character with the neighborhood. Instead, Apple’s glass storefront is to be broken into panels, echoing the bay windows and entrances that dominate Georgetown. ‘This is beautifully executed,’ Stephen J. Vanze, chairman of the Old Georgetown Board, told Karl Backus, Apple’s architect. ‘We’re very pleased.'” NEXT—-CFA approval. Also Biz Journal.

Metro budget talks postponed to next week. Writes WaPo’s Lena Sun, “Finance Committee Chairman Peter Benjamin said that although the localities were close, “every jurisdiction was not ready at this point.” He declined to identify jurisdictions that weren’t ready, but other board members and local government officials said the problem was in Maryland.”

Plans move forward on Southwest firehouse/development project, says Biz Journal.

ALSO IN BIZ JOURNAL—-Gandhi spotted at GWBOT reception, “chatting with Yale economist Bob Shiller, co-author of the most respected measure of home price trends in the nation’s 20 largest cities…Gandhi was filling Shiller in on the tangled history of Congress, home rule and the control board era — and how the role of the CFO fits in. ‘You were the first one?’ Shiller asked Gandhi as he struggled to understand how Congress could overrule the city’s mayor. Gandhi answered no — that was Tony Williams. ‘He did such a good job, he became mayor.’ Shiller asked if that’s Gandhi’s ambition. ‘I don’t think I could get a single vote in this city,’ Gandhi laughed.”

Eliot Spitzer has bought 1615 L St. NW for $180M.

WRC-TV: NCPC ponders gun-shop restrictions.

Georgetown shoe bandit strikes again!

Mentally challenged teen missing.

PAGING JACK SHAFER—-NC8 claims PCP use is increasing locally. LL CALLS BULLSHIT—-a cop tried to sell him on the same story three years ago; no stats existed to support such a trend.

SIGNS, SIGNS, EVERYWHERE THERE’S SIGNS—-Improved “wayfinding” planned for Mall, monuments, other tourist sites, reports Examiner. More on Mall plans from WUSA-TV.

WAPO BRIEF—-“A former official at the U.S. Tax Court was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for seeking bribes for awarding contract work”

WaPo letter writer jaws about late DCPS snow call: “I am a special education teacher assistant, and I support the mayor’s preference to keep D.C. schools open so that our children can enjoy nutritious meals, but why is it necessary to wait until almost 6 a.m. to decide?”

WHITE-SHOE MASSACRE—-Since last time, cuts at O’Melveny & Myers, Arent Fox, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. And thoughts from a legal recruiter: “In the nearly 14 years that I have been in the legal placement business in D.C., I have not seen a worse employment environment. What is worse, I have never seen such a dismal forecast.”

Watch LL, along with WOL-AM/XM Satellite Radio’s Joe Madison, on yesterday’s NewsTalk With Bruce DePuyt. We talked D.C. voting rights!

WX WATCH—-Nice weekend!

TODAY ON THE POLITICS HOUR WITH KOJO NNAMDI—-“A bill to give D.C. a vote in Congress gets tangled up in the debate over gun rights. Maryland lawmakers spar over plans to severely restrict the state’s use of the death penalty. And Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates turn up the heat in the early days of the campaign”; Tom Sherwood, WRC-TV; Bruce DePuyt, NC8; Anthony O’Donnell, Maryland House of Delegates minority leader; Tommy Wells, Ward 6 councilmember. 12 p.m., WAMU-FM, 88.5.

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue agency performance oversight hearing on the D.C. Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board, the Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, JAWB 500; 11:30 a.m.: Committee of the Whole agency performance oversight hearing on the Metropolitan Council of Governments, D.C. Auditor, Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining, Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, Public Access Corporation, and the Office of Budget and Planning, JAWB 412.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: remarks, High School Winter Sports Breakfast of Champions, Cannon HOB Room 345; 12:15 p.m.: remarks, Department on Disability Services announcement, 1125 15th St. NW.