IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Is Jack Evans Responsible for Thad Cochran’s DCHVRA Vote?“; “Exploding Manhole in Adams Morgan!“; “Senate Votes on DCHVRA Constitutionality“
Morning all. This morning, WTOP’s Mark Segraves wrote up a preview of the March 9 council-vs.-media hoops game, complete with rosters and a quote from Dave Bing! Don’t be like David “I Don’t Give a Shit About This Game” Catania—-get it on your schedule!
Senators lined up yesterday with amendments to the D.C. House Voting Rights Act. In WaPo, Mary Beth Sheridan and Michael Ruane write, “The voting rights bill could come up for a final vote in the Senate today if both parties agree to quickly move through the five remaining amendments. In case they don’t, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) filed a motion last night to end debate. That would probably push a final vote to Monday.” Most troublesome: The John Ensign amendment, which “closely resembles a bill passed by the House but not the Senate last year. It alarmed D.C. officials by calling for the removal of almost all locally imposed gun-control rules.” Examiner’s Michael Neibauer also covers; so does WaTimes’ Timothy Warren. For a more detailed look, you need to go to DCist’s liveblog.
MEANWHILE—-House version of DCHVRA keeps moving. In press conference after successful judiciary committee markup, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer promises floor vote next week. The Hill has video.
Lots of city revenue is being lost due to an increasing number property tax appeals, CFO Nat Gandhi tells the council and reporters. According to David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart‘s WaPo story, “The number of cases reaching the city’s Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals has soared from 3,400 last fiscal year to 4,300 this fiscal year….Many of the taxpayers, primarily businesses with vast commercial holdings, have hired lawyers who specialize in such cases.” Says Vince Gray, “Do we feel the need to explain to the board that what they do directly affects our revenues?”
ASSESSMENTS ARE DOWN—-“[A]ssessments for fiscal 2010, which will be released today, have decreased by an average of 2 to 4 percent for residential properties and 2 to 5 percent for commercial properties. That represents the first broad decrease in assessed values in years.”
In Examiner, Neibauer takes a wider view of the situation, noting that Gandhi “retracted previous statements that D.C. is ‘immune’ to the worst of the economic downfall. ‘It has caught up to us,’ he said….’What we have here is basically an economic tsunami out there.'” Also see Jonathan O’Connell in Biz Journal.
As the tsunami approaches, Jonetta Rose Barras pleads for more budget transparency from the Fenty administration: “The mayor may want to take a page from President Barack Obama‘s book: Get out ahead, fast and often. Town hall meetings could allow Fenty to explain why, despite federal stimulus money, deep cuts in local spending will be required. Failing to reach out guarantees an increase in citizen complaints….[Dan Tangherlini] said he appreciates some of the recent criticisms, but he believes residents may be mixing issues. Some changes the Fenty administration is implementing are the result of agencies evaluating the effectiveness of certain policies.”
Bill Myers has a good one in Examiner: Cathy Lanier gives medals to cops who “checked coats, acted as concierges and escorted out-of-town dignitaries for a national police conference.” CONTEXT: “As chief, Lanier has given out hundreds of medals to her officers. She’s also minted new ones, like a yellow ribbon for participating in her ‘All Hands on Deck’ events and an American flag for having worked during the inaugural.” KRIS BAUMANN QUOTE: “An officer who arrests a homicide suspect gets disciplined, but the officers who hang up coats for the chief’s friends are given medals — that speaks volumes about the problems we’re having in this department.” And Alfie Kohn quote?!?
Not enough yet for Chandra Levy arrest warrant, Neal Augenstein reports for WTOP. Nice little scoop: “D.C. Metropolitan Police Department detectives working on the Levy case – including at least one detective who speaks Spanish – flew to California on Wednesday”—-where Ingmar Guandique is in prison.
More from WaPo on Marion Barry‘s April 2 court date: “In court papers, Barry’s attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., said that ‘small balances’ are owed to the federal and D.C. governments….Barry did not willfully fail to file his returns, Cooke wrote. His client has serious health issues, Cooke wrote, and ‘has been, not surprisingly, increasingly concerned with his mortality.'”
In themail, Gary Imhoff slaps David Catania for refusing to let anti-Gardasil activist speak at DOH budget oversight hearing: “Catania is not just insulting Tucker, and by extension all citizens, by commanding that someone who disagrees with his policy preferences not be allowed to testify before his committee; he is also flouting a rule of the city council.” Also, Dorothy Brizill reports that BOEE member Lenora Cole, who had stayed on after her term expired over the summer, has resigned, effective immediately. “In recent weeks, she was…angry about [Fenty running buddy Omar Nour]’s appointment and upset that she had not been consulted about who should replace her on the board.”
Party for Socialism and Liberation still not happy about UDC tuition hikes.
MICHELLE RHEE NEEDS A DRIVER—-Bill Turque reports at D.C. Wire that the gig “pays between $29,800 and $38,400 a year” and requires familiarity with “rules and regulations concerning safeguarding of highly confidential documents, as well as conversations” and the ability to “coordinate and/or provide physical safety in a hostile or confrontational situation.”
IN WAPO DISTRICT WEEKLY—-District Notebook covers Fenty appearance at Ward 7 meeting and Catania’s move into Carol Schwartz‘s old office; more on MPD 1D move, crime lab contruction; piece on schoolkids’ poetry slam competition; news briefs; and ANIMAL WATCH.
Michael A. Brown tells Kalorama Citizens Association that he favors building MoCo-style municipal parking garages, according to GGW. GGW, needless to say, doesn’t like that idea.
Gizmodo, the super-popular gadget blog, covers the “self-repairing” parking meters.
Good news for rail commuters: Stimulus bill hikes employer transit allowance, Lena Sun writes in WaPo. “The new federal legislation allows employers to subsidize their employees as much as $230 a month [up from $120], or $2,760 a year, in public transportation benefits. Or an employee can receive the benefit as a pretax payroll deduction or some combination of the two.” Effective March 1, but Metro isn’t changing SmartBenefits till April 1.
WARD 1 VIOLENCE—-Man, 22, stabbed to death at 6 p.m. outside carryout at Georgia Avenue and Gresham Place; about three hours later, stray bullet hits woman in car on the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW.
NC8 covers the Harvard Hall fire alarm situation.
Eleanor Holmes Norton smacks around FEMA for unspent Katrina aid.
School-closing meetings coming next week.
Caps: So hot right now.
Stevie Wonder at White House yesterday.
Marc Fisher: Boom times for cobblers.
DO NOT BE ALARMED—-NORAD training exercize today.
CULINARY MOMENT—-LL still loves ya, Carla.
MEDIA MOMENT—-WETA lays off 15, cuts 14 vacant positions, according to Biz Journal.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: Committee on the Whole agency performance oversight hearing on Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Office of Planning, and Office of Zoning, JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee on Aging and Community Affairs meeting, JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-7:30 p.m.: remarks, Ward 3 community meeting, 4600 Connecticut Ave. NW.