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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-AVERAGE D.C. GOVERNMENT, part of Washington City Paper’s landmark AVERAGE DAY enterprise. Included these killer items: “Peter Nickles: Amazing”; “Dan Tan Plows Ahead on Numbers”; “Fenty Gets Stiff Competition from Michael A. Brown”; “Kwame Brown’s TV Problem”; “Prime Time for Ward 7 Rep!”; “Dan Tan: Tough Meeting, Then Tuna Casserole”; “Wilson Building: Not Quite Handicapped Witness-Friendly”; “Resident Requests Help from Councilmember”; “Sherwood: On a Story”; “Mayor’s Office Not Alone in Budget Hell”; “Agency Director to Dan Tan: “Hard to Trim the Fat””; “Budget Season In Full Swing”; “Mayoral Bullpen: Big on Starbucks

Morning all. Marion Barry, 72, will be undergoing six-plus-hour kidney transplant surgery this afternoon at Howard University Hospital. Dr. Clive O. Callender, chair of the HUH surgery department and founder of the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, will be in charge. Write Hamil Harris and Nikita Stewart in WaPo, “The surgery is expected to last six hours and, in anticipation of a successful procedure, the 72-year-old Barry has scheduled a news conference tomorrow to discuss it….Kidney transplants have become fairly routine, with nearly 12,000 performed nationwide last year….Experts said that for patients older than 70, the chance of survival is greater with a new kidney than with continued dialysis. But the procedure is not without risk.” Also WRC-TV, Examiner, WaTimes, AP, NC8, WUSA-TV.

COLLEAGUE REAX—-Vince Gray: “I am very happy that Councilmember Barry will undergo kidney transplant surgery Friday. He has been carrying a difficult work schedule, undergoing dialysis several times a week and trying to keep up with his Council duties. Despite his health, he has continued to serve the people of Ward 8 and residents across the city well….This surgery literally will give Mr. Barry a new lease on his life, both physically and emotionally. The people he serves and his colleagues on the Council all know of his tenacity and drive, and I am sure he will be anxious to get back to work as soon as possible.” Kwame Brown: “My family and I would like to wish Councilmember Barry well in surgery and a quick recover….We should also commend the courage of the kidney donor who is making a valiant sacrifice.”

Ron Lester, the Silver Spring pollster very popular among local political candidates, finds himself at the center of a Baltimore corruption scandal, Baltimore Sun reports. Lester performed a poll for a Balto councilmember that was allegedly paid for by a developer as a bribe. He is not accused of any wrongdoing, emphasizes his lawyer…Scott Bolden: “He is a witness,” the Reed Smith partner tells the Daily Record.

On WaPo A1, Daniel de Vise covers travel by local school superintendents, and Michelle Rhee gets off easy, believe it or not. De Vise relates Sacramento scuttlebutt, then adds this Mary Lord quote: “It’s not her job, and we’re not paying her to do that.” BY THE NUMBERS—-“Rhee took 29 days of personal leave and 15 days of official travel in the calendar year 2008. She declined to be interviewed.” The guy who really gets hammered is Loudoun County Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III, who “spent 49 weekdays from July 2007 through June 2008 traveling the nation and the world in pursuit of reinvigoration and professional growth.”

WaPo’s Theola Labbé-DeBose and Paul Duggan cover the lawsuit filed by disgruntled FEMS investigators Gregory Bowyer and Gerald Pennington. The allegations: “The plaintiffs said [FEMS Chief Dennis Rubin], who is white, sought to add white firefighters to what had been a predominantly African American arson unit. In doing so, the men alleged, he eased the selection criteria, resulting in unqualified people being assigned to investigations. After they complained to Rubin, the mayor’s office, the D.C. Council and the news media about problems in the unit, the men said, their superiors retaliated by ‘smearing’ their reputations and relegating them to ‘fire hydrant duty, battery installation in residents’ fire alarms duty, and passing out snacks to firefighters at fire scenes.'” Rubin has referred the matter to IG’s office. Also Examiner, NC8, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.

Bad hydrants still a big, big problen, and Tom Sherwood‘s all over it for WRC-TV.

WaPo ed board on P.G. United: “[P]romises of pain-free revenue should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. A new stadium for one of the Washington region’s most competitive sports franchises isn’t a nonstarter, but, in their zeal to see it built, county officials shouldn’t hype the benefits.”

3,600 Pepco customers in the District without power, mostly in Shaw. “The outages are clustered in Northwest DC, affecting areas of 9th, 7th, and Q Streets, as well as a portions of Rhode Island Ave., New Jersey Ave., and Florida Ave.”

Harry Jaffe likes UDC prez Allen Sessoms, “But his timing on raising tuition is way off….”In these hard economic times, when bailouts are being doled out across America, why would you raise costs for these students?” an adjunct professor asks….The best way for UDC to function and perhaps become a stellar public university would be if Mayor Adrian Fenty sees it as part of his crusade to fix the city’s public school system. UDC does sit atop the system. Fenty could help raise cash. He could also coach track.”

Metro general manager John Catoe proposes service cuts to close budget gap. According to Lena Sun in WaPo, “Proposals include eliminating overlapping bus service on 36 routes regionwide; increasing the gap between bus arrivals on about four dozen routes regionwide; increasing the gap between train arrivals on the fringes of rush-hour, on weeknights, at midday and on Saturdays; and closing some low-usage entrances at six stations on weekends and at five stations on weeknights.” Look at it this way: “”Officials have since found ways to trim expenses and boost revenues to reduce the shortfall to about $28 million before cutting service,” write sKytja Weir in Examiner. Also WaTimes.

METRO MADNESS—-Empty Yellow Line train derails; Orange Line fouled by MOW equipment problems. Stories in WaPo, which notes, “The type of rail car in the accident was the same series that has been involved in more than 13 derailments in the past six years.”

No lawsuits yet for D.C. House Voting Rights Act, The Hill reports. “[F]or last several months grassroots groups D.C. Vote and DC Appleseed – both in favor of the bill – have had a team of lawyers from four law firms preparing a defense for the potential case, which many call inevitable….In the event of a lawsuit, the Department of Justice would defend the case to a three-judge panel – two D.C. justices and one D.C. appellate court justice – and if overturned and appealed, the Supreme Court. D.C. Vote is planning to file a petition and take on a ‘party of interest’ position.”

Jilted lottery bidder W2I tells District not to rebid contract, threatens to sue, according to Jonathan O’Connell in Biz Journal. “W2I was the proper lottery contract awardee; there exists no more room for reasoned dispute on this point,” wrote Jones Day partner Peter F. Garvin III on behalf of W2I, and if they don’t get awarded the bid, “W2I will be compelled to seek its full measure of redress from the courts.”

WaPo’s Labbé-DeBose runs down the whole get-out-of-jail saga that culminated yesterday in a fabulous letter from Phil Mendelson to Peter Nickles.

Whitman-Walker Clinic provides more info to David Catania, Metro Weekly reports: “The statement released by WWC emphasizes the importance of fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in the District and offers an overview of the services provided at the clinic, in addition to answering a list of detailed questions, touching on topics such as Medicaid rates, the clinic’s eligibility with Ryan White funding, and how the $8 million earned by selling the organization’s 1407 S St. NW administrative building in 2008 was spent…’Even though they have provided answers to some of my questions, my concerns have not been alleviated,’ Catania said.”

Mary Cheh caps on development obstructionists.

WUSA-TV picks up OUC chair-cleaning story.

More on Jack Evans‘ biz-tax-cut proposal from Biz Journal. “Advocates are already digging in for the debate. The D.C. Chamber of Commerce backs the cuts, but a coalition of human service providers and nonprofits led by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has emphasized the need to fund safety net programs that benefit low-income families.”

WaTimes letter: “Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee have blocked our [HIV/AIDS prevention] work in D.C. public schools. Mrs. Rhee’s special assistant, Richard Nyankori, told us in a meeting that we would not be welcome in D.C. public schools anymore because we opposed parts of the new health standards that emphasize the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in sixth and eighth grades.”

Ex-boyfriend questioned in disappearance. Pat Collins does piece.

Marble is falling off Hill office buildings, WUSA-TV reports.

Northeast crime wave?

WATIMES SCOOP—-People think parents should be involved in their kids’ education.

CORRECTING THE RECORD—-WaPo letter: “The Feb. 14 letter ‘Commuters Are Not the District’s Problem’ included a commonly believed fantasy that the federal government makes an annual payment (in this case $600 million) to the District of Columbia. No such payment has been made since 1997….[B]ecause of the sound fiscal judgment of the mayor and the D.C. Council, the District has achieved a balanced budget for 12 years, maintains a bond rating of A+ and is managing the current economic crisis very well.” Signed, Natwar M. Gandhi.

Arena Stage show “Next to Normal” to Broadway.

State of Chinatown address on Monday.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS—-From p.4 of this week’s Current papers [PDF]: “After recently receiving an early-stage breast cancer diagnosis, Ward 3 D.C. Council member Mary Cheh is striving to raise at least $50,000 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in May.”

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Aging and Community Affairs agency performance oversight hearing on Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, Office of Veterans Affairs, Serve DC, Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, Commission on Latino Community Development, and Office of Latino Affairs, JAWB 500; Committee of the Whole, Committee on Finance and Revenue, Committee on Government Operations & the Environment, Committee on Economic Development, Committee on Public Works and Transportation, and Committee on Human Service joint capital budget hearing, JAWB 412.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled. (Yes, he’s on family vacay. No, they won’t say where.)