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Morning all. Is someone thinking she needs some image adjustment? Michelle Rhee takes to the WaPo op-ed page this morning to “set the record straight”: “I do not blame teachers for the low achievement levels.” That said, she moves on to sell teachers et al. on the “final proposal for a new teacher contract” to be submitted in the coming weeks. Her bullet points: “Individual choice….Measuring excellence….A growth model of achievement….Protection from arbitrary firings….Professional development and support.” She also appears in an Examiner interview, where describes herself as a “curious agnostic.”
The op-ed comes on the heels of news that DCPS plans to close three more elementary schools: Birney, Draper, and Webb. From Bill Turque in WaPo: “Birney, on Martin Luther King Avenue in Southeast Washington, and Webb, on Mt. Olivet Road in Northeast Washington, are ‘receiving’ schools, accommodating students displaced by renovations at Savoy and Wheatley elementaries. The proposal calls for Birney students to move to the newly refurbished Savoy, on Shannon Place in Southeast, this fall. Webb students would attend the redesigned Wheatley, on North Capitol Street in Northeast….Draper, on Wahler Place SE, has only 84 students in pre-K through sixth grade, and its enrollment is projected to be lower next year.” Gary Imhoff calls the press release “a masterpiece of double-talk, celebrating what good news the school closings are.” ACTUALLY, GARY, LL WOULD CALL THAT A MASTERPIECE OF SPIN.
Federal judge isn’t buying Peter Nickles‘ CFSA power move. In a hearing Friday, Judge Thomas F. Hogan “scolded the District’s attorney general…and told him that the city’s child welfare agency is not ready to stand on its own,” writes Petula Dvorak in WaPo. “I don’t understand your approach today, coming in and throwing down the gauntlet,” Hogan told Nickles. Further hearings on a contempt motion have been tentatively set for March 23.
Nickles, council engage in Friday subpoena debate, Bill Myers reports in Examiner. Said the AG: “What we want to achieve for the police is a means to obtain the necessary records to allow them to rapidly respond to leads or to develop leads.” From WaPo: “Officials with the D.C. Public Defender Service, the D.C. Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union told the committee chairman, Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), that allowing law enforcement authorities to seize private records without the approval of a grand jury or judge would violate constitutional principles.” Paul Duggan‘s WaPo article also includes details on Fenty crime bill.
FAIT ACCOMPLI—-Colby King looks at the case of Lafonte Lurie Carlton, the 18-year-old who killed two on Ward 1’s streets after being released from DYRS custody for a 2006 murder. King has new developments: “Carlton had been arrested, again, and sent to Oak Hill on Dec. 2 for carrying a dangerous weapon, only to be released to his home three days later,” and that Carlton had been charged on Jan. 13 with a gun charge.” This represents to King the height of irresponsibility of “the city’s condescendingly ideologized method of handling juvenile offenders.” He gets a hold of the “‘Step System’ phases through which an offender must go before being released into the community….It’s a system that an 8-year-old could game—-and another reason that survivors of D.C. victims should consider wrongful-death claims against the Fenty administration.”
WaPo editorial board gives politicos a pat on the back for saving Greater Southeast Community Hospital from failure: “At a time when many public officials are throwing their hands up at the seemingly intractable problems of health-care provision, credit goes to D.C. officials who stuck their necks out. Most notable are council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) who, as chair of the health committee crusaded to save the hospital, and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) whose administration put together the deal and continues to monitor the city’s investment.”
Jonetta Rose Barras alleges DOH’s Carlos Cano steered a community health outreach contract to a friend. “He went to Strong Democracy, a New York-based group founded by political theorist Benjamin R. Barber…known for his best-selling book ‘Jihad vs. McWorld.’…So, what’s a guy like that doing at the city’s health department? ‘They are personal friends,’ says one knowledgeable District government official. ‘What Cano did was circumvent the system. When he became the department’s acting director, he pushed this through.'”
Mendo reacts to the Towanda Paul-Bryant accusations, calls for BRPAA overhaul, Bill Myers reports in Examiner. “The real estate tax system is rigged in favor of wealthy developers, Mendelson said, and should be fundamentally reformed. ‘The commercial property owners hire these big-gun lawyers who come and take advantage of the system,’ Mendelson said. ‘They know the system and its flaws, and they exploit the flaws.'”
Washington wants the Obamas! WaPo’s Avis Thomas-Lester looks at all the locals hoping that the Prez pays a visit, including Harry Thomas Jr., who “has invited the president to play in an upcoming tournament at a historically black golf course in his district.” That would be his June fundraiser at Langston. “Thomas said he has never sought out a president before but has felt a kinship with Obama since they met at the Democratic National Convention in Denver….’He’s one of the first big-city presidents, so he understands the urban environment, which I represent,’ he said. ‘The connection between him and communities like mine is great…He’s one of us.'”
Harry Jaffe does the Apple Store drama. His take: “Georgetown is dying; actually, it might already be a dead town walking,” and the neighborhood “is the agent of its own decline. Witness its death dance with Apple.” Miniscoop: “My sources say [Neil Albert] is already working with Apple to look beyond Georgetown.”
So much for Adams Morgan taxi stand, reports Examiner’s Michael Neibauer. This is what DDOT’s Karyn LeBlanc had to say: “Basically we piloted it, it didn’t work, and now it’s been postponed.” And the problems? “Some cabs refused to participate. Others were frightened away by the large contingent of hack inspectors manning the stands. Signage was unclear for drivers and pedestrians. Drivers didn’t know the rules and there was little information provided or outreach conducted. Many people looking for rides simply bypassed 18th Street for adjacent side streets, spurring cabs to crowd neighborhood roads.”
Jay Mathews returns to Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson in defense of student testing: “What happened, these skeptics ask, to helping students explore literature, mathematics, history and science and letting their conversations and writing reveal how much they learned?…There are two problems with this critique. First, for the vast majority of students, particularly in the Shaw neighborhood, that golden age of deep learning never existed. Schooling in America, with bright exceptions, has been shallow, unimaginative and easy for students to avoid by not showing up to class. Second, in an age of data-driven teamwork in business, science and politics, education could not avoid the 21st-century impulse to measure results and galvanize groups of experts to improve performance.”
GOOD LUCK WITH THAT—-In WaPo Close to Home, biz types suggest the city eliminate or drastically reduce its corporate income tax. “For-profit corporations are painfully absent from the District’s economic landscape. At 9.975 percent, the District has the third-highest state or local corporate tax rate in the country. For a company considering operating in the District, it’s an absolute deal-breaker….Eliminating the D.C. corporate income tax could have a profound impact on the future of the city. Job growth, increasing property assessments and revitalization throughout the city would be immediate.”
Jose Sanchez inspires “Call 911” campaign aimed at Hispanic immigrants, WaPo reports. Plus scene from Friday vigil, which WUSA-TV also has. Blogger Carlos QC says police were called immediately, contrary to previous reports.
DC Teacher Chic asks if CPAC appearance means “Rhee’s Coming Out?” Well, sorry to break your heart, but the official word is that Rhee will not be attending CPAC. She will, however, be speaking Wednesday at Pace University in NYC.
More on possible Metro cuts, from Examiner.
Fire breaks out Sunday morning at DCHA senior home on Delaware Avenue SW.
EHN on SCOTUS? So posits blogger…
Seven hospitalized after taxi crashes into Solly’s U Street Tavern at 11th and U. (LL SENDS HIS REGARDS to Tom Sherwood, whose son Peyton co-owns and manages the bar.) DCist has absolutely owned the story.
From themail: “Dumb Legislation Nominee…As a proud Ward 7 resident, I nominate Yvette Alexander and her [bill] styled the ‘Single Sale of Cigar Products Prohibition Amendment Act of 2009.’…I agree that smoking marijuana is bad. However, banning the sale of otherwise legal products…makes no sense….The underlying premise of this bill is honorable — reducing marijuana smoking in the District of Columbia. However, the proposed method of execution starts us down a slippery slope to some very unconstitutional prohibitions,” says Ralph Chittams.
Chuck Thies gets his letter responding to David Brooks printed in NYT.
Twice as many homeless students are enrolling, DCPS reports.
Robert Bobb has arrived in Detroit; local paper fawns: “Those who know Bobb, 63, say he may be just the man to clean up the beleaguered school system. Colleagues and associates say he’s a tough administrator who is unafraid to make controversial decisions. In past positions he has levied swift cost-cutting and instituted accountability.”
Another CareFirst exec gets his severance cut by Maryland board, reports Biz Journal.
Pepco disconnection notices up, but actual disconnections down (thanks to activist government), Examiner reports.
Feds investigate cancelled inaug ball—-the Veterans Presidential Inaugural Ball, not the one with Dionne Warwick.
Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage—-the former “Colored YMCA”—-displays artifacts from 100-year-old time capsule, WaPo’s Ian Shapira writes. And they placed a new one, too, which holds “copies of The Post and the New York Times, featuring coverage from the presidential campaign, election and inauguration….a Black Entertainment Television book, along with a BET flash drive, and a letter written by Charles J. Murphy, chairman of the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust board of directors, that reads in part: ‘Thus, today, we celebrate not only our past but our future as well. It is my hope and prayer that this building will continue in service for the community for another 100 years.'”
THREE SHOT OVER WEEKEND—-Manuel Garcia, 23, and unidentified man found early Sunday morning on the 3900 block of 14th Street NW. Garcia died at a hospital. Carlton Hill, 25, of Clinton was shot dead Saturday night on the 1600 block of W St. SE. And on Friday, Joseph Barton, 40, was murdered on the 1300 block of Fort Stevens Drive NW. More on Columbia Heights shooting from NC8 and WUSA-TV.
Sojourners’ Rev. Jim Wallis to join Obama faith council, Hamil Harris reports.
Gas leak cleared Saint Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Tenleytown yesterday.
CATERINGGATE!—-Michael Steele fends off accusations of bogus payment to sister during 2006 Maryland Senate election.
DC.GOV REVIEWED—-“Overall: This is a website that has lots of problems but which seems very eager to please and often does. The problems are mostly navigational; multiple sites, unclear pathways to information and lack of context. However, the site has a good search function, lots of contents – forms and FAQs to help visitors. Its ‘Service Request Center’ is a terrific idea well-executed. Maybe the site is a bit ugly but it’s got a really friendly personality! ‘B+'”
Auto show attendance strong, Biz Journal reports.
Cary Silverman laments the 1300 block of G Street NW.
It was warm this weekend—-67 at DCA!
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-2 p.m.: Committee of the Whole roundtable on PR 18-87, “Compensation Collective Bargaining Agreement Between the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health and the Washington Area Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, Service Employees International Union of North America, Local 572 Approval Resolution of 2009,” JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:45 a.m.: remarks, DCPS student achievement update, Randle Highland Elementary School, 1650 30th St. SE.