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Morning all. George F. Will this morning takes a swing at the D.C. House Voting Rights Act in his WaPo op-ed column—-actually, call it a low blow: “[A] freshly minted adjective describes this unseemly handing out, like party favors, of seats in the national legislature: Blagojevichian. He had an unsavory plan for filling one Senate seat for a while. Congress has an anti-constitutional plan for creating two Senate seats and one in the House forever.” Oof. Of course, nowhere does Will address the basic question of whether the residents of the District of Columbia deserve congresssional representation. LL’S STAND: Let the courts hash it out!
Federal News Radio has it: Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra will be named the federal Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and information technology. “As OMB administrator, he will be responsible for the 25 e-government projects, the nine Lines of Business initiatives, cybersecurity, the Federal Enterprise Architecture, overseeing the federal IT budget of more than $70 billion and most other major IT initiatives.” Scuttlebutt had been that Kundra might be named the nation’s first CTO.
Paul Schwartzman does the Georgetown Apple Store hullabaloo for WaPo. The scoop? Hizzoner has taken notice: ‘The encounter is so fraught with uncertainty that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s office has offered to give the computer company advice on how to handle the board and asked to see its latest rendering before the meeting. ‘I don’t want the Old Georgetown Board having to have the perfect design torpedo a very good product,’ said Neil O. Albert, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development. If Apple is held up again, Albert added, ‘we will step in and work with both parties to make sure it gets passed.'”
BRPAA member quits, and writes nasty Dear Adrian letter: “Lawrence Smith said he could no longer serve on the board because Fenty’s appointee, Towanda Paul-Bryant, ‘seems bent on precipitating its destruction,'” Bill Myers writes in Examiner. “Smith, a transactions lawyer who has served on the board for six years, said Paul-Bryant wasn’t equal to the task. ‘She is inexperienced in the process, does not seem to appreciate the legal implications of specific decisions, lacks background in the valuation processes, exhibits no understanding of evaluation criteria, lacks leadership experience and abilities, is unable to bring the members together to effectively and consistently facilitate the caseload, and demonstrates a lack of respect for the process in general and for her colleagues.'”
LIKE LORI LEE?—-Smith’s letter: “The singular qualifying attribute that she claims to the members is her friendship with the mayor.” Listening, Muriel?
Marc Fisher did the math: 166 people walked past Jose Sanchez as he lay dying on a Columbia Heights sidewalk last week. “Would people do the right thing if there were fewer drunks on the street? Would there be fewer drunks on 14th Street if the city extended its ban on sales of single bottles of beer to more neighborhoods?…Call them reasons, call them excuses — whatever their name, they are legitimate yet insufficient….[A] person was flat out on the ground, dying. You are obliged to act. It might be inconvenient or frightening. But you do not let him die. Which is what 166 people did.” (The suspects in Sanchez’s death have been charged with manslaughter, says NC8.)
Arne Duncan tells NPR that his kids will attend DCPS.
D.C. firefighter Dante Paire shot former fiancee, fellow firefighter Jessica Wimbish, 25, and her parents in their Seat Pleasant home, then killed himself on the scene. Reports WaPo: “According to a D.C. fire department source, a notice was recently sent to District firehouses that Paire was not allowed on fire department property. The notice had a picture of Paire, who was last assigned to Engine 20 in Tenleytown. It was not clear why Paire was banned from department property.”
Remember back in November when the city announced it was going owe a whole bunch of money for bad Medicaid billings? No? Didn’t think you would. Anyway, the number is in: $109M, according to Examiner. “The write-offs, itemized in the District’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, cut a $300 million year-end surplus to $191 million — a serious blow as the city enters a perilous economic period.”
Deluge of unemployment claims is slowing government response in local jurisdictions, WaPo’s Chris L. Jenkins reports on A1. “Federal guidelines mandate that Virginia offer appeals hearings to 80 percent of denied applicants or employers within 30 days. In December…the state processed 4.3 percent of the possible 1,319 cases. In Maryland, where federal guidelines require 60 percent compliance in 30 days, the state processed 10 percent. The District, also with a 60 percent requirement, handled 24 percent….In Maryland the number of new claims increased 31 percent from December 2007 to 2008. In the District, new claims increased 32 percent over that time.”
Jonetta Rose Barras reveals this fun fact: “$156 million of the $191 million surplus reported by [CFO Nat Gandhi] is the result of agencies not spending their approved budget….That the District isn’t spending its own tax dollars and leaving federal money on the table because bureaucrats still haven’t learned how to complete Medicaid reimbursement forms could suggest it doesn’t need any help. Certainly it needs better managers.”
Attacks on the homeless are rising, WaPo’s Petula Dvorak reports in District Weekly: “Advocates for the homeless are urging local, state and federal legislators…to pay attention to violence against the homeless. Their goal is to categorize such attacks as hate crimes, to get closer attention from law enforcement agencies and enhanced penalties in many jurisdictions. According to a survey conducted by the D.C. Department of Human Services last year, about 34 percent — 979 — of the homeless people questioned said they had been attacked….The number is growing and reflects similar experiences nationwide, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.”
WaPo’s David Nakamura asks: “Fenty Fundraising: How Much is Too Much?”
OR JUST CUT THE TRAVEL BUDGET—-In face of declining passenger traffic, Airports Authority explores hike on taxi and shuttle fees, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. MWAA is mulling “raising taxi dispatch fees from $1.75 to $2.50 at Reagan National to help raise revenues. The $2.50 fees are already in place at Dulles….The authority also is considering charging other commercial vehicles such as hotel shuttles $2.50 at both airports. Altogether the new fees would help generate more than $1 million for the authority.” Biz Journal has the traffic stats.
NEIL ALBERT APPARENTLY NOT A MIRACLE WORKER—-Hilton to settle in Fairfax County.
LEAVE IT TO WATIMES—-To turn one GWU student’s dumbassery (abortion-memorial cross vandalism) into piece about liberals’ “intolerance.”
More on WWC drama from Metro Weekly.
The Hudson Valley Press has spoken: “Now is the time for DC voting rights”
IN WAPO DISTRICT NOTEBOOK—-More on Obama visit to Columbia Heights charter, plus blog posts you’ve probably read about Fenty fundraising and WTU contract proposal.
Michelle Fenty was co-chair of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gala on Tuesday night. First In-Law Marian Robinson was there! And Hizzoner sat “near” the Presidential Box at the KenCen show.
At economic development committee hearings, you will now to able to “Tell Kwame Live” through the wonders of the Internet. It’s “a first-of-a-kind video blog in the Council that will run a live online streaming video of OCT-TV 13 during select Committee on Economic Development proceedings. Viewers will have the opportunity to comment on the proceedings using the live blog.”
Man pleads guilty to 2006 double murder in Southwest.
Tom Sherwood‘s Notebook is full of matters GOP this week. He also passes on the sad news that Heidi Berry, wife of Max Berry, passed last week.
HIGH HOPES FOR HOLDER—-WaPo piece on Eric Holder‘s race and the justice system looks at his days as U.S. attorney round these parts: “In the 1980s, he and his fellow public corruption prosecutor Reid H. Weingarten began to volunteer at the Oak Hill juvenile detention center. And as the crack epidemic ravaged the District in the mid-1980s, Holder became an early member of the local chapter of Concerned Black Men, a mentoring group founded to provide positive black male role models. From the judge’s bench, he sent scores of young black men to prison, but in his chambers, he hosted children involved in the mentoring program.”
Elephant debate in federal court!
Biz Journal: “From December 2007 to December 2008, the region added 11,800 jobs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics….In the last 15 years, the annual average was more than 45,000 jobs added. In 2007, the region added almost 30,000 jobs. These are preliminary numbers, and the final tally could change.”
D.C.-based Blackboard earnings down by a quarter.
WUSA-TV does the ol’ Metro lost-and-found story.
Busted water mains on MacArthur Boulevard and Benning Road.
IF GEORGE WILL HAD ANY BALLS…he’d show up at tonight’s panel discussion, “D.C. Statehood: Now Is The Time!” hosted by the Statehood-Greens. Appearing: Michael D. Brown, Paul Strauss, Mike Panetta, Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Michael A. Brown, Sam Smith, Mark Plotkin, and more. 7 to 9 p.m at UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, Building 39, Room 201.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:45 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV.