Morning all. In a post to Greta Van Susteren‘s Fox News blog, Wyclef Jean explained the circumstances behind his appearance Sunday night at Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s 9:30 Club event: “The first ball I played was ‘The Green Ball’. We set the bar pretty high that night. Everyone would have to follow that!!! I wore an Obama bumper sticker on my forehead. Why? Why not! The Mayor of DC – Adrian Fenty – was there. He’s only 38! What a smart guy. And, he has swagerrrrrrrrrrr!!! So the Mayor asked us if we would come to his event the next night. It was on! I got to see T.I. – that kid is too cool for school. The swagger of a college kid – for real! He rocked it. And then, they put on “The Lion”. I’m referring to myself in the third person. LOL. We did what we do best. But, what I love was that it was for Education in the Schools. They used the music for awareness to get your attention – Love it! After us, was Fall Out Boy. I liked them too.”
Harry Jaffe tries to set up a brewing council-mayor showdown. On schools, in particular. “[T]he council might try and soften Rhee’s [teacher-quality] standards,” he writes. “Bad idea, since only one of 13 has kids in public school.” UH, HARRY?—-By LL’s count,
three two have kids in public schools: Kwame Brown (charter school), Phil Mendelson, and Harry Thomas Jr. [CORRECTION: Thomas’ kids used to be at Bunker Hill ES, but now are at parochial school.]
MORE INTERESTING STUFF IS ABOUT MICHAEL BROWN—-“Brown was expected to tip the scales for Vince Gray. He is, in fact, a formidable, ambitious and well-connected politician with his sights on higher office….A reception to retire his campaign debts Tuesday night will be held at the home of Debra Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of BET Networks.”
United Medical Center, the former Greater Southeast Community Hospital, regains its accreditation from the Joint Commission—-marking a remarkable turnaround sparked by $30M of investment. Let’s listen to David Catania crow a little (as he’s entitled): “Catania…said in a statement that the notion that the hospital would be reaccredited in slightly more than a year ‘seemed unlikely at best, impossible at worst’ and that its staff should be ‘commended for the phenomenal progress they have made,'” Darryl Fears reports in WaPo. WHY’S THIS MATTER?—-For one thing, it means more medical insurers will now pay claims at UMC. Also Examiner, Biz Journal.
Fenty administration releases mental health privatization plan: DMH’s Community Services Agency will disappear by March 2010, Fears reports in WaPo. “[O]fficials said the Implementation Plan for the Transition and Closure of the District of Columbia Community Services Agency will save between $11 million and $14 million and end most managed mental-health care. But union officials said the plan will disrupt the care of some of the city’s most vulnerable residents and send them to agencies not equipped to provide appropriate care.” THE CRITICS—-“[T]he implementation plan is complete nonsense….What they propose to do is take a public system that works extremely well and close it down and give it to private providers who admit that they don’t have the capacity to serve clients.” Also WAMU-FM (RealAudio).
Al Sharpton and Joel Klein team up in The New Republic to ask Barack Obama to support Michelle Rhee’s school reforms: “Since the election, both Barack and Michelle Obama have said they want to aid D.C. school reform efforts, and the president-elect has said that he plans to make ‘regular visits to local schools to meet with kids and meet with teachers and principals.’ We second those intentions—-and believe the president-elect has a special opportunity to refashion the federal government’s unique role in D.C school reform.”
Councilmembers watching swearing-in were forced to kneel, Nikita Stewart reports in D.C. Wire. Says Yvette Alexander: “Eleven of us were kneeling in the dirt, the cold dirt. Harry Thomas with his knee surgery, me in my winter white suit.” Don’t forget Mary Cheh—-she had knee surgery, too!
WHERE WERE THE OTHER TWO?—-Jack Evans stayed back at the Wilson Building with his kids; Phil Mendelson was out of town visiting an ailing relative.
Freeman Klopott wraps up the March for Life in Examiner: “The crowd of protesters, which stretched for about a quarter-mile on the Mall in front of the Capitol, invoked the rhetoric used by President Obama in his inauguration speech two days earlier….On Thursday, many protesters carried [signs] saying, ‘Yes We Can Terminate Abortion,’ a reference to Obama’s campaign slogan. Those and other signs bobbed above the crowd as it marched from the Mall and spilled onto Constitution Avenue.” Also WaTimes, which found surprisingly few ill words about Obama, and NC8, WUSA-TV.
GEE, THANKS—-“Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will be distributing packages that include a souvenir program, color photos of President Obama and other memorabilia to people who had tickets to Obama’s swearing-in ceremony Tuesday but were not admitted,” sez WaPo.
Examiner: Now that inaug is over, Metro starts having problems again.
During inaug, officials from Vancouver, B.C.—-host of the 2010 Winter Olympics—-were at Metro HQ, watching how things went. Says Metro spokesperson to WTOP, “They were impressed with how we were able to get people around and also the number of officers that we hand on hand at our stations.”
WaTimes’ Deborah Simmons tees up voting-rights act. Says EHN, D.C. “delivered a world-class historic inauguration…The city without a vote delivered for the nation.” And here’s Fenty, speaking as blandly as humanly possible: “The president is not only a supporter of the city’s voting rights efforts, but is also vocal about his commitment to ensuring District of Columbia representation in Congress…The president has given the city his support and commitment, and I am confident his administration will work as fast as humanly possible to achieve this goal.”
Lineup set for voting-rights hearing—-Via WaPo: “Yolanda Lee, a captain in the D.C. National Guard; Viet Dinh, a Georgetown law professor, and Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) also has requested time to speak on behalf of the bill.”
WHAT ABOUT MICHAEL D. BROWN?—-He smacks around George Will in a WaPo letter today!
Check out WaPo letters giving “Inauguration Cheers and Jeers”—-especially the last, from a California teacher: “We had tickets to the Navy Memorial Museum for the inauguration. We made it through security once, only to be told that we had entered the wrong area….Having the parade route barricaded at each block did not allow for movement on Pennsylvania Avenue. When we left the secure area to enter at Seventh Street NW, we were unable to make it through security there. The eighth-graders who had traveled so far had to go into a bar to watch the inauguration on TV….I checked Web sites several times per day just before the trip, and nothing said we would not be able to move along Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“SOMETHING THAT WAS NOT ANYONE’S FAULT”—-Yesterday on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt, police Chief Cathy Lanier explained why the parade checkpoints were such a mess. Regarding the 7th and D checkpoint:
At that checkpoint, that was supposed to open at 7, there was a delay. The Secret Service had (an) issue, and part of the issue was getting the people who were going to man those checkpoints in. They had trouble getting in. In fact we helped them get from Independence Avenue over to the checkpoint. But that delayed the opening of the checkpoint from 7 until 7:45. That small window of time, that 45-minute delay, created a huge surge in the crowd. The crowd was coming in about 100,000 an hour…That was an important 45 minutes. But, again, that was something that was not anyone’s fault. Everyone had planned in advance, but there was a lot of traffic coming across that 14th Street Bridge that blocked up Independence Avenue, so as quickly as we could get those Secret Service folks and the TSA folks to the checkpoints to open them up, but by the time they were open, again, we were trying to get the information out by bullhorns and hand-out literature but you had thousands of people waiting.
SPOTTED JAN. 20—-Rhee, with KJ, at Western Ball; Fenty at Jay-Z‘s “Concert on the Eve of Change”—-Jay apparently gave Hizzoner a shout; and both Fentys at super-exclusive Creative Coalition Ball (with pics!)
Expect to see a lot of snow fencing on the Mall in coming months.
Inaugural economic infusion estimated at $1B.
INAUG SCANDAL—-Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, et al. were instrument-syncing!
ANOTHER ONE—-HuffPo asks this question: “Why would the Secret Service, the lead agency securing the Inauguration, allow an inaugural ball in one of the District’s most critical transportation hubs during an day anticipated to bring record crowds flooding into the District?”
Prince of Petworth: “DC Public Schools are for the most part a bit problematic.”
TODAY ON THE POLITICS PROGRAM WITH MARK PLOTKIN—-Md. Gov. Martin O’ Malley
TODAY ON THE POLITICS HOUR WITH KOJO NNAMDI—-Tom Sherwood, WRC-TV; Amy Gardner, WaPo; Andrew A. Green, Baltimore Sun; Jim Graham, Ward 1 councilmember; Sharon Bulova, vice chair, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Pat Herrity, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Human Services meeting on organization for Council Period 18, JAWB 123; 10 a.m.: Committee on Health roundtable on pharmaceutical practice, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Peaceoholics Peaceful Communities announcement, 606 Raleigh Place SE.