Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“CONFIRMED: Fall Out Boy, T.I., Young Jeezy at Mayoral Concert,” “Fenty Car Blocks Delivery Truck!“
Morning all. LL birthday wishes go out today to At-Large Councilmember David Catania, who celebrates his 41st today. Catania actually had birthday cake yesterday, but it was at a Wilson Building event he had hosted celebrating Martin Luther King‘s birthday.
LL is sooo jealous! WaPo gets personal visit from Barack Obama yesterday, and Anne Kornblut writes up the local angle. Here’s the biggie: “Obama stopped short of promising an aggressive pursuit of D.C. voting rights….[H]e described himself as a ‘strong proponent’ of amending the District’s lack of voting representation in Congress but did not portray it as a top priority….’You’ve got a president who is supportive of it, and I think you’ve got a majority in both the House and Senate who’d be supportive of it,’ Obama said…’But this takes on a partisan flavor, and, you know, right now I think our legislative agenda’s chock-full. I would like to explore how quickly we can get it done.'” SAYS ED BOARD, essentially, stuff it up your ass, Obama: “If politics is the major obstacle, the answer should be an emphatic and overdue yes….the voting rights bill is ready to go and would not require Mr. Obama to expend much political capital….That Mr. Obama seems dedicated to District issues is encouraging, but leadership by example isn’t enough.”
OBAMA ON D.C. SCHOOLS—-Said that “he and his wife had specifically discussed working with the D.C. public schools, using their own celebrity and success ‘as leverage to get kids and parents and teachers excited about the possibilities of an education.’ He said he was ‘trying to think about regular visits to local schools to meet with kids and meet with teachers and principals’ and reiterated his desire to open up the White House ‘in ways that haven’t been done before.’…At a policy level, he said that he had met D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee but had not spent much time with her and that he expects his incoming Education Department secretary, Arne Duncan, to be ‘interested in how the school experiment here goes.'”
For more deets on the WaPo visit itself, check out Michael Calderone at Politico.
Bill Turque reports in WaPo that WTU is demanding a list of teachers placed on 90-day improvement plans—-a first step toward firing them. Rhee is this far refusing, saying, “We think an overemphasis on all the names and numbers will not help us with the environment we’re trying to create.” WTU says they’re entitled to the list under contract, and is exploring its options. “Nathan Saunders, the union’s executive vice president, said Rhee may be reluctant to reveal the names because she has disproportionately targeted teachers over age 40.”
According to Business Week, Chief Technology Office Vivek Kundra has been shortlisted to be the first-ever federal CTO. “Kundra…has a reputation for using technology to make government more open and inclusive. Neither the Obama transition team nor the two executives would comment on their potential selection by Obama….The President-elect is expected to announce his pick for CTO in a matter of days.”
Jonetta Rose Barras looks at Eric Payne‘s firing as CFO contracting chief. “Reached by telephone this week, Payne declined to comment on the specifics of his termination. But he said throughout his tenure he received impressive evaluations, leading to performance bonuses, a ‘special act’ award and salary increases….When asked if he intended to sue the city, Payne said, ‘I am exploring all my options.’…That means ‘you betcha,’ for those unfamiliar with lawsuitspeak.” W2I lawyer Scott Bolden says Payne would be “witness number one” in a lottery-contract lawsuit.
D.C. Council this morning unveils Wilson Building voting rights sign, which counts tax dollars paid by District residents. Actually, it was unveiled yesterday when LL was down there—-looks pretty snazzy, but it’s unclear what the number represents—-all tax dollars paid this tax year? Year-to-date? Ever? And did the Commission of Fine Arts sign off on this?
Southeastern U. has another suitor besides UDC, Biz Journal reports. SEU board president J.R. Clark says choice expected within a month. “Ultimately we want to seek to preserve the mission of Southeastern. We need to delve a bit more into how does that actually work and issues that we have are addressed, in terms of resources being allocated to the school.”
Bad financial news from Biz Journal: “[D]espite the Washington area’s reputation for fairly shallow recessions, local businesspeople with long memories say this recession is already different — read worse — from all major downturns since the 1970s.”
Environmental groups Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, Anacostia Riverkeeper and Potomac Riverkeeper file federal lawsuit looking for tighter restrictions on river dumping. “The two lawsuits have to do with EPA-approved documents called ‘Total Maximum Daily Loads,’ which are intended to set caps on the amount of pollution entering already contaminated streams,” writes WaPo’s David Fahrenthold.
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
HUGE NEWS—-John Thompson III is considering delaying Georgetown basketball practice due to inauguration. Whoa!
WAPO ASKS OBAMA ABOUT ROLE IN INAUG PREP—-“Obama said he has been briefed on the ‘broad outlines’, and said he was involved in some ‘key decisions’, such as moving the parade staging ground farther off the Mall to open more viewing space for the swearing-in ceremonies. He also said he helped chose who would sing during the first dance between him and wife Michelle.” Doesn’t spill the beans.
LATEST WX—-From Examiner: “Weather forecasters are predicting bitter cold and winds for the area through early next week and the possibility of a snowfall over the weekend that could dampen the spirits of millions flocking to the capital for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.” LL ASKS: Is this the first time Terry Lynch has commented on a weather report?
WaPo’s David Nakamura and Janie Boschma look at the most in-demand parade viewing spots of all: from warm, catered spots high above Pennsylvania Avenue. Such as the John A. Wilson Building, where “populist support has shifted away from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), whose third-floor office is in the rear of the building, to D.C. Council members whose offices face the street, such as Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7)….Alexander is hosting family, friends and constituents to watch the big show over a potluck lunch, though how she intends to shoehorn them into her fourth-floor office isn’t clear.” Also: “PNC Bank, along the parade’s home stretch across from Treasury, has invited 80 D.C. public school students to watch from its second- and third-floor windows.”
WaPo columnist, cable-news fixture Eugene Robinson editorializes on inaug prep: “I knew things were getting bad a few weeks ago when I ran into D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his greeting was not to wish me a good morning or ask how I was doing, but rather: “You got anyplace I can park some tour buses?”
More deets on the Obama-Biden train ride, from WaPo’s Nikita Stewart: Train will stop for events in Wilmington, Del., and Baltimore, but there will be no arrival event in D.C. AND IF YOU’RE WATCHING ALONG THE TRACKS…be careful!
GEE, THANKS, NATS!—-Parking lots near Nats Park open to inaug visitors. $20 a day, $35 if overnight.
Limo drivers SCRAMBLE for $125 permits.
10,000 National Guard troops mobilized.
WaPo looks at folks who plan to ride bicycles, kayaks, and…roller skates.
But sorry, kayakers, you’re banned from the river. Alexandria water taxi is the only maritime option.
Here’s your Circulator sked.
Examiner has more on dealing with the homeless: “In preparing for this weekend’s mass movement of homeless people, D.C. sought the advice of cities which that recently accomplished the same thing: Denver, for the Democratic National Convention, and St. Paul, Minn., for the Republican National Convention.” Meanwhile, panhandlers aren’t expecting an inaugural windfall. “Mostly people from out of town are scared of D.C. and its homeless people….That’s why you don’t see much panhandling on the Mall.”
Need a rest stop? Try Old Post Office Pavilion, Ronald Reagan Building, FAA buildings, or Ford House Office Building.
NYT submits its inauguration tips guide, reveals itself to be not yet immune to Fenty’s favorite locution: “We’re as prepared as humanly possible,” Sewell Chan quotes him saying. ALSO check former WCP editor David Carr‘s pre-inaug paean to Ben’s Chili Bowl.
“DISTRICT OF COOL”—-USA Today tells us how to “[h]ave a hip time in Washington.”
Afro-American has comprehensive list of black-oriented inaugural balls.
FOX 5 INVESTIGATION—-“Inaugural Port-a-Potties: How Many is Enough?”
God wins, Newdow loses.
Make a “rice sock” to keep warm!
Cathy Lanier will be doing a WaPo chat at 11 a.m.
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
Wilson Building blood drive helps inaugural stockpile.
Obama are out of the Hay-Adams now, and H Street NW traffic is back to normal.
NC8: At 7 p.m. last night on 5000 block of Benning Road SE, “a man crashed his truck into an apartment building after he was shot.”
Fire last night on 1800 block of H Street NE.
Biz Journal asks, where will be the presidential dining hot spot?
TODAY ON THE POLITICS HOUR WITH KOJO NNAMDI—-Tom Sherwood, WRC-TV; Md. Gov. Martin O’Malley; Mayor Adrian Fenty. 12 p.m., WAMU-FM 88.5.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole hearing on human resources and human capital initiatives within DCPS, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: remarks, InauguralFest Exhibition ribbon-cutting, 1001 H St. NW (old Convention Center parking lot); 12:30 p.m.: guest, The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi, WAMU-FM; 3:30 p.m.: guest, MSNBC Live with Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC.