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Morning all. WTOP’s Mark Segraves has the scoop: Barack Obama played basketball Sunday at Marie Reed Community Learning Center in Adams Morgan—-a block from LL’s office. This comes after he eats at Ben’s Chili Bowl—-four blocks from LL’s apartment! Only one conclusion: Obama is stalking LL. Another view, from Jim Graham: “He can’t leave Ward 1 alone!” Tipster says the game was set up by Obama’s “body man,” former Dukie Reggie Love; Mayor Adrian Fenty “did a drop-by,” LL is told, but did not play.

Marc Fisher has the best wrap-up of yesterday’s blockbuster Wilson Building press conference: “This morning’s session with Mayor Adrian Fenty, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and the head of the U.S. Secret Service included the classic bunch of guys in suits and uniforms (plus D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier) crowded behind the elected officials in a show of authority and confidence. ‘We’ve got this inauguration thing under control,’ was the message,” he writes. “But the actual content of the conference sent a rather different, and refreshingly honest, message: We have no idea what’s going to happen, and we just want to be as ready as we can be.”

A BIT MUCH?—-“If Fenty seemed genuinely thrilled to be part of this and, as is his wont, almost casually confident that things would work out just fine, O’Malley played the role of the stern parent….Kaine played the part of genial but wise uncle.” More on presser from NC8, Virginian-Pilot, CNSNews.com

Harry Jaffe has a fascinating column about UDC reserach into youth crime in the District: “[O]ur stereotype of roving gangs of boys may be obsolete. ‘A large number of female juveniles are committing violent crime,’ [UDC prof Angelyn Flowers] says. ‘This is a population that is not being addressed and is becoming increasingly violent.'” Researchers asked girls “what they most liked to do with their time….Answer: ‘Have sex.'”

NYT does up the D.C. dining scene in a big way, highlighting the travails of Gillian Clark, Joe Englert, et al. in gentrifying neighborhoods. Says ANC commissioner: “For the past two or three years, you kind of feel this energy, this current, going through D.C….It’s really kind of a hip place to be. Suburbia is dead.” (Apparently NYT didn’t get the memo: DON’T PICK GLICK!)

Politico calls U Street the “Obama team’s new street,” points out residences of key advisers: “Tommy Vietor, an Obama transition spokesman, and his girlfriend, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama‘s press secretary, live nearby. Jon Favreau, a speechwriter for Obama, owns a co-op in a building on 16th Street. Reid Cherlin and Ben LaBolt, both Obama spokesmen, have moved to the area. Even for Obama loyalists who don’t live there, U Street is becoming a communal hangout.”

Another water main breaks, this time in Chinatown.

WaPo delivers embarrassingly late, thin coverage of UDC intrigue. Susan Kinzie‘s story covers board vote to create community college, but buries Examiner scoop from Monday that the school is exploring a merger with Southeastern U. Last line of the 300-word story: “The school does not yet have a site for a community college, but sources said that UDC is hoping to merge with Southeastern University, a private college in the District.” Read Biz Journal’s story instead.

Michelle Rhee is back on NewsHour, this time on attempts to lure good principals. Focus is on Ron Brown MS. Regarding her choice to lead Hart MS, which erupted in violence last semester, she says she picked the wrong person: “Absolutely. I made a mistake.” React from DC Teacher Chic.

And Margaret Spellings writes to Arne Duncan: “Finally, I would ask you to not let Congress take away Opportunity Scholarships for the District of Columbia. They are lifelines for at-risk children, enabling their parents to choose public, private or religious schools that meet their needs. Fortunately, those children have a true champion in Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who is doing a great job turning around D.C. schools.”

D.C. Vote makes its demands to Obama: “The DC Voting Rights Act, which you co-sponsored last year, has been introduced in the 111th Congress. The single most important step you can take is to sign this legislation into law as soon as it reaches your desk….Change the license plates on the presidential motorcade….Mention DC voting rights in your inaugural address.”

H Street Shuttle, from Gallery Place to Minnesota Avenue Metro via H Street NE, launches today. Mastermind Tommy Wells, along with Yvette Alexander, Kwame Brown, and biz types, will launch the sucker at 12:30 p.m. today.

Amputee vet acquitted on most gun charges stemming from 2006 visit to Walter Reed, WaPo’s Keith Alexander reports. “The couple’s car got a flat tire, forcing them to pull over at a car repair shop in the 5000 block of Georgia Avenue NW. While there…he reached into the glove compartment, removed a 9mm pistol and put it in his jacket pocket….A witness who noticed [Cpl. Melroy H. Cort] handling the gun called police, who arrested and handcuffed Cort while he was sitting in his wheelchair. He was charged with three counts of carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of ammunition.”

Courtland Milloy tells the story of Arthur A. Moorehand, an 80-year-old District resident who died last April and whose body lay unclaimed until recently. A vertans’ group came forward to give Moorehand a proper burial at Arlington National Cemetery. “Someone read a letter of condolence from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty that said Moorehand was ‘loved by many.’ It was a nice gesture, but if it was really true, where were they?”

Salvadoran man sentenced for buying illicit driver’s license in DMV “licenses-for-bribes” scandal, according to Bill Myers in Examiner. “Antonio Contreras…and hundreds of other immigrants paid $1,000 to $1,800 to buy their licenses from convicted former D.C. motor vehicles clerk Patricia Gonzalez.”

Company pleads guilty to overcharging DOH $110K. NC8: “Prosecutors say the [Institute for Behavioral Change and Research] was hired to provide health care assistance to youth at risk for drug abuse, but submitted invoices for work that was not performed. Of 22 invoices submitted in 2005 and 2006, 19 sought reimbursement for services that were not provided.”

Convict Ricky Bryant, a D.C. resident in a Pennsylvania pen, tells WaPo’s Robert Pierre that he “does not expect a drastic shift in policy when Barack Obama becomes president but hopes that at least there will be a discussion of the racial disparities in sentencing.”

NC8: Two high-rise apartment buildings evacuated yesterday on 2300 block of Good Hope Road SE. “At around 2:00 p.m., residents at the Marlbury Plaza Apartments heard smoke alarms go off followed by a powerful explosion caused by a fire that started in a third floor unit.” WUSA-TV says three were sent to hospitals.

Cops need help finding Danielle Latasha Hicks-Best, 12, missing since Jan. 3.

WAPO BRIEFS—-“Graham Introduces Metro Funding Bill”; “‘Green’ Dorm Opens At Catholic University”


THANKS, BUSH—-District gets EMERGENCY FUNDING from White House for inaug prep. Reports WaPo, “The emergency declaration—-based on crowd projections, not the weather—-came less than a week after D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) asked for the aid, citing estimates of 1.5 million to 2 million people expected to attend, according to a Bush administration spokesman. The city has projected its tab for the inauguration at $47 million, about three times as much as Congress has given the District.” FIRST—-“Yesterday was the first time the emergency declaration had been made in advance of a political event,” says WH spokesperson. Also Examiner, WaTimes, NC8, NYT, WSJ.

ENOUGH ALREADY—-Fisher contributes more hand-wringing about the extended inaugural booze hours, highlights how plenty of places have decided that it’s not worth their while.

Inaug inspiring lots of volunteerism, Leah Fabel reports in Examiner: “The biggest crowds are turning out on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The volunteer-focus of the holiday was initiated by Congress in 1994, but the “call to service” of President-elect Barack Obama has inspired unprecedented numbers of participants….Greater DC Cares, an organization that coordinates volunteer opportunities for individuals and businesses, filled 550 opportunities more than a week ago and have 100 people on a waiting list.”

NC8 has more on “Statehood Now” signs, voting-rights activism during inaug.

NO CHANGE HERE—-On Jan. 20, Obama will worship at the “church of the presidents,” St. John’s Episcopal, across 16th Street NW from the Hay-Adams. “Since James Madison, every president has worshiped there at some point during his tenure in the Oval Office.”

Virginia offers free bus service on key routes, Examiner reports: “The buses that run to Metrorail stations and to pedestrian entry points at local bridges will be free Jan. 20, said Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer Pickett. And even Metrobus will offer free service from Virginia into the District — then back after the ceremonies end.”

Where the jumbotrons are.

Where the parking restrictions are.

Bill banning inaug ticket scalping passes Senate.

MPD names “crowd czar.”

Activist groups prepare for inauguration, WaPo’s Lori Aratani reports, but they won’t be protesting, exactly: “‘It’s not a protest; it’s a celebratory event,’ said Jose Rodriguez, a longtime activist who is coordinating an Arrest Bush demonstration in front of the FBI building Tuesday.” UGH—-“[A]bout 15 people will come from Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kan. The group is known for its opposition to gay rights and has made headlines for staging protests at military funerals. Members will be at a spot at the northeast corner of John Marshall Memorial Park.”

WUSA-TV reports on L.A. group that thought it would be staying at Columbia Heights Rec Center. “[B]ut Tuesday, [organizer] claims he was told they were no longer welcome after a gang related shooting….’They decided it’s not going to be safe for us to have kids in that type of environment,’ he said.” Jim Graham says there was never any such agreement: “[O]ur rec centers are not set up for overnight accommodation with sleeping bags and showers and staff here 24 hours, that’s just not anything that we do.”

WRC-TV: “Inauguration a Paradox of Sorts for Black Republicans.” Says Michael Steele, “I wish it was John McCain being inaugurated [but] it’s not awkward at all.”

WaTimes looks at some inaugural benefit events. One has Jacques Cousteau‘s grandkids! And Juleanna Glover‘s going to have Diane von Furstenberg at her house!

WTOP lists balls with tickets still available—-for a price.

CNN says we have a case of “statistics and logistics fever.”

Release the hounds!

METROWATCH—-Metro chief John Catoe told riders’ group last week, according to Examiner, “Something will happen on the 20th….We cannot operate that many trains and not have something happen.” EXAMPLE—-“Around 3:45 p.m. [Monday] a train broke down near Silver Spring, so officials had to use another train to push it out of the way. Both trains had to be emptied of people. That in turn caused a ripple effect of problems. Two fewer trains meant crowded conditions as the usual rush-hour commuters headed home.But those extra crowds caused too many people to try to squeeze in, getting bags or other objects stuck in the doors. That in turn, caused doors to break on two trains….Metro officials had to empty both of those trains to check out the jammed doors, bringing the total to four trains taken off line during the evening rush.” Also Metro inaug tips. WUSa-TV has list of enter-only/exit-only restrictions.

A MUST—-Check out Pat Collinstips for keeping warm!

WRC-TV also rounds up some free inaug activites.

GET THE WORD OUT—-Dionne Warwick will be at the Wardman Park Marriott! And the mayor of Norwalk, Ohio, will be in town, too!

Dance for a free taco on Jan. 20.

For more on the inauguration, including the latest news, housing and rentals, parties, and events, check out City Paper‘s DC Inauguration Guide.


Examiner: Housing prices down, according to stats from Metropolitan Regional information Systems: “[T]he District of Columbia posted a modest 12.5 percent drop, with the median price falling to $350,000 last month from $400,000 the previous year.”

But wages are up!

Fenty signs Verizon FiOS agreement.

Blogger calls out WaPo for coverage of Columbia Heights violence.

Fisher covers Georgetown Apple Store hullabaloo, comes down on Apple’s side. Commenters bite.

GW Hospital gets new CEO.


D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Health roundtable on reporting of adverse health events, JAWB 500.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Fort Totten development announcement, 300 Riggs Road NE; 3:45 p.m.: guest, NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt, NewsChannel 8; 6:50 p.m.: guest, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with David Shuster, MSNBC.