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Morning all. It’s Vince Gray v. Michelle Rhee week! The tensions between these two monsters of D.C. governance have deep roots, and things are getting testier by the day. The latest round of news broke on Saturday, when Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King wrote a piece condemning Rhee and citing Gray’s intent to take an independent look at the progress of the schools. Now comes the Bill Turque news piece, complete with the brushoff from Rhee.

But the real question about Rhee in these dreary days: Will she close schools on account of a wintry mix or two?

More on the edubeat: WaPo editorial page blasts city for putting 11 former school buildings up for sale for housing, retail, or offices. Why not sell them to charter schools?

New year, new administration, new hope—that’s the party line being pushed on the District’s long-futile effort to get meaningful representation on the Hill. Washington Post echoes the optimism in a piece by Mary Beth Sheridan. The centerpiece of the current effort is a bill that would add two voting reps—one for the District and one for Utah. But, the bottom line: “Even if the measure passes Congress and is signed by Obama, it is almost certain to face a court challenge.”

How much space does a two-bit crooked school cop merit in the Post Metro section?

Sorry LLD missed this yesterday: A kissy look at D.C. Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra. It raises the possibility that D.C.’s top geek could be joining the Obama administration: “A few times a week, he joins Obama transition advisers on conference calls that go late into the night.” Story makes passing reference to LL’s scoop about Kundra’s penchant for mountain retreats. Make that “summits.”

On the crony front: Examiner editorial nails Mayor Fenty for backing Lori Leel, a dear friend of his wife, Michelle Fenty, to serve as the District’s chief utilities regulator. “[I]nstead of seeking out a candidate with proven expertise in the field, as he did when recruiting Michelle Rhee to take over the city’s failing school system, Fenty apparently views the [Public Service Commission] chairmanship as a political plum to give to a family friend.”

Is Mendo sneaking on to the Washington Post‘s chat room? How else to explain the appearance of the following question on a Post chat session with Council Chairman Gray? Here’s the question: “Can you discuss reforms of the emergency legislation process?”

Money launderer for D.C. tax scammers http://www.dcexaminer.com/local/010609-Tax_scam_launderer_gets_nearly_7_years.html. “[Walter] Jones, of Essex, Md., was a key figure in the decades-old conspiracy. For four years between 2002 and 2006, Jones agreed to run six-figure checks through his bank and to help keep regulators from asking questions. After Jones was fired by Bank of America for unrelated ethical problems, the conspirators were forced to deposit their own checks.”

Examiner takes a look at a long-running issue in D.C. Council circles: Nonprofit pork. New budget rules will prohibit grants to the same nonprofit in consecutive years, a provision that critics are saying could kill some key charities. Examiner‘s Michael Neibauer quotes At-Large Councilmember David Catania: “This is a way for us to wean ourselves off this work around [of the contracting and procurement process]. And it might be tough medicine, to be honest.”

Good news for interns everywhere! Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh has your back. Cheh understands that you have to do all the shit work in the office. Take an endless stream of copy requests, coffee requests, and clean out the office fridge. And she knows one other key point: If you get sexually harassed, you have no recourse, because you’re not a paid employee. That’ll all end if Cheh’s intern-empowering legislation passes. Bill would let interns sue for discrimination and harassment. “Washington, D.C. is the best internship city in the country,” Cheh said in a news release. “It boggles the mind that interns have been denied these basic legal protections.”


Atheists score hearing on inauguration prayer, and Feinstein keeps pushing on inaugural ticket resale ban—for more, check out WaPo’s Inauguration page.

Another inaugural ball, for kids. And WRC-TV announces that, yeh, with 1,000 balls on offer, tickets are still available to some. WUSA-TV chimes in with a piece on venues for the balls.

And we all know that any inauguration would be incomplete without your favorite shopping channel.

NC8 cites ever-greater concern about getting around on Inauguration Day.

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



10:00 AM: First Legislative Meeting
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Council Chambers, Room 500


10:30 AM: Remarks—Update on Used Car Lot Crackdown
Location: Auto E-Prise, 3451 Benning Road, N.E.