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Morning all. If you think 2009 will bring a new brand of D.C. politics, well then just tune in to a few of the sound bites tossed around last Friday, at the D.C. Council’s biannual swearing-in ceremony: Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry waxed lofty about “this historical moment”; At-Larger Kwame Brown said the council should “put aside any political bickering to achieve real change”; Ward 4’s Muriel Bowser: “I expect every resident, every family and every neighborhood to accept personal responsibility to build D.C. into a great city.” Those quotes come courtesy of the ubiquitous, garrulous Washington Post reporter Hamil Harris.
Examiner columnist Jonetta Rose Barras uses the swearing-in ceremony to make a return to lucidity, following what had to be the most impenetrable column Loose Lips Daily has ever read. Barras is betting that new swear-in-ees Michael Brown and Kwame Brown have some ambitions beyond just serving as at-large councilmembers.
More Bill Turque on Michelle Rhee: In this edition, the Washington Post edubeat reporter files another incremental piece on the schools chancellor’s plans to train teachers. The word is that the strong-willed educzar favors “a dramatic overhaul of its 4,000-member teacher corps that would remove a ‘significant share’ of instructors and launch an ambitious plan to foster professional growth for those who remain.”
Also on the Rhee front: Post columnist Colbert I. King slams her as being self-centered. Here’s the text from his Saturday column: “Last August, I had lunch with Rhee near the anniversary of our first meeting to get an update on school system reforms…The session wasn’t what I expected. An hour’s conversation, and it was all about her.”
‘Member that Washington Post investigative slam piece on former Ward 7 councilmember-cum-developer-cum-almost-kingmaker-cum-big talker H.R. Crawford? The one that essentially called him and his development company a huge sinkhole for taxpayer dollars? Well, Crawford on Sunday got his word in. A nice space in the Sunday Outlook’s “Close to Home” section had Crawford saying things like this: “The articles presented a picture of me that I, my friends and my associates find unrecognizable.” And this: “In my many decades as a developer and property manager in the District, I have always strived to follow the rules, document my efforts and utilize the relationships I have built.” H.R. presents no factual challenges to the Post‘s work.
A bit of news buried in Michael Neibauer‘s look-ahead on the D.C. Council agenda: Councilmember David Catania appears willing to hold off on gay-marriage legislation. Let the Examiner‘s Nei-man take it away: “There’s not a great deal of action expected during the first legislative meeting of the year on Tuesday. The big news might be the bills that are introduced, and the big question is whether Councilmen David Catania or Jim Graham will float a gay marriage measure.”
“I don’t know,” Catania said Friday. “It’ll probably be later.” LL previously wrote the ultimate primer on the D.C. gay-marriage issue.
And according to the Examiner‘s Bill Myers, Mendo is off to a fast start in 2009. The at-larger and judiciary committee chief is trying to stop Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and police Chief Cathy Lanier from moving forward with an initiative under which the department can issue a subpoena in “any municipal matter.” Mendo worries that the authority is broad.
Who likes higher parking-meter fees? The Washington Post, that’s who. An editorial this morning applauds this revenue enhancer and pushes the council to prioritize the needy in these lean budgetary times. But hold on! WAMU-FM is reporting that the District is much better situated for this crap than other jurisdictions.
Also on the opinion front, the Examiner‘s Harry Jaffe went to a soccer game in November.
DCwatch’s Gary Imhoff gives air to the ramblings of some anonymous person on the D.C. cops and homicide: “For the second year in a row, homicides are up in the District. In fact, since Team Fenty and Team Lanier took over, lethal violence in the city has shot up more than 10 percent (169 homicides under Ramsey’s last year, at least 186 this year). This is happening at a time when major cities such as Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia (Ramsey’s new gig) and others are reporting significant drops in their homicides…” Maybe this anonymous fellow should consider pointing out that after Ervin Burrell—I mean, Ramsey—left the District, we discovered a bit of hanky-panky with the D.C. crime stats. So let’s not be deifying Ramsey too much here, folks.
Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is making noise about a hearing on airline security practices, following the incident in which nine Muslims last week were kicked off of an AirTran flight leaving from National.
A friendly reminder to all of LLD’s compatriots who ride transit: No more paper transfers as of yesterday. Get your SmartCards and just deal with it.
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
WashTimes has the scoop that commutes into the city on Inauguration Day are likely to be long.
WTOP’s Hank Silverberg with a few words—and just a few—on getting into town for the big event.
A “Neighborhood Ball”? Sounds like something that would happen only under an Obama administration. And according to the AP, that’s what’s going on. WUSA-TV reports that some tickets will be given out free to D.C. residents.
Write a kick-ass essay, get seats for the Inaugural parade.
Fox5 reports on something called “Obamania.”
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-
10:00 AM: First Legislative Meeting, Press Briefing (Meeting)
Preview the agenda for the First Legislative Meeting of Council Period 18
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 412
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-
7:30 PM: Remarks, Lamond Riggs Civic Association Meeting
Location:LaSalle-Backus School; 501 Riggs Road NE