Morning all. On Saturday, education expert and electoral bugaboo Bill Ayers shared his thoughts on Michelle Rhee vis-a-vis Barack Obama‘s SecEd selection. He calls the DCPS chancellor one of “four failed urban school superintendents—-Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Paul Valas [sic], and Arne Duncan…[who] have little to show in terms of school improvement beyond a deeply dishonest public relations narrative….Michelle Rhee of Washington D.C., the most ideologically-driven of the bunch, warranted a cover story in Time …in which she was praised for making more changes in a year and a half on the job than other school leaders, “even reform-minded ones,” make in five….These are all policy moves that are held on faith to stand for improvement; not a word on kids’ learning or engagement with schools, not even a nod at evidence that might connect these moves with student progress. But of course evidence is always the enemy of dogma, and this is faith-based, fact-free school policy at its purest.”
City proposes banning slumber in city libraries, along with imposing a two-bag limit on library patrons, in an effort to make libraries “more welcoming.” Make that “more welcoming to people who aren’t homeless.” Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner and Elissa Silverman and Martin Weil report in WaPo that DCPL chief Ginnie Cooper expects the new rules to take effect Feb. 1.
AND HALLELUJAH FOR THIS—-“to help enhance the allure of the [MLK Library’s] Mies van der Rohe building, the X-ray machine at the entrance will be eliminated.” Woo!
Colby King wraps up 2008 thusly: “with the same plea made in my first column of the year…that leaders address the real problems that threaten the quality of life in our city: the erosion of public safety, an apathetic and complacent city workforce, and D.C. Council members who fail to realize they are getting duped by the $10 billion municipal enterprise that voters hired them to oversee….A year later, little has changed. Violence still carries the day.” Cue another DYRS tirade, and a big fat slap at Tommy Wells. (Gary Imhoff is a fan.)
OH, PHOOEY—-Eleanor Holmes Norton, gun-control types raise concerns that rules allowing concealed weapons in National Parks will lead folks to come to inauguration packin’—-never mind that D.C. is exempted from those rules. Reports The Hill’s Jordy Yager: “Washington D.C. does not allow concealed weapons, but Norton and other think confusion over the rule could lead visitors to bring guns to Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration, which will be held on two miles of National Park land – the National Mall.” Needless to say, the pro-gun folks are having a fit.
Robert Cane and Kevin Chavous take to the WaPo op-ed page to defend autonomy for charter schools, and in the process perform an impressive act of rhetorical jujitsu to swat away PCSB self-dealing concerns: “D.C. law requires that charters be given first crack at empty school buildings….Yet the city has in most instances denied charters unused school facilities, forcing them into the commercial loan market to pay high costs for spaces that are often inadequate….The issue of these bank loans was raised recently in The Post, leading some to confuse the freedom that charters enjoy with a lack of accountability and oversight. Charters do have overseers: They are accountable to parents who choose them for their children and to their regulatory body, the Public Charter School Board, a nationally renowned model of accountability.” LL OFFERS A SLOW CLAP.
The WaTimes editorial page this weekend has named Mayor Adrian M. Fenty a finalist for Knave of the Year “for his questionable clothing choice in a taxpayer-funded D.C. tourism ad. Mr. Fenty launched a $2 million campaign to promote tourism in the District with Destination D.C. One picture shows the mayor in an astonishing display of bad judgment, wearing a shirt with the name of his parents’ store on it.” Seriously, WaTimes, that’s the best reason you got?
Jonetta Rose Barras offers a farewell salute to Bob Squared: “[Robert Bobb] repeatedly displays the stuff of a true leader. He gets my annual political salute for his work on the state board and for reinforcing the gold standard for public service….If we’re lucky, he may consider returning to the political arena. In 2010, a couple of council seats are up. Councilman Bobb sounds nice.”
Harry Jaffe‘s man of the year is Allen Lew: “D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee gets all the fawning features in the national press because of her willingness to blast the foundations of education dogma, but the person who has actually blasted the foundations of school buildings and done the most for students and teachers in the nation’s capital in 2008 is Allen Lew.”
WaPo editorial board wants a congressional vote on D.C. voting rights sooner rather than later: “The measure probably will be subject to a court challenge by those who dispute its constitutionality. Yet every day the bill is delayed is another day of injustice for disenfranchised District residents who continue to pay their taxes and march off to war.” ALSO—-They want Human Rights Act amended to protect unpaid employees who suffer sexual harrassment.
LATEST ON CONGRESS HEIGHTS CHILD MURDER—-From WTOP: “DC police have charged the mother of Amari Hall with her daughter’s murder. Carlise Hall is charged with felony murder and cruelty to children…Sources say Hall stabbed her daughter and herself before flagging down a police officer and directing them to the home in the 3300 block of 11th Place.” Sandra “S.S.” Seegars e-mails LL: Vigil for Amari tonight at 7 p.m. in front of 3314 11th Place SE. “We are asking everyone to bring a light – a flashlight is preferred.” Video from NC8; from WRC-TV.
WaPo’s Robert Pierre looks at D.C. juvenile inmates sent hundreds, if not thousands—-of miles to be incarcerated. “Jon Gustin, who runs juvenile programs for the [federal Bureau of Prisons] in several states, told the parents that their children arrived wary of how they would be treated—-in the D.C. jail, they told him, they had been afraid of being beaten by other juvenile inmates….’They don’t have to worry about that here,’ he said. ‘It’s horrible they have to be this far away from home, but if they were my kids, I’d rather they be here than in the D.C. jail.'” LL SEZ—-Well, OK—-but Devils Lake, N.D.?
Bill Myers looks at the 26 nominees to replace Linda D. Turner on the Superior Court bench. “According to a news release, the public is invited to comment on the fitness of the 26 candidates through its Web site: jnc.dc.gov. Comments must be received by Jan. 14.”
Last week, Adams Morgan civic activist Bryan Weaver wrote a WaPo op-ed about the callousness of some neighbors to the shooting death of Derrell Goins. (Key lines: “Before the ambulance left…a group of people was pushing to get inside the police line to make sure no stray bullet had scratched their green Pontiac. A couple complained that they wanted to drive through the crime scene to unload their ‘party boxes’ at their luxury condo.”) Well, some neighbors aren’t so happy with that characterization and write a letter to editor about it. And if you really want to experience the shitstorm, check out the Adams Morgan message board.
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
Mark Shields is not a fan of the extended inaug bar hours, “turning the new president’s historically joyful inauguration week into something out of a hung-over Mardi Gras or Super Bowl weekend….The tragedy would be that a historic occasion and the new president’s first words could be overwhelmed, eclipsed by some juvenile version of ‘Girls Gone Wild’ or ‘American Pie’ — viewable around the world on YouTube. Keeping Washington’s bars open until 4 a.m. is one really bad idea.”
WTTG-TV looks at the temporary job market sprouted by inaug festivities.
AP takes a look at street vendors’ prep for Jan. 20. About a dozen vendors protested today down at DCRA HQ at 941 North Cap, according to NC8: “Some vendors say the city’s fees are too high. Others say some designated vending spots are in out-of-the-way areas.”
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
Downtown power outage this morning, thanks to cable fire near 17th and M.
Bad economic conditions are blamed for a rise in child neglect and abuse reports across the region, Donna St. George and Petula Dvorak report in WaPo. “In the District, there was an 18 percent increase in child neglect and abuse investigations, but officials said the case of Banita Jacks, the Southeast mother accused early this year of killing her four daughters, had a large effect on hotline calls.”
ATTENTION DRIVERS—-New speeding cams now in effect!
“ALL HANDS ON DECK”-TYPE POLICING A ROUSING SUCCESS—-So says Officer.com: “Victimization minimized, community relations enhanced.”
GGW puts together their 2009 transit wish list.
RHEELATED—-Providence Journal columnist: Rhee is “new star general in the union-opposition army”; The Economist mentions Rhee in review of Duncan pick; Philadelphia principal: “what is troubling me is how effective people like Michelle Rhee are at commandeering the argument”; Says blogger, “I admire her passion. But I am not at all impressed with her perspectives.
Weather was really nice yesterday, in case you didn’t notice.
District woman, 58, arrested in Saturday-night stabbing death of boyfriend.
Twelve vehicles’ tires slashed early Friday morning, on 12th Street NE between C and E.
FREE NYE CAB RIDES—-Washington Regional Alcohol Program is doing “SoberRides” yet again—-800-200-TAXI.
TODAY ON NEWSTALK WITH BRUCE DEPUYT—-Police Chief Cathy Lanier, live at 4 p.m. on NewsChannel 8, with rebroadcasts at 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. [LL NOTE: DePuyt says Lanier had to reschedule.]
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.