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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Council Committee Assignments Are Out

A happy Christmas Eve to all! Yesterday evening, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray released his committee alignments for Council Term 18, giving LL a lovely early Christmas present. You can read LL’s initial thoughts on the matter, then read Nikita Stewart‘s WaPo piece focusing on Gray’s pick of Michael Brown to replace Marion Barry as District Metro board alternate. (Barry “attended 11 meetings out of more than 180 held in four years.”) And here’s Vince’s initial spin on moving Dept. of Environment away from Graham: “It’s going to require a lot more of his time to be the Metro chair.” Also check out Greater Greater Washington, which has some thoughts on the realignment from a transportation/urbanist perspective—-he points out that Tommy Wells will move to public works, where’ll he’ll get more of a chance to flex his “livable walkable chops.” For the full lineups, scroll to the end of today’s roundup.

LL GOT THIS TIDBIT THIS MORNING—-From Gray spokesperson Doxie McCoy, in response to a question about whether Brown would be chairing a committee: “Michael Brown will be working on a Special Project which the Chairman and he are still discussing.” Hmm…

In his “Malcontent Minute,” WTOP’s Mark Segraves looks at the end of the District’s fiscal golden era. “You have to go back to the early 1980s to find a period when the District faced such a dismal economic outlook. So for the lawmakers who will have to solve this dilemma, most of them are entering uncharted territory….The only current D.C. Council member who has ever had to deal with this type of budget crisis is Marion Barry (D – Ward 8), who was mayor during the 1980s. The District’s current mayor was 12 years old during the District’s last fiscal meltdown and Jack Evans (D – Ward 2), the longest continuously serving member of the D.C. Council, 18 years and counting, was just out of college and working at the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Read year-in-review/year-ahead thoughts [PDF] from LL, Marc Fisher, Terry Lynch, et al., gathered by the fine folks at WAMU-FM’s Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Harry Jaffe gives out stocking stuffers to the “power elite.” For Mayor Adrian M. Fenty: “I would suggest a $100 gift certificate for coffee at Starbucks, with the condition that he drink the beverage in the coffee shop and treat a council member to a latte as well. Start with a sip with [Gray].” And for Gray? “A cell phone that works, so people can communicate with him; and a one-year membership at a health club with a personal trainer, so he can better keep up with Fenty.” Vince, no slouch of an athlete, isn’t gonna like that personal trainer.

Could federal bailouts be a boon to downtown? Well, Downtown BID thinks so, WaPo’s Paul Schwartzman reports. “The government’s bailout of the banking and automobile industries is likely to expand the federal bureaucracy, creating jobs that could fill vacancies in office buildings, according to the report by the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District….The downtown BID also recommends that the District initiate public works projects to create jobs and keep contractors working. It suggests a review of the commercial property tax rate, even though a reduction ‘might seem counterintuitive at a time of financial crisis.'” Hear that, Jack?

Conviction upheld in child-murder case that led to creation of D.C.’s Family Court, Bill Myers reports in Examiner. “Angela O’Brien argued that she should get a new trial in part because prosecutors relied on the testimony of Saami Shaibani, a self-described expert on ‘injury mechanism analysis’ who falsely claimed to be a member of Temple University’s physics department….But a three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the government produced other experts and that the evidence against O’Brien was substantial enough to warrant the first-degree murder conviction.”

Bunch of muggings in 2D “Rattle Nerves,” according to WaPo. The holdups started in Georgetown before moving to Glover Park, Cleveland Park, then Tenleytown. “[2D Commander Matt Klein] said similarities in the way the five robberies were carried out, as well as the relatively brief time and limited area in which they occurred, suggested that the same people were involved.” A little more at NC8.

FEEL-GOOD STORY—-DCHA employees do nice things for kids in public housing, David Betancourt reports in WaPo. “Housing Authority employees…made paper ornaments with a child’s name, age, sex, needs and wants, and placed them on a ‘gift of love’ tree. Employees selected children and shopped for gifts.” ALSO—-WaPo letter writer reports a Metro-riding Good Samaritan; EHN donates to HIV/AIDS org.

FEEL-NOT-SO-GOOD STORY—-Courtland Milloy files holiday column in WaPo about hunger in our time. “[W]hy, if it takes so little to satiate hunger, are area food banks and pantries unable to satisfy the demand for food? Some blame sharp drops in food donations on sharp increases in food costs, along with the unstable economy. But that sounds like bologna to me….Check out any restaurant dumpster in downtown Washington or the trash cans along any street on garbage collection day, and you’re likely to find enough wasted food to fill those pantries to overflowing.”


Fenty, Tim Kaine, and Martin O’Malley hold inaugural transportation summit with Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff. “Yesterday’s session at Secret Service headquarters was the first time top officials from Homeland Security, the District and surrounding states had met to study inauguration plans, officials said….The meeting also drew participants from numerous state, federal and local agencies, including the Secret Service, FBI, Park Police, Capitol Police, D.C. police and Metro.”

Obama will take oath on Abraham Lincoln‘s Bible, which is held at LoC.

WABA’s Wash Cycle Blog ponders closing down some city streets to cars: “What if bike-only routes were established? This would allow people to find a way (by following the route) that doesn’t scare them.”

OBAMA “CHICAGO-STYLE”—-Obama T-shirt on sale at Reeves Center “imagines the 44th president in a sharp hat, three-piece suit and with a large diamond stud earing, like hip-hop mogul Diddy wears in his latest TV ads for cologne.”

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


Q&A with Terry Lynch!

Blogger: “Tommy Wells…is one of the real heroes on the DC council.”

AS PROMISED—-Here’s the committee assignments…

Aging and Community Affairs Yvette Alexander, Chairperson Jim Graham Mary Cheh Harry Thomas, Jr. Michael Brown

Economic Development Kwame Brown, Chairperson Jack Evans Marion Barry Yvette Alexander Muriel Bowser

Finance and Revenue Jack Evans, Chairperson David Catania Marion Barry Kwame Brown Michael Brown

Government Operations and the Environment Mary Cheh, Chairperson David Catania Kwame Brown Harry Thomas, Jr. Tommy Wells

Health David Catania, Chairperson Tommy Wells Marion Barry Mary Cheh Yvette Alexander

Housing and Workforce Development Marion Barry, Chairperson Phil Mendelson Jim Graham Harry Thomas, Jr. Michael Brown

Human Services Tommy Wells, Chairperson Muriel Bowser Phil Mendelson Marion Barry Michael Brown

Libraries, Parks and Recreation Harry Thomas, Jr., Chairperson David Catania Phil Mendelson Yvette Alexander Kwame Brown

Public Safety and the Judiciary Phil Mendelson, Chairperson Jack Evans Mary Cheh Muriel Bowser Yvette Alexander

Public Services and Consumer Affairs Muriel Bowser, Chairperson Mary Cheh Jim Graham Harry Thomas, Jr. Michael Brown

Public Works and Transportation Jim Graham, Chairperson Kwame Brown Muriel Bowser Phil Mendelson Tommy Wells

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.