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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Gray Peeved About Rhee Time Mag Article“; “Catania Snatches Schwartz Office

Morning all, and Christmas Eve Eve greeting’s from LL’s ancestral manse in Hobart, Ind. He will start today with a mea culpa: Yesterday, Jonetta Rose Barras e-mailed to dispute his characterization of her column in yesterday’s LLD as equating Vincent Gray to Harriette Walters. Indeed, Jonetta compared Gray’s silence on Jim Graham‘s use of firefighters at a party to the folks who kept their mouths shut while Walters did her thing—-not to Walters herself. (So that would mean she equated, in so many words, Graham to Walters, right?)

PREP YOUR FAVORITE CONSPIRACY THEORY—-District prepares to dispose of surplus school properties, implement The Plan, whatever you want to call it: “The administration of D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said yesterday that it is seeking to redevelop 11 now-shuttered public schools, inviting developers to submit proposals that can include retail space, offices and high-priced and affordable housing,” Paul Schwartzman and Bill Turque write in WaPo. “But the initiative has drawn criticism from some schools advocates, who say it squanders valuable public buildings that could be used for charter schools or other educational purposes. ‘I question whether this is good academic policy and whether it is sound economic policy,’ said D.C. State Board of Education member Mary Lord.”

THE CHARTER FACTOR—-By law, charter schools are supposed to get dibs. Says Robert Cane of FOCUS, “This administration, just like the administration before them, has not embraced charter schools and does not feel an obligation that D.C. kids have a good place to go to school…It’s not part of their agenda.” Six charters, of 18 who made offers, have been invited to move forward with bids. LL SEZ—-Great financing available from United Bank! Ask for Tom!

WaPo’s Richard Leiby and DeNeen Brown do sprawling Style feature on Barack Obama‘s relationship with D.C. The hopes, via Tommy Wells: “I really do believe that I have a partner in the new president, someone who understands what it means to change a city to a safe, healthy place to grow up and grow old in.” NOT MUCH NEWS HERE, but a transition aide says, “He and Michelle intend to be citizens of Washington, D.C.” [Blogger reacts: “If you look at what the presidents Job description is it’s as follows: ‘The Constitution assigns the president two roles: chief executive of the federal government and Commander in Chief of the armed forces.’…No where in the Constitution does it say to be the community manager Washington, DC!”]

BUT THE OLD PREZ ISN’T GONE YET—-Hamil Harris gathers some string on President George W. Bush‘s visit to Pathways to Housing in Northeast yesterday. There he donated about 150 coats gathered from White House staff and his own closet as Fenty et al. looked on. And good thing, because LL is told it’s cold out. AP also has a report, CBS News has video, and WTOP finds out whither the coats.

WOW, I MEAN….WOW—-Didn’t see this one coming at all, but WaPo’s Reliable Source thinks Michelle Rhee and NBA-star-turned-Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson might be dating. “Because you totally should. You’d be so cute together!…Rhee (divorced, two kids) was nice enough to take our call. ‘I appreciate you asking me directly,’ she said. ‘My stance has been that I don’t comment on my personal life.'”

WTTG-TV’s Patrick McGrath is first to report on what the District plans to ask the feds for as part of any stimulus package. Hizzoner’s answer: “It will be up into the tens of millions, if not the hundreds of millions of dollars.” McGrath highlights combined-sewer-outflow abatement, road infrastructure, and schools.

Fenty joins 14 others as honorary inaugural co-chair. The rest of the list: President George H. W. Bush, President William J. Clinton, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Dick Lugar, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Artur Davis, Rep. Ray LaHood, Rep. Linda Sánchez, Gen. Colin Powell, Hunter and Kathleen Biden [Joe’s kids]; Craig Robinson [Oregon State basketball coach, presidential brother-in-law].

6D substation slated to close, Examiner and WaPo report, by end of 2009 to cut costs. D.C. pays rent on the building on 2700 block of Penn Ave SE. But is it $180,000 a year or $668,724 a year? Neither MPD nor Mendo knows. And here’s Kris Baumann‘s explanation: “Because it’s east of the river, the administration isn’t interested in devoting resources, manpower and attention that those neighborhoods deserve…It hasn’t gentrified.”

LL colleague Jason Cherkis looks at the allegations of drug use in the Robert Wone murder case.

Three hurt in evening rowhouse fire on 600 block of Franklin Street NE.

AWW—-MPD launches “Shop With a Cop.” You know, for the kids!

WAPO LETTER WRITER CAUSING TROUBLE—-“A challenge to President-elect Barack Obama and Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan….Take the entire staff from the worst-performing D.C. school and swap it with the one at the best-performing school. Then see what happens to test scores….This would be a cheap way to find out whether school reform is worth everything being invested in it. If teachers really are the difference, scores will go up at the bad school and down at the good one. But I think you will find, as most teachers already know, that socioeconomic status affects scores far more than teaching methods.”


Bill Myers has a look at the decision to enforce voluntary agreements in spite of extended inaug drinking hours. He quotes Foggy Bottom bar owner, plus wunderkind ANC rep Asher Corson, who says, “I don’t want the good neighbors to lose out…We want the neighborhood-friendly guys to survive and feel welcome.”

NPR on extended boozing.

AP previews Obama’s train trip to D.C., and how “the views should provide Mr. Obama with more context for his inaugural theme of ‘Renewing America’s Promise.'”

NC8 video on strain to city services.

WaPo letter writers: “If Barack Obama wants to send the message that it will not be business as usual in his administration, scaling back on the inaugural hoopla would be a good place to start.” And grumbling about Jan. 20 fare hikes on “America’s subway.”

Local hairdressers want to do Michelle’s ‘do. Even the great Barry Fletcher!

Vince Gray talked inauguration with Bruce DePuyt yesterday.

TONY WILLIAMS BLOG REDUX—-Kwame Brown‘s well-hyped “Inaugural Blog” still only has one post, almost two weeks after launch. Still, another blogger wants him to change his software.

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


Here’s a piece of Michelle Rhee satire that’s completely over LL’s head. It involves bowling!

Charter-school organization reacts to WaPo report that pols want to keep closer tabs on PCSB ops. “Let’s not over-react,” writes Ramona H. Edelin, DCACPS exec direc. “Ask policymakers to fix the real problem: their own failure to regulate and monitor. If not, the babies thrown out with this bath water will not be metaphorical – they will be our own precious children!” LL SEZ—-Uh, isn’t that what they’re trying to do?

Yet another story about how things are bad for charities. This one’s from WaPo’s William Wan and Brigid Schulte. Meanwhile, United Way’s cutting their client organizations a break on fees.

Will potential real-estate bailout help D.C. development projects? SWDC Blog has a look.

More on Metro budget bleakness, from Examiner’s Kytja Weir. “Metro officials have asked their departments to cut back travel expenses and consulting contracts. They also froze all hiring. And the agency asked departments to draft budgets for the next fiscal year that cut 5 percent, then 10 percent.” Could the agency get federal help?

HUZZAH—-MoCo panel likes light rail for Metro Purple Line, not that Bus Rapid Transit bullshit.

WEIRD—-“A Takoma Park police officer yesterday shot a man who was holding a knife to the throat of a blood-soaked woman he had beaten with a religious cross, authorities said. A bullet passed through the man’s chest and struck the woman’s arm,” reports WaPo. Also check Examiner.


AND WTOP HAS THE FINAL WORD ON AN AGE-OLD QUESTION—-“Should you give to a panhandler?

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

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-5:30 p.m.: participant, Martha’s Table afterschool program toy giveaway, Martha’s Table, 2114 14th St. NW.