DATELINE CHICAGO—-Morning all. Today’s LL Daily comes to you from the frigid expanses of the Land of Blagojevich. Today, President George W. Bush makes what in all likelihood will be his last foray into non-official Washington, when he appears this morning with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to hand out winter coats at Pathways to Housing in Eckington. So long, George!
Fire chief Dennis Rubin asks IG to investigate death of Northeast man after ambulance crew told him he probably had acid reflux, WaTimes reports: “We have absolutely nothing to hide, and we will get to the bottom of it. And if there are changes that need to be made, changes will occur,” he tells Matthew Cella. “We have a credibility problem because of [David Rosenbaum]…Since we have that, we’re going to bring in that outside party, the inspector general, to look over our shoulder to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay.'” A day later, WaPo also has the story. LAWYERED UP—-Meanwhile, the family of Edward Givens has hired Bill Lightfoot…
Wake Forest downed Navy 29-19 in the EagleBank Bowl premiere, held Saturday at RFK Stadium. “Local officials are trying to analyze the precise economic impact the game will bring to the area…it would be difficult to measure the exact dollar amount, in part because of the Naval Academy’s proximity to D.C., which makes it difficult to determine how many people are actually staying overnight and spending money in the city,” Examiner reports. SURPRISE BUT NO SURPRISE—-From WaTimes pregame report: “Nationals Park was considered as the site for the game, but the bowl committee was unable to reach a deal with the Nationals for use of the ballpark.” AAAAND—-John Feinstein, bard of underappreciated student-athletes, is a fan. So is blogger Player Hater’s Ball.
City campaign finance office will investigate WaPo allegations of charter-school conflicts of interest and self-dealing, WaPo reports with a well-earned measure of self-satisfaction. “[OCF GC Kathy Williams] said her office will send letters to the board chairman, Thomas A. Nida, and a former board member, Karl E. Jentoft, informing them about the investigation. If the office finds violations of conflict-of-interest laws, it could issue fines of up to $2,000 a violation, she said….She said the investigation by her office, which enforces the city’s ethics laws, is the result of a Washington Post report.”
THE 14TH COUNCILMEMBER ISN’T HAPPY—-That would be Jo-Ann Armao and her colleagues on the WaPo editorial board, who spank all no votes on the lottery contract for not having the balls to explain their positions. “The only thing that’s clear is the District seems for the moment stuck with a firm that offered an inferior product for more money. Which, come to think of it, is probably why the council majority figured the less said, the better.”
Jonetta Rose Barras, too, has strong words to the anti-contract votes. She also compares Vince Gray to Harriette Walters, in so many words, because he declined to call out Jim Graham for having firefighters at his holiday party: “His silence was comparable to the self-muzzling that Office of Tax and Revenue employees engaged in as Harriette Walters stole the public blind.”
ALSO—-The WaPo board speaks out on charter schools: “The charter schools’ success in educating poor and minority children should be celebrated, and it should help validate efforts by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee to bring similar changes to the traditional public schools. The charters’ independence, so vital to their success, should be protected.” ON NIDAGATE—-“The board should revise its practices to bring better transparency to its actions. But calls for a purge of board members are premature….Even more ill-advised are proposals to change how the board is constituted and place it under city control. Autonomy from business as usual is what has made the charters a success.” Examiner ed board also weighs in pro-charter: “School choice works. It’s that simple.”
A close look at how illegal guns get in criminals’ hands, courtesy of WaPo’s Clarence Williams. “The two novice criminals, college-educated men who had been friends since their high school years in Greenbelt, pulled off the heist in June with plans to sell the guns for quick cash in and around the District. Federal agents and D.C. police arrested them about a week after the theft, but not fast enough to keep the guns off the market. “
WaPo’s Michelle Boorstein profiles the Rev. Carlos Williams, a D.C.-native Pentacostal pastor who moved his wife and seven kids from Anne Arundel County to Trinidad. “Residents of Trinidad tell him, yes, they need Jesus, but first they have more pragmatic questions: Can Williams, a baby-faced 38-year-old telecom worker, help them find a job? Pay their utility bill? Other residents are indifferent to religion.”
WaPo reader asks John Kelly about all the ribbons on Cathy Lanier‘s uniform. So why’s the chief all made up like a four-star general? “The District’s police awards tend to be either for specific, commendable actions or for involvement in some large event in which the officer participated. Three of the chief’s ribbons — a red and white one, a green and white one, and a green and brown one with yellow stripes — are for, respectively: meritorious service, achievement and commendation.” Some of the others are for working big meetings and for “All Hands on Deck” weekends.
More about the privately funded Trinidad crime cameras, from Michael Neibauer in Examiner and from Timothy Warren in WaTimes. “Target presented the District with a check for $260,000, which will fund the initial five to seven cameras for Trinidad. Twenty more cameras will be installed later, with $500,000 to be raised by the D.C. Police Foundation. Sprint Nextel will provide residents with 200 cell phones, each with a direct link to 911. And two recreation centers will receive $25,000 each to bolster programming,” Neibauer reports.
D.C. cop pleads guilty to assault in arrest of protester during ’05 inauguration. “Prosecutors said [Christopher Huxoll] grabbed a protester from behind, mistakenly believing he had thrown a bottle, and forced him to the ground before he struck the protester in the face with a 30-inch riot baton. The protester loss consciousness and suffered a broken nasal bone, requiring six stitches,” WaPo reports. More from Raw Story.
The State Board of Education has ended its first term, and WaPo’s Timothy Wilson takes a look back: “[Robert Bobb] and other board members initially opposed the mayoral takeover of the District’s public schools. But during their first year as the D.C. State Board of Education, board members asserted themselves by approving academic standards for health education, physical education and world languages, as well as policies for home schooling.”
IN RHEELATED NEWS—-“Third way” educational group Teachers and Parents for Real Education Reform has a few thoughts for Michelle Rhee, which they delivered at a meeting last week; Rhee gets a bit of a spanking from Century Foundation’s Richard Kahlenberg, who calls lefties “demononizing” teachers unions the “worst in education” in 2008; USN&WR’s Richard Whitmire thinks Arne Duncan will have to get involved in Rhee vs. AFT battles (blogger d2 route disagrees); Rhee will be keynote speaker at Korean American Students Conference in March; and Candi Peterson has more on Rhee efforts to get rid of teachers through PPEP.
WaPo’s Megan Greenwell runs down the local victims of Bernard Madoff‘s astounding fraudstering. “The casualties include a retired couple who invested their substantial life savings with Madoff and told their rabbi this week that they will have to sell their house and might move in with one of their children; a dozen clients of a prominent D.C. law firm, some of whom lost upward of a million dollars; and clients and friends of a financial manager who conservatively estimates they lost a billion dollars combined….Real estate deals, charitable funds and personal fortunes, mostly in the region’s Jewish community, were seriously damaged here as well, according to people with direct knowledge of the losses, who said the full extent probably will not become clear for months.”
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
LATEST D.C. ESTIMATE—-is 2.5M plus. That’s a steep drop from Fenty’s early, fanciful estimates, Mary Beth Sheridan reports in WaPo. Which is good because, as Examiner reports, previous estimate of 4M “could overwhelm regional hospitals and jails, according to experts. And even 2 million, as more modest estimates project, would still prove problematic in case of an emergency.”
And how bout this idea: “Officials could close the Southeast-Southwest Freeway to accommodate bus parking. That would require the closing of the Roosevelt and 14th Street bridges.”
City announces “voluntary agreements” entered into by bars and restaurants will stand, meaning about one-third of licensed establishments in the city will not be able to participate in extended inaug drinking hours. Says Peter Nickles, according to WaPo, “These agreements are in my view contracts….As contracts, they are entitled to the protection of the Constitution, which protects the sanctity of contracts, and the council cannot affect their enforceability.” WUSA-TV has video on the issue.
During inaug, police and fire/emergency personnel stand to rack up thousands of hours in overtime, Examiner’s Bill Myers reports. “The tab for all this is not clear: City Administrator Dan Tangherlini is leading efforts to figure out total costs and how to pay for them. He didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story.”
DR. GRIDLOCK HAS SPOKEN—-On Jan. 20, “because there will be a security cordon around downtown Washington, because use of some bridges will be restricted and because there may be limited access to some commuter corridors, transit still looks like the best bet for getting to work under these difficult circumstances.” PLUS—-More “Dr. G Tips”
Metro will test eight-car trains in greater numbers in coming weeks to prepare for inaugural runs, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. Electrical upgrades were needed to prepare for longer trains.
Smithsonian Metro station will close completely.
More on shipping L.A. cops to D.C. for inaug: “The city of New York wasn’t asked by the city of Washington to send any officers….The city of Washington could have saved a half a million dollars in transportation costs by just calling up to New York and having them bus down from New York,” says LAPD spokesperson.
CONTRABAND!—-“[O]fficials say backpacks, duffel bags, coolers, thermoses, umbrellas, lawn chairs and the all-important stroller must be left at home,” says NC8.
Obama to appear at Jan. 18 welcome event at Lincoln Memorial, open to public; also free youth concert at Verizon Center Jan. 19.
Metro’s Rosa Parks bus will appear in parade.
Charlotte Observer runs down long-distance rail travel options.
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
BAD ECONOMIC NEWS—-“D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi projected [Friday] that the city’s unemployment rate could soar to almost 10 percent by 2010, the highest level in almost three decades,” WaPo reports. [Read Gandhi’s letter at D.C. Wire.] And forget about the $129M budget gap fro FY2009—-how bout that $304M gap for FY2010! “There will be pretty severe cuts,” Tommy Wells tells Examiner. “It’ll hit human services. It can’t be just all human services. We may have to cut our schools budget, certainly take a look at it. Nobody gets held harmless.”
And it’s even tougher than usual to be an unskilled wage-earner around here.
LEADING…Harry Jaffe to ask, “is the party over?” Says Jack Evans: “No way…We continue to be one of the financially healthiest cities in the nation — certainly in the region.”
Plenty of bargains were to be had at Saturday’s foreclosure auctions held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. “Loan officers from Countrywide, Chase and Wells Fargo were busy running credit scores to see if successful bidders really had the means to close the deal. Those who qualified and had their $5,000 cashier’s check ready got the keys to the house,” writes WaPo’s Keith Alexander.
BUT THINGS ARE LOOKING OK at National Harbor.
Human Rights Campaign’s Joe Solmonese has tough words for Hizzoner: “It is past time for Mayor Adrian Fenty, whose election he owes in no small part to DC’s LGBT community, to step up and take a stand against these heinous acts [of violence against gays]. HRC is encouraging all members and supporters of the local LGBT community to send a message to Mayor Fenty telling him that hate violence is unacceptable and urging him to immediately communicate a strategy for making our city safe for everyone.”
Eastern Market manager is kicked out, Paul Schwartzman reports in WaPo briefs. “Eastern Market Ventures has been derided as ineffective by community leaders and vendors, particularly after a fire destroyed the market’s East Hall in April 2007. The management company’s contract expires Dec. 31. The District’s Office of Property Management will oversee the market until it selects a new manager.”
Do you know this bank robber?
Wone murder suspects freed from court monitoring, but more charges are likely to come.
Banita Jacks‘ competence to stand trial for her children’s deaths will be judged following a Jan. 23 hearing.
Video of Dec. 12 hate crimes hearing now available.
Gary Imhoff wants your year-end summaries for themail. PLUS—-Jack McKay muses on popular support for historic-district designations.
Marc Fisher delves into the yearslong debate over building a Metro Purple Line. Why? “For many years, I refused to write about the Purple Line on the theory that this was one of those permanent wars that would keep doctoral students busy and provide permanent employment to county and state planners, but would never actually result in construction workers getting jobs….But now it looks (don’t hold me to this) like something may actually get built.”
Ground is broken on Dulles rail.
Seattle columnist on snow as political test par excellence: “Washington, D.C., is a city that can’t handle snow, especially — yes, I know the double meaning — during the reign of Mayor Marion Barry. A record snowstorm hit the capital on Super Bowl weekend. Barry was out in Los Angeles for the game, part of the entourage of Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke.”
Jim Vance, through no fault of his own, makes FAILBlog.
AND FINALLY…“The sexiest mayor….Fenty…mmmmm”
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation roundtable on Department of Parks and Recreation personnel practices, JAWB 500; 2 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary roundtable, JAWB 412.