IN LL WEEKLY—-Lowering the Bar: How top restaurant lawyer Andrew J. Kline got himself into big-time legal trouble. Plus: Carol Schwartz opens her personal checkbook for her campaign; Mary Cheh and Peter Nickles still aren’t getting along.
Morning all. LL apologizes for the late Daily today. He gave himself an extra couple of hours this morning to recover from the City Paper holiday party, an account of which has been posted by former CP staff writer Amanda Miller Littlejohn. LL disputes only the contention that he was “singing bad karaoke.” He was singing GOOD KARAOKE. LL is also happy to take any party reports from yesterday evening’s council holiday party, held at the schmancy upstairs club at Verizon Center. LL demands dirt!
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty gets an earful from Joe Scarborough on MSNBC after “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski gets “mugged outside a well-known Washington hotel while waiting for a car to pick her up for the 6 a.m. broadcast of the show.” WaTimes’ Christina Bellantoni writes it up, breathlessly, saying in her lede that Fenty was confronted face-to-face Thursday with some of the district’s crime problems.” LL HAS TO ASK—-Can you really call this a mugging? Brzezinski was verbally accosted steps from a hotel, gives the guy six bucks, and apparently never filed a police report. Sheesh.
Tom Sherwood gets the big scoop, though: The Wilson Building reviewing stand tickets, he reports, will be split 50-50 between mayor and council.
Oh, and while appearing this morning on WRC-TV, Hizzoner was pressed by Barbara Harrison on when he’d release a picture of young Aerin: “It’s been 24 days now. Probably the right time to take a picture.”
WaPo editorial board has strongish words for H.R. Crawford—-or at least the lack of oversight of Crawford. “[N]either HUD nor city officials were really paying much attention to Mr. Crawford. The biggest burden for monitoring falls to local officials, and it’s disturbing that they have provided what HUD officials called “materially inaccurate” information….Many of the decisions involving Mr. Crawford predate Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). But that doesn’t let his administration off the hook in accounting for the best use of public money—-or in determining who in the city can deliver on the promise of affordable housing.”
TODAY—-Crawford is scheduled to testify before the D.C. Council’s housing committee to, as it’s been put to LL, “tell his side of the story.” Don’t expect too many tough questions from the committee chairman.
Roy Pearson, fated to have his name perpetually attached to the phrase “$54 million pants,” loses his final appeal, to D.C. Court of Appeals.
Robert Bobb presides over his last State Board of Education meeting, which WaPo’s Timothy Wilson covers. “Bobb said the main disappointment after the transition was the board’s ‘inability to communicate who we are.’…Bobb said he will become an advocate for early childhood education and work to improve literacy rates among young black males. ‘It’s been as they say “a thrill”,’ said Bobb. ‘But the thrill isn’t gone yet. I’ll be back.'”
Banita Jacks has been a difficult mental patient, doctors report, but she is responding to injections of anti-psychotic drug Haldol. “Jacks related her sense of ‘severe loss’ over the death of her boyfriend, Nathaniel Fogle Jr., to cancer in 2007 and her daughters’ deaths, the report says. She also spoke of homelessness, having her car taken away and losing her dog. After the injections, she interacted with her attorneys, whom she had refused to meet.”
In the equally tragic Renee Bowman case, forensic investigators announce that the two children, adopted in D.C., who were found in Bowman’s freezer had been asphyxiated.
Examiner’s Michael Neibauer has more on the lead-paint bill that passed Tuesday. “An earlier version called for inspections for almost every apartment at turnover, but was narrowed during last- minute negotiations.” AOBA SAYS THANKS FOR THAT—-“W. Shaun Pharr, with the Apartment and Office Building Association, said the final legislation provides ‘more focused and efficient use of limited resources that protects persons at risk.'” WaTimes also covers the legislation.
Bill Myers reports in Examiner that Fenty has granted police chief Cathy Lanier broad subpoena powers, and Mary Cheh, “key D.C. councilwoman,” is not happy about it. “The order, signed quietly by Fenty last month…gives the chief the power to probe ‘any municipal matter’ and allows Lanier to delegate her subpoena power ‘to her subordinates.’…Rank-and-file members of the police department are worried that the chief will use her new powers to hunt down dissenters, union official Delroy Burton told The Examiner. ‘It’s an extraordinarily broad authority and it’s dangerous,’ Burton said. ‘It’s unprecedented.'”
Also from Neibauer: BDO Seidman wants a hella lot more money to do the CAFR. The outside auditor “is seeking an additional $2.2 million on top of the $2 million base price for the ongoing fiscal 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report….$500,000 is for a review of the city’s new payroll system and $671,000 is for additional work in the Office of Tax and Revenue, home to the costliest scandal in D.C. government history — which BDO missed in earlier audits….BDO’s roughly 50 auditors are paid $165 an hour on average, according to the Inspector General’s Office.”
Jonetta Rose Barras delves into the council-commissioned OTR report. “Neither senior managers at Office of Tax and Revenue, Real Property Administration, nor anyone in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, nor three independent audit companies, nor the council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue, nor the city auditor, nor the Office of the Inspector General discovered the criminal enterprise, according to the report….That’s the real scandal.”
Biz Journal covers the final passage of the CareFirst bill. LL LEARNS THAT in a letter posted to Cheh earlier this week, CareFirst CEO Chet Burrell told Cheh that her modified bill “does not ameliorate our concerns.” Expect a Hill battle on this one.
Hamil Harris, in District Weekly, runs down Tuesday’s council meeting one more time, with items about the gun bill, FEMS pay equity, Marion Barry vs. the Archdiocese, FiOS, and Carol. LL smells some corrections coming, though: The gun bill passed unanimously; it was the Cheh Amendment requiring training that passed 10-3. And Mendo didn’t say the firefighters and EMS unions would merge in any case; his bill would save the EMS local.
Carol Schwartz says goodbye, on video.
ALSO IN WAPO DISTRICT WEEKLY—-Paul Schwartzman writes up the $10M in TIF money handed out a couple of weeks back; Timothy Wilson takes a look at the life of Lena Santos Ferguson, a Ward 7 resident who was the second black member of the Daughters of the American Revolution; and “IN BRIEF”—-“Stolen Items to Be Posted On Web Site for Retrieval”; “Recreation Center Reopens With New Playgrounds”; “Lincoln Theatre Hosts Playwrights Competition”; “Actor to Play Douglass At National Historic Site.” Oh, and ANIMAL WATCH!
Do budget problems mean Metro layoffs? It’s on the table, John Catoe tells WTOP.
“Dozens of sex workers marched through the streets of downtown Washington yesterday, demanding better treatment from law enforcement officials of prostitutes who become crime victims,” WaPo’s Theola Labbé-DeBose reports. “[T]he rally crowd marched from Franklin Square at 14th and I streets NW to the Justice Department in the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Along the way, the marchers encountered some bemused looks at signs reading, ‘Be Nice to Sex Workers.'”
WAPO BRIEFS—-“REPORT ON CHILDREN: Homelessness, Health Trends Decried”; “Bill on Lead Paint Removal Passes”
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
The vending picture emerges: 716 spots will be available in prime locations downtown and near the Mall, in four “vending zones,” according to WTOP’s Mark Segraves. The zones are: K Street between 12th and 15th Streets NW; G Street between 7th and 12th Streets NW, including 10th from G to H; F Street from New Jersey Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue, including First Street from E Street to New Jersey Avenue; L’Enfant Plaza from the D Street SW overpass to Independence Avenue.
Another 1,000 vendors will be placed in other parts of the city where crowds will gather. Local vendors will get first shot at the best spots, Nikita Stewart reports in WaPo. Says city vending coordinator Sam Williams: “Nothing about this inauguration is usual…We knew we had to dramatically increase the number of sites . . . The last inauguration only had 100 sites.”
“Aretha Franklin will sing, Pastor Rick Warren will pray and Yo-Yo Ma will play the cello during President-elect Barack Obama‘s Inauguration,” says NC8.
NO SKATING FOR YOU—-“Ice rink, Botanic Garden closed for inauguration~”
NO BIKES FOR YOU—-Metro says no bikes on trains during inaug.
Get the hell out of town! Plenty of folks want out of town on Jan. 20, WRC-TV reports.
Behold the giant inaugural planning map.
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
Sam Smith‘s “Standardized Test Results” are out. “Phil Mendelsohn [LL notes: why is he incapable of spelling Mendo’s name right??] was the only city council member to come out with a positive score, albeit a not too impressive 5 points. All the rest of the council members had negative scores ranging between minus 4 and minus 8….The worst city official is Adrian Fenty with a standardized test score of minus 49. Michelle Rhee is second worst with minus 25 points followed by Kathy Lanier [LL notes: ditto] with minus 20….As a result of the poor test scores, consideration will be given next year to closing the Wilson Building and turning it over to a charter government or selling it to developers.”
Political historian is asked: “Why do politicians who engage in corruption get reelected (e.g. Marion Barry and Ted Stevens) even though people publicly condemn corruption? How long will it be before we see another Blagojevich Senate term?” Scroll to end of Q&A for answer.
Blogger to Washingtonian: “Let me start off by saying I love me some Jim Graham, who’s my councilman. I can’t say I’m so informed about his politics, but I love his bow ties and orange-colored spectacles.” (LL to Washingtonian: What’s DCU?)
Matthew Yglesias, like all the other urbanism nerds, thinks free weekend parking is a bad idea.
Fenty says CFSA continues to improve.
WaPo’s Petula Dvorak writes up the Adams Morgan Festivus pole and gets a little dramatic: “The kiosk in Adams Morgan has become a confessional for Washingtonians, where dozens of notes are pinned to a bulletin board, the physical manifestation of a region’s woes. They are sad and funny, sweet and alarming, and it’s completely voyeuristic, a window into souls.”
Borderstan blog has some questions for Hizzoner, re violence.
Annual children’s report is out.
John Kelly does an item on the “Art on Call” program—-now in Cleveland Park!
Also in WaPo, Susan Kinzie writes up the Pearl Project—-an effort by a group of Georgetown University students to solve the slaying of WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl. They’re now suing the federal government to get records, some of which involved terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. “The FBI response, according to the complaint, was that the bureau could not process the request without a signed privacy waiver from Mohammed.”
Rick Rosendall writes up the state of D.C. gay marriage prospects in “New England’s Largest GLBT Newspaper.”
Hazmat situation down at state department.
ROAD RAGE?—-“A drive-by shooting resulted in a three-car collision in the District on Wednesday.” Happened around noon at North Capitol and Michigan Avenue, WRC-TV reports.
Shooting reported last night on 2900 block of Nash Place SE, in Fairlawn.
LL is feeling confident. Are you feeling confident? (Economically, that is.)
“DISTRICT OF CLUELESS”—-“Only Washington DC could have their mayor busted by the feds, on videotape smoking crack cocaine with a hooker, and then re-elect the guy after he gets out of prison. That says a lot about how some minds work, or more appropriately, don’t work. So while remarkably unfortunate, it is only natural that the same type of skewed mentality and lack of reality that elects D.C.’s officials is commonly celebrated within the officials elected. Take for example the latest and greatest in D.C.’s attempt at hand gun control.”
SCHADENFREUDE ALERT—-“Budget outlook darkens for Virgina, Maryland”
IN RELATED NEWS—-New CFO revenue projections will be released Friday a.m.
Marc Fisher bids farewell to John Warner.
Sammy Baugh, “The First of the Gunslingers,” is dead at 94.
Palestine Smith Hill, longtime DCPS languages teacher, dies at 87.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs roundtable, JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee of the Whole roundtable on the proposed transfer of jurisdiction of a portion of Fort Dupont Park from the National Park Service to the District of Columbia for recreational purposes, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:30 a.m.: guest, Morning Joe, MSNBC; 6:45 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV; 10:30 a.m.: remarks, CFSA backlog reduction announcement, Child and Family Services Agency, 400 6th St. SW, 5th floor.