Morning all. Lots of Wilson Building yawns this morning, after Council Term 17 wrapped up with an 11-hour-plus meeting. Anyone catch Jack Evans introducing a resolution late in the meeting calling on Congress to take away Illinois’ votes? After all, Evans argued, if Congress doesn’t feel D.C. is responsible enough for a congressional vote in Congress, certainly the Land of Blagojevich can’t be? Chair Vincent C. Gray ruled Evans’ measure out of order. Harrumph!
WaPo’s Nikita Stewart and Hamil Harris run down the council meeting, starting with the decision to vote down the W2I lottery contract. (Read LL’s coverage of the matter.) Says W2I lawyer Scott Bolden, “We’re going to look at every legal option.” And then there’s the gun stuff—-in particular, the “Cheh Amendment” requiring firearms training for those who want to register guns. WaPo says by passing it, the council “invited a fight in court.” Says NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, “It’s kind of saying, ‘Hey, you’re the Supreme Court, but we’re the D.C. Council and we’ll show you.'”
Examiner’s Michael Neibauer focuses his meeting rundown on the gun stuff. “Gun rights advocates…promised legal challenges against D.C.’s ‘onerous’ registration requirements….’Until the day comes that you can walk into a gun shop in D.C. and buy a gun like everybody else, we’re not going to stop,’ said Dane von Breichenruchardt, president of the Bill of Rights Foundation.”
WaTimes’ Gary Emerling also ran down the day, filing stories on the gun regulations and on everything else. Re guns, Peter Nickles, who opposed the Cheh amendment, says he “expects a legal challenge to the regulations, but is confident the law will stand up in court.”
But for LL’s money, the best council meeting roundup comes from Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell, who uses BULLET POINTS! O’Connell also filed on the Southwest Waterfront land-transfer approval, the debt-cap approval, and colleague looks at FiOS approval.
CAROL’S LAST DAY—-“Schwartz teared up a few times yesterday….’I am sad. I can’t say that I am not sad. People come up to me and say how are you, and I say, “I have been better.”‘…’I was here to 10 o’clock last night packing up my office, so it is a tough time for me. I am really proud of my years here.’…At the end of the 13-hour marathon meeting, Gray presented Schwartz with a crystal bowl in council tradition. She bid goodbye to the council, saying again that she was sad to go. ‘But c’est la vie. Such is life. I’ve gotten over worse things. I’ll get over this.'”
JAWB TIPSTER—-“Borf was spotted in teh women’s bathroom on the 5th floor outside the chambers – someone (BORF? an impostor?) wrote on the toilet seat cover holder Borf licks the toilet seat. No joke. such wackiness.”
Logan Circle killing raises 2008 murder total to 182, “marking the first time since the early 1990s that the number of killings in the city rose for two straight years,” Bill Myers reports in Examiner. “Police Chief Cathy Lanier has already taken what she calls drastic actions: She’s armed her officers with assault rifles, sealed off the violent Trinidad neighborhood with barricades and flooded the city with cops for her All Hands on Deck weekends….Those measures have yielded mixed results.”
Neibauer also looks at the parking-meter hike which passed yesterday: “A provision to eliminate free weekend parking was pulled as a compromise to win several on-the-fence members. And Jack Evans convinced fellow Councilman Jim Graham to hand $1 million of the additional revenue to Roadside Development to build affordable housing at its O Street Market development in Evans’ ward.” Jack’s rationale: Most of the meter fees are paid in Ward 2! The other $5M to $8M goes to housing and social services.
GGW asks: “Have DC Councilmembers ever tried to park downtown on a Saturday?”
Harry Jaffe looks at Arne Duncan pick for SecEd, sees “Michelle Rhee‘s mirror image”…”It was almost as if he had nominated Rhee.” Both closed bad schools, support charters, favor paying kids for good grades, support NCLB, accountability, blah blah…”By choosing Duncan, Obama gives a boost to Rhee, undercuts the Washington Teachers’ Union and lends a hand to Mayor Adrian Fenty, who has banked his political future on graduating college-bound students rather than delinquents from D.C. schools. It could tip the scales toward Rhee’s reform efforts at a crucial moment.”
ALSO—-WaPo editorial board on Duncan; and HuffPo’s Alexander Russo seems to be the first to bring it up: “wondering whether Duncan, who currently sends his daughter to public school, will transfer her to a D.C.P.S. school or to a private one.”
Verizon’s real happy about FiOS legislation passing!
IN WAPO LETTERS—-Robert H. Braunohler rips the Post for picking on poor Tom Nida: “He is a tireless advocate for change in what is acknowledged to be a broken public school system. As thanks for his selfless service, The Post found it appropriate to pillory him on the front page….What a great way to encourage leaders of the D.C. business community to volunteer their time and energy toward solving the city’s social problems!” LL POINTS OUT that Nida could have served with any number of other organizations that don’t deal in any way with charter school financing.
WAPO BRIEFS—-“Increases Approved in Parking Meter Fees”; “Bill to Revise Storm Water Charges Passes”; [Whitman-Walker] Clinic Announces Cuts in Programs, Staff”; “SE Man Gets 16-Month Sentence in Gun Thefts”; “Affordable Housing Included in Ivy City Project”
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
INAUG BOOZE HOURS REVISED—-Tommy Wells‘ bill rolls things back an hour, from 5 a.m. to 4 a.m., though 24-hour food service is still allowed. There’s a new registration and fee requirement, too. Vote was the same as on the first bill, 9-4, with the party poopers being Bowser, Graham, Mendelson, and Schwartz. Stories from WaPo and Examiner.
WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood also covers.
DAVID CATANIA ON CONGRESSIONAL INTERVENTION—-“We have members of the United States Senate who have nothing better to do than lecture us how to conduct our ABC regulation. That’s really extraordinary. You wouldn’t think that with a war, nuclear proliferation, an economic meltdown, they’d think, ‘Oh, we can do something about bars staying open from 3 to 5!'”
Metro proposes charging rush-hour fares all day on Jan. 20 and charging for parking on a day when it doesn’t usually charge for parking. Says John Catoe, “These are going to be very high expenses for the Metro system,” Catoe said on WTOP radio. “We shouldn’t minimize the impact.” Also Examiner.
CATOE’S ATTENDANCE GUESS—-“This will be a crowd bigger than any crowd we’ve ever had by a magnitude of three to four.” Previous record was about 850,000. “It’s going to be the most challenging day in the history of Metro…We will carry what we can. There will be delays.”
HIS ADVICE?—-Take the bus!
Cell-phone trade association suggests “that people send text messages instead of phone calls when possible, because text messages place less strain on the network and are more likely to go through. CTIA is also suggesting that people refrain from immediately trying to send photos or videos from the scene, because they gobble up large amounts of bandwidth.”
INFRASTRUCTURAL NOTES—-“Catoe said Virginia transportation officials are considering designating a bus-only corridor on Interstate 66 and other yet-to-be determined highways. The Memorial Bridge will be restricted to pedestrians and emergency vehicles. The 14th Street and Roosevelt bridges will be restricted to bus and authorized vehicles. No decision has been made about the Key Bridge.”
Bar and club owners gather at Park at 14th to discuss fire safety. Dave Statter‘s on it!
Overpriced inaug rentals moving slow, NC8 reports. “Dupont Circle resident Louis Santucci put two rooms in his house on Craigslist the night Obama won. He says he’s even dropped the room rate to $250 a night with no minimum stay and for extra, he’ll even thrown in a meal for up to 10, cooked by a gourmet chef. Still, he hasn’t had any bites….’I don’t understand why I’m not getting any takers because I’m six blocks from the White House.'” WTTG-TV does a similar piece.
FINALLY—-Inauguration 2009: the prostitution angle, courtesy of WUSA-TV.
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
D.C. man charged in massive Minnesota wildfire apparently commits suicide at his Tenleytown home, WaPo reports. Stephen G. Posniak, 64, shot himself in his back yerd, a month before his trial on federal charges. His lawyer “expressed sorrow at the death of ‘a gentle, kind, caring individual.’ He said Posniak had loved the area where the fire took place, visited it almost every year for two decades and ‘cherished his time here.'” Also NC8.
GREEN LINE VIOLENCE—-Two arrests made in daytime stabbing in Columbia Heights. One adult, Hector Diaz, and one unnamed juvenile taken into custody, WaPo reports. Cops say they’re investigating gang connections. Also arrest in stabbing near U Street Metro; emanated from fight at Republic Gardens.
District using $3.8M in federal funds to jump-start about 60 affordable housing units in Ivy City, Biz Journal reports. “D.C. chose four local developers—-Mi Casa Inc., Manna Inc., D.C. Habitat for Humanity and MissionFirst—-to build for-sale units on 37 vacant properties in Northeast D.C., a $15 million development.” Housing Complex has the press release.
Bloomingdale (for now) runs down meeting on McMillan Sand Filtration site.
Home values down in MD., Va., but slightly up in D.C., WRC-TV’s Chris Gordon reports. Wooo!
THE BELLS! THE BELLS!—-Some Petworth neighbors not happy with St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church, on Grant Circle, which recently installed a new bell system that rings every 15 minutes. “Father Augustine Mateo-Ayala…said the purpose is to bring the sound of peace to the neighborhood….’having bells reminding us about God’s presence should be a privilege.'”
Bad economy is bad news for nonprofits, reports WaTimes’ Michael Drost. “‘As the economy goes down, there are simply more recipients and fewer donors, so we’re definitely concerned,’ says David Treadwell, executive director of the Central Union Mission.”
Among swindler Bernard Madoff‘s victims: The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, which had about $10M with Madoff’s firm—-about 10 percent of the federation’s total endowment—-according to Biz Journal report.
FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US—-Adams Morgan celebrates Seinfeldian holiday, complete with Festivus pole/kiosk, airing of grievances, feats of strength.
Panel discussion tonight on lobbying the D.C. Council on arts policy matters.
Today is Eleanor Holmes Norton‘s holiday party, at Cannon HOB. D.C. United is helping out. No firefighters, LL hopes.
ANOTHER REASON TO SUBSCRIBE TO LL DAILY—-WaPo newsstand price going up this week, to $.75.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: guest, 9 News at 9, WUSA-TV; 10:15 a.m.: remarks, Deanwood Community Center and Library groundbreaking, 49th and Quarles Streets NE; 3:45 p.m.: guest, MSNBC Live with Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC.