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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“PCSB Chair: ‘I Serve at the Pleasure of the Mayor’“; “Eleanor Wants Charter Board Changes“; “Local Blogger Posts Thanks to Shoe-Thrower“; “Cheh’s Home-Protests Bill on Hold for Now“; “Harriette Walters: ‘Snitches Get Stitches’“
Morning all. Happy birthday, a day late, to Marc Fisher. Today Council Term 17 ends, as does Carol Schwartz‘s three decades in public service. LL asked her yesterday if she’s pondering another run in two or four years: “That’s certainly not my intention.” Never too early to start your Draft Carol campaign!
The best part of the D.C. Council’s tax scam investigation? The many, many times local reporters and editors get to use the word “probe”….Check LL’s initial thoughts on the matter and download a PDF of the report. Then check stories by WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood or by Gary Emerling in WaTimes or by Michael Neibauer in Examiner or by David Nakamura and Hamil Harris in WaPo. Remember last year when Nat Gandhi said the scheme went undetected because it was so “sophisticated”? Here’s what WilmerHale’s Bill McLucas, who led the investigation, has to say: “What was remarkable about this entire thing was its simplicity.”
HOW’S THIS FOR AN OFFICE CANDY DISH—-“Walters kept a jar of money—-one person said it contained $20 bills—-on her desk for co-workers, although Walters told investigators that claim wasn’t true.”
GANDHI REACTS—-“In a two-page statement yesterday, Gandhi said his office has been making changes aimed at improving the culture among the more than 1,000 employees he oversees and establishing stricter internal controls….At WilmerHale’s recommendation, Gandhi said he will hire a “chief risk officer” to conduct, in the report’s words, ‘regular risk assessments of the various [Office of Chief Financial Officer] agencies, providing input on the internal audit plans based on those assessments, and ensuring audit recommendations are implemented.'” More at D.C. Wire.
Officials respond to Public Charter School Board revelations: EHN calls for heads. And watch out—-Peter Nickles is “looking into it,” WaPo reports. Nida said he wouldn’t address allegations at PCSB meeting last night, but WaPo says attendees pressed the issue: “Steve Lowe, who had opposed the move of two charter schools into a United Bank-funded building in his Brady Hall neighborhood, asked Nida: ‘Will you resign before we have to press the mayor?’…Nida declined to answer that question but noted that he has recused himself from several votes in which he felt he had a conflict of interest.”
ALSO—-WaPo reporters chat about charters.
BLOG REAX—-“When a reporter reads you the law about conflicts of interest, try not to ‘express surprise that the law is so sweeping’ and don’t say that you view the issue ‘more narrowly than that.’ (Ahem hem, Mr. Nida). Quotes like this tend to lead to the kind of emails Peter Nickles finds annoying.” And Sam Smith has “A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT CHARTER SCHOOLS“—-he might not like the answers. And MoJo’s Kevin Drum reacts to the good charter news.
SW WATERFRONT DRAMA—-Kwame Brown, Neil Albert smooch and make up: Mayor’s office agrees to submit new approval resolution with some of Kwame’s changes, avoiding emergency legislation. Here’s what Albert, who said last week Brown showed “the worst example of political leadership that I’ve ever seen in my years in District government,” had to say yesterday: “I’d like to commend Councilman Brown for his support in moving this incredibly important project forward.” LL is told Vince Gray played peacemaker on the one, by hosting a marathon you-don’t-leave-until-you-get-this-done meeting on Friday. SWDC Blog has some reaction.
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING—-WaPo editorial board really, really wants the council to approve the W2I lottery contract. “It’s unlikely that the city will get a better deal than the one on the table,” they write.
Other city officials, less stubborn city officials—-nay, smarter city officials—-would have kept anyone in a uniform several blocks away from their holiday party after it was reported in the paper a week ahead of time that fire recruits would be working said party, raising numerous issues of ethical propriety. But not Dennis Rubin and Jim Graham. The Ward 1 councilmember’s holiday party was staff not by fire recruits, Scott McCabe reports, but by actual trained firefighters, who, according to Deputy Chief Kenneth Crosswhite, “were tripping over themselves” to volunteer. Said Crosswhite, “We’re not going to let The Examiner dictate how we manage the fire department.”
SEC-ED PICKED—-It’s Arne Duncan! Now pipe down about Michelle Rhee already!
Incidentally, Rhee will appear this morning on the nationally syndicated Diane Rehm Show—-10 a.m., WAMU 88.5 FM.
IN WAPO LETTERS—-Fabulously named Washingtonian C. Randolph Whipps urges council to pass less restrictive gun laws, calling Phil Mendelson legislation “another chapter in the sad legacy of a council that has been tough on guns but soft on criminals”; Jane Belford, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington, says Marion Barry‘s effort to expand statute of limitations for sex abuse is “about expanding opportunities for a small group of trial lawyers from outside the District to file lawsuits for money against the Archdiocese.”
WaPo’s Darryl Fears looks at efforts to cut down DCHA’s 10-year waitlist. “Today the council is set to vote on a bill [Marion Barry] submitted in July called the Waiting List Elimination Bill of 2008 to try to put every applicant into a home within two years….Adrianne Todman, the Housing Authority’s deputy executive director…said Barry’s proposal, which she calculates at $15,000 per housing unit, seems unrealistic. ‘Do we want to house them all? Absolutely. Can we? No. We don’t have enough money to do that,’ she said.”
BAH-HUMBUG—-Hawk One lays off hundreds a week before Christmas. “The company fired 200 of its 1,100 officers who guard D.C. government facilities, from police headquarters to public works lots containing heavy equipment….Hawk One insisted the city ordered the cuts. ‘They’re the ones that have the answer to the question you’re looking for.'”
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
Tommy Wells looks to amend inaug booze-hours bill, WaPo reports. The nitty-gritty: “Restrict alcohol service to 4 a.m., same as on New Year’s Eve….Require nightclubs to pay $250 and bars and restaurants $100…to participate….Give Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier the authority to revoke the extended hours on an individual basis….Require nightclub, bar and restaurant owners to submit a safety and security plan to the city.” And Andrew Kline‘s down with it!
Martin O’Malley almost calls extended bar hours a bad idea on WTOP.
Pennsylvania teetotaler doesn’t want us to have fun.
Is there a Plan B for mayor’s inaug party? Blogger DCFab says if Kanye West can’t do it, Hizzoner has asked Chuck Brown to fill in. Wonder how poor Chuck feels about that.
Are you a “person”? There’s plenty of inaug events for “people”!
…Unless you bike to the festivities, like LL and possibly Tommy Wells.
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
Man shot to death yesterday afternoon at 4th and W Streets NW.
Suspect identified in group-home murder.
More on rooftop robberies in “Borderstan.”
SURPRISE—-People who park hate parking-meter rate hike.
Adams Morgan development was supposed to include residential. Not anymore: “downsized to retail only.”
Metro says it might still participate in Google Transit. The catch? “We also have to get something out of this deal…It can’t just be a private company getting something off the back of a public agency,” WMATA spokesperson tells Examiner. Sounds good to LL. More from WRC-TV.
ALSO—-Metro debuts new PA system in rail stations.
WUSA-TV: “DC Now Hotbed Of Pro-God Advertising”
Education reform expert Jay P. Greene mentions Fenty, Rhee, and Barry in the same breath when namechecking minority supporters of reform. LL would point out there’s many kinds of reform.
Nonprofs Bread for the City amd SOME gird for still more city budget cuts. The groups are “calling upon our partners and supporters to urge Mayor Fenty and the City Council to approach the current budgetary crisis in a manner that is open, prudent, and foresighted with regard to the great shared need for support of DC’s low-income communities.”
Blogger Mike Licht none too happy with DCCAH ads with WaPo and City Paper. They don’t mention names of any artists!
Post-9/11 airspace restrictions around DCA are now permanent, FAA announces.
TODAY IN RAILROADING—-Super high-speed rail between D.C. and NYC?
“Socks the Cat Near Death“!!!!!
TONIGHT—-Ward 8 holiday party, 7 p.m. at Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Ave. SE
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-9:30 a.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting, immediately followed by 38th legislative meeting, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-3:45 p.m.: remarks, Ivy City revitalization initiative announcement, 1814 Central Place NE.