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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Animal Rights Protests Have Cheh Mulling Restrictions“; “More on Cheh’s Home Protests Bill

Morning all. The long-awaited D.C. Council report on the tax scandal is scheduled to be released at an 11 a.m. council press conference today. Check City Desk for updates. And at 3:30 p.m. today, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser, and longtime politico Jerry Cooper will cast the District’s electoral votes for Barack Obama.

In two investigative reports, WaPo delivers good news and bad news on charter schools in the District. First the bad: Members of the Public Charter School Board and its credit enhancement committee are rife with conflicts, none more than avuncular PCSB chairman Tom Nida. Nida, a banker, has voted on matters involving numerous schools he or his employers have connections to. (LL delved into the conflicts issue back in June.) The good news is today’s report that charters have “a solid academic lead” over traditional public schools, debunking the widely held perception that charters aren’t that much academically better than DCPS schools. LL guesses Robert Cane is at a Kinko’s somewhere making a lot of copies of Dan Keating and Theola Labbé-DeBose‘s article.

RESPONSE—-The PCSB put out the following statement this morning: “As volunteers, D.C. Public Charter School Board members work hard to do what they believe is right and in the best interest of D.C. students and families. They make decisions in a principled way, responding based on the facts and circumstances presented to them. In light of points raised about possible conflicts of interest, the PCSB is reviewing its current conflict of interest policies and applicable D.C. law, and will implement whatever changes are necessary and appropriate.”

ALSO—-How one high-performing charter school goes above and beyond with funding from private sources.

Kwame Brown continues futzing with the Southwest Waterfront deal, prompting Neil Albert to deliver perhaps the most critical comment ever heard from a Fenty adminstration official: “Albert called Brown’s move to alter the deal at the last second ‘the worst example of political leadership that I’ve ever seen in my years in District government’…He added, ‘I’ve never heard of a council chair using emergency legislation on an issue that was under his domain.'” MORE PROBLEMS FOR KWAME—-LL hears rumblings the public-property advocates (you know, the folks who killed the West End deal) are massing for a fight at tomorrow’s meeting.

Marc Fisher reports Jim Graham all of a sudden going soft on underage drinking. Maybe he really is afraid of a “Schwartzing.”

In Blago wake, NYT looks at the most corrupt jurisdictions in America. Measured in convictions per capita, “The District of Columbia wins big, for obvious reasons: its high concentration of public officials amid a relatively small population. Also, the local United States attorney’s office focuses on rooting out corruption, adding to conviction rates.” LL would dispute that second point.

Examiner’s Michael Neibauer looks at just how much the District stands to rake in thanks to the inaugural festivities. While folks whine about the feds not ponying up for inaug expenses, “D.C. leaders…are quietly optimistic that a multimillion-dollar windfall is coming from the estimated one million to five million visitors who will flock to the District next month.”

RELATED—-Harry Jaffe looks at inaugural expenses: “Right now D.C. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini and his staff are crunching numbers….I couldn’t squeeze any official estimates on how much they expect to need to cover the city’s tab, but I hear the lowball is $25 million.”

CFO Nat Gandhi didn’t figure an inuagural bump into his September revenue projections. LL hears the new numbers will be out this week.

Two accounts of last Thursday’s town-hall meeting on gay marriage—-one from the Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr., the other from D.C. for Marriage head (and meeting organizer) Michael Crawford.

OUCH—-In her Examiner column, Jonetta Rose Barras spends her 450 words slapping around Michael Brown: “Brown is a disciple of the Marion Barry style of politics and governance. It’s the first cousin to [Rod Blagojevich]’s ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ brand….The council already is returning to its 20th-century ways: raising fees and taxes and spending every dime collected; misleading special interest groups about the government’s capability; and pushing behind the scenes for favored constituents to receive lucrative contracts. Brown’s arrival and his refried brand of politics promise to accelerate the legislature’s race to the past.”

JO-ANN THE PEACEMAKER—-WaPo editorial board tries to kick-start teachers-contract negotiations by asking Randi Weingarten to “partner with” Michelle Rhee. “It’s sad commentary that the goals staked out by Ms. Rhee have been labeled as ‘scorched earth.’ What’s so radical about expecting excellence in teachers or in demanding the ability to reward the best teachers while getting rid of the worst?” NEWS NUGGET—-“Ms. Rhee…rejected a plan to bring in a firm adept at union-busting in favor of working one-on-one with local labor officials whom she believed shared her philosophy that children come first.”

ALSO—-A possible compromise on extending D.C.’s sex abuse laws?

Neibauer has more on Mary Cheh‘s home-protests bill (which LL covered Friday). A preminary draft “would make it a misdemeanor ‘for any person to repeatedly engage in unwanted targeted picketing before or about an individual’s dwelling place in a residential neighborhood with the intent to intimidate, threaten, abuse, annoy, or harass the individual.’ Picketing under the measure is defined as ‘marching, congregating, standing, parading, demonstrating or patrolling…without the implied or express consent of the occupant.'”

WaPo’s Bill Turque has more on District’s lawsuit alleging “frivolous” lawsuit by special-ed lawyer John Straus. “Attorney General Peter J. Nickles said the lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court, is likely the first in a series of actions to push back against what he described as a ‘very aggressive plaintiff’s bar’ in the District that has flooded the system with special education actions.” AND—-LL’s colleague Jason Cherkis doesn’t like it.

WJLA-TV’s Sam Ford gets reaction to Michelle Rhee‘s trips to Sacramento: “Fenty said that he has no problem with Rhee traveling on her own time….D.C. Councilman Kwame Brown, though, expresses concern about the trips, considering the large scale effort it will take to fix the District’s school system. Brown argues, ‘When I see the amount of times being out of town—-we have an educational crisis here in the District of Columbia.’ And State Board of Education President Robert Bobb added, ‘It doesn’t bother me at all.'”

The two-tier teachers contract makes NYT Magazine’s “Year in Ideas.”

IN THEMAIL—-Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill keep on Firefightergate. ALSO SEE Candi Peterson‘s letter about Rhee’s efforts to carry out “Plan B”: “Teachers and administrators report that the city is requiring DC principals to place a quota of teachers on ninety-day plans….This is the first time in years that principals are being told to observe teachers en masse and make decisions on teacher termination by December 5. Principals report being instructed to lie in their ‘teacher observations’ about what is taking place during a structured lesson. One principal at Patterson elementary school resigned in opposition to these unethical practices.”

D.C. GOP files legal brief arguing Michael Brown shouldn’t be seated as a councilmember.

So usually the District sprays ginkgo trees to stop their nasty, foul-smelling fruit from sprouting. But they didn’t spray this year; they used a new technique involving injecting a chemical into trees with a needle. “The chemical didn’t work, for reasons that scientists still don’t understand,” reports David Fahrenthold in WaPo. “Now, instead of less ginkgo stink, Washington has its worst case in years—-a bumper crop of nastiness that is studding sidewalks and sliming dress shoes from Capitol Hill to Kalorama.”

WaPo’s Steve Hendrix looks at Obama aides’ local ties. “Obama’s pick for ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, was born at George Washington University Hospital, grew up in the District’s Shepherd Park and was a scholar-jock at the National Cathedral School….’Born and raised here,’ Rice said proudly. ‘I absolutely identify myself as a Washingtonian.'”…”Asked if she’ll urge her boss to get out into the city more than he did as a senator, the diplomat answered diplomatically. ‘I’ll do whatever I can to be of help,’ she said. But when pressed, she did have a few suggestions for a junk food tour of the District, including burgers at Clyde’s and Ben’s Chili Bowl for a fuller menu. And if the president wants ice cream? ‘I love Max’s in Glover Park,’ Rice said.”


Adrienne Washington returns to pages of WaTimes to scold D.C. Council on inaug bar hours: “Instead of extending the hours patrons can drink ’til they drop, a more responsible council should be switching the lights on and off earlier to signal ‘last call’ for alcohol for the unprecedented number of revelers expected to descend on the city….But this council is not exhibiting responsibility or restraint. It is begging for trouble as it lets the bar-and-restaurant constituency grab for easy money.”

Via HuffPo, DCist: “Save Our Parties” petition appears online to fight to keep the 5 a.m. hours.

Jan. 20 will be a transportation nightmare. LL plans to ride his bike!

Obama to do it Biden-style, arrive in D.C. on Amtrak.

Recent Metro malfunctions have Examiner’s Kytja Weir wondering if the transit agency is ready for inaugural crowds. More from WTOP.

DiFi tries to ban inaugural ticket resale, fails. She’s gonna keep trying, though!

Obama-themed items selling briskly, AP reporter discovers.

Baltimore also tries to cash in.

GWU’s inauagural float “hits for the geometric cycle,” is absolutely baffling.

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


Teen stabbed at U Street Metro station, then gets on train and rides to Columbia Heights before seeking medical help. Injuries are not life-threatening. “Police said the teenager who was stabbed apparently was the brother of one of the teenage girls involved in a dispute,” reports WaPo.

Killings in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights appear to be GANG-RELATED, Jim Graham tells Examiner’s Scott McCabe. WRC-TV has video, so does WTTG-TV.

MRDDA MURDER—-Woman killed yesterday at group home for the mentally disabled on 5400 block of Blair Road, near Fort Totten. Few details are available. NC8 says suspect is in custody.

Man, 20, found shot to death on 4900 block of Ames Street NE.

Arrest made in Park View slaying: Allen Butler, 30, of Largo, Md. charged with first-degree murder in Thursday shooting of Franklin W. Johnson. “Johnson was shot in a house in the 600 block of Kenyon Street NW. A child was shot and wounded in the house in the same incident, police said,” reports WaPo.

Tiffany Gates‘ alleged killer—-you know, the woman stabbed by escaped-con former boyfriend while U.S. Marshals stood outside her apartment building—-held without bond. “[Suspect] Robert A. Ridley smiled at times as D.C. homicide detective Daniel Whalen referred to a coroner’s report on Gates,” writes WaPo’s Keith Alexander.

Man sentenced for 2007 sexual assaults of Howard students.

Pepper-spray discharge at Filene’s Basement Saturday causes ruckus. One customer “described an emergency situation in the store that seemed to become increasingly severe. ‘At first they announced, “Anyone in the lower level please go to the upper level, first floor,”‘ she said. ‘A few minutes later they said everyone needs to evacuate—-customers, employees, everybody.'”

Weeklong string of rooftop burglaries in Dupont area, NC8 reports. Is this the first appearance of “Borderstan” in a real news story?

NOTHING GOOD EVER HAPPENS ON A LADDER—-District Heights man electrocuted Saturday morning when aluminum ladder touches utility line. “The scene horrified neighbors. Levison Ferrell, 49, who lives nearby, called 911 after seeing the accident. ‘I heard something, and when I looked over, I saw him coming down,’ he said. ‘I was just so sorry that I couldn’t do anything more to help him. By the time I got up there, he was in flames.'”

From WUSA-TV: Silver Spring man, 101, who had gone missing found at Washington Hospital Center. Apparently he’d been hit by a car during his regular walk.

More from Biz Journal on Hill East (Rez 13) development proposals.

D.C. area saw job increase in October. Really.

Go-go awards handed out last night at convention center.

WaTimes’ Michael Drost looks at the “Changing face of homelessness.” Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness survey “shows the number of families needing short-term help from one of about 26 shelters in the city increased by more than 58 percent since last year, from 89 to 141 people.”

Water main breaks in Dupont.

See if MPD has your stolen stuff!

New Arena Stage home “topped out” on Friday.

District agrees to improves accessibility at homeless facilities.

Randi Weingarten et al. weigh in on NCLB.

“Michelle Rhee – One Heck of a Woman!”

D.C. firefighters pass out smoke detectors in Georgetown. Can’t those folks afford their own?

Adams Morgan cab stands not working out, according to one review.

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation roundtable, JAWB 500; 10:30 a.m.: Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs meeting on PR17-1175, JAWB 120; 11 a.m.: pre-legislative meeting press conference, JAWB 412.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Anacostia Neighborhood Library groundbreaking, Good Hope Road and 18th Street SE; 2:45 p.m.: remarks, Ward 6 Senior Wellness Center groundbreaking, 1005 5th St. NE; 3:30 p.m.: officiate, 12th Electoral College, JAWB 509; 6:30 p.m.: remarks, Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association meeting, St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1525 Newton St. NW.