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Good morning, and happy penultimate legislative meeting day. A special LL note to former campaign honchos: You have two days to remove all of your political signs from public space! WRC-TV reports you can recycle your used campaign placards by dropping them at the Reeves Center loading dock this week during business hours. Or do like Carol Schwartz: Clip off the date and save them for next time!
If LL’s comprehensive coverage of the D.C. GOP’s lawsuit asking the D.C. Court of Appeals to keep Michael Brown off the D.C. Council isn’t good enough for you (harrumph), then check Hamil Harris‘ fine piece in WaPo or Michael Drost‘s fine piece in WaTimes or Tierney Plumb‘s fine piece in Biz Journal. (Don’t bother with the AP dispatch.)
If LL’s comprehensive coverage of Mary Cheh‘s elections subpoenas isn’t good enough for you (harrumph), then check out Mike Neibauer‘s fine piece in Examiner.
More Neibauer: Taxicab task force report is out; recommends “[h]igher fares [duh], revamped taxicab driver training programs and deputized hack inspectors.” Fare hikes might include higher per-mile rate, elimination of intra-District $19 cap.
THE BIGGER CAB NEWS—-WTF are District riders still paying a gas surcharge when cabbies are paying well under $2 a gallon? WTOP’s Adam Tuss demands answers! DCTC chair Leon Swain says, “I am trying to get rid of the surcharge,” perhaps by next week.
Firehouse fight! WUSA-TV’s Dave Statter says cops responded to fight yesterday afternoon between company captain and driver. It all went down at E30/T13 in Ward 7.
LL colleague Jason Cherkis has too many unanswered questions about how D.C. police deal with the mentally ill.
AT LAST—-Ground is broken on new Benning Library, CP’s Housing Complex reports. Library Renaissance Project’s Robin Diener writes, “Apparently no one in authority recognized the President of the Friends of Benning Library. Indeed, Mrs. [Juanita] Montague told our correspondent that she hadn’t been invited, she’d just heard about it ‘through the grapevine,’ as did our correspondent. DCPL hired a new communications director some months ago who isn’t doing much in the way of communicating, apparently.” [UPDATE, 12 P.M: George A. Williams, a DCPL spokesperson, says Montague was indeed “informed and invited by the Library.”]
LL MISSED THIS YESTERDAY—-Tommy Wells responds to Colby King‘s incessant DYRS bulldogging with WaPo op-ed.
Gas prices might be suddenly and ridiculously low, but Metro seems to be holding onto riders all the same, Lena Sun reports in WaPo. “For the four months ending in October, Metrorail ridership in the Washington region was up 5 percent over the same period last year, [WMATA] senior planner Jim Hughes said. Preliminary data indicate that November rail ridership is up about 3 percent….Industry officials said the worsening economy is a big factor, as transit is a cheaper alternative.”
New Circulators could be in service by March 30 pending WMATA board vote, Examiner’s Kytja Weir reports. One would replace Adams Morgan—U Street Link; the other would hit the “$621 million Capitol Visitor Center that opens today, the Washington Nationals baseball stadium, the new U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters on New Jersey Avenue Southeast and the booming residential area cropping up in the Navy Yard area.”
INAUGURATION WATCH—-Hotelgoers getting screwed, David Nakamura reports on WaPo B1. “Some hotels have doubled or tripled usual prices, required customers to stay at least four nights and collected full payment up front, no refunds allowed….’What you have is a lot of venues that don’t normally face this kind of demand,’ said Emily Durso, president of the Hotel Association of Washington. ‘They’re dealing with it for the first time. They were dumb enough to give out rooms over the inauguration dates months ago at a low price. Oops — now they have to fix it.'”
—-Laissez les bons temps rouler: Jim Graham bill “would allow bars and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol to keep pouring until 5 a.m., and to keep doors open 24-hours per day between Jan. 17 and Jan. 21.” Make that “laissez les tax revenues rouler.”
—-Construction has begun on parade stands outside the John A. Wilson Building; that means the building’s Pennsylvania Avenue entrance will remain closed through early February, and, gasp, several council parking spaces are no longer available.
—-WTOP’s Tuss is feeling “Inauguration Trepidation.” “I get the feeling that a lot of officials in the D.C. region have no idea what is coming our way on Jan. 20 — and that is simply frightening.”
—-WUSA-TV explores the college angle. Again.
—-SCOOP! “Inauguration Security Expected to be Unprecedented“! You don’t say?
Three muggings in five days in east Dupont, NC8 reports; ANC member gives criminals too much credit, LL thinks: “The thing about 15th Street where we are is half of it is in the Second Police District and half is in the Third and criminals know that,” said Jack Jacobsen.
Third arrest in Spevak murders? Maybe, but not yet.
Over 100 protest at local HUD office for more affordable housing for HIV/AIDS patients, WaPo’s David Betancourt reports. Says Larry Bryant of DC Fights Back: “Infection rates are much higher amongst those who are homeless. We want to have some visible and vocal leadership from the mayor on down to address these needs.”
SCHADENFREUDE ALERT—-WaPo editorial board details MoCo’s worsening budget crunch—-they’re now looking at a $400-600M gap in a $4.3B budget. Actually, you may want to save the Schadenfreude till after the December CFO projections come out.
IN RHEELATED NEWS—-More reax to Time cover, from Suyeon in NYC (“another Korean American hero”); from the Core Knowledge Blog (“Michelle Rhee Is Scaring Me”); from The Frustrated Teacher (“Michelle Rhee: Dangerously Self-Confident”); from Flypaper (“It’s hard not to root for Michelle Rhee, the butt-kicking, straight-talking, no-nonsense Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools”); from Edspresso (“Not your average cover girl”); from GothamSchools (“the education world’s It Girl, at least for now”); from Schools for Tomorrow blog (“Is Michelle over-Rheeching?”—-groan). And Dee Does the District has reaction to the reactions! ALSO—-Rhee was scheduled to meet yesterday morning with Fortune mag editor Patricia Sellers, but Rhee’s plane was late. Sellers ain’t mad: “Public education has never before met a maverick and lightning rod quite like Rhee.”
Outrage deficit today? Try this NC8 story on speed camera expansion.
DEPT. OF BAD MEDIA NEWS—-“Examiner to outsource printing, close plant”
Two kids rescued from fire by maintenance worker at Stanton Arms in Ward 8.
Former Beauvoir teacher indicted in absentia on child porn charges. “In August, [Eric] Toth‘s car was found at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and a note inside suggested that he had committed suicide in a nearby lake. But no body was found, authorities said.” Also WRC-TV.
HEY FENTY—-Blogger Sondra G wants you to fix Benning Road! Oh wait—-uh, Sondra, he is fixing Benning Road; that’s why it’s so bumpy.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting, with 37th legislative meeting immediately following, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Temple Courts Housing demolition announcement, North Capitol and K Streets NW.