Loose Lips Daily: Mendo the Party Pooper
As much local politics as humanly possible. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good morning, all. Everyone's pumped about the 24-hour nightlife the District will offer come inauguration time. Well, everyone except Muriel Bowser, Carol Schwartz, and, especially, Phil Mendelson, who said yesterday, "There are very few people I know of out partying at 5 in the morning...who aren't getting drunk." And your point? Yeah, yeah—public safety and all that. But LL ain't chair of the public safety committee, now, is he?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"Extended Drinking Hours at Inauguration: It’s Official"; "Extended Inauguration Drinking Hours Not a Done Deal!"
If LL's blanket inaugural booze coverage wasn't good enough for you (harrumph), try David Nakamura's fine WaPo article or Leah Fabel's fine Examiner article. NYT even gets in on the story. NC8 and WRC-TV have video. [LL can't recommend the WaTimes story, since it got the vote wrong: Michael Drost and Timothy Warren reported the 12-1 vote on the emergency declaration, not the 9-4 vote on the bill itself.]
Is there a chance Mayor Adrian M. Fenty won't sign the bill? WTOP reports he hasn't made up his mind yet.
Fun quote from Bruuuce Johnson's coverage: "[Marc] Barnes, owner of "Love" and "The Park at 14th Street says while he'll make a lot more money with the extended liquor hours, the DC Government stands to take in multi millions in tax revenue." LL notes that Barnes' clubs were namechecked on the dais by Marion Barry during the council debate. Can't buy that kind of marketing!
As of tomorrow, cab riders no longer have to pay the $1 fuel surcharge, WTOP's Mark Segraves reports. WTOP, of course, points out that WTOP had run a story on the surcharge the day before. Gee thanks, WTOP!
WaPo's Amy Gardner reports Metro Washington Airports Authority board is set to adopt travel policy, aimed at reducing embarrassing WaPo articles like this one. "H.R. Crawford, board chairman and a District appointee, said the policy strikes the right balance between providing public accountability and allowing board members to do their jobs. He said the policy suggests business-class travel except in rare circumstances, and he said it appropriately allows board members to travel more expensively than staff members." We're talking about a former assistant secretary of housing and urban development here, after all!
LL does feel kinda bad for picking on Mendelson earlier; he had a long day yesterday. First, he got accused on the dais by Marion Barry of being soft of child molesters after Mendelson compromised on a bill that would extend the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases. (None of Barry's colleagues voted with him.) Then he had to fend off Jim Graham, who wanted to raid the tree planting fund Mendelson set up years ago to pay for dangerous-tree removal for the indigent. And then Mary Cheh tried to amend his meticulously crafted gun bill! A toast to you, Mendo—which LL will give at 4:55 a.m. on Jan. 21.
It probably didn't help Mendelson's mood that he couldn't partake in his usual hearty breakfast. WTOP's Mark Segraves reviews the grumblings among councilmembers regarding the traditional pre-meeting breakfast, which members provide, rotating among themselves. Yesterday it was Jim Graham's turn. Usually, there's eggs, bacon, grits, potatoes, sausages, sometimes stewed apples. Graham ordered in quiche from Busboys and Poets, and not a whole lot of it. Segraves failed to mention this isn't the first time Graham's screwed up his breakfast duties; a couple of years ago Graham opted to provide a disastrous vegan breakfast, prompting at least one of his colleagues to order in Egg McMuffins.
Both WaPo and Examiner have rundowns of yesterday's legislative business. Both articles focus mainly on the new gun laws, the most controversial portion thereof is that gun owners will have to send a letter to the city every year saying they still have their gun and also submit to a fresh background check every six years, in addition to completing a modest amount of training. Hamil Harris also covers the FiOS vote and the sex abuse vote (and takes a tough correction). Oh, and "Taxation Without Representation Street" passed first reading. LL would also note that the CareFirst bill passed, with amendments to make Maryland and Virginia happy.
Harry Jaffe, the Batman of metro columnists, stands up for U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor. He may be a Republican foisted on the District by a president we all hate, but: "My cop sources love the guy; I appreciate his crusade to crack down on gun violence by trying to make sure people arrested with guns stay off the street and serve time." Note to Examiner copy staff: Your headline should be "Does D.C. need a new U.S. Attorney?" not "Does D.C. need a new AG?"
Marc Fisher stands with LL on ending Republican welfare.
City reaches settlement in 2004 Jonathan Magbie death. Financial details not released, but "[a]s part of the settlement, the District government changed the way officials screen and handle inmates with medical problems and disabilities," writes Del Wilber in WaPo. Magbie, a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, died while in D.C. Jail after being arrested for marijuana possession. The death touched off a Colby King crusade and several investigations.
Sam Smith finds a parallel between Barack Obama and Marion Barry: After getting elected, he says, both have marginalized the liberals that helped them win.
After widespread predictions of mass complaints about atheist bus ads...there's mass complaints about atheist bus ads, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. LL prays these people get a life.
Fenty's 2010 campaign Web site is up and running, David Nakamura reports at D.C. Wire. You better believe that includes a "Donate Now" function. Apparently everyone's invited to his Saturday night fundraiser at Chris Donatelli's house. LL's going!
LL colleague Jason Cherkis continues to follow up on D.C. police and the mentally ill in the wake of the David Kerstetter shooting. Would the Memphis crisis intervention team model have saved Kerstetter?
Mary Cheh, two weeks later, responds to WaPo editorial board's swipe at her vote against Peter Nickles' confirmation in letter to editor. "The Post editorial board was entitled to favor the confirmation of [Nickles] if it wanted....It was not, however, entitled to distort my reasons for taking the opposite view."
INAUGURATION WATCH—More on Metro's inaugural prep; the celebs are coming! Dionne Warwick, even; new Obama gear store opens at 15th and New York; hotels look for "inauguratox"—apparently that means a quick facelift.
The Washington Area Bicycle Association will meet with city officials tomorrow to discuss a inauguration bike valet program, CP's Rend Smith reports. "If all goes well at the meeting...the organization will set up a bike valet station towards the south of the Capitol and just outside the inauguration’s hard-security-perimeter."
Cathy Lanier gets kudos from Marylander over aggressive anti-crime strategies. As opposed to MoCo leaders.
Anti-domestic violence advocates "slept out" in front of Wilson Building last night, NC8 reports.
Crews demolishing H.D. Woodson SHS break water main; 200 to 300 customers affected.
IN WAPO BRIEFS—Temple Courts, the lesser known but equally troubled neighbor of Sursum Corda, is demolished. Also: man sought in kidnapping and sexual assault; teen reports sexual assault in Southeast.
MORE SCHADENFREUDE—"State legislators brought bleak budget projections to officials in Northern Virginia yesterday, increasing the anxiety of local governments scurrying to find spending cuts," WaPo reports. Would you believe a $3.2 billion budget gap? "Arlington is better off than Prince William, and Virginia is better off than some other states," sez legislator. But not some Districts! (Knock on the wood of Nat Gandhi's office desk....)
WaPo shows up a day late on taxicab task force report. David Betancourt did get this classic nugget on the recommended fare hikes, from Yellow Cab's Roy Spooner: "'We don't see it as an increase,' he said of the drivers' perspective. 'We see it as an adjustment.'"
TODAY ON NEWSTALK WITH BRUCE DEPUYT—D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, NewsChannel 8 at 4 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. For the full hour!
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation roundtable on JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee of the Whole roundtable on PR17-1154, "Saint Elizabeths East Redevelopment Framework Plan Approval Resolution of 2008," JAWB 500
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—No public events scheduled.