Loose Lips Daily: Peter Nickles Don’t Need No Court Monitor
Morning all. Barack Obama, like LL, is proud of his "flinty Chicago toughness." Thus, he complained during a photo op yesterday that, "My children's school was canceled today, because of what, some ice?...As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled. In fact, my 7-year-old pointed out that you go out for recess. You wouldn't even stay indoors." His kicker: "When it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things." THE LOVE AFFAIR IS ALREADY OVER! (But it's true—look at the whining over DCPS' decision not to close but to delay school for a couple of hours.)
Peter Nickles says screw it, files CFSA plan without court monitor's approval, inviting a contempt hearing, Petula Dvorak reports in WaPo. "CFSA has been involved in a court case for two decades that sent it into federal receivership years ago and places numerous requirements on the way it operates. When city officials filed the six-month plan, they sidestepped one of those court requirements, breaking court protocol and signaling the start of a legal battle....'It's a quite stunning move and a clear violation of the court order,' said Marcia Robinson Lowry, a lawyer and executive director of Children's Rights, a national advocacy group that filed the federal lawsuit against the agency in 1989....[Nickles] said it is inappropriate 'to have the court running city agencies.'...'It's important for everyone to realize we are not a bunch of washed-up government servants that need to be monitored.'"
Mary Cheh and Jim Graham ask IG to probe lead aftermath, WaPo's Carol D. Leonnig and Bill Turque reports. "Several parents said yesterday that the public health agencies and water utility underestimated possible harm to avoid blame. Dangerous concentrations of lead began showing up in the District's drinking water in 2001 because of a water treatment change, and the issue persisted for three years until a February 2004 Post article revealed the severity of the problem."
WaPo wraps up yesterday's Hill hearing on voting rights, as does Examiner and WaTimes; Steny Hoyer says he'll bring the bill to the House floor soon. Writes Mary Beth Sheridan, "yesterday's hearing gave a preview of the concerns that will be aired as the legislation moves to the full Judiciary Committee....Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) asked witnesses whether a decision by lawmakers to add a House seat for the District could lead to a similar move in the Senate. Republicans worry that a gain of two D.C. seats in the 100-seat Senate would give Democrats a significant advantage." Meanwhile, the WaPo editorial board pats ol' Steny on the back. And the Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel argues that "A Vote Means Dignity."
STUNT—"The hearing's biggest surprise came when one of the most vociferous opponents of the D.C. vote bill said he would introduce a bill this week to exempt D.C. residents from paying federal taxes until they got a vote in Congress....'Taxation without representation — that slogan has made an impression on me,' said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), referring to the message on the city's license plates. He said he will present separate legislation to return most of the District to Maryland so it can have full representation in Congress." In related news, Jason Chaffetz, former PR guy, is still playing armchair constitutional expert.
CHECK IT OUT—Tom Sherwood dredges up some classing voting-rights protest footage.
Harry Jaffe looks at Tonya Vidal Kinlow's quiet departure as public schools ombudsman (to take a job with CareFirst). His question: "But does anyone really care?" The office got fewer complaints than anticipated; "[Tommy Wells] hopes Fenty will appoint someone with power and access. Sources tell me the post will remain vacant until next school year."
REMEMBER HIM?—Michael Lorusso, he of the Doug Jemal OPM scandal, is sentenced to probation and home detention by federal judge, WaPo's Del Quentin Wilber reports. "[Ricardo Urbina] cited Lorusso's cooperation with the government as a reason he spared the former official prison time....Lorusso apologized in court for his 'gluttonous' conduct. In recent years, he said, 'I have taken strides to improve my personal and professional behavior.'" Jim Graham not happy about this.
GOOD LUCK!—Neil Albert tries to charm Hilton Hotels execs, Biz Journal reports. Hilton had announced they were interested in suburban locations, but "Albert...contacted Hilton executives and set up a meeting at the Wilson Building to discuss incentives D.C. could offer. 'They said that they wanted to come to the region and we said we’d certainly hope that they’d consider the District just like Maryland and Virginia,' said Albert spokesman Sean Madigan."
Federal judges can keep their home-state drivers' licenses according to recent DMV ruling, says Bill Myers in Examiner. What gives? "[DMV Director Lucinda Babers] told The Examiner that the emergency order sprang from 'a situation' recently....'We needed to take care of something on an emergency basis,' she said. 'I can’t really say anything else at the moment.'...She denied, however, that the emergency order came to assuage an angry judge....'I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to an angry judge.'"
Cops shoot another guy, this time at 16th and Kalorama NW. According to WaPo report, the "officer was getting out of his car when a man, apparently unarmed but behaving irrationally, attacked him and wrestled him to the ground...[T]he officer fired once, hitting the man in the abdomen." More from NC8.
GGW sits down with DDOT director-designee Gabe Klein: "By all accounts, Klein understands the need for a transportation policy broader than just moving cars....'We need next-generation thinking about transit and development as people issues, [not] car issues,' he said. 'We also need to give safe streets to pedestrians and cyclists if we want to move people from cars to other modes that are healthier for everyone.'...But, Klein cautioned, we shouldn't expect him to turn DC's transportation on its head overnight. DDOT probably won't be taking whole lanes of traffic away from major streets within a year, as NYC did on Broadway. First, Klein explained, he and DDOT must build credibility with the public, the DC Council, and the mayor. He must prove that DDOT can carry out its tasks transparently and effectively. Then, it can begin to plan better transportation that benefits us all."
You can track D.C. snowplows!
Smoke in Red Line tunnel this morning.
In WaPo letter, head of teacher-accrediting organization asks DCPS to keep supporting teachers who want to be accredited. (Michelle Rhee said she wasn't gonna do that any more.)
Chevy Chase man "does the math" and figures out that even under optimal conditions, only 38,400 of 52,000 purple inaug ticket holders could have passed through checkpoints. "For Inauguration Day in 2013, planning should be left to a class of third-graders who have mastered the art of multiplication."
WaPo writes about how Michael Brown had a debt-retirement fundraiser last night at BET CEO's pad (as Harry Jaffe first reported). "Brown...said all vendors have been paid, but he would like to pay his staff and himself....'I want to clean up what little change is out.'"
Remember those kids running around town with that "Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference"? Turns out that "hundreds of angry parents" are now saying "that the program was a scam that left some students stuck on buses during Barack Obama's swearing-in, unsupervised on the Mall or waiting for hours in hotels without participating at all," according to David Nakamura in WaPo.
Today is Count the Homeless Day.
WaPo's Nikita Stewart details new council anti-bloviation rules.
Unemployment in District up 0.8 percent since November, to 8.8 percent.
Michelle Rhee is hosting Q&A session for teachers tonight.
SUPERIOR COURT NOMS—To replace retiring judge Linda Turner, commission picks, according to NC8, "Marisa Demeo, a D.C. Superior Court magistrate judge; Elizabeth Sarah Gere, a partner at Troutman Sanders; and Florence Pan, an assistant U.S. attorney for D.C."
D.C. Bar moving to 1101 K.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee on Health hearing on bills B18-34, B18-36, B18-37, B18-38, and B18-60, JAWB 500; 10 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue meeting, JAWB 120; 2 p.m.: Committee on Health roundtable on recent operational developments at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, JAWB 500; 2 p.m.: Committee on Public Works and Transportation hearing on Bill 18-81, JAWB 120; 2:30 p.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation meeting, JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—No public events scheduled.