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Loose Lips Daily

As much local politics as humanly possible. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—No, you didn't miss it.

Morning all. Big news of this Dead Week Tuesday is that a tree fell. Indeed, early on Tuesday morning, three cars at Ontario Road and Euclid Streets NW were pummeled by a tree that had apparently fallen victim to last night's strong winds. LLD will stay on this story.

After the jump: What's up with vehicle inspections—do they improve highway safety? Good times for Zipcar. D.C. Wire still idle. Arenas in trouble. D.C. housing bubble? Plus other non-news stories.

NOT QUITE AS BAD AS PLAX: The Washington Post recycles a story broken by CBSSports.com that Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas has been bringing some firearms to work with him, storing them in his locker somehow. The practice has drawn an investigation not only by the NBA but also by the D.C. police department. What distances Arenas from the moronic former New York Giants star Plaxico Burress are the following considerations:

1) Arenas didn't carry around loaded guns, apparently; according to the team his were "stored...in a locked container in his locker, unloaded and without ammunition";

2) Arenas didn't load one up and then drive into New York City, one of the toughest gun-law jurisdictions in the country;

3) He didn't then stuff a loaded weapon under his sweatpants, however that might work;

4) He didn't then let the gun accidentally go off.

So there's the complete analysis of the Arenas v. Plax story line.

SO, DO MOTOR VEHICLE INSPECTIONS IMPROVE HIGHWAY SAFETY OR NOT?—That's the question at the bottom of this quite-good WaPo story by Christian Davenport. A little primer action before we get into the good stuff: The administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty ended full-on vehicle inspections to save a few bucks—$400,000, to be exact—in a tight municipal budget. And it's in the justification where the back-and-forth gets kinda comical. As outlined in the Davenport story:

*"Jack Pfeiffer, a spokesman for Fenty (D), said in an e-mail that safety inspections 'have no correlation to road safety.'"

But hold on!

*"A study by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation this year found that 'vehicle safety inspection programs appear to be a significant factor in lowering fatal crashes.'"

Not so fast!

*A study released by the North Carolina General Assembly last year that said "no evidence exists showing the safety inspection program is effective."

How to resolve all this conflicting information? Via common sense, of course. Like it or not, the D.C. inspection program was rigorous, spotting just about everything that could go wrong with your car, from front brakes to rear brakes to lighting to wipers and so on. There's no way the regime didn't make for safer highways. Just no way. Safety considerations aside, the Davenport piece does a nice job of explaining the real scam of the new system, and that is that even though they're not doing the 81-point inspection, they're still doing emissions checks, which means you still have to show up at Half Street SW. You still pay $35, for less services. And you still have to wait forever.

AP via Examiner on vehicle inspections. WTOP.

Keith Alexander and Megan Greenwell report that the suspect in that terrible Christmas morning killing will remain jailed. Mario Antonio Garcias will be held without bond. "At a news conference Monday evening, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier praised detectives' work in arresting Garcias on Sunday morning, less than 48 hours after the shooting. Standing a block from the house where [Miguel Angel]Romero was pronounced dead, Fenty said the area is known for its annual block party, not for killings. 'A triple shooting in this area is extremely rare,' Fenty said." The killing took place in the 5400 block of 4th Street NW.

Check out this link to see where D.C. ranks among cities in terms of boosting math-test scores for its public school students.

D.C. Wire remains idle. C'mon, Post local political crew, you gotta refresh that thing! Just to let people know you're not snoozing on the dead week. Here are some suggestions:

*Call Jim Graham and ask him how he likes his chances for re-election in 2010.
*Figure out Fenty's triathlon sked for 2010.
*Check with Ward 8 Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr., to see if he's getting an early start on his taxes this year.
*Interview activist Dorothy Brizill and ask what D.C. Wire can do to reclaim the Post's magic touch with respect to D.C. news.
*Call Attorney General Peter Nickles and ask if he's ever approved a FOIA request.

Good times for Zipcar, according to Housing Complex. WTOP. NC8.

Man who was hit by Metro train early Sunday morning is blind. He apparently lost his footing on the platform. Time for more robust rumble strips on Metro platforms? WUSA.

Fourth arrest made in robbery-connected killing that involves D.C. police officer Reginald Jones. NC8.

EYESORE WATCH! NC8 reports on the removal of unsightly billboards in residential areas. "Advertising things like cell phones and movies, these billboards aren't located along a highway. Amateur video of several billboards cluttered together in NW D.C. show that many are next door or leaning against homes. 'Just having the billboards in a residential community was a no no,' said ANC Commissioner Anita Bonds."

CAN THE FENTY ADMINISTRATION COUNT ON A NEW HOUSING BUBBLE? According to the WashBizJo, D.C. house prices have gone up for the seventh straight month. "Washington is among the few markets in the country to maintain steady improvement. San Francisco is the only other major city to post gains for seven months in a row. Minneapolis and San Diego have seen median home prices rise for six consecutive months, while Chicago broke its string of gains in October. 'The turnaround in home prices seen in the Spring and Summer has faded with only seven of the 20 cities seeing month-to-month gains, although all 20 continue to show improvements on a year-over-year basis,' said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s."

WTOP breaks down New Year's Eve.

WAMU does its own take on the closing of Lambda Rising. Also, WAMU reports on the concerns of D.C. congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton vis-a-vis airline security. "Norton sits on the House Homeland Security Committee. While she praises the Northwest Airlines crew and passengers for preventing Umar Abdul- Mutallab from setting off an explosive, she says she wants to know how he got on in the first place. 'I have watched these watch lists for years. And I can't fathom why the report given to the embassy did not raise red flags. Because it came from a very credible source, a courageous and difficult source- this man's own father,' says Norton."

Fox5's Sherri Ly is TOTALLY ALL OVER the pothole scourge brought on by the pre-Christmas snoMG. Here's a little service journalism from Fox: "You can request pothole filling services by calling the Mayor's Citywide Call Center at 311 or completing a service request online using the District government's Service Request Center. Indicate the pothole location (i.e. address, intersection) and describe the severity of the pothole problem (i.e. depth, width, number of potholes in one location). A service request will be put into the tracking system, and the resident will receive a service request number."

Fenty Sked: 10:30 am: Remarks, Fenty Administration to Reopen Champlain Street

Location: Intersection of Kalorama Road and Champlain Street NW

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