City Desk

The Needle: Rhee-building Edition

Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic and Web Design: We're beginning to get the sense that maybe, just maybe, Michelle Rhee's resignation announcement this morning wasn't a last-minute decision on her part. A few hours after appearing with Almost Mayor Vince Gray and Still Mayor Adrian Fenty, Rhee unveiled a new website, Facebook page and Twitter account dedicated to, well, Rhee. By mid-afternoon, she had 319 people "liking" her on Facebook. Just think, if all those people had voted for Fenty... he still would have lost. -2

Ah, Listserves: When a Department of Public Works employee was shot and killed this morning at the Fleet Management Center in Northeast, the city, reasonably enough, canceled garbage and recycling collection for the day. There was an investigation to run, after all, and besides, DPW workers would probably be mourning Larry Hutchins, 51, their late colleague. Apparently that bit of human decency was too much for one Adams Morgan resident, though, who took to the neighborhood's e-mail list to complain that the decision would mean "rats will have a great time tearing open the bags," and that the DPW move was "NOT ok." It's impulses like that that make us wish Al Gore had never invented the Internet. -4

Don't Drive Over There!: Most of the bridges named by Travel + Leisure as the scariest in the world share a few common characteristics: They run through the Alps or the Rockies; they're made of rope or wood; they're in parts of the world where the budgets for preventive maintenance maybe aren't what you might prefer. Then, there's #9 on the list—our own Bay Bridge, on Route 50 leading to the Delaware and Maryland beaches. Apparently frequent violent storms helped put it on the list; we think it's actually the presence of so many drivers from Virginia. Then again, Travel + Leisure just doesn't seem to like the region much: D.C. also came in 13th in its list of "America's Dirtiest Cities." -3

Rush Hour in Disguise: Okay, yes, closing the 12th Street tunnel all afternoon to allow Transformers 3 to shoot its undoubtedly Oscar-winning scenes probably inconvenienced a few thousand people who ordinarily use that route to cut from Northwest to Southwest. We prefer to look on the bright side: Unlike Monday, Michael Bay's little project didn't wreck any city-owned vehicles today! (And miraculously, the Hollywood-owned car involved in the wreck this week is back in business.) +2

Hail to the Radar: Being a professional football player (on a team that, somehow, has compiled a winning record) has its perks. You've got the millions of dollars in salary and bonuses, the endorsements, the dudes wearing your name on their shirts around town. And also, apparently, some good luck in traffic court. Redskins left tackle Trent Williams had a reckless driving charge, stemming from being clocked doing 90 m.p.h. on the Dulles toll road in June, thrown out because the mechanic who calibrated the speedometer in the police car that chased Williams down didn't have a certification notarized he's a professional football player. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 38 Today's score: -6 Today's Needle rating: 32

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