City Desk

The Needle: Reuben Charles Edition

Reuben Charles in Charge: City Paper's Loose Lips columnist's job will be less fun over the next four years; apparently Almost Mayor Vince Gray has decided not to give the chief of staff job to Reuben Charles, who's got a long history of tax liens and default judgements related to failed business ventures. We can only hope whoever does get the gig goes through as cursory a vetting process as the Gray staff appeared to give Charles before the press began poking into his background. +2

Escalating Problems: The Westinghouse Modular 100 is, evidently, the definition of a lemon in the escalator world. Discontinued 30 years ago, the Modular 100 breaks down frequently and needs more maintenance than usual. Happily, Metro appears to own the world's largest collection of them, which seems to explain some of the recent problems the transit agency has had with, well, escalators. Don't worry, though—the bum escalators only make up 83 percent of Metro's stock. -3

Chandra Levy Jury Stats: Two of the jurors for the trial of Ingmar Guandique on charges he murdered Chandra Levy work in journalism, a demographic snapshot released by the court shows. Which probably means the jury is likely to need more time to deliberate than expected; most journalists, after all, aren't very bright. (Trust we. Er, we mean, trust us.) The other jurors have respectable jobs, and they range in age from 26 to 72. The presence of not one, but two, journalists on the jury will mean neither of them get the advance they're hoping for on their tell-all book about the trial later. +1

Burgundy and Gold Bullion: Hours before Monday Night Football kicks off, the Redskins leak word that they've signed a deal to pay quarterback Donovan McNabb up to $88 million over the next five years, with $40 million guaranteed. Anyone heading to FedEx Field for tonight's game against the Eagles, don't be surprised if there's a new "Paying for Veterans" fee being collected at the stadium gates. Anyone watching on TV, don't be alarmed if ESPN shows more close-ups of Dan Snyder than you'd really like. -1

Friday's Needle rating: 46 Today's score: -1 Today's Needle rating: 45

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