Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: The Deliberative Edition

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:

Good morning, sweet readers! Man, the Loose Lips blog was on fire yesterday. There's updates on everyone's favorite anti-youth violence non-profit, everyone's favorite defense attorney, and everyone's favorite undecided voter. Plus we had these great fake ads, which are more truthful that the real things. Admit it competitors, we won Thursday! Is this what it feels like to work at Politico? News time:

Don't You Dare Call Me Deliberative!: Ah, victory is so fleeting (damn you, 24-hour-news cycle). The Post fires back today with this profile by Tim Craig of D.C. Council Chairman and mayoral hopeful Vincent Gray's leadership style. After reading it, LL got the impression that the Graybot might rush out and get an ill-advised ankle tattoo just to show he's not a boring wonk. "But in an interview, Gray said nothing makes him angrier than when he reads news accounts calling him 'deliberative.' 'There is nothing that got slowed down under me,' he said. 'It was done in a thoughtful way, but when you look at the accomplishments of this council, it isn't as if it was some one-step-at-a-time and let's take nine years to do this. . . . I prefer the term 'thoughtful,'" he said, deliberatively...

So, how should we feel about Gray's tenure as chairman. Let the back and forth begin:

"'He has elevated the operations of the council to a completely new level,' said Tony Bullock, a consultant who served as communications director under former mayor Anthony A. Williams. 'He's brought order and civility and decorum to what had often been a pretty theatrical environment, and he did it essentially through consensus-building exercises with members to show them they needed to respect each other.' ...

'I think one of the reasons he has gotten so much unanimity on the council is he usually gives in to the most aggressive council member on any particular issues,' said Attorney General Peter Nickles, who frequently speaks for the mayor. 'To me, that's not leadership.' ..."

Craig details how Mayor Adrian Fenty and Gray never talked even before the election, and that Nickles filled in as the mayor's rep for meetings with Gray. (That's a typical AG role, right?) "In one meeting in October, Nickles said he confronted Gray for not speaking up after Barry implied at a hearing that the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation should be 'black or brown.' 'I said, 'I expected more of you,'' Nickles recalled. 'He didn't have a response.'" Nickles has a good point. LL has never seen Gray rein Barry in, which is good for reporters because Barry usually takes about 10 minutes to really get worked up and start firing off the money quotes.

(If that profile isn't enough, might LL suggest this one by City Paper's own Michael Grass?)

AFTER THE JUMP: Bloomberg and Fenty, Twins?; Urbanists Have No Fear; Rhee's Long Distance Marriage ...

Bloomberg and Fenty, the Final Edition: Oh no! Another good piece from the Post! This one from Mike DeBonis, who puts the Bloomberg endorsement to bed with this thoughtful look at what the two mayors have in common and what they don't. "What was meant to be a showcase for two politicians who have hammered bureaucracies into lean, 21st-century machines was also a showcase for two politicos who no longer enjoy the overwhelming popularity they once did. ... Where Mayor Mike alienated the electorate thanks mostly to pushing through an exception to city term limits to grant himself a third term, Fenty's political near-death experience comes thanks to more than one issue. And Bloomberg was a man willing to spend whatever it took, and he could do it out of his own pocket—more than $100 million. Perhaps most important, he's also more self-possessed, more willing to use his mayoral swagger to cajole, convince and lead.

The city hall reporters on hand Tuesday quietly grumbled about how a flock of national media had shown up to question Bloomberg on the controversial mosque proposed for near the World Trade Center site. But their responses to those queries demonstrated the gulf between the Bloomberg and Fenty versions of big-city mayoring. Bloomberg delivered an impassioned defense of the project, couched in an appeal to our higher principles, our better selves. Fenty punted: 'I'm going to defer to the mayor on anything specific to New York. But we certainly do support organizations being able to participate in the religious freedom that every other organization has been able to do so here in the city.'"

NYC's Village Voice, which looked at LL's column on the mayor, ads this: "As any New Yorker could tell you, if Fenty sincerely thinks its 'sheer force of will' that's made Bloomberg's agenda a reality, he's pretty short of where he needs to be, both in perspective, and in his wallet. By, like, a few million. Fair warning: Know what you're getting yourself into, D.C."

Don't Worry Urbanists: Greater Greater Washington's David Alpert, who thinks LL is lazy, has a series on whether the five people in D.C. who actively describe themselves as urbanists  (kidding!) should be worried if Gray wins. GGW looks at Gray's ability to get things done, his belief in smart growth, his flip flop on street cars, and who he would hire. And the answer is: "I titled this series, 'Should urbanists be nervous about Vince Gray?' Ultimately, I would say we should not be. There are some unknowns, but there are also many promising signs. The race is very close, and if Gray should win, I am optimistic that he would continue the progress D.C. has made."

Don't Go There: Councilmembers Harry Thomas Jr. and Kwame Brown inject themselves into the private world of Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's soon-to-be marriage in this piece by the Examiner's Freeman Klopott. "But while Rhee has indicated a Fenty victory will mean she’ll stay on until the job is done, she hasn’t been able to convince everyone that she’ll follow through. 'She’s getting married to the mayor of Sacramento,'said Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas during a breakfast with reporters Thursday morning at City Diner. 'Is she going to have a bicoastal marriage?' At-large Councilman Kwame Brown, who is campaigning to be the next D.C. Council chairman, expressed a similar sentiment during a meeting with The Washington Examiner’s editorial board Thursday morning. 'Is Michelle Rhee prepared to stay?' Brown asked. 'If she’s not, then we’ll have to go through a new chancellor and the implementation of a new philosophy.'" What's so wrong about being separated from your spouse by a couple thousand miles? LL's wife has frequently asked him to move to the other side of the country, alone.

That's Quite the Tax Bill, Mr. Jemal: WBJ's Michael Neibauer gets a candid interview with mega developer Douglas Jemal, who is a little bit behind on his tax bills. "D.C. real estate titan Douglas Jemal owes nearly $6 million in back real estate taxes to the District, according to a massive list of properties the D.C. government will auction off next month unless the delinquent bills are paid. Jemal, in a candid interview from his office at 702 H St. NW, acknowledged taking his lumps in the recession. Though he owns billions of dollars worth of real estate in D.C., at least 19 of his planned projects have stalled. The taxes, meanwhile, are piling up and he’s generating little revenue to pay them off. It’s a familiar tale for so many businesses in a bad economy, only on a much larger scale. 'I’m short of dollars, like everybody else,' Jemal said, adding he has already paid $20.6 million to the District for fiscal 2009 real property taxes." (Jemal's tax problems didn't stop him from forking over $2k to Gray's campaign in June. Taxes before campaigns, Jemal!)

Golden Corral and Mixed Tapes: TBD continues to set the bar high with this insightful look into the mind of Leo Alexander and this scoop that Ron Moten has compiled his pro-Fenty songs on a CD.

On Newstalk today with Bruce DePuyt: The At-Large D.C. Council candidates, Phil Mendelson, Clark Ray and Michael D. Brown.

Kojo has a Ward 1 debate at noon, featuring Jim Graham, Jeff Smith and Bryan Weaver.

Developers and their tax breaks [DCFPI]

Labor Union Says Fenty is a Bad Boss [Post]

D.C. Orders Bank of America to repay $13.5 million over fraud scheme [Examiner]

Harry Jaffe is pro spending taxpayer money on graffiti [Examiner]

Dog Fighting in D.C. [WUSA9]

Mayor has events at 3:30 p.m. at UDC Building 52, and at 6 p.m. at 2310 Ainger Dr. SE

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