Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Birthday 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:

  • Gray's Revised Town Hall Schedule
  • Catania Gets InTowner, Real Housewives Endorsement
  • Good morning sweet readers! Today is LL's birthday. His awesome wife got him a karaoke machine, which means LL's work output is about to take a nosedive. Sorry editor overlords! News time:

    Feeling Peckish: The Examiner's Freeman Klopott reports that former Chief Technology Officer Suzanne Peck could be Almost Mayor Vincent Gray's pick to be city administrator. "As city administrator, it would be Peck's job to implement the mayor's policies across city agencies. Peck did not return calls for comment. 'She was a change agent in the [Mayor Anthony] Williams administration and took the city's information technology from worst to first,' Gray campaign manager Adam Rubinson told The Washington Examiner. ... But in 2006, D.C. Auditor Deborah Nichols chastised Peck in an audit saying "OCTO operated in flagrant violation of applicable laws, regulations, and rules" because "OCTO management circumvented applicable internal financial management and administrative controls. Nichols was investigating a 2003 incident in which Peck signed off on OCTO paying nearly $30,000 in moving expenses for the agency's new fiscal director and program manager, husband and wife Pedro and Kim Agosto. Kim Agosto was the niece of Peck's chief of operations, and the agency failed to follow the District's regulations for covering moving costs. The couple later paid the city back. It was also under Peck's leadership that a four-year bribery and kickback scheme took root and netted those involved, including the agency's chief of security, hundreds of thousands of dollars before the FBI busted it in the spring of 2009." Klopott also recaps an Urban Institute study that shows D.C.'s nonprofit contracting process needs work.

    Gray Chats With Jo-Ann: Gray sits down with his favorite editorial board to talk about his plans for the city. No news was made.

    It's Suing Time: The price of living in a litigious society? $50 million over a two-year period in D.C. That's the news from the Post's Paul Schwartzman's story about the cost of lawsuits against the city. "Attorneys for plaintiffs say the District spends more than needed on such settlements because it prolongs lawsuits, tying up government lawyers for months and years when an early settlement can resolve a dispute quickly and less expensively.'Their approach is never settle anything early,' said Peter Grenier, a lawyer who has handled cases against the city. 'Everyone, including the D.C. taxpayer, ends up spending a lot more money because you have to get experts and you have to spend money on depositions and subpoenas, even in the most obvious and clearest of cases. I've yet to have a case with D.C. where they have settled early on, and I've never lost a case against D.C.' Peter Nickles, the District's attorney general, whose staff negotiates the settlements, said that his guiding principle is to be 'very tough about spending taxpayers' money" but that settlements are unavoidable in a litigious culture. There are more lawyers per capita in this city than any other city in the world,' Nickles said. 'And what do lawyers like to do?'"

    Wanted: Not Cliff Janey: The Post plays the telephone game in this story, in which Valerie Strauss tells Bill Turque that Gray said he wouldn't re-hire Cliff Janey to replace Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, if he indeed does replace her.  "Gray, just finishing a visit with The Post editorial board, reiterated that he has not ruled out retaining Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, and that if he concludes she's the best choice, he'll 'swallow it'—despite her primary season trashing of his leadership style. But he also said that if he did replace her, his preference would be for new blood, not a heavily traveled schools leader who has been around 'for thirty-five years.' 'It won't be Cliff Janey,' Gray said, putting a stake through rumors that the head of the Newark school system—and the superintendent that Rhee replaced in 2007—might be headed back to the District. For some Rhee and Fenty staffers, Janey embodies both a literal and symbolic step back, the kind they fear will come with a Gray administration. Gray also revealed that he's an admirer of Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso, who has garnered praise for moving reform forward without the kind of political tumult seen on Rhee's watch."

    Love for the GOP: The Post editorial board gives some props to the D.C. GOP for running a slate of "interesting" candidates (read: black and gay) "for the first time in recent memory." "We are not yet prepared to endorse individual candidates. But it's important to call attention to the fact that, as critical as the September party primaries were in this Democratic-dominated city, voters do themselves and the District a disservice by not weighing all the alternatives available to them on Nov. 2. Single-party rule is never healthy, and GOP officials deserve credit for this year's imaginative efforts to build a stronger party." In the Examiner, Jonetta Rose Barras profiles Marc Morgan, who she says is producing a "strong opposition" to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham.

    Developer Don Peebles spent nearly $100k on election he sat out.

    Deputy Mayor of Education Victor Reinoso says that a barometer for Gray's job performance when it comes to education reform will be whether people are upset with him.

    TBD fact checks Marion Barry's tax advice, says his statements are "only kind of true."

    Political consultant Chuck Thies says his knowledge of farming and carpentry allow him to speak freely.

    Bob McCartney thinks Gray is on the right track.

    Former D.C. state superintendent of education Kerri Briggs has reunited with Midland buddy, George W. Bush.

    Police Chief Cathy Lanier says Petworth shootings are gang-related. (Which means MPD has ruled out the possibility that it's just LL trying to take out his editor who lives in the neighborhood.)

    The general election will be handled wayyy better than the primary election.

    Harry Jaffe raises the curtain then lowers the boom on former Police Chief Charles Ramsey and the way the city handled the evidence of the unconstitutional Pershing Park arrests.

    Newstalk guests include: Bob McCartney and former Ward 1 candidate Bryan Weaver.

    Mayor: No public schedule, again.

    Council: Noon meeting on the "Abandonment of the Highway Plan for the unimproved Highway Plan right-of-way along West Virginia Avenue, N.E., abutting Mt. Olivet Road, N.E., Capitol Avenue, N.E., Fenwick Street, N.E., and West Virginia Avenue, N.E., adjacent to Squares 4045 a." Sounds like a winner.

    • DCexpat

      Any IT pro who's ever had to deal with DC OCTO knows they are hardly "first". They may not be worst but good lord they can be horrid. They're mostly a contracting vehicle for admin cronies, and not really interested in any solutions that don't involve large checks to a few people.

    • Isn’t It Obvious

      Please Mr. Gray, do not bring back Suzanne Peck. She is the worst thing that happened to DC gov, prior to Fenty, and the worst thing that happened to Metro. She is not a consensous builder; she is a bully. Everywhere she has worked, the employees and the people that had to deal with her on a regular basis all despise her. She is a covert racist and only "likes" those people of color that she believes she can manipulate. Bringing her back is not the change we voted for or hoped for when we chose you over Fenty. Do not start off by making a huge administration appointment such as Suzanne "Peckerwood" Peck.

    • Kathy

      LL wrote:
      "The general election will be handled wayyy better..."

      LL and his editor obviously have no vocal music training. You hold the vowel, not the consonant. :-)

    • incredulous

      It's a world where too many journos and editors are being taken out regularly on this continent and elsewhere with impunity . Dunno fraggin' yours is something to joke about.

      There's more humor in the line of the great Arthur Lee:
      "You could wake up in the morning,
      And find your poor self dead."

      "Love" 1967

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    • Sad4DC

      I thought Adam Rubinson's comment on Ms. Peck taking DC from "worst to first" related to technology was interesting. It's funny that he could overlook such a thing as pending investigations of misappropriation of funds. Maybe, he did the same vetting process when he introduced Reuben Charles to the Mayor. Frankly, I want to think that Mr. Gray knows of all these improprieties of his appointees and staff, however, he might be assuming that his campaign manager would be backgrounding such people first. Maybe, just maybe, as I read it the common character (or, perhaps, lack of character) in the seeming self-destruction of Mayor Gray is Adam Rubinson.

      Now I'm not saying this is another Watergate even tho, relative to DC, it might be. What I am saying is Mr. Rubinson might be more of a player like John Dean as Chief Counsel to Pres. Nixon. Maybe, this is yet another "Silent Coup" and it will be interesting, if Mr. Rubinson doesn't get indicted, where he pops up in yet another questionable campaign.

      I only say this in the public interest as this needs to come to light before the election as a "do-over" will be very costly to the beleagered taxpayer and costly to the city's beleagered reputation.

    ...