Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Under Pressure 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:

  • Where's My Job?
  • Jason Chaffetz May Not Be Our Overlord
  • Good morning sweet readers! LL was pleased to learn that his tax dollars are being spent on making commercials for Domino's Pizza so that Americans eat more cheese. LL must be a great American, 'cause he eats a lot of cheese. (Editor's note: With the Redskins on a bye, why didn't LL mention the 45-7 spanking his Dallas Cowboys got last night, in this intro where he usually makes fun of the Skins every Monday? Must have been an oversight.) News time:

    Under Pressure: The Post has a pair of stories on the pressures Almost Mayor Vince Gray faces, even before he takes the job. In the first, Nikita Stewart says Gray's No. 1 will be to help create jobs for the city's unemployed. "He campaigned on a promise to help 40,000 jobless residents qualify for and get jobs, but he is inheriting a city with double-digit unemployment, sagging revenue and crushing debt. Experts say those conditions will undercut any job-creation initiative at the Department of Employment Services, which critics say is a directionless, mismanaged agency that operates perennially over-budget programs lacking long-term strategies to decrease the jobless rate. ... According to government reports and interviews, DOES spent more than 60 percent of its employment-creation funds on the controversial summer jobs program for youths. An apprenticeship program produced more than 1,500 new slots last year, but just one out of every four jobs went to city residents. The public-private entity that advises the mayor and city government on its workforce development and guides millions of dollars in federal funds was run by an employee whose permanent residence was two states away. He was replaced last month. ... Gray has repeatedly said that his plan will revive vocational education in schools, rely on the newly opened community college at the University of the District of Columbia to train residents and reform DOES."

    In the other story, Tim Craig highlights all the other pressures Gray faces, like making the unions and taxi drivers happy. "On the day after the general election, Gray met with the leaders of his transition team. Noticeably absent were representatives of organized labor, many of whom had urged Gray to challenge Fenty. Unions spent hundreds of thousands supporting his campaign. 'We are going to be having some discussions about that,' Dwight R. Bowman, national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 20,000 employees. 'I was willing to give a honeymoon between the primary and the actual election Tuesday because he needed to be a politician. But now that the election is over, it's time to be an administrator and work with all segments of the city.' ...  Derje Mamo, a taxi driver who helped run transportation for the mayor-elect's campaign, said cabdrivers already are pushing Gray to reshape the Taxicab Commission and allow for the creation of a medallion system. A medallion or certification system would limit the number of cabs operating in the city. Proponents of such a system argue that too many taxis are flooding D.C. streets. 'He's got one year, that's it,' Mamo said."

    AFTER THE JUMP: More on Team Thomas; GOP—Leave DC Alone; Fenty on HBO ...

    You Can't Handle the Truth: The WaPo editorial page does some more original reporting on Team Thomas, Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s nonprofit that's under investigation by the attorney general. "When D.C. Council member Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) was asked a few weeks ago about Team Thomas, a nonprofit he created in 2000 to help the city's youth, he said it had been dormant since he joined the council in 2007. That statement was belied first by a May 2008 news release from his office touting a golf tournament to benefit the group and then by evidence brought to our attention that at least two city businesses had donated to the organization in 2008. When we told Mr. Thomas that an employee of one of those businesses recalled being solicited for Team Thomas by an aide to Mr. Thomas, he told us we were either mistaken or making it up. Last week we received copies of e-mails in which the aide, Victoria Leonard-Chambers, asks for a contribution. Stranger still, in a Feb. 8, 2008, letter, Mr. Thomas thanks the president of a local firm for a contribution that helped Team Thomas defray the cost of his "2007 Annual Report to Ward 5 Residents." Why was Team Thomas soliciting undisclosed contributions to publish a report extolling his work on the council? Mr. Thomas, who has denied any wrongdoing, did not return our phone calls asking about this. His attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., called back but did not provide an answer. The latest disclosure raises questions about the intersection between Team Thomas fundraising and campaign finance laws and reaffirms the need for Mr. Thomas to fully disclose Team Thomas's activities and finances." LL's still waiting for something about Team Thomas to get excited about, but the bigger story here is that the editorial page has its jaws tightly around this story and doesn't plan on letting go anytime soon. The editorial page also tells incoming GOP House leadership to stay true to their government-leave-me-alone philosophy and leave the District alone.

    Who Pays for HBO?: Still Mayor Adrian Fenty continued his national media victory lap Friday with an appearance on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. LL doesn't even have cable, but the Post wrote up a blog post. "Fenty told Maher and guests that 'maybe people weren't ready for change that fast.' Fenty blamed his loss on his school takeover and the economy, lumping his situation with the national elections that pushed Democrats out of office. 'This is an election where incumbents had to be wary,' Fenty said. ... Fenty's appearance, which had no mentions of local concerns about parking meter rates and contracts to fraternity brothers and a missed meeting with civil rights icons, continues to place the outgoing mayor in a position to take a national platform on school reform. CNN's Fareed Zakaria, one of the guest panelists, chimed in that Fenty has a promising future, starting with getting his rump kissed by Maher. 'You do big things, you serve one term. It's not the worst thing in the world,' Zakaria said."

    Longer school days: pros and cons.

    Attorney General Peter Nickles says he was no "handmaiden" for the mayor.

    Who should pay to house the homeless? Apparently, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells does out of pocket.

    Council looks at anti-bullying bill.

    TV show no one watches stereotypes Anacostia, which is not as bad as downtown Kabul.

    Parking meters work.

    Security guards at District public schools get 15 percent pay raise. Students pledge to get 15 percent more rowdy.

    Council: Almost Chairman Kwame Brown unveils his own transition team. Homless bill hearing. Both at 11 a.m., Wilson Building.

    • Stephon

      Alan,
      Hot of the "press" another Flenty campaign staffer and "flunky" was just hired to be the Administrator of The Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals.
      Steph

    • Stephon

      Alan,
      Investigate Lindsey Parker!! She worked for Adrian Fenty's campaign. Now she is the Administrator for The Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals..
      Steph

    • DC Voter

      Perhaps Almost Mayor Gray could mimic finance chair Jack Evans and create slush funds to "employ" chosen campaign flunkies in creating neighborhood bannering initiatives across the city such as the one being dumped on mid-city tonight.

      That one has already used mid-city arts district but I like an idea expressed earlier about creating a special district called something like "spots from which you can see the Douglas Development Signage district".

      Looking for other ideas.

      Banner up!

    • Southeast Resident

      Why is Neil Albert continuing to grant these exceptions when a hiring freeze was put in place? He needs to be fired! Hiring authority needs to be taken out of whoever hands it is in even if by court action! Furthermore, CFO Gandhi needs to refuse to pay these added people's salaries. Their positions are not critical to anything. We are still in a deficit and the fact that these people will be getting paid even one dollar impacts another more important area in government operations or could lead to residents paying more in taxes in the current fiscal year. If Fenty wants to keep paying these folks through December 31, 2010, let them get paid with his leftover campaign cash! Enough is enough! Instead of granting exceptions to hire another police officer for duty, they are being used to employ political hacks!

      When is Walsh going to get his walking papers over at Employment Services? I hope soon. Then Mayor Gray can go about remaking that mess of an agency. Now all of the problems are coming out for the world to see.

      I am shocked that Bill Maher and Fareed Z didn't talk to locals to get a reality check and to stop all of the spin and tale telling of King Fenty. That way they could have pointed out that he got only one term for an overall poor performance. It wasn't about anti-incumbency; it was in large part due to the need for jobs and Fenty's and Rhee's penchant for ignoring this and wantonly and callously adding to the unemployment roles.

    • Wassup

      Neal Albert was such a huge success at Planning and Econ Development that Fenty made him City Administrator, oh never mind,.....as Neal always says Banner Up!

    • Wassup

      Its called failing laterally. Neal Albert is kind of the low rent Lawrence Smalls of DC government.

    • Truth Hurts

      So Thomas still hasn't given up the records, the ones he'd have made public if only Nickles hadn't requested them.

      That's a totally logical stance.

    • Sally

      Harry Thomas is too busy these days running for Kwame's seat and wondering how he's going to explain away how his nonprofit that was on hiatus was still collecting money and funneling it to his office for self-promotional materials.

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