Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Ritz Carlton Edition

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  • Judging Vince Gray
  • Good morning sweet readers! The other day LL used the phrase: "It's on like Donkey Kong," in his daily roundup, only to find out that Nintendo is trying to trademark the line. There goes LL's working title for his autobiography. News time:

    La Quinta Is For Suckers: District employees sure have nice taste in hotels—when taxpayers foot the bill, reports WAMU's Patrick Madden. "In fact, since Mayor Adrian Fenty issued the travel freeze on October 4th, government credit card receipts show nearly 20 different agencies have hit the road … costing taxpayers nearly $70,000. ... What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—unless you’re using government credit cards. Last month, the city’s Fire and EMS department ran up eight charges at Harrah’s Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. But they weren’t the only ones in Sin City. Later that week, D.C.’s Department of Transportation spent more than $1,200 at the Mandalay Bay resort. ...  The Department of Homeland Security may stand out for it’s discriminating tastes. When employees traveled to Boston, a city with more than 200 hotels, they chose the Ritz Carlton. And on a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas they spent a $1,000 at the Peabody Little Rock. The hotel promotes itself as offering 'unsurpassed luxury' and 'well-appointed guest rooms.' The Ritz Carlton? Seriously? Was the whole hiring/travel freeze just a joke?

    AFTER THE JUMP: Fenty's Future; GOP competition; Let' s Hire Ex-Cons ...

    I Can Be Your Hero, Baby: Yesterday was about celebrating heros who made sacrifices for good of this country. Playing a variation of that theme, Still Mayor Adrian Fenty would like to be thought of as a hero who sacrificed his political career for the good of education reform, reports Mike DeBonis in the Post. "Much as former president George W. Bush is now plying the talk-show circuit to plug his memoirs and try to recalibrate public impressions of his presidency, the outgoing District mayor is engaged in a campaign to color how his mayoralty will be remembered. Thus far, his message—that Fenty (D) made the tough decisions to reform a poorly performing urban school district and was subsequently decapitated by teachers unions out for revenge—has found a sympathetic audience. In an interview last month with a station based in New York, Fenty said he paid the price for being on 'the leading edge of a movement' for urban education reform. 'If it's a war,' he said, 'someone's got to be at the front of the line, and they've got to get killed first. That's how you win a war, is by going forward.' ... But the road to martyrdom that Fenty has embarked upon paves over matters that might better explain his loss: His alienation of natural supporters— including some of those who lauded his educational focus. His inability to sell many parents on the reforms he undertook. His refusal to adapt his reelection campaign to political reality. But the death-by-teachers-unions narrative persists." DeBonis goes to try and get to the bottom of this supposed $1 million to teachers union spent on defeating Fenty, a number that's only been provided to Politico via an anonymous source. Bottom line: "If the federation indeed spent $1 million to oust Fenty, what it bought wasn't a new mayor so much as an unflattering story line about buying a new mayor."'

    With more on Fenty's future is Ron Moten, who tells the Afro's Dorothy Rowley that Fenty while the mayor has received plenty of work offers, he will remain focused on enhancing education reforms established by former schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. Says Moten on Fenty: “To me, for all that he has done for residents and the way he was demonized during the campaign, he still showed a lot of class."

    GOP Competition: Deborah Simmons at the Times reports on the D.C. Republican party's plan on running someone during the special election to replace Almost Chairman Kwame Brown's at-large seat. It looks like Patrick Mara, fresh off his school board win, might face some competition if he decides to run. "'I'm giving running serious thought because a lot of people have expressed interest in me running,' said Dave Hedgepeth, a Republican who endorsed Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and lost his Ward 3 council race against Democratic incumbent Mary M. Cheh, who backed [Almost Mayor Vince Gray.]"

    You're Hired: The Examiner's Freeman Klopott reports that the D.C. Council is considering a bill that would prohibit city agencies from inquiring about a job applicants criminal history until after they've landed a job interview. ACLU is for it. Police Union is against it.

    Another day, another investigation into why an ambulance wasn't where it was supposed to be. Mendo, are you seeing this?

    Nurses at Washington Hospital Center vote for a 1-day strike the day before Thanksgiving. Don't get sick on that day.

    Peter Rosenstein writes Gray's inauguration speech.

    President Obama's deficit reduction commission want you to have to pay to touch the moon rock.

    Gary Condit plans on writing book about not killing Chandra Levy.

    No public schedule for Fenty, Council.

    • DC Voter

      Will Peter Rosenstein please just shut up and go away!

    • SimplyStatedDC

      Hmm - wondering if any real research was done on the transactions or if you could tell me how much each of the agencies used their purchase cards over the past 12 months on travel. That would really tell a tale. Were these trips booked/approved in advance of the freeze? Were these trips made for training or official business otherwise? Did they use the GSA rate? Is luxury in Little Rock the same as luxury in NYC? Were folks staying at conference hotels? All legitimate questions. Just thoughts that I had when reviewing the original article and the recap. Seems a little shallow.

    • amaxophobia

      It's crazy that they still let people write these articles. Entertaining, if anything, is all it is. Fantasy journalism crafted by someone that (which was derived from someone else) is irresponsible journalism at best. I'm wondering if any research was done on this. I'm thinking not. I am aware of the planning processes and expectations of governance in local and federal agencies, so reading an article that was not researched was kind of odd, (somehow or another this has found it's way to my phone and I'm dying to unspam it once I send this email.

      I feel that people feed into this nonsense writing style of finger-pointing and opinion based criticism when they don't have any facts to lean on. Seemingly like two old women in a nursing home with a humorous and convincing theory on why the crotchet needle suddenly went missing. Not only is this mystery the talk of the nursing home, but the concern of how long it was used, whom used it, if there was an old man from 17B involved or even who manufactured it for use by grandma. It's pretty sad and ridiculous. When publications or "loose lips" are released to the public
      (whom Loose Lips obviously believes are either uneducated, under-impressed or just plain old bored enough to read your article), it further damages the image of the people that are up at 2am to attend to a fire while citizens sleep, or the transportation director whom receives 150 requests and calls a day or even the EMS people that are out in the rain and/snow engaging the community. We love to pick on the wrong in everyone because people love drama and Loose Lips loves to print drama. You and Loose lips are a joke. It's primary aim is to tear down individuals. This article is a prime example of letting the wrong people report. In regards to the spending issues....

      - Those conferences were booked WELL in advance. Some of them annually.

      - The hotels in question are the conference hotels. Booking transportation or a rental car would of added to the overall cost.

      GSA rates are different in other areas and even the dirtiest hotel will list themselves as a luxury hotel. My uncle Cutty used to glamorize his roach motel as "individual luxury for singles looking to appreciate the finer things in life....). Little did they know, maddog 2020, johnson bubble bath and durex brand condoms were nestled next to the Gideon Bible on the nightstand.

      Would you rather the directors and representatives of our agencies NOT meet who they need to meet in order to meet the scathing demands of the citizens of the greatest city on earth? Just a thought.

      So to end, congratulations for taking up more of the taxpayers dollar as I have responded way more on government time than I should have (Or this could of been done on my lunch break, which could transform into another looselips conspiracy). I suggest you commit to either making informed decisions on what you publicize and fact-check before making people/public servants (that are tax-payers themselves, with families, with a job to do) alone. You don't see them coming into your cubicle and gabbing to you about what uninteresting piece of meat YOU had for dinner last night that some activist in South Dakota may have an issue with. Just saying, ANYTHING is a story and we definitely don't want to make those South Dakotans angry.

    • A life long DC Resident

      I completely agree with amaxophobia's comment about "Fantasy journalism" this is in the crudest most uniformed form.
      I applaud all the cooments previously stated, what is more lazt reporting to me is that there is no description of the subject of attendance. There may have been professional certifications that needed to be maintained. If a professional conference is being held I doubt if the employee had a choice to where. "They chose" is insulting.

      Next time the reporter has a bomb threat I hope the government security person who responds to the incident received their training in Bowie, MD instead of Boston where all the experts were.

    • downtown rez

      If there is no problem here it should be easy enough to produce records demonstrating this.

    • whyevenbother

      @ downtown rez, It's FOIA, so all they have to do is request it. That probably wouldn't make a good story.. (you know, getting second-rate incomplete information, researching it and then reporting what the truth really is) Such bad reporting and they should be shamed. Do they sell this newspaper? How is this not slander? I would only pray someone accuses me of something this way in a public forum, me living in the same town and I can get to them. It would be on.