Loose Lips Daily: A Team of Cabinets Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! One good thing about TSA full-body scanners: they make you want to get in shape so the TSA screener doesn't snicker at your naked body. Maybe the scanners are part of the cover ops portion of the USDA's war on obesity. (BTW, this LL Daily is brought to you by delicious cheese.) News time:
Cabinet Maker: Today's roundup centers on who will be in Almost Mayor Vince Gray's cabinet. Will it be a team of rivals or a team of hacks? As LL noted briefly yesterday, the Committee of 100 sent a letter to VG asking him to fire DDOT Director Gabe Klein and Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, saying the pair are too much like their boss, Still Mayor Adrian Fenty, and don't listen to the community. The Ward 3 Democrats sent Gray a similar letter. The superwonks over at Greater Greater Washington responded with a letter of their own, saying Klein and Tregoning are the Lords of Kobol, and Gray won't be fooled by the C100's misinformation and lies. DCist's Swiss ginger, Martin Austermuhle, points out that "both the Committee of 100 and Greater Greater Washington want a more livable city—they just can't agree on what that means ... To a certain extent, the smart growth promoted by Greater Greater Washington is ascendant, while the Committee of 100's historic nostalgia is being left behind." Klein, meanwhile, does a little social network ass-kissing. Adding to the mix is this Post story by Nikita Stewart, who obtained a list of names of folks who the Gray transition team is currently vetting. The two most prominent names are "John W. Hill Jr., chief executive of the Federal City Council, and Allen Y. Lew, executive director of the city Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization." Team Gray is also vetting some Fenty cabinet members. Gray says the list is preliminary and no decisions have been made. The story is most notable for what's not in it: 1) Klein and Tregoning aren't on the list, and they aren't mentioned anywhere in the story; 2) How can you run a story with the words "Gray" and "vetting" and not include the words "Reuben" and "Charles" to give proper context? LL readers will know that Charles is Gray's top fundraiser/campaign manager/transition director who wasn't really vetted, and owes nearly $600,000 in default judgments and tax liens. He was rumored to be Gray's chief of staff, but Gray has put the kibosh on those rumors.
AFTER THE JUMP: Parking Fees; Walmart fatigue; DCPS and federal funding...
Parking Fees? NOOO!: Councilmembers are seeming more and more annoyed with Fenty for not submitting a budget already. One prediction LL heard at the Wilson Building was that Fenty was going to drop it late Wednesday night as a final F.U. to Council. LL guesses it's probably more of a case of senioritis. Do you remember how hard it was to muster up the effort to crank out that last term paper when you were about to graduate? We learn from the Post's Tim Craig that 1) the budget gap has now grown from $175 million to $185 million (no explanation given) and 2) that one proposal Fenty is looking at would double the parking sticker fees District residents pay to park in their zone from $15 to $30 a year. Craig adds that Fenty is looking to bridge the fiscal gap mostly through cuts, and a final budget it taking so long because "the mayor and City Administrator Neil Albert are still trying to finding a few extra million dollars in savings." Have you cut Peacoholics funding yet?
Math, Can Be Like, So Weird: Pop quiz, Jack Evans: This year’s District budget is $600 million less than three years ago, adjusting for inflation. True or false? This year’s human services budget is 10 percent less than three years ago, and of the largest areas of our budget, it has been cut the most. True or false? TRUE OR FALSE!!?!? Both are true, and both questions come courtesy of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, which is trying to make the case that the D.C. Council needs to make some "sensible revenue additions" as well as some cuts, to bridge the current fiscal gap.
Walmart Fatigue: LL is already tired of talking about Walmart, err, Wal-Mart. Others, however, are not. See here for the results of a poll that shows black residents happy about having Walmart stores in D.C., while white residents are still too upset about Fenty losing and Michelle Rhee leaving to take part in a poll. WBJ is all over the Wal-Mart story, here and here. Post columnist Petula Dvorak notes how "freaky" it is that D.C. is talking about capping welfare payments and welcoming Wal-Mart in the same week. Dvorak expresses "great surprise" that folks in Ward 8 are not fans of unlimited welfare spending. "They think the help should be more effective and more than cash. Most of the people who have been on welfare for years have problems far bigger than a check can solve. You're looking at a lot of cases of substance abuse, or mental and emotional issues. Many welfare recipients have dropped out of high school. Others have literally never had a paying job. Those are problems that $370 a month are not going to solve. That's pretty much what the folks at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute say, too. One District job training program is nothing more than tossing a phone book at a welfare recipient and telling her to make some calls, the researchers at the policy institute found." Kojo, btw, is going to be talking about Wal-Mart at noon.
DCPS and Uncle Sam's Money: Apparently one of the criteria for judging which states (and D.C.) won federal Race to the Top funding was not how well you track federal spending. "The Government Accountability Office reported again Thursday pretty much what they've reported for years: that D.C. Public Schools and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) don't do a particularly good job of monitoring how federal money is spent," says the Post's Bill Turque. "District officials say in the official response pretty much what they've said for years: that they're doing better. But D.C. remains what's called in federalese 'a high-risk grantee.'" Also, new Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson did not cancel her public "office hours" at Walker-Jones Education Campus, as previously reported, she just couldn't make it to the public meeting herself but had senior level staffers there.
Were $140,000 of your tax dollars lost at Bally's Casino in Atlantic City? That's what the feds and the D.C. Office of the Inspector General are alleging. Keely E. Thompson, Jr., who ran an anti-gang boxing center in the District has been charged with wire fraud, says he's asked A. Scott Bolden to help him find a lawyer he can afford.
Gray said that to keep costs down on his transition team he would use his Council spokeswoman Doxie McCoy in a dual role as his transition spokeswoman. Almost Chairman Kwame Brown, by contrast, previously hired an outside p.r. firm and just hired Gray's campaign spokeswoman, the lovely Traci Hughes, to handle communications work for his transition.
Gray now has to figure out what to do with 1,200 people who signed up to volunteer for his transition team. Wait, 1,200, that's exactly how many people Wal-Mart will be hiring to work its stores. Coincidence?!?
Tim Craig's lede says it: "The leaders of the Washington Interfaith Network have abruptly canceled a ceremony celebrating the D.C. Weatherization Initiative after it was discovered that a benefactor of the program had defrauded the federal government." Gray and other city officials were scheduled to attend.
Like riding escalators? TBD is hiring.
Marion Barry and Yvette Alexander are on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt.
Committee on Economic Development have a hearing at 11 a.m.