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Loose Lips Daily: Secret Transition Edition

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    Secret Transition: When a person makes the decision to become a politician, LL wonders if a chemical is released in the brain that requires them to repeat certain phrases again and again. One of LL's favs is "open and transparent." Every politician pledges to be open and transparent, but how many of them actually are? D.C. Watch's Dorothy Brizill charges that Almost Mayor Vince Gray is not living up to his own personal pledge to be open and transparent and is running a secretive transition team that operates with a "bunker mentality." In that bunker lives Lorraine Green and Reuben Charles, Brizill reports. "A veil of secrecy permeates the transition. Despite repeated press requests, the transition will not provide a list of the individuals serving on the various transition subcommittees, and no meetings of the transition committee or subcommittees are open to the public or the press, despite the fact that the transition operates in a government building and uses government employees, supplies, and facilities." Brizill also reports that the Gray transition team, which requires volunteers to sign a waiver barring them from speaking to the press without approval from Gray's folks, spent part of last week admonishing and threatening volunteers. Interesting stuff. LL notes that Gray promised the return of the weekly news conference if elected mayor. Haven't seen that one yet.

    AFTER THE JUMP: The Charles Treatment; Budget Time, Ian Shapira Reads Your Job Applications ...

    You've Been Charlesed: Speaking of Charles, the Post reheats some of LL's old reporting on Gray's would-be-right-hand-man's financial problems in St. Louis and says that some anonymous Charles supporters are seconding-guessing Gray's decision not to offer Charles a job as chief of staff in the new administration. The Post goes pretty easy on Charles, and glosses over some important details. For instance, the Post says: "According to St. Louis court records, Charles was sued 13 times in the years after Civic Ventures's failure over tax claims, business disputes and a foreclosure. He continues to negotiate settlements in some of the cases." Being sued is one thing, but stiffing vendors, ignoring lawsuits, and having several default judgments entered against you for hundreds of thousands of dollars (including some default judgments that are several years old), which is what Charles did, is another. Anywho, Charles tells the Post he plans on remaining on the scene, even if his political career doesn't pan out. "'I get any business quickly,' he said, snapping his fingers three times."

    Budget Time: By the time you read this, Gray will likely have held a "State of the Budget" address where he may be joined by his transition team leaders Alice Rivlin and Anthony Williams. The likely topic: how hard it is to bridge a $185 million budget gap without hurting feelings. Will tax increases be part of Gray's plan? Save Our Safety Net thinks the word "taxes" is not a bad word. The Post's Bill Turque lets us know that Gray doesn't see a crummy financial situation as a excuse not to fund early education programs. "A 'robust expansion' of infant and toddler care—with a focus on children with special needs or those at risk of developmental delays—is critical to controlling education costs later in life, Gray said."

    Warning, This Application Will Be Read by A Post Reporter: LL wonders what the 500 people who applied to the new Columbia Heights IHOP feel about having Post reporter Ian Shapira read through their applications. That's a little weird, but the results are a great story. "The IHOP applications read like a diary of the recession, as young people still searching for their first job compete with those who have been excessed from one position after another. Applicants earnestly, if clumsily, tout their abilities ('I am very savy with cash register. Have a great sence of honor . . .'), word processing skills ('type 25 wpm, Microsoft word . . .'), availability ('A.S.A.P.'), and legal transgressions ('Open for discussion')."

    Give Me More Press: Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry gets some exposure for his proposal to limit welfare assistance with this op-ed in the Post. The op-ed is just like a letter Barry sent to some Post bigwigs, minus any swipes at Jo-Ann Armao's professionalism.

    Assistant Chief Diane Groomes is out on administrative leave over some alleged cheating on a test. Judging from all the e-mails LL got over the weekend, Groomes is pretty well liked.

    The Times has more on its DYRS series. The anti-prison New Beginnings is too small, and newly installed boss Robert Hildum wants to keep his job.

    Note to former Ward 5 GOP candidate Tim Day: coming in third in a two-man race means your political career is done. But are Republicans Pat Mara and Dave Hedgepeth on a collision course for GOP support in the upcoming special election?

    Jonetta slams CFO Natwar Gandhi pretty hard, says he can't get his act together on DCPS budget.

    Is Doug Jemal in trouble? No.

    Gray is not telling new Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson what to do with Hardy Middle School. Sorry little girl who spoke up at all those town hall meetings.

    District's small business office can't even keep track of basic paperwork.

    Go-Go Awards.

    Fenty schedule: Nothing.

    Council: Full schedule, including Gray's speech at 10 a.m., and a noon meeting on overtime problems with Fire Department.

    Kojo talks about welfare reform at noon.

    • S.E.

      "Assistant Chief Diane Groomes is out on administrative leave over some alleged cheating on a test. Judging from all the e-mails LL got over the weekend, Groomes is pretty well liked"

      As was Fenty......and we all know how that panned out.

    • Truth Hurts

      Charles is managing the transition. Charles is managing the private fund raising supposedly financing the transition. Transition team committee members are using government space to conduct their work.

      Gray/Charles have not yet released the names/amounts of transition donors. Gray/Charles have instructed transition team members not to speak with the press. Gray/Charles have not released the names of transition team committee members (except for the chairpersons).

      Open and transparent? Nope.

      Inquiring minds wonder whether private transition donors are serving on transition committees. The answer should be open to the public.

    • SEis4ME

      Alan, can you tell us where you first learned the news that Charles was going to be Gray's CoS? I've done exhaustive online searches and can't find anything.

      I would be fine reading “a source from the Gray camp,” or something similar but I can’t even find that. The only thing I have found is your original statement on the matter. Even though I expect you to respond in the same way (or really not at all) you have when this has been raised before, it seems worth repeating the question.

      BTW, should Gray start holding weekly pressers before the current mayor is out of office? And that's what you're expecting to see? A mayor-elect holding weekly press conferences?

      A mazing. Really it is

    • Alan Suderman

      @ SE

      Here's the first story on Charles as a possible COS, reported by the Post on Sept 15.


      I did some following up on my own for my first story on Charles, and a good Gray source told me that those rumors were accurate.

    • dcblkwoman

      But you Alan can report something negative on a black man (Charles Reuben) but only give us 2 sentences on Asst. Chief Groomes? What a racist paper.

    • SupportACGroomes

      Please support AC Chief Groomes on Facebook!

      She is an asset to DC and we need her in that role.

    • SEis4ME

      Thanks Alan and I had read that article, totally skipping the line about Charles.

    • Mike Madden
    • S.E.


      Your kidding.................Right?

    • Leroy Thorpe

      Finally we elect a Mayor again that will be Afro-centric. White folks will as Marion once said "Have to get over it"

      Like it or not this is democracy. Black Power!