Loose Lips Daily: Where’s the Budget Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! LL understands if you don't have the attention span to read this round up. To compensate for our country's diminished ability to pay attention, LL hears that the bosses at City Paper are considering condensing stories to 12 words or less. For instance, this week's awesome cover story would be: Snyder bad; many reasons why. Most of LL's columns would look like this: D.C. politicians do funny things; not the good kind of funny. News time:
Can You Pay My Bills?: The day of reckoning fast approaches, when the city's elected officials are going to have to give some specifics on what parts of the city's budget they are going to be cutting and which taxes and fees they are going to be increasing to solve a "$533 million problem that D.C. leaders must fix before the end of the year," as WBJ's Michael Neibauer puts it. But that day was not yesterday. Instead, Almost Mayor Vince Gray gave a speech on the state of the city's finances (hint: it's crummy). LL didn't hear anything in the speech he hadn't heard Gray say many times before (except for a freeze on new capital projects), but the Post thinks Gray's comments "were his most direct so far about what sacrifices he may ask from residents after he takes office Jan. 2." As of last night, the council still hadn't gotten a copy of Still Mayor Adrian Fenty's budget because the CFO's office was going back and forth with Fenty's folks over to "make sure all the lines added up," says Freeman Klopott. The Times has the most interesting and thorough read, complete with overwrought councilmembers ("'This is a crisis situation,' said Council member Jim Graham of Ward 1,") annoyed union leaders, and a back and forth between Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh over whether DCPS has been short-shrifted on special ed funding or has engaged in "smoke and mirrors." DCist's Martin Austermuhle predicts that the Nov. 30 hearing on the budget will be "epic." Maybe epic means boring in Switzerland.
AFTER THE JUMP: The Committee Wars Begin; Team Thomas Day of Reckoning; UMC pullback ...
Give Me The Job: Boom! The opening public salvo in what LL dubs the the Committee Wars was fired yesterday by Councilmember David Catania, who gets a write up in the Post on how he wants to head the council's education committee. Or, as the Post put it, Catania wants to "take his 'skill set and apply it to school reform.'" (Which sounds a lot like what LeBron James said about going to Miami Beach.) Brief back story: Almost Chairman Kwame Brown is rumored to want to keep the Economic Development Committee, making it the Committee of the Whole when he's chairman. That would mean some lucky councilmember would get to head a high-profile education committee. The Post story doesn't mention that CM Cheh and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells are among those who are also interested in seeing their skills sets applied to school reform and head the committee. One could assume that Cheh would be all-powerful Mayor-elect Gray's pick, since she endorsed him while Catania did not. (Also, who is Wells kidding? He wants the transportation committee so bad he can taste it.) But it's Kwame's show to run, so who knows? Catania and Brown are buds, and Catania's got a strong record to run on. "As a chairman, Catania is known as aggressive in oversight. At times, he's been accused of trying to micromanage the Health Department, but his supporters note he's been able to implement numerous reforms within the agency."
Speaking of Day of Reckoning: Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. says he will hand over records related to his non-profit "Team Thomas" over to Attorney General Peter Nickles today. Nickles had issued a subpoena for the records more than three weeks ago. Thomas tells the Post the records are legit and he's proud of the work Team Thomas has done. The big question is whether Nickles agrees with the legit part.
In and Out: WBJ's Ben Fischer reports that Gray finally submitted three names for the council to approve as board members of the newly city-owned United Medical Center, only to pull the names abruptly. Gray spokeswoman Doxie McCoy would say why the names were yanked, but a council source tells LL that Catania, the driving force behind the city's takeover of UMC, wasn't happy with Gray's picks.
Stand By Your Groomes: Both City Paper and the Post have more info on Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes and the allegations that she helped top officials cheat on an open book exam. Yes, you read that right, an open book exam. Who needs to cheat on an open book exam?! It's open book! It's more like busy-work than an exam. Anyway, Groomes' numerous fans have set up a Facebook page for her, and Councilmembers Graham and Jack Evans are backing Groomes, while police union boss Kristopher Baumann wonders: "Are we as professional as we should be?"
Harry Jaffe says what local politicos should be happy for. Example: "Peter Nickles: The attorney general can give up his apartment in D.C., along with the charade that he's a District resident, and move back to Great Falls, Va." Would have been funnier if he'd included the words "horse farm."
Billionaire donates $5 million to food bank after talking with homeless man.
Community group does not like university's expansion plans. (That almost felt like an Onion headline as LL was writing it.)
Lottery ticket selling 5-hour delay: harmless or indicative of giant scandal?
Free pancakes at Columbia Height IHOP, today and forever. Fenty was there at 9 a.m.
Give thanks for your schools.
DCPS has in-house instrument repair shop.
Jason Cherkis, you are a naughty man.
Look at how awesomely wide NYC's bike lanes are. Is Gabe Klein jealous?
Cool pic of 1889 D.C. flood.
Council schedule: Legislative meeting at 11ish.