Loose Lips Daily: Another Subpoena Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Behold: Fenty's Meaningless Budget Nickles: Harry Thomas is in Big Trouble Barry's Take on Turkeygate Photo: Alternate Universe Destiny
Good morning sweet readers! Three-day weeks are the best! LL feels like a congressman. City Paper's dead tree edition drops one day early this week, and manm is this paper a doozy. Starting off, we have Rend Smith asking the Post's Courtland Milloy "Do you like white people?" in a pretty fascinating read. LDP looks into how incentives for local small businesses went to creating the new Columbia Heights IHOP. And then there is LL, who tries to figure out what's really behind Marion Barry's grandstanding on welfare reform. Have a great time watching the Cowboys thump the Ain'ts on Thanksgiving. LL will be back on Monday. News time:
Harry Thomas, in Big Trouble?: Another day, another subpoena in the Team Thomas saga. Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. held a news conference yesterday to try and put questions about his youth sports nonprofit to bed. Instead, he's riled up his critics even more by providing pretty flimsy details on who gave money to the nonprofit while he was a sitting councilmember, and how that money was spent. Attorney General Peter Nickles says HTJ is in "big trouble" and may have broken the law; the AG plans on issuing another subpoena today. And the Post editorial board, which has been the most aggressive reporter in town on this story, blasts Thomas with both barrels: "Unfortunately, Mr. Thomas's promise to be transparent about this money is also, apparently, inoperative, so we still don't know who contributed funds or how they were spent. This refusal to provide information that the public so obviously has a right to know is unacceptable." Undaunted by the criticism, Thomas is appearing on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt today. The most interesting question for LL is whether Thomas didn't correctly report any conflicts of interests between organizations and individuals who gave to Team Thomas, while also doing business with the city.
AFTER THE JUMP: Fenty's Budget, Yawn; Turkeygate; Lottery Complaints ...
Here's My Budget, I'm Out: One of LL's old journalism teachers said that most readers really only want to know two things when it comes to budget stories: Are my taxes going up, and will my trash still be picked up on time? But if you're reading this round-up, then chances are you probably care to know a great deal more, so here goes: Still Mayor Adrian Fenty released his plan to bridge the $188 million budget gap yesterday that has cuts to almost every city agency. Fenty's proposed budget isn't worth getting too excited over, since it'll probably be largely changed by Almost Mayor Vince Gray and the rest of the council. Of note: It contains no tax increases, allowing Fenty to says he never "proposed a single major tax increase during his lone four-year term," as WBJ's Michael Neibauer puts it. (Comeback?) More interesting than reporting on a lame duck mayor's budget proposal is reporting on what might actually be in the final product. The Times wins with this report that Dwight Bowman, national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees, says the final product will include forced unpaid leave, or furloughs, for city employees. WTOP also reports that Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans is going to propose a 10 percent pay cut for all District employees who live outside the city. LL doesn't see that one going anywhere, but ouch, Jack, that's a hefty cut. Meanwhile, Jonetta scolds Gray for his Monday speech as being all talk, while quoting an anonymous source who says Fenty's budget is a "very good plan."
Turkeygate: By far the most important story from yesterday was Giant's initial decision not to front Marion Barry a $9k for his annual turkey giveaway. Barry then called the company "heartless" before the company said that the birds would be delivered after all. "Barry declined to identify contributors to his turkey giveaway, which will be held at Union Temple Church on W Street SE. 'They do it because they want to give, not for publicity,' he said." Riiight.
Lottery Snafus: If Vince Gray thought Times reporter Jeffery Anderson was going to lose interest in the D.C. lottery story after the election, then Gray was wrong. Anderson has an interesting snapshot of the problems encountered by "users on both sides of the bulletproof glass" of a "new lottery system run by Greek gaming giant Intralot and Maryland businessman Emmanuel S. Bailey." Bailey, you'll recall from Anderson's old reporting, was Gray's preferred choice to land the lottery contract. He was also mentioned in Ron Moten's classic pro-Fenty go-go song, "Don't Leave Us Fenty," which if you were paying attention during the campaign, is now probably stuck in your head. "Where's Mr. Vince Gray when you need him? He's busy with Emmanuel Bailey's private meetings."
Assistant Chief Diane Groomes was a stickler for the rules—except for the one about cheating on tests. Too harsh? Rend Smith says she'll be lucky to get off with a demotion.
New rules for pawnshops.
Virginia and Maryland Govs, plus Gray, agree that Metro needs some work.
If LL had a can of Steel Reserve on his desk (like CM Tommy Wells does), it would be an empty can of Steel Reserve.
DCist' Swiss ginger didn't like the Post coverage of Gray's budget speech.
Gray and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson had a closed door meeting with EdSec Arne Duncan this morning. Likely topic: whether deep-frying a turkey is worth it education.
Council schedule: nothing. Fenty schedule: nothing.
Gray schedule: 11:30 a.m., 1111th Annual Safeway Feast of Sharing, convention center. 1 p.m. food prep at 219 Riggs Road, NE