Loose Lips Daily: Biddle Me This Edition
A deliberative, process-oriented roundup of one city's local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to email@example.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! Imagine waking up from a peaceful slumber to find a giant taking off your soiled underwear. That's what LL's bean goes through on a daily basis. You would cry too. News time:
Out of Juice: It's hard not to feel a twinge of pity for former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange, who clearly wants a seat back on the council more than anything else in the world. Orange lost in a squeaker last night to school board member Sekou Biddle in what came down to a competition to see who could get the support of 38 or more members of the D.C. Democratic State Committee. You won't hear LL say this often, but he's slightly disappointed he missed the DCDSC meeting. Judging from Twitter, it was a pretty raucous affair complete with a tie-vote, last-minute arm twistings by councilmembers, closed meetings in a kitchenette, and plenty of cussin'. The Post's Tim Craig has history's first draft, and reports that Council Chairman Kwame Brown (who is now being referred to as The Kwame on Twitter) and CM's Harry Thomas Jr. and Marion Barry worked the room for Biddle before the third and decisive vote. Hmmm, so that means Biddle managed to out-establish the establishment candidate? Question: how beholden will Biddle be to the CMs who got him his gig? VO, who can still run in the special election in April along with Biddle and potentially many others, warns that "you have not seen the last of Vincent Orange." Anyway, congrats to Biddle, who will likely be sworn in by the time you read this e-mail.
World history lesson from your humble correspondent: The name Sekou is a common one in Guinea, where LL lived for a year and a half. The country's first president, Sekou Toure, told Charles de Gaulle that he'd rather go it alone than join France's alliance of dependent ex-colonies. That made him a hero across the diaspora, and helped spread the name well beyond its West African roots. Alas, the folks back home quickly soured on Toure, who emerged as a Marxist dictator with a penchant for throwing political opponents in prison and starving them to death. Let's hope our Sekou is a little bit nicer.
AFTER THE JUMP: Bond Warning; Nickles Will Continue Lawyering; Gray's Fence Is Back;
You've Been Warned: D.C.'s bond rating, Wall Street's report card on how prudent the city's been with its spending money, is in danger of being downgraded. Rating agency S&P made the warning last month. And yesterday, CFO Nat Gandhi sent a letter to Mayor Vince Gray and The Kwame saying he too is worried. Take it away, WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The D.C. budget, the S&P report states, is 'structurally unbalanced,' depending heavily on reserves and federal stimulus dollars to offset revenue shortfalls. If the District, with its diverse and relatively stable employment base, can structurally balance its budget, replenish fund balances and manage risks associated with the United Medical Center and its capital plan, S&P wrote, 'we could raise the rating.' 'Factors that could place downward pressure on the rating include the District's failure to reserve its current trend of declining fund reserve and achieve structural balance on a generally accepted accounting principles basis; increased costs and liabilities associated with the district's recent purchase of UMC; and continued capital pressures.'"
You Have Not Seen the Last of Peter Nickles: Before he left office, former AG Peter Nickles told LL he was going to create "an empire" in his next career move. Yesterday, we found out what the empire consists of: leading a "crisis management practice" at his old law firm that will guide clients "through the maze of government, regulatory processes and the court and to provide public relations." Yawn. That doesn't sound much like an empire. That sounds exactly like what Fred Cooke Jr. and A. Scott Bolden do. In a logical world, it would be Nickles joining the speakers circuit, not former Mayor Adrian Fenty.
The Post's Ann Marimow, who currently owns the Vince Gray-fence beat, updates with the news that the fence around Gray's house will indeed be rebuilt, at taxpayers expense, for safety reasons. Commence gloating in 3, 2, 1: "I think justice was served. It was clear that the quote-unquote rules only applied to me. It's hard to understand why I was treated the way I was treated," says Gray. Really, Vince? Is it that hard to understand why? Maybe it had something to do with you running for mayor.
The Washington Times' Deborah Simmons warns that government job-training programs increase poor, black residents' dependency on the government. "As the new Gray administration moves forward, policymakers would do well to implement policies that force a man to stiffen his spine. How about a State of the District address that gives more than lip service to a little thing called personal responsibility?"
Harry Jaffe says we need more cops to combat rash of robberies.
The Post's next great pundit is starting to have faith in Gray's education efforts.
WaPo's editorial board highlights the nice things a court-appointed monitor said about the progress the District made in special education under former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Contrast this with Post education reporter's Bill Turque's take. The Times sits down with special ed honcho Richard Nyankori, who says "special-education families have no better advocate than Mayor Gray."
The Army Corps of Engineers is set to blow stuff up.
Gray is set to roll out some more appointments today at 10:30 a.m. at the Wilson Building. The Post reports that Wayne Turnage, who once served as former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine's chief of staff, will be the head of the Department of Health Care Finance.
Sekou Biddle is on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt at 10 a.m.
Kojo show: Hizzoner is the guest, and LL will be making his first appearance.