Loose Lips Daily: Everybody’s Running Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good afternoon sweet readers! Is it just LL's Bean, or do all babies enjoy dirtying their diapers as soon as a fresh one is put on? News time:
Everybody's running!: Republican Pat Mara announced this morning he's running in the special election; Ward 1 activist Bryan Weaver did too. It appears there's election fever going around. Everyone thinks they can win! When Mara and Weaver pick up their petition forms, they'll bring the number of folks who have picked up petitions to 17 (18 if you count Dotti Love Wade, who has withdrawn.) Former DDOT Director Gabe Klein, did you have something to say today? Apparently, Sekou Biddle isn't scaring anyone away from running. LL will have more on Biddle later, perhaps as his first column of the new year?!
AFTER THE JUMP: Rhee Stories; Gray v. Brown; Congress and Gay Marriage...
DeRheeail?: There's a pair of stories in the Post today that might give pause to some of former School Chancellor Michelle Rhee's supporters. The first is a fancier version of a blog post education writer Bill Turque wrote earlier this week about Mayor Vince Gray's criticism of Rhee's signature achievement: the IMPACT teacher evaluation tool. Gray says IMPACT has flaws and "disadvantages instructors in schools with large numbers of students challenged by the effects of poverty and other social conditions." The counterargument is presented by none other than Sekou Biddle, a former teacher: "If we allow people to say that a community is more challenging because the kids are poor, so they should be allowed to perform less well, then we are really missing the key thing here." Rhee's replacement, interim Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, says she and Gray are on the same page and will work things out, but the Washington Teachers Union's new boss Nathan Saunders isn't shy about stirring the pot: "The question is, is the District attempting to maintain IMPACT as a legacy to Michelle Rhee, or does it have a commitment to a fair evaluation tool?" Does seem like Gray is setting things up to revise IMPACT so fewer teachers get fired next time around, doesn't it?
The second story is Turque's report that Council Chairman Kwame Brown has sent a letter to Henderson asking her to "move forward immediately" in restoring Hardy Middle School to its former glory. Rhee removed the magnet school's popular principal, and there's been pagaille ever since. LL can't read code, but Brown's message seems like he's leaning on Henderson to bring back the old principal, something Henderson said she's not going to do.
Gray v. Brown: Speaking of Mayor Gray and Chairman Brown, Tim Craig has an intriguing exchange with Brown in an article about Brown's efforts to beef up the city's requirement that contractors with the District hire local workers. "Brown's proposal comes as he and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) seek to fulfill campaign promises to toughen First Source and reform a city bureaucracy they say has not done enough to prepare District residents for jobs. Last week, Gray received a report from his transition team on suggestions for improving workforce development. By introducing his bill Tuesday, Brown appears to be positioning the council out front of the issue. When a reporter asked Brown if Gray had been briefed on the bill, the chairman replied: 'Why would we run it by him? We are the legislative branch of government.'" Testy. Gray, you may remember, promised to sign an executive order on his first day in office directing the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development to "actively oversee First Source compliance." You snooze, you lose, Vince. Now Brown can take credit for curbing the city's unemployment rate through increased government oversight. DCFPI thinks the First Source laws are keen.
Gay Marriage Fight Headed to Congress: The Supreme Court said yesterday it has no interest in hearing a challenge to the District's gay marriage law, meaning gay-marriage opponents are going to try and pressure Congress into forcing the city to have a referendum on the issue. Interesting tidbit from the Post: "Two members of Congress with key roles in District oversight—Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), chairwoman of an appropriations subcommittee, and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), named Tuesday as chairman of an oversight subcommittee—declined requests to comment. ... Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District's nonvoting delegate, said she and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) plan to meet next week with Emerson and Gowdy to deliver a 'hands-off' message." That sounds like a smart plan, EHN!
Council Roundup: Yesterday's council session was pretty tame. A pair of councilmembers might ignite a debate on whether illegal immigrants should be able to get driver's licenses; CM Jim Graham thinks President Obama deserves to have a park named after him; CM Mary Cheh wants you to know how dirty your favorite restaurant is.
Why did former DCRA boss Linda Argo have to go? It's political, says her replacement Nicholas Majett.
The Examiner's Kytja Weir says Metro's picked its next general manager, and the odds are it's interim manager Richard Sarles.
New book about Rhee to hit book stores next month. Turns out Rhee likes to eat.
Food deserts be gone!
Gray's Schedule: Nothing major, just hanging out at the White House for a reception for the President of China, going over to Maryland to watch Gov. Carcetti's inauguration, then hobnobbing with the country's mayors at a convention.
Council schedule: 2 p.m. hearing on the BOEE's readiness for the special election.