Loose Lips Daily: Marshall Brown Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! On Fridays, LL's boss cruelly likes to ask LL what his plans are for the weekend, despite knowing full well that LL has a 3-month-old giant baby at home. Sleep, bossman, LL's plans will always be the same: to sleep. News time:
The Marshall Brown Show: Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's father, political operative Marshall Brown, is drawing lots of ink these days. The most notable was this quote from a story on D.C.'s changing demographics by the Post's Marc Fisher: "'The longtime white population, the people who got involved in statehood, civil rights and environmental causes, thought of this as a black city,' said Brown, who is black. 'But the new white voters aren’t involved like that. They want doggie parks and bike lanes. The result is a lot of tension. The new people believe more in their dogs than they do in people. They go into their little cafes, go out and throw their snowballs. This is not the District I knew. There’s no relationship with the black community; they don’t connect at church, they don’t go to the same cafes, they don’t volunteer in the neighborhood school, and a lot of longtime black residents feel threatened.'" Brown isn't saying anything we didn't hear plenty of during the last mayoral race. Is it true? Broad generalizations based on stereotypes tend to never be true; Brown (and Fisher) don't offer a whole lot of evidence that a) previous white voters were any different in the way they thought about the city or b) new white voters only care about dogs. But it makes for a good quote. Unless, that is, you're at-large Councilmember Sekou Biddle, who is desperately going to need a lot of votes from the cafe-going, snowball-throwing, doggie-park-lovin' white residents to win. Not one but two recent stories on the at-large race point out that the Biddle campaign hired Brown. The first is the Post's state-of-race update, which puts Biddle and Vincent Orange as the two frontrunners. "Biddle, a former Ward 4 school board member, is also aggressively campaigning in majority-white neighborhoods in Northwest. A former executive director of Jumpstart for Young Children, Biddle is aligned with the city’s school-reform movement and is trying to win over voters who enthusiastically backed former schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee." The second story is an Examiner piece headlined "Biddle Can't Escape Campaign Ties to Brown." The story was talking about Kwame, but you get the idea.
AFTER THE JUMP: Hall Takes the Fall; Government Openup; Kwame's Money...
Gerri Takes the Fall: Post columnist Bob McCarthy isn't buying Mayor Vince Gray's former chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall's testimony. "After Hall’s painfully cautious account–riddled with “I don’t recall” moments in key places–I don’t see how Gray can ever fully dispel the suspicion that his campaign had some kind of private, untoward understanding with minor mayoral candidate Brown in last year’s race." Meanwhile, emails and Hall's testimony show that Gray confidant Lorraine Green was involved to some degree Brown's hiring and rocky time at the Department of Health Care Finance.
The opposite of a Shutdown is a Openup: By now you know that both the District and federal government are open for business. Why? Republicans wanted Planned Parenthood, President Barack Obama gave them the District's use of local dollars to fund abortions for poor people instead. "John, I will give you D.C. abortion. I am not happy about it," Obama apparently said. Well, at least he wasn't happy about it. Local pols are't happy either. There's a protest tonight at 5 p.m. outside the Senate Hart office building and Mayor Gray and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton are scheduled to be there.
Kwame's Money: The Post editorial page bashes "Fully Loaded" Brown over problems with his 2008 campaign finances. "The [Office of Campaign Finance] report shatters whatever credibility Mr. Brown had for the responsible management of money; the many still unanswered questions demand further review of his political finances." The Posties call for the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate.
School Fixer: Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry says school reform is passing the poor parts of D.C. by and has a 7-point plan to fix the District's failing schools in poor neighborhoods. No 1.: "Assign the most experienced and proficient teachers to the lowest-performing schools."
Watergate and Kaplan: Did everyone catch the Washington Post's story on the paper's awkward marriage to Kaplan test-prep and online schools? This line made LL feel like he needed to take a shower: "But [The Post Co. CEO Don] Graham sees no conflict between his public rallying for Kaplan and the mission of the newspaper he inherited. He says he’s defending Kaplan just as his company—and his mother, Katharine Graham—went to bat for the newspaper when it pursued the Watergate scandal or printed the Pentagon Papers, the top-secret history of the Vietnam War." LL didn't know that Woodward and Bernstein spent their spare time trying to fool poor people and veterans into taking on unreasonable amounts of student loan debt at high interest rates. LL once taught an SAT prep course for Kaplan. The teaching instructor told us, and LL is not making this us, that when searching for a word we should say "Kaplan" instead of "Umm" so as to reinforce the Kaplan brand with our students. That place was the worst. In any event, the Washington Teachers Union is planning a protest Friday at the Post because they feel like the editorial page is too pro-Kaplan.
In Other News: Congress wins on abortion, District wins on on-line gambling? Mayor Vince Gray is starting to look like Mayor Marion Barry, says Jonetta. Interim chief of staff Paul Quander: I didn't threaten former DOES boss Rochelle Webb. Worst part about Rhee, according to Diane Ravitch: she takes glee in the suffering of others. Post editorial board makes intellectually lazy argument against combined reporting (which CFO Nat Gandhi and budget hawk Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans both support).
Gray sked: Gray is going to check out P.G. County's Wegman's at 10 a.m. Budget and cabinet meetings the rest of the day. At 5 p.m., the aforementioned protest.
Council sked: Full day of hearings on DCRA, schools, pools, taxis and booze.