Loose Lips Daily: Redistricting Blues Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Medicaid Malpractice Michelle Rhee's Fundraiser Married to Vince Gray's Campaign Aide Sulaimon Brown Stands Down
Good morning sweet readers! It's Thursday, and you all know that means Washington City Paper will be giving away a new car to one lucky print edition reader. Just look for the golden ticket wedged between the semi-pornographic clothing ads. Wait, hold on. LL's just been informed that the car giveaway has been canceled. Apologies. But you should still pick up a print edition anyway, so you can read LL's column on Jeffrey Thompson, a well-connected accountant who the city sued for allegedly defrauding the District out of millions of medicaid money. The city said Thompson's scheme was to have his various medical companies overcharge his Medicaid managed care provider and pass those costs onto the District. Thompson's lawyer, Fred Cooke Jr., says it ain't so. But what's more interesting is despite the lawsuit, which resulted in a confidential $12 million settlement, the city didn't think twice about re-awarding one of its largest contracts with Thompson. News time.
Redistricting Blues: It looks like, according to the Twitter, last night's public airing of unhappiness at the D.C. Council's preliminary redistricting plan went well past midnight. The clear winner: any politician not involved in this fight, as redrawing the city's imaginary ward boundaries has a way of making people act fou. LDP provides the best argument LL's seen to date as to why the redistricting process should not be so painful. "To hear them talk, ward boundaries are ten-foot-high brick walls over which residents can’t socialize, shop, or coordinate community activities ... This decennial anguish, of course, belies the fact that ward boundaries don’t actually mean much, unless you’re redrawing them. Historically, they’ve dictated residential parking zones, but the council is working to change that. According to Washington D.C. Association of Realtors president Suzanne Des Marais, there’s no discernible affect on property values from being in one ward or another. And meanwhile, the borders that really do matter—historic districts, police districts, and school districts—aren’t affected one bit." So there.
Greater Greater Washington's David Alpert has another smart take: If city agencies like DDOT didn't treat councilmembers like "emperors" of their respective wards, then there wouldn't be so much hand wringing over redistricting. NB: "Most of the arguing over redistricting has involved territory where few or no people live—Reservation 13, Eastern and Eliot-Hine, the National Building Museum, or the Convention Center." Meanwhile, Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry notes that expanding his ward across the river could help a group he has close ties with raise more money, and bloggers, know this: Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has feelings too.
AFTER THE JUMP:Breathalyzer Fail; Gray Press Shop Fail; Barry bashes DYRS pick...
Breathalyzer Fail: Is anyone else mildly concerned that the District can't seem to get its act together and get a freakin' breathalyzer program up and running? Why is this so hard? The Examiner's Freeman Klopott drops the hammer: "The District likely won't have an alcohol breath-test program until next spring, city officials said. Just last month, D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan and police Chief Cathy Lanier said the program that was officially shut down in February after a year of problems would be running again sometime this summer. But it seems they didn't discuss that timeline with the medical examiner's office, which has taken the lead on developing the protocols officials say will prevent the program from breaking down again."
Leave Us Alone: Gotta love the response from the Gray's press team on this WJLA story about the mayor's ill-considered proposal to increase executive pay scales. "The mayor's spokesperson declined an on-camera interview, saying this issue has been beaten to death and Gray is ready to move on." Way to make the boss look good. Meanwhile, even Barry says the mayor's proposal is dumb.
In Other News: Mayor Vince Gray's juvenile justice nominee, Neil Stanley, won't be getting Barry's vote. Pepco's unreliability affects city office buildings. Gray wants to crack down on sex offenders. Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. says he supports medallion bill because there are too many cabs.
Gray sked: 11 a.m. meeting with AIDS 2012 host committee; 6:30 p.m. "Conversation" with Washington Blade; and 8 p.m. appearance for 15-year-old who was killed over weekend.
Council sked: 11 a.m. Human Services on variety of bills; Noon hearing on South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act of 2011