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DeMorning DeBonis: June 9, 2010

TODAY IS JUNE 9, 2010 -- 97 DAYS UNTIL PRIMARY DAY

A setback for Mayor Adrian Fenty: His HIV/AIDS czar, Dr. Shannon Hader, leaves under mysterious circumstances, and his top public health priority is left without its well-regarded and widely lauded anchor. The Post's Darryl Fears puts the move in context: "Hader's three-year stint made her the longest-serving director in almost a decade, as other leaders came and went amid criticism for poor management and incompetence. Although Hader is departing to praise, the announcement of her resignation struck some as strange. The mayor's news release ... did not mention her. In his remarks, Pierre Vigilance, director of the city's Department of Health, barely acknowledged the woman who had addressed the District's top health priority, fueling speculation that there had been tension between them. Hader's most ardent supporter in city government, D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), did not attend the news conference. Catania said he had a prior engagement and he would not address speculation that he was deeply upset at Fenty and Vigilance for allowing Hader to resign. ... 'Her loss is catastrophic,' Catania said."

AFTER THE JUMP -- Fenty administration wants FOIA rules eased -- Rhee's campaign clout -- why it's hard to create jobs -- Metro memorial comes as surprise to families -- Bender foiled by zoning board

*** MAIN COURSE ***

LOWERING THE BAR -- More on the Fenty administration's pleas for transparency forbearance, from Tim Craig reporting at D.C. Wire: "The D.C. government is unable to handle the crush of Public Information Act requests it is receiving from unions, disgruntled employees, taxpayers, citizens, journalists and others trying to obtain information," pleads Attorney General Peter Nickles. He wants the council to pass an emergency extension to the statutory 25-day deadline. Specifically, Nickles wants to adopt federal public-records rules, which allow "unspecified additional time for a response in unusual circumstances," lest the city take on "insurmountable challenges" -- to wit, court contempt findings and associated costs.

THE STRADDLE -- How Michelle Rhee figures into this summer's mayoral race is the subject of Alan Suderman's Examiner piece today. And central to his analysis is the epic straddle Vincent Gray is attempting on the issue: "Gray supporters are trying to de-emphasize Rhee's role in the future success of the city's schools, saying the school reform laws Gray shepherded through the D.C. Council that gave the mayor control of schools are more permanent and transformative than Rhee's tenure as chancellor. 'He believes strongly that school reform cannot be wrapped around one person,' said Gray strategist Mo Elleithee. Gray benefits from the perception he opposes Rhee in some parts of the city where school reform measures are unpopular." But Rhee is much more popular in other parts of the city.

THE MENAGERIE -- Jonetta Rose Barras attended last week's TENAC mayoral candidates forum, and was subjected to democracy in its rawest form. So raw, in fact, as to include a White House party-crasher Carlos Allen. She writes: "Eleven individuals have registered as mayoral candidates. Some are perennials, like the octogenarian who goes by one name -- Faith -- and who strategically blows her silver bugle during the forums. ... Dennis Sobin brought flowers, a symbol of his promise to establish "a kinder, gentler administration." [Allen] ... talked about unemployment in Ward 8; a woman dressed in a red and white costume with a tail was the audience member with whom that topic resonated. Even Leo Alexander and Ernest Johnson, who could be called serious candidates, didn't immediately offer their vision of rent control [TENAC's pet issue] in their administration. The audience sat through the series of unfocused commentaries. Perhaps they found solace in one fact: When qualifying petitions are submitted next month to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, several candidates will fall short."

THE EMPLOY PLOY -- Jobs! Oft-promised, hard to deliver. That's what Jonathan Mummolo, the Post's crack Prince George's County politics reporter, writes today -- that experts say "candidates will find they have little power to actually make a dent in the unemployment crisis if elected to city and county posts." He focuses on the suburban races, but adds this for color: "D.C. Council member Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large), running for council chairman, and Prince George's Council member Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills), running for county executive, both highlight job creation on their campaign Web sites. [Fenty] and [Gray] sparred over the issue at a debate last week, both emphasizing training as the key to employing residents. And former television reporter [Alexander[, also running for mayor, has argued that cracking down on illegal immigration will free jobs for legal residents."

IN MEMORIAM -- June 22, the anniversary of the Red Line crash that killed nine, is approaching, and families of the victims have "voiced surprise and exasperation Tuesday that Metro has not informed them about a memorial event it planned," Ann Scott Tyson reports today. The loved ones "only learned of a Metro remembrance service planned for June 22 at the Fort Totten Station when told about it by a reporter. Metro officials said that the families would be invited but that planning is still underway. 'We definitely will be extending an invitation,' said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. 'We are still firming that up.' ... 'When the plans are in place, the very first people we will invite will be family.'" The point: "Family members questioned why Metro did not ask well in advance for their input for the ceremony."

ZONED OUT -- Yet another setback for developer Morton Bender and his plans for the 1700 block of N Street NW. City Paper's Lydia DePillis reports that the Board of Zoning Adjustment refused to approve the special exception that Bender needed to proceed with his "N Street Follies" hotel project -- even though the city planning office recommended approval. Top question for Bender: Think he regrets that name yet?

HARD UP -- The D.C. General family homeless shelter is once again at capacity, we learn thanks to the City Paper reporter Jason Cherkis. He quotes a Department of Human Services official: "The DCG Family shelter has been at or near its capacity of 135 families since the winter season. DHS has no plans to exceed the shelter's maximum capacity. Rather we are working to meet the housing needs of families both currently in the shelter system and those who are applying for shelter with the housing programs available to us, with a goal of moving families to stable housing as quickly as possible." And: "As of the end of March, there were 292 families on a District waiting list for services."

DUDE -- Not political at all, but jeez, my colleague Ashley Halsey III had a heck of a day. Best to just watch the video. Then you can read his thoughts. And then read about the investigation.

*** SMALL PLATES ***

Trinidad stabbing is the neighborhood's first murder in 20 months (Frozen Tropics)

Dupont Circle's 17th Street strip to be named after gay political icon Frank Kameny; Fenty is set to make it official on Thursday. (Blade)

"Streetcars are nice to have, but are they more important than the basic mental health needs of the homeless? Or is it that streetcars will serve people who matter, and the folks at 801 East don't?" (All Opinions Are Local)

On the new-and-supposedly-improved Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, now confined to the median: "Some changes probably were necessary. However, it would have been better to open the lanes and then have a more public conversation about any issues and how to solve them. Instead, whether for political or other reasons, DDOT skipped that step." (GGW)

The Robert Wone trial gets the full Pat Collins treatment; supporting players include "The Identicator" and Marisa Tomei. Truly a "trial unlike any other." (WRC-TV)

Op-ed columnist Michael Gerson praises Teach for America, via a visit to Trinidad's Wheatley Elementary. "The epicenter of the education reform movement is now in the District of Columbia, where the need is greatest but where success also will come the hardest," he writes. (Post)

Hallelujah: You should be able to refill your SmarTrip from your computer by the end of the year (GGW).

Gay nightclub's liquor license suspended because it "permitted its nude dancers to engage in 'sexual conduct' prohibited under the city's liquor law." Happy Pride Week! (Blade)

Eleanor Holmes Norton is pleased that Philly prosecutors are looking into year-old Trinidad shooting. But "[s]ome rank and file officers have complained privately that Norton is egging on an angry neighborhood and in danger of rail-roading the officers." (Examiner)

Bike-sharing network in and around nation's capital to be called ... Capital Bikeshare. Why, that's entirely logical! (DDOT press release)

Convention-center hotel litigation is back on. Says Nickles, "I'm told that the discussions between JBG and Marriott are progressing well, but they haven't culminated, so I've instructed our attorneys to start moving forward." (WBJ)

Burglary spree in Eastland Gardens (NC8)

Nixon Peabody to undertake juvenile justice study. (Examiner)

AU law school to Tenleytown? (Examiner)

D.C. not actually the murder capital of the country (We Love DC)

Remember that bus driver who allegedly punched McGruff the Crime Dog? Yeah, he's back at work. (Examiner)

It's official: Ted Leonsis owns the Wizards (Wizards Insider)

Tiger Woods partners with charter school, possibly DCPS. (WBJ)

*** DESSERT ***

Jesus. (Post)

*** ON THE MENU ***

One day from the campaign finance deadline!

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 9, 2010; 1:59 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike , The District  
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Next: Fenty fills out Gray critique in TV interview

Comments

Fenty is a setback for himself.

Posted by: FiatBooks | June 9, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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