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DeMorning DeBonis: Sept. 23, 2010

TODAY IS SEPT. 23, 2010 -- 40 DAYS UNTIL GENERAL ELECTION

Today at noon comes the post-election encounter we've all been waiting on: Vincent Gray and Michelle Rhee meet to hash out what Bill Turque and Nick Anderson call the "most keenly anticipated personnel decision of his administration-in-waiting." For the conventional wisdom, look to WTOP's Mark Plotkin, who tells The Afro: "I don't see how he can [keep Rhee]. I don't think he wants to, and I don't think she wants to stay. ... I think they'll be going through some sort of minuet where they both wish each other well, but I think neither one of them wants a relationship." Here's something they might talk about: Gray told Mark Segraves on his blockbuster WDCW-TV program that he'd be "open" to rehiring teachers that Rhee laid off last fall. "I don't know why anybody would say they shouldn't be considered when in fact they were let go supposedly for budgetary reasons," Gray said. "If there's not a performance problem, and there's an opportunity to give people a chance to come back and work in our classrooms, they should be given that opportunity." BUT FIRST: Attorney General Eric Holder is taking a four-block trip down Pennsylvania Avenue this morning to pay Gray a courtesy call.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Gray gets confidence votes from Duncan, Golden -- Fenty write-in campaign is here -- Pershing Park settlement is approved -- how does Marion Barry fit in the reordered political firmament? -- FEMS still overspending wildly -- behold Gray's mustache, circa 1964

*** MAIN COURSE ***

STEPPING UP FOR GRAY -- Arne Duncan, in comments at a Christian Science Monitor-hosted breakfast, says Gray will be "passionately committed to improving the quality of education" in D.C., Nick Anderson reports in the Post. More from the SecEd: "He knows what's at stake here. D.C. has made tremendous progress. D.C. desperately needs to continue to make significant progress. D.C. for a long time was frankly a national disgrace, educationally. It was an embarrassment. ... If you're asking me, 'Is reform going to continue in D.C.?' Absolutely." Nick also writes: "Duncan also told reporters that he is "a big fan" of Rhee and that urban education often suffers because of rapid turnover in school leadership. 'I'd love to see Michelle have a 10-year run in D.C.,' he said. 'That may or may not happen.'" Also Newsweek, which reports that Duncan "is actively reaching out to [Rhee] and [Gray] in an attempt to work out a deal to keep Rhee in her job." Gray also gets a vote of confidence from Terry Golden, former chairman of the Federal City Council and a longtime Rhee/Fenty backer: "Chairman Gray has been a great supporter of education reform," Golden said. Meanwhile, The Examiner's Freeman Klopott explores the possibility of educational policy daylight between the presumptive mayor and the presumptive council chairman, Kwame Brown, though it's not quite clear what that daylight might be, except that the Washington Teachers' Union was a more enthusiastic supporter of Gray than Brown.

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT -- Behold the Adrian Fenty write-in campaign, in the form of the "Run, Fenty, Run" Facebook page. Writes Tim Craig at D.C. Wire: "The page, which appears to have been created the three days after Fenty lost the Democratic nomination to [Gray] last week, already has 2,106 followers. 'We are citizens of Washington, DC who like the job Adrian Fenty has done as mayor, and who want to vote for him in November,' the page states. 'We are considering a write-in campaign -- if there is enough support. If you think Fenty is a good mayor, and if you would consider writing in his name in November, please click "like" on this page, and get others to do the same.' In recent days, Fenty has all but ruled out mounting a write-in a campaign. Last week, he declined the GOP nomination for mayor after more than 800 Republicans wrote his name on their primary ballot. Fenty also enthusiastically endorsed Gray at a D.C. Democratic State Committee unity breakfast on Thursday. But unofficial Fenty write-in campaigns are expected to persist through the general election. ... Ronald Moten, a Fenty friend and strategist, said he's also heard talk of Fenty supporters mounting unofficial write-in campaigns. 'I've heard a lot of people say they are not voting for Gray,' Moten said. 'That is what I am hearing on the streets, so anything is possible.'"

SETTLEMENT APPROVED -- The first Pershing Park case is officially settled, Spencer Hsu reports at the Crime Scene blog: "Together with a $13.7 million approved in April for another 700 people arrested by D.C. police using similar tactics in April 2000, the $22 million paid by the D.C. government is the largest protest settlement ever paid out by a municipal government in the United States, according to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which brought the cases. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District said the 'historic settlement' would help protect 'future generations of protesters' and their 'First Amendment rights in the way, I am sure, the Founders intended.' ... A court-ordered investigation into the District's loss of records -- including a key log of police actions and radio dispatch recordings -- is ongoing under threat of possible referral for criminal investigation. Under terms reached last December pending final court approval, about 85 percent of 355 class action members have agreed to participate and will split $4.8 million (receiving about $16,000 each); 17 named plaintiffs receive $850,000, or $50,000 each; and lawyers will get $2.5 million, all from taxpayers." Another, smaller class action is still pending.

WHITHER BARRY? -- In this week's Loose Lips column, Alan Suderman ponders Marion Barry's place in the new political order. "[T]he next mayor and council chairman are from his side of the river, and Barry isn't shy about telling people what he thinks that means. 'To the victor go the spoils,' Barry tells LL. 'We demand more than our fair share because we've been neglected for so long, it's as simple as that.' Sigh. That's the sound Almost Mayor Vincent Gray just made when he read that line -- because if Gray is going to be successful as leader of his 'One City,' he'll have to convince white residents (especially in neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park that voted for Adrian Fenty last week) that he's not a rampaging Visigoth who wants to take their new breadmakers and Subarus and give them away to families living east of the Anacostia River. Barry, it seems, isn't interested in helping Gray out. ... [Kwame Brown] didn't seem to appreciate it when LL approached him to ask him about Barry. Brown grabbed LL's iPhone/voice recorder and pretended LL was Brown, and Brown was LL. ... 'My name is Kwame Brown, and I'm going to ask you some questions. I'm with the City Paper, and what I really want to know is why do you sit next to Marion Barry. You always sit next to Marion Barry -- is that because you want to grow up to be like Marion Barry?' ... Brown scoffed at the idea that Barry would run wild during his term as chairman, saying that's a red herring that comes up no matter who chairs the council. And he's got a point."

FEMS STILL OVERSPENDING -- Fire and Emergency Medical Services is still busting its budget in a big way, Klopott reports in The Examiner -- the agency is set to overspend by $4 million for the fiscal year. "On Thursday, fire officials are scheduled to go in front of at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson's public safety committee to answer questions on their plans for meeting the new overtime-limiting regulations. 'We're going to ask for a road map from them to which we can hold them accountable in the coming months,' Mendelson told The Examiner. ... Starting next week, no one in the department will be able to receive $20,000 or more in overtime within a fiscal year, and anyone with the rank of battalion chief or above will no longer receive overtime pay. That will be a big change from a system that allowed some members to take home nearly $100,000 a year in overtime payments."

JUVENILE JUSTICE AND MENTAL HEALTH -- The first hearing on the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services since Marc Schindler's ouster is today. Among the topics of discussion, Henri Cauvin reports: "Many of the young people who are arrested in the District have mental health issues that to go unaddressed by the juvenile justice system, according to a report to be presented Thursday by a group representing local mental health providers. The study by the D.C. Behavioral Health Association found that despite increased attention to the mental health of children and adolescents in the city, access to social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists appears to lag far behind the need. But the report said that the fragmented structure of the juvenile justice system, which spans several entities and the executive and judicial branches of the D.C. government, made it difficult to paint a clear and complete picture of the needs."

NICE 'STACHE -- DCist's Martin Austermuhle digs up Gray's senior-year college yearbook. "Vincent Condol Gray, said the listing, was a psychology major, vice-president of his fraternity pledge class, a member of the Newman Club (a Roman Catholic organization), and a participant in intramural sports. ... On the campaign trail, Gray said that being at G.W. during a period of national social turmoil helped shape him, regularly citing his entry into the fraternity as one of the foundations of his consensus-seeking personality. That turmoil, though, wasn't very well reflected in the yearbook -- the majority of the students, almost all white, seemed rather unperturbed by the events taking place only blocks from the university. One picture of the May Day Minstrel, an annual talent show, featured two men in blackface."


*** SMALL PLATES ***

The Union Station tax break may be dead, but five others passed the council Tuesday (WBJ)

Saturday on "Meet the Press" -- Rhee, Duncan, Randi Weingarten and Robert Bobb (Detroit Free Press)

David Brooks: "I don't mean to single out [Eleanor Holmes Norton], who is probably no worse than the other members of Congress. It's just that she was dumb enough to record her venality on an answering machine." (New York Times)

Aw, shucks: "Having an alumnus as mayor will probably not alter GW's relationship with the District, according to experts on urban politics." (GW Hatchet)

Fenty for schools chancellor. Really. (All Opinions Are Local)

Hardy Middle School students try to protest principal firing; new principal reportedly nixed "Hope for Pope" stickers (G'town Dish)

"I don't think I'd ever heard of a candidate forgoing polls for reasons of stubbornness rather than insufficient funds. Granted, plenty of politicians who aren't all that good at politics get re-elected, but it's a lot harder to fend off a strong primary challenge when you're not particularly interested in understanding and responding to the mood of the electorate." (Perpetual Post)

Public Charter School Board member/centrist wonk Will Marshall calls Fenty loss "discouraging" for school reform; "There's no doubt that Rhee's departure will slow the momentum of school reform in Washington." (Huffington Post)

The case against the National Popular Vote -- a "blatant strike at the Constitution" (National Review)

Rally to restore sanity ... to parking (GGW)

"If the federal government can't be bothered to tell people what land it owns, what business does it have still owning it?" (Housing Complex)

Also: There's a reason there are no Capital Bikeshare stations on National Park Service land (Housing Complex)

But, hey, at least NPS is fixing up those parks (Examiner)

Capital Bikeshare: Where are the helmets? (NBCWashington.com)

Woodley Park McMansion battle rolls on (NBCWashington.com, Housing Complex)

"The Other City" gets a good review (Housing Complex)

Michael Brown helps fete Sanjay Gupta (Examiner)

Talk about Chicken Madness: Wisey's wants to expand! (Patch)


*** ON THE MENU ***

Rhee and Gray meet, high noon

By Mike DeBonis  | September 23, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike, The District  
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Comments

I think it's very amusing that "Run, Fenty, Run" has 2,700 followers on facebook. But Adrian Fenty's actual campaign page, which has been online for probably a year or more, only has 2,000 followers - less than half of Vincent Gray's 4,600.

Fenty didn't figure out how to run a campaign until he'd lost the election. Sounds like his supporters didn't figure out how to support their chosen candidate until it was too late either.

Oh well, better late than never?

Posted by: jamietre | September 23, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

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