DeMorning DeBonis: Oct. 1, 2010
TODAY IS OCT. 1, 2010 -- 32 DAYS UNTIL GENERAL ELECTION
Happy new fiscal year! It's now 2011 in budgetary terms, and with a $175 million shortfall already needing to be closed, Washington Business Journal's Michael Neibauer digs into budget legislation passed earlier this year to find which parochial pots the money went into. Meanwhile, presumptive mayor-elect Vincent Gray tells Examiner reporter Freeman Klopott that "we're going to have to make cuts, but we need to do it responsibly." And chairman-elect-apparent Kwame Brown says, "There will be revenue enhancements." But where to cut, what taxes to raise? Jack Evans says to cut human services and education. Tommy Wells says to stay away from human services, which "have already been stripped down and are stretched thin by an influx of needy residents." And Michael Brown can't help himself from taking a shot at the outgoing administration: "The lack of discipline from the [Adrian Fenty] administration and [Michelle Rhee] is unacceptable."
AFTER THE JUMP -- Washington Ideas Forum wonder about post-Fenty D.C. -- Fenty and Bloomie break bread -- get HIV tested at DMV -- numbers suggest more same-sex weddings than straight weddings in D.C. -- need a wedding? call a notary
*** MAIN COURSE ***
THE BIG IDEA -- The Washington Ideas Forum, sponsored by Atlantic Media and the Aspen Institute, was yesterday at the Newseum, and Dave Weigel, on his Slate blog, reports that a "big theme" of the confab "has been a pretty predictable angst about the defeat of Adrian Fenty; and by extension, the probable departure of Michelle Rhee as schools chancellor. ... [I]t was palpable, the degree to which Fenty's loss shell-shocked the Washington and intellectual elite." Washingtonian's Alyssa Rosenberg was there: "[M]ultiple speakers ... question[ed] what the results of the recent Democratic mayoral primary in the city meant for education reform. 'Adrian Fenty will be fine,' [New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg] said. ... 'He'll get a good job and he'll make a lot of money. Same with Michelle. That's not true for the kids of Washington, D.C. Adrian didn't lose. The children lost.' And NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell pushed White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes on why 'the White House was silent' during the mayoral race. ... Barnes demurred, saying she does not work in the White House's political shop. ... And Education Secretary Arne Duncan speculated that despite Fenty's loss 'you may see the rate of change actually accelerate because they built such a strong base' for improving the District's public schools." Also: Fenty lunched with Bloomberg at The Source, per The Reliable Source. "[T]hey shared the suckling pig appetizer. Thai chicken salad for NYC's mayor-for-life; salmon salad for D.C.'s soon-to-be ex."
HIV AT THE DMV -- "Starting Tuesday, getting tested for HIV in the District will be as easy as renewing a driver's license," Nikita Stewart writes in today's Post. Thanks to a partnership with a testing nonprofit, visitors to the Penn Branch DMV office will be able to get tested and get up to $15 toward their DMV fees in return. Says Angela Fulwood Wood, chief operations officer of the Family and Medical Counseling Service, "We wanted to have a broad audience and a captive audience. You're captive at the DMV." About 3,000 people are expected to take tests at the DMV, where they can get preliminary reults in 20 minutes. Adds Wood: "We're normalizing people's thoughts of testing. ... You can do organ donation at the DMV. You can do voter registration at the DMV. If people don't want to do it, we can at least talk to them.
RALLY FOR A RALLY -- More than half the D.C. Council, plus NAACP chief Benjamin Todd Jealous, showed at a marathon press conference yesterday to urge participation in Saturday's "One Nation Working Together" rally -- a press conference that seemed to turn into a union rally. Writes Tim Craig at D.C. Wire: "Each council member stressed differing views on why it was important for city residents to join the protest, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across the country. Catania, for example, said the city's gay and lesbian residents should use it to send a signal that they want more rights. Others spoke about the push for D.C. voting rights in Congress. ... The event, which will be held one month before the November election, appears to be an effort to counteract several recent marches on Washington by conservative commentator Glenn Beck and members of the tea party movement. Those conservative-themed marches drew hundreds of thousands of people to Washington. But the heavily Democratic council never put out the welcome mat for those protesters or held news conferences to try to increase turnout. When pressed by reporters about whether it was appropriate for the council to use city resources to promote Saturday's event, Gray said he doesn't 'see it as a partisan event.'" Also WAMU-FM.
WHAT POVERTY MEANS -- Petula Dvorak reacts to news of rising child poverty in the District by explaining what it really means: "When kids are poor, they are little adults, weighed down by a world of no. And I'm not talking, 'No, you can't have a new Spider-Man backpack,' or, 'No more princess shoes for you.' The no of poverty in kids' lives today means no new clothes, no bed, no sleeping past 5 a.m. or we won't have time to take three buses to get to your school, no telling the guard at the Metro station that we're sleeping there tonight, no after-school tutoring program designed just for you, because, the truth is, we can't afford to get you there and back every day. This is the daily reality for thousands of our children, especially African American children growing up in the District. "
MORE GAYS WED THAN STRAIGHTS -- Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart gets a tip from David Catania: "[H]e told me something startling. More same-sex couples are getting married here than heterosexual couples. That's good news for an institution straight folks don't seem too keen on joining in lately." By the numbers, there is potentially "a difference of 150 percent. Or put another way, for every straight couple getting married in the District, there are potentially two gay couples tying the knot, jumping the broom, pick your metaphor." That said, the District doesn't track which couples are gay and which aren't and many couples come from outside the city to wed -- but, Jonathan writes, "given the crumbling foundation upon which marriage sits, anyone willing to shore it up by exchanging vows -- gay or straight -- should be welcomed."
NEED A WEDDING? CALL A NOTARY -- Notaries could perform city marriages if a council bill is passed: "In a little-noticed development, Council members Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), [Evans] and [Catania] introduced the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act of 2010 on June 1," Lou Chibbaro Jr. writes in the Blade. "A spokesperson for Cheh, who is the lead introducer, said the bill is intended to give all couples another option for obtaining a civil marriage. Under the city's current marriage law, civil marriages can only be performed by a judge or by a court-appointed 'officiant' that almost always performs marriages at the D.C. Superior Court. The current law allows clergy members to perform religious marriage ceremonies at places of worship or other locations." A hearing is set for Oct. 14; three states allow notaries to wed couples.
GOOD NEWS FOR POPE -- Is this what micromanagement looks like? Gray tells the Georgetown Dish he "can't understand" why Patrick Pope was removed as principal of Hardy Middle School "and that as mayor he will consider Pope's assignment as part of his administration's priority-setting. ... The presumptive mayor expressed dismay that DCPS principals are being assigned to multiple schools. Such is the case of respected Hyde-Addison principal Dana Nerenberg, who was assigned to Hardy earlier this year -- in addition to her duties at Hyde-Addison -- after Pope's controversial removal."
TODAY IN RHEE -- The Examiner puts together quite the package to tout 'Waiting for Superman.' Also: Michael O'Sullivan's Post review of the flick. And NBCWashington.com's P.J. Orvetti delivers a "Report Card for Rhee."
MEDICAID CUTS -- A Kaiser Health News report on Medicaid cuts around the nation focuses on a District payment cuts: "Washington, D.C., and 10 states pay Medicaid providers the same fees that they get from Medicare. But faced with a budget shortfall, the District has asked the federal government to approve its plan to lower fees. They expect to begin the new fee schedule Nov. 1. 'When we drop rates, we always worry that we lose providers,' said Julie Hudman, director of the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance, which oversees the Medicaid program. Doctors say that's just what will happen. 'I think it's a terrible idea,' Dr. Peter Lavine, president of the D.C. Medical Society, said of the rate cuts. Lavine, an orthopedic surgeon, predicts the cuts could trigger many doctors to stop treating Medicaid patients and that hospitals serving large numbers of low income patients will suffer. 'The premise of saving money or balancing the budget by sacrificing health care does not make much sense and is very short sighted.'"
*** SMALL PLATES ***
"Gay Icon of the Week: Michelle Rhee" (Brightest Young Things)
Erik Wemple says Courtland Milloy's Rhee claims aren't founded on the facts (TBD)
Does Vince Gray look Italian? (TheModerate Voice)
Gray apparently red-lights Juan Thompson's challenge to city Dem leader Anita Bonds (Loose Lips)
Meet the instructional superintendents (D.C. Schools Insider)
Examiner writer walks into meet-and-greet for Ward 5 Republican council hopeful Timothy Day. The candidate's greeting: "Can I help you?" (Examiner)
District and other jurisdictions can't actually opt out of Secure Communities after all -- Jim Graham calls that fact "extremely disappointing" (Post)
New Eastern HS principal is Boston administrator, erstwhile "chick-lit" author (D.C. Schools Insider)
CSX railroad to pay $7.5 million to stop pollutants from Benning Road yard from flowing into Anacostia (Post)
"Viva La Rhee-volución," says Harvard student, former DCPS intern (Crimson)
Al-Jazeera does half-hour program on District gentrification (Al-Jazeera English)
Peaceoholics-S.S. battle rages on as clock winds down (City Desk)
Senate confirms Maribeth Raffinan as Superior Court judge (Legal Times)
Lincoln Park location for Capital Bikeshare nixed; commence urbanist outrage (GGW)
Deborah Simmons' case against "one-size-fits-all public school systems" (WaTimes)
Reader is sick of the Sidwell inferiority complex: "And what's doubly infuriating is that [Rhee] gets right on board and agrees with the disrespect that President Obama lobbed at D.C. public schools." (All Opinions Are Local)
Another reader says no to styrofoam tax: "The last thing we need is some new tax by the D.C. Council, given the state of the economy" (All Opinions Are Local)
A very thorough rundown of the Southwest Waterfront development plan (The Little Quadrant That Could)
Coverage of yesterday's hearing on power-line burial -- among witnesses: former Ward 8 council member Eydie Whittington (Patch)
Peter Rosenstein is "looking forward" to the Gray regime (Blade)
60,000 distracted driving tickets issued, and counting (Gazette)
Gay Games hopes apparently still alive (Blade)
Convention-center hotel construction could begin next week (DCmud)
Bring on the food trucks! (Hatchet)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Cheh and GOP challenger Dave Hedgepeth debate on WAMU-FM's Politics Hour, noon, 88.5 FM -- enjoy the weekend!