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DeMorning DeBonis: Oct. 8, 2010

TODAY IS OCT. 8, 2010 -- 25 DAYS UNTIL THE GENERAL ELECTION

PREVIOUSLY -- Fenty says education reform cost him reelection

For his second post-election town hall, presumptive mayor-elect Vincent Gray ventured into the cradle of the opposition Thursday night -- to St. Columbia's Church in Ward 3, which gave him only 20.3 percent of the vote. But the reception in the packed hall was far from hostile; as WAMU-FM's Patrick Madden notes: "There were barely any critical comments or pointed questions, in fact, the name Michelle Rhee wasn't even brought up during the entire two hours." Host council member Mary Cheh introduced Gray a "leader free of vanity and boastfulness"; former school board chair Peggy Cooper Cafritz rose to tell the crowd, "You absolutely could not be in better hands." During a protracted stump speech and the ensuing Q&A, Gray "stressed to Ward 3 voters he would continue to champion school reform and drew widespread applause when he suggested that residents engage in civil disobedience to try to gain more rights from Congress," Tim Craig writes today. Gray also spent time building his fiscal bona fides, informing the crowd that no less than Alice Rivlin and Tony Williams would be consulting with him on budget issues. And, as Tim notes, he floated a tax-increase trial balloon: "I think if we can make the case that the vulnerable are going to be imperiled, I think there are going to be a lot of people who are going to entertain some sort of tax increase." The tour continues next week, in wards 2 and 7. More coverage from WTTG-TV, WRC-TV, and Examiner.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Michelle Rhee signs ed-reform manifesto -- where will Rhee land? -- Tenleytown warms to density -- meet your new taxes -- local Dems pick new leaders, sort of.

*** MAIN COURSE ***

MORE FROM TIM CRAIG -- "After being branded during the primary as a micromanager, Gray repeatedly stressed he has no intention of 'becoming the principal' of individual schools. Yet Gray questioned several personnel decisions made by Rhee, including the ouster of several teachers. 'These are the kind of teachers we need to keep in public education,' Gray said. Gray drew the loudest applause when he vowed to make city contractors hire more District residents and when he spoke about renewing the push on Capitol Hill for voting rights and the ability to tax the incomes of Maryland and Virginia residents who work in the city. 'Will I go up there? Absolutely,' Gray said. 'But I don't want to go up there and see nobody behind me. I want to be able to go up there and say, "Senator, look out your window, do you see all those people? They are angry as heck."'" Before the Gray town hall, the Fenty write-in contingent held a news conference.

THE ED REFORM MANIFESTO -- Michelle Rhee signs a "manifesto" -- also signed by 15 fellow big-city superintendents, including New York's Joel Klein, New Orleans's Paul Vallas and, yes, Baltimore's Andrés Alonso -- which will run in Sunday's Washington Post. "The 'Waiting for Superman' documentary, the defeat of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to Newark's public schools, and a tidal wave of media attention have helped spark a national debate and presented us with an extraordinary opportunity. But the transformative changes needed to truly prepare our kids for the 21st-century global economy simply will not happen unless we first shed some of the entrenched practices that have held back our education system, practices that have long favored adults, not children. These practices are wrong, and they have to end now. ... [F]or too long, we have let teacher hiring and retention be determined by archaic rules involving seniority and academic credentials. The widespread policy of "last in, first out" (the teacher with the least seniority is the first to go when cuts have to be made) makes it harder to hold on to new, enthusiastic educators and ignores the one thing that should matter most: performance. ... District leaders also need the authority to use financial incentives to attract and retain the best teachers. When teachers are highly effective -- measured in significant part by how well students are doing academically -- or are willing to take a job in a tough school or in a hard-to-staff subject area such as advanced math or science, we should be able to pay them more. ... We also must make charter schools a truly viable option. If all of our neighborhood schools were great, we wouldn't be facing this crisis. But our children need great schools now -- whether district-run public schools or public charter schools serving all students -- and we shouldn't limit the numbers of one form at the expense of the other."

RHEE'S FUTURE -- The Post's Bill Turque looks at where Rhee might land next: "Rhee is widely expected to leave her post sometime in the near future. Her iffy status, combined with her depiction as a lonely, union-battling champion of D.C. school reform in the new documentary "Waiting for Superman," has made her the name of choice for big education jobs that have come open - and for some that have not. ... Some education advocates who share the core of her agenda in the District - which includes tougher teacher evaluations, more control over teacher assignments and linkage of pay to student performance - see her staying in the public sector. Others expect her to return to the nonprofit world, where she worked before [Fenty] named her chancellor in June 2007. ... Rhee has said repeatedly that she is not a career superintendent and that the District will be her first and last job running a school system. Some have a difficult time seeing her in a cabinet job - the subject of speculation by education bloggers. Political agility and a penchant for team play, both musts for such jobs, are not necessarily the outspoken Rhee's strengths." Among the jobs mentioned: New Jersey education commissioner, "her own turnaround operation, coming into troubled schools as an outside contractor and remaking them."

CONFUSION BILL IS CONFUSING -- In the Examiner, Freeman Klopott shares details from the "Confusion in Election Amendment Act of 2010" introduced by Phil Mendelson and Michael A. Brown. The bill would halve early voting, from two weeks to one, to "potentially give candidates more time to deal with issues like name confusion before voting started." Also, the bill would "require the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to clarify on the ballot a candidate's identify when there is the potential 'for confusion among voters about the identity of a candidate because of the similarity of his or her name to another candidate, elected, or well-known individual.'" But BOEE wants more guidance on what constitutes "confusion," and not even Brown is on board with shortening the early voting period.

TENLEYTOWN GETS DENSE -- In this week's WBJ, Michael Neibauer looks at how a new Douglas Jemal development in Tenleytown is busting the neighborhood's reputation that it has "historically resisted construction that increased density." The project, "Jemal's Babes," has won over advisory neighborhood commissioners. But that doesn't mean everything is hunky-dory: "In Tenleytown, where developers are often met with disdain, Jemal may be in for a fight given the route he is taking with the commission. Jemal applied for a zoning map amendment rather than the more community-inclusive planned unit development. ... But unlike previous years, neighbors today appear more willing to listen. There is still tension ... but the ire is waning." Also of note: The Babes property is one of the parcels Jemal owes taxes on.

YOUR NEW TAXES -- Also in WBJ: Neibauer reviews new taxes that started Oct. 1: "As if the District's property tax system wasn't complicated enough before, there are now four classes of real property tax, a vacant property registration fee 10 times more expensive and a set of limited exemptions that expire after a year.D.C. residents might try swallowing that news with a refreshing soda or calling a friend on a prepaid wireless phone to complain. But that carbonated beverage will cost 6 percent more than it did in fiscal 2010 because the D.C. Council has brought most soft drinks under the umbrella of items subject to the sales tax. And those prepaid minutes will cost 2 percent more, thanks to a new tax that will send money to the District's 911 system."

REUBEN CHARLES: ART LOVER -- The Gray campaign responds to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter's inquiries about top campaign player Reuben Charles: "Traci Hughes, spokeswoman for Gray, said in an interview that Charles's business lawsuits in St. Louis have generated no concerns in Gray's campaign. 'Not at all,' she said. 'Many of us who have been around the block at least once understand it's all part of doing business. There certainly isn't anything in his character or his background that would keep him from contributing the way he has.' ... Hughes noted that the well-spoken Charles has served as Gray's 'ambassador' in a campaign that split the nation's capital along racial lines. ... 'He (Charles) is so comfortable in most settings ... He's a bit of a phenom,' Hughes said, noting Charles's ability to carry on conversations on a host of topics, including art. 'It's an easier question to ask what he hasn't done for this campaign,' she said."

NEW BOSS SAME AS OLD BOSS -- From a press release: "Tonight the members of the DC Democratic State Committee (DCDSC), the 82 member governing body of the District of Columbia Democratic Party, reelected Chair Anita Bonds and Vice Chair James Berry to serve a new 2 year term ending in 2012. Bonds and Berry who ran unopposed in the election will be joined by Bill O'Field, a recent D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics official and president of the Ward One Democrats, as the newly elected Treasurer and Franklin Garcia, a systems analyst for BAE Systems and President of the DC Latino Caucus, who will serve as the new Corresponding Secretary. Christine Warnke, a member of the Democratic National Committee's Ethnic Council defeated Mary Cuthbert, an ANC Commissioner and AFGE labor official, for the office of Recording Secretary in the evenings only contested race."


*** SMALL PLATES ***

For political candidates, lots of online "friends" doesn't necessarily mean lost of votes. (Post)

Meet the other Michelle Rhee. (TBD)

Non-D.C. residents in homeless shelters not really a big deal, says advocate. (City Desk)

Will the former Harrison Elementary remain a charter school? (GGW)

Bring back the old D.C. Politics Hour! (Local Opinion Zone)

City doctors, hospitals really not happy about Medicaid cuts. (WBJ)

Oh, great, a five-part series on "lessons from ... the Rhee era" -- although this one is pretty good: "When adults act like children they don't act in the best interests of children." (Dropout Nation)

Foundry United Methodist Church breaks with parent church to perform gay weddings... (Blade)

Bob McDonnell's Metro power move again blocked by Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. (WAMU-FM)

A "lost boy" in the D.C. Jail.(Post)

Birds massacred by cars outside Blue Plains. (Dr. Gridlock)

Some other things Marion Barry's name might appear on (DCist.)

Philly Pizza is back. (Vox Populi)

Jon Stewart says D.C. streets are "fakakta." (TBD)

The Shaw tent city "just like that" is gone. (TBD)

Students say its "deplorable" that city cops didn't tell George Washington University cops about Wednesday rape. (Hatchet)

"The Redskins should return to Washington." (WaTimes)

Are the Bullets coming back? (Wizards Insider.)


*** ON THE MENU ***

Council hearing on primary election performance, 10 a.m. in council chambers.

By Mike DeBonis  | October 8, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike, The District  
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Next: More about vote-hacking incident revealed at council hearing

Comments

I think that Phil Mendelson would have better things to cnncern himself with like innocent people being shot on U street rather than name confusion on a ballot.
Why don't he and Michael Brown introduce a bill that will only allow the District voters to vote for incumbents that way no one will be confused! And it is a convenience for the voters of the district to have early voters not for the candidates! What a waste of space and taxpayers money!

Posted by: Samorpye | October 8, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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