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DeMorning DeBonis: Nov. 4, 2010

TODAY IS NOV. 4, 2010 -- 59 DAYS UNTIL INAUGURATION

PREVIOUSLY -- Where creating 'One City' will require some work -- D.C. Republicans in danger of becoming 'minor' party

Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray -- boy, it feels good to retire the word "presumptive" -- rolled out his transition team yesterday, or at least a goodly portion of it, tapping an array of distinguished personages, many of them veterans of city and federal government. The Gray message: This is a qualified and experienced crew that will take a top-to-bottom look at city operations in a time of fiscal sacrifice. Another message, Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart write in today's Post, is that the rollout was "a signal that [Gray] will apply his deliberative leadership style to his administration," breaking with Adrian Fenty's "fast-charging style of governance." Gray also had to deflect questions about why his victory party was held at a nightclub whose owners owe the city nearly $900,000 in taxes and about the background of transition operations director Reuben Charles. Later in the day, City Paper's Alan Suderman sent the news cycle further off message for Gray, reporting that Charles owes the state of Illinois $236,000 in unpaid business taxes. Charles said the debt is related to a business that he invested in but did not run.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Gray says he doesn't "feel any pressing need simply to change people for the sake of changing them" -- Norton says not to "prejudge" Republican House -- IDI earns fines for continued group-home violations -- will D.C. GOP ever sit on council again? -- Henderson greets parents

*** MAIN COURSE ***

MORE TRANSITION -- More from Tim and Nikita: "The strong write-in effort and a shift to a Republican-controlled House of Representatives presents Gray with the immediate challenge of sharpening his skills at wooing potential detractors. The primary and general elections showed a city still fractured by several divisions, said Gray, a 67-year-old native Washingtonian. 'It also became clear that there is much that unites us as a city,' Gray said, adding that he planned to meet Wednesday with Fenty, whom he described as 'gracious.' He said he would tell residents who wrote-in Fenty that 'the message is: "Work with us. ... We have the interest of this city sincerely at heart."' Gray said he plans to meet with GOP congressional leaders soon to urge them to allow the city to manage itself." Freeman Klopott notes in the Examiner that the team "includes a handful of members with links to the District's troubled 1990s and former Mayor Marion Barry's administrations," pointing to former City Administrator Tom Downs and ex-DPW chief Cell Bernardino. A counterbalance: Two control board vets, Alice Rivlin and Constance Berry Newman, are on board. Fenty backer Terry Lynch calls the team "back to the future." Gray also revealed he has been invited to lunch with POTUS on Dec. 1. And, no, Gray won't be keeping the Smart Car. Michael Neibauer has a full list of appointees. The Washington Times' Deborah Simmons also weighs in. The Georgetown Dish calls the transition team a win for Georgetown Law. And Dorothy Brizill notes in themail: "Notably absent from the leadership of the transition team were representatives of civic, neighborhood, and community associations and labor unions. In fact, labor unions, which were an important element of Gray's campaign and vital to its success, were so shut out of the transition that they weren't even invited to or informed of today's press conference."

NO CHANGE FOR CHANGE'S SAKE -- Gray sat down withWTTG-TV's Brian Bolter last night. He started by addressing Charles: "He's really done an effective job on the campaign. ... We asked him to have a role during the transition, but beyond that we've made no decisions, but we want to look at all the issues that are involved at this." Regarding questions about his personal finances, "We've started to look ourselves at some of these things." On interim schools chancellor Kaya Henderson, who attended Gray's press conference but did not participate: "She has an opportunity if she's interested in this to demonstrate that she can just continue with education reform. ... We want somebody who's going to work with the parents, work with the stakeholders, do more of that," adding that she "did an excellent job as deputy chancellor... I think she's very qualified, I don't think there's any question about it." On the future of Police Chief Cathy Lanier: "We'll see. ... I think she's done some good things in the city. ... I want to see more community policing." On personnel changes in general: "Wherever I've been, there was some people who stayed and some people who left. I don't feel any pressing need simply to change people for the sake of changing them. So if it's somebody who's good who has something to offer to us ... they certainly will be given a shot."

DON'T 'PREJUDGE' GOP -- Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks with WAMU-FM: "I am cautioning residents not to prejudge the new Congress. .. I am going to be using my seniority ... for the benefit of the District." But clearly she's already looking forward a bit: "In 2012, we will have a much greater slice of the electorate out and can get back to business on voting rights and statehood." On the potential of some sort of
gun control intervention: "I have no doubt that there would be an attempt to do that." Her hope for the Tea Party-backed Republicans: "One of their cardinal principles is no federal intervention into local affairs. Let's see if they mean it."

HTJ FOR AT-LARGE? -- Is Harry Thomas Jr. running for an at-large council seat? Here's what he tells the Examiner's Klopott: "It would be strange if I weren't thinking about my future." Here's what he told me after the Gray event yesterday: "Before I make any decision like that, I'm going to talk to my constituents."

IDI GETS FINES -- Individual Development Inc., the contractor providing care to the developmentally disabled run by uberlobbyist David Wilmot, has run afoul of a settlement agreement with the city, Suderman reports in his Loose Lips column this week: "IDI's latest round of trouble includes $241,089.60 in fines for 10 violations of a settlement agreement with the city to improve services, as well as a federal complaint that alleges the unfair firing of an employee who was trying to start a union. ... That IDI is in hot water again probably shouldn't be a surprise. ... Attorney General [Peter Nickles] originally sought to have two of IDI's homes placed in receivership, then settled with IDI after they promised to make improvements. But IDI has not lived up to all of its part of the bargain, according to an independent monitor. ... IDI appealed the fine, to no avail. In his letter, Nickles wrote that the 'recurring violations' at IDI were 'disconcerting.'" Suderman asks "how much time the next attorney general will spend going after IDI. Wilmot hosted a fundraiser for Almost Mayor Vincent Gray during the mayoral campaign [as he did for Fenty's campaign], and the Post reported that Wilmot is something of a political adviser to the next mayor. ... Gray said he was 'not close enough to know the details [about IDI's violations].'"

'ALL ABOUT CAROL' -- TBD's Sommer Mathis ponders the future of the D.C. GOP after their lousy showing Tuesday, asking whether the city will ever see a Republican council member again. Note this shot at the last council Republican: "'In a way, it was actually helpful to not have someone on the council for a while, because we could become our own person,' muses D.C. Republican Committee Chairman Robert Kabel, who is standing in the middle of a downtown hotel suite shortly after learning that none of his party's candidates had managed to beat the odds in their council races this year. 'We didn't have to check with anyone' when the committee wanted to put itself out there on a particular issue, he explains, referring in a not even remotely veiled way to Carol Schwartz, D.C.'s longtime Republican Queen. Schwartz served for 16 years as an at-large member of the council before losing to upstart Patrick Mara in the Republican primary in 2008, and as the only vaguely right-leaning councilmember for a significant stretch of time, was also her party's de facto leader. 'Carol was ... all about Carol,' Kabel puts it."

WILL GRAY COME OUT OF SHELL? -- Gray gets some coverage in The Daily Beast; Sandra McElwaine writes: "Simply everybody inside the Beltway wants to meet the low-key politician who just became the new mayor-elect. ... Gray needs to increase his visibility and become an up-front mayor like Michael Bloomberg in New York or Richard Daley in Chicago. 'He cannot be a shrinking violet, and he must get out more and create his own persona in order to form relationships in the White House and in Congress,' says Mark Plotkin, a political analyst for the D.C. news radio station WTOP. 'This is not Vince's nature; he tends to stay in and get buried in details.' Others, especially the upscale wards, where Gray was clobbered by Fenty, fear he will not have the guts to stand up to the unions, that he will bring in a bunch of retreads, undo gentrification and progress and return to the city to the old status quo. Gray dismisses the notion. 'Isn't it amazing that people would come up with such nonsense?' he asks."

MEET THE NEW BOSS -- Kaya Henderson introduces herself to DCPS parents, via e-mail: "Although my title may be different, my steadfast dedication to reforming education in the district remains unchanged. Many of you know me well. A 13-year resident of the District, I've worked side-by-side with Michelle Rhee for nearly four years to shape the turnaround of our public schools. With your unwavering support, we've all seen reform pivot education in our city - and we're going to keep going! The DCPS management team remains intact and focused on continuing reform. And we know that we can count on you to continue this journey with us. ... Continued progress is not an option; it is a necessity for our children's future. And it is reassuring to know that I can depend on your continued support."


*** SMALL PLATES ***

This video will never get old (NBCWashington.com)

Hillcrest is hot (Washingtonian)

Could Norton lead Democrats on the House transportation and infrastructure committee? (WSJ, Streetsblog)

Get ready for a lot more Jason Chaffetz in your life (Loose Lips)

Kris Baumann has no idea whether Lanier will be staying (City Desk)

Tuesday's local results were good for gays (Blade)

The Statehood Greens soldier on (G'town Voice)

Fenty administration puts OCTO "results-only work environment" experiment on hold for transition (Center for American Progress)

Library use is up, up, up (Afro)

Convention center hotel groundbreaking set for next Wednesday (DCmud)

Very good piece on how DCPS students get to school (Patch)

How to make Dupont Underground work (Rebuilding Place ...)

Better dancer: John Wall or Vince Gray? (NBCWashington.com)

Allbritton, Washingtonian, WMRW blog petition judge to lift gag order in Robert Wone civil case (Legal Times)

"ANC Results of Note" takes its place beside "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative" in the annals of boring headlines (Housing Complex)

A look at ANC results from the smart-growth perspective (GGW)

Boy, the Sidwell Friends football team stinks (City Paper)


*** ON THE MENU ***

D.C. Council gets back to business

By Mike DeBonis  | November 4, 2010; 11:17 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike, The District  
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Next: Police union supporters vexed by Gray funeral no-show

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