DeMorning DeBonis: Dec. 14, 2010
TODAY IS DEC. 14, 2010 -- 19 DAYS UNTIL INAUGURATION
PREVIOUSLY -- Fenty praises Gray for city administrator pick
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier is "likely" to remain on the job, the Post's Allison Klein reports today, citing "sources close to Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray." But how has Lanier managed to survive and thrive atop perhaps the city's highest-profile agency when so many appointees of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty have not? Alison ventures an explanation: "Lanier's approval rating among city residents hovers at 80 percent, and homicides hit a 43-year low last year. She has been smart tactically, responding promptly to the D.C. Council and neighborhood activists. More polarizing Fenty department heads such as former schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who resigned shortly after Gray was elected, had not been as accommodating. ... Her strategy of answering calls at all hours of the night, returning e-mails herself and personally helping residents with problems, even if they are not crime related, is aimed at building bridges in the community, she has said." It also helps that, in the aggregate, violent crime is down and high-profile crimes have been quickly solved. The Washington Times, however, strikes a counternote today, noting that violent crimes are up modestly on a month-to-month basis over last year.
AFTER THE JUMP -- ideas are thrown around at Gray's Jobs Summit -- Post editorial bids a fond farewell to Gabe Klein -- Gandhi seeks insurance tax haven status -- advocates respond to DYRS criticism
*** MAIN COURSE ***
THE POLITICS OF LANIER -- From Allison's piece: "[Police union leader Kristopher Baumann], who supported Gray during the campaign, said the new mayor will be making a big mistake if he reappoints Lanier, predicting that the glow around her will fade. 'If he keeps her, then she becomes his chief, and that means he's responsible for all the misconduct, all the scandals and all the costs to taxpayers,' Baumann said. But others say that keeping Lanier is the right move. [Jacque Patterson, who lives in the Shipley Terrace neighborhood and is president of Ward 8 Democrats,] said he has seen a significant improvements in both safety and police presence in recent years. He likes that he sees beat officers on foot patrol and bike patrols riding by his house. 'Safety is going up. I've seen a marked difference in the level of crime in our community,' said Patterson, who has lived in Ward 8 for 15 years."
JOBS SUMMIT -- As promised, Gray held his "jobs summit" yesterday in a downtown office, "assembl[ing] about 50 company chiefs, entrepreneurs and college presidents to discuss how to tackle one of the District's most frightening statistics: an unemployment rate as high as 30 percent in Ward 8," Nikita Stewart writes in today's Post. "Employers repeatedly brought up obstacles - from government policies and labor disputes to social ills - that prevent them from hiring D.C. residents. Despite about 300,000 jobs that are expected to be developed in the District over the next decade, George Mason University professor Stephen S. Fuller opened the summit by challenging Gray (D). He and others urged the city to prepare residents for those jobs but also to bring in industry that could match the skills of the unemployed and underemployed. ... Gray said his administration would seek to restore technical and vocational education in public schools, refocus the mission of the Department of Employment Services to create jobs instead of unemployment benefits, and support the new community college at the University of the District of Columbia. But those goals come with their own set of challenges." In the Examiner, Freeman Klopott focuses on talk of lifting enrollment caps on local universities "as part of an effort to create jobs for D.C.'s lagging economy." Gray said he would "consider" such a move, even though it would stir neighborhood outrage and even though the final decision is in the hands of the Zoning Commission, not the mayor. Also WAMU-FM, WTTG-TV.
FAREWELL GABE -- The Post's editorial board lauds outgoing transportation chief Gabe Klein today: "Just as Michelle A. Rhee changed the course of education in the District, so did [Klein] redirect its transportation policy. As transportation director, Mr. Klein aimed to make the city more livable by giving people more options in getting around. His departure has some worried about the future of his progressive policies, but we believe their success will make it hard to turn back." In particular, the East Wall likes his "emphasis on pedestrian safety, expansion of the downtown Circulator bus service, the trolley project and, perhaps most notably, the encouragement of cycling as an alternative through the bike-share program and construction of more bike lanes" but says it's "unfortunate that these sensible ideas in urban planning - many conceived well before Mr. Fenty took office - got caught up in an acrimonious debate about race and other divides that cleave the city." To bring both sides together, they suggest cracking down on scofflaw cyclists. The piece says it's "encouraging" that Gray has supported Klein's agenda and has funded streetcars. And if Klein's replacement "is of the same caliber as his choice of Allen Y. Lew for city administrator, there will be good reason to be upbeat."
'BERMUDA ON THE POTOMAC' -- Harry Jaffe shines some light in his Examiner columns on a Natwar Gandhi-pushed proposal to "bring in dollars from rich corporations, namely banks and insurance companies who currently park millions of dollars abroad in island tax havens." The obstacle: "If only Congress would agree to change tax laws. Herein lies the rub, of course. Having no vote in the House or the Senate, D.C. is at the mercy of our suburban neighbors. Every time D.C. floats a tax haven idea, politicians from Maryland and Virginia see it as giving the central city a competitive advantage. ... [F]ew congressmen rushed to support H.R. 5762, the bill D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced in July to change the IRS code and make D.C. a tax haven for insurance companies' disaster funds. ... Oddly enough, the new Republican-controlled Congress might be more hospitable to Bermuda On the Potomac. Perhaps we can make a trade: D.C. gives up its right to control firearms; in exchange, we become a tax haven, narrowly defined. Two problems, easily solved."
DYRS COUNTERPOINT -- D.C. Lawyers for Youth pens a response to the recent Washington Times series on juvenile justice, saying it "continues the trend of blaming the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) for juvenile crime in the District." R. Daniel Okonkwo takes the paper to task for "perpetuat[ing] three long-standing myths: 1) juvenile violent crime in the District has increased; 2) rehabilitating court-involved youth in the community is a fool's errand; and 3) DYRS 'coddles' youth in its care. All these are false and its time we stop blaming DYRS for juvenile crime and focus on the bigger picture." More: "At some point, DYRS has to place its youth under its custody back in the community. If DYRS supervisees are kept away from positive support systems in their communities 'for their own good,' it will be harder to reintegrate them back into society." And: "We have already relied on shortsighted solutions such as more bed spaces, more prisons, and longer incarceration times, far too heavily for far too long. Pursuing such endeavors only diverts time and money away from real solutions. If we want to stop these senseless deaths, we need to invest more in our communities, not in our prison system."
OLD-TIME RELIGION -- The Christian Post's Stephanie Samuel has more from Gray's National Cathedral forum on Sunday, focusing on religious outreach: "The incoming mayor highlighted an initiative similar to the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to create an interfaith advisory committee. The committee would draw members from local churches and religious institutions to inform his decisions as mayor. He also plans to re-establish the defunct outreach office, the Office of Religious Affairs. ... During current Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration, the office has been virtually non-existent. Unlike its sister constituency offices, the office of Religious Affairs does not have a website. Efforts to reach the office by phone are instantaneously directed to voicemail. 'Mayor Fenty did not have a relationship at all with the organized religion in the city,' said Gray." Also: "'Frankly, I'd like to return to something we did years ago which is a prayer breakfast, where we bring people together,' expressed Gray."
*** SMALL PLATES ***
Gun case plaintiffs want $3.1 million in fees; note that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan "questioned whether he should take into account the District's finances in deciding how much [Alan Gura] and the plaintiffs' lawyers should be paid from taxpayer money. Gura argued against any consideration, telling Sullivan he should not be a position that requires him to assess the city's budget priorities." (Legal Times)
City sued over La Casa shelter closing (Housing Complex)
Did Kwame Brown inadvertently reveal his committee assignments at last week's council meeting? (Loose Lips)
Meanwhile, opposition to Adams Morgan hotel tax break also begins to organize (Housing Complex)
Council set to re-up Georgetown liquor-license moratorium (G'town Dish)
Mary Cheh bill will empower DDOE to ride herd on industrial polluters (Housing Complex)
With tax abatement set to pass, first Northwest One building on schedule for groundbreaking (DCmud)
"There's still time to pass the DC Voting Rights Act" (District Chronicles)
More coverage of homeless residency requirements, Eric Sheptock (WUSA-TV)
Baltimore transportation planners tour D.C.'s bike amenities (Bike Baltimore)
Nats want "curly W" on Metro signs (JDLand)
Another reason not to cut child-care subsidies: jobs (All Opinions Are Local)
Why developers should avoid town-hall meetings if at all possible (Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space)
MPD snags $103,000 worth of meth (City Desk)
How Barry is "race-baiting" on welfare reform (Afro)
Rhee to "roll out a legislative agenda for school reform" in Denver? (Examiner)
Wolf Blitzer to read to Walker-Jones students today (Examiner)
Former Kwame aide Mike Price launches consulting firm (Quantum Politics)
State Committee at-large candidates debate set for Thursday (Facebook)
Tom Sherwood airs Festivus grievances (WRC-TV)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Fenty, Gray, Lew, Kaya Henderson attend unveiling of Dunbar rehab plans, 10 a.m. -- Jim Graham, Ron Moten on NewsTalk, 10 a.m. on TBD TV
| December 14, 2010; 9:43 AM ET
Categories: Morning Mike, The District
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