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Posted at 11:37 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

DeMorning DeBonis: Dec. 2, 2010

By Mike DeBonis


PREVIOUSLY -- Julie Hudman will leave D.C. Department of Health Care Finance -- Vincent Gray lunches with Barack Obama at the White House

The Lunch is over, and it went "even better than expected," Mayor-elect Vincent Gray told reporters outside the West Wing yesterday. But it's unclear what Gray expected from President Obama and what he got, aside from the possibility of more meetings. Tim Craig writes up the aftermath: "Before the meeting, advocates for statehood and voting rights were lobbying Gray to make a forceful request that Obama do more to speak up to Congress. Gray said Obama reiterated that he is an 'unequivocal supporter of voting rights for the District.' But Gray said Obama did not immediately respond to a request that he put the city's 'Taxation Without Representation' license plates on the presidential limousine." But Obama, Gray said, "wants to do more in the city; he wants to do more for the city." WTOP notes that Gray "also met with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz." The Post editorial board issues a "reminder not to get one's hopes up too much" about the lunch. Chuck Thies tells the Examiner that Obama's pledges of voting-rights solidarity are ringing hollow: "When [Obama] had the opportunity to do something about it, he did nothing. And now that he can't do anything, he reiterates his support. ... That's politics at its worst." And DCist is running a caption contest for the official White House photo. Also WTTG-TV, The Hill.

AFTER THE JUMP -- CDC report again raises lead-in-water concerns -- Gray taps developers for transition cash -- CVS clerk swipes Gray's wallet -- More Michelle Rhee media -- Nathan Saunders talks tough on IMPACT -- Rushern Baker wants a closer P.G.-D.C. bond


LEAD CONCERNS RETURN -- Today's talker: The new report from the Centers for Disease Control confirms concerns that the $93 million effort to replace lead service lines might in some cases have done more harm than good. The nearly 15,000 homes that underwent partial lead service line replacement since 2004 might still be at risk for dangerous lead levels, and D.C. Water is suggesting that those households with small children or pregnant women get their water tested. Ashley Halsey and I write on A1: "The findings are a sharp reversal by the federal health agency, which initially said it had found no evidence of measurable or significant harm to public health. ... The report marks the first time the CDC has publicly acknowledged that there was measurable health risk from the city's lead crisis and that the primary remedy appears to have been flawed." But D.C. Water and others are emphasizing that they have been monitoring and managing the problem for some time now: "'This is the CDC telling us something we knew and acted upon,' said D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who has been critical of partial pipe replacements. 'Not only did we know this, but we stopped it.' ... It is the process of unearthing and cutting the lead service line that is thought to cause the increased risk for lead exposure in homes that have undergone partial replacements. The risk decreases over time after the repair is done, [D.C. Water General Manager George Hawkins] said. He added that D.C. Water conducts regular testing of households that have had partial lead service line replacements; none of the tests have raised concerns, he said. 'We encourage the notion of testing your water and seeing what's there,' Hawkins said. 'If it's only adults in the house, it's probably still a judgment call, but less health-imperative than if there's small children and pregnant women.'" Stay with PostLocal for more today.

GRAY'S GREEN -- Gray made his first report of transition finances Wednesday, reporting more than $180,000 in fundraising. Here's what I found: "The largest donors include Franklin L. Haney Jr., who is part of a family venture pursuing a massive development project along the Anacostia waterfront. ... Also giving $25,000 to the inauguration effort is the investment fund of real estate developer Calvin Cafritz. Cafritz is chairman of the board of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, which is pursuing a development project near the Fort Totten Metro Station in Ward 5. ... Foulger-Pratt Development, a Rockville firm, gave $20,000 to the inauguration effort. Foulger-Pratt is pursuing projects in the city that include a retail-based redevelopment of the former Curtis Chevrolet site on upper Georgia Avenue NW. ... Several participants in the large-scale redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront in Ward 6 have also contributed. ... In all, 14 firms or individuals gave $5,000 or more, most of them engaged in real estate or construction. ... Gray reported total transition expenses of $25,331, with $10,000 in consulting fees going to Citadel Partners, a firm belonging to aide Reuben O. Charles II. The transition fund also paid $6,250 to an investigations firm, Capitol Inquiry, to handle 'personnel recruiting.' Other expenses were for office supplies and photographs." Also Examiner, WBJ, WAMU-FM.

WATCH YOUR WALLET -- If this were Us Weekly, this item would read: "Mayors-elect are just like us -- they get their wallets stolen by CVS clerks!" Gray had his swiped on Thanksgiving Day after he left it at a drugstore checkout, Freeman Klopott reports in the Examiner: "When Gray left his wallet behind on the counter around 2:30 p.m., authorities say video surveillance caught [CVS clerk Tamika Garris, 22,] picking it up and looking through it for "several minutes." A little before 5 p.m., the cameras watched as Garris went to another employee's register and used Gray's credit card to buy $13.52 in cigarettes. Garris then left the store and later went to Skyland Liquors at 2101 Savannah St. SE. Court documents indicate Garris was once again caught on surveillance video using Gray's credit card, spending $25.06 on liquor. ... On Wednesday, Garris was arrested and charged with credit card fraud."

RHEE'S KIDS NOT GOOD AT SOCCER -- Michelle Rhee's trip out of the public eye in this city continues with a Washingtonian exit interview with Harry Jaffe. Some highlights: "I think one of the unfortunate things that came out in the mayoral campaign -- and I know campaigns are dirty and people do what they need to do to get elected and that sort of thing -- was, you know, 'She's all about the white people.' Nothing could be further from the truth. ... Before the whole Hardy situation, no one was accusing me of only being about white kids. In fact, it was probably that I wasn't paying enough attention to white kids. ... People tried to paint Hardy as if it were a great school. Only 50 percent of the African Americans at that school were testing proficient -- which is better than a lot of other schools, so I'm not saying it's terrible, but it's certainly not what we should aspire to. ... I put my blood, sweat, and tears into this. My hope is that people learn a lesson from what happened. What people need to take away from this is that despite the fact that she cared more about black kids than white kids and despite the fact that there was progress, people voted for a change. ... I've gotten calls from numerous politicians, and their sell to me is 'I'm going to give you every bit of support that Fenty did, and I'm going to play the political game better than he did to ensure that you can stay longer.' That's the sell. ... Politicians say stuff all the time. It's like campaign promises. That's what makes Fenty so unique -- the guy said it, and he overdelivered." And here's Rhee's diagnosis of America's cultural shortcomings: "Look at our little ones -- everybody's great, everybody gets a trophy. No. My kids suck at soccer. But if you looked at all their trophies and medals, you'd think I was raising the next Mia Hamm. It's this culture where we want everybody to feel good." Also, watch Rhee's appearance on the Colbert Report last night, more notable for Stephen Colbert's questions than Rhee's answers: "You were the king of school reform mountain and now you just lost your job. ... Who did you cross?" or "Sell me on educating children" or "What job will you be forced out of next?"

WAR ON IMPACT -- More from Bill Turque on Nathan Saunders's victory in the Washington Teachers' Union elections: "The new president of the Washington Teachers' Union said Wednesday that he would cooperate with D.C. school officials in implementing the labor contract he vehemently opposed last spring. But [Saunders] also said he would be far more aggressive than his predecessor in ensuring that teachers' voices are heard when policy gets made. 'Where the contract requires collaboration, I absolutely will collaborate. Collaboration didn't become a bad word when I got elected,' said Saunders, in an interview shortly before his formal installation ceremony at the American Federation of Teachers office on Capitol Hill. ... Saunders made it clear that he rejects the core of the educational world view held by Rhee and her successor, interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who have argued that the disadvantages produced by poverty, crime and family dysfunction can no longer be excuses for failing to raise academic achievement. Saunders said he opposes the new IMPACT evaluation system because it effectively penalizes teachers for those social conditions. ... Although D.C. law bars the union from bargaining over IMPACT with school officials, Saunders said he is committed to changing the system. 'Ever seen a law you couldn't change?' he asked." Saunders also gave an interview to WTTG-TV. And Bill has more from Saunders's vanquished opponent, George Parker.

KAYA TALKS UNIONS -- Henderson addressed union politics in an interview with the Georgetown Voice: "I've been our main labor negotiator ... and enjoy a really good relationship with all of our unions. Up until I got this job, [I] was meeting with them monthly. ... Union-district fights sell newspapers. What nobody wants to talk about is that at my 40th birthday party in July, my union friends were there because I spend just as much time with them as I do with my co-workers. I think the unions are in a particularly difficult place right now. They are trying to move from being organizations that were only concerned about wages and job protection and job security to a changing environment, where as professional organizations, they are called upon to be partners and leaders in school reform. ... I think they are trying to figure out how to go from where they were to where they need to be." Henderson told Bill she's "looking forward to sitting down and hearing about Nathan's philosophy and approach."

BARRY'S OLD SQUEEZE -- A blast from the past in Alan Suderman's Loose Lips column, which covers the new memoirs of a Marion Barry lost love: "After Barry's arrest, Maria McCarthy spent a month in jail for refusing to testify against him. She then changed her mind, and testified before a grand jury. At Barry's actual trial, she was on the prosecutor's witness list but was never called to the stand. 'If I had testified against Barry, Barry'd be in jail today,' McCarthy, who now goes by Rose Anding, tells LL. Anding, 72, now married and living in Mississippi, is back in town for a spell to promote her new book, High Heels, Honey Lips & White Powder, that chronicles her wild times as Barry's girlfriend. ... The book lacks any bombshell revelations about the former mayor that would, indeed, land him in jail today. But it's full of tidbits Barryolgists will enjoy, like the fact that Anding would always check hotel rooms for recording devices before she and the mayor would do drugs. The book also adds a new perspective on Barry's drug arrest and trial -- arguably the most memorable event in D.C. politics -- while confirming what we already knew: Barry was both guilty and framed." Also: "Great Story LL! Hope ya give my book similar press ;)" writes "dbrighthaupt" in the comments.

BORDER BUDDIES -- Rushern Baker, who will become Prince George's County executive Monday, tells the Informer's James Wright that he wants to "build a stronger partnership" with the District. "'We in Prince George's County and in the District treat our border like it is the Berlin Wall,' Baker, 52, said. ... 'We need a complete economic scheme between the two jurisdictions,' said Baker, who lives in Cheverly. 'The Department of Homeland Security is relocating to Ward 8 and that will present opportunities for Prince George's County residents and businesses.' ... Working with District leaders would not present a problem because of his contacts in the city, he said. He and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty are graduates of Howard University's law school and they have interacted with Montgomery County Executive Isaiah Leggett, who has served as a professor and an acting dean, there. ... Baker said that immediately after D.C. Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray won the Democratic Party nomination for mayor on Sept. 14, former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry set up a meeting between the two. ... Baker, a former Maryland state delegate, said that he is friendly with D.C. Council Chairman-Elect Kwame Brown and D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7). He said that he knows D.C. Council member Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) 'very well.' "


Guess what: Harry Thomas Jr. has no plans to comply with new subpoena (AFro, Loose Lips)

Lame duck Fenty wants council to surplus four city parcels to be sold to developers -- good luck with that (WBJ)

David Gragan's out at procurement chief -- more to come (@mikedebonis, the Examiner)

District among costliest locations to buy health insurance (The Post)

Is it a conflict of interest for ABC Board Chair Chuck Brodsky to petition ANCs to allow his triathlons? (G'town Dish)

Phil Mendelson is under the "impression" he'll be keeping the public safety and judiciary committee; Kris Baumann wishes he wasn't (Loose Lips)

Local businesses wary of Wal-Mart (the Examiner)

Do you have any "big ideas" for the DDOT budget? David Alpert has a few. (GGW)

DC9 will reopen Dec. 15 -- with conditions (Post, WTTG-TV)

Nat Gandhi no-show at budget hearing "absolutely shameful" (We Love DC)

Community tensions with Potomac Gardens rise again (DCist)

Rhee makes Elle magazine "Power List" (Reliable Source)

O Street Market still waiting on some permits (Housing Complex)

Petworth shooting victim was DTRS ward (WaTimes)

Stolen puppy returned -- anonymous sources finger DYRS wards (WaTimes)

Teacher merit pay needs some works, says Rick Hess (the Examiner)

Deck over the North Capitol Street underpasses? (GGW)

Relax, dry cleaners: D.C. isn't banning perc so fast (National Clothesline)

Talking buses talk too loud (Dr. Gridlock)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Full slate of council business, including hearings on bike parking requirements and Metro funding, plus markup of open government bills

By Mike DeBonis  | December 2, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike, The District  
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Next: DeMorning DeBonis: Dec. 3, 2010

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