DeMorning DeBonis: Dec. 31, 2010
TODAY IS DEC. 31, 2010 -- TWO DAYS UNTIL INAUGURATION
When you read the next edition of this roundup, Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray will be Mayor Vincent C. Gray, and the hard work of governing will have begun. In an Outlook essay, the Post's Marc Fisher shares some thoughts on how Gray can govern by "fulfilling the vision that [Marion Barry] spoke about so convincingly, yet left so painfully incomplete" -- that is, a vision "lift all boats" and create progress for all parts of the city. That means continuing to improve the schools, Marc writes, but it means more: "The last two guys took care of the glitzy building projects. ... You got stuck with the harder work. In a time of shrinking resources and frighteningly high unemployment, in a city that is more affluent than ever yet has a poverty rate among black children that has soared above the national average, you must cut the budget, yet provide for those in need. If there is an honest way to do that, no American politician has found it. ... The past two mayors succeeded by governing deep in the details of service delivery. They failed because they lost sight of the pain and dreams of those who felt left behind. Your challenge is to merge those two missions and let the people feel them as one."
AFTER THE JUMP -- Beware of Barry -- Rhee wins; Barry loses -- baby remains found in abandoned part of D.C. General -- Jaffe to snow: bring it on
*** MAIN COURSE ***
MORE FROM MARC -- Beware of Barry, he warns: "[T]he council member from Ward 8 has the power and savvy to define you. Look at how he managed to sell his images of [Anthony Williams] as emotionally barren and overly business-oriented and [Adrian Fenty] as immature and tone-deaf, even as those mayors radically remade the District into a dynamic, growing and more solvent city. Williams tried to ignore Barry, and Fenty tried to get by with an endless stream of compliments. ... You don't have to cater to Barry nearly as much as Fenty and Williams did because you enter office with far more street cred than either of your predecessors. Still, you too must walk the line between expanding the tax base and honoring the political traditions of the city. With gestures small and large, you can set a tone that appeals across the city's divisions. Take a hard line on ethical violations and push for answers to questions about contracts that Fenty's administration awarded to the mayor's fraternity brothers. Hire strong agency managers from across the nation. Move aggressively to lift the ban on tall buildings along the District's borders, especially near Oxon Hill, Fort Lincoln, Silver Spring and Friendship Heights. Keep the city's schools on the cutting edge of the national reform movement, and keep slashing away at the size of schools until every child is in a place where adults know them well." (Incidentally: Post planning and architecture critic Roger K. Lewis also wants city honchos to press for modifications to the Height Act.)
ALSO -- Outlook publishes a a "to-do list" for Gray, from leaders including DCWatch's Dorothy Brizill, Sierra Club's Jim Dougherty, EastBanc's Joe Sternlieb, poet E. Ethelbert Miller, D.C. Appleseed's Walter Smith and others.
WINNERS AND LOSERS -- My picks for D.C.'s political winner and loser of 2010: Michelle Rhee wins. "Rhee exited the D.C. Public Schools amid an ill-informed national narrative that she and Fenty were martyrs of teacher union politics. She has now decamped to run a billion-dollar lobbying group, where she gets to remain the darling of the Sun Valley Conference set while eschewing the grittier work of running a school system." Marion Barry loses: "The District's mayor-for-life paid for his 2009 abuse of public funds in March, when his colleagues censured him and stripped him of his committee chairmanship. Now, courtesy of Chairman-elect Kwame R. Brown, he again will run a committee - the lightweight panel on "community affairs and aging." And although Barry backed [Gray]'s successful challenge to Fenty, it is still far from certain what dividends Gray's victory will pay Barry and Ward 8." (Related: The Daily Beast names Rhee the ninth-smartest person of 2010. "When her patron, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty lost reelection this year, in large part due to Rhee, it only raised her profile.")
YIKES -- A curious photographer exploring an abandoned building on the D.C. General Hospital campus made a startling discovery last week: Inside a can labeled "Babies that have been Autopsied" was indeed what appeared to be the remains of a baby -- "fingernails, hair, eyelashes, everything," said the photographer to the Post's Paul Schwartzman. "On Thursday, after speaking to and texting with the photographer, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier dispatched a search team, which found what he had discovered. 'We recovered what appears to be human remains, possibly that of a fetus,' said Lanier, who ordered the remains transported to the D.C. medical examiner's office, which will perform an autopsy. 'It may take some time to get a final ruling,' the chief said. 'It doesn't appear to be a crime. It's very sad.' ... The chief said her investigators will need to determine when the pathology building was vacated and 'who was responsible for removing stuff. It will be a longer investigation.'" And, no, the photographer won't be charged with trespassing.
CRUISIN' FOR A BRUISIN' -- Harry Jaffe makes a ballsy prediction in his Examiner column: "My prediction is that the next D.C. snowstorm gets gone in a flash from our streets. Why? William Howland, our snow removal boss. ... I'm hoping Howland stays and betting his crews can remove snow -- better and faster than our neighbors in Maryland and Virginia. Howland is one of the reasons I am predicting that the District -- once the raw sore in the center of the metropolitan region -- continues to grow into the essential core in 2011." Also he predicts that Gray's "honeymoon" will last a full year "because he's not Fenty, and he knows how to tell people what they want to hear, whether they are black or white, rich or poor. Plus, Gray has made some brilliant moves in building his staff. Allen Lew should make a tough but fair city administrator. Keeping Cathy Lanier as police chief didn't please the union, but continuity can be good. Letting Kaya Henderson run the schools shows patience and smarts. And Bill Howland knows how to plow -- so let it snow in 2011."
*** SMALL PLATES ***
Still waiting on appointments to DMPED, DDOT, DHCD, DHS and more (Housing Complex)
No inaugural ball tickets? Fox 5 to the rescue! (WTTG-TV)
Gray Lady: Fenty "overpromised and underdelivered after a record-breaking snowstorm in February, and that, among other perceived sins, helped lead to his primary loss this year" (New York Times)
Eugene Robinson: Chris Christie's snow response has shades of Barry's (Post)
Keep an eye on Allen Lew! (WBJ)
Biggest LGBT stories of the year: gay marriage; Gray wins; Brian Betts murdered (Blade)
Rhee reviews the year, previews her 2011 (Students First)
Eleanor Holmes Norton asks POTUS to mention D.C. voting rights in his SotU (D.C. Wire)
Sorry -- it wasn't Rhee who put such a percentage of D.C. kids in charter schools; it was Newt Gingrich (L.A. Times)
Georgetown University files its 10-year campus plan (Vox Populi)
MPD needs to do a better job archiving its press releases (City Desk)
Why Anthony Tata shouldn't be a school superintendent (Answer Sheet)
New D.C. libraries will have lots of outlets (Library Journal)
H Street hotspot Sticky Rice temporarily shuttered after stabbing (DCist)
The List! (Post)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Inaugural festivities kick off Sunday morning with 8 a.m. prayer service followed by 10 a.m. swearing-in. Inaugural ball program starts at 7 p.m.