DeMorning DeBonis: Jan. 13, 2011
TODAY IS JAN. 13, 2011 -- DAY 12 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION
State Board of Education member William Lockridge, 63, died Wednesday, and the District lost an elected official, a political fixture, a community activist and a family man. Thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Wanda, children Joy and Stefan, and the rest of his family. Lockridge was "known for his determination and chronic impatience to get things done," Valerie Strauss writes in his Post obituary. "A longtime resident of [Ward 8], Mr. Lockridge prided himself on meeting often with community residents and liked to say, 'I listen, and I am accessible.' He was also seen as a man of contradictions, described in a 1988 Washington Post story as 'an avenging angel to some, an unrepentant mischief-maker to others; one minute ready to slug a colleague, the next minute opening his home and his checkbook to a needy student.' 'William Lockridge was an ordinary guy who did extraordinary things,' said D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). 'He fought for the children, the least, the last and the lost, and he would take on anybody, including myself, because he was a fighter.'" wtop and WUSA-TV also covers his passing. Tributes to Lockridge have also been rolling in via Twitter.
AFTER THE JUMP -- Chronic homelessness takes a dive -- Hardy parents not sated by reform plan -- D.C.'s brave new libraries -- Wayne Dickson enters council race -- Norton intros ill-fated voting-rights bills
*** MAIN COURSE ***
CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS DOWN -- A strong endorsement for Mayor Adrian Fenty's homelessness strategy: According to a survey from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the number of chronically homeless city residents dropped 12 percent. Patrick Madden reports at WAMU-FM that the Alliance "credits the city for embracing a number of innovative programs. 'There was a real effort on the part of the District government to identify chronically homeless people and get them into permanent supportive housing,' says National Alliance CEO Nan Roman. Known in the District as Housing First, it is an effort to move away from the shelter system, and the Fenty administration aggressively pursued the policy. ... During that same time period, the number of chronically homeless in Maryland jumped by more than 35 percent." But Alliance data indicates that the overall homeless population rose 3 percent, Freeman Klopott reports in the Examiner.
HARDY UPDATE -- The latest from Hardy Middle School: Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson has proposed some solutions for the school's deteriorating climate. Bill Turque reports at D.C. Schools Insider: "They include a new behavioral tool that asks each student to pledge to come to school on time, observe the rules and do their work. There is also a form that asks students to list three goals: academic, social and personal. Under the new system, known as 'Commitment to Advanced Achievement,' students will be evaluated every two weeks on their progress toward reaching the goals. The form uses little smiley face icons to specify rewards for those who demonstrate progress." And there will be "task forces" of administrators. What do parents think? "[E]arly reviews are not positive," Bill reports. WTTG-TV's Roby Chavez covers last night's parent meeting: "The meeting was very contentious and principal Dana Nerenberg, at times, looked close to tears and had few answers." Henderson did not attend. Patch also covers.
OUR NEW LIBRARIES -- City Paper's Lydia DePillis shines a light on a woefully undercovered city building program: the spate of new public libraries built and renovated by Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper and the DCPL board. "Together, they represent a significant chunk of the exciting modernist architecture being done in the District, which has long had a reputation for -- to put it delicately -- restraint. ... With a couple hundred million dollars to play with, Cooper toured the world for inspiration, and settled on a roster of fashionable and unabashedly modern designers." The city paid a premium for the design firepower, "[b]ut the result is a striking set of buildings that sit like aliens in their neighborhoods, thoroughly unlike their surroundings -- and intentionally so." Four libraries have already been built, with more to come. "[Cooper] probably won't get a chance from Mayor Vince Gray's cash-strapped administration to replace or even renovate the rest of the system. Still, in only five years, Cooper forcibly injected not just the libraries, but the entire city, with the biggest shot of popular modernism it's ever seen, and likely ever will." Also see a companion blog post, where DePillis highlights a cabal of "anti-modernists."
SPECIAL ELECTION UPDATE -- Wayne Dickson, the longtime Logan Circle resident best known for his leading role in bringing Fresh Fields/Whole Foods to P Street, tells the Post's Tim Craig he's entering the at-large council race. "Dickson, who is the only white candidate to announce his intention to run, said he's running on a platform that includes holding the line on taxes, embracing development and 'creating a dialogue' about poverty and teen pregnancy. ... Despite his relationship with [Jack Evans], Dickson said the council member did not ask him to enter the race and has '"not offered any assistance.' ... If elected, Dickson would become one of the oldest members of the council. But Dickson plans to use his age as an advantage. ... 'I will be the oldest in the field, but with age comes wisdom,' Dickson said." Meanwhile, draft target Bryan Weaver tells City Paper's Alan Suderman he'll decide whether to run within a week. DDOT's Scott Kubly tells DePillis he isn't running, and Michael Brown tells the Post that he has also ruled out a run to put a D next to his name.
EXERCISES IN FUTILITY -- Eleanor Holmes Norton introduces three bills that have no chances of passing the Republican House, or getting out of committee for that matter. In order of descending unlikelihood: There's the "New Columbia Admission Act," a statehood bill. There's the "District of Columbia Equal Representation Act ," to give D.C. both House and Senate representation while remaining a federal district. And then there's the good ol' D.C. House Voting Rights Act, a reprise of the compromise House-only bill that's failed to pass for three Congresses now. Ben Pershing reports at D.C. Wire: "The vast majority of House Republicans, who now control the chamber, oppose granting a vote to D.C. ... Undeterred, Norton said in a statement released Tuesday that her three bills 'lay down a marker of our determination to never relent or retreat until we have obtained each and every right to which we are entitled, whether through the frustration and anguish of the incrementalism that Congress has always forced upon us or with the full and complete set of rights, which, would be achieved through statehood.'" At DCist, Martin Austermuhle calls the bills "warmed-over." Also in the realm of symbolic gestures: Michael Brown says he will pursue renaming two blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue east of the White House as a "reminder to all those who visit the District of the rights still lacking in the nation's capital."
WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE? -- In an especially lengthy preamble to the mail, Gary Imhoff pushes back against calls to wall off public servants and public business from the people: "This would be a good time for our city's local elected officials to speak out on behalf of Washington as an open city -- and, by extension, of the United States as an open society -- but local officials seem to be interested, instead, in increasing their own security details and detachment from the people, and don't seem to be objecting to any measures to lock down our city. Mayor Gray, for example, has increased the size of his security detail back to the highest level it reached under Mayor Barry, after both Mayors Williams and Fenty decreased it. He has also moved the mayor's office back to the sixth floor of the Wilson Building, saying that he wants to make the office welcoming to visitors -- except that the whole sixth floor is off limits to uninvited visitors, who are forbidden access by armed security guards." Also: He wonders where the outrage is at Education Secretary Arne Duncan's explicit support for Henderson: "Maybe I've misunderstood the politics of home rule. Aren't we supposed to be highly offended if any federal official injects himself into the local decisions of this city? Aren't we supposed to protest some fed's telling DC government what policy it should pursue or whom it should appoint to its own positions? ... Where are the outspoken press releases from [Norton] and DC Vote telling Duncan to butt out of DC's business?"
*** SMALL PLATES ***
Prince George's County Council member Andrea Harrison is new COG chair; Phil Mendelson is co-vice chair (Post/Maryland Politics)
Verizon Center may not generate a 10th of the city's income, as Ted Leonsis claims, but it's still a lot (TBD Facts Machine)
Anacostia streetcar prep begins slowly (Housing Complex)
Still waiting on Gray/Kwame Brown transition disclosures... (Loose Lips)
Still waiting on Gray to name a GLBT Affairs director... (Metro Weekly)
Rhee: "I am in favor of employees being able to organize. That said I've met significant numbers of charter-school teachers none of whom are interested in joining a union." (WaTimes)
Why a city panel shouldn't give the Congolese embassy a bigger driveway (GGW)
Vincent Gray, cab driver, sentenced to 30 days in the clink (TBD Justice)
Your new Destination D.C. "love secretary": Carla Hall (Yeas & Nays)
H Street "mystery box" is gone! (TBD Neighborhoods)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Gray meets with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar tours MLK Memorial site -- Michael Brown hosts roundtable on Pennsylvania Avenue renaming, 5 p.m., location TBA -- Gray appears at ANC 3B meeting 7 p.m. at Stoddert ES 4000 Calvert St. NW
| January 13, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories: Morning Mike, The District
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