DeMorning DeBonis: Jan. 26, 2011
TODAY IS JAN. 26, 2011 -- DAY 25 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION
Remember last year when the D.C. Council, pushed by Marion Barry, handed UDC a closed Ward 8 school they didn't even ask for? The building was meant to serve as a base for the city's new community college, but it came with no additional operating funds. And UDC President Allen Sessoms now says that the community college needs an additional $8 million to stay afloat, Tim Craig reports in the Post. "The request, which is shining light on a deal struck last year between [Barry] and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) when he was council chairman, raises questions about whether taxpayers can sustain the university's rapidly expanding mission. ... UDC officials say they have been forced to spend more than $18 million to get the community college off the ground, nearly depleting the flagship four-year college in Northwest of its reserve funds. 'We want people to know there is no more money in this piggy bank," said [Sessoms]. 'If they want to keep this going, we need money, and it's going to cost money.'" Gray, who has been the university's top elected advocate, says he was not aware of the funding issue and suggests a tuition hike; UDC is asking for an ongoing $8 million to $10 million increase in its operating subsidy. And preparing the Ward 8 school, P.R. Harris, for students will require as much as $60 million in capital investment.
AFTER THE JUMP -- Many DCPS teachers reject bonus money to keep job protections -- Jonetta accuses Gray of spendthriftiness for rehiring deputy mayors -- not all Hardy parents think the school's going down the tubes -- Gray NFL leadership models: Mike Tomlin, Bill Belichick
*** MAIN COURSE ***
MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING -- Data from the first year of DCPS teacher performance bonuses is in, and it's somewhat surprising: WAMU-FM's Kavitha Cardoza reports that a full 40 percent of teachers eligible for the bonuses declined to accept them, because they didn't want to give up employment protections. "Eric Bethel, who taught at Marie Reed Elementary School, ... recently accepted a $20,000 bonus. 'It was very hard to turn down an opportunity to get a bonus check that was nearly half of my entire salary for a year,' he says. .. But these teachers had to agree to give up some job security. For example, they could lose their jobs because of program changes or enrollment declines at their schools. Diane Terrell, a teacher at Stoddert Elementary School, refused her $5,000. She says a bonus shouldn't come with strings attached. 'You think you can come and wave money in front of us and we will give up everything to you. I could not do that,' she says. Two teachers were eligible for $25,000, the maximum amount. Both accepted the money."
FISCAL AFFAIRS -- In her Examiner column, Jonetta Rose Barras accuses Gray of being a spendthrift in a time of fiscal crisis. Her evidence: "He has resurrected the wholly superfluous post of deputy mayor for public safety. He has announced he intends to revive the now defunct deputy mayor for human services position. He's spending like it's 2001 when money flowed like water." Mary Cheh makes the valuable point that Gray might very well have cut other EOM positions to fund the deputy mayor posts, but Jonetta doesn't wanna hear it: "Let's not quibble over adding or retaining. This much is certain: He has yet to reduce the size or cost of the government. He's continuing the tradition of paying exorbitant salaries: Gray's chief of staff makes $200,000 a year; the budget director gets $152,240; and that deputy mayor for public safety makes $185,000, according to information provided at my request by the mayor's office." In other fiscal news to be read in the Examiner, Freeman Klopott reports that city leaders will be delivering an austerity message on their upcoming trip to Wall Street. Says Chairman Kwame Brown, "It's important for Wall Street that we deliver a message that we have a united city, with the council chairman and mayor working together," adding that they'll tell bond raters "how we're not going to dip into our reserves and will substantially cut spending." Also witness Jack Evans saying Adrian Fenty "made a mistake" by dipping deeply into reserves after telling Wall Street that he wouldn't. Then again, the bond rating has remained intact.
HARDY, HARDY, HARDY -- At D.C. Schools Insider, Bill Turque writes that while some parents have been extremely vocal about the problems at Hardy Middle School, "There is another segment of the parent community that believes that while there are significant issues to address, Hardy is not imploding. They say it is time to move on from the dispute over Rhee's reassignment of [Principal Patrick Pope] -- however ill-advised or clumsily handled it might have been. And for the record, DCPS had no role in connecting me with these parents." Says one, "I talk to my kids a lot and they tell me what goes on. There have been an instance or two, but they don't come home telling me there's a fight every day and students are being mean to teachers." Says another, "Our experience has been extremely positive" -- though he suggests going back to the old "block" schedule. The Georgetown Dish, meanwhile, reports that DCPS had asked parents for help "refuting rumors that parents are unhappy with Hardy." And they talk to a couple of those extremely vocal parents.
GRAY LOVES BELICHICK -- WRC-TV filmed sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak's recent lunch with Gray, at the W Hotel. Scoops: Gray loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. "Doesn't matter how many you put in front of me, I'll eat every one of them," he says. He was loyal to his softball team, even while running for mayor: "I didn't miss a game during the entire campaign." And Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin and New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick remind Gray of his own leadership style: "People who are adaptable. Some of these teams have turned over athletes tremendously, and they still win. ... The winning teams in professional sports are ones that have a systems, that have an approach. They have leaders that can communicate well." Unlike a certain other team Gray might be a fan of.
YAY TRANSPARENCY -- It's a new day in the mayoral communications office, Klopott reports: "Gray's chief spokeswoman Linda Wharton-Boyd told the media contacts for city agencies at a recent meeting that they're free to answer reporters questions, a source who attended a meeting told The Washington Examiner. There is one caveat, the spokesmen and women were instructed to send their comments to Wharton-Boyd before sending them out to reporters. But if the spokespeople don't hear back in 20 minutes they can respond on their own." Such a policy, Klopott writes, "would be a huge shift from the days of Mayor Adrian Fenty, when reporters were told to contact Fenty's spokeswoman directly with any question. Questions were then rarely answered."
*** SMALL PLATES ***
Union-loving Hollywood liberals snub "Waiting for Superman" (Examiner/Capital LandExaminer/Capital Land)
Embarrassing: Wal-Mart foes listed Yvette Alexander as a fellow opponent. She's not. (D.C. Wire)
"School budgets delayed again" D.C. Schools Insider)
Rhee takes Nevada (StudentsFirst)
Why First Source needs a jobs "broker" (DCFPI)
Josh Lopez claim on Gray union backing: "Total malarkey" (TBD/Facts Machine)
More on new voucher bill, to be unveiled this morning (WaTimes)
First Metro votes Thursday for new board members Tom Downs and Tommy Wells (Examiner)
Joe Englert calls, self-servingly, for H Street liquor license moratorium (Housing Complex)
Log Cabin Republicans speak out against GOP effort to ban D.C. gay marriage (Metro Weekly)
Eleanor Holmes Norton: So lonely (Maryland Politics)
D.C. oversight subcommittee chair did not sit with a Democrat last night (Spartanburg Herald Journal)
Phil Mendelson: Enforce traffic laws better! (WAMU-FM)
Cool map shows most popular Bikeshare trips (GGW)
More on charter school impasse, threatening Latin American Youth Center project (Examiner)
City proposes monitoring privately-owned cameras. Big deal! (Housing Complex)
Why no mafia in D.C.? No Italians, duh. (New Republic)
Meet the foul-mouthed new president of Catholic U. (Post)
D.C.: "the absolute WORST at so many things" (DCist)
Why Georgetown U. doesn't need any new dorms (GGW)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Mayor-council breakfast meeting, 9 a.m. -- John Boehner, Joe Liberman unveil voucher bill at Capitol, 11:15 a.m. -- Gray attends pre-Auto Show reception for Association of International Auto Manufacturers -- first at-large candidate forum, 6:30 p.m. at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th St. NW, 11th floor
| January 26, 2011; 10:30 AM ET
Categories: Morning Mike, The District
Save & Share: Previous: Ward 6 received most development assistance, D.C. study shows
Next: Could Civil War link endanger Ward 4 Wal-Mart?
Posted by: keithstg | January 27, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse