DeMorning DeBonis: Feb. 3, 2011
TODAY IS FEB. 3, 2011 -- DAY 33 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION
Are we getting our money's worth? That's a question prompted by a new report from the Pew Charitable Trust finding that the D.C. Council pays its members more and spends more money than just about any city legislative body in the country. There are mitigating factors, of course. The District contains state and county functions in addition to typical city matters, and relative to the size of the city budget, the council's spending is not out of line. But the council budget has grown in recent years while those of its peer legislatures have shrunk, and in a time of intense fiscal pressure, the report is sure to put pressure on lawmakers to include themselves in the coming cost-cutting. The Post's Tim Craig finds no sitting member willing to criticize his or her current salary. ("We deserve more, quite frankly," said Marion Barry.) The Examiner's Brian Hughes quotes at-large hopeful Patrick Mara calling the $120,000-plus salaries "disgraceful." Also see WAMU-FM and DCist, which digs into some of the report's other numbers.
AFTER THE JUMP -- Kwame Brown's latest campaign appears to have overspent -- Brown favors grading public school parents -- Injured teacher keeps fighting -- Watergate residents want riverside trees removed -- Another new gig for Fenty
*** MAIN COURSE ***
BROWN IN THE RED -- Kwame Brown's campaign for council chairman appears to have overspent its donor intake by almost $14,000, Freeman Klopott reports today in the Examiner: "A campaign finance report filed by Brown's campaign for chairman on Jan. 31 shows that the campaign spent $733,608 and received $719,757 in donations -- leaving it with $13,851 in unpaid expenditures. Brown tells Klopott that the difference isn't debt, but "the Office of Campaign Finance is working to reconcile the amount shown in the January 31st report as negative cash on hand." Huh? Meanwhile, an OCF investigation into his still-unclosed 2004 and 2008 campaigns is pending. And get this: "Brown's 2004 election campaign paid $645 to consultant Charles Hawkins on Jan. 19, 2011. City finance rules require candidates to close out debt-free accounts six months after an election. Any surplus must be contributed to nonprofit groups or political parties."
BROWN WOULD GRADE PARENTS -- The Washington Times' Deborah Simmons gets the ol' "wide-ranging interview" with Brown a month into his chairmanship. "Brown doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a liberal or conservative, although at times he sounds more like House Republicans John A. Boehner and Darrell Issa than House Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Eleanor Holmes Norton. In another assertion of independence, he said that under his leadership as D.C. Council chairman, the body will not serve as a mere 'rubber stamp' for Mayor Vincent C. Gray. ... Mr. Brown, who urged Education Secretary Arne Duncan to continue funding a D.C. school voucher program, said 'I'm all in' when it comes to policies designed to improve a child's academic lot, which he said includes holding parents accountable. ... 'Too many parents are absent in the lives of their children. Parental school involvement should be mandatory,' he said. ... Asked whether that meant endorsing a Florida proposal that would allow teachers to grade parents, Mr. Brown said, 'Yes.' "
INJURED TEACHER STILL FIGHTING -- City Paper's Alan Suderman catches up with former DCPS teacher Francis Bolden, who was seriously injured in 2005 when a McKinley tech student dropped a fire extinguisher on his head. The intervening years have not been kind: "The student was found guilty of attempted murder and aggravated assault and sentenced to three months in a juvenile detention center, according to published reports. Bolden's sentence, however, has been much longer. On top of the physical pain he says he still feels, he's now unemployed. Having blown through his retirement, he's dependent on the generosity of friends and family to keep his family of four afloat. His problems, Bolden says, have been made worse by an uncaring city bureaucracy. 'They just want me to go away,' says Bolden. ... What's also troubling about Bolden's case is that he says he's been fighting virtually on his own, and his efforts to enlist his union for help didn't go far. Bolden provided LL with e-mails he sent to then-WTU president George Parker asking for help. In one dated Dec. 3, 2009, Parker commands his vice president, Nathan Saunders, to make helping Bolden a priority and contact him within 24 hours. Saunders, who is now WTU's president after beating Parker in a heated contest, didn't contact Bolden for weeks after that e-mail was sent, according to Bolden. 'They did nothing,' Bolden says. Saunders and Parker did not respond to calls seeking comment."
MARA ON THE ISSUES -- Some highlights from yesterday's Greater Greater Washington live chat with at-large council candidate Patrick Mara. On why he's a Republican: "I realized at a young age the benefits of divided government. Rhode Island only had six GOP members of the state legislature. This caused a serious case of group-think. It is often compared to Louisiana in terms of corruption and transparency. ... I also prefer to incentivize good behavior rather than penalize. ... I'm also a big believer in Federalism. So, when I go up to the Hill to tell Republicans to leave us alone, it actually means something." On congressional relations: "I will engage Republican members of Congress like we've never engaged them before. Our local strategy is reactionary. We engage Republicans it seems only when something goes wrong. ... As an elected member of the D.C. Council, I will commit to meet with, on average, one Republican member of Congress or senator each week for the remainder of my term." On teacher evaluations: "IMPACT is a cornerstone of the Rhee legacy. I'm concerned with any talk of rolling back IMPACT. ... Where we need to improve IMPACT primarily lies with professional development and how we provide teachers with structured plans for improvement." On welfare reform: "In D.C. we create some pretty major dependencies. I look no further than Bill Clinton and Cory Booker for guidance on this." On closing the budget gap: "Everyone making over 100K should take a 10% cut. This includes council members and their staffs." On why he's running so soon: "This election is a very special circumstance. ... Democracy should not have a price."
*** SMALL PLATES ***
So much for that "flinty Chicago toughness" (Slate)
Watergate residents complain about trees that will one day block their river views (the Examiner)
Adrian Fenty to serve as "outside adviser" to Arlington-based Rosetta Stone; "I hope to continue to impact student learning in a positive way around the U.S.," he said (BusinessWire)
What House bill would mean for abortions in D.C. (TBD)
Ingmar Guandique's lawyers want a new trial (Crime Scene)
Camera-enforcement program set to expand (TBD)
Metro personnel costs set to expand by 3.25 percent (the Examiner)
BZA member rebukes Mount Pleasant ANC commissioner who suggests that the board might be "complicit in any further deaths that occur" due to library construction (TBD)
Did Hill Rag, et al., call for the vehicular homicide of Tommy Wells? (District Curmudgeon)
Twenty-one apply to open charter schools -- including erstwhile Dunbar High operator Friends of Bedford (D.C. Schools Insider)
DMV employee's firing for fixing his own tickets upheld by appeals board (Loose Lips)
MPD gay liaison unit changes phone number after activists distribute hundreds of key chains with old number (Metro Weekly)
Georgetown's Hyde-Addison Elementary School is again being filled by a mainly neighborhood population (G'town Metropolitan)
New DCPS general counsel is OAG vet Robert Utiger (D.C. Schools Insider)
"[H]ow to achieve D.C.'s broadband adoption goals without pouring tax dollars into Verizon's coffers"? (New America Foundation)
DCPS school budgets delayed -- again (D.C. Schools Insider)
Will big box retail kill upper 14th Street? (GGW)
Unclear why, but Bruce Johnson does a bag tax story (WUSA-TV)
Do you have questions for Metro's Richard Sarles? (GGW)
Ward 8 Dems to honor William Lockridge later this month (Congress Heights on the Rise)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Gray meets with Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield, speaks to "venture philanthropy" event, thanks Ward 6 volunteers -- Jim Graham holds first hearing as Human Services chairman, 11 a.m. in chambers
| February 3, 2011; 9:45 AM ET
Categories: Morning Mike, The District
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