TODAY IS JUNE 15, 2011 — DAY 165 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION
FLASH — “House approps bill for DC includes ban on local-gov funded abortion but not gay marriage, med marijuana or needle exchange,” the Post’s Ben Pershing tweets. More to come.
The fiscal 2012 city budget is passed, and now all that’s left to do is wait for the “magical money” to come in. That’s what D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) calls the expected uptick in tax revenue expected to be announced by finance officials next week. What will it pay for? Consult this chart I put together. For instance, if there’s $25.2 million in new revenue, “Green Teams” get funding. For additional police hiring, the city would have to take in $135.8 million more than expected. And for the Lincoln Theater to get its non-earmark earmark, the uptick would have to reach just shy of $200 million. In my budget write-up, I lead with the police hiring, which was pushed waaay down the priority list, mostly by a last-minute $32 million request from Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) to shore up Medicaid spending. The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott and WAMU-FM’s Patrick Madden also highlight the police issue. More after the jump.
AFTER THE JUMP — More budget, blow-by-blow — Jonetta, Sherwood take some whacks at ethics bill — confirm Kaya Henderson, says Post editorial — new police lines would split 3D between wards — Kwame seeks closure
*** MAIN COURSE ***
PAGING TREY GOWDY — FOP chairman Kris Baumann to Examiner: “Given the council’s failure to honor its public safety obligations, it is probably time for the federal government to step in to oversee and maintain public safety in the District.”
BIG PICTURE — Klopott reports in Examiner: “The city was faced with a $322 million gap in fiscal 2012, which starts Oct. 1. Gray dealt with the shortfall in the budget he sent to the council in April by raising taxes on those who earned $200,000 or more and making deep cuts to human services. But Brown reshaped the budget by nixing the tax rate increase and adding millions to services that help the poor and the mentally disabled. To cover the revenue lost by the tax rate hike, Brown pushed through a new 8.5 percent tax on out-of-state municipal bonds. ... The debate often turned contentious Tuesday, and some council members described the scene as ‘chaotic.’ ‘Gray had a firm hand on the council,’ Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells said, describing Gray’s tenure as council chairman, which came immediately before Brown’s. ‘This time a lot was in flux,’ Wells said. ‘No one could whip votes.’ Brown said he didn’t think there was anything unusual about the how the council did its business Tuesday, but noted that ‘more issues arise when there are spending pressures.’” Tom Howell Jr. of the WaTimes also has a good rundown of yesterday’s vote.
COMBINED REPORTING IS HERE — WBJ’s Michael Neibauer covers the business impacts: “Despite their best lobbying efforts, multistate corporations will face combined reporting come Oct. 1, meaning they will have to report all income from all subsidiaries — nixing their ability to shelter income outside Washington and reduce their corporate income tax liability. An amendment offered by Councilman Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, to exempt Pepco from combined reporting also failed. But thanks to a last minute amendment, the same publicly traded companies that will be subject to combined reporting will also enjoy a tax deduction ‘for the restatement of deferred tax assets and liabilities that they have to recognize now in their financial statements,’ according to a fiscal impact statement issued by the chief financial officer. The deduction, expected to cost the District $5 million a year, doesn’t kick in until fiscal 2016, and will remain in place for seven years.”
SMOKE AWAY — The Council approved a once-yearly exception to the city’s indoor smoking ban, for the benefit of Fight for Children’s yearly “Fight Night” fundraiser. The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids issued a statement calling the move “outrageous.” Only Phil Mendelson voted to strip the language.
ETHICS, PART 1 — Jonetta Rose Barras with a broadside against the D.C. Council in her Examiner column: “]N]ot one legislator has publicly suggested that Harry Thomas Jr. resign, following disclosure he allegedly diverted $300,000 meant for youth for his personal use. Not one legislator has chastised Michael A. Brown for his cozy relationship with key individuals in the gaming industry even as he persuaded his colleagues to approve Internet gambling in the city. This absence of outrage from untarnished council members is as disturbing as the alleged unethical and corrupt actions by their colleagues.” The critique extends to the Brown-Cheh ethics bill, which Jonetta says is “significantly flawed,” contains a “Mack Truck-size loophole” and “doesn’t specifically address the issue that instigated its need: council members’ unethical behaviors.”
ETHICS, PART 2 — Tom Sherwood writes in his Notebook column about ethics reform: “What’s needed is clarity in the law, tougher enforcement, quicker enforcement and real consequences. But it’s hard to legislate what should be common sense. If you use government funds — attention Council member Thomas — you ought to make certain they’re not used to your personal benefit. If someone offers you cash in an envelope — attention Council member Jim Graham — you might say you prefer a check so you can properly report it as a donation to your constituent service fund or campaign. And that goes for cash that’s not in an envelope, too. (You have to be pretty specific in these instructions, sad to say.) If someone in your campaign offers cash or checks to another candidate — attention Mayor Vincent Gray — you should dismiss that campaign staffer no matter what the reason, and have authorities make sure no law was broken. If you want to do something on the edge, something that’s questionable or a mental tossup, you might consider how it would look in the blogosphere, on the front page of the newspapers or on a television broadcast.”
CONFIRM KAYA — A Post editorial urges the D.C. Council to confirm Kaya Henderson as D.C. Public Schools chancellor: “[I]t is safe to say that prospects for the city being able to turn around its historically troubled schools have never appeared better. That’s due to the capable leadership of acting Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and the important support she has received from Mayor Vincent C. Gray. ... First tapped by the presumptive mayor-elect to run the schools on an interim basis, Ms. Henderson, a top deputy to [Michelle Rhee], brought immediate stability to the system. The feared exodus of the talented principals and teachers recruited during Ms. Rhee’s tenure never materialized, and the school year that is now drawing to a close was ably managed. She is, though, far more than a placeholder. Her understated style contrasts with the take-no-prisoners approach of her headline-grabbing predecessor, but that doesn’t mean there is any less urgency or boldness in Ms. Henderson’s push for school improvement. . . .The last thing this city needs is the churn caused by a change in administration. Mr. Gray wisely recognized that Ms. Henderson was the right person with the skills needed; he has given her the resources and the room to do her job. Now it’s time for the D.C. Council to make her appointment permanent.”
THIN BLUE LINES, REDRAWN — In the Washington Times, Andrea Noble covers the process of police redistricting, now underway. ” [O]pposition to the seven realignment plans released last week has been minimal compared with divisive battles over ward redistricting,” she writes, but there are some early flashpoints: “Among the changes to the 3rd District, which includes Adams Morgan and U Street territory, is the shedding of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood as it is passed to the 4th District to the north. The shift drew ire from D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who said he did not want his ward split between two police districts as it was before the last major boundary realignment in 2004. ... While the changes to the police district boundaries are pretty much set, the changes to the PSAs within each district are still open for negotiation, Chief [Cathy Lanier] said. However, the final changes will have to be approved by the D.C. Council, Mr. Graham said, noting that he will vote against the plan in its current form.”
*** SMALL PLATES ***
Kwame Brown responds to campaign finance charges: He’s happy to be “closer to closure” and having this matter “closing to close,” providing an opportunity for “closure” that would make things “closer to being closed.” (DeBonis, Examiner)
Court hearing today on Harry Thomas’s student loan issues (AP via Post)
Chuck Brodsky pleads not guilty to impersonating a cop (City Desk)
Office on Aging resumes meal service (DCentric)
Coalition of cab drivers alarmed about regulation rewrite (Counterpunch)
Capital Bikeshare headed to Montgomery County (GGW)
Metro pipe-dreams future rail lines (Examiner)
Did ANC have undue influence on Office of Planning’s GU campus plan report? (Vox Populi)
Does Cleveland Park need to widen sidewalks or preserve parking? (Housing Complex)
Robert Wilkins is now a federal judge, the last of four recent appointments to the D.C. District bench (Legal Times)
If you’re running a summer program for kids, let the Alliance of Youth Advocates know (DCAYA)
SAIL charter will finish academic year (Post)
D.C.: Great for parenting (Post)
Don’t be a jerk to bike riders; they might be cops (Girl and Her Bike)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Gray holds weekly news briefing, 10 a.m. in JAWB G-9 — D.C. Council hearing on “District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors Adam Clampitt Confirmation Resolution of 2011”; “Commission on the Arts and Humanities Judith F. Terra Confirmation Resolution Of 2011” and “Commission on the Arts and Humanities Gretchen B. Wharton Confirmation Resolution Of 2011,” 11 a.m. in JAWB 412; hearing on various alley and street closings, 2 p.m. in JAWB 500