TODAY IS JUNE 16, 2011 — DAY 166 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION

The confirmation hearing for D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson is now underway. The Post’s Bill Turque is there, and tweeting. For pre-hearing read, check out Bob McCartney’s Post column today. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, he writes, “has delivered pretty much what he promised on his main campaign pledge. So far, he has continued Michelle Rhee’s education reforms without the former chancellor’s heartburn-inducing leadership style. That’s no small achievement given that improving the school system is critical to instilling hope among the city’s poorer families and keeping more affluent ones from fleeing to the suburbs. The individual most responsible for this success is Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson. ... Henderson has mostly stuck to the policies introduced by Rhee, her longtime mentor. In particular, she’s kept the evaluation system introduced by Rhee to identify incompetent teachers so they can be either retrained or shown the door. ... But Henderson has made one enormous change. She hasn’t gone out of her way to publicly denigrate the people who work for her to make a splash nationally and build a reputation for toughness. ... Henderson has maintained a low profile, sounded conciliatory and intentionally avoided giving interviews to the national news media. Rhee notoriously shunned dealing with local reporters who covered her regularly in favor of speaking to out-of-town reporters who reliably produced one-time, adulatory profiles. ‘I feel like we’ve gotten enough national attention,’ Henderson said.”

AFTER THE JUMP — The Wilson Building’s liberal “rapid-response wonk team” — more from the Teddy Loza tapes — HIV/AIDS report shows progress — Fenty sons leave Lafayette — three good ethics reforms

*** MAIN COURSE ***

WONKS ON CALL — From City Paper’s Lydia DePillis, a fab profile of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, the “rapid-response wonk team ... push]ing] for progressive taxation and protect funding for social services,” tracing its origins in the debate over the Tax Parity Act through the ballpark debate to today. “As city revenue declined over the last several years, DCFPI has become even more central to lobbying efforts, doing polling, organizing coalitions, and providing talking points to the groups that run programs for the poor. In any other political landscape, DCFPI’s activism might put them in a box on the left. There might be another outfit that challenged their numbers, or put out statistics for a fiscally conservative agenda. In the District, though, DCFPI is the only budget analysis game in town — to the eternal gratitude of social-service organizations, and the intense annoyance of the D.C. Council’s fiscal hawks. They bring the numbers that help set the tone for debates; even if they don’t always win every fight, DCFPI manages to start them on friendly ground.” As much as the piece praises the DCFPI’s clout, it also points out the recent fecklessness of the business lobby: “[Jack Evans] worries that high taxes might keep individuals and businesses away in the future — but only has anecdotal evidence to support it. The Chamber of Commerce, for example, didn’t do much more than offer hearing testimony. ... Evans feels like he’s in a lonely fight. ‘The business community’s woeful!’ he yelped. ‘They’re not even on the table! They don’t even register! Board of Trade, Chamber, Federal City Council, I mean, they’re just nowhere to be heard.’”

THE TEDDY TAPES — Also in City Paper, Alan Suderman digs deeper into the FBI transcripts released as part of the Ted Loza sentencing. He attempts to answer a question: “[W]hy did the FBI go to such considerable effort ... to try and bribe [Jim Graham] in the first place?” Answer: “[I]t looks like the FBI thought it could bribe Graham because the Ethiopian conspirators they were eavesdropping on believed they could bribe Graham — a perception that was probably strengthened when Loza repeatedly asked for money and gifts he said were for his and Graham’s use. Loza appeared to want people to believe that doing him favors would lead to legislative action on Graham’s part. That doesn’t mean Graham did anything wrong, of course; the people who tried to bribe him could have just been mistaken, and Graham has said Loza was acting on his own. But the FBI’s tapes may not be the total vindication Graham says they are.” Also: “On most occasions, it appears, Loza was asking for things for his own benefits, but court records and recordings show Loza sometimes indicated that he was seeking gifts or cash that would benefit Graham as well. On Nov. 27, 2007, court records say the FBI recorded a call between Loza and [Abdulaziz Kamus] in which Loza asked for money for a trip he and Graham were taking to Honduras and El Salvador for an anti-gang violence conference. ... The next day, Kamus gave Loza $500, according to court records. ... Certainly, there’s no evidence of criminal action on Graham’s part — as he would be the first to point out. But the federal filings still raise serious questions about Graham’s judgment and leadership skills as an elected official.”

FEWER NEW HIV/AIDS CASES REPORTED — Gray unveiled the city’s yearly HIV/AIDS report yesterday; the top line finding, via the Post’s Lena Sun: “Although the number of District residents living with HIV or AIDS remains high enough to rate as an epidemic, the tally of new cases has dropped by nearly 50 percent over two years. ... The annual report by the D.C. Department of Health also noted a 60 percent drop in the number of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases from injection drug use, from 153 cases in 2007 to 62 in 2009, the most recent data available. Health officials cited expanded needle-exchange programs as the probable reason. ... Although the prevalence rate — the total percentage of people in a population with the condition or disease at a given time — is the highest for any city in the United States and has remained steady for three years, it also reflects the fact people are living longer with the virus or the disease, officials said. ... The number of new cases is a better measure of progress in fighting the disease. On that front, the report had some nuggets of encouraging news. Newly diagnosed cases of HIV and AIDS fell from 1,311 in 2007 to 755 in 2009.” Read the full report. Also WAMU-FM, WRC-TV, Washingtonian, WaTimes.

MOSTLY HANDS-OFF — Speaking of needle exchange: The first draft of the District’s 2012 federal appropriations bill doesn’t contain a rider banning local funding of needle swaps — or gay marriage or medical marijuana — but it does continue a ban on local funding of abortions. The Post’s Ben Pershing reports: “The new measure also includes a ban on the use of federal funding for the District’s needle exchange and medical marijuana programs but, notably, does not prevent the city from using local money for those items. The bill is silent regarding D.C.’s same-sex marriage and gun-control laws. Those omissions represent a victory for local activists, but only a temporary one. More riders could be added via amendments from conservative lawmakers, either when the measure reaches the full Appropriations Committee or when it hits the House floor. ... The spending bill includes a $637 million federal payment to the District for fiscal 2012, $62 million less than the city got for 2011 and $80 million less than Obama requested in his budget. That annual federal outlay comprises roughly 2 percent of the District’s operating budget, so the effect of the cuts on the city’s overall fiscal picture would be relatively small.” More at LifeNews.com, which reports that anti-abortion forces on the Hill “are still looking for confirmation that [the previous abortion ban] was implemented.”

LET’S GET IT STARTED — “Gray Seeks to Jump Start Agenda,” reads this Washington Informer headline. Gray spokeswoman Doxie McCoy tells the paper: “The media keep saying the mayor’s talking, not doing anything ... [but] folks at the town hall meetings I’ve attended are more interested in jobs and taking care of their households than what the media has called a scandal. ... It should have been handled better. The law says that children can’t be employed in the departments their parents work in. The mayor believes that a child who grew up in government should not be penalized in this way. ... Yes, there have been distractions, missteps, things we wished hadn’t happened. But the mayor is running the government and moving the city forward. He’s working hard to restore public confidence.”

LATER, LAFAYETTE — After the sturm und drang of 2009, Adrian Fenty’s twin sons are leaving Lafayette Elementary School and enrolling in an online academy in order to further their tennis careers. Bill Turque reports at D.C. Schools Insider; “According to Lafayette’s year-end newsletter, Andrew and Matthew Fenty will take their sixth-grade courses through Laurel Springs, a private on-line school headquartered in Ojai, Calif. ... According to its Web site, Laurel Springs is ‘the school of choice’ for promising young athletes and performers looking for flexibility in their academic schedules so that they can develop their gifts. ... D.C. school sources say that that the boys are talented tennis players who spent lots of time during the school year getting intensive lessons.”

POKER HEARING SET — Michael Brown announced Wednesday that the Council will finally hold a hearing on online gambling on June 29, and the Post editorial board is pleased to hear it, sort of: “Let’s hope that this is more than a gesture to save face for the irresponsible way the council has handled this matter.” The editorial also renews questions of a possible conflict of interest for Brown to push the online gambling measure while working for a law firm with a big gambling practice. “Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan dismissed those concerns as a ‘stretch’ when recently asked his opinion on WAMU’s ‘The Kojo Nnamdi Show,’ but we think that the questions demand more careful study. Mr. Brown says that he has nothing to hide, so why not voluntarily seek review from the new ethics officer hired by the attorney general?”

THREE GOOD REFORMS — Writing at Greater Greater Washington, Bryan Weaver offers three ethics reform ideas. First: “The council needs to adopt rules stipulating that any nonprofit that receives D.C. funds cannot have a member of the Council on its board of directors.” (That means you, Vincent Orange.) Second: “The time has come to restrict [council members’] outside income in the same scope as members of Congress, or at least create detailed disclosure of all outside income.” And third, ending the practice of “corporate bundling,” where business interests will donate using separate companies with similar or identical ownership. Says Weaver, “Any ethics legislation approved by the Council must institute limits that bar this sort of corporate contribution bundling. It must also include clear disclosure requirements to inform citizens about potential conflicts of interest and influences.”

*** SMALL PLATES ***

Sulaimon Brown won’t comply with Council’s subpoena for records (AP)

Seven months after council orders it, OIG proceeds with audit of commercial real-estate assessment process (WBJ)

What exactly happened at Tuesday’s budget vote (D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute)

Council members defend “contingency budgeting” (WaTimes)

Barbara Mikulski praises Metro safety improvements (Examiner)

D.C. schools, like those in suburbs, rack up health code violations (Examiner)

Commander Jennifer Greene will leave MPD to head Unified Communications; Melissa Hook to lead Justice Grants Administration (WJLA-TV)

Tommy Wells demands response to Safeway gay slur accusation (@TommyWells)

PERB won’t rule on fired teachers just yet (Examiner)

Will police redistricting help fight crime in Adams Morgan? (City Desk)

Harry Thomas has two weeks to respond to student loan claims (Examiner, WTTG-TV, AP, Loose Lips)

City seniors need to be included, report finds (Post)

Pedicab drivers complain about ticketing (WJLA-TV)

Read all about Eleanor Holmes Norton’s finances (Post)

D.C. water: Tasty! (Young and Hungry)

Deborah Simmons identifies what Vince Gray and George H.W. Bush have in common (WaTimes)

Fewer men, still most, test positive for drugs after D.C. arrests (Crime Scene)

Vivek Kundra leaves Obama administration (WBJ)

Three nominated for D.C. Court of Appeals seat: Alan Robert Burch of USAO; Catharine Friend Easterly of Public Defender Service; and Christopher Todd Handman of Hogan Lovells (Crime Scene)

Michelle Obama visits Southeast playground (WJLA-TV)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Gray holds “Summer Fun Read and Learn” news conference, 10 a.m. at Deanwood Neighborhood Library, 1350 49th St. NE; does radio interview, 6:45 p.m. on WHUR-FM — D.C. Council hearing on “Metropolitan Police Department Minimum Staffing Act of 2011” (B19-226), 10 a.m. in JAWB 120; on “Homeless Services Amendment Act of 2011” (B19-87) and “Daylight Saving Time Extension of Hours Act of 2011” (B19-119), 10 a.m. in JAWB 123; on “Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools Kaya K. Henderson Confirmation Resolution of 2011” (PR19-124), 11 a.m. in JAWB 500 — markup of “Director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services Neil A. Stanley Confirmation Resolution of 2011” (PR19-128), 3 p.m. in JAWB 123