The Washington Post

DeMorning DeBonis: March 7, 2011


PREVIOUSLY -- Yes, Kwame Brown is really driving a mail truckPoll: George Allen set up for easy primary victory

Perhaps you thought you’d heard the last of Sulaimon Brown. Wrong you were: He’s back, with allegations of a shadowy deal hatched with top members of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s campaign to take swipes at incumbent Adrian Fenty in return for a city job and cash payments to tide him over until then. Why, you may be asking, would Gray think Brown could possibly be of any utility on the campaign trail? Good question, but Brown has the phone records to prove that he was enough of a factor to justify dozens of phone calls with campaign personages, including Gray himself. Best just to read Nikita Stewart’s Sunday A1 blockbuster and today’s team follow-up. Gray cited “missteps” yesterday and said his attorney general would investigate the matter; he also invited the D.C. Council to have a look, but the council kicked the matter to the Inspector General’s office. In other follow-ups: TBD takes a stab at unwrapping the narrative and pointing out just where this thing turned into a farce. At Loose Lips, Alan Suderman examines why Brown might have some credibility: “Gray’s version of events is undermined by one very important fact: his administration actually gave Brown a $110,000-a-year job despite knowing about his legal troubles, his thin resume, and his bizarre behavior on the campaign trail.”Also, expect continued hand-wringing over the city’s image. Such as this: The recent scandalettes “have undercut the city’s hard-won credibility with creditors and on Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers are itching to retake control of D.C.,” Freeman Klopott writes in the Examiner, drawing upon the opinions of Gray’s campaign foes. “The swift decline of the District government’s image under this new regime has been spectacular,” colleague Jonetta Rose Barras writes in her column.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Kaya Henderson is set to be named permanent chancellor — Colby to Ted Leonsis: yank the suites — Pershing Park defense tab hits $2 million — Suzanne’s Peck’s sudden departure


KAYA IS IN — As expected: Gray is naming Kaya Henderson as permanent schools chancellor, Bill Turque reports for the Post. WTU President Nathan Saunders is not happy. Also, Henderson warns more schools are in danger of being closed in a letter to teachers and parents: “In the upcoming year, we, as a community, must explore whether or not this structure can be sustained and whether it is in the best interests of our students’ academic success and our long-term fiscal viability.” In related news: The first findings of the independent study of the 2007 mayoral takeover of the public schools are in; the eggheads says that standardizes tests “are of limited value in determining whether students are actually learning more” and DCPS needs better data on student performance. Meanwhile, DCPS is preparing for this year’s standardized testing, after scores slipped last year.

DITCH THE SUITES — Colby King calls on sporting mogul Ted Leonsis to yank the free Verizon Center suites from the D.C. government: “A more undeserving lot would be hard to find. ... Two luxury suites that would have been purchased by taxpaying corporations and individuals are in the clutches of city officials who don’t pay a cent. That arrangement also cuts Verizon Center out of money it would have earned from the sale of those two suites, leaving Caps and Wizards fans and anyone attending other events to swallow higher ticket prices while politicians get a free ride. And toward what end?”

PERSHING PARK’S RISING TAB — The Post’s Del Wilber with the scoop: The D.C. government has paid more than $2 million in recent years to defend ex-Police Chief Charles Ramsey and current Assistant Chief Peter Newsham against allegations related to the 2002 Pershing Park arrests. “The tally came in a filing late Thursday in the District’s federal court by lawyers representing four bystanders who were among those swept up and arrested. ... ‘The District continues to seek to drive up costs and prolong litigation in this case,’ lawyers Daniel C. Schwartz and Jonathan Turley wrote in court papers.” City Paper’s Jason Cherkis, dean of Pershing Park reporters, decries this “amazing gravy train.”

SO LONG, SUZANNE — Kytja Weir reports in Examiner on Suzanne Peck’s “abrupt” departure as Metro CTO: “‘Everyone was kind of surprised,’ said Metro board member Jeff McKay, who chairs the board’s technology review committee that oversaw her work on information technology. ... ‘There were some issues clearly that she had with the inspector general,’ he said. ‘I had some questions about the amount of money we were spending on IT and what we were getting.’ ... [Former board member] Jim Graham said he was disappointed that Peck was leaving Metro. He said he had been a ‘huge advocate’ for bringing her to the transit agency from the city as she ‘took D.C. from rotary phones to the Internet.’”


Post editorial: “Mr. Gray’s vow to institute more stringent vetting of his political appointees, while welcome, doesn’t address the central issue of whether all those given city jobs are up to the job.” (Post)

Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss really said this: “Lobbyists are paid to do what I do for free. Just like my wife is not paid to do some things for me that I might have to pay for somewhere else.” (

UDC student corners President Allen Sessoms on elevator to ask about travel expenses; students set to rally today (WTTG-TV, WTTG-TV)

House spending bill would gut Metro funding; Senate bill would keep Metro funding but still cut courts and vouchers (Post, Post)

What Fenty will teach Oberlin College (Fealess and Loathing)

Georgetown U. explains what it will do for the D.C. Council (

Former DCRA director, Gray campaign honcho Lloyd Jordan is nominated to BZA (@mjneibauer)

Vincent Orange gets endorsement from non-uniformed city employees union (D.C. Wire)

South Capitol Street heliport could soon open to commercial traffic (Aviation International News)

Evans to constituents: “revelations have done nothing to bolster the District’s image.” (GLAA Forum)

What council staffers make (D.C. Watch)

What UDC student center will look like (GGW)

Did the Park Police attempt a food truck crackdown? (DCist)

DDOT quickly fixes “Missouiri” Avenue sign (Daily Gripe)

Colby to the black clergy: Gay marriage isn’t your biggest problem (PostPartisan)

Patrick Mara: The Republican Who Did” (Borderstan)

The latest in temporary urbanism (CapBiz)

Trial begins in 2008 Trinidad murder (WTOP)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Gray sppears at DC Vote event, 2 p.m. at Jenner & Block, 1099 New York Ave. NW; attends City Title hoops games, 5:30 p.m. at Verizon Center — Council oversight hearing on the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals, Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board, and Office of the Chief Financial Officer, 9:30 a.m. in JAWB 500; on Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Public Works, 10 a.m. in JAWB 412 — joint hearing on United Medical Center oversight, 10 a.m. in JAWB 123 — hearing on Sustainable Energy Utility contract, 12:30 p.m. in JAWB 120 — confirmation hearing on Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority appointees, 3 p.m. in JAWB 412

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.


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