TODAY IS MAY 24, 2011 — DAY 143 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION

PREVIOUSLY — D.C. pension bill is ‘dead,’ Barry and Cheh declareD.C. redistricting: What could happen next

Sometime in the next 24 hours, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown will reveal what will be in the 2012 budget that his colleagues will almost certainly approve tomorrow. Its approval became that much more likely over the weekend, as Freeman Klopott breaks news in the Examiner that Marion Barry appears to have agreed to support Brown’s income-tax-increaseless budget in return for a $1.9 million package of property tax exemptions for Ward 8 projects. Today, meanwhile, the Save Our Safety Net coalition will rally at the Wilson Building to keep the income tax increase and use it to fund social service programs. (They also contributed a pair of YouTube videos to the cause — one featuring a Lincoln Navigator, the other a Ward 3 homage to Run-DMC.) In other budgetary news: Bread for the City explains why Interim Disability Assistance should be saved. WAMU-FM’s Armando Trull explains how parents are fighting cuts to Sharpe Health School in Ward 4. Brown tells Jonetta Rose Barras that he will press for “three-year plan that would reduce the size of government” after the budget vote. And WAMU-FM’s Patrick Madden and DCist’s Martin Austermuhle offer general previews of tomorrow’s action.

AFTER THE JUMP — Hospitals prefer tax hike to Medicaid cut — Young cop shooter goes to court; Jaffe despairs for us all — Vince Gray didn’t send a contract to the council? — No more MOCRS

*** MAIN COURSE ***

TAX US, PLEASE — Rather than suffer a loss of Medicaid dollars, Ben Fischer reports at WBJ that local hospitals are actually asking for an increase in the per-bed tax they pay to the city. “Under the proposal being floated by the D.C. Hospital Association, the council would raise the per-licensed bed tax on inpatient hospitals to $3,788, up sharply from its current $2,000 level and nearly eight times the original $500 tax first imposed in 2010. The tax hike would render moot a planned $7.1 million cut in Medicaid fees. ... Financially, the new offer is a wash for local hospitals, but by paying a tax instead of absorbing a revenue cut, more than $21 million in federal Medicaid funding would remain in the system. ‘It’s better to pick it up out of your own pocket than to lose the federal dollars,’ said Hospital Association President Robert Malson.”

15-YEAR-OLD COP SHOOTER — The shooting of a 4th District police officer near Fort Totten over the weekend has Harry Jaffe thinking about the 15-year-old suspect in his Examiner column. Let’s start with a diss of Phil Mendelson: “Mayor Vince Gray visited the officer in the hospital on Saturday and met with his family. Any love from [Mendelson], chairman of the council’s Judiciary Committee? Not that I could tell.” Moving on to his critique of the juvenile justice system: “Right now there’s not enough in the way of consequences. ... Under D.C. law, Attorney General Irvin Nathan has the discretion to prosecute the case or recommend the feds handle it. Most likely, Nathan will keep it, in which case the kid who tried to kill a cop will skate. If he gets convicted, the worst case is he spends a few years in New Beginnings, the District’s alleged reform school. He might wind up in a halfway house. When he becomes an adult, he goes free and has a clean record. Because he’s a juvenile, his criminal acts remain out of bounds to the public. A would-be cop killer could be your neighbor. So goes justice in the nation’s capital.” The Post’s Keith Alexander attended a closed hearing on the condition that he not name the suspect, who is facing 11 serious counts. Magistrate Judge Diana Harris Epps ordered that he be held by DYRS pending a psychological and competency evaluation. Also: “The teen allegedly told a police officer after leaving a hospital where he was examined that he was ‘sorry for what I’ve done.’ Under cross examination by the teen’s attorney, Tejal Kothari of the District’s Public Defender Service, [Detective John Bevilacqua] said it was unclear who fired first, the officers or the teen. Bevilacqua also said no one saw the teen point or fire the gun. The detective said the investigation, including an analysis of bullet casings found at the scene, was ongoing.”

SCHOOL SECURITY CONTRACT — The city’s long-troublesome school security contract, now with U.S. Security Associates, comes under the scrutiny of the Washington Times’ Jeffrey Anderson, who reports that the Fenty and Gray administrations have not sent monthly contract extensions for council review. Note that USSA has long been a union bugaboo. “At [a February Council] hearing, which featured public testimony from a USSA employee who complained of wage cuts and frozen benefits, procurement office general counsel Nancy Hapeman ensured the council that the Gray administration would be submitting a six-month extension of the school security contract to the council for approval by April. Yet the Gray administration has continued to extend the contract on a monthly basis without council review, according to the employees union. On May 9, at a town-hall meeting in Ward 2, a resident asked Mr. Gray why the school security contract had not undergone council review. ‘I don’t think that that’s possible,’ the mayor said, according to a video of the meeting during which Mr. Gray reiterated a pledge to send all contracts in excess of $1 million to the council for review. ‘I don’t have any information to the contrary.’ ”

WAKE UP, VINCE — “Gray must take scandals more seriously,” an Examiner editorial reads. “After less than six months of Mayor Vincent Gray’s first term, evidence that his administration has gone off the rails abounds. What’s worse, the mayor seems alarmingly unconcerned with correcting his course. ... There is scant evidence that the mayor really understands how damaging these early violations of law and professional standards have been. ... As council chairman, Gray attacked former Mayor [Adrian Fenty] for allegedly steering city park contracts to his fraternity brothers. A year-long investigation cleared Fenty of any misconduct. But now that he is mayor, Gray is not doing enough to dispel the notion that he would allow his own administration to engage in the sort of cronyism that he previously condemned. This should be a high priority for a mayor who has proposed $300 million in spending increases. City residents need to know that their tax dollars are not winding up in the pockets of the mayor’s cronies, or their children.”

PENSION BILL DEAD — Marion Barry called a news conference Monday to lambaste David Catania’s pension reform bill, which Tom Howell Jr. covers for The Washington Times. He puts his finger on what was odd about it: “There were no hearings or legislative actions on the bill Monday. Rather, Mr. Barry said he called the event to address ‘unrest’ about the bill among the public D.C. workforce.” Barry tells me he was essentially sick and tired from hearing from cops, firefighters and teachers about a bill he considered “dead,” so he decided to dance on its grave a little. Mary Cheh, whose committee is handling the bill, also called it “dead” in its current form. See this also from Howell: “Mr. Barry’s press release announcing Monday’s summit notes twice, in the first and last paragraphs, that Mr. Catania introduced the pension legislation. ‘He is obsessed with David Catania,’ said Benjamin Young, Mr. Catania’s chief of staff.”

NO MORE MOCRS — The Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services — aka MOCRS, home of the ward-based constituent services aides known as MOCRs (pronounced “mokers”) — is now the Office of Neighborhood Engagement. (ONE, get it?) Its director, Paco Fimbres, made the announcement on Twitter last night. He added: “During the Fenty years, MOCRS were used as the muscular system, under Mayor Gray ONES will be used as the nervous system.”

*** SMALL PLATES ***

Sulaimon Brown stands sentinel over the WaTimes Metro page (@mikedebonis, Loose Lips)

Johnson Middle School principal investigated for “fighting with students” (The Post)

The shocking, awful details of Ebony Franklin’s final moments (The Post)

Why eminent domain at Skyland is not like eminent domain at Nationals Park (WBJ)

Union officials have First Amendment rights, too, federal judge says (Legal Times)

For “Entitlement Nation” segment, Fox Business Network turns to Marion Barry (FBN)

On affordable housing, Gray won’t put money where his mouth is (Housing for All)

Why didn’t DCPS allow investigators to do more to probe cheating allegations? (D.C. Schools Insider)

Metro wheelchair man gives his side of the story (WUSA-TV)

Cheh still doesn’t like AU campus plan (G’town Dish)

What private equity behemoth Carlyle Group has to do with D.C. charter schools (The Post)

How to improve Metro’s station-naming process (GGW)

What the D.C. exhibit at ICSC looks like (@OConnellPostBiz)

Ward 5 Wal-Mart will anchor “The Point at Arboretum” (@OConnellPostBiz)

No new flights yet at National Airport (WBJ)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Gray still in Las Vegas — D.C. Council hearing on “Hiring Practices for the 11th Street Bridges Project,” 10 a.m. in JAWB 412 — “Rally to Keep Capitol Hill Together,” 5:45 p.m. at Lincoln Park, 13th and East Capitol Streets