Saturday, May 3

DC SATURDAY

RHEE BACKS RIGHTWING ATTACK ON PUBLIC EDUCATION

LOOSE LIPS, CITY PAPER Mayor Adrian M. Fenty might be a Barack Obama supporter, but his hand-picked education czar is opting for a different approach, at least when it comes to improving schools. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, in comments at a gathering of the Korean-American Coalition's D.C. chapter, endorsed the education plan of Arizona Republican John McCain "far and away" over those of either Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Rhee, in a speech at Tony Cheng's Restaurant in Chinatown, referred to herself as a "card-carrying Democrat" (LL forgot to ask to see the card), yet endorsed McCain's approach based on his willingness to reauthorize the controversial "No Child Left Behind" legislation. Both Clinton and Obama have been highly critical of the law and its effects. "I think they're pandering, quite frankly, to the teachers' unions and other folks," she said.

In comments after the speech, Rhee . . . called herself as a "huge proponent" of the federal law and said she was "incredibly disappointed" with the lack of Democratic support . . . though she did say she had a "laundry list" of things she would change with the statute.

AT THIS RATE, DC BLACKS WILL BE IN MINORITY BY 20014

WASH POST The latest census figures confirm that pattern, with non-Hispanic blacks accounting for 54 percent of the District's population in 2007, compared with 60 percent in 2000. Meanwhile, the number of non-Hispanic whites increased from 28 to 33 percent in that period, while the Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asian population remained at 8 and 3 percent, respectively.

THOSE LIVING NEAR STADIUM HURT BY NEW PARKING RULES

VOICE OF THE HILL Neighbors on the 100 block of E Street SE said the regulations meant to stem Nationals Park traffic prevent them from hosting dinner parties, book clubs and children's birthday parties, since guests from other areas are not permitted to park on their streets long enough for such events. . . Neighborhood commissioner

Ken Jarboe pointed out that parking throughout the neighborhood was already problematic even before the new baseball stadium was constructed. Commissioner David Garrison agreed and said that many neighbors had not realized that the new policy entailed more than the stadium. Jan Schoonmaker, who lives on E Street SE, called the new rules "an exercise in social engineering" and a "great imposition on our way of life" because the rules will make it difficult for guests to drive over. Other neighbors echoed his complaints. One said the regulations disrupt "the fabric of our social life." Mark Menard, a co-owner and manager of several bars around the Hill, said he thinks enforcement of new rules every day of the year, not just on game days, is "a little excessive." He also criticized the new time limits and "market-based" prices for parking meters. "The prices are ridiculous," he said.

Southwest residents have similar complaints about life south of the freeway. At a recent Southwest advisory neighborhood commission meeting, residents and commissioners said the parking plan has worked well but that regulations need not extend beyond game days.

AN EIGHTY YEAR OLD SOLUTION TO THE LINCOLN THEATRE'S REVENUE PROBLEM

MIKE LICHT, NOTIONS CAPITAL The solution for the Lincoln Theatre's revenue problem was solved some time ago - in 1927. That is when new owner Abe Lichtman, employer of most of DC's African American theater managers, put a public ballroom underground, under and behind the theater. This provided the Lincoln with a steady second income stream. This hall, the "Lincoln Colonnade," was arguably more important to Washington's African American community than the theater proper, and most of the stars said to have "packed the theater's 1,200 seats" actually played for dancers in the Colonnade.

Saxophonist George Botts grew up in Washington. He told W. Royal Stokes: "I've read in the paper where people talk about the groups that played at the Lincoln Theater. It wasn't at the Lincoln theater, it was the Lincoln Colonnade, which is underneath the Lincoln Theater! It was a beautiful dance hall that was under the Lincoln, where all those people, Charlie Parker and all them, came, and they had dances in there every weekend. . . And sometimes they would have Ellington's band or someone like that playing there."

Great photos at the site of the post

YOU MEAN EVERYONE DOESN'T HAVE TWO BLACKBERRIES?

WASH POST - Fenty [called for jury duty] became a diversion for the potential jurors. Rick Erdtmann, 63, of Southwest praised him for running marathons. Mark Davis, a construction worker from Northeast, approached to complain that he was having trouble getting hired. "Send us your resume," Fenty told him. "We'll take care of it." But Davis was stumped. "We usually don't do resumes for construction jobs. We just show up at the site," he said after returning to his seat. "And he told me to e-mail him, but I don't do e-mail. I just do construction."

DC SHORTS

DC EXAMINER EDITORIAL Despite being required by law to hold a series of public hearings before presenting the final school budget proposal to the District Council for approval, the March 20th deadline came and went this year with no such plan being made available. It's been at least 20 years since that last happened. Instead of obeying the law, the mayor's office wants to repeal it. Council members should refuse to go along. The law requiring the public discussion of the school budget was put on the books as a result of a 1987 initiative supported by 85 percent of the voters. District voters clearly not only wanted a say in budget decisions affecting their children, they demanded it at the ballot box. Instead of repealing this voter-approved provision, the council should be exercising its oversight role and demanding compliance by Fenty and Rhee.

WUSA - A local elementary school principal spent her last day of the school year suspending dozens of students. That led some of those students to retaliate. Egg shells and an empty carton lay on the ground where Webb Elementary School principal Donna Edwards car was once parked. "They got mad and started throwing eggs" says 10 year old Donte McFadden. He says the principal was egged by a group of students who had just been suspended on her last day of school. Citing medical reasons, Edwards is leaving for the year. Donte says he didn't take part but he was among the dozens of students as many as 45, who were called out on the loud speaker and told to come to the principal's office. In his class alone, 14 students were suspended. According to a letter that went home to mom, Donte was suspended for 5 days for being disrespectful, fighting and walking out of class earlier this week. . . And after the students got their suspension notices, Donte's older brother witnessed an ugly sight. "I saw a whole bunch of people ripping up the letters and throwing it in the principal's face" he says.

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