Wednesday, January 14

DC WEDNESDAY

INAUGURAL PANIC MODE

Dorothy Brizill, DC Watch - The Obama Presidential Inauguration Committee held a dress rehearsal for the swearing-in ceremony and parade that will take place on January 20. District residents and visitors first learned of the dress rehearsal and the closure of Pennsylvania Avenue from broadcast news reports, not from the DC Department of Transportation or the DC government web page devoted to inauguration news. By midmorning, however, District residents and visitors who tried to navigate around downtown by avoiding Pennsylvania Avenue found that the Committee and federal law enforcement officials had also closed down large sections of Constitution and Independence Avenues. When several media outlets contacted DDOT about the additional closures and the lack of public notice, they were referred to the mayor's office, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the Secret Service. Late this afternoon, Mayor Fenty told WTOP that he wasn't aware of the issue, but that he would look into what happened today. . .

This inauguration day is shaping up as a government-created disaster that should have been completely avoidable. What has happened this year is that federal and local authorities have panicked at the predictions - really guesses - of extraordinarily high numbers of attendees. At the same time, security officials, who always recommend a complete lockdown, have not been met with any resistance from an inexperienced DC administration that is already inclined to use extreme measures to control citizens . . . Either the extreme measures that federal and local officials are taking to make it hard to get to inaugural events will discourage a large number of people from coming to DC, keeping down attendance and ruining inauguration-related business, or they will create an unnecessary and counterproductive gridlock that this town has never seen before. Or, most likely, they will result in both.

INAUGURATION

Most unusual Inauguration Day ad (in the DC Current): "Inauguration Special: Toilet Tissue: 96 rolls/500 sheets. . . $48/case"

Washington Post - A total of 213 bars, restaurants and nightclubs formally registered with the D.C. Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration by [the] deadline to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. and, possibly, stay open around the clock for inauguration week. In addition, 73 other establishments have applications pending approval from neighborhood associations with which they have special contractual agreements. . . The majority of the bars and restaurants are in Ward 2, which encompasses Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Gallery Place. Another 26 are in Ward 1, which includes Adams Morgan, and 35 are in Ward 6, which contains Capitol Hill.

Examiner Yeas & Nays - 49,000: Meals the Marriott Wardman Park hotel is expecting to serve over the five-day period surrounding the inauguration. . . 71: Miles of linens the hotel is expecting to use during that period.

The Coast Guard has approved water taxi service to get Virginians over to DC for the Inauguration. It will only cost $90 roundtrip


WASHINGTON TIMES SLASHES EDITORIAL BOARD

Richard Prince, Journal-Isms - The Washington Times, the daily newspaper voice of conservatives in the nation's capital, removed the members of its editorial board on Thursday, reassigning Editorial Page Editor Deborah Simmons and her deputy Tara Wall, both African Americans, to the newsroom.

The others, including Brian DeBose, a former national political correspondent, were essentially fired, DeBose told Journal-isms, although he said they were told they could reapply for positions at the nonunion paper. DeBose, who is vice president of the Washington Association of Black Journalists, said eight to 11 people are affected. . .

In a news release headlined, "The Washington Times Begins Move to More Distinctive and Authoritative Opinion Pages," the paper announced that Richard H. Amberg Jr., associate publisher of the Times, will oversee the editorial and opinion staff on an interim basis. . .

Adrienne Washington, another veteran black journalist at the paper, told readers in June that she was ending her local column of 16 years because "The paper's focus is changing and so, too, is mine." She now writes a more occasional issues-oriented column of news analysis for the national political desk.

PASSINGS: BIG AL CARTER


Washington Post - Allen D. "Big Al" Carter, an immensely productive artist who defied stylistic trends and commercial expectations to pursue his singular vision on no one's terms but his own, died Dec. 18 of complications from diabetes at Virginia Hospital Center. He was 61 and lived in Alexandria. . . His work is in the permanent collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and, during the past three years, was featured in museum exhibitions in North Carolina and Minnesota. . .

Mr. Carter sold some of his artwork to friends and collectors, but he was reluctant to part with much of it. Working feverishly at all hours of the day and night, he amassed a cache of thousands of paintings, drawings and collages that varied from wall-size murals to miniature watercolors that could fit in the palm of his hand. Most of his art has never been seen in public.

"Mr. Carter stood 6 feet 3 inches, weighed 340 pounds and possessed a gregarious, larger-than-life personality that made him an unforgettable character to many who knew him. He was known to one and all -- including himself -- as "Big Al" or just "Big."

Much to the annoyance of curators and collectors, Mr. Carter did not date his paintings and offered only vague hints at when they were made. He painted on canvas, TV trays, lampshades, boat rudders and home-movie screens, and incorporated musical instruments, brushes, wood and other objects into works. He often used house paint and rummaged through trash bins behind art stores for half-used tubes of oil and acrylic paint.

DC CLIPS

Jonathan O'Connell, Washington Business Journal
- As developers consider 11 former D.C. school buildings the city is offering for reuse, charters schools are crying foul. Charter schools are required by law to get the first crack at empty school buildings, so D.C. offered up 14 of its 31 unused schools to charters in September and is in competitive negotiations for three of them. It then offered 11 directly to developers, issuing a request for proposals in December. But Robert Cane, president of the advocacy group Friends of Choice in Urban Schools, says that isn't enough. He filed a public documents request and found there were 18 charter school bids for the 11 buildings currently up for grabs. Cane doesn't see why developers should get a shot at those buildings if charter schools want them. . . The Fenty administration's position: It gave the charter schools a chance, as required, and those organizations can still partner with developers in bids for schools this time around. The D.C. Council is likely to get involved, with multiple council members already submitting legislation to alter rules for former schools.

Washington Blade - [David] Catania, who is gay, decided against introducing a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington at the Council's first legislative session of 2009, holding off on action he told activists and his Council colleagues privately that he planned to take. His decision followed what appeared on the surface to be an ironic development: A number of prominent gay rights advocates lobbied Catania and other Council members not to take up a gay marriage bill so soon in the legislative year. "We need a few more months to get prepared to do this right," said Peter Rosenstein, a gay Democratic activist. . . Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who also is gay, said as many as 12 of the Council's 13 members are prepared to vote for a same-sex marriage bill. But Graham said he agrees with the activists who cautioned against moving the bill at this time, saying the major concern is building support for the legislation in Congress and in parts of the city that might take up a voter referendum to overturn a gay marriage bill. "It would be easy to have a misstep that would backfire on us," Graham said.

The Washington Times ran a badly misleading editorial in which it mentioned a constitutional amendment or retrocession as alternatives for giving DC better representation but completely omitted statehood. If this is indicative of what we can expect from the new editorial team at the Times, we're in for a bumpy road.



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