February 14, 2009

DC SATURDAY

Washington Post - About 1,000 people filled an auditorium at the University of the District of Columbia to vent their anger at a proposal that would nearly double tuition at the city's only public college. UDC students, who come from all over the world as well as D.C. neighborhoods, told trustees repeatedly that UDC is the place where people go when they need an education and can't afford any other school. UDC student leader William Kellibrew IV received a thunderous standing ovation at the meeting of a trustees committee when he demanded that President Allen Sessoms resign, and students later began signing a petition. The committee met to discuss Sessoms's recommendation to raise tuition for D.C. residents from about $3,800 to $7,000 a year for four-year students. At a student rally before the meeting, Kellibrew said: "If you're going to double the tuition, how about doubling our facilities? If you're going to double our tuition, how about upgrading books in our library?"

Channel 4 - The District coughed up $48 million on logistics and security while hosting the inauguration festivities, according to the Washington Business Journal. It has received a check for $15 million from the Feds to cover some of the costs, but still faces a $33 million shortfall. The hope is the federal government will pick up the tab for the rest.


Channel 4 -
High-volume local energy utilities, including Pepco and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co, have admitted to receiving an unusually high number of customer complaints about rates this winter. Lawmakers have heard the same thing, and they're looking into it.. . . The problem in large part stems from the deregulation of the Maryland electricity markets in 1999. This lovely piece of legislation made utility companies buy power from generation companies in the open market. These suppliers aren't bound by caps and often sell at prices well above the cost of production. The utilities then pass these costs to you, the proud homeowner. Imagine.
And this winter, customers find themselves paying for power purchased in 2007 and 2008, before the energy bubble burst, as utilities pay off those debts. Do not bother calling your utility company to complain about this. They will just tell you to turn your thermostat down from a boiling 62 degrees.

Artomatic will be offering over five weeks of art, music, theatre, workshops and more this year in Washington, DC's Capitol Riverfront neighborhood from May 29 - July 5. Artomatic will be held at 55 M Street, S.E. - atop the Navy Yard Metro - celebrating it's tenth anniversary in a newly built 275,000 square foot LEED Silver Class A building. Registration for Artomatic 2009 will begin in March, and is open to all artists - including painters, photographers, sculptors, graphic designers, musicians, poets, actors and dancers. Artomatic is an unjuried event, so all artists are welcome. Artomatic 2008 attracted a record-breaking 52,500 visitors and 1,540 participating artists.

Washington Business Journal - Dozens of developers have taken a look at the District’s 11 vacant schools and see them as good opportunities, but the bad economy is stopping some from bidding on the properties. Neil Albert, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, began soliciting bids for the closed schools in December. Bids were originally due Feb. 27, but Albert has extended the deadline to March 27. . . Ellen McCarthy, director of planning and land use for law firm Arent Fox LLP and a former D.C. planning director, said developers tell her they are interested in bidding, “but many are choosing to sit this one out due to the current market uncertainties.”