News Bullets, treehouse of horrors Friday;

Still a bit under the weather here, but managed to slog my way to work. No worries, I don't have a fever (yet) so it's unlikely to be Swine Flu. I did wash my hands before putting on a biohazard suit, just because I love you all so much.

DCPS CFO Noah Wepman attempts to answer questions from the Council

Michelle Rhee versus the Council: a draw? While I was home sick yesterday I attempted to watch part of the D.C. Council hearing on the school layoffs. Yes, indeed it was broadcast live on television. I was able to pay attention for a bit before nodding off, enough to see DCPS CFO Noah Wepman get taken to school (har, har). My goodness, I must be getting old because Noah Wepman looks like he just turned 21. I don't understand how someone could be so unprepared for a hearing of this importance. I understand getting nervous, but... wow. Overall there is a lot of animosity between the Council and everyone else. Nat Gandhi didn't really want to answer any of the questions, and Wepman looked like someone who was begging for just a few more minutes to finish his midterm. Rhee is an excellent politician who swooped in and pretty much turned the whole thing into a draw. What's the likely outcome of all of this? Who can be sure, but at this point this is all mostly just political posturing for the election. Mike DeBonis somehow managed to stay awake and alert throughout the whole thing, he has a good summary and I'm sure a wrap up later today.

DC sucks at counting, attempts to bolster Census effort. The District is hoping to get a better count in the 2010 census, to help secure more federal funds. Fun fact, each citizen is worth around $3,500. Good lord. The District's census response rate is low, and Mayor Fenty believes there are many "hard to count" people that just aren't being included in the total population. I'm guessing this includes numerous homeless people, college students, and most people under 30 who don't want to actually consider themselves DC residents.

DC OTR shutters 8 restaurants for unpaid sales taxes.
The Office of Tax and Revenue is doing a "show of force" and shutting down places with unpaid sales tax. According to an OTR press release, the eight restaurants are: INTI,1825 18th St. NW, Prince of Georgetown, 3205 Prospect St. NW, Besta Pizza, 5029 Connecticut Ave. NW, Porter's, 1207 19th St. NW, Prince Café, 1042 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Mendocino Grille, 2917 M St. NW, Café Nema, 1334 U St. NW, Argonaut, 1433 H St. NE. Word on the Twittersphere is that Argonaut has paid their tax bill and has reopened.

Parks and Recs hearing today. The Council will be at it again, today looking into the matter of the illegally diverted parks and rec construction contracts. We'll see how that plays out. The Council has a few options to consider, including filing a lawsuit against the Fenty administration. I'm all for the fireworks, honestly.

Who will kill the Post? WJLA and NC8? In case you've missed it, the people behind Politico have decided to start a new DC-oriented news site. It will be Internet-only, but will get content from WJLA-TV and News Channel 8. I'll be writing about this more in depth over at my other site, but I'm a bit skeptical of the chances that this will truly be a "Washington Post killer." In order to truly revolutionize local news coverage, you'll need a better model than "a new web site." You'll also need to do a bit better than just redistributing the content that's already distributed on WJLA and NC8. We're talking more original content, which means more reporting, which yes means a staff. Rumors have it there could be upwards of 50 people staffing this new site. How in the world is that supposed to break even? You can't model a local news site around the Politico model, it's a bit different. We'll see... the owners have a lot of money to throw around so they can deal with some losses for a while.


  1. It doesn't matter if people 'consider' themselves to be DC residents or not. If they live here (meaning they sleep here most of the time on April 1, 2010), they should be counted here.

    Congressional Staffers from out of state who live in DC should be counted in DC. Same thing for college students. Where you are counted for the Census is not the same as where your legal residence might be, where you're registered to vote, or where you're from.

    The reason for this, of course, is that the Census helps determine federal funds for local services. If people live here, they use those services - regardless of how they consider their residency.

  2. True, but those same people who don't want to consider themselves DC residents may be reluctant (or simply don't care) to return Census information.

  3. Well, that's exactly why DC is doing this outreach.

    People should care - so many programs get money allocated to them on the basis of Census data, it's almost impossible to meet a person in this country that wouldn't benefit from filling out that form.

    People should feel safe, since the responses are completely confidential and will never be released to any other agency - particularly to law enforcement.

    The whole point of the campaign is to try and let people know why they should fill out the Census, and let them hear that from trusted folks in their community.

    This isn't just a DC thing, all big cities are harder to count. That doesn't mean it's not important.

  4. "The whole point of the campaign is to try and let people know why they should fill out the Census, and let them hear that from trusted folks in their community." -- But I don't trust anyone in my community...