DMV Daily: No Representation, No Committee Chair

No one wants D.C. subcommittee chair

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A view of the U.S. Capitol dome from inside the building as the sun sets on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    No one wants the District of Columbia to kick around anymore.

    It could be the ultimate insult from Congress to the District: Not a single Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s D.C. subcommittee seems to have any interest in being our Capitol Hill pseudo-mayor.

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is eyeing a Senate run back in Utah, rightly thinks a vacancy on the National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations panel would better suit his ambitions, while the guy next in line, Rep. Brian Bilbray, is jumping over to the Energy Committee.

    According to the Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis, Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV -- better known as Rep. Connie Mack of Florida -- could get the gig as he begins his fourth term. Mack is married to Sonny Bono’s widow, Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California.

    But it may be more likely that incoming House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa will give the job to one of 14 new members of Congress -- little-known names like Ann Marie Buerkle, Scott DesJarlais, and Trey Gowdy. Chaffetz himself got the job as a freshman in 2009.

    Over in the Senate, ranking member George Voinovich is retiring. Moderates Scott Brown and Lindsey Graham are current GOP members of the Senate subcommittee.

    Elsewhere in the DMV:

    * The D.C. Young Democrats have endorsed Sekou Biddle, a D.C. Board of Education member, for the interim appointment to Kwame Brown’s At-Large D.C. Council seat. In past DMV Daily editions, I’ve pegged Biddle as the candidate most likely to pull off an upset over Vincent Orange when the D.C. Democratic State Committee votes on the choice early next month.

    In related news, the Washington Post editorial board wonders why the D.C. Democrats “held a forum in the old Council Chambers at the District-owned building at One Judiciary Square” for candidates seeking the appointment last week. The Post says “one-party rule has resulted in such coziness between government and party officials that the use of District facilities for partisan events apparently has become business as usual.” A fair point, but a bigger question is why a political party has the power by law to directly elect a government legislator, even temporarily.

    * Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, the force behind a controversial measure to limit D.C. shelter space to families that can prove District residency, said on Twitter last night that Ward 3’s Mary Cheh “said she will support a new shelter in Ward 3 for homeless families” if Wells puts the bill on hold. Wells is challenging his other colleagues to make similar promises.

    * In D.C. Council health news, Ward 7’s Yvette Alexander has launched a fitness challenge, “inviting residents to work out with her” and setting up “free fitness classes at neighborhood rec centers,” the Post reports. But Ward 3’s Cheh broke her arm and wrist while running over the weekend, meaning she will miss the year’s final Council session today. I wish Alexander well in her quest and Cheh well in her recovery.

    * The local Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance says Mayor-elect Vincent Gray “broke his first campaign promise last week; or at least the first one he broke to the LGBT community.” Gray had promised to “include representatives of the LGBT community in the search process” for his police and fire chiefs, but did not do so. The Washington Examiner reports Gray “chose not to conduct a national search for the city’s next fire chief,” instead selecting Kenneth Ellerbe.

    * The Post’s DeBonis reports developer Don Peebles, who considered running for mayor this year, is suing D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles -- who leaves office in two weeks. In November, Nickles filed suit against Peebles on behalf of the District, “claiming that a Peebles-controlled company had improperly charged $1.2 million in expenses back to the city -- including for bar tabs and political contributions -- pursuant to a lease on a building” in Southeast. Peebles’s countersuit says the city breached the lease, and says Nickles defamed Peebles and his companies and “took an array of improper actions that abused the judicial process.”

    The Examiner’s Harry Jaffe writes that “everyone in D.C.’s chattering classes has a Peter Nickles story; few are flattering, let alone complimentary.” But Nickles has few regrets: “Adrian [Fenty] and I were a great team. I didn’t mind taking the heat. It’s been a blast.”

    * University of Virginia political guru Larry Sabato says the Old Dominion is not likely to gain a 12th seat in the U.S. House after the next round of congressional reapportionment. Sabato “predicts population growth has been good in the state, just not good enough to gain an extra seat,” the Associated Press reports. Sabato “says long-term projections suggest Virginia could get another congressional seat in 2020.” Virginia Statehouse News says Virginians “will get to comment on how their district lines are drawn through a website that allows them to check out the new district maps and voice any concerns.”

    * Virginia is for lovers, but its National Guard might not be, if state legislator and possible U.S. Senate candidate Bob Marshall gets his way. The Examiner reports Marshall “intends to file legislation in the General Assembly that would ban gays from serving openly” in the state Guard. Marshall said, “This is not about orientation. … This is about behavior that is incompatible with military discipline and readiness.” Though Gov. Bob McDonnell opposes repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, a spokesman said Monday that McDonnell expects the Virginia Guard to follow the federal policy.

    * Gov. Martin O’Malley tells Towson Patch that “tough cuts to the state budget are on the horizon.” O’Malley said, “President Obama acted very courageously two years ago to enable states throughout the country to protect certain priorities like education and the health of our most vulnerable citizens. Those dollars are now coming to an end as they were intended to, but the economy has not come back as quickly as many would have hoped.” Some in Annapolis are also calling for higher liquor and gas taxes.

    The Post says O’Malley’s budget advisers “have recommended shifting 40 percent of Maryland’s teacher retirement costs to county governments -- a move that could save the state $342 million a year but exacerbate local fiscal woes.” O’Malley told the Post “that he would like to forgo the recommendation but said it is still among the options being considered as he struggles to bridge a shortfall of more than $1.2 billion in next year’s state budget.”

    * The Georgetown Dish says Georgetown’s “scarce vote for Vince Gray is a thing of the past as more than 100 prominent Georgetowners gathered in a holiday spirit to greet the soon-to-be mayor” at a holiday party last night.

    * Would a stadium for the Redskins inside the District be a good idea? Greater Greater Washington has the debate.

    * The Post has a 2010 local news Year in Review quiz. I only got 9 right out of 12 -- which perhaps means I shouldn’t be writing this column.

    * Welcome to the world, Devin Neill Orvetti Gavette -- an unexpectedly early Christmas gift for my sister and her family.

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC