DMV Daily: Tregoning's No Goner

Gray keeps several Fenty appointees

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCWashington.com

    Gray shot the sheriff, but he did not shoot the deputy.

    Urbanists and smart growth types were disappointed, though hardly surprised, by Mayor-elect Vincent Gray’s dismissal of bike-loving transportation chief Gabe Klein. But they got a bit of a consolation prize by Gray’s decision to keep their second-favorite D.C. official, Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning.

    Like Klein, Tregoning has been a controversial figure: She’s consistently supported the easing of zoning restrictions to allow higher-density development. And like Klein, she sees a future based on public transportation and fewer cars.

    The Washington Post says that despite her close ties to Adrian Fenty and his agenda, Tregoning was in the running for a deputy mayor position under Gray because of her cordial relationship with the incoming mayor. But while that won’t happen -- for now, anyway -- she will stay on as planning chief.

    And she will remain controversial. Gary Imhoff of D.C. Watch says “a longtime observer of city politics” told him Friday, “She’s the developers’ candidate. She’s made them millions of dollars, and she’ll make them much more in the future.” Imhoff agrees. “Tregoning gives the developers cover,” he said. “She makes their arguments for them while phrasing them in terms of ‘the public interest’ rather than developers’ greed.”

    Gray also will retain four other top Fenty administration officials -- reform-minded Department of Motor Vehicles Director Lucinda Babers, public works chief William Howland, Julie Koo of the Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, and Office of Cable Television Director Eric Richardson.

    The Washington Examiner says some of Gray’s campaign-season supporters aren’t thrilled with Gray’s picks. Instead, Gray is showing “that as mayor he won’t likely bow to the wishes of the unions that helped get him elected.”

    But Examiner columnist and Gray skeptic Jonetta Rose Barras says Gray “hasn’t felt the need to change every agency director simply because he could,” and has followed Fenty’s model, “selecting veteran government bureaucrats, and a few political allies.”

    Elsewhere in the DMV:

    * District Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi warns that if Gray and the D.C. Council “don’t act soon on a corporate tax shelter-busting initiative the city’s budget gap could grow by an additional $22 million,” the Examiner reports. Gandhi’s budget assumptions for the next year “already rely on the dollars that would be raised from combined reporting, a tax-restructuring measure that prevents multistate companies like Home Depot, CVS and Starbucks from hiding profits earned in the District in states that won’t tax them.” But “if the cash doesn’t come through,” the city’s deficit will grow.

    * Slate’s David Weigel “spent some time in August profiling Chaffetz for Washington City Paper, as the congressman was in line to take over the subcommittee overseeing Washington, D.C.”  Weigel now reports Chaffetz will instead “run the subcommittee that oversees the Department of Homeland Security.” The D.C. oversight chair is likely to go to California Rep. Brian Bilbray. The Post says some in D.C. are “concerned that the newly elected Congress could undo the District’s recent law that allows gay couples to marry,” as well as city policies on medical marijuana and other matters.

    * In a Sunday editorial, the Post criticized the D.C. Council for giving “unanimous, tentative approval to a bill that would overhaul the city’s outdated open-meetings law” while exempting “council committees -- where the bulk of business is conducted -- from requirements of the new law.”

    * The Post reports Sen. Jim Webb plans to make a decision on whether to seek re-election sometime before spring. Webb could be in line for a tight race against ex-Sen. George Allen, the man he beat in 2006, or another Republican. Webb “has no love for ribbon-cuttings or the cocktail-reception circuit” and “does not appear drawn to crowds and human contact,” so it is possible he’ll exit public life after just one term. If Webb does not run, the seat is highly likely to go GOP in 2012, regardless of the identities of the parties’ nominees.

    * The Post reports that “a request from Prince George’s County’s for $139 million more in state education aid than was budgeted this year brought a sharp rebuke” from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget secretary T. Eloise Foster. In a letter to Prince George's schools chief William Hite, Foster caustically wrote, “Your proposal…suggests that you believe that the governor’s winning reelection is the equivalent to winning the lottery. Like the moms and dads who live in Maryland, government must learn to live within constrained budgets.”

    * The Baltimore Sun reports Maryland state prosecutor Emmet Davitt sent investigators Friday to raid “the home and office of Julius Henson, the political operative who ordered the controversial Election Day robocalls” for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich. Henson has acknowledged orchestrating the calls. Davitt “declined to comment on the raid.”

    * The Washington Times reports on problems with the D.C. Lottery’s “latest premier product, Race to Riches, which simulates horse racing on video terminals in about 80 retail outlets across the city.”

    * DCist says Ward 6’s Tommy Wells, “one of the hippest councilmen in the city,” played Santa at Eastern Market yesterday “to deliver some ‘extra special wishes that he’s received from children on Capitol Hill’ -- candy canes and tote bags for everyone else. The ‘Tommy Claus’ visit is part of a larger Winter Market event” that runs through Christmas Eve.

    * Glittarazzi writes that the D.C. Young Republicans gathered at Georgetown’s L2 Lounge last week for a holiday party: “Dispelling the notion that all Republicans are of the blue hair variety, this group of about 200 energetic 20- and 30-somethings partied the night away while sipping on holiday-political themed drink specials like ‘Holiday House Majoritinis,’ ‘Candy Cane Conservatives’ and ‘Pineapple Politicos.”

    * The Southwest Quadrant blog reports Glenn Favreau, editor of the neighborhood newspaper The Southwester, is quitting. Favreau says local leaders and activists abandoned him “when recent statements were made against me personally.”

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC