DMV Daily: Out With the Old

New year brings new mayor to D.C.

It’s out with the old and in with the new -- out with Adrian Fenty, Michelle Rhee and Gabe Klein, in with Vincent Gray, Kwame Brown and, um, Cathy Lanier. The last day of 2010 is also the last day of the H Street Shuttle, The Hill is Home notes, another indicator that times keep changing in our beloved District.

In The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis picks his “winners and losers” for the year. His D.C. winner, surprisingly, is Rhee, who “has now decamped to run a billion-dollar lobbying group, where she gets to remain the darling of the Sun Valley Conference set while eschewing the grittier work of running a school system.” D.C.’s loser: Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, who lost his chairmanship last spring and so far is getting little from Gray and Brown.

DeBonis calls Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli the Virginia winner as his national profile grows and the commonwealth’s struggling Democrats the Virginia losers. Similarly, Maryland’s moribund GOP is that state’s loser, while Gov. Martin O’Malley, now “on a shortlist of national Democrats to watch” and heading the Democratic Governors Association, is the winner.

Meanwhile, Washington Examiner columnist Harry Jaffe predicts a bright 2011 for the District, saying Maryland and Virginia “are cutting jobs and programs to balance their budgets” while D.C. will continue to reap the benefits of the federal government. And Natwar Gandhi, “our notoriously conservative chief financial officer, hinted in his latest revenue report that D.C. is regaining its fiscal strength.” Jaffe also expects Vincent Gray to get a year-long honeymoon as mayor, “because he’s not Fenty, and he knows how to tell people what they want to hear, whether they are black or white, rich or poor.”

Elsewhere in the DMV:

* D.C. Vote will protest plans to strip Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of her limited voting power on Capitol Hill next Tuesday, WAMU reports. D.C. Vote’s Ilir Zherka said, “We are going to try and visit every house office that day. We are going to have people call in to Speaker-designate John Boehner’s office and make sure D.C. residents communicate their views with him.” Zherka hopes Gray, who will be mayor by then, will join the activists.

Meanwhile, Norton is again asking President Barack Obama to mention D.C. voting rights in his State of the Union address. For the second year in a row, Norton has written to the president, asking for a mention. In her Thursday letter, she asked the president to “reiterate your support for voting rights and greater democracy for the citizens who live in the nation’s capital, in keeping with your co-sponsorship of the bill when you were in the Senate.”

The Post reports that the “lone reference to the subject appears to have come in President Jimmy Carter’s January 1981 address -- which was actually a written message, delivered just days before he left office.” No president has ever actually mentioned the issue in the big speech.

* The Examiner reports “homicides in the District have dropped dramatically since the late 1980s and 1990s” and are near a half-century low.

* DCist reports Metro is seeking proposals for the successor to SmarTrip cards, which WMATA is expected to run out of “at some point in 2012, possibly ending the 12-year reign of the ubiquitous pieces of plastic.”

* The Examiner reports Magistrate Judge William Connelly has approved the removal of former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson’s electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.

* On his blog, urban revitalization consultant Richard Layman wonders why the D.C. area refuses to consider “a green tax on cars.”

* The Loudoun Times reports Virginia legislator Jim LeMunyon has introduced legislation that would “prevent additional toll increases on the Dulles Toll Road unless first approved by the Fairfax and Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.”

* The Examiner reports Arlington officials have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the county by Wag More Dogs owner Kim Houghton over a mural that “depicts playful cartoon dogs frolicking amid doggie bones and paw prints” on the side of her store.

* Congress Heights on the Rise looks back on its “I Am Ward 8” profiles from the past year, while Restonian recounts Reston’s “earth-toned year that could.”

Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC

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