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The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan. The federal judge has an explosive international case in her Alexandria courtroom, as lawyers for the federal government and WikiLeaks battle over whether Twitter account information is protected by the First Amendment. Buchanan will have to decide whether leaking secret information is a free-speech right or whether the First Amendment stops short when government secrets are involved.

• Lawrence Hughes. After a shooting in Manassas killed three people and left three others in the hospital, the city’s manager is trying to find ways to make the Georgetown South neighborhood a better place to live, from encouraging schools to come up with new and creative after-school activities to coming up with new land-use plans to increasing police foot patrols in troubled neighborhoods. The shooting is a tragedy, but if Hughes can use it to mobilize Manassas, maybe some good can come of it.

• Scott Steffan. The principal of Wheaton’s Highland Elementary School is leading efforts to get Latino parents more involved in the school system. Wheaton is on the leading edge of Montgomery County’s transition from a majority-white community to one that’s majority minority. We’d love to know if he has lessons in multiracial, multilingual education to share with Kaya Henderson, Michelle Rhee’s deputy, who seems likely to take her place permanently as the chancellor of the District’s school system.

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Posted at 12:57 PM/ET, 02/16/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Randy Edsall. The new University of Maryland football coach was always going to have to meet high expectations as the first major athletic hire under new president Wallace Loh—especially after the university bought out his predecessor’s contract rather than keeping him on. But after a Baltimore Sun investigation found that the university had spent $40,000 on travel during the candidate search and there were three candidates in contention the day before Edsall was offered the job, the pressure to live up to the hype is higher than ever.

• The Saturday-night waitstaff at the Country Club of Virginia. Virginia governor Bob McDonnell dined with former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, a presumptive Republican presidential candidate, at the club Saturday night. We can’t imagine that the other 14 guests are talking about what the two Republican rising stars discussed, but we bet the servers got some interesting snippets that might hint at whether McDonnell is ready for the national stage.

• Eleanor Holmes Norton. Actually, we don’t want to have dinner with the delegate from the District—we want to go on the tour of Washington that she’s giving freshman Republican representative Trey Gowdy today. Gowdy, a South Carolina conservative who unseated long-term incumbent Bob Inglis in a primary last year, is chairing the House subcommittee on District affairs, but his views on DC are largely unknown. We want to know what Norton tells him about the city and how he reacts to his first field trip through it.

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Posted at 11:23 AM/ET, 02/14/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Tom O’Connor. George Mason University’s athletic director has a great basketball program. Up next? The Redskins. The football team is in early conversations with GMU about moving its training camp to the Fairfax school’s campus. For a school whose motto is “Innovation is tradition,” partnering with the Redskins could be a great way to improve George Mason’s visibility—and an alternate way to fund new athletic facilities.

• Yesha Callahan. The University of Maryland faculty recruiter called Gawker about (suddenly) former Representative Chris Lee, whom she met on Craigslist, after checking out his e-mail address and realizing he was lying to her about his age, profession, and most of all, his marital status. Callahan mostly appears to have been motivated by disgust over Lee’s dishonesty with her and worries that he’d lie to other women who might not investigate him as diligently. And for not selling out, and doing women everywhere a solid favor, we’d like to buy her dinner.

• Tommy Wells. The DC City Councilman turned a money-saving proposal to end late-night weekend Metro service into a question of Washington’s greatness. “We’re a world-class city,” Wells said at the council’s Metro committee meeting Thursday. “To be a world-class city you have to support nightlife.” We had thought that concerns about safety might be enough to sink the proposal, but hey, we’ll let Wells lead the charge.

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Posted at 11:46 AM/ET, 02/11/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Art Silber. The Potomac Nationals owner is kicking in $70,000 of his own money, and Prince William County and the Prince William Park Authority will invest equal amounts to modernize the Potomac Nationals Stadium. We’re sure the team’s players will be glad to have more than one bathroom in their clubhouse. And it’s good to see investment in the Nationals’ minor-league affiliates—good major-league teams need good minor-league organizations behind them to develop strong young players and young executives.

• Brian Moran. After Senator Jim Webb announced he wouldn’t seek a second term (he squeaked past then-senator George Allen in 2006), Webb left the Virginia Democratic Party chairman with some difficult decisions. Should the party back former representative Tom Perriello, the 5th District Democrat who lost his seat in last fall’s wave election and who says he’s “keeping his options open”? Will former governor Tim Kaine jump into the race? Either way, Webb’s departure leaves Moran and other Virginia Democrats fighting to tip their purple state into the blue column on Election Day next year.

• Rye Rye. The 19-year-old Baltimore rapper blew up headphones nationally yesterday when she released an insanely catchy remix of Miley Cyrus’s smash hit “Party in the USA” along with a new mix tape. Her first album, produced by indie-rap superstar M.I.A., is due out later this year. Sure, we like Wale. But after his career’s fits and starts, it’s good to have another star proving that the DMV hip-hop scene deserves a truly national audience.

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Posted at 09:58 AM/ET, 02/10/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Thomas Manger. The Montgomery County chief of police has an unsettling problem: 911 calls to the department appear to be rerouting to Prince George’s County and DC, making it harder for MoCo residents to get emergency services. County lawmakers are investigating whether there’s a persistent glitch in Verizon’s call-routing system during emergencies like large snow storms. One family already appears to have lost its home to a mis-routed call, and the department and the county want answers—and a fix.

• Jill Reddecliff. The development manager of Frederick’s Weinberg Center for the Arts just landed a $12,000 grant that’s going toward keeping an unusual art—organ playing during silent movies­—alive. The center has one of the last Wurlitzer organs in the country, and the only one in Virginia Maryland that’s still in the original location where it was installed. That grant will refurbish the organ for the first time since 1976—and will keep Ray Brubacher, who has been playing the organ during screenings at various theaters for decades, at the keys so he can train a successor.

• Pablo Chavez. Google’s top Washington lobbyist is in for a bumpy ride as Microsoft and other technology companies and advocates ramp up the push for an antitrust investigation against the search-and-software giant. The fall of Microsoft in a similar investigation left a void that Google filled. And as the company increases its hardware business on the back of its Android operating systems and fights with rival search engine Bing, a federal investigation has to be Google’s worst nightmare.

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Posted at 01:03 PM/ET, 02/09/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The most interesting people in Washington

Mary Morton

This month, the National Gallery of Art’s French-painting curator brings Washington one of the year’s biggest shows, the largest look at Paul Gauguin’s work in a quarter century.

Mike Maiorana

With Verizon Wireless finally getting the iPhone and a new fast 4G network, the company’s regional president has much to celebrate.

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Posted at 06:35 AM/ET, 02/09/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Ron Kirby. No one loves Washington traffic, but for Kirby, transportation-planning director for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, it’s not just an annoyance. He and a group of Virginia lawmakers have been pushing the Defense Department for money to help address the influx of new commuters caused by the base realignment and closure process. Their efforts got a boost yesterday when a congressional study sided with the Virginians. The National Academy of Sciences report says Defense should have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to improving the region’s transportation system before directing tens of thousands of new commuters into it.

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Posted at 01:37 PM/ET, 02/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Kathy Smith. The chairman of the Fairfax County School Board is facing an unusual challenge: a huge spike in the number of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by school-district parents. Community members say the board isn’t transparent enough about decisions such as whether to close a local elementary school. And board members say they feel like targets, especially because the requests are costing the district tens of thousands of dollars in legal and processing fees.

• Himbert Sinopoli. The general manager of Hollywood Casino Perryville helped pioneer Maryland’s new program to allow slot-machine gambling, authorized by a voter referendum in 2008, when Hollywood opened as the state’s first slots site last September. It appears that Maryland’s move is paying off. Sinopoli’s casino generated $7.7 million in revenue in January. We’d be curious to learn more about what it takes to break into a new market and what it’s like to run a gaming business in a recession.

• Wale. The ambassador for Washington’s hip-hop scene just signed with Rick Ross’s Miami-based label. Critics speculate that the District’s biggest breakout rapper probably won’t leave the area. But they wonder if the other local emcees might start focusing more on incorporating national trends and themes in their music in pursuit of major-label success, rather than continuing to try to forge a distinctive Washington voice in hip-hop. We’ll be eager to see if where Wale leads, others follow, or if the signing means more attention for Washington’s rappers.

• Donna Scheeder. We imagine that the chair of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Commission is feeling pretty good right now. The National Trust for Historic Preservation just gave Eastern Market a National Preservation Award for its restoration after a devastating 2007 fire, calling it “gloriously restored.” We’re sure that seeing Eastern Market rise from the ruins is its own reward, but it’s always nice to have the restoration recognized as good not just for the neighborhood but for the cause of preservation in general.

• Ted Gibson. The New York stylist teamed up with Chevy Chase-based Hela spa—and landed himself a prime supporting role on The Real Housewives of DC. Now that he and Hela are splitsville—and the local Real Housewives franchise in limbo, awaiting word on whether there’ll be a second season—we can’t blame him if he wants to spend more time in New York (the Real Housewives there don’t appear to have a hairdresser-in-residence, so maybe there’s an opening). We’d love to dish with him on what Washington’s celebrity women are like when they go under the scissors and hair dryers.

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Posted at 09:31 AM/ET, 02/07/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Brett Haber. WUSA’s sports director threw down a gauntlet against Redskins owner Dan Snyder on the air last night, defending the Washington City Paper against a lawsuit Snyder has filed over a months-old article. Haber’s move won him good will from the sportswriting community and fans at large. Could this be the beginning of a new, feisty debate over Washington’s franchises?

• Beatriz Otero. The founder of Columbia Heights’ CentroNia education center, Otero is about to take the leap from a grassroots organization founded out of a church basement in 1986 into city government as DC mayor Vincent Gray appoints her deputy mayor for health and human services. Otero’s appointment is a return to the deputy-mayor system that former mayor Adrian Fenty largely abandoned and is a bold move by the Gray administration, which is choosing someone with roots in the community rather than a medical degree to oversee an important health portfolio. We’d love to hear what Otero has learned during 25 years of dramatic change in Columbia Heights and what it’s taught her about the District’s needs.

• Lynn Hampton. Even as low-priced airline JetBlue has come to Reagan National Airport, Dulles Airport just placed ninth on a list of the country’s most expensive places to fly from. As president of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Hampton can’t be thrilled with that news. Public transportation to Dulles may make it easier for travelers to fly from there, but what if the fares don’t prove worth the trip?

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Posted at 11:44 AM/ET, 02/04/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

-Deborah Galyan. The staff at the Freer Gallery. The Freer Gallery’s public affairs chief reputation got a lift when the Asian art museum was included included in the new Google Art Project, which makes galleries’ collections digitally available through the company’s Street View cameras. The Smithsonian museums have always made art and educational programming free to the public, but the Freer’s partnership with Google takes that mission a step further, opening up the museum to the world at large. 

- The MARC happy hour organizers. If we’d known about this beforehand, we definitely would have included it in our list of 75 Great Bars, on newsstands now. The coolest place to have a drink? The secret BYOB happy hours that are apparently taking place on MARC trains during the evening commute home. Give us the password—or the timetable—and we’re so there.

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Posted at 02:47 PM/ET, 02/03/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()