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2007 Report Card: In Washington, Who Gets an A+ and Who Doesn’t?
Schools were a big issue in Washington this year as the new DC mayor set out with new powers and a new school chancellor to fix one of the area’s most intractable problems. Here’s our 2007 report card for the rest of Washington.
✔ Senator John Warner steps aside after a long and honorable public service career.
✔ A.V. Ristorante closes, bringing an end to one of the city’s great Italian eateries.
✔ GW president Steve Trachtenberg bids goodbye to a greatly transformed university.
A+ In what would be one of any year’s top journalism stories, the Washington Post’s Dana Priest and Anne Hull expose terrible conditions for Iraq War veterans at Walter Reed.
A+ The opening of the Shakespeare Theatre’s new Harman Center for the Arts showcases how vibrant the local arts scene has become.
A As President Bush’s press secretary, Tony Snow brings new energy into an embattled White House—and is refreshingly honest in his announcement that he’s leaving to make some needed money.
A Volkswagen announces its American headquarters will move to Herndon. Drivers wanted!
A Georgetown star Jeff Green, the Hyattsville native who helped lead the Hoyas to the Final Four, ends up with Seattle after being picked fifth in the first round of the NBA draft. Go west, young man!
B+ The Nationals’ season ends better than expected, and hopes are high that 2008 will start a great winning tradition for Washington baseball.
B+ Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty appear to be everywhere in their quest to fix the DC schools.
B Virginia’s new senator, Jim Webb, becomes a Democratic star, but watch out—he’s got a gun!
B– With a fare increase on the horizon, will the aging Metro be able to provide needed service? C+ Despite their high-priced talent,the Redskins look like a high-school team against the New England Patriots.
C+ XM Satellite Radio has a mixed year as it struggles to gain approval for a merger with Sirius, loses a top exec, and gains some subscribers.
C+ New DC top cop Cathy Lanier will need lots of new ideas to arrest the District’s rising crime rate.
C The announcement that AOL’s headquarters will move to New York (as well as lay off thousands more workers) shows the company’s challenges after its heady dot-com days in the 1990s.
C The good news is that on some days the Tysons Corner Metro extension seems to be moving forward. The bad news? Most days it doesn’t, and it’ll be above ground.
C- The District and developer Victor MacFarlane fall out over a proposed soccer stadium on Poplar Point. Can’t everyone just get along?
C– Remember how some people warned that the local condo market would overheat? Well, it does.
C– The Palm’s renovations disappoint lots of regulars who think the airy, light-filled addition has changed the power-lunch spot’s character.
D+ FEMA’s fake press conference during the California wildfires manages to shame the embattled agency even during a disaster where relief efforts were going well.
D- Alberto Gonzales resigns and makes the country long for the good old days when John Ashcroft was attorney general.
F Larry Craig’s toe-tapping guilty plea, reneged resignation, and appeals leave the country wondering: Just who are these lawmakers?
F Increasing traffic congestion aggravates drivers and wastes fuel and time. More bike paths.
The Newseum was scheduled to reopen this fall, but delays push it to early 2008; early reviews are still positive.
The new Nationals stadium rising above Anacostia is still a big questionmark. Will the Lernerfamily and the District work out the parking problems before Opening Day?
This article first appeared in the December 2007 issue of Washingtonian Magazine.