News & Politics

Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

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

About Guest List

Guest List is Washingtonian’s monthly roundup of the fantasy cast we’d like to see for dinner this month.

• 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.

• Joe Hairston. The Baltimore County Superintendent of Schools’ penchant for educational technology developed by current and former colleagues may be about to give him trouble. It turns out that he gave $4 million in contracts for student-tracking software to a Georgia-based company founded by a former colleague—without bidding the contracts out through a competitive process. We’re all for innovation within school systems, but it’s probably a good idea to shop around before you buy.

• Thomas Sayers Ellis. The Sarah Lawrence College creative-writing professor with Washington roots has kicked up a storm in Washington’s arts scene after stealing a cardboard Langston Hughes from Busboys and Poets. Ellis is unrepentant and says his theft is an act of protest against the $50 fees Busboys pays poets for readings. He’s exposed raw feelings some artists have about the expanding chain that simultaneously sells left-leaning literature and supports the arts and packs in apolitical brunch crowds. Even idealists have to make a living.

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