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Georgetowner Nancy Pelosi Calmly Triumphs

March 22, 2010

How does she do it?

After months of round-the-clock debating, haggling, and intense dealmaking, Georgetown resident as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led Congress across the finish line of health care reform with a big smile -- and little evidence of stress or fatigue. Dressed in a lavender-colored suit, Pelosi conveyed a businesslike calm and showed no outward signs of the intense stress and exhaustion some say lawmakers have experienced over the last weeks.

Perhaps the waterfront view of her Georgetown condo, or the eclectic, walkable offerings of the Village keep her looking beautiful well into her 60s. "She looks better than 90 percent of all women," said one observer.

After taking the speaker’s gavel in 2007, Pelosi famously told a Politico reporter that she was surprised at how “serene” she felt in her new post.

Pelosi makes time for Georgetown in her busy life.  She braved two feet of snow on the ground in February to attend a Georgetown basketball game at Verizon Center against Villanova. ESPN broadcast a shot of the Speaker chatting with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, fellow Georgetowner.

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Innocent St. Patrick's Day Event Turns Smoke-filled Room

March 18, 2010

The Irish are a lovely people. Just look at their friends: folks of every stripe, wearing green to show solidarity one day each year. Listen to the lilt in the spoken tongue. Look at their history. One must love the Irish.

But, enter controversy where one was most unlikely. A group called the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, low-profile until now, is suddenly the subject of controversy over emergency legislation sponsored by Councilmember Jack Evans, passed by the D.C. Council, and signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty -- just for this group of men -- and one other all-male group -- to allow cigar smoking at their St. Pat's Day party at the Capitol Hilton. As the Irish Times noted on these pages, "Since when is lighting up a stogie an integral part of St Patrick’s Day celebrations?"

Maybe they can tell us. Hope it was a good party, worth an act of city government to suspend laws (that apply to the rest of us). And being publicly criticized for cronyism, sexism, and smelly rugs.

No names, no faces. Erin Go Bragh.

More at NBC Nightside.

Arriving at 16th St., NW, Avenue of the Presidents, and K St., for the private event.

Gathering in the lobby before heading to the 2nd-floor ballroom, where laws were changed for a private party.

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Hardy School Parents Take Protest to D.C. Council

March 16, 2010

Over 100 Hardy Middle School students and parents streamed into a D.C. Council hearing Monday to protest plans to "reform" the high-performing Georgetown school. Students and parents crowded into council chambers to oppose plans by Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee that they called disruptive and destabilizing.

They're “tearing the heart and soul out of the school,” said sixth grader Anglea Marsh. Listening intently, Council Chairman Vincent Gray said he could not understand why Rhee would radically alter one of the leading schools in the city.

Fenty administration plans include transferring out wildly popular principal Patrick Pope, imposing a lottery system for out-of-boundary students, and revising Hardy’s curriculum from one based on arts and music to more “traditional” academic offerings.

Witnesses said that parents aren’t certain where they will enroll their kids this late in the year. Enrollment is down because of the turmoil, which reduces Hardy’s budget. The continued uproar over Hardy’s future is bringing into question what say parents have in decisions impacting their schools. DCPS is now an agency under the direct control of the Mayor. The local board of education – the traditional avenue for parental input – has been dismantled, leaving parents such as Nayada Cowherd nowhere to go, in their view.

“If Rhee decided to close all DCPS schools, there would be no way anyone could stop it,” she said. Gray attempted to fill that void when he urged Fenty in February to meet with Hardy parents, stating that “the school’s current leadership represents the best of the District of Columbia Public schools and should be continued in its current state.” Not debating whether the D.C. Council has authority to reverse personnel or curriculum decisions at Hardy, Gray pledged to the Hardy parents Monday that he would be “their champion,” a role other councilmembers may not be eager to play. Gray has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Mayor Fenty.

Hardy parent William Lewis testified that Hardy had taken its case to each D.C. councilmember, with the exception of Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, whose staff said that he was not able to meet, according to Lewis. Evans, whose district is home to Hardy, declined to attend the hearing.

Photo by bluepicasso.

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