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December 12, 2012 / Christian Clansky

As schools request more money, MoCo’s budget gap is much bigger than expected…Deciding who to help on the street…Homelessness down nationally, up in the District [News, 12.12.12]

BUDGETS | Montgomery County is now expecting a $136 million budget gap in the next fiscal year, which is about twice the initially projected amount. The gap is due to unexpectedly low tax revenue. (Examiner, 12/12)

– Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr has asked for $10 million to be added to the schools budget, which is likely to cause friction considering the budget gap. Starr makes an important point though (WAMU, 12/12):

This community has expected a significant investment in education because education is the signature element of the Montgomery County brand.

– Former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee recently spoke to a group of young leaders at Education Pioneers. She offered three pieces of good advice that are worth reading. (EP, 12/12)

PHILANTHROPY | Following Pablo Eisenberg’s look at the challenges facing philanthropy, today we bring you a more optimistic perspective from Duke University’s Joel Fleishman. In his vignette from WRAG’s Reflections on the Past & Possibilities for the Future, he says that “American philanthropy is on a roll.” (WG Daily, 12/12)

GIVING | WTOP has a really great story about the challenges of deciding who to help on the street. The story was prompted by the famous picture of a New York police officer who gave a homeless man a pair of boots. The homeless man instead hid the boots because they were worth a lot of money. (WTOP, 12/12)

HOMELESSNESS | HUD has released its annual snapshot of homelessness – and it is mixed news. Nationally, homelessness has declined slightly this year. But the report singles out the District for its 6.2% increase in the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. (HUD, 12/11)

HOUSING | Amid change, affordable housing revitalizes parts of Ward 5 (GGW, 12/12)

TRANSIT | It turns out that District residents might not actually get to choose taxi colors after all. The city council is considering legislation that would end the vote and force designers to stick with a single color. From Councilmember Jack Evans (WaPo, 12/12):

I was appalled by all of them…I wanted a yellow cab or a black cab, not a kaleidoscope cab…Nobody was thinking multi colors.

This, of course, begs the question of how these design concepts made it as far as they did. Presumably, a whole bunch of people saw the concepts before they went public. It reminds me of this similar design mess and the lack of oversight that led to it.

It’s hard to believe that today is finally here! I’m talking, obviously, about National Cocoa Day. The Mayans, who have gotten some bad press lately, were the first culture to brew a drink with the cocoa bean. But it was a Dutch chemist who apparently figured out how to make hot chocolate.

Anyhow, I want to bid a fond farewell to the great Ravi Shankar. Here’s his performance at George Harrison’s epic Concert for Bangladesh. It’s wonderful music for closing your eyes and just listening.

Rebekah will handle Daily duty tomorrow and Friday while I work on a few projects. I’ll see you on Monday, hopefully after another win from the Skins. 

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