City Paper is not for tourists
“Get a job!” So thundered D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey, on the air on WTOP radio, after cop watchdog Carl Rowan Jr. accused a top deputy of being racist. Rowan, however, was a little too eager to follow his nemesis’s advice: Days later, after Dulles Airport police questioned his right to use twirling blue lights in his gig as a security contractor, the tireless cop critic was arrested on charges that he was a cop impersonator.
Rowan might be in bigger trouble if he’d flashed those lights in Georgetown. Upon orders from Attorney General Janet Reno, prosecutors in the Starbucks murder case today announced their intention to push for a federal death penalty sentence against alleged gunman Carl Cooper—who, unlike most other D.C. murder defendants, had the poor taste to be indicted for a killing that took place in a high-end part of town. Nothing goes better with latte than a little lethal injection.
And you can apparently now be arrested for impersonating a basketball fan, too. In the wake of the postgame slaying of two high school students, D.C. Public Schools bigwigs today temporarily closed all high school hoops games to anyone but school students, players, and their parents.
The mammoth new convention center is supposed to justify its expense by working economic wonders for downtown D.C. Now it seems locals have yet another price to pay: Our map may soon feature yet another ignominious example of corporate-owned geography. Washington Business Journal reported today that the center may sell naming rights to help cover costs. And, because the only tall money left seems to be located far from Mount Vernon Square, we can all get ready to navigate around novatech.com pavilion.
Or it could be called Tony Williams Arena, if respondents to today’s Washington Post poll have anything to do with it. Seventy-seven percent of residents said they approved of the mayor’s performance.
It’s Valentine’s Day. A perfect day for true love, steadfast affection—and yet another mayoral change of heart about how to restructure the school board.
* And also: The new Washington Wizards dress code took effect today. Thanks to boss Michael Jordan, the team will no longer be seen around town in grubby sweats, sleeveless undershirts, or 1978 Fleetwood Mac-world-tour jerseys. Unfortunately, they’re still allowed to wear long faces after getting their asses whupped on the court.
A great day for democracy at the D.C. Council. After a one-vote majority of seven councilmembers won the big vote on school governance, a two-vote majority of eight councilmembers showed up at the celebratory news conference. The extra? Why, Harold Brazil, or course. “If I had known how it would turn out, I would have joined…earlier,” said the lawmaker.
Let’s hope none of our Wizards were out shopping for clothes on M Street this afternoon. Massive subterranean explosions blew a manhole, cut power, closed businesses, and frightened local Euros.
Luckily, we won’t have to keep going to M Street to do our upscale shopping. The Uptown Scoop ice cream store in Cleveland Park closed today—one of a series of independent local stores getting the boot from Starwood Urban Properties, the firm that bought the block and now plans to bring in appropriately big-time merchants.
The reporters on the morning news looked so nervous! Was it war? Famine? No—it was potential commuter inconvenience! Word was that the thousands of truckers in town to protest fuel costs would have traffic backed up all the way to Herndon. They didn’t.
* Also today: Too bad the D.C. government’s snowplow- and trash-truck drivers weren’t caught up in the 18-wheeler mess. Then at least they’d have an excuse for blowing wintertime snow and trash cleanup. The mayor today grovelled on their behalf, beginning apologetic calls to 100,000 District answering machines.
Squealing pays! As of today, tipsters whose information leads to a murder arrest can get paid $10,000 by D.C. Maybe the city should pay for confessions, too: As of today, police had made arrests in just seven of 49 homicides this year.
Our water is better than yours! At today’s International Water Tasting Competition in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., Washington finished in the top 20—ahead of Perrier-swilling neighboring cities in Maryland and Virginia. A couple thousand more prizes like that, and we might erase the memories of the unsafe water researchers found a couple years back.
And just as we’re catching up to the rest of the world in water sanitation, we’re also catching up in creepy citizen surveillance. That junky old D.C. driver’s license in your pocket may be your last gasp against the man’s prying eyes. The city today announced plans to switch to digitized licenses featuring hard-to-copy holograms. No word yet on what the change will do to the beer-buying economy when college is in session.
Happy leap day! Did you do something cool enough to make it worth remembering for four years? Didn’t think so. —Michael Schaffer