The following advertisement appeared in last Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine: “Elizabeth Morgan, M.D., Ph.D. is pleased to announce her return from abroad….” Academic sabbatical? Extended vacation? Nope, this is the same Elizabeth Morgan who waged a 15-year custody battle with her ex-husband, who, she alleged, had sexually abused their daughter. After serving jail time, Morgan did go abroad, so to speak: She fled to New Zealand with her daughter to evade a D.C. judge’s court order granting visitation rights to her ex-husband.
Fight the Bureaucrats Otis Daniels, deputy chief planner for the D.C. public schools (DCPS), empathized last Monday night with a group of frustrated Marshall Heights residents who want DCPS to make repairs to H.D. Woodson High School. But Daniels’ attempt to feel their pain backfired when he raised his fist and recalled his days of protest in the 1960s. “For you to talk about black power don’t matter a hill of beans,” snapped Mary Jackson, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 7. “If you’re the maverick you say you are, go out and kick butt.” Jackson and other members of the Marshall Heights Educational Working Group demanded that Daniels lose the rhetoric and get down to business rehabbing Woodson, where repairs to escalators and reportedly unsafe gym bleachers are five years overdue. Daniels promised that he would personally carry their demands to superintendent Arlene Ackerman, but when the group asked him to follow through, the former revolutionary backpedaled. “We aren’t directly responsible for maintenance,” he answered.
The Truth Is Better “Let me just start by telling you that I have no excuse for being late…had [Dorothy Brizill] not paged me, I confess I would have blown it completely.”newly installed Metropolitan Police Department Chief Charles Ramsey, after showing up 45 minutes late for a meeting with community activists.
Recycled Baloney Chief Management Officer Camille Barnett strode into Washington as the cut-the-bullshit queen of cost-efficiency who would renew faith in District services. She made the restoration of the city’s long-lost recycling program one of her first priorities, but two months ago, Barnett nixed a D.C. Council-approved recycling contract because it would have had recyclables picked up at residents’ front curbs, not in their alleys. Barnett then asked prospective bidders to figure the cost of providing new bins and alley pickup as part of their proposals. The additional requests boosted the cost of the program to an average of $175-$200 per ton, up from last round’s $110 per ton. The city would have to pay for special trucks to pick up the 20-gallon tubs in the alleys. And even though bin contractors would be allowed to sell advertising space on the containers, the city would not see a penny from its revenue.
Paradise Lost When the National Park Service and the Secret Service decided to barricade two blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, they billed the six lanes of empty asphalt as a pedestrian paradise. But last month, the Park Service put up new signs, requesting, “Pedestrians Please Use Sidewalk.” The signs’ arrival coincided with the start-up of a new handicapped shuttle provided by Tourmobile, which transports disabled passengers on Pennsylvania between 15th and 17th Streets. “It was just for a few weeks, a trial period,” explains Susan Creger, deputy park manager for what has been dubbed President’s Park, who notes that the signs were taken down at the end of last week. Shuttle drivers are going to “drive slowly and carefully and stay out of the way of pedestrians,” promises Tom Mack, chairman of Tourmobile.
Taxidermy After a year-and-a-half investigation, members of the D.C. Tax Revision Commission have reached a startling conclusion: Taxes have little to do with why people cross the District line. “Taxes are not a determinant of why people and businesses locate in the city,” explains commission chairman Robert Ebel. Of the 67,000 tax filers lost since 1989, most have relocated to the suburbs of Maryland, which generally taxes both businesses and individuals at a higher rate than Virginia.
Reporting by Jason Cherkis, Paula Park, Chris Peterson, Elissa Silverman, and Jake Tapper.
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