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Last week, a mayoral task force on privatization released a report that—surprise!—urges the District to turn over more city services to the private sector. While the task force’s findings were hardly revelatory, the report’s appendix proved to be a hidden gem. Appendix J records the results of a survey of D.C. councilmembers, who were queried on barriers to privatization. Councilmembers tapped labor unions as the No. 1 obstacle to contracting out city services. But the survey also revealed that legislators are finally acknowledging what many D.C. residents already believe—that the council itself is one of the biggest impediments to governmental reform. In their responses, 55 percent of the council members checked off “elected officials” as the second substantial obstacle to privatization, and 45 percent cited legislation as problem No. 3.
Prostate Politics Passing over D.C. General, Howard University’s Oncology Center, and other District hospitals, Mayor Marion Barry picked Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore as his spa of choice for prostate surgery last Saturday. Hopkins offers a state-of-the-art surgical procedure that minimizes side effects like impotence and incontinence. But a top D.C. General official says the primary reason Barry decided to forgo treatment at D.C.’s public hospital was security. Of course, D.C. General does have a little experience with patient security. Located a parking lot away from D.C. Jail, the hospital serves all 11,000 inmates in the D.C. corrections
Dreaming of a Blue Christmas Washington City Paper received the following from a D.C. police officer:
I am a member of the Metropolitan Police Department. In case you haven’t heard, we’ve had a tough year. If you can manage it, we would like the following for Christmas:
91. Our salary restored. We were already the lowest-paid police officers in the area before Mayor Grinch stole our money.
92. New police cars, like the ones you gave the Park Police and the Uniformed Secret Service.
93. A copy machine that works—along with paper and toner for good measure—so I don’t have to waste the gas we don’t have driving downtown to Xerox crime reports.
94. New guns and better bulletproof
vests. All the bad guys in my district
got those last year.
95. A station house where the roof doesn’t leak and the bathroom doesn’t flood.
96. City reimbursement of my medical
bills for on-duty injuries—before my insurance company drops me.
97. Yellow crime-scene tape, like the stuff you see on TV.
98. Flares, so I don’t get hit by a truck at the scene of an accident.
10. New uniforms, so I don’t look like a gas station attendant.
11. New glasses for Newt Gingrich so he
and the rest of Congress can see what’s happening to the city.
12. A U.S. Attorney who is as hard on
criminals as he is on cops.
13. Computers that work so we could join
the 20th century.
14. Morale. The department has run
out of it.
I know this is asking a lot, so if you can’t do it, I’ll settle for a remote-control car or a weekend with Cindy Crawford.
An MPD Officer