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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Marion Barry’s Not-So-Timely Advice Reboot, D.C. Sulaimon Brown Leaves The Building Wilson Building Carsharing Spaces No More (Updated)
Good morning sweet readers! What’s in store for his week? Will news break that Mayor Vince Gray has hired Faith to be the sole member of the District’s bugle corps (salary, $225,000)? Or that Councilmember Tommy Wells ordered DDOT to buy him a diamond encrusted Capital Bikeshare bike to be used only by him? Only time will tell. News time:
Scandalgates Continue: Last week’s bad news for D.C.’s top politicians continues to live on. First, Wells released a preliminary report on problems with the city’s SUV procurement at 9:30 a.m. The report hammers the Department of Public Works for ignoring a city law prohibiting purchasing or leasing SUVs except for security or public safety reasons. Then, half-an-hour later, failed mayoral candidates and appointee Sulaimon Brown went on TBD’s Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt to announce that he has proof the Gray administration is lying about how he got a $110,000-a-year job and how he lost said job. Brown also sounded like he’s going to sue the city for the way he was dumped. Next up, the Examiner’s Jonetta Rose Barras reports that Department of Parks and Recreation Director Jesus Aguirre said “I did not request them. I did not interview them” in reference to two recent DPW political hires: Cherita Whiting and Nicholas Hall, the son of Gray’s COS. “Gray dumped his political friends at DPR while the agency couldn’t hire critical employees who could provide direct services to District residents,” writes Jonetta. And all that is just this morning’s news. Over the last few days, Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry inserted himself into the fray by defending Gray’s recent hires, including Brown, and repeating his new favorite phrase: “to the victor go the spoils.” The D.C. Council is trying to “regain public confidence” by planning oversight hearings of Gray’s hirings and introducing new legislation regarding vehicle leasing. Freeman Klopott looks at how the District is doing compared to neighboring jurisdictions and finds D.C. is paying the most, by far, for executive rides. The Post editorial board chides Gray on his hiring. “Neither Mr. Gray nor the city can afford a return to the sad days of city governance when whom you knew mattered more than what you knew or what you could accomplish.” Tom Toles draws a zinger. Colby King asks “Why, indeed, do residents of the District tolerate such nonsense?” Tom Sherwood says Gray’s losing it. And NPR calls it one of the worst weeks ever.
AFTER THE JUMP: 911 Call Dropped; Breathalyzer Problems; Solar Flare;
Try Again Later: Klopott reports that 200 the Gray administration was warned that furloughing dispatchers at the city’s 911 call center would lead to unanswered emergency calls. “On Feb. 22 the workers took their leave from midnight to 6 a.m. and nearly 200 calls were dropped, city officials confirmed. Due to the furlough, the usual complement of 16 dispatchers dropped to three during that time, an e-mail from union president Lee Blackmon to Gray administration officials said.” Klopott also reports that the police department’s problems with breathalyzers may date back a whole decade. CM Phil Mendelson is holding a hearing today about MPD’s breathalyzer problems.
Throw Snowballs at Santa Street: The Philly Inquirer warns Councilmember Michael A. Brown not to give Pennsylvania Ave. a ceremonial renaming. Whatever.
Never Trust the Government: That’s the takeaway after reading this story in the Post on the District reneging on its promises to pay for part of solar panel installation costs for dozens of District homeowners. “I’m not ready to throw a molotov cocktail at the D.C. government, but I’m very disappointed,” says one guy who is now out $12,200. Says Department of Environment Director Christophe Tulou: “It just doesn’t seem fair to go through a process with them and have them make investments in solar panels under the assumption they would be reimbursed … It’s really sad we are having these economic woes when we are.”
In Other News: One City Summer Jobs program fills up quickly. Potential Wal-Mart landlord accused of running the naughty kind of massage parlors. Gray looking to bring back development authorities. Ed board says city shouldn’t suffer from federal shut down. Protective Services boss is out. Pat Mara is a Republican. CM Sekou Biddle opens an office.
Gray sked: Secret Service HQ at 3:30 p.m
Council sked: Mendo’s breathalyzer hearings at 11 a.m.