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Howdy. A big day in D.C. Superior Court with the start of the Robert Wone conspiracy trial. It’s been several years since Wone was murdered in the Dupont Circle home of the three defendants. That’s a long time to speculate, theorize, and comb through the evidence. No one has been more attentive to this case than the men behind the website Who Murdered Robert Wone? The site offers up strong Day One coverage that included opening statements and the testimony of Wone’s widow. The bloggers picked up on a few interesting details:
“It’s clear the defense is ready to take full advantage of any and all previously admitted government and law enforcement errors, reinforcing their message that this was a flawed investigation from the beginning. Said Ward counsel Schertler, the government ‘…tried to create evidence to fit a preconceived theory…’
Interestingly, all three defense attorneys took pains to paint Robert and all of the Swann Street three as good friends…and that friends simply can’t murder friends. A close reading of the defendants’ interview statements, and comments today from Kathy Wone, raise some doubt about those claims.
Looking back, in his opening statement Kirschner seemed to hit his strongest stride referencing W-5 and Joe’s statement to him that he pulled the knife from Robert’s chest. This, after being interviewed for hours that he found the knife lying on Robert’s chest..an inconsistency that Kirschner hopes to demonstrate the ‘vacuum’ of truth in statements by the defendants.”
AFTER THE JUMP—-More bad news for CFSA, introducing the Fake Don Peebles, Maya Angelou pens supportive note to Fenty, and MOCO schools get in hot water over religion.
BUDGET WATCH: Yesterday, LL cheered the restoration of funds to several Child and Family Services Agency programs that had been cut by Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s proposed budget. But LL failed to provide a clearer picture of the cuts that are still set to take effect. You can find a full breakdown of the cuts in the Human Services Committee report (PDF)—which include hefty slices from foster parent subsidies, rapid housing, along with a cut to the grandparent-caregiver subsidy program, and the gutting of the parent advocacy program. The safety net still needs a lot of patching up. The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute provides a fact sheet on the budget mess. Meanwhile, Save Our Safety Net is organizing a Human Safety Net around the Wilson Building tomorrow morning. The press release has the details:
“District residents and advocates will build a safety net around the John A. Wilson Building at 8:30 am Wednesday, May 17, 2010. The demonstration is being organized in partnership with the Fair Budget Coalition and Save Our Safety Net (SOS-DC)….Harry Thomas, Michael Brown, and other Councilmembers will join hundreds of DC residents
FAKE DON PEEBLES: The big question from yesterday: Was Don Peebles now using Twitter? The answer turned out to be no. But the Fake Don Peebles is still pretty awesome. Favorite tweets include this one from May 16: “There has been much speculation over my intent to run for mayor of DC, for inquiring minds: I am still giving it serious consideration.” And this one from May 12: “I like thinking big…If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” I don’t know about you but this substitute LL is going to be following the Fake Don Peebles at least until the election.
MAYA ANGELOU STICKS UP FOR FENTY: Remember that controversy last summer revolving around the Fenty Administration’s attempt to boot out Cora Masters Barry from the tennis center? Remember the reports of Fenty dissing Dorothy Height and Maya Angelou? Fenty had failed to meet with the famous women, who were intent on lobbying on Barry’s behalf. On NC8’s NewsTalk last week, Fenty addressed the controversy. During the interview, Fenty mentions receiving a letter from Angelou as evidence that there were no hard feelings. WaPo has a copy of the letter: “In the September missive, Angelou writes, ‘I know that my name has been used in varying ways, but while I am a friend of Mrs. Cora Masters Barry, and a supporter of her great efforts, I in no way meant to be a threat or a negative figure to you in this matter….I want you to know that I have not spoken to the press and it was never my intent to bogart or jam you against a wall.'” We applaud the poet for her use of the word “bogart.” I’m sure Fenty totally understood the term.
VINCE GRAY CAMPAIGN WATCH: D.C. Wire’s Mike DeBonis (the name sounds familiar…) reports that Gray is playing catchup on a number of fronts: “Gray’s nascent operation has to contend with a well-established, well-organized Fenty election apparatus, the vaunted ‘Green Machine,’ which prides itself on identifying friendly voters and making sure they get to the polls on Election Day. Already, Fenty works from a list amassed in the course of his 2006 landslide win, and his re-election campaign continues to collect names on street corners and from door-to-door canvassing. Without divulging the actual length of the list, Fenty consultant Tom Lindenfeld says that the campaign ‘has been counting and mining the voters for an extended period of time.’ Gray, on the other hand, starts pretty much from scratch. This weekend, his campaign started making headway on that front, phoning thousands of District voters to ask for their support. ‘In a sense, it is catching up,’ Gray campaign spokesperson Traci Hughes said Monday. ‘We’ve got someone who’s been essentially running for office for three years, and we’re just joining the race.'”
MOCO VS. GOD’S PLAYGROUND: A MOCO school canceled a series of field trips to Bethesda’s With Me Playseum for its kindergarten classes after the museum’s owner apparently dropped the G word on her website. WaPo reports: “The owner of the fledgling business, Gina Seebachan, bought tiles so each child could make a handprint to take home as a keepsake. She organized books by authors the children were reading for story time. If the trip went well, Seebachan thought, business might really take off. Then, without warning, Westbrook Elementary School, which all four of Seebachan’s children have attended, canceled the trip. All because, Seebachan says, she mentions God on the Playseum Web site. Last month’s canceled school visits were just the latest in what some friends and neighbors call an unsubstantiated whisper campaign that has gone viral, with Web postings accusing Seebachan, an evangelical Christian, and the Playseum of being less about creating a play space for children and more about saving their souls. In a well-to-do, liberal community, where separation of church and state is virtually a religion, Seebachan’s references to God, and the use of the politically loaded word ‘life’ on the Playseum Web site, coupled with the echo chamber of the Internet, made for a combustible mix.” Key graph that makes the owner look a little kooky: “She indeed plays her iPod Nano at the Playseum, meaning that children hear ’80s hits such as ‘Tainted Love’ but also some Christian rock. She says she did once sing a catchy ditty that included some hallelujahs while she made apple pie in the play space’s bakery. But, she says, she hasn’t sung anything with religious content since then. All the other things people are saying about her, she says, are ‘utter lies.'”
COMMENTARY: This morning, Children’s Law Center’s Executive Director Judith Sandalow provides a commentary on WAMU concerning Mayor Fenty’s child-abuse prevention plan. Here is an excerpt:
“Four years after he called for a District-wide plan to prevent child abuse and neglect, Mayor Fenty quietly issued a press release announcing the plan had been completed. It wasn’t worth the wait.
The inconspicuous nature of the announcement speaks volumes about the District’s lack of commitment to actually prevent child abuse and neglect. Indeed, the plan itself is all talk and very little action.
I just don’t understand the Mayor’s lack of urgency.
Our child welfare system is overflowing. Almost 4,000 children were abused or neglected in fiscal year 2009 alone. There are more than 2,000 children in foster care at any given moment and another 2,000 children whose families are monitored by our child welfare agency. With the troubled economy sending thousands of additional families into poverty, we can only expect this number to increase.
The suffering behind these numbers is almost unspeakable.”
HORSE PLAY FOLLOW UP: WUSA9 has video of the wild horse romp through NW from this past weekend.
APOLOGIES TO RON MOTEN: Early in LL’s short tenure, he quoted FOP honcho Kristopher Baumann stating that Peaceoholics received city funds to locate and return juvenile absconders. This is not true. Ron Moten tells LL that his organization had received no such funding. Juveniles charged in the Brian Betts murder had escaped from DYRS supervision. All three defendants had attended a Peaceoholics retreat just prior to the killing. Moten says he did not know of their issues with DYRS. “We would have made them turn themselves in,” Moten says. “They have to be willing to accept responsibility for what they’ve done.” Moten adds that the retreat did help many of the other kids in attendance. Of the 47 children who participated, 16 have since found employment. It should be noted that Baumann promptly contacted LL to correct the error.