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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Our Summer Music Guide“
Howdy. Lots of interesting/hilarious conflict in the news. So let’s get down to it with New Parents Vs. Everyone Else. WaPo’s Annys Shin (full disclosure: she’s a pal and a former WCP colleague) reports on a new conflict spreading in District neighborhoods—-new parents and their toddlers invading public space, taking part in “baby happy hours,” and generally taking over just about everywhere. Shin writes: “Politicians and planners have heralded the return of young families to such areas as Washington, Boston and New York as a sign of resurgence. But as the ranks of parents and their tykes have swelled, so, too, has resentment over having to accommodate them in public places. Skirmishes have erupted on buses, in parks, on playing fields and in bars. Often, the conflicts pit parents against childless adults who, after decades of middle-class flight, have gotten used to the sense that they have the city to themselves.” Key quote: “I don’t hate kids,” Kriston Capps said. “But you know, just like in totally reasonable moderation. Lots of adults can make a great scene at a bar. . . . Lots of kids cannot make a great scene at a bar.” Agreed. I hate going to Commonwealth and having to share space with toddlers. I’ve seen one tyke sitting by the bar on a Friday night—-during no kiddie happy hour. Ridiculous. Key sympathetic parent quote: “I remember really hating people with kids before I had kids,” Hill resident Tim Krepp said. “I grossly underestimated at the time how difficult it is to get two kids around the city without cars.”
HOUSING MARKET IMPROVING: WaPo goes A1 with a piece on the D.C. area housing market stabilizing. The once ubiquitous for-sale signs may be a thing of the past. And housing prices are going up. But here’s the catch: there’s still a shortage of affordable housing for first-time buyers. You know, buyers who can’t afford that $400,000 home (which basically covers most of D.C.): “The number of area homes for sale last month was down 25 percent from April 2008, when supply was swelling to record highs after the credit market dried up and buyers retrenched, according to the most recent data from the local Multiple Listing Service. The supply fell in nearly all of the region’s counties and cities since that time. It was down by more than 20 percent in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties; about 30 percent in Virginia’s Fairfax and Loudoun counties; and 55 percent in Prince William County, including Manassas and Manassas Park. ‘There are tons of buyers out there, but there aren’t enough good houses, especially entry-level homes under $400,000,’ said Vivianne Couts, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Fairfax. ‘I’ve been sending out letters to owners to see if any of them would want to sell to my clients.'”
AFTER THE JUMP—-District residents footing the bill for streetcars, Robert Wone, a tragedy at GW, Ward 8 Dems take a straw poll, and much, much more!
BUDGET WINNERS AND LOSERS: The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has an amazing breakdown of Fenty’s proposed budget cuts, and what programs D.C. Council committees recommended receive full funding or partial funding. City services still taking significant hits include childcare, adult education, housing purchase assistance. But it looks like many of the cuts to Child and Family Services Agency programs might be saved—-this does not include the employees recently laid off. The Institute’s Elissa Silverman (also a former Loose Lips columnist) notes:
“This week, the DC Council will likely meet behind closed doors to discuss the budget. DCFPI, along with 40 other organizations and individuals, have sent a letter to Chairman Gray asking him to make these meetings open to the public. The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.”
WARD 8 STRAW POLL: On Saturday, Ward 8 Dems held a straw poll for this year’s mayoral contest. Council Chair Vincent Gray beat Mayor Adrian Fenty 59 to 49 among registered voters—-no surprise. But Fenty topped his challenger among same-day voters 69 to 61, reports WaPo’s Nikita Stewart , even though the mayor was booed during the candidate’s forum.
STREETCAR$: The Examiner‘s Kytja Weir breaks down just how much District residents are going to pay for those fancy new streetcars. Nostalgia is costly: “D.C.’s first two streetcar lines will cost the city’s taxpayers an estimated $3.5 million to operate in their first year, beyond the more than $100 million cost of building the two lines and buying the trolleys, according to a city letter. The cost will be for one line along the H Street/Benning Road corridor in Northeast and the other along Martin Luther King Boulevard in Anacostia, both of which the District Department of Transportation plans to open in spring 2012. They are part of the city’s broader plan to build a 37-mile streetcar system of eight lines to crisscross the city by 2020, all under a $1.5 billion construction price tag. But, as with most transit systems, riders’ fares won’t likely cover the actual cost of running the system. And as the other new lines open, the yearly operating costs will likely grow.”
AUDIT TIME: The Examiner’s Bill Myers reports that Councilmember Mary Cheh has asked Auditor Deborah Nichols to audit the city’s Office of Risk Management. Key graphs: “The agency is charged with keeping an eye on the District’s financial liabilities. It also has broad authority over the workers’ compensation fund. Several disabled workers have alleged publicly that the city has been deducting life insurance benefits from their bimonthly paychecks but hasn’t been giving life insurance policies. ‘I don’t know what’s going on,’ said Iwo Fairrow, who has been battling the city since August, when her husband, disabled schools maintenance man James Fairrow, died. ‘My house literally went into foreclosure.’ Fairrow says that city officials initially denied that her husband had any life insurance.The city has since paid some $190,000 but Fairrow says she’s still entitled to James Fairrow’s annuity. ‘Something is wrong with this picture,’ she said. ‘What is the D.C. government doing with the money?'”
ROBERT WONE: With the Robert Wone conspiracy trial set to begin today, WaPo’s Neely Tucker profiles the men behind the blog—-Who Murdered Robert Wone? Tucker writes: “It’s the slightly obsessive brainchild of Craig Brownstein, 52, vice president for media relations at the Edelman public relations firm; Doug Johnson, 45, a producer at Voice of America; Michael Kremin, 53, a digital-media consultant; and David Greer, 45, a speechwriter at the National Association of Realtors. Struck by the lack of coverage of the case in 2008, they set up the site as a simple blog and watched it balloon into an after-hours project so in-depth they are hiring an intern to help cover the trial. ‘Every murder victim should have an indefatigable investigation into their case,’ Brownstein says. ‘Some murder cases get a lot of attention, and some don’t. This one did not. We understood the magnitude of loss here, a life like Robert’s, and were struck by the Rubik’s Cube nature of the murder investigation itself. We decided to devote ourselves to bringing as much attention to the case as possible.'” More pre-trial coverage via The Examiner, and, of course, Who Murdered Robert Wone?
G.W. TRAGEDY: A George Washington University sophomore died after fall on Saturday morning. WTOP reports: “Taylor Hubbard, 20, fell out of a fifth floor window at Guthridge Hall on George Washington’s campus around 4 a.m. Saturday. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital in critical condition, and later died of his injuries. Dr. Steven Knapp, the university’s president, announced the death during the school’s commencement ceremony on the National Mall Sunday morning. ‘Our hearts go out to his family and his many friends in the George Washington Community,’ said Knapp. A moment of silence was held during the ceremony. Hubbard did not live in Guthridge Hall. Police are investigating the incident.” WaPo has more on the tragedy: “It was not immediately clear why Hubbard was at the residence hall. He had been living off campus, and when classes were completed this month, he had gone to his parents’ home for the summer, a university spokeswoman said.” More coverage via NC8, and WUSA9, NBC4.
HORSE PLAY IN NORTHWEST: District residents captured a runaway horse. WaPo reports on the crazy scene: “A runaway horse, without saddle, bridle or rider, galloped through the streets of upper Northwest Washington on Sunday evening, provoking concern and astonishment, and many calls to the police. The horse’s sprint past startled spectators began near the stables in Rock Creek Park and ended quietly on 32nd Place NW, in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. There were no reports of harm to either the animal or any of those who crossed paths with it on its dash through city streets. Residents on 32nd were told by one of the many police officers who showed up that in 17 years on the department, he had never seen anything like it.” After the horse was captured, residents came out of their homes with carrots and apples for the horse. This totally would have been a wacky subplot on “The District.” [LL can’t believe he just made that joke].
ENDANGERED PLACES: NBC4 reports that the D.C. Preservation League has announced its list of the city’s most endangered historic and/or significant buildings. They include: Anne Archbold Hall, historic firehouses, and several single-family detached homes within the Anacostia Historic District.
FIRST LADY: Nobody likes a commencement speech unless it’s Michelle Obama giving it. Everyone covered her speech to G.W. graduates. WaPo has the story, the video, and the cute backstory.
MAYOR’S SCHEDULE: Fenty has no public events. So who the hell knows where he is. Miami? Cancun? Flexing in front of his mirror at home?
D.C. COUNCIL SCHEDULE: The Committee on Government Operations and the Environment will be holding a roundtable hearing at 10:30 a.m. at the Wilson Building’s room 500.