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Howdy. Here’s a thought of the day via a former colleague now obsessed with the taxes vs. budget cuts issue: “Just want to point out that none other than David “anti-tax” Catania supports modernizing the sales tax: His committee suggests applying the 6 percent sales tax to medical marijuana. So we’ll be taxing pot, but not yoga. How bizarre.” Tomorrow, the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute is organizing its own call-in day: “Some council members — but not all — have expressed support for parts of a revenue package supported by the Fair Budget Coalition. We need you to contact the DC Council to ensure we have enough support for a budget passed with progressive revenue increases.” Can they get more callers than workout lobby?
Meanwhile, the D.C. Council is considering a tax on Caps, Mystics, Wizards, and D.C. United games (the Nats would be exempt). The D.C. Wire reports: the new tax would “generate an estimated $3.7 million in revenue to fund city recreation programs for fiscal 2011. Funding for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has been reduced by 11 percent as the city grapples with a budget deficit.” What this mean for you: “Any admission ticket costing $25.02 or more would tack on an extra $1. Tickets valued at $25.01 or less would cost a fan an additional 50 cents. The tax would not apply to tickets under $10.01, according to a written recommendation of the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation.”
AFTER THE JUMP—-Arrest in Wilson Building intern murder, Harry Jaffe proves why he’s the worst columnist in the city, Judge claims DYRS does not need an independent investigation, American University goes green, and much, much more!
REASON NO. 82 WHY HARRY JAFFE IS THE WORST COLUMNIST IN THE CITY: The Examiner’s Harry Jaffe should just join the police union at this point. Or at least police union chief Kristopher Baumann should get a co-byline for Jaffe’s miserable columns. In his latest piece, Jaffe calls for the District to eliminate the Office of Police Complaints. There are reasons to critique that office. Like a lot of city agencies, it doesn’t have enough power to effect change i.e. to make much progress in the way of eliminating police abuses. But it has made a tremendous difference in the lives of mentally-ill residents—-it lobbied successfully for years for the police to change the way it responds to residents in crisis. It should be commended for its difficult work. Instead, Jaffe highlights one lame case and writes:
“The case is typical of the way the Office of Police Complaints deals with cops. It summons them, questions them, and takes years to decide their cases. At a time when the District government is $500 million in the hole, allow me to suggest a quick way to slash $.2.6 million: 86 the OPC.
Born in the day when police were often accused of roughing up citizens, OPC is now redundant in an age of excessive scrutiny of cops. The OPC gets a case after the cops have investigated and after federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office have looked it over and declined prosecution.
And what do District residents get for their $2.6 million? So far this year the OPC has issued — are you ready — zero decisions. It is currently investigating cases from 2006. Last year OPC rendered six decisions, at a cost of $400,000 each.
The case for giving the ax to OPC is well-argued in a letter by the police union to city council Judiciary Committee Chairman Phil Mendelson. Backed by a stack of documents, the letter comes to a shocking conclusion: The Metropolitan Police Department is doing a fantastic job investigating its own.
WAPO EDIT BOARD APPEARS TO DIG DCPS CONTRACT: Board says it’s now up to the teachers to finally weigh in: “After years of torturous negotiations, the city’s teachers finally will have their say. We hope there will be a good turnout by teachers, who — after all this time of being spoken for and shouted over — will want to soberly examine the contract’s potential benefits for teachers and students alike.”
DYRS NOT BROKEN SAYS CHIEF JUDGE: WTOP’s Mark Segraves breaks some news on his Ask The Judges program. D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield “dismissed calls for an independent commission to review the breakdowns in the system that have resulted in seven teenagers – who were under the supervision of the juvenile justice system – being arrested for various murders this year….Satterfield also responded to comments made by D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson, who called the system a “mess” and complained that there is not enough coordination between the various agencies. ‘I don’t agree with that,’ Satterfield says. ‘I know that all the people involved in the branches of government meet regularly. It’s not as if we operate in silos. Unfortunately we’re in a political election season and the decibel level is going up and I think we need to stop pointing fingers at each other.’ Satterfield admits there are improvements that need to be made, but doesn’t think another commission needs to be created. Satterfield and D.C. Superior Court District Family Court Judge William Jackson agreed there is one major improvement they would like to see: Giving judges more power when it comes to sentencing juveniles.”
ORG CHART: D.C. Wire reports that there’s a new director to lead the troubled Department on Disability Services: “The appointment of Deputy Director Laura Nuss to head the Department on Disability Services is expected to be announced Wednesday morning, a few hours before District officials are to appear in federal court for a hearing in the class action case. Judith E. Heumann, a longtime disability rights advocate who served several years in the Clinton Administration and was named to lead DDS in 2007, said last night that she has resigned to go to work for the State Department, where she will be the special adviser on international disability rights.”
Hirshhorn Museum damage from last night’s accident could have been a lot worse. The museum was saved by planters, WaPo reports: “The UPS truck that smashed into a lobby window of the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum plowed through five of the building’s 1,200-pound cement security planters, but the planters slowed the runaway vehicle and prevented more damage, officials said Tuesday….Although apparently an accident, the crash seems likely to prompt concern over the hierarchy of security around the city’s monument and government core and the evolution of security levels at Washington’s icons.” The driver was treated and released from a nearby hospital. More coverage via NC8, WUSA9.
ROBERT WONE: The conspiracy case against the three roommates is set to begin today with jury selection. But prosecutors realize that Wone’s death may go unsolved. WaPo’s Keith Alexander writes: “Federal prosecutors realize that, barring a last-minute confession or the discovery of new evidence, Wone’s Aug. 2, 2006, slaying will probably go unsolved. Prosecutors believe that one or more people restrained Wone, sexually assaulted him and stabbed him to death after he went to sleep on a pullout couch in a second-floor guest room at 1509 Swann St. NW.” Key graph: “Prosecutors think that the three men not only know who killed Wone but also are covering up for the killer or killers. But in the two-plus years since the men’s arrest, prosecutors have backed away from trying to prove their theories about the specifics of the killing, including that a sexual assault occurred. Prosecutors also decided against introducing evidence that Wone was drugged with a paralytic toxin. Although medical examiners found seven needle marks on Wone’s body, prosecutors later conceded there was not enough of the toxin in Wone’s system to conclusively prove a drug was used to incapacitate him.”
LOUDOUN COUNTY NEWS: This really boring county is getting a hospital sometime in the future. Now if you get sick at the outlets, you’ll know where to go.
ARREST IN SUTTON CASE: Yesterday, D.C. Police charged a man in the murder of former Wilson Building intern Alonte Sutton. WaPo reports: “Omare Ishmael Cotton, 28, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Alonte Sutton, police said. Sutton, a Ballou High School senior, was killed Saturday in the 200 block of Newcomb Street SE. In announcing the arrest, police gave few details. However, D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), for whom Sutton had worked, said he thinks that police quickly obtained a “pretty good bead” on a suspect. The shooting occurred ‘in broad daylight,’ Brown said, and there were ‘several witnesses.’ Sutton had worked last summer in Brown’s office, and Brown has described him as ‘a super kid.’ Brown had recommended him for a one-year internship this year. Family members have said that Sutton was killed after declining to give a ride to a man’s girlfriend.” More coverage via WUSA9, NC8, WTOP, The Examiner.
D.C. sees tourism decline. WBJ reports: “Domestic visitation to D.C. was down 3 percent to 14.8 million individuals throughout last year. Visitor spending fell 7 percent to $5.2 billion, which represented $582 million in tax revenue for the city.”
11:15 a.m. Remarks DDS Personnel Announcement Location: Department on Disability Services Building 1125 15th St. NW
4:00 p.m. Guest NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt Location: NewsChannel 8
DC COUNCIL SCHEDULE: 12:00 PM Committee Mark-Up Schedule – Housing and Workforce Development Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 500
2:00 PM Committee-Mark-up Schedule – Committee on Health Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 500
4:00 PM Committee Mark-Up Schedule – Committee on Aging and Community Affairs(Taxicab Commission Included) Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 500