Hey all. More troubling news re: juvenile crime this weekend.
COLBY KING ON DYRS: Last week, WaPo’s editorial board called for an independent investigation into DYRS. On Saturday, the paper’s—-and indeed, the city’s—-juvenile-justice expert weighs in with a harrowing chronicle of one mother’s attempt to get help for her troubled son who had absconded from a DYRS group home. King goes on to explain all the reasons why he thinks DYRS might never improve under the current regime:
“DYRS cries out for investigation. But not by a blue-ribbon commission assembled by the mayor, the D.C. Council and the court, as some have suggested. Such a venture will be captured by paternalistic, progressive forces who uncritically accept any claim DYRS makes. The juvenile justice department needs to be investigated by an agency equipped with subpoena powers, an ability to take sworn testimony, and a clear mandate to examine performance and determine the truth and falsity of the representations that DYRS makes about itself.
Don’t look for any help from Mayor Adrian Fenty, who thinks DYRS knows all the answers. And Attorney General Peter Nickles? Which is he, the city’s lawyer or the mayor’s consigliere?
The council’s Human Services Committee chairman, Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who oversees the city’s juvenile justice system, is a logical choice to lead such a probe. But he can’t bear being perceived as a possible critic of a ‘progressive’ venture.
That leaves us with more of the same. That is, until a DYRS escapee cuts down another public celebrity from the ‘good’ part of town.”
FORMER WILSON BUILDING INTERN FOUND DEAD: WaPo’s Matt Zapotosky and Lisa Rein deliver the sad, sad news from this past weekend: “Police removed a body believed to be that of a promising D.C. Council intern from a wooded area in Southeast Washington on Sunday afternoon, and family members said they think the young man was shot and killed a day earlier after a dispute with a man over a ride. Alonte Sutton, 18, seemed an unlikely candidate to be touched by the violence that kills so many of his peers in Washington, family members and friends said. He was a good student at Ballou Senior High School and was set to graduate in June, family members said. Sutton worked last summer in the office of D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), who was so impressed that he recommended him for a competitive year-long internship this year. ‘We were extremely proud of him,’ Brown said Sunday. ‘We all knew this was a super kid.'” The Wilson Building is not immune to District violence. Sutton’s death follows the killing of Graham’s chief of staff Calvin Woodland’s brother. More via WTOP, NC8/WJLA, WUSA9, NBC4.
AFTER THE JUMP: More metro woes, Taye Diggs celebrates Amtrak, Ron Moten’s battle with Congress Heights, and much, much more.
METRO BLUES: A Metro oversight committee slams the system over a recent near-crash (WTOP): “District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton and Maryland Secretary of Transportation Beverly K. Swaim-Staley jointly wrote a letter expressing their concerns about another potential failure of the Automatic Train Protection system. It is widely believed that a track circuit within the automatic train control system played a large role in last year’s crash that killed nine and injured dozens. ‘It is absolutely essential that WMATA thoroughly investigate such hazardous conditions under your agency’s System Safety Program Plan.’ The three transportation leaders, who met for the first time Thursday as the executive board of the Tri-State Oversight Committee, are asking that Metro submit a thorough analysis of the hazard posed by a potential failure of that system, and what steps the agency has taken since last year’s crash.”
NC8/WJLA is reporting that Metro’s suicide-prevention program is running months behind schedule: “Metro said in September it would begin a suicide prevention campaign after a spike in deaths. The transit system had nine suicides in 2009. Typically, there are about two. The prevention program was to begin in February, including a public campaign and training for employees. But in May, it has not yet started. A Metro spokeswoman says the program is in development with $100,000 proposed for it in next year’s budget.” More via The Examiner, NBC4.
PEACEOHOLICS VS. CONGRESS HEIGHTS: WaPo weighs in on the battle pitting Congress Heights residents vs Peaceoholics over the violence-prevention group’s proposed opening of apartment building that would house at-risk youth. Ron Moten plays the gentrification card: “Moten said they have a not-in-my-backyard attitude toward his organization’s project. If residents wanted to buy expensive condominiums, they should have moved to Georgetown, he said, not to a neighborhood filled with poor people.” Can anyone vouch for Moten’s expertise on the housing business? WaPo reports: “The organization bought the property, at 1300 Congress St. SE, for $400,000 last May. It hopes that by September it could become a $1.2 million condominium with 13 units of affordable housing for youths, founder Jauhar Abraham said. Abraham and Moten said opponents have unfairly labeled the project a group home. Abraham said Peaceoholics will accept applications from older at-risk youths, who could eventually purchase their condo. The program would teach life skills and financial management.” Sure. Peaceoholics did get District funds for its project.
NUKE SUMMIT WILL COST TAXPAYERS: The Examiner’s Bill Myers reports taxpayers are facing a $4.4 million bill for law enforcement/emergency worker overtime: “D.C. police, firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers racked up nearly 52,000 hours of overtime during the April summit that brought dozens of world leaders to discuss nuclear disarmament. The overwhelming majority of the extra pay hours were chalked up to the police department. Cops were paid for more than 49,000 hours of overtime for a $4.3 million tab, figures kept by the city finance office show.”
SODA LOBBY: Myers strikes again with a sweet piece on the soda lobby’s reaction to the D.C. Council’s proposed tax on sugary, carbonated beverages: “Dozens of soft drink workers and advocates — many of them decked in the bright reds and blues of Coke and Pepsi — flooded the city council Friday to protest against a tax on high-sugar drinks in the District. The bill’s sponsor, Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, says the tax will help the city fight what she says is rampant obesity. She wants to charge 1 cent per fluid ounce of sugary soft drinks and spend the money on healthy lunches in the city’s schools and other weight-watching programs. She expects to raise about $16 million.” Key line(s): “The soft drink industry says the tax will punish poor families for whom soft drinks are a cheap alternative. ‘Now is not the time to pass a regressive and discriminatory tax,’ Coca-Cola mid-Atlantic spokesman Curtis Etherly told the Washington Examiner. ‘It’s going to push businesses out of the District.'”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT PART TWO: The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has a strong analysis of Fenty’s proposed cuts to child care assistance.
CFSA CUTS: The Examiner quotes CFSA Director Roque Gerald defending the agency’s layoffs of more than 100 workers. Gerald wrote in an e-mail to agency workers: “These [job cuts] are based on the best interests of the children, youth and families we serve.”
TAXES: The D.C. Democratic State Committee approved a resolution asking the D.C. Council to raise taxes on Districts residents making $200,000 or more.
BRIAN BETTS: WaPo has a piece on how Shaw is trying to keep up its scholastic achievements after the death of its principal.
VA NEWS: There’s a foul smell coming from Del Ray (NBC4).
10:45 a.m.: Remarks
Groundbreaking for Sheridan Station Housing Development
Location: Sheridan and Bowen Roads, SE