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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Carter Called Shots During Binge Of Violence

Morning, uh, all. Finally. FINALLY WaPo’s Robert McCartney has written a column that’s well worth your time. The man who is usually the columnist equivalent of Ambien has penned a tough piece on Michelle Rhee and her unwillingness to accept blame for the DCPS teachers’ union contract mess. He cornered the chancellor after the all-day D.C. council hearing on the matter: “‘I don’t manage the budget,’ she said. That pointed the finger directly at the District’s chief financial officer, Natwar Gandhi. The most that Rhee would concede was: ‘We could have done a better job of communicating.’ She declined to expound. So much for accountability.” Meanwhile, Harry Jaffe critiques Chairman Vince Gray’s performance at the hearing writing that he “played political games.” Shocker. And WAMU reports that Rhee has found a solution to the budget mess.

AFTER THE JUMP—-An Arrest In the Betts Murder, D.C. Charter Schools threaten lawsuit, D.C. area sees surge in shootings over the weekend, and VA’s Gov is facing complaints that he’s too moderate!

BREAKING: WaPo is reporting that a woman has been arrested in connection with the murder of Principal Brian Betts: “Montgomery County police have arrested a District woman Monday morning in connection with the killing of school principal Brian Betts, a police spokeswoman said, and have served two search warrants at residences in separate parts of Washington. The woman in police custody is 46 years old and is not specifically charged with the slaying of Betts, Montgomery police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said.But the woman is charged with counts ‘related to the Betts investigation,’ Baur said, though she declined to provide details. The woman’s name was not released.”

MUST READ: In a WaPo op-ed, Avis E. Buchanan, director of the D.C. Public Defender Service, and Shawn Armbrust, the executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project addressed the important decision by D.C. Police to release the 14-year-old charged with driving the getaway car in the shooting massacre. It’s worth reading—-especially in light of all the heat the police got for dropping the charges. They write in WaPo:

“This error was serious. A child was charged with a multitude of serious offenses he did not commit, his name was published in the press, and the details of his difficult childhood and delinquency history were spelled out for the nation to read. The District, which nearly prosecuted this youth, suffered intense criticism for the perceived failure of its efforts to rehabilitate him.

Of equal concern is that this error could have gone undetected. The original news of the arrest stated that a D.C. police sergeant who was involved in the chase positively identified the child as the driver of the minivan involved in the mass shooting. An arrest based on this identification probably struck most people as reasonable, even laudable. After all, the sergeant is a trained, experienced police officer, and he was certain enough of his identification to commit it to a charging document. Most people might even assume this should be reliable enough to support a conviction at a future trial.

In a sense, the child was lucky — the fortuity of other developments in the case proved that the sergeant was wrong before the child could be tried and wrongfully convicted. But that is not always the case.”

Jonetta Rose Barras calls out D.C.’s charter schools in today’s Examiner column. Why? Barras is upset that the charter schools are threatening to sue to the District over funding from the still-up-in-the-air DCPS teacher’s union contract. She writes: “They threatened in a letter to District elected officials to file a lawsuit against the city if teachers in charter schools do not receive a comparable retroactive lump sum payment expected to be made to D.C. Public Schools teachers as part of a new five-year contract. The agreement hasn’t even been ratified by the Washington Teachers’ Union or approved by the D.C. Council.” Barras writes the charter schools are acting like bullies. The long-time columnist has a point:

“By design, charter schools were given freedoms not available to DCPS: They could hire and fire teachers without consideration of District laws. They could raise money from any source any time. They aren’t required to share any of those funds with the city or DCPS. Further, charter schools haven’t been obligated to accept any child who showed up at their doors — as is DCPS. In other words, charter schools have great pleasures and little pain. Those benefits gave them the edge in competing with DCPS for students and helped instigate the fastest-growing charter school movement in the country. Unfortunately, the model has become disfigured. Charters think every time there is an improvement in DCPS, they should receive the same benefits, making a mockery of competition. It’s time to reassess the design.”

Wash Times has a reported piece on the charter-school lawsuit threat.

IT WAS A BUSY WEEKEND FOR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT. WTOP is reporting that investigators are searching for a suspect in a sexual assault incident that took place in Rock Creek Park over the weekend: “The incident happened on the Holly Trail.Police say the man was armed with a knife when he attacked the woman. She fought back and stabbed the man in the hand.The suspect may still have a cut on his hand, police say. Police are searching for a Hispanic male in his twenties. He is described as having a slender build, curly hair and standing 5 feet, 6 inches tall.” See also NC8/WJLA, NBC4, WUSA9

WTOP (via AP) reports that D.C. police are investigating multiple unrelated shootings. See also NC8/WJLA, NBC4, WUSA9, DCist. WaPo’s Matt Zapotosky reports that police are at a loss to explain a motive for the weekend’s violence other than it was a hot weekend: “Police in the District, which last year had historic lows in crime statistics, responded to five shootings that left one dead and six wounded. Prince George’s had two shootings that left two dead and one injured. In Montgomery County, two people were wounded in two shootings. The violence in the District began about 10:30 p.m. Saturday in the 4700 block of Jay Street NE, authorities said. A man sleeping in a car was awakened by the sound of gunfire and realized that he had been shot, said Gwendolyn Crump, a D.C. police spokeswoman. The man’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, she said. Officers said they did not know the motive for the shooting.”

VA NEWS: Expect the Dulles Rail Project to heat up. And WaPo reports that Republicans are starting to sour on Gov. McDonnell for being too moderate.
WBJ reports on a big-time merger between two D.C. law firms.

Duckling Season is upon us.

A blogger unearths DOH’s public service announcement on bedbugs.

The District Curmudgeon provides an update on the pothole that would not die.

MAYOR’S SCHEDULE: At 10:45 a.m.: Remarks @ Met Branch Trail Ribbon Cutting. Location: Met Branch Park, 4th and S Streets NE

D.C. COUNCIL’S SCHEDULE: Looks like more budget hearings (parks and rec, libraries, health, economic development).