IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘D.C. Council Wants Residents To Vote On Attorney General‘; ‘Inmate Stabbed Inside D.C. Jail; Broken Cell Door May Be Linked To Incident‘; and tweets galore!
Morning all. The Adrian Fenty racial divide is probed by Examiner’s Michael Neibauer, who writes that ‘many black D.C. residents say [Fenty] has become imperious and out of touch.’ Some sample quotes: ‘I don’t think he has the respect that a mayor should have for all his constituents’; ‘I thought he was a lousy city council member and I knew he was going to be a lousy mayor’; ‘The government is run with a sense of arrogance it’s never had before’; ‘He treats this as if it’s a plantation and he’s the master.’ But, Neibauer notes that the ‘divide is not cleanly racial, noting his opposition from Phil Mendelson and Mary Cheh, plus support from black ex-cop Lowell Duckett, who says, ‘When we had the old guard in charge, we had the highest unemployment in the black community, we had the highest level of violent crime in the nation. I found out black wasn’t black enough to solve black people’s problems. What you need is leadership.’
AFTER THE JUMP—-Inside the latest Fenty campaign haul; council approves elected AG measure; Northrop package could cost $25M; judge-stalker is convicted; following the anti-marriage money; minister thinks people who know gay people can;t be objective about the marriage issue; WASA’s looking for a new look
ALSO ADDRESSED—-Can Fenty win on white votes alone? Says UDC prof Derek Musgrove: ‘The people who he’s really alienated are the people who voted for Linda Cropp. It’s almost impossible for him to lose this upcoming race. Those people who he’s alienating are neither big enough nor strong enough to hurt him.’
This morning, WaPo’s Nikita Stewart examines Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s latest fundraising pile, calling the $800,000 take over six months a ‘boost for supporters disheartened by his waning popularity,’ who call the take ‘proof that the mayor has ample backing and can rally his supporters.’ Or, as campaign treasurer Ben Soto puts it: ‘It speaks to how happy people are about the direction the mayor is taking them in.’ Thing is, many of those people seem not to be voters. For example: ‘In September, Charles King, an agent who represents entertainment mogul Tyler Perry and actor Terrence Howard, threw Fenty a fundraiser in Los Angeles, Soto said. King is a friend and Howard University Law School classmate of Fenty’s, Soto said, adding that the event and accompanying fundraising effort netted about $40,000.’ Another fun fact: ‘[C]ity employees answered the mayor’s last-minute push for contributions, representing about half the $34,515 added to his coffers Sunday.’ Stewart also notes the underwhelming showings by competitors Leo Alexander and Sulaimon Brown. Meanwhile, colleague Tim Craig looks at council finance figures.
Yesterday’s D.C. Council business…
—-The council approved 12-1 a measure to elect the city’s attorney general, but not after extended discussion on whether the duties should be those of the current AG or those of a prosecuting attorney—-power now in the hands of the federal government. And the specter of the current AG played a role, with Peter Nickles penning a letter to the council noting his opposition to bill, raising points that, bill sponsor Phil Mendelson pointed out, he did not mention at a July hearing on the bill. Only Jack Evans voted to oppose, citing the executive opposition. The measure still requires congressional action, and no election would be held until 2014. Ann Marimow covers the issue for WaPo, noting that last week’s polling ‘showed that 55 percent of residents favor a citywide vote for attorney general and that 33 percent want the mayor to continue to choose the chief lawyer.’ Fenty is still mulling whether to sign the bill, ‘[b]ut Nickles strongly opposes the shift and said it would have “disastrous” results. The mayor, he wrote in a letter Tuesday, would have to hire his own team of lawyers and there would be a “continuing struggle between the Attorney General’s lawyers and the mayor’s lawyers.”‘ Yeah, LL doesn’t know how 43 states possibly manage to do it…
—-The Northrop Grumman deal begins to take shape. A measure introduced yesterday by Jack Evans and co-sponsored by six others would authorize up to $25M in incentives to lure the defense giant to the District. ‘The “Global Security and Aerospace Industry Tax Abatement Act of 2010” would provide $19.5 million in real estate tax breaks over 10 years and up to $5.5 million in grants to offset relocation costs the company could incur in its planned move from Los Angeles,’ Jonathan O’Connell writes in WBJ. The legislation, he adds, ‘paves the way for a move to two specific properties that are part of a public-private Southwest office development in which [Fenty] selected E Street Development LLC — a team of five developers — to build two office buildings and a new fire station in Southwest.’ Included in that deal: Fenty buds Soto and Geoff Griffis. Also: Evans slammed competitor Crystal City on the dais; Crystal City, via DCist, slammed right back.
—-The council passed a resolution to enforce a subpoena against Sinclair Skinner regarding the parks contracting probe. Reports Marimow: ‘When told of the council’s action, Skinner’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, joked, “It’s going to be a showdown. Are they going to do it at high noon on Friday?” Bolden said that Skinner was never served the subpoena and that he has “little information to contribute.” But Bolden said his client would appear if he is “properly served.”‘
—-Legislators ‘backed emergency legislation sponsored by [Vincent Gray] to require the mayor to immediately detail plans to close an estimated $223 million gap between spending and revenue in the current budget. In a letter to Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi on Monday, Fenty said his administration is taking steps to balance the books, including putting restraints on agency spending.’
—-The council unanimously approves a $6M United Medical Center injection. Examiner covers bill that would allow District to send unused medical supplies to Haiti. Everybody wants a Circulator! And guide dog equal rights, too!
Harry Jaffe reviews the state of the city fisc in his Examiner column: ‘It’s clear that we will be short of cash, and something has to give. The council and the mayor have a tendency to cut programs and take from our constituents in need. Why not reduce capital projects—-like Skyline Town Center [you mean Skyland, Harry?] or the Southwest Waterfront or the O Street Market? Credit markets are still tight, the projects are barely taking off, and a year’s delay won’t hurt that much. That would take $284.5 million committed to these projects off the books. Why not choose a more selfless path this time?’
The District’s unemployment numbers are dragging down regional figures, Dion Haynes reports in WaPo. Washington-area jobless rates rose to 6.2 percent in December, and D.C,’s ‘unemployment level during the same period rose from 11.8 percent to 12.1 percent and probably was the chief factor in bumping up the metropolitan area’s overall jobless rate by 0.1 percentage point.’ Haynes goes on to cover Kwame Brown‘s jobs bill, unveiled yesterday, that’s ‘aimed at augmenting President Obama’s proposed tax incentive to small businesses that create jobs. Under the council’s measure, small businesses or corporations that agree over the next five years to hire 10 employees at salaries of at least $55,000 would receive a credit on their business franchise tax equivalent to half the amount they pay in federal payroll taxes—-or about $2,100 per new worker….The aim, officials said, is to reduce the unemployment rate by two percentage points and add about 6,600 jobs.’
Judge-stalker Taylar Nuevelle is convicted on three counts, faces 15 years in prison. Writes Keith Alexander in WaPo: ‘Nuevelle, sitting next to her attorney, dabbed at her eyes with a tissue as the jury foreman announced the verdict….It took the jury about four hours to reach a verdict after the often emotional week-long trial. Magistrate Judge [Janet Albert] wept as she testified that Nuevelle began stalking her when their year-long relationship ended, sending her hundreds of calls, e-mails and text messages. Nuevelle also repeatedly broke into Albert’s Northwest Washington home, she testified, leaving her afraid for her safety and that of her 9-year-old son….Albert, 45, was absent from most of the trial, except for the two days she testified. On Tuesday, she briefly left her own courtroom, where she oversees family and child neglect cases, and sat in the second row of the Superior Court courtroom as the verdict was read….Albert declined to comment on the verdict. But her attorney in the civil case, Robert J. Spagnoletti, said his client was “thrilled” with the verdict.’ And Legal Times notes that Judge Russell Canan ordered Nuevelle held until her April 7 sentencing, citing her flight history. Also NC8, WTTG-TV.
Kudos to GLAA Forum’s
Rick Rosendall Bob Summersgill, who details the finance reports filed by the various Stand 4 Marriage groups. Their nearly $200K in funding comes from four groups: Bishop Harry Jackson‘s High Impact Leadership Coalition, Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Family Research Council. And Bob Summersgill, now joining Rosendall on the GLAA blog, Summersgill also runs down everyone that the anti-marriage forces paid. His verdict: ‘Jackson knows how to throw money around, goes for quality services, but ultimately he just doesn’t know how a law gets passed in the District. All of his efforts have been for nothing.’
The Rev. Anthony Evans, noted gay marriage opponent, had some questions for BOEE members at a recent referendum hearing, Lou Chibbaro Jr. notes at DC Agenda: ‘”Deep down in your heart, are you for same-sex marriage?” Evans asked during his testimony. “Are any of your family members or friends homosexuals? Do you have any hatred in your heart towards the church … or towards clergy?” Evans, who was applauded by some of the hearing’s spectators, called on the two board members to withdraw from the proceedings if they “answered yes to any of these questions.”‘ Replies Rosendall, ‘They already lost twice and they’re certainly going to lose again on this one….They’re beginning to sound increasingly shrill and desperate.’
IN OTHER SSM NEWS—-Senators introduce companion to House bill aiming to force a marriage referendum. NOM is behind it, and co-sponsors include Sens. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). The bill isn’t going anywhere. Notes Deseret News, ‘Gay rights activists in the nation’s capital probably don’t like Utah much.’
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, WaPo’s David Fahrenthold looks at the state of the Anacostia River, calling it the ‘unfinished business of the American environmental movement.’ He writes: ‘The Anacostia provides plenty of evidence of what has been solved in the American environment. The kinds of pollutants that are most obvious and simple to fix—-the ones that stink or that flow out of easy-to-spot pipes—-have been tackled, at least somewhat. But there is so much left to fix….Washington area officials are making a renewed push to clean up the Anacostia; the first sign is the District’s new five-cent fee on plastic bags. But these efforts carry a depressing caveat: Officials say they might spend $3 billion and still not make the river safe for fishing and swimming anytime soon.’
Public Charter School Board has received 13 applications for new charter schools; hearings begin in March. Michael Birnbaum notes in WaPo: ‘Two of the applicants, the Naylor Road School and the Kuumba Learning Center, are existing private schools that are seeking to win the right to operate as public schools. Both currently draw students heavily from the federal D.C. voucher program, which gives private school scholarships to students from low-income families, but is closed to new entrants and is likely winding down.’
After Saturday’s minor Metro work accident, WMATA officials waited till Monday before informing the agency’s safety office, Ann Scott Tyson reports in WaPo. ‘Metro did not immediately respond to questions about why the safety office failed to learn about Saturday’s accident until Monday. The committee is awaiting a full report from Metro on the accident, which unfolded when the slow-moving vehicle carrying the workers hit a patch of ice and accelerated out of control, plowing into a pickup truck mounted on the rails. The pickup in turn hit three other stationary vehicles.’ Examiner covers the related issue of notifying the Tri-State Oversight Committee; also WTTG-TV. WAMU-FM notes that Obama’s put $30M in the federal budget dedicated to Metro safety. Kytja Weir also notes a new type of Metro suicide: A man jumped from the top of a seven-story Shady Grove parking garage.
Postmortems on Metro’s early-morning terror-response training drill, which was held at Union station. ‘[A]bout 50 officers—-some toting M-4 rifles and others guiding bomb-sniffing dogs—-took up position in Union Station in a new initiative aimed at discouraging attacks. In coming months, they plan to hold similar drills for the effort, dubbed Blue TIDE (Terrorism Identification and Deterrence Effort),’ Tyson reports in WaPo. Also WAMU-FM, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV.
Alpha Kappa Alpha lawsuit gets slapped down hard by Superior Court judge, Melissa Castro reports in WBJ. ‘Judge Natalia Combs Greene used just 17 pages — and several pointed words — to eviscerate the claims of the eight AKA member-plaintiffs who filed the suit last June. “This case is largely about several disgruntled AKA members disillusioned with what they see as an increasingly opaque, authoritarian and self-serving leadership in the organization,” Combs Greene wrote in a long footnote at the end of her order dismissing all counts. “The question remains, however, whether such behavior warrants judicial intervention.”…In her lengthy footnote, Combs Greene spelled out another problem with the suit, which she says was heavy on hyberbole and light on facts: “Plaintiffs have overwhelmed the record with seemingly unnecessary and frivolous exhibits, arguments, counts and facts detailing the sorority’s 101-year history. … Many of [the] plaintiffs’ arguments read as political speeches intended for an [audience other] than this court.”‘ If so, mission accomplished!
‘Major expansion’ is on tap for Capitol Hill Marine Barracks, VotH reports. ‘The barracks, which house about 250 Marines in the building that abuts Interstate 395, do not meet new space or security requirements. The new barracks will be “ideally as close as possible to where the Marine Barracks are” right now, but have to move from the current location because they must be 82 feet from the street, said U.S. Navy planner Matt Schwartz at a community meeting to introduce the plan last week….Though several Marine spokespersons have said they are waiting for a set of extensive community meetings to identify potential sites for the development, their own maps indicate they are considering the site of the Potomac Gardens public housing units at 12th and G streets SE, the Tyler Elementary baseball field at 10th and I streets SE and the Marine Corps Institute site within the Washington Navy Yard.’
Fire this morning on the 1900 block of Naylor Road SE hospitalizes three children: Firefighters ‘found a 5-year-old boy, 2-year-old girl and a 5- or 6-month old girl unconscious or semiconscious in a second-floor apartment. He says the children were taken to an area trauma center where they are in critical, but stable, condition and suffering from smoke inhalation.’ Also WTOP, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
Northeast Washington man one of two killed on Adelphi roadside by SUV after fender-bender. ‘Roy Lacayo, who worked as a manager at Jiffy Lube, had just celebrated his 3-year-old daughter’s birthday at Chuck E. Cheese, though her actual birthday fell on Tuesday, his wife said. She said her husband asked if he could go to a pool hall Monday evening, and although she had made dinner plans, she said he could.’
WTTG-TV scare story: ‘A surge in violent crime is putting a popular D.C. neighborhood on edge. In the last two weeks alone, two people were robbed at gunpoint, and before that a cab driver was shot. The crimes are all happening before 10 p.m., police say.’ My god: Street crime in a city!
JNC sends six names to Obama for Superior Court slots. They included D.C. corrections department GC Maria Amato, longtime AUSA Robert Okun, Georgetown law prof Todd Edelman, and current magistrates Elizabeth Wingo and Judith Smith.
Rebrand WASA! The water authority ‘is running a contest where people can design a new logo, slogan and name for the utility company. While the authority cannot legally change its name, WASA’s new general manager wants to change its image by being known as something less bureaucratic than other utilities.’ Submissions now being accepted; there’s a $2,000 prize.
ALSO—-Check out George Hawkins‘ YouTubed welcome message.
Georgetown ANC opposes Maret deal for Jelleff field.
Education Week covers Rhee polling numbers: ‘Rhee has the opposite problem of many superintendents and other politicians: her reforms are more popular than she is. Most leaders find they are unable to transform their personal popularity into lasting traction for their policies.’
DC Food for All notes that Rhee’s hired a food-service chief, ‘a position that was unfilled since the previous director was fired a year ago. The new appointee, Jeffrey Mills, comes from the restaurant industry in New York. After doing some contracted work for D.C. Public Schools a year ago, he embraced the idea of school food reform and specifically the Michelle Obama–Alice Waters vision of school gardens and local foods as a way to address children’s health and education issues.’
Desperation: ‘Scott Brown‘s victory should send message to continue Opportunity Scholarship Program’
Push is on to put Navy museum in redeveloped Southwest Waterfront.
The Hoya covers David Catania‘s re-election campaign.
Vacant/blighted property taxes: The Cary Silverman solution.
CakeLove pulls out of Baltimore.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, recognition of community youth violence prevention efforts, Ferebee-Hope Recreation Center, 3999 8th St. SE.