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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘Happy 20th Anniversary, Marion Barry Crack Bust‘; ‘District Still Struggling To House Homeless Families‘; and tweets galore!
Morning all. If you think the District is immune from national political trends—-say, voter unrest fueled by economic hopelessness—-you may want to think again: ‘Service centers that process welfare and other aid applications in the District are understaffed and overwhelmed with needy residents, forcing some to essentially camp out for days to try to get assistance,’ Tim Craig reports in WaPo today. ‘The long lines, which some D.C. Council members are calling a crisis, are raising fresh fears that the city is failing to adjust to the needs of its poorest residents as the economic downturn continues.’ In his reporting, Craig witnessed a ‘crush of residents crammed into the office waiting to complete applications for food stamps, medical and rental assistance, or emergency cash payments.’ The political ramifications are undeniable, seeing as Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s administration moved last year to close two of the seven service centers in the city to save less than $1M. Writes Craig: ‘The strained welfare system offers a window into why Fenty, who is up for reelection this year, is trailing potential challengers in some recent polls. Even though he has been praised for building parks, reducing homicides and improving some city services, a number of the city’s poorest residents say they feel forgotten.’ The Fenty administration responds to Craig with a brief statement: ‘The D.C. Department of Human Services is currently working to install new self service computer kiosks, hire 20 new staffers and finalize redesign plans with [the Department of Real Estate Services] that improve the flow and layout of the center.’
AFTER THE JUMP—-David Jannarone follows the money; WaPo doesn’t like elected AG idea; Jonetta wants a control board for Metro; Jim Graham’s WMATA chairmanship nears an end; Barry says he’ll raise $100K for Haiti
Super scoop from WBJ’s Jonathan O’Connell: City development director David Jannarone, the controversial and effective top Fenty aide, is moving from DMPED to Allen Lew‘s school facilities office—-following the tens of millions in parks capital money moved after the DCHA contracting scheme blew up in the Fenty administration’s face. ‘In his three years in the deputy mayor’s office, Jannarone has been a driving force behind both the administration’s biggest development accomplishments and its biggest controversies. Known as a tireless worker and tough negotiator with skills in both development and politics, Jannarone took on much of the office’s thorniest work. He has, for example, led the herculean task of advancing the New Communities initiative, the city’s effort to replace blighted public housing with build mixed-income units.’ But he was also at the center of the Dominican fire truck and parks contracting affairs. ‘For [Valerie Santos], Jannarone’s departure means the loss of a heavy lifter. But, three months into her deputy mayorship, it probably means less of a distraction as well.’
Straight from Peter Nickles‘ brain to the WaPo editorial page: ‘A switch to an elected attorney general could weaken the D.C. office.’ The editorialists says lawmakers are ‘reacting to the emotions of the moment’ in rebuking Nickles; they cite a 1998 D.C. Appleseed report that ‘acknowledged some benefits of an elected office (an opportunity for D.C. residents to vote for another official, more political clout, more accountability to voters) but identified drawbacks — such as the political independence an elected attorney general would lose because of the necessity to raise campaign funds.’ Has there been a more through debunking of the ‘political independence’ trope than the Fenty/Nickles regime? And in case you were wondering: ‘We happen to think that — aside from some missteps, like his knee-jerk defense of the mayor letting a friend drive his city car — Mr. Nickles has been an able and forceful advocate for city interests.’ You don’t say. But the editorial does make one good point—-‘wording that, by setting a term of office, would require reconfirmation by the council of Mr. Nickles until the transition to an election’ is indeed a bad idea.
Apropos of today’s lead item, here’s why Kwame Brown might yet thrown his hat in the ring for the 2010 mayoral race: His jobs platform is strong and getting stronger. Add this to the list, via Dion Haynes in WaPo: ‘In a report issued last week, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) urged political, business and education leaders to join forces in addressing the issue by aligning pre-kindergarten through 12th grade coursework with post-secondary education and job-training programs, and by knocking down barriers between jurisdictions….”For the first time, we have the brightest minds and the brightest research groups working on the problem, rather than working in silos,” [Brown] said. “The real key is how do we get [blacks and Hispanics] trained for the jobs of the future? There needs to be an infrastructure set up that allows people [to get jobs] to feed their families.”‘
How’s this for letting the screen door hit you on the way out? Jonetta Rose Barras calls John Catoe ‘a first-rate wrecking ball’ in her Examiner column. ‘During his tenure, things went from bad to worse….The WMATA board was equally culpable. They faced indisputable evidence the system was in crisis, but continued to declare confidence in Catoe. They asserted everything was fine until the June crash in which nine people were killed. Oh, save it….If Metro were a District government agency, a class-action lawsuit already would have been filed. Some judge in D.C. Superior Court would have appointed a receiver to run the subway and bus service….[F[ederal officials shouldn’t just settle for putting a few extra seats on the existing board. Congress could declare an emergency, establishing for the next three to five years a management czar or control board. It’s time to reconstitute WMATA, eliminating the regional structure, which has invited tension and misdirected its development. The transit agency needs more rigorous oversight and reporting requirements.’
Kytja Weir notes at Examiner that not only Catoe is leaving Metro—-Jim Graham is scheduled to give up the WMATA board chair per the jurisdictional sharing agreement in the Metro compact. Taking over will be Montgomery County’s Peter Benjamin, a longtime WMATA vet and former CFO of the agency. And more on the search: ‘Neither [Arlington’s Chris Zimmerman] nor Benjamin think the interim leader should come from the existing board this time. “It’s unlikely and personally I think it’s a mistake,” Benjamin said. Zimmerman added, “I don’t see anybody on the board looking for that job.” The board will likely look both internally at its depleted executive ranks, and externally for an interim leader.’ The search for a permanent GM will ‘likely involve a prominent headhunting firm.’
D.C. resident William R. Bumbrey III dies after Arlington police use Taser on him at Pentagon City Metro station, WaPo reports. ‘Police said it is unclear whether the Taser’s probes struck Bumbrey, who then struggled with the officer and a second one who arrived to assist. Bumbrey later died. Police did not identify the two officers but said they were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation, as is routine.’
Marion Barry steps up for Haiti: He chips in $1,000 from his own pocket and pledges to raise $100K total, D.C. Wire reports from Barry release. Barry, whose finances are monitored by federal authorities due to his tax arrears, ‘is also calling on Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) to travel to Haiti to evaluate the relief efforts.’ Also NC8, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV have a peek inside the D.C. General warehouse, full of relief supplies in need of transport.
WTTG-TV has more on Saturday shooting at Suitland Parkway intersection. ‘[J]ust before 4 p.m. in the afternoon at the intersection of Suitland Parkway and Stanton Road, two masked men got into a fight with two pedestrians….[T]he masked men missed their target, and the bullets struck a car that was stopped at the intersection. The driver inside, a 50-year-old woman, was hit in the stomach by a bullet.’
MLK wrap from Examiner: ‘About 30,000 people participated in “Day of Service” events organized by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Office of Volunteerism, according to Fenty’s office. The nonprofit group Greater D.C. Cares organized roughly 3,000 people to prepare meals and improve classrooms for area students.’ From WaPo: ‘Ferebee-Hope Elementary School in Southeast Washington was filled with volunteers and the smell of fresh paint Monday as several hundred people — from White House staff members to concerned mothers — pitched in to turn faded white walls to blue and yellow with brightly colored animals….More than 500 people turned out at Roosevelt Senior High School to renovate a main entrance that hasn’t been used for several years.’ Fenty, and many other city workers, were helping the homeless at MLK Library. President Barack Obama served lunches at So Others Might Eat. Also NC8.
Fenty talks to WaPo about Dr. King: ‘It’s not just that he had vision, it’s that he was a doer. He wasn’t just sitting around, hope for things to happen, he made them happen himself.’ Favorite MLK aphorism: ‘If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live,’ because, Hizzoner says: ‘People needs to have principles, need to stand for something, and not play the fence so much.’
DCPS teacher/blogger is not sold on new evaluation system: ‘What did I learn on Friday? I learned that IMPACT is just as arbitrary as I believed it would be, that it is no less arbitrary than the old PPEP was and it will be used in just as arbitrary a fashion as that old evaluation system. The difference is that where the PPEP forced teachers to “game” the system with a dog-and-pony show once or twice a year, IMPACT forces them to do so five times a year.’
Everything you need to know about the North Capitol Street Cloverleaf Feasibility Study, courtesy ReadysetDC. ‘The study of North Capitol St. is broken into three distinct components: an “Urban Parkway” from Irving St. to Hawaii Ave., an “Urban Boulevard” from Irving St. to Channing St., and a development node on the current site of the North Capitol and Irving cloverleaf interchange.’
Kudos to city planning chief Harriet Tregoning, the 2010 recipient of the Livable Communities Leadership Award.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting, to be followed by the 25th Legislative Meeting (agenda PDF), JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, District provides technology assistance, Haitian Embassy, 2311 Massachusetts Ave. NW; 3 p.m.: remarks, update on Kenilworth Rec Center renovations, 4300 Anacostia Ave. NE.