City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘Remaining Pershing Park Plaintiffs Amp Up Legal Case‘; tweets galore!
Greetings LLDers. It’s all on Vince now: R. Donahue Peebles gave an interview to WUSA-TV’s Bruce Johnson yesterday, in which he announced his intention to run for mayor, so long as D.C. Council chairman Vincent C. Gray doesn’t announce himself before year’s end. (Perhaps that’s what their breakfast rendezvous was about.) More than that, Peebles wasn’t shy about needling his potential opponent: ‘Adrian Fenty has never been a success at anything he’s done,’ Peebles says on camera. ‘He has been an average to below-average city councilmember…and he’s been a poor mayor.’ The megadeveloper went on to call Fenty ‘very petty’ and ‘not mature’ before reiterating his pledge to spend as much as $5 million of his own money on a campaign. ‘I don’t need anyone to finance my campaign for me,’ he tells Johnson. ‘I’m gonna eliminate this environment of pay to play’—-for everyone but him, anyway.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Alleged murderer cop makes court appearance; revenue estimates slip, but not too much; federal judge to consider appointing DDS administrator; Rubin didn’t want Ellerbe to get special pension treatment; DCPS and DDOT on the move; Real Housewives hit JAWB
More on the murder arrest of Officer Reginald Jones. In Examiner, Bill Myers reports that Jones is said to have ‘used his squad car to drive an accomplice to the scene of a robbery, then watched as one of the robbers was fatally shot.’ After the robbery, of a drug dealer, went awry, leaving Arvell Alston with mortal wounds, Jones allegedly said: ‘I either need to get out of here or I need to start shooting.’ In WaPo, Paul Duggan and Keith Alexander report on court docs indicating that Jones was present for the planning of the heist, then ‘shooed away loiterers who might see the crime by driving the patrol car through the courtyard of a housing complex in Washington Highlands shortly before the robbery.’ They also note the courtroom scene: ‘Uniformed officers, their badges on chains around their necks or pinned to their chests, stood along a wall, watching as one of their own was ushered before the bench in leg shackles.’ Jones is due in court again on Jan. 5. Also WaTimes, NC8, WUSA-TV, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV.
THE FALLOUT—-WaPo: ‘The unit to which Jones was assigned is part of the police Narcotics and Special Investigations Division. On Wednesday, reacting to Jones’s arrest, Lanier transferred several supervisors in the division to less prestigious patrol commands.’ Examiner: ‘Jones’ arrest is a nightmare for police and prosecutors, who are now poring over dozens of cases that Jones was involved in. Jones, 40, was a six-year veteran of the force….He had wide-ranging access to criminal evidence, and authorities are worried that he might have tampered with evidence.’
Revenue estimates again adjusted downward, CFO Nat Gandhi announced yesterday. For fiscal 2010, there’s now at $17M gap; for fiscal 2011, city budgetmakers are now looking at a $104M gap. ‘Income taxes, real estate taxes and collections from licenses and permits are all down,’ Nikita Stewart writes at D.C. Wire, noting that Gandhi explained ‘that the city will begin feeling the pain of a downturn in the real estate market. He said there is a two-year lag that is now being realized.’ In Examiner, Jack Evans tells Michael Neibauer that the numbers ‘aren’t great but they’re not bad, either’ and that the gaps are ‘manageable.’ Still, watch out for $80M in 2010 spending pressures, and get this: ‘D.C. leaders may have to reduce 2011 capital spending from $650 million to $350 million—-putting numerous projects at risk,’ according to Evans. Also WBJ.
EASY MONEY?—-Neibauer also reports on efforts by Harry Thomas Jr. to allow advertisements at parks-and-rec properties. ‘District law bars any private entity from placing ads in a city facility. But times have changed, [Thomas] said Tuesday when he introduced the legislation. DPR is projected to run $8 million over budget this year, he said, and the agency regularly passes up opportunities to earn revenue that could save or expand programs.’ Says psychiatrist: ‘[K]ids are buried in this stuff….Can’t they just have an open place to play without advertisements?’
Plaintiffs in the long-running Evans class action are seeking a court-appointed administrator for the city’s services for the developmentally disabled, Henri Cauvin reports in WaPo. Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle is expected to address the matter today in federal court. ‘The plaintiffs say that the city’s Department on Disability Services and its predecessors have not done enough to correct the shortcomings that have plagued the care of the developmentally disabled in the city since the 1970s….In August, the special masters said in a report to the judge that the city was still in “serious noncompliance with critical provisions of outstanding court orders.”‘ If Huvelle does appoint an administrator, it would be a big loss for Peter Nickles, who has made it his Job 1 to remove court intervention, not add it. This morning, the Fenty administration issued a news release touting ‘advances in outreach and accountability’ at DDS.
Jonetta Rose Barras slaps the council (and the media) for sliming upstanding, well-reputed, hard-working businessmen like Omar Karim and Thomas Regan in the course of investigating the parks-contracting scandal. ‘The council pussyfoots when holding itself accountable. But, it savages [Fenty] and recklessly impugns the reputations of private citizens….Despite an exhausting effort, the legislature appeared unable to establish that Regan or Banneker conspired with the executive or DHA to violate District laws. [Marion Barry] acknowledged Tuesday that some members had thought the contracts were wired, benefiting so-called friends of Fenty. But legislators weren’t able to prove that. Before that mumbled confession, the assaults on the two businesses had been brutal. ‘
How long did prosecutors know about problems with the case against Donald Gates, freed Tuesday after nearly 30 years in prison? Paul Wagner reports at WTTG-TV that ‘a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office knew there was trouble with evidence in the case…as recently as 2002. But the judge in the case, the defense attorney and the prosecutor said they only found out last week….In a document dated September 27, 2002, prosecutor Terry Keeney acknowledged to the FBI that the testimony of discredited agent Michael Malone was quote “material” to the verdict.’ In 2004, Kenney was asked for further review by DOJ officials. Bernie Grimm tells Wagner, ‘This information that you showed me would prompt 99.9 percent of lawyers and 99.9 percent of prosecutors to do something about it immediately.’
Some more answers on the Kenneth Ellerbe FEMS retirement deal: WUSA-TV’s Dave Statter reports that the District and Ellerbe’s new employer, Sarasota County, Fla., agreed to let him stay in his FEMS job but work in Florida under a ‘Personnel Exchange Agreement,’ signed by Assistant Fire Chief Brian Lee and Director of Human Resources Brender Gregory. And the real juice here: ‘DC Fire & EMS Department sources indicate when the arrangement was first presented to Chief Dennis Rubin he refused to sign off on the deal….The fire department sources, who are not authorized to speak on this matter, indicate that Chief Rubin said he only recently became aware that Assistant Chief Lee signed the paperwork.’
Reliable Source: Real Housewives were at gay marriage vote! ‘Bravo’s cameras followed five likely cast members (Lynda Erkiletian, Mary Amons, Stacie Turner, Catherine Ommanney, Paul Wharton) to the D.C. Council meeting on same-sex marriage Tuesday (spoiler alert, reality fans: The bill passed), and then to a party at Long View Gallery celebrating the legislation.’ Cameras were also seen privately interviewing David Catania. Not seen: party crasher Michaele Salahi (though LL is told she attended a Nov. 19 Clark Ray fundraiser at Judith Terra‘s place). Dcist covered the Long View event, too.
Jonathan O’Connell points out at WBJ that pushing through TIF deals for a Costco and Target at Fort Lincoln might not be so east. For one, the CFO’s office doesn’t think city financing should be necessary. Says Gandhi aide John Ross: ‘There certainly isn’t a $20 million gap in this project. In fact, there may not be a gap at all.’ And then there’s the debt cap; $20M would exceed it. So that might mean further delays for other projects—-the stalled O Street Market or Skyland deals, for instance.
Phil Mendelson backs off subpoena threats on Fenty security-detail probe, Tim Craig reports at D.C. Wire. After WTOP reported on Hizzoner’s bike rides, Mendo asked some pertinent questions about mayoral security; Nickles said no answers would be forthcoming. ‘To force a response, Mendelson was preparing to launch an official committee investigation, which would provide subpoena power. But before the committee could vote on resolution authorizing the probe, Nickles called Mendelson Wednesday afternoon and told him the information would be forthcoming.’
ALSO—-Bill to allow city businesses to post no-smoking signs in public space around their property passes a council committee vote, Craig reports at D.C. Wire. ‘But the bill, designed to break up the clusters of smokers who crowd around some doorways, does not include any enforcement provisions or penalties.’ ALSO: Yvette Alexander‘s blunt ban persists in the form of a provision to outlaw ‘blunt wrappers,’ rather than than all small cigars.
D.C. gov real-estate shuffle: DCPS and DDOE will move just a few blocks, to 1200 First St. NE, right next to the New York Avenue Metro. DCPS will move in February from 825 North Capitol, DDOE from 51 N St. NE. ‘DRES director Robin-Eve Jasper said in a statement that the move to 1200 First St. NE will reduce the amount of space the agencies occupy by at least 20 percent. The relocation is also part of a larger strategy to trim the District’s portfolio of leased space,’ Turque reports at D.C. Wire. Also WBJ, which notes the building is owned by the Steven A. Goldberg Co.
ALSO—-Big day for NoMa: IRS signs lease for 77 K St. NE, WBJ reports.
Longtime Anacostia HS football coach Willie Stewart has been fired after 29 seasons, Alan Goldenbach reports at WaPo. ‘According to a letter sent by first-year Anacostia Principal R. Malik Bazzell to Stewart that was obtained by The Washington Post, the coach’s failure to implement a “mandatory study hall” for his team and “no noticeable change in [Stewart’s] players’ behavior or attitude toward school” were the causes for his dismissal.’ Stewart vows to fight. Says NFL linebacker Cato June: ‘He’s one of the bright spots of Anacostia. There would be no other reason my mother would have sent me to Anacostia if it wasn’t for Willie Stewart. None.’
Nickles explains to Mary Cheh why he had to give his lawyers bonuses even after the council banned them. ‘[T]he bonuses, which were based on an earlier labor agreement, were just slow to be processed because of budget concerns,’ writes Stewart at D.C. Wire.
Baltimore Sun takes notice of D.C.’s gay marriage vote: ‘[I]t appears that the issue of gay marriage has now arrived at Maryland’s doorstep, and that increases the urgency for Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to issue an opinion on whether the state is permitted to recognize same-sex marriages from other states,’ reads an editorial. ‘The District already has such a law, and it seems reasonable to expect that many gay couples in Maryland may now choose to get married there, even though they maintain their residences in this state. Recognizing those unions would afford gay couples the same legal protections regarding health care, inheritance, sick leave to care for a partner and other domestic arrangements enjoyed by heterosexual couples.’
SecEd Arne Duncan visits Jefferson MS in Southwest to debut ‘cybersafety’ campaign, WAMU-FM reports.
Oyster-Adams principal to parents: ‘It pains me to say we’ve had parents yell at, insult, and humiliate a variety of personnel in phone conversations, conferences and in public meetings,’ Monica Liang-Aguirre wrote in a recent school newsletter, according to WaPo’s Bill Turque. She urged them to ‘avoid the pitfalls of disrespectful communication,’ after parent reportedly yelled at security guards at Oyster. Says LSRT chair: ‘I thought it was great letter.’
The man who blew the whistle on lack of testing for Dulles rail bridge piers is honored by federal official, Lisa Rein reports in WaPo. ‘Steve T. Mackey, 49, bridge manager until last year for the Dulles rail extension, was honored with a letter of thanks from U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel III….Mackey left the project in 2008 in part out of frustration over the contractor’s decision to overrule him and forgo testing.’
Sixteen-year-old shot yesterday evening near Sherman Avenue and Barry Place NW.
The Durval Martins case is officially cold, WTTG-TV reports. It’s been a year since the 35-year-old was shot dead on a Logan Circle street. A $50,000 reward remains.
WAMU-FM covers Healthy Schools bill. Says Cheh: ‘To the extent that it does cost money, I’m going to have to figure out where to get it. And I will. But there are other things we can do just because we’re changing our behavior.’ And Susie Cambria notes that, besides paying for better food, she’s ‘concerned about the other provisions, including the one that requires the establishment of minimum levels of physical education and activity for students. The standards are detailed in the legislation; no cost there. What I am fairly sure about, though, is that implementing the PE standards will cost somebody something.’
Judith Sandalow of the Children’s Law Center stumps for adoption reform bill at D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute blog.
Examiner 3-Minute Interviews CSOSA’s Leonard Sipes.
Gabe Klein live chat tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.
If you’re wondering about Ellwood Thompson’s, the Slow Cook has way more than you need to know.
Not so fast on that Hirshhorn bubble thing…
Another media race incident at Georgetown U. Sigh.
High Times covers D.C. medical marijuana.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Health roundtable on ‘The Performance of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, update on parks and recreation modernization, Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet St. SW.