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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Fenty Promises To Replace Hartsock By Dec. 1“; “Pershing Park Case: Is Peter Nickles Ready To Deal?“; tweets galore!
Good Veterans Day morning to all. Yesterday, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray celebrated his 68th birthday with a party/fundraiser at the Beacon Hotel. LL, feeling under the weather, couldn’t make it, but WaPo’s Nikita Stewart did, calling it ‘like a pre-mayoral campaign kickoff.’ From her D.C. Wire report: ‘Go-go godfather Chuck Brown, who is also the father of Ward 4 activist Cherita Whiting, led the crowd in a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”…There were some interesting faces in the crowd: Greg O’Dell, who heads the Washington Convention and Sports Authority and happens to be a fraternity brother of Fenty; Adrienne Todman, the interim director of the D.C. Housing Authority who has had to answer questions about controversial construction contracts; and Lateef Mangum, Fenty’s former photographer.’ Also there: Sharon Pratt, Linda Cropp, and Virginia Williams, and all CMs except Marion Barry, mourning his mother.
AFTER THE JUMP—-The D.C. sniper mastermind is dead; more stories about Fenty’s biking habits; council and mayor come to an understanding on Hartsock; gay marriage bill is out of committee; Randi Weingarten as next DCPS chancellor?
John Allen Muhammad is dead, executed last night at the Greenville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va. He made no statement before receiving a lethal injection. From WaPo: ‘Muhammad, a man who directed what many law enforcement officials consider one of the worst outbursts of crime in the nation’s history, died in Virginia’s death chamber while relatives of his victims looked on. Unlike his victims, Muhammad knew when and how he was going to die….Virginia authorities escorted Muhammad, in denim and flip-flops, into a small room at the Greensville Correctional Center and strapped him to a cross-shaped table. He was then injected with a series of lethal drugs beginning at 9:06 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.’
Controversy persists over Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s bike rides. WTOP’s Mark Segraves does a second-day story on Fenty’s use of SUVs on loan from the federal homeland security department to transport his Cannondale race bike to triathlons. ‘According to records obtained by WTOP through the Freedom of Information Act, the mayor’s Executive Protection Unit has signed out one or both of the SUVs 25 times between September of 2008 and June of 2009. Fourteen of those dates coincide with race events Fenty participated in.’ Meanwhile, both WUSA-TV and WTTG-TV run follow-up stories with Fenty’s response, highlighting that bikes aren’t allowed on the Clara Barton Parkway. Even WaPo acknowledges the story. DCist’s Martin Austermuhle, however, says Segraves’ story has prompted a cyclist backlash, saying they were ‘left seething at what they perceived as a hit-job not on Fenty, but on them.’
The summit meeting between Fenty and five councilmembers happened Monday evening in a bullpen conference room, as Stewart reports at D.C. Wire. WCP learns that Fenty agreed at the meeting to replace Ximena Hartsock at DPR by Dec. 1. But, he said, ‘I want you to understand something—-anything we agree to will not dictate my actions as mayor.’
Gay marriage bill is passed out of the D.C. Council’s judiciary committee, setting up a first-reading vote for early December and final passage before year’s end. The vote was 4 to 1, with Yvette Alexander dissenting. Writes Tim Craig in WaPo: ‘If it survives congressional review, officials said, same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in the District by spring. “We will get this to the mayor and Congress, and it will become law,” said council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2). Before the committee vote, Alexander unsuccessfully pushed an amendment that would have allowed any individual to decline to provide services related to same-sex weddings.”
Metro agrees to let inspectors from oversight board access live tracks to check safety procedures, days after WaPo story revealed some reticence to do so. Says Jim Graham: ‘We are reversing that, we are rejecting that, we are repudiating that.’ Writes Lena Sun and Joe Stephens: ‘Graham said that he met with Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. on Tuesday and that “it was most clearly agreed” that there would be “no impediments placed in the way” of the inspectors’ from the Tri-State Oversight Committee.
WaPo editorial board has a question for Metro: ‘What does the transit agency have to hide?’ They add: ‘Metro’s first responsibility is to the safety of its passengers and employees — a responsibility that it has failed to live up to in repeated instances this year alone….[W]e suggest that the Senate probe be broadened to cover the agency’s impulse to flinch from openness, even or especially on issues related to safety.’
Noel Bravo will replace Noah Wepman as DCPS chief financial officer, Bill Turque reports at D.C. Wire. ‘Bravo is walking into what has become one of District government’s most punishing posts. Wepman’s departure marks the second time on Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee‘s watch that the school system’s top fiscal officer has left in the wake of questions about the transparency of the agency’s budget process. Wepman and his predecessor, Pamela Graham, took different paths to the exit sign. But both ultimately discovered that trying to keep the numbers straight under Rhee’s high-velocity attempt at transformation can be dangerous to your career health.’
Get this: WaPo ed columnist Jay Mathews says that if Michelle Rhee leaves D.C. to follow her heart to Sacramento, AFT president Randi Weingarten should replace her. ‘I hear your gasps of astonishment, your muttered conclusions that the Redskins’ awful season has finally sent me over the edge….But if Rhee did decide to leave (and I have no inside knowledge suggesting that she’s planning to), I don’t think Weingarten is a political impossibility as a replacement. First, Mayor Adrian Fenty, who obviously loves surprising people, could see the startling, news-generating appointment as a way to push to the back pages all those stories about city contracts with his friends….In D.C., where politics is deep blue, who in power will make a fuss about picking Weingarten, a member of the Democratic National Committee, a lesbian and a skilled politician who knows just how to talk to council members?’
Ryan J. Reilly, former CP intern, writes for Main Justice on proposals for an elected DA for D.C. Eleanor Holmes Norton, he writes, ‘argues that the District U.S. Attorney “needs to be freed up to handle national security and other vital federal cases, particularly in the post-9/11 nation’s capital.” But a spokesman for the office seemed to think it was handling the caseload just fine. “We put a huge amount of resources into local prosecutions,” Ben Friedman told Main Justice. “We are the local prosecutor and we act like it.”’
ALSO—-WaTimes takes EHN to task for comments blaming Republicans for HIV/AIDS rate in D.C.
Zoning Commission gives initial thumbs-up to Fort Totten and Brookland mixed-use projects expected to ‘dramatically alter’ their Northeast neighborhoods, Ovetta Wiggins reports in WaPo. ‘To receive final approval, the groups behind the projects, the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and Abdo Development, must submit information to the commission about the community benefits they plan to provide, zoning officials said. Final action is scheduled for Dec. 14.’
City kicks off replacement of Eastern Avenue bridge over Kenilworth Avenue. Writes Ashley Halsey III in WaPo, ‘The bridge has been a too-short player in a tall-truck world, resulting in many a crunching encounter that have caused backups to radiate through adjoining streets and highways. One of the most memorable occurred four years ago, when a backhoe atop a flatbed trailer — total height 15 feet — rammed into the bridge, which has a clearance of 14 feet. The only things hurt were the bridge and the schedules of thousands of drivers caught in the ensuing traffic. The new bridge will have a 16-foot clearance.’ The project will close the bridge to traffic for about a year.
New study sees quick rebound for D.C. area economy, V. Dion Haynes reports in WaPo, and that in turn ‘should help local governments restore tax revenue to pre-recession levels quicker than other municipalities across the country, according to a new report Tuesday by the bond rating firm Moody’s Investors Service.’ Still: ‘It’s going to be another tough year — I doubt there’s going to be a quick recovery,” said Dave Robertson, executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. “No one is predicting that next fiscal year everything will be back to normal.”‘
Rydell Dickerson, 18, of Capitol Heights is killed in double shooting early Tuesday on the 1100 block of 21st Street NE. Another man with gunshot wounds was hospitalized. DCist notes that homicides are still 25 percent down from last year.
WBJ’s Jonathan O’Connell covers Monday’s ‘Actionomics’ summit, which was hosted by the WDCEP and Vincent Gray and attracted about 150 participants. ‘In the crowd were advocates for ever-starving artists, bankers with new lending restrictions, city officials who face budget shortfalls, developers and property owners who cannot start their projects due to the credit crunch, and techies who are short on capital; essentially, there was plenty of desperation. During a half day of brainstorming they batted around ideas for some ongoing problems, such as how to encourage low-income D.C. residents to open bank accounts, how to enliven the city’s corridors during the construction slowdown, how to find space for local artists and how to attract tech firms.’
Ward 3 Dems chair Tom Smith does some WaTimes ‘Citizen Journalism’ on speeches given to his group by Gray and Rhee—-on the night of the D.C. Council’s RIF hearing.
Read Black Enterprise cover profile of Don Peebles.
WTOP’s Adam Tuss covers DDOT pilot program to allow drivers to pay for parking via cell phone.
Props to Nat Gandhi: D.C. is a regional finalist for Deal of the Year honors from Bond Buyer magazine for the $800M income-tax-secured revenue bond issue.
Taxi companies set to introduce wheelchair-accessible vehicles by December. ‘Yellow Cab and Royal Cab…should have 20 cabs that can accommodate wheelchairs in service by January. The federally funded project, which the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board initiated last year, also will receive matching funds from the D.C. Taxicab Commission,’ WaPo reports.
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE—-Hey, our mayor isn’t on trial!
Dead cats on Capitol Hill! Are they due to young kids with a pit bull?
We Love D.C. debunks Metro usage myths.
The D.C. Armor may be done with D.C.: ‘[T]he team began informing partners in October that it may be leaving town. Andre Johnson, a minority owner for the team, said the ownership group is considering moving to a smaller market and will probably make a final decision in a few weeks. “I don’t want to say yes, we’re going to leave, because it’s not 100 percent,” Johnson said. “What we’ve realized is that there’s definitely a market for this sport and this brand of football and it’s given us a lot of options.”’
Susie Cambria notes a proposed increase in UDC law tuition.
Another anti-gay incident reported at Georgetown U.
Habitat for Humanity fixes up pastor’s one-room house in Northeast.
IBM to add up to 100 jobs at K Street facility.
Here’s a somewhat longer WaPo obituary for Mattie Cummings, Marion Barry‘s mother: ‘She was an advocate of her son’s rise from political activist to politician, and she supported him in his bleakest hours. He was forced to leave the mayor’s office in 1991 after being convicted of drug possession, and he served six months in prison. She was also by his side when he was reelected mayor in 1994.’
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.