City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Fenty Fundraises in San Francisco“; “City Agencies Asked to ‘Dig Deeply’ to Cover $300M 2011 Budget Gap“; tweets galore!
Morning all. Kathy Patterson, in a WaPo op-ed, begins her advice for Chancellor Michelle Rhee by invoking names like Arlene Ackerman and Julius Becton. The lesson from those failed DCPS chiefs: ‘You can’t fix schools from the top down, and working from the bottom up requires working with the duly elected legislature of the District. How to get along with the council? Pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t the answer. Far better would be a program of preventive maintenance made up of regular conversations and a policy of “no surprises.”‘ Furthermore: ‘Communication is a two-way street, and politicians no less than superintendents have a responsibility to keep channels open. The notion of a superintendent or chancellor as change agent on horseback, single-handedly rebuilding a system and improving learning, is illusory.’ A must-click.
Also: Mattie Cummings, mother of Marion Barry, has died at 92 in Memphis. In a release, Barry ‘asks that you keep him and his family in your prayers.’ LL offers his condolences to the CM and family. See Tim Craig‘s item at D.C. Wire for more.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Barry reportedly taping reality show; Colby King says Hizzoner needs to watch out, lest he get Bloomberged; Jonetta recounts the history of cronyism in the District; Georgia Avenue liquor store holdup leads to shopkeeper slaying; deer becomes dinner for zoo lions
IN OTHER MARION BARRY NEWS—-Congress Heights on the Rise reports that the mayor-for-life is ‘in the process of filming a reality show pilot….No word yet on when the show would make its way to TV or on what network, but folks are telling The Advoc8te they have seen the film crews trailing Barry about town and that members of his staff have confirmed that they are in fact filming a pilot for Barry’s reality show.’
Colby King, in his Saturday column, expands on the thought that Mike Bloomberg‘s close call in New York ought to sober up Mayor Adrian M. Fenty: ‘If Fenty somehow missed the message from Manhattan, it’s this: Money and a slick, professional campaign strategy can take an incumbent, even one as seasoned as Bloomberg, only so far; likability counts, too….Bloomberg had a record to run on: improved schools, less crime, better public services. But he and his outsized ego got in the way of his accomplishments. Adrian Fenty seems headed in the same direction….Fenty has come to regard himself as never wrong, invulnerable and beyond accountability. That could prove politically fatal.’ King adds that the park contracts ‘carry a whiff of something that is disagreeable to the nose’ and this: ‘This is no time for stonewalling. Anyone and everyone with knowledge about what happened should be required to testify before the council. If they don’t, then to a grand jury.’
King this weekend also offers a second, online only piece about a 2004 gang report commissioned by DCPS. ‘The report…surveyed students in each secondary public school in the District. Forty-four schools—-grades eight to 12—-were asked to participate. In total, 42 (95 percent) of the eligible schools did so. More than 2,800 students completed the survey….Westat, which was paid more than $50,000, submitted the survey results and recommendations to DCPS in September 2004. And then? Nothing, according to Westat Senior Study Director Joseph Hawkins, who served as the gang survey’s project director. Hawkins said that Westat was not asked to make a formal presentation to the school system or to any other D.C. agency. Neither did anyone in the school system invite Westat to discuss the findings. The survey, as far as can be determined, was put on the shelf or stuck in a desk drawer somewhere….It deserved, at least, a public airing. The 107-page report, complete with detailed tables, revealed criminal behavior within school walls and in nearby neighborhoods that ought to shock the sensibilities of parents and residents across the city.’ He also shares lists of gangs and crews complied by various sources.
Metro has prevented inspectors from the Tri-State Oversight Committee from observing trackside safety procedures, WaPo reports on A1 today. ‘The monitors…wanted to determine whether Metro was following rules put in place in recent years after a number of workers had been fatally injured on the job. Instead, they have spent the past six months pressing Metro in writing and in person for access—-a period in which two Metro employees were struck and fatally injured on the tracks,’ Joe Stephens and Lena Sun write. ‘The monitors became so frustrated that at one point, internal e-mails show, they discussed formally notifying federal officials and invoking their toughest sanction: declaring Metro to be officially out of compliance with safety requirements. Such a move could cause Metro to lose part of its federal funding.’ Metro calls the dispute the result of a ‘misimpression.’
Jonetta Rose Barras, in her Examiner column today, leads us on a tour of District contracting cronyism through the ages. First was Marion Barry and Don Peebles. Then came Tony Williams and Jair Lynch. ‘Now comes Fenty with his band of buddies who, not unlike Peebles, think they deserve a share of the booty because they helped Fenty get elected. Some may be qualified to receive the bennies they seek, but others are not. By helping them gain influence and affluence, Fenty has cast himself as yet another acolyte of the city’s inglorious contracting tradition.’ Barring a full procurement reform effort, Barras writes, ‘the legislature may want to consider rescinding the independent contracting authority of all agencies, including the DCHA.’
Michael Neibauer explores in Examiner the connection between the DPR-to-DCHA contracting mess and Fenty’s proposal last fall to send DPR capital projects to Allen Lew‘s school facilities shop. ‘A year ago Saturday, Fenty stood outside the Bald Eagle Recreation Center in Southwest to announce that Lew would take over construction duties for the Department of Parks and Recreation….Council members were furious. Thomas immediately proposed emergency legislation directing Lew to manage school projects only. The resolution was adopted unanimously. “I’m going to be very vigilant about ensuring the parks and recreation budget maintains autonomy without the mayor going around the process,” Thomas said at the time. The mayor went around the process.’ Says Jack Evans of the council rejection, ‘In retrospect, I don’t know if that was such a good idea.’
In Saturday night holdup gone tragically wrong, 51-year-old Rufina Hernandez is murdered in La Casa De Morata, the liquor store she owned on the 5400 block of Georgia Avenue NW. WaPo reports: ‘Based on the account of at least one other employee in the store, investigators believe that two men, one armed with a handgun, entered the business and demanded money from Hernandez. Hernandez “was cooperating and was fully complying with all the demands,” Johnson said, but one of the suspects “shot her anyway.” The two suspects fled on foot,’ leading detectives to believe that the shooters ‘might have been neighborhood residents looking to score some quick cash close to home.’ Also NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
On Tuesday night, D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad is scheduled to die by lethal injection in a Virginia prison. See remembrances of the his terror campaign, and his victims’ anguish, in stories by Michael Ruane in WaPo, Bill Myers in Examiner (twice), Harry Jaffe in Examiner, Dena Potter for AP, and David Dishneau for AP, plus WTTG-TV.
From Friday’s Kojo show: News that Patton Boggs associate Vicky Beasley will replace Elizabeth Noel as People’s Counsel. From her Patton profile: ‘Ms. Beasley’s clients include telecommunications entities, quasi-governmental entities, investment funds and private investment firms in various industries. Ms. Beasley also has significant experience advising clients on election law related issues. She served as director of Legal Outreach & Planning for a major partner in the non-partisan Election Protection program during the 2004 Presidential Election cycle – an initiative that provided pro bono assistance to groups and individuals with the goal to ensure that eligible and qualified voters were able to vote during the 2004 election cycle.’
City loosens restrictions on protest signs as lawsuit over their constitutionality continues, Neibauer reports in Examiner. Where signs used to be limited to 60 days before an event, rules issued last week says that they can go up anytime prior, so long as they’re removed within 30 days after the event. ‘Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a partnership lawyer, said the decision to issue revised rules is a “major concession” on the District’s part. But the regulations remain “hopelessly unconstitutional,” she said, because the District is “still regulating based on content” and requiring that posters are registered. The new rules, however, could open the poster floodgate. A candidate for elected office in 2010, for example, can start posting now.’
WaPo ed board stumps for a ‘future for Fort Totten,’ urging zoning commission approval for the Cafritz Foundation’s $425M Art Place and Shops at Fort Totten: ‘The area around this strategic Metro station has too long gone underutilized, and the proposed mix of residential and retail development would help transform a neighborhood stuck in the 1950s.’
WaPo’s Henri Cauvin covers District’s mental health mobile crisis unit—-‘an effort by the D.C. Department of Mental Health to rebuild its capacity to help people in crisis and those veering toward one….[C]ounselors crisscross the city every day and night, the frontline of the District’s reinvigorated emergency psychiatric care program. In its first year, the mobile unit, with 17 counselors, psychiatrists and social workers, has helped more than 1,500 people. With the city’s mental health system in the midst of a major overhaul, the need for a mobile crisis team has perhaps never been greater.’
Michael Brown, rejoice: Rhee and UDC President Allen Sessoms are planning to meet, finally, ‘to brainstorm joint programs designed for the city’s students,’ Leah Fabel reports in Examiner. ‘Rhee spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway said the timing of the meetings, to be held later this month, has more to do with adhering to a long-term plan….UDC spokesman Alan Etter said simply, “We’ve been trying to put this together for a long time,” adding that the addition this year of a community college to the university may have attracted the positive attention.’
WaPo education columnist Jay Mathews says there may be much sturm und drang over the District’s teacher evaluation system, but at least DCPS has a meaningful one. In the suburbs, ‘close to 100 percent of our teachers are entirely satisfactory….Here are the percentages of teachers rated satisfactory, in some cases called meeting or exceeding the standard: Alexandria, 99 percent; Calvert, 99.8 percent; Charles, 98.4 percent; Culpeper, 97 percent; Fairfax, 99.1 percent; Falls Church, 99.55 percent; Loudoun, 99 percent; Montgomery, 95 percent; Prince George’s, 95.56 percent; and Prince William, 98.3 percent.’
ALSO—-News and react on the Rhee engagement news from SacBee, EdWeek, Chosun Ilbo. Also, in case you are wondering if there were any news outlets left to do fawning profiles of the chancellor, there are. Such as Asiance, which is “Connecting Asian Women to the World.”
Man stabbed to death in Petworth apartment. Landscaper Kevin J. Massey, 31, was found dead Friday night in his home on the 4200 block of 2nd Street NW.
Donnell Tyson, 25, is found shot dead on the 5000 block of Bass Place SE early Saturday. Police were led to his body by ShotSpotter.
Woman, 20, ordered held in connection with Sept. 13 shooting murder on 4000 block of Minnesota Avenue NE. ‘The gun used in the shooting was not found, [Judge Michael Rankin] said, and so he was concerned about the public’s safety should Neeley be allowed to stay in a halfway house or returned home under electronic monitoring.’
Man, 23, killed Wednesday in Petworth scooter crash, WaPo reports. ‘Lino Montiel of Tuckerman Street NW was thrown from his scooter about 11:15 p.m. when it jumped a curb at 16th and Emerson streets NW and struck a light pole.’
Four arrested in connection with August 2008 shooting of Michael Henry, 25, in Congress Heights. WaPo’s Paul Duggan also notes arrests made in two October murders. Jeffrey Anderson notes at WaTimes that Ashton Hunter, 19, murdered on Halloween night by Darrell Calvin Lee, 21, was a DYRS ward.
Three arrested after shootout on 5800 block of East Capitol Street leads to multi-state chase, NC8 reports. When the suspects saw police, they began shooting at the officers….Officers chased the vehicle from D.C. into Virginia, then back into the District, until the chase ended in Southeast. The suspects were arrested at the Malcolm X Avenue exit on Northbound 295.’ Also WUSA-TV.
Two involved in early-morning stabbing incident at 14th and Upshur Streets NW.
Study of CareFirst finances ordered by Maryland insurance commissioner finds that the insurer’s reserves are not excessive, WBJ notes. ‘The report affirms what CareFirst has said all along; which is that the company holds an appropriate level of reserves for the security of its members.’ D.C. insurance regulators have hired their own consultants to study the CareFirst coffers; a determination from DISB is due by New Year’s. And Insurance and Financial Advisor notes that the woman doing the determining, Gennet Purcell, has been confirmed by the D.C. Council.
Metro is rethinking controversial changes to SmartBenefits ‘after an outpouring of anger and confusion over a provision that called for returning unused fare money each month to employers,’ Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. GM John Catoe ‘has not offered details as to how he may change the plan, only promising that he would have more information in the next few weeks.’
The technology failures last week that led to mass delays on Metro, in MoCo traffic, came due to aging equipment, ‘foreshadow[ing] scores of problems as cash-strapped governments stagger into the 21st century burdened by creaking 20th-century technology,’ Ashley Halsey III reports in WaPo.
The Allegro apartments in Columbia Heights in foreclosure, Jonathan O’Connell reports for WBJ. ‘the building’s developer, Metro Properties Inc., hasn’t rented enough apartments to pay the bills….The result is that the Allegro Apartments, the largest apartment building in Columbia Heights, is headed to auction Nov. 18. Alex Cooper Auctioneers ran advertisement listing it Friday.’
ALSO—-Peter Nickles explains to O’Connell why he’s not suing online hotel bookers for some $100M withheld tax income, as many states have. All in good time, he says.
Nikita Stewart notes a spate of birthday bashes at D.C. Wire, including Yvette Alexander‘s Thursday party at Reserve. ‘The event was held in a small space upstairs, so multimillionaire R. Donahue “Don” Peebles loomed large in his tuxedo, overdressed for the birthday shindig but suitable for another appearance that evening.’
Legal Times examines Eleanor Holmes Norton‘s elected AG bill. Gary Imhoff, meanwhile, says in themail that he was wrong to praise the bill: ‘The bill leaves the Attorney General’s office in place. In other words, if Norton’s bill were passed, Attorney General Peter Nickles would remain in charge of his major duties: covering up evidence of cronyism and corruption in the Fenty administration, hiding information from the public and denying access to that information to the city council, and misinterpreting laws in order to claim that the Fenty administration doesn’t have to obey the law.’
Ahead of Saturday’s health-care voting, the DNC sent out an e-mail message urging District residents to contact Eleanor Holmes Norton and urge her to vote for the measure. From Atlantic: ‘In response to our request for comment, an official at Organizing for America said, “We support DC voting rights, and we’re just trying to speed the process along.”‘ HuffPo, too.
Meeting between local homeless and UN ‘special rapporteur’ Raquel Rolnik doesn’t go so well, WAMU-FM reports. ‘Almost as soon as the roundtable discussion started, an argument erupted between the activists, many of whom live at the shelter. Shelter staffers had to forcibly remove one man. Another left in protest but later returned. After the meeting, several homeless people pleaded with Rolnik for help on the sidewalk outside of the shelter, but she couldn’t give them any concrete answers. “I don’t have the special mandate to deal with this kind of law enforcement,” she told one man.’
Union says it’s ‘dismayed’ that Metro plans appeal of arbitration ruling instituting pay hikes.
Robert Wone defendants ask judge to dismiss charges.
Big fans of same-sex marriage: Straight ex-spouses of gay men and women.
There’a whole blog covering the rewrite of the District’s developmental disabilities law.
Rather than auction them off, DHCD is selling vacant city-owned properties though the same MLS service real estate agents use.
Another story, from WTOP, about the supposed link between PCP and a rising number of assaults on police. At least this one cites Cathy Lanier citing some statistics she says she has.
WAMU-FM covers the ‘Potomac,’ a scrip currency promoted by one D.C. resident equivalent to 95 cents. Only the Potter’s House on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan takes the stuff.
Candi Peterson wants to reach out to Oprah to save RIF’d teachers.
Dr. Gridlock has all deets on New York Avenue NE construction scheduled to accelerate shortly. Includes DDOT detour suggestions.
Corrections.com reports on local authorities’ use of GPS to track parolees.
Clams reveal previously unknown Anacostia pollution sources.
Layoffs in Nats’ sales department.
See applicants for Superior Court judge vacancy, at Legal Times. They include six magistrates, three administrative judges, three AUSAs, two PDS lawyers, plus the Department of Corrections GC and OAG’s finance section chief.
Feel-good DMV story! Take that, Virginia!
Buy a Christmas present for a foster child!
‘YEILD’ PLEASE?—-15th Street lane-painting FAIL!
Deer becomes dinner for National Zoo lions. ‘As recounted by witnesses, the deer, over as much as 20 minutes, was in and out of a moat while the lions clutched, clawed or swatted it. A crowd of spectators grew. Some shrieked, cried out or took children away.’ There’s video!
WaPo brief: ‘A car carrying five people plunged into the C&O canal about 10 p.m. Friday near Fletcher’s Boat House, D.C. police said….A D.C. fire department spokesman said the car apparently was driving on the canal towpath.’ Everyone’s OK!
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:45 a.m.: remarks, launch of DOES work readiness initiative, 7L Group Inc., 3119 Martin Luther King Ave. SE.