IN LL WEEKLY—-Fast Company: Is speed an excuse for Fenty’s crony contracts?
Morning all. The D.C. Council is again convened in the fifth-floor chambers to examine Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s parks contracting scheme. LL will be watching on Chennel 13 and Tweeting away. Expected to testify are procurement chief David Gragan, acting parks director Ximena Hartsock, D.C. Housing Enterprises chief Larry Dwyer, as well as D.C. Housing Authority board members William Slover and Anthony Wash, and …Ron Moten? Not appearing will be DMPED Valerie Santos, who is tending to a serious family illness, and City Administrator Neil Albert, whose father recently died. LL sends his heartfelt condolences.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Contracts probe likely to end in courts; the Cheh chem ban explained; Jonetta wants to know when the D.C. gov will get serious about procurement reform; Metro breakdowns traced to 27-year-old power unit; city attorneys try to hide documents because they’re ’embarrassing’
The council’s probe into Fenty’s fishy parks contracts, Jeffrey Anderson reports in WaTimes, is almost certainly headed for a legal showdown with the mayor and his bulldog, Attorney General Peter Nickles. ‘Several members cautioned that a pattern of resistance by the Fenty administration comes amid worsening relations with legislators and threatens to plunge the city into court battles lasting well into next year. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray said the council is prepared for obstruction in its latest probe. “We have seen resistance on every front,” Mr. Gray said. “I won’t be shocked if we are forced to issue subpoenas.”‘
Examiner’s Michael Neibauer explains everything you need to know about the chemical ban Mary Cheh is proposing. ‘The list of chemicals all have been tied, some more than others, to health conditions from cancer and birth defects to reproductive disorders and neurological effects. They are used in a host of products from soap to sippy cups….”I think we have to go with the best information that’s out there and not wait for a lagging [Environmental Protection Agency] to take action,” Cheh said.’ Potentially banned: Bisphenol-A, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, permethrin and propoxur, high levels of phthalates, and synthetic exfoliants, such as polyethylene-based microbeads! (Note that natural alternative, ‘such as salt, shell pieces and sugar can replace the synthetic washes. “They can be just as clean and have just as significant an exfoliant experience,” Cheh said.’) The American Chemistry Council, needless to say, is not pleased. But where did that get them on the bag bill?
Jonetta Rose Barras in her Examiner column says the the council’s emergency bill cracking down on Fenty’s fishy parks contracting ‘misses the mark.’ Rather, the council needs to embark on a holistic look at procurement reform. ‘The system is so sluggish and ineffective many managers have sought and received separate powers. At least 15 agencies have independent contracting authority approved by the council or delegated by the mayor or David Gragan, the District’s chief procurement officer….The “transparency” legislation introduced by Ward 5’s Harry Thomas doesn’t…repair the procurement system. It is focused solely on DPR.’ She also raises questions about CFO Natwar Gandhi‘s role in all this, saying he has ‘become a hoarder of data.’
The aftermath of yesterday morning’s Metro breakdown is this: WMATA needs $14M to replace a pair of 27-year-old power units at its downtown headquarters, Lena Sun reports in WaPo. ‘The part that failed cannot be repaired, and Metro has no backup. The agency, already scrambling to plug a $22 million shortfall in the current budget, must find the money to replace the critical parts. Deputy General Manager Gerald Francis called it one of Metro’s “most urgent needs.” An interim fix is in place, but “there is anxiety” about it, Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. “There are no other options at this moment.”‘ Metro’s posted pictures of the antiquated equipment. Also WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV, WRC-TV.
Remember Bill Turque‘s ’15 questions’ about the DCPS layoffs? He’s finally compiled answers from ‘court filings, sworn testimony before the D.C. Council, and interviews.’ A good read!
WaPo’s Tim Craig collects local reaction to Tuesday’s off-year elections, D.C. GOP chair Bob Kabel arguing that Repub victories in Virginia and New Jersey ‘offered a road map for D.C. Republicans on how to make inroads in the 2010 city elections.’ WAMU-FM’s Patrick Madden talks to Harry Jackson et al. for reaction to Maine vote. WaPo editorialist Jo-Ann Armao pens a piece on what the Maine vote means for D.C., gay marriage generally. And national supporters of gay marriage react in WaPo story by Ashley Surdin. ‘For the gay rights movement, the defeat is another setback to its long-held strategy of building the case for marriage equality state by state. Historically, the tactics have been to target places where conditions seem favorable, and Maine, characterized by its governor as a libertarian state, seemed to fit that criterion. Still, advocates say the strategy remains effective.’ No mention of D.C.
As Legal Times first reported yesterday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan slapped down an attempt by city attorneys to take back 211 pages of documents related to the Pershing Park case that they had inadvertently handed to plaintiffs’ attorneys. Their argument: That the docs were covered by attorney-client privilege and ‘include statements by high-ranking officials in the District of Columbia Government which, if disclosed to the public, would only serve to embarrass while not shedding light on any matter of controversy in this case.’ And then WCP’s Jason Cherkis fills out the story by revealing what some of the documents they’re fighting about are—-such as notes taken by a city attorney in the aftermath of the arrests pointing to Chief Charles Ramsey‘s direct involvement in giving orders to conduct the arrests.
Tom Sherwood, in his eponymous Notebook, says the 260-plus witnesses who showed at gay marriage hearings isn’t a record: ‘We think baseball holds that honor.’ He also notes comments from the Rev. Anthony Evans: ‘[W]e’re going to go after Pope Fenty….He doesn’t have a church, he doesn’t have a pastor … and yet he’s dictating religious edicts.’
The Hill: ‘Del. *Eleanor Holmes Norton* (D) is blaming Republican lawmakers for the District of Columbia’s high HIV/AIDS rate. In a letter posted on her website, Norton lashed out at Republican efforts in recent years to attach riders to annual congressional spending bills that limited the District from using locally raised revenues to support needle exchange programs.’
Airports Authority votes to hike Dulles Toll Road fees $.25 per year for three years to help pay for Metro extension, WaPo reports. ‘After Wednesday’s vote, H.R. Crawford, the chairman, said most people see the increases as modest. These people are practical and understand that the board needs the toll revenue to build the Metro line, he said. “We had three meetings; there were no more than 35 people at every meeting,” Crawford said. “There was no great outpouring of opposition.”‘
Can you get trapped in affordable housing? Ruth Samuelson explores the notion at Housing Complex.
‘Barricade situation’ on the 4600 block of Hunt Place NE leads to arrest of Daniel Spriggs, 28, WaPo reports. Marshals showed up with a warrant at about 10 a.m. yesterday; he proceeded to hide in the house for more than two hours. ‘When officers entered the residence, they found Spriggs hiding on the first floor, police said. [MPD spox Traci Hughes] said she did not know whether he was armed or why a warrant had been issued for him.’ Also NC8.
Judge gives two-month extension to perform competency evaluation on Holocaust Museum shooter.
Examiner reports that Henderson Joseph, owner of a accounting firm that prepared fraudulent returns for its clients, gets three years in federal clink. Reminds Channing Phillips: ‘Taxpayers are reminded to scrupulously review a tax return prepared by their tax return preparer.’
WaPo’s Turque follows up on Bruce Johnson‘s scoop that Barbara Bullock is a free woman.
In WaPo District Notebook, a look at Vincent Gray‘s effort to drum out Noah Wepman as the DCPS chief financial officer.
In themail, Gary Imhoff calls Eleanor Holmes Norton‘s bill to establish a locally elected district attorney the ‘biggest local political news of the week….This is the real deal. This is the Evict Peter Nickles and Let Him Stay at Home in Great Falls Act. What’s not to like?’ Also: lots more gay marriage talk.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING DEPT.—-WaTimes lets anti-gay-marriage activist Kathryn Pearson-West write news story (if you can call it that) on gay marriage referendum. ‘CITIZEN JOURNALISM,’ people!
WaPo’s Michael Birnbaum looks at the increasing embrace of charter schools in suburban jurisdictions.
Economic development summit kicks off Nov. 9 hosted by Vince Gray and the WDC Economic Partnership. Couldn’t come at a better time, says Jonathan O’Connell at WBJ! Gray’s involvement, surprisingly, has not damped executive branch participation; Valerie Santos and Harriet Tregoning to speak.
View 14 project at 14th and Florida NW nears completion, WBJ reports. Thanks for all those tax breaks, Jim!
WaPo profiles new UDC hoops coach Jeff Ruland.
More on the anti-gay incidents at GU, from WAMU-FM.
Noah’s Ark Food Bank gets offers of help after city shutdown, WaTimes reports. H.R. Crawford and Harry Thomas Jr. have offered to pitch in, but director Leo Woodson ‘said regular patrons of the food bank were not pleased with the city’s lack of support for a group that has helped the city for so long….Anita Webster, a volunteer for the organization, said a spokeswoman from the mayor’s office called them on Wednesday, asking them to stop having people call the office. She said the phone’s speaker was turned on at the time of the call and that people in the lines for bread overhead the conversation and became outraged.’ Problem was, they were calling the scheduler, not MOCRS! Also NC8.
In case you were wondering: That Cleveland serial-killer thing couldn’t happen in D.C., WUSA-TV explains, because CSOSA checks on our ex-con rapists!
How the Obama girls got their shots: ‘A White House physician administered vaccines obtained through the D.C. Department of Health to the Obamas’ daughters, Malia and Sasha,’ McClatchy reports.
Informer covers opening of Industrial Bank branch in Anacostia.
The Hill Is Home talks to Tommy Wells.
Real-estate blogger: ‘I happened to stop by a client’s new house today–a fantastic renovation of a rowhome in Petworth–and whom should I see walking down the street but Mayor Fenty himself! He was checking out the neighborhood, shaking hands, etc.–no doubt checking up on all the recent development in the area! He was very interested in the recent sales in the neighborhood, which obviously has been undergoing a lot of changes lately, so we chatted for a few minutes.’
Your November Bicycle Advisory Committee notes, courtesy of the WashCycle.
‘The National Zoo’s oldest male sloth bear, Merlin, died Wednesday after surgery to repair a partially twisted spleen,’ Lori Aratani reports in WaPo. ‘It was the zoo’s third animal death in a month.’ Merlin, turns out, had a history of gastric volvulus.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Human Services roundtable on PR18-520 (‘Interagency Council on Homelessness Sue Ann Marshall Confirmation Resolution of 2009’), PR18-521 (‘Interagency Council on Homelessness Robert Scott McNeilly Confirmation Resolution of 2009’), PR18-522 (‘Interagency Council on Homelessness Chapman Todd Confirmation Resolution of 2009’), PR18-536 (‘Interagency Council on Homelessness Joshua Greene Confirmation Resolution of 2009’), and PR 18-537 (‘Interagency Council of Homelessness Brian Watson Confirmation Resolution of 2009’), JAWB 412; 11 a.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary roundtable on ‘Continuing Overtime and Pay Problems in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department,’ JAWB 123; 6 p.m.: Committee on Aging and Community Affairs hearing on B18-324 (‘Advisory Neighborhood Commission Vacancy Amendment Act of 2009’), JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:45 a.m.: remarks, Connecting with the Mayor, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: remarks, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV; 10:45 a.m.: remarks, Pennsylvania Avenue streetscape announcement, Twining Park, 27th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE.