City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Jim Graham Attracts a Potential Challenger“; “Did Investigators Botch The Georgetown Library Case?“; “OAG Calls, Wants Its E-Mails Back“; tweets galore!
Morning all. Yesterday was Election Day in a lot of places, but not the District. Still, a couple of ramifications for local politics here. First off, Maine failed to become the first state to have its populace endorse gay marriage by referendum, with 53 percent voting to overturn the state legislature’s May legalization vote. LL is anticipating a flood of fresh rhetoric from District gay-marriage opponents calling for a similar vote here. (And he still thinks D.C. should think about being first to approve gay marriage by popular vote; and good timing, BTW, to whatever gay-marriage supporters scheduled all the public hearings for before Election Day.) Then there’s the New York mayoral race, where incumbent Michael Bloomberg spent at least $90M of his own cash to win an unanticipated squeaker. What’s the message for other big-city chief execs, particularly those facing charges of regal, out-of-touch behavior, as they face re-election? Money isn’t everything!
AFTER THE JUMP—-Another interesting election tidbit; complete legislative meeting wrap-up; local DA could be on the way; DCPS parent makes case for firing teachers; WTU embezzler set to go free; whodunit murder of U Street restaurateur; Metro chaos this morning
ANOTHER INTERESTING TIDBIT—
-An openly gay ex-Republican councilmember won a plurality of the mayoral vote in Atlanta, after running against the black Democratic establishment. Mary Norwood now faces a runoff. An openly gay white ex-councilmember won a plurality of the mayoral vote in Houston; Annise Parker now faces a runoff.
D.C. COUNCIL LEGISLATIVE MEETING WRAP-UP…
—-Council votes 10-3 to pass emergency bill limiting funding parks transfers to the D.C. Housing Authority for 90 days. Nikita Stewart notes in WaPo brief that ‘two members who often support Fenty’s initiatives, [David Catania and Tommy Wells], joined the majority after language was removed from the legislation that would have prohibited the housing authority from entering into any contract with the parks department.’ Also WTTG-TV.
—-Also passed: Bill that would clarify what happens after mayoral nominee is disapproved by council. But the language passed contains no to attempt to force out Ximena Hartsock, though Harry Thomas Jr. said Monday he wanted to do so. He now tells Examiner’s Michael Neibauer, that ‘[t]he situation we currently have at Parks and Recreation is unconscionable…Unfortunately, we cannot go back and fix the law and force someone to do what we know is right.’ Also note the ‘people’s’ councilmember YouTubed about it.
—-A Kwame Brown-backed measure ‘to strengthen oversight of and alter participation requirements for businesses registered with [the Department of Small and Local Business Development]’ passed a first-reading vote, Jonathan O’Connell reports in WBJ. The bill would make it a felony to fake CBE status.
—-Measure passes to allow married gay couples to file District income taxes jointly with, Bob Summersgill notes, the vote of one Marion Barry.
—-ALSO: Early voting/same-day registration election package gets final approval; Southwest fire station land deal is pushed through after delay; modification to Southwest Waterfront’s LDA passed to ‘allow the developers to meet affordable housing requirements with apartments as well as for-sale units’; tax break aimed at DC USA supermarket gets final approval; Gennet Purcell is approved as DISB’s new chief; and it was Washington Capitals day.
Phil Mendelson mentions Harry Jaffe column on the dais; Jaffe proceeds to write a column about it. ‘He focused on a few paragraphs in which I flirted with calling Fenty a money launderer. Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham took issue. He said mentioning Fenty and money laundering was “totally inappropriate” because there is “no proof” of such conduct….So allow me to distance myself from any suggestion that Fenty was money laundering in the classic, criminal sense. Shakedown, however, might apply.’
Speaking of Graham: LL was first to report yesterday that Adams Morgan activist Bryan Weaver has filed papers to explore a run against Graham for the Ward 1 seat. DCist picked it up. And Chuck Thies, whom LL didn’t inform about Weaver’s aggressive statements, subsequently took to his blog to chastise Weaver for taking the ‘low road.’
DMPED issues RFP for development at old Justice Park, on 1400 block of Euclid Street NW in Columbia Heights, O’Connell reports at WBJ. ‘The city is seeking developers “with experience in planning, financing, building, and operating small to medium scale mixed-use, residential, or retail use development projects,” according to the solicitation. Bids are due Jan. 7.’ Note that this is not for a park; a new Justice Park is being built across the street as part of the controversial package of DCHA-funneled DPR projects.
ALSO—-Eastbanc plans to turn the unused basement and third floor of the Georgetown post office into apartments. The PO will remain.
Eleanor Holmes Norton introduces bill to establish a local prosecuting authority for D.C., complete with elected district attorney. Writes AP: ‘It’s her latest effort to pursue full autonomy for the city, which is subject to unique oversight from Congress….Norton says the city needs its own chief law enforcement officer who would be directly accountable to local residents, similar to other cities.’ Also DCist.
Ross ES parent, in WaPo op-ed, says she was glad to see teachers RIF’d. Writes Mary Siddall, a D.C. School Reform Now board member: ‘The District has just laid off scores of teachers, and, at our school, that has been a very good thing….”Whenever I went into his classroom, my son would beg to leave. Now with his new teacher, he is so happy. He is glued to his work. He doesn’t want to leave,” one parent comments. Another mom says she was worried about her daughter, who loved the other teacher who was let go, a popular teacher liked by all. But her daughter told her, “The new teacher challenges us. She doesn’t talk down to us and say things like ‘dude.'”‘
Administrative foul-ups still plague the DCPS athletic department, Alan Goldenbach reports in WaPo. The School Without Walls soccer team, for instance, has had four games postponed due to missing refs, lack of bus, or other reasons. ‘DCPS Athletic Director Marcus Ellis, whose office is responsible for scheduling games, arranging for transportation, and securing sites, officials and trainers, did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment. DCPS spokesperson Jennifer Calloway said Ellis’s office is aware of the “transportation and staffing issues” and “is enacting a plan to ensure [they] do not occur moving forward.”‘
Barbara Bullock, convicted of taking $5M from the Washington Teachers’ Union treasury, is scheduled to be released from federal custody today after five years, Bruce Johnson reports at WUSA-TV. ‘Sources confirm that in May, Bullock was released from Alderson prison in West Virginia and sent to a halfway house in Northeast DC. In October, she was released to home confinement in a private condo in the Watergate at Landmark complex in Alexandria.’ The co-conspirators she flipped on, Gwen Hemphill and James Baxter, each have about five years left to serve.
Current/VotH’s Elizabeth Weiner notes that Mary Cheh is pondering a bill to fix the District’s “OneCard” system. Legislation would ‘protect privacy and spell out exactly what information can be contained on the high-tech identification card, which eventually will provide access to a variety of city services and facilities.’
WHODUNIT—-Nora Amaya, the 38-year-old co-owner of Coppi’s restaurant on U Street, is found strangled Monday night in her Mount Pleasant apartment. She had been incommunicado since Saturday; the case is being treated as a possible homicide. Also WaPo, NC8, WTTG-TV, WUSA-TV, WRC-TV.
Overnight Metro power unit failure leads to mass chaos across the system this morning. WTOP reports that ‘Metrobuses are not accepting fares. Metro cannot communicate with its bus drivers in the field….Metrorail’s public address system is not working. Metrorail passengers can’t purchase fares with debit cards, and they are limited to charging a maximum of $20 using a credit card.’ Oh, and NextBus isn’t working, nor is the MetroAccess reservation system. Also WaPo, WUSA-TV, WRC-TV.
Metro trying to train disabled riders to use trains and buses rather than MetroAccess as a way to reduce costs, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. ‘The transit agency has received a grant for most of the $1.2 million program to partner with three centers that work with people who have disabilities. It is slated to ask the Metro board on Thursday to kick in $85,000 for the two-year pilot project.’ Where bus/rail round trips can cost under $3, each MetroAccess trip costs $38.
National Journal does multi-part video series on needle exchange in D.C. ‘The Needle Exchange Next Door,’ it’s called.
City shutters Noah’s Ark Food Bank, operating out of Christ Apostolic Church, for being wholly unlicensed, Jordan Buie reports in WaTimes. ‘The food bank serves about 30,000 packages of bread each week to 300 charitable organizations and more than 150 people, amounting to more than $18 million in food given to the D.C. community annually, food bank organizers said. But with no place to operate from, the food bank is in danger of having to shut down.’ Also NC8, which notes that ‘Some of the bread seekers seem to blame Fenty for the program’s plight.’
WBJ has ward-by-ward breakdowns of unemployment figures. Ward 8 is highest at 28.3 percent; Ward 3 is lowest at 3.2 percent.
College students just not that interested in swine flu shots, Ian Shapira writes in WaPo. Members of one GWU frat ‘view the virus’s threat as a media-concocted sensation. They fend off their parents’—-and even their girlfriends’ parents’—-worries, much as they do concerns about any other risky behavior, such as parachuting out of an airplane for an upcoming frat event. Their mind-set: They’ll be fine. Even if they get the bug, they’ll still be fine.’ Survey numbers back up a trend, and ‘Puzzled experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they are so concerned about young people’s lack of concern about swine flu that they are conducting surveys to tease out the basis for the blasé attitudes.’
The case for District retrocession, as presented in WaPo letter: ‘The real roadblock to D.C. voting rights is that we are being held hostage by national partisan politics; our civil rights are in the grip of two parties, one seeking to gain two Senate seats—-eventually—-and the other seeking to prevent that. This sad impasse will endure until the right solution is recognized: the restoration of our full voting rights through Maryland, which we had but then lost in 1802,’ writes Lars Peterson of the ‘Committee for the Capital City.’
ALSO—-WaPo readers respond to op-ed on gay marriage and religious freedom. And one reader responds to the notion of teachers ‘seem to be more concerned with keeping their jobs’ than teaching: ‘How terrible that people would put paying their rent, feeding their family and having health insurance first.’
Lawyers for condemned D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad asks SCOTUS to review his case ahead of his executive, arguing, per WaPo, that ‘he was paranoid and delusional during his trial’ due to ‘mental illness and brain damage caused partly by childhood beatings.’ The pleading also holds that Muhammad’s trial lawyers ‘were ineffective because they failed to object to Muhammad’s demand to represent himself at trial. Had the pair argued that Muhammad’s mental problems made him unfit to present his own defense, there is a “reasonable probability” that the judge would have found Muhammad incompetent to stand trial altogether.’ His execution is scheduled for Nov. 10. Also AP, WRC-TV. And WTOP airs juror concerns that evidence of mental illness was not presented at Muhammad’s trial.
Blade covers GU vigil on anti-gay attacks; Police Chief Cathy Lanier tells WTOP that ‘she believes the incidents are hate crimes.’ Also WUSA-TV, WRC-TV. Queerty asks: ‘Why Haven’t Georgetown’s 2 Gay Bashing Victims Reported What Happened to the Cops?’
About that tax break for a DC USA supermarket…D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute’s Ed Lazere says it’s a bad idea: ‘Forget the fact that there is a Giant supermarket a block away. That the shopping mall already received more than $40 million in taxpayer subsidies. That Columbia Heights is one of the most rapidly gentrifying parts of town. They apparently still need tax breaks.’
MWCOG’s “Greater Washington 2050” planning process gets coverage from WAMU-FM. ‘The plan includes slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and raising the high-school graduation rate to 90 percent.’
The Hill does piece on what nonvoting delegates do during House votes: ‘Norton, who has represented the District of Columbia for 18 years, says her colleagues have gotten so used to seeing her come and go to the floor that many have forgotten she doesn’t cast a vote. “Most people, when the bell rings, forget and say, ‘Eleanor, you’ve only got three minutes,’ ” she says.’
WaPo’s Courtland Milloy makes the case for more…bull riding? ‘We could really use some new sports closer to home….The one sport that ranks high on everybody’s list is professional football. But we have no home team to speak of. It has imploded, fracturing a social identity that, if only for a few brief months a year, transcended race and class. Bull riding is no substitute for such a loss. But it could be used to help mend the frayed fabric of our sports community.’
Urban Land Institute report: ‘Workforce housing’ issue only going to get worse.
American Legacy Foundation et al. to study smoking cessation in D.C.
Charity bike stolen from Northwest condo garage.
DCist’s Sommer Mathis recounts her very positive experience at a city H1N1 vaccine clinic.
D.C.-based ‘unclutterer,’ to We Love D.C., on who needs uncluttering in town: ‘There are a few members of the DC City Council who could use a copy of my book. For better or worse (and I contend better), the city of DC has changed a great deal in the past 20 years. However, some of the people on the Council haven’t acknowledged this. I don’t want to name names because that won’t accomplish anything, but I think it’s time for everyone on the Council to start being visionary and stop trying to come up with band-aid solutions to try to fix mistakes of the past.’
HuffPo picks up video of the marriage proposal at Monday’s council hearing.
WAMU-FM covers D.C.’s late marryers.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Master Address Repository!
Meet the Real World D.C. cast. If you must.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary and Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation joint hearing on B18-367 (‘Youth and Young Adult Promise Act of 2009’), JAWB 500; Committee on Government Operations and the Environment hearing on B18-279 (‘Board of Enhanced Access to Public Space and Buildings Establishment Act of 2009’), JAWB 120.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, New York Avenue bridge announcement, 100 block New York Avenue NE; 7 p.m.: [unscheduled] North Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting, Tubman ES, 13th and Irving Streets NW.