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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘Pershing Park Case: OAG Finds 2,000 Pages Of Discovery Materials‘
Morning all. LL will make today’s preamble quite brief; he notes only that he neglected to note this Tom Toles cartoon that appeared yesterday on the WaPo editorial page:
Chuck Thies for today’s headline.)
AFTER THE JUMP—-WaPo editorial calls for investigation of parks contracts; TV reporters dig in; closed-door council meeting gets testy; key senator refuses to allow D.C. vote on defense approps bill; principal neglects to proofread court filing; judge stalking trial begins
The WaPo opinion page is starting to realize that, with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, good intentions do not necessarily make good government. Editorialists say that his parks contract maneuverings demand further investigation: ‘Fenty boasts that his administration represents a break from the old ways of doing business in the District, when whom you knew mattered more than what you could do for the city. What, then, to make of reports that the administration bypassed the D.C. Council to award tens of millions of dollars in contracts and that some of the firms may have ties to Mr. Fenty?…It’s important that the D.C. Council, which plans a roundtable on the issue on Friday, get all the information about the projects in question, determine whether proper procurement steps were indeed followed and then decide how to proceed in protecting the best interests of the city.’ The piece also describes as ‘apt’ Mary Cheh‘s comment that the process seems ‘sneaky.’
ALSO—-WaPo letter writer, in response to Nickles ‘angry woman’ comment: Misspending headlines ‘make me angry at the administration of which Mr. Nickles is a part, too.’ And WJLA-TV/NC8’s Sam Ford does piece on the controversy, in which Fenty gets needlessly combative. WTTG-TV does another story, too.
RELATED—-A correction from the WaPo letters page yesterday: ‘The Oct. 19 letter by Mary-Beth Souza of Washington on D.C. parks and recreation nominee Ximena Hartsock should have mentioned that Ms. Hartsock is a longtime friend, professional colleague and supervisor of Ms. Souza, and that Ms. Hartsock is living temporarily at Ms. Souza’s residence, according to Ms. Souza. A mention of the relationship was incorrectly deleted in our abridging of the letter.’
Harry Jaffe calls the parks contracting scheme a ‘laundry’ in his Examiner column. ‘The mayor is not breaking any laws. But his practice of passing millions of dollars for parks projects through the D.C. Housing Authority does share one similarity to other forms of cleansing currency: In both cases, the launderers are trying to avoid an independent review of the money trail. Mobsters might be cleaning cash to avoid the FBI; Fenty seems to want to bypass city council review.’
Councilmembers yesterday afternoon gathered for a two-hour closed door meeting in Chairman Vincent C. Gray‘s conference room; reporters, as Tim Craig notes at D.C. Wire, were excluded. LL is told things got quite heated at times in there, to the point that Gray threatened to his colleagues to let the media in. The main topic of business was what is to be done about the ongoing tenure of parks director Ximena Hartsock, whose nomination was rejected by the council earlier this month. The council’s lawyer told members that they may not have a whole lot of legal leverage to kick her out; the compromise, Craig and Nikita Stewart report, is to send a five-member delegation to Fenty to work out a compromise, as though this was the UN dealing with Kim Jong Il.
NOTA BENE—-The council has a breakfast meeting with Fenty scheduled for this morning.
Doesn’t look like the D.C. House Voting Rights Act is going anywhere: Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) tells Politico that ‘he’d block any proposal to attach the District voting representation bill to a must-pass military spending measure.’ His quote: ‘Forget it.’ Meanwhile, House defense appropriator John Murtha (D-Pa.) says, ‘I’m with the NRA.’ Writes Jonathan Allen, ‘The struggles for Democrats in moving on D.C. representation show the success of the gun lobby — even when Congress and the White House are under complete Democratic control.’
A question from Michelle Rhee: ‘What can I do to regain the trust of my teachers?…I don’t understand why everyone is so afraid.’ Those comments reportedly came, according to WaPo’s Bill Turque, in a school leadership meeting last week. Rhee denies using those words, instead telling Turque it was about how ‘we needed to do a better job of making sure we were communicating effectively with our educators.’ Says one anonymous principal: ‘As [teachers] see it, Rhee is all show, has already made all the decisions, and sharing feedback with her is pretty pointless….My teachers basically said it was too little too late. They don’t ever see her regaining their trust.’
ALSO—-Ahead of tomorrow’s council hearing, ‘Groups that back Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty also are mobilizing. D.C. School Reform Now, a nonprofit organization that works to develop grass-roots support for school improvement, has placed fliers in schools calling for a rally Thursday morning on the steps of the Wilson Building to coincide with Rhee’s council appearance.’
WaPo notices that Harry Thomas Jr. says he will likely vote for gay marriage. (LL noted this some time ago.) Thomas said Monday evening that his vote is assured, as long as ‘some tweaks are made to guarantee that religious organizations do not have to participate in same-sex marriages.’ Yvette Alexander is a lost cause; but Craig notes speculation that Marion Barry ‘might flip…if [bill supporters] frame the issue as a history-changing vote that could bolster his legacy.’
ALSO—-AP covers possible modifications to the bill’s language. Also hearing wrapups from Baptist Press, Rudi Riet (aka randomduck), Real Clear Politics, Peter Montgomery of People for the American Way, Christian Post, DCist.
Principals fired in 2008 refile lawsuit against Rhee and Fenty, charging age and race discrimination. Turque notes quite rightly that ‘[a]t least one of the affidavits is riddled with grammatical errors.’ Wrote one of the fired principals: ‘Rhee stated to me that her concern with me was political it had nothing to do with academics and how I successful ran the school’ and ‘No one would tell me the reason why and that it was the CEO power let anyone go when she felt the need.’
Jonathan O’Connell notes at WBJ that construction will be begin shortly on the first new housing to be built as part of the Northwest One deal. ‘In the deal, [William C. Smith Co.] and Banneker Ventures LLC will build an $80 million, 313-unit apartment building, including 34 workforce housing units and 59 highly subsidized units to be offered to some of the 188 families that were relocated when the Temple Courts apartments were torn down last year.’
City finds another 2,000 pages of documents related to the Pershing Park case, Legal Times reports. ‘”We are told that these are documents that had not been produced after seven years of litigation,” said Bryan Cave partner Daniel Schwartz, who represents protesters rounded up in mass arrests in 2002. “We don’t know much about them.”‘
WaPo’s Lena Sun covers impending changes to Metro’s SmartBenefits program, noting that ‘information released so far has been confusing to employers and riders, who fear losing benefits.’ The changes are being prompted by a 2006 IRS ruling that parking and transit subsidies are to get taxed differently; the result is a lot of confusion. Also Examiner, GGW, which notes that the IRS changes are delaying other planned upgrades.
D.C. Jail inmate had cell phones, Del Wilber reports in WaPo brief. ‘Corrections officers, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to comment publicly, said they seize cellphones once or twice a month at the D.C. facility. John Rosser, vice chairman of the union for D.C. corrections officers, said inmates with illicit cellphones are “a national epidemic…we would be fools to ignore.”‘
This morning’s WaPo A1 has a interesting demographic nugget: In the Washington area, ‘the proportion of households headed by married couples has declined and one-person households have jumped.’ Writes Carol Morello and Dan Keating: ‘Every jurisdiction in the region showed a leap in single households. In most places, they now make up 20 to 30 percent of all households. In the District and Alexandria, almost half of all households have just one person. “This sort of rubber-stamps Washington as the nation’s mecca for singles,” said demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution.’
City health officials are set to release swine flu vaccine to folks outside the ‘priority groups’ of pregnant women and those under 24. At future mass vaccinations, Michael Laris reports in WaPo, ‘caregivers for children younger than 6 months and adults 25 to 64 with underlying conditions’ will be allowed to participate. And pharmacies could be getting the vaccine ‘as early as next week but that the situation could change.’ Also NC8. WRC-TV covers private clinic’s preparations, and WUSA-TV finds mother whose kid was wrongly turned away.
ALSO—-Sasha and Malia Obama get vaccinated.
More lead-laden water developments: WTTG-TV reports that WASA-funded study shows that if you have galvanized steel water lines in your house, plus a lead service line, you might want to consider ripping out all your plumbing.
Stalking trial for judge’s ex-girlfriend gets underway. Legal Times reports that prosecutors say that Taylar Nuevelle ‘executed a “campaign of harassment” against’ Superior Court Magistrate Judge Janet Albert. Big issue: Will allegations that Albert tasked a U.S. Marshal with intervening with Nuevelle be allowed in the proceeding?
More on the victim of Monday night’s shooting just off Suitland Parkway: He has been ID’d as Troy A. Fenwick, 23. WaPo reports he was in the neighborhood to visit his mother and was ‘[k]ind of a jokester.’ His murder was the 114th of 2009; there were 156 this time last year.
Sniper John Allen Muhammad will die by lethal injection.
Michael Bloomberg drops Fenty’s name in mayoral debate, calling him part of a ‘new vanguard of municipal leadership.’
NEW—-City releases database with official D.C. Register and DCMR text and cites.
Notes on foreclosures from Urban Institute report, via Examiner: ‘About half of the households in the District of Columbia affected by foreclosure in April were renters, and about 1,400 D.C. public school students lived in a home that was in foreclosure during the 2008-09 school year, according to the report.’
Virginia man indicted in 2004 mortgage scam targeting city properties.
Pepco gets $168M in ‘smart grid’ federal money for infrastructure upgrades.
OCTO gets $1.5M for ‘broadband data collection and mapping.’
Art galleries to H Street NE.
Coast Guard exercise on 9/11 was a bad idea, Coast Guard finds.
Ex-council candidate Cary Silverman, on his blog: ‘I voted for Fenty. I donated to Fenty. I’ve supported Fenty. But lately, I find my self asking, has Fenty gone off the deep end?’
Coming soon: Another local news Web site, from the founder of Politico.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue meeting (scheduled), JAWB 120; 12:30 p.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs hearing on PR18-502 (‘Medicare Supplement Insurance Minimum Standards Approval Resolution of 2009’), JAWB 412; 1 p.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs hearing on B18-450 (‘Health Care Equality Reform Act of 2009’), JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee on Health roundtable on ‘Managing the H1N1 Virus In the District of Columbia,’ JAWB 500; 3 p.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs roundtable on PR18-481 (‘Commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Gennet Purcell Confirmation Resolution of 2009′), JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Department of Mental Health announcement, Fihankra Place, 2041 Martin Luther King Ave. SE, Suite 205.