IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘Graham’s New Press Guy Picked a Lousy Day to Start‘; ‘Southeast Tennis and Learning Center Dispute Is Settled‘; ‘I Saw Jack Evans Breaking the Law‘ [by Erik Wemple]
NOTA BENE—-LL will be guest-analysting on the Politics Hour With Kojo Nnamdi today. Guests include D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray and famed gun attorney Alan Gura. Noon on WAMU-FM, 88.5.
Morning all. There is peace in Southeast! Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Cora Masters Barry‘s Recreation Wish List Committee have come to terms on the future of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. The new terms look a lot like the old terms, with the mere addendum that the two parties communicate if there’s a problem—-which clearly didn’t happen this time. And miracle of miracles, there’s finally some semblance of an explanation for this ridiculously botched power move from the Fenty administration—-albeit one delivered anonymously and only after its failure. Someone tells WaPo reporter Nikita Stewart ‘privately that Barry’s nonprofit could be serving more children at the center. There was also an interest in a stronger tennis program.’ Now there’s the reasonable explanation that took only two months to deliver! ‘Politically and legally,’ Stewart writes, ‘the efforts to evict Barry were embarrassing for the Fenty administration.’
AFTER THE JUMP—-Congresswomen love Cora; Harry Jackson sits down with council foes; the school ombudsman takes a bow; DCPS enrollment meets target; Michael Brown sued by ex-campaign manager; and is JBG suing the city to get to Marriott?
MORE ON CORA—-What forced the settlement? Maybe it was the D.C. Council hearing scheduled for late yesterday afternoon: ‘At the council hearing, council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) and several other council members apologized to [Dorothy Height], who attended, seated in her wheelchair and wearing one of her trademark hats—-this one in purple. Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) also appeared at the hearing, adding to the heavy hitters who found the vacate notice outrageous and backed Barry. Tennis great Zina Garrison, who was on the nonprofit group’s board, testified that she was “speechless” when she learned of the situation.’
Look’s who talking: Phil Mendelson and Bishop Harry Jackson! So reports Tim Craig at D.C. Wire, who spotted those two, along with Michael Brown and other ministers, at JAWB yesterday. ‘”We just agreed we would work toward a civil discussion around these issues and we have asked that the voice of the people be heard on this issue,” [Jackson] said after his meeting with Mendelson. “If the voice of the people is not heard, I think a lot of people will be very, very angry.”…[S]everal newcomers to the fight, including Dr. Hernando Caicedo of the Fraternity of Hispanic Pastors, accompanied Jackson at today’s meetings.’
ALSO—-Examiner cover gay marriage legislation. Sarah Abruzzese of WaTimes says the bill is ‘unlikely to generate enough opposition to be overturned by the Democrat-controlled Congress.’ She quotes Rep. Jason Chaffetz: ‘Democrats have the House, the Senate and the presidency, so it is an uphill battle at best….The deck is stacked against us at this point.’
In a wide-ranging piece, WaPo’s Bill Turque looks at the wide-ranging consequences of the DCPS teacher layoffs. ‘The disclosure has been met with widespread anger and confusion—-not merely because it is bad news, but also because of the timing and underlying math, which critics call fuzzy at best….Unofficial reports from parents, teachers and administrators suggest deep cuts at some schools, especially those that did not reach their projected enrollments: as many as 20 faculty and staff members at Cardozo High School; 18 at Ballou High; and 15 at Spingarn.’ WTTG-TV covers the layoffs and airs interview with Gray.
GOOD NEWS FOR RHEE—-‘The latest count shows enrollment at 45,322, more than the 45,054 Rhee forecast in the spring. Figures won’t be official until completion of an audit.’
Among the casualties of fiscal 2010: the school ombudsman’s office. Writes Turque at D.C. Wire: ‘Established as part of the mayoral takeover of the public school system, it was envisioned an an independent and impartial venue for families with questions, complaints or concerns. But it never really achieved any traction.’ After Tonya Vidal Kinlow‘s departure, ‘Jeff Ross, a former member of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee‘s “critical response team,” filled the job as an interim but had to deal with questions about his independence. In an e-mail Wednesday to the “District Education Community,” Ross called the office’s closure “disappointing.”‘
Among the innovations of fiscal 2010: The Historic Anacostia BID. Examiner reports that the BID ‘would tax commercial and retail properties on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Anacostia Drive, Shannon Place, and Howard and Good Hope roads [and] hire crews make the area a cleaner, more welcoming place to shop and do business….The Anacostia Economic Development Corporation worked with [Marion Barry] on the effort, and the majority of property owners that lie within the BID’s proposed parameters supported the initiative.’ But not the renters!
Couple of fascinating WBJ items from Melissa Castro: First off, Michael Brown is being sued by his former campaign manager Gerri Adams-Simmons. She says she was wrongfully fired because she’s a Democrat. Most juicily, but not suprisingly Adams-Simmons ‘claims [Brown switched to independent] at the behest of a group of Republican businessmen upset by Carol Schwartz‘s support of the Sick and Safe Act. While Adams-Simmons worked on Brown’s campaign, Brown allegedly promised her — privately and publicly — that he would name her his chief of staff once he was elected.’ Brown fired her as chief after the election, and she ‘claims she was terminated because of her political affiliation — a protected status under the D.C. Human Rights Act.’ Good luck with that.
And Castro takes another look at why JBG might be suing the District over the convention center hotel award. The suit ‘puzzled and dismayed many observers, who questioned why the company would fight over a contract it had not even pursued….One possible scenario, sources close to the deal said, is that JBG is using hardball tactics to gain leverage in an unrelated business dispute at the Marriott Wardman Park…The target of the lawsuit, in other words, is actually Marriott, not the city, sources say. “There’s an issue with respect to plans to convert some of the Marriott Wardman Park into condos,” said one source. “The JBG group is not happy with Marriott’s willingness to go forward with the condo plan, and they’re basically using the protest process to get what they want in the condo deal.”‘
ALSO IN WBJ—-Michael Kelly looks back at his nine-year DCHA tenure. ‘Kelly said the mayor didn’t push him out. The last he talked to the mayor before his resignation, Kelly said, Fenty “said that he loved me and that he wanted to continue working with me.”‘ (Also, yesterday, Marion Barry issued a release saying DCHA chair Bill Slover ought to resign for doing Fenty’s bidding and forcing Kelly out.) Jonathan O’Connell also covers the Nichols. vs. Nickles battle over AWC/NCRC document production.
‘[M]uch more needs to be done’ on D.C. Council ethics, the WaPo editorial board announces. ‘The new legislation is a good first step, but critics are right to fault the lack of enforcement and the absence of any penalties….A stronger code, with appropriate policing mechanisms, is said to be under development—-and it has taken on added urgency, given the arrest of a top aide to council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). Under consideration is a process to censure and impose sanctions on council members who break the rules. We have no reason to doubt that Mr. Gray takes the issue seriously.’
MUST READ—-WaPo’s Steve Hendrix on the effect of suicides on train engineers and transit operators. ‘Colorfast mental snapshots of horror, a sense of overwhelming helplessness, sympathy and sometimes anger—-these are the aftershocks that engineers and subway train operators report from their special perch as unwilling agents of sudden death. Eight people have jumped in front of Metro trains in 2009, the most in recent years, and inches from each of those horrific scenes, barely mentioned in the news, sits a traumatized driver who will be forever entangled with a stranger’s demise. It is an intimacy none of them sought….For some, getting right back behind the controls is the best way to shake off the shadows of violence. For others, years of counseling are needed before they can return to everything they love about driving a train. Some never do.’
Possible buyer for Watergate Hotel materializes, Lisa Rein reports in WaPo. PB Capital, the bank that owns the property, will not resell to Monument Realty. Rather, ‘developer Robert Holland…an international residential and commercial developer whose Washington projects include ones on the Georgetown waterfront and in the West End neighborhood…has said he is working with the Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, owners of a chain of luxury hotels from New York to Dubai.’
Cabbies: Hard to keep happy! Even though Jim Graham has moved to withdraw his medallion legislation, cabbies still marched yesterday at JAWB. ‘”This is needed because [Graham’s] bill was just the tip of the iceberg,” said Eric Weaver, president of Dominion Cab Drivers. Weaver said the drivers are suspicious of the D.C. Taxicab Commission and want a new fare structure….Despite Graham’s efforts, the protestors chanted, “Jim Graham, shame on you” and “Shame on you Muriel Bowser,” a Democratic council member from Ward 4 who co-sponsored the bill….At Thursday’s rally, most of the hostility was directed at Fenty. The protesters chanted “Leo, Leo” and “Leo Alexander.”‘ Also NC8.
EVENING KILLING—-Andre Pate of Suitland was found with gunshot wounds shortly after 5:45 p.m. yesterday on the 1600 block of K Street NE. Pate later died; says WaPo, ‘The circumstances of the slaying were not clear last night.’
National Capital Planning Commission approves $5.2M reno for D.C. WW1 Mall memorial. Reports Ben Giles in Examiner: ‘Cracked, broken and moldy marble would be cleaned and restored, and the World War I Memorial grounds would be expanded and renovated to adhere to the memorial’s original function as a bandstand….Designs call for a 50-foot-wide expanse of open lawn circling the memorial to be cleared of vegetation to accommodate an estimated 300 spectators for future memorial performances.’ Also: ‘The commission also approved conceptual designs for Washington Canal Park in Southeast D.C.’
The 1.4M-square-foot Constitution Center, the city’s largest privately owned office building, ‘has no tenant,’ Rein reports in WaPo. ‘Officials with developer David Nassif Associates say they hope to entice a federal agency soon—-preferably one with a need for steel-jacketed underground garage columns that can withstand an explosion, along with six security screening points to gain access to office floors….Nassif principal Timothy Jaroch said he’s hopeful that one of the half-dozen federal agencies that have toured the building will soon be freed up to pursue a lease. “We certainly think this is an ideal place for the kind of Department of Homeland Security consolidation that was never intended to go to St. Elizabeths,” Jaroch said.’
Yes, Harry Jaffe, there are still homeless people in Lafayette Park. And, yes, it is still next to the White House. Outrage! The real issue: ‘The city just told homeless providers their budgets would be cut $9 million. “Winter is coming on….We’re headed for a disastrous situation.”‘
D.C. schools will get H1N1 vaccine within weeks, WaPo reports: ‘If [the vaccine] arrives on time, it would first be distributed to health workers. For a two-week period beginning Oct. 19, it would be given to D.C. public schools that have staff nurses, for in-school vaccinations. During the final period, starting Nov. 1, the vaccine would be available to the rest of students in the D.C. school system as well as those from public charter and private schools.’ This is not without controversy: The head of Georgetown Day School says he’s ‘frustrated that private schools would not have access to the vaccine until after many other schools had received it.’
Peggy Nichols, 36, missing since May, is found in GWU Hospital’s psych ward, admitted under a different name. Family members ‘went to police and began searching, circulating fliers and visiting local hospitals to inquire about anyone matching Nichols’ description. They said they told hospitals and police that Nichols often gave false names when asked about her identity. “We went to the hospitals, that is what hurts so bad. We took the flyers to the hospitals.”‘
WaTimes covers new housing for homeless seniors.
NC8 covers city efforts to improve the special education system, with officials saying ‘they’ve cut back on a huge backlog of hearings with frustrated parents of special education students. But some education advocates say there’s much more work ahead.’
WAMU-FM does piece on the newly merged Washington Convention and Sports Authority. Erik Moses explains what it all means.
D.C. man—-Joseph Duane Jackson, 31—-arrested last week in connection with Capitol Heights murder.
Car strikes Glover Park Whole Foods; elderly woman was at the wheel.
Starting today, you can park at new $4M Union Station bike center. Don’t show up until ribbon-cutting is over, around 11:30!
Urban Institute data shows drop in District foreclosure notices, WBJ reports. ‘Foreclosure notices filed with the city increased every quarter since early 2005, a stunning 15 consecutive quarters. But notices dropped from 676 in the first quarter to 666 in the second quarter, a modest drop and the first in four years. Peter Tatian, the Urban Institute researcher who compiled the data, stopped short of saying the housing market has turned a corner, saying “at least maybe we can see where the corner is.”‘
Interesting read from WSJ: ‘How Teachers Unions Lost the Media’
Schools blogger: ‘Who knew Michelle Rhee was such a lilly-livered apologist for failing schools? Who knew that Jay Mathews would join her in finding excuses to squirm out from under real accountability?’
Adams National Bank is no longer locally owned.
WAMU-FM covers the end of the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund.
D.C. Court of Appeals declines to disbar Hong Kong lawyer—-for now.
WaPo now in bed with Bloomberg.
Lone woman complains about lousy DC2NY bus driver; WaPo does story.
Lone Arlington resident very concerned that D.C. cop didn’t do anything about peeing homeless man; WUSA-TV does story.
Abe and Irene Pollin to be honored by D.C. Chamber of Commerce. ‘Additional honorees for this year’s awards include the Willard InterContinental Hotel, James Bennett with the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority and the Washington Capitals.’
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-11 a.m.: Committee on Aging and Community Affairs meeting on PR18-356 (‘District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights Michael E. Ward Confirmation Resolution of 2009′) and PR18-357 (‘District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights Nkechi Taifa Confirmation Resolution of 2009′), JAWB TBA; 4 p.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation roundtable on PR18-367 (‘Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation Ximena Hartsock Confirmation Resolution of 2009′), JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, bike station ribbon-cutting, Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE; 2 p.m.: remarks, Safeway grand reopening, 1747 Columbia Road NW.