Morning all. Today the D.C. Council gets back to the business of legislating, and the fall session begins with a remarkably adult move by members of both the executive and legislative branches. As D.C. Wire first reported, councilmembers have hashed out a compromise with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee on school governance. LL is told the agreement is this: The Fenty-controlled OSSE will draw up a list of three names for each State Board of Education staff position, and the board picks from that list. That person cannot be fired, except with mutual consent of the board and OSSE. The agreement eases board concerns that Fenty could fire their staffers at any time, though there’s little preventing Hizzoner from stacking the list: ‘If [the nominees] happen to have loyalties one way or the other, that’s not really addressed by the language,’ says Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who helped negotiate the deal. But it’s gotten some early endorsements from the SBOE: ‘That’s a great improvement over what we have right now,’ says at-larger Ted Trabue. ‘I’d support that.’
AFTER THE JUMP—-The Council gets ethical, at long last; LSRTs get sidelined from teacher layoff process; private fire hydrants face new restrictions; feds pny up with Metro money; Moultrie security guard shoots gun into floor; and it’s Car Free Day today!
Council Chairman Vincent Gray unveils an ethics code for the D.C. Council. The rules, Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner, ‘sets out ethics guidelines for city lawmakers but makes virtually no changes to existing law nor contains any sanctions for violators.’ Developed by Jacksonville, Fla.-based CityEthics, the guidelines require ‘a high level of ethical conduct with the performance of official duties’ and appoint the Council’s general counsel as an official ethics counselor. In WaPo, Tim Craig notes that the Bob Bennett investigation is heating: ‘Last week, investigators issued almost a dozen subpoenas to Barry advisers and organizations that received earmarks at Barry’s request, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Investigators were seeking detailed financial information, including bank statements, said the sources.’
BARRY’S TAKE—-‘It’s not related to me. It’s not responding to me…It’s a clarification of a whole bunch of things we should have been doing a long time ago….I know all these laws, I have studied them all, but some other council members may not have.’
Bruce Johnson at WUSA-TV covers Gray-sponsored legislation that would allow corporations that allow their charters to lapse to fix the problem without penalty to their city leases. Wonder what prompted this move? Says Johnson: ‘Our sources tonight say that the [Fenty] administration is already showing signs that its willing to negotiate to allow Cora Masters Barry to remain in place in Southeast.’
ALSO—-See Gray’s interview with WTTG-TV yesterday, talking teachers, school governance, and gay marriage.
Bill Turque at D.C. Wire raises questions about whether community stakeholders will have any meaningful input on teacher layoffs. Principals were required to identify positions for elimination by last Saturday—-two days after the RIF announcement. ‘The expectation was that principals would consult school LSRTs (Local School Restructuring Teams), advisory bodies of parents, teachers and administrators that offer input on budget issues. Perhaps some teams were consulted, but if they were, it was done on the fly.’ Principals are already heading to 825 North Cap to finalize the cuts: ‘If, for example, a principal believes the school can get by with one less math teacher, he or she must “rate and provide a supporting narrative” for every math educator in that job classification. The rating and writing is to be done in the conference room.’
HuffPo blogger: ‘Are Fenty and Rhee using the economic downturn as a smokescreen for a monster power grab? (Yes.) Will the 900 just-hired rookie teachers stay while veterans get shoved out the door? (Very likely.) Will this sort of brazen circumventing of contracts become a model for districts across the country? (I really hope not.)’
Mark Segraves breaks the news at WTOP that a juvenile inmate briefly escaped custody at the Moultrie courthouse on the evening of Sept. 11. In the tumult of the escape, a security guard fired her service weapon. ‘[T]he inmate was mistakenly being taken through a secure corridor in the courthouse, which is meant only for judges and their staff. At some point, the inmate escaped from a guard and made his way to the courthouse’s lower level and exited through the main entrance on Indiana Avenue. A special security officer at the main entrance saw that the inmate was wearing handcuffs and attempted to stop him. As the officer reached for her radio, her gun discharged at least one shot. It remains unclear whether the officer intended to fire her weapon or if the gun was still in her holster when it went off.’
The council considers a crackdown on private fire hydrants—-yes, there is such a thing. ‘The D.C. fire department inspects every hydrant in the city twice a year, but the agency is not responsible for the 1,300-plus on private property, like a college campus or a gated community,’ Neibauer writes in Examiner. ‘At-large Councilman Phil Mendelson‘s emergency resolution would prohibit new hydrants on private property without a signed document stating who is responsible for maintaining them, now and in the future.’ Where 1 percent of city-owned hydrants are inoperable, fully 15 percent of private hydrants don’t work.
Senate appropriations bill includes $150M for Metro, Lena Sun reports in WaPo. ‘The Senate bill includes language that requires Metro to place the highest priority on “projects that will improve the safety” of the system, including implementing recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board. The board has urged the transit agency to replace its oldest rail cars, which were involved in this summer’s fatal Metro crash; install guardrails at curved sections of track to keep train wheels from derailing; and buy equipment to warn track workers and train operators of approaching trains.’
WMATA board appears poised to cut service rather than severely raise fares to close major budget gap, GGW reports. If you care what GGW thinks, they ‘prefer a balanced approach, with the burden shared evenly between subsidies, fares and service cuts. We also strongly endorse measures to keep the growth of MetroAccess costs down, as well as working with local departments of transportation to speed up bus service, allowing fewer buses to provide the same level of service.’
Washington-area residents: Still pretty rich, federal census data indicates. ‘The median household income in Maryland was nearly $71,000 [highest in the nation], slightly ahead of New Jersey,’ Bill Myers writes in Examiner. ‘Virginia came in eighth, with a median income of about $61,000, and D.C. was 12th in median income, at nearly $58,000, the census reported in its annual American Community Survey.’ And according to Brookings demographer, among metropolitan areas, ‘the Washington region is second in the country in per capita income, behind the San Jose, Calif., region and in front of San Francisco.’ And in terms of advanced degrees, D.C. rules among states, but at a more granular level, Arlington County takes top honors in the region. And in terms of traffic, D.C.’s pretty bad.
Petula Dvorak covers the lose-lose game of making crowd estimates of big Washington events—-like the wingnut march! ‘[F]inding the person who isn’t lying about the numbers is a perennial sport when it comes to protest politics in the nation’s capital. The organizers of a demonstration exaggerate, sometimes by the hundred thousand. The opposition dismisses the crowd, slicing it by at least a half. Police, if they talk crowd size at all, are all over the place. And federal agencies have learned to stay far, far away from the game.’
Del Wilber covers the OCTOgate plea of Tawanna Sellmon for WaPo, following up on Examiner’s coverage Friday.
Algan Howard, 19, found dead of gunshot wound on 3000 block of Stanton Road SE before 11 p.m. Sunday.
The Alice Swanson ghost bikes are gone again from Connecticut and R, swept up by DPW. ‘On Friday, city workers collected the remaining white bikes, cut the chain on the “Alice” bike and cleared all of them away. The bikes had been left in various spots around the intersection, leaning against poles, fences — almost anything that afforded the space,’ Ashley Halsey III writes in WaPo. Biketivist Legba Carrefour ‘said he is recovering from an injury caused when someone opened a car door into the path of his bike in Adams-Morgan. “As soon as I’m up again, we’ll take another [bike] out there and put it up.”‘
Credit Suisse pays $90.5M to Tishman Speyer for ‘trophy’ office building at 1099 New York Ave. NW, WBJ reports.
AAA says hit-and-runs are up in the region. No hard numbers for D.C.
Box containing human remains left near WWII Memorial, WTOP reports. ‘Park Police say it is not unusual for people to leave the cremated remains of veterans near the Vietnam Memorial.’
Spike in Dupont shoplifting, NC8 reports: ‘A lot of them are just young kids.’
WRC-TV covers WEAVE’s possible demise.
NC8 covers D.C. Jail’s award from the American Correctional Association for its HIV testing/counseling program. And they cover the mandatory-or-not debate.
Here’s video of Seattle streetcars—-very similar to the ones DDOT has bought!
Haven’t heard the words ‘Klingle Road’ in a while, have you? Well, get your fix on Oct. 6, when agencies host a meeting at the National Zoo on the upcoming environmental assessment for a hiker/biker trail.
Cricket: big thing at GWU.
Note to benchwarming pro football players: Lay off the Tweets calling out the fans booing your mediocre team.
Segraves pens a touching tribute to Bruce Robey, founder of Voice of the Hill, who died Sunday: ‘Today, Ward 6 boasts some of the most productive and accountable ANCs in the District. It wasn’t always that way. Many of the ANC commissioners who hold office today were inspired to run for office because the Voice made them more aware of what was happening in their community. Likewise, many of the old commissioners who abused their office are no longer in office, again, because Bruce was determined to inform the public….Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells knows all too well Bruce’s determination to speak truth to power. “Bruce never sugar coated anything he said to elected officials,” Wells said, “He was always straight forward and wincingly honest, which I found refreshing as I railed from the blows.”…But where Bruce and his wife Adele really took a leap of faith was on H Street. Today, H Street is a destination for the young and the hip. It’s fast becoming the “New U” with restaurants, bars and theaters….That’s not how Bruce found H Street, but it is how he left it. In 2001, when Bruce and Adele saw a void in the theater community the Robeys stepped up to create the H Street Playhouse. They used their own money to buy the old French’s Restaurant and a theater district was born.’
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting, to be followed by the 15th legislative meeting, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.