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Greetings all. Your second-day story on DCPS teacher layoffs: Vince Gray is none to happy with blame being laid at the door of the D.C. Council. As LL noted yesterday, he fired off a scathing press release accusing Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Chancellor Michelle Rhee of twisting facts and using budget cuts as an excuse to fire tenured teachers. He tells WaPo’s Bill Turque: ‘What galls me is that this is being put at the council’s doorstep….If they want to do this, they ought to take responsibility for it.’ Having Gray and Kwame Brown rapping Hizzoner’s knuckles is one thing, but ally Jack Evans? He also tells Turque that the council ‘didn’t cut anything.’ Also NC8.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Bell student jumps in front of Metro train; man accused of hate crime takes plea deal; Fenty finally shuts down Masonic go-gos; library hours to be cut; and it was embezzler sentencing day at the federal courthouse yesterday.
A 15-year-old male student at Bell Multicultural HS jumped in front of a Yellow Line Metro train shortly before 2 p.m. yesterday. LL spoke to an eyewitness. He became, WaPo notes, ‘the seventh person to intentionally step in front of a train since June.’ Early reports that this was a game of ‘chicken’ are not true: ‘Metro sources familiar with footage from a surveillance camera at the scene said he was alone. There are no indications of horseplay or foul play, officials said,’ according to WaPo. Adds WTOP: ‘”This was definitely a suicide,” says Metro Board Chairman Jim Graham. “There is video showing the young man acted in a calculated and deliberate manner over several minutes.”‘ Adds Graham: ‘This is now a crisis problem for Metro in how to deal with the determined efforts of people who are committing suicides in our subways.’ Also Examiner, NC8, WUSA-TV.
Good on Harry Jaffe for writing this column: ‘[He] is a dedicated public servant and proven prosecutor. He has the respect of the line prosecutors. And the police. He’s served in the chief deputy’s role for more than a decade. He has worked for Democrats and Republicans. He’s a local lawyer, born and schooled in D.C. His father…is a legendary civil rights champion. Why is [Channing Phillips] not at least on the list of prospective top prosecutors sent the president’s way [for the U.S. attorney post]?…Ron Machen, a former prosecutor, seems to be the presumptive favorite. He might turn out to be a fine prosecutor. But not having Phillips on the job is a net loss for the city.’
MORE—-Jaffe takes a turn and uses the Phillips snub to argue for prosecutorial home rule: ‘There is but one conclusion that we can draw from the current process of choosing our chief prosecutor: It’s time to let the District—-rather than the president—-pick its local prosecutor. Preferably, we would elect that person. The current system is an affront to self-determination and local control.’ One correction, though: The D.C. AG’s office prosecutes DUIs, not DOJ.
Robert Hanna, 19, takes his deal; pleads guilty to a count of simple assault in the death of gay man Tony Randolph Hunter a year ago. Keith Alexander writes in WaPo: ‘Hanna was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter after the incident. But after a nine-month investigation and witness interviews, prosecutors reduced the charge to simple assault….[T]he specifics and charges in the case baffled even Judge Rafael Diaz. “It still remains a mystery why Mr. Hanna struck the victim and the victim died,” Diaz said.’ The U.S. attorney’s office promises a ‘full report of its investigation in coming weeks.’ Also WAMU-FM, WTTG-TV, Blade.
At last, Fenty and friends hold their press conference cracking down at go-go events at the King Solomon Grand Masonic Lodge in Woodridge. Examiner notes that the officials—-Peter Nickles, Cathy Lanier, and Linda Argo—-‘cited several ways they tried to work with the lodge to improve conditions at the events….They said the lodge never implemented any of the discussed measures.’ But ‘lodge members denied that police officials ever met with the lodge. Lodge Grand Secretary Earl Rogers also said that the lodge never received the letter or any other notice from the city concerning the public license….”If I knew what they were complaining about, I would address it.”‘ Also WaPo, NC8, WTTG-TV. And here’s a go-go defender.
HEY MR. MAYOR—-Here’s a ‘best practice’ on how to handle things when a contractor’s corporate registration lapses: After WaPo discovered the guy who’s helping to write WMATA’s employee handbook didn’t have the proper papers filed in California, the guy filed the proper paper work for his company, Vehicles Safety International, and went back to work doing the job that Metro contracted with him to do, James Hohmann writes.
D.C. Public Library ends Sunday hours at branch libraries due to budget cuts; MLK will now open on Sunday, however. Oh, and no more bookmobile for the fiscal year. These are ‘one of a number of service reductions that District residents will feel when the 2010 fiscal year begins Oct. 1,’ Nikita Stewart reports in WaPo. ‘Currently, the system opens all the neighborhood libraries on Sundays, and one in each ward on Monday holidays. Chief Librarian [Ginnie Cooper] said that is no longer possible with the budget cuts. Instead of sparsely staffing all 25 libraries, she said, the city will focus on offering its books, computers and research materials at King.’
FLOTUS, Fenty kick off White House farmers market—-part of Michelle Obama‘s ‘crusade for fresh food and local farmers,’ WaPo’s Emma Brown writes. After her remarks, Obama, ‘wearing a lei of marigolds offered by a 5-year-old girl—-descended from the podium to shake hands and buy a basketful of Tuscan kale, eggs, cherry tomatoes, mixed hot peppers, pears, fingerling potatoes, cheese and chocolate milk.’ Examiner’s Bill Myers, meanwhile, catalogs everyone the market’s opening inconvenienced. Also WaTimes, AP, NC8, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV, CNN, Chicago Tribune.
WBJ’s Melissa Castro covers DMH privatization lawsuit, which ‘goes beyond employment-based claims and alleges that the private sector was ill-equipped to handle the deluge of mentally ill patients public employees were treating before the switch.’ And note: ‘Even though the private sector is understaffed, none of the private providers contracting with D.C. has offered jobs to the District employees who were let go, the plaintiffs’ allege.’
ALSO IN WBJ—-A look at new NCPC chair Preston Bryant; says architecture critic: ‘I don’t know what debt the president was paying off, but it doesn’t speak very highly of his consideration of the NCPC.’ And it’s the ‘Top Washington Lawyers’ issue; the winner in the white-collar defense category? Why, none other than A. Scott Bolden. ‘Though he loves the competition that comes with being a lawyer in a high-profile place like Washington, Bolden says he would have been an actor in another life. “I guess in a way being an actor and a lawyer aren’t that different,” he says. “In the end, we’re storytellers. It’s a lawyer’s job to match facts with the law and try to convince strangers what’s right or wrong.”‘
D.C. Court of Appeals lets guy off the hook for open-container violation, Legal Times reports. Message to cops: Waving your roadside breath test over a bottle of booze doesn’t prove it’s booze in the eyes of the law.
Bruce Johnson asks on his blog: ‘Can DC Mayor Adrian Fenty Be Beat? Says the WUSA-TV reporter: ‘My take is its still Fenty’s race to lose—-that he would have to suffer an incredible blunder or two between now and next year in order for someone to beat him.’ And this is what Jonetta Rose Barras has to say in her online column, about the SETLC saga: ‘[Mayor Anthony Williams] sought to build bridges. Fenty is placing IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) on any bridge he finds across the city.’
Since May, 23 have been arrested in joint MPD-federal drug bust, authorities announce. ‘Ten search warrants were executed, the agencies said, and more than $89,000 in drugs and $80,000 in cash were seized.’
Former WASA payroll clerk Sonia R. Coleman, 39, gets two years in prison for stealing $236K from the utility. She pled guilty in May. And 18 months and a $25K fine for Wendy Mansfield, ex-accountant for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies who stole $176K from her employer.
MORE ON YESTERDAY MORNING’S FIRE—-The blaze on the 5600 block of 13th Street is said to be arson, ‘started when someone set fire debris that included an old mattress,’ WaPo reports. Two adults, two children hospitalized for smoke inhalation. ‘When firefighters arrived, “there were probably 15 or 16 people leaning and hanging out of windows getting ready to jump,” [FEMS spokesperson] said. “One family had already put some sheets together and were getting ready to climb down.”‘
6,000 show at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to apply for fiscal 2010 utility discounts. About $20M was spent on the assistance program in FY09, with 33,000 households receiving ‘between $49 and $1,300 depending on income level and size of household.’
AP: ‘The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region announced Thursday more than $714,000 in grants for 37 nonprofits in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The foundation raised more than $1.2 million for such groups in 2009 and hopes to raise $2 million more by year’s end.’
Lou Chibbaro Jr. covers Clark Ray‘s campaign kickoff in Blade.
WAMU-FM covers WASA sewer modernization/CSO abatement program.
DCSEC has new EagleBank Bowl slogan: ‘DCember Rocks at RFK’
WaPo profiles the pair of conservative activists who brought ACORN to its knees: ‘According to [James O’Keefe]’s account, ACORN was laid low by a stunt with a $1,300 budget, O’Keefe said….In his role as a pimp, O’Keefe said, he employed the skill of a method actor. “When you’re in the moment, you can’t afford to get out of character.” In ACORN’s District office, when two workers identified as Sherona Boone and Lavernia Boone coached the couple on how to cloak their business enterprise, O’Keefe remained calm. “But when you walk out of the place and get into the car, it dawns on you, you’re like, whoa,” he said.’
Lanier talks terrorism.
Joy Zinoman, founder and artistic director of Studio Theatre for 35 years, to retire.
New bank to be chartered in D.C.?
Ward 7 development showcase planned for Saturday, hosted by the Ward 7 Business and Professional Association.
Slate’s David Plotz asks, ‘What does The Lost Symbol [the new Dan Brown novel] get wrong about the nation’s capital? Everything.’
Wondering what Dan Tangherlini is doing with himself these days? He’s breaking ground on afforable housing in Columbus, Ohio.
ON NEWSTALK WITH BRUCE DEPUYT—-Leo Alexander, 4 p.m. on NewsChannel 8.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:40 a.m.: remarks, The Overlook at Oxon Run ribbon-cutting, 3700 9th St. SE; 12:45 p.m.: attendee, Delta Towers community meeting, 1400 Florida Ave. NE; 1:30 p.m.: remarks, Langston Hughes Street dedication, 14th and V Streets NW.