Morning all. Yesterday was Ethics Day for the D.C. Council, as Nikita Stewart notes at D.C. Wire. Chairman Vincent C. Gray has engaged a nonprofit, CityEthics, to help draft an ethics code for the District’s legislature, and members gathered for a lengthy workshop yesterday morning. Well, members excluding Marion Barry, who is of course the proximate reason why the council is going through all this rigmarole. Barry, LL is told, strolled into the Wilson Building conference room just as the meeting was breaking up, a few minutes before noon. “Did I miss anything?” he said.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Cora Masters Barry gets an early win in court; Peter Nickles aims to end court oversight of yet another District function; Norton picks three U.S. attorney finalists; Hine developer selected; Joe Robert, terminally ill, arranges $150M donation for Children’s Hospital.
First LaShawn. Then Dixon. Now Blackman-Jones. AG Peter Nickles has decided that another part of the District government is finished with court oversight; he’s ready to petition a federal judge to end monitoring of the District’s special education system, Bill Turque reports in WaPo. A 2006 decree ‘ordered the District to wipe out a backlog of more than 1,000 decisions by hearing officers that had yet to be implemented…[and] also requires that 80 percent of the decisions reached after July 1, 2008, be executed in timely fashion. The latest District figures place its timeliness rate at 60 percent for the one-year period ending June 30….Nickles, who said he probably will file the motion this fall, acknowledged in an interview that the District has not met the requirements of the decree. But he said the city’s performance has improved dramatically and that it is in “substantial compliance.”‘ Plaintiffs, of course, disagree heartily: ‘By their own numbers, they are grossly violating the law,’ says lawyer Ira Burnim, who ‘calls [Nickles’] planned motion an “aggressive, in your face” legal strategy that is part of a broader effort to roll back the ability of federal courts to remedy social injustices.’
QUOTES OF THE DAY—-Burnim: ‘Peter Nickles and [Mayor] Adrian Fenty have just put themselves in the camp of the southern segregationists’; Nickles: ‘That’s absolutely outrageous!’
Cora Masters Barry gets a stay of execution: Superior Court Judge Judith Macaluso issues temporary restraining order keeping the Recreation Wish List Committee inside the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center while she hashes out the lease dispute between Barry and the city. In front of about 50 courtroom spectators, RWLC lawyer A. Scott Bolden argued circles around AAG Robert Utiger, provoking one outburst of applause. WaPo reporter Keith Alexander called Bolden’s performance ‘like a sermon’ at times. In the audience: Dr. Dorothy Height, and, briefly, Marion Barry, who walked in with Anthony Motley, whispered something to Cora and left within seconds. Also NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV.
Eleanor Holmes Norton has submitted her preferred U.S. attorney picks to DOJ, Joe Palazzolo reports at Main Justice. Her finalists include Anjali Chaturvedi of Nixon Peabody and Ron Machen of WilmerHale (no surprise on those two), plus Michael Bromwich of Fried Frank in New York. Not on the list: Acting USA and sentimental favorite Channing Phillips. Darn.
The WaPo editorial board does its darnedest to lobby against an override of Fenty’s veto of the D.C. Council’s budget decision to grant more independence and a bigger budget to the State Board of Education: ‘What does it say about D.C. Council priorities that it cuts funding for summer school so that only half the children who need to attend can do so, but it can come up with money for the board to hire someone to handle public relations for it? If this measure becomes law, what comes next? There has been talk of letting the board, not the mayor, hire and fire the schools superintendent….[Councilmembers] seem not to care that school openings have never been smoother, that facilities have never looked better, that test scores seem to be going in the right direction and that student enrollment—-despite second-guessing by the council—-appears to be holding steady.’ Remember the five-year promise, right?
Scoop from WCP’s Dave McKenna: Over the course of years, the District government and private donors have given millions to a group run by former Redskins Art Monk and
Darrell Green Charles Mann to create and operate a job training center in Anacostia’s Carver Theater. Well, the theater has been renovated, but there’s no job training center: The building, McKenna reports, has been sold to the Howard Road Public Charter School.
The Metrobus driver that struck a jogger earlier this month ‘had been involved in two on-the-job accidents during the previous seven years and received five traffic tickets in January,’ James Hohmann reports in WaPo. Carla A. Proctor, 43, in 2003 failed to set her brakes properly, and her bus rolled down a hill without her, striking several cars; and in 2004, she rear-ended a parked car with her bus, injuring a passenger. Both incidents led to lawsuits. In her personal driving, Proctor’s was involved in an off-duty accident in 2003 that ended up with her car crashing into an Oxon Hill Wendy’s. And this January, ‘a police officer cited Proctor in Temple Hills for driving an unregistered 2000 Ford with Pennsylvania plates. She received five tickets, with fines totaling $660.’
HER VICTIM—-Amanda Mahnke, 30, ‘has improved in the 12 days since the accident, her brother Robert Mahnke said Tuesday, but she remains in intensive care at George Washington University Hospital.’
IN MEMORIAM—-Blood donations sought in momory of Metro employee John Moore, who died after being struck by a train.
The Children’s National Medical Center is getting a $150M gift from the government of Abu Dhabi—-‘one of the largest philanthropic donations ever made to a U.S. pediatric hospital,’ Susan Kinzie reports in WaPo. ‘The Persian Gulf country has given large sums to Johns Hopkins Medicine and other U.S. institutions. But the gift was arranged by Joseph E. Robert Jr., a prominent Washington philanthropist with deep ties to Children’s and personal connections to wealthy members of the UAE’s royal family.’ The gift will create the Sheik Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, which ‘will collaborate across disciplines to improve surgery for children.’ The gift ‘has created palpable excitement at the Northwest Washington hospital, which treats thousands of children and performs 15,000 surgeries each year.’
JOE ROBERT’S FAREWELL—-‘For Robert, the gift represents a triumph. Recently he received a diagnosis of the same type of brain cancer that afflicted Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). After giving away millions and raising millions more for charity, he compares his current philanthropic efforts to playing basketball at an arcade. “I’m trying to get as many scores, put the ball through the hoop as many times as I can with the limited time I have left,” he said.’
Police union chief Kristopher Baumann is truly under the skin of Chief Cathy Lanier. That’s the takeaway of Harry Jaffe‘s Examiner column today, which details the chief’s response to last week’s arbitration ruling on All Hands on Deck. ‘Lanier’s complaint begins with her saying that…Baumann’s “assertions on the effectiveness” on AHOD are “flawed.” What I find so confounding and mystifying and a bit sad is that Lanier keeps making this about her and Baumann….Memo to the chief: This dispute is no longer between you and Baumann. It is now in the legal realm. An arbitrator—-John C. Truesdale—-whom you and the union chose has ruled against the police and the city. If you have a beef, take it to the judge….To overturn the ruling, [MPD] has to prove Truesdale’s well-reasoned ruling “was contrary to law and public policy.” Good luck.’
A master developer has been chosen for the Hine JHS site next to Eastern Market: Stanton-Eastbanc, which plans to turn the site ‘into 150 apartments, restaurants, shops and office space for the Shakespeare Theatre Company,’ according to WaPo. ‘There were 11 bidders. But Capitol Hill Restoration Society gave the nod to Stanton-Eastbanc, which includes well-respected firm Weinstein Escocoff Architects, in July. The stamp of the society and others, as well as the financing, influenced the decision of city officials.’ Also Housing Complex, AP, WBJ, NC8.
Did the closing of Franklin Shelter increase the visibility of downtown homelessness? Bill Myers reports in Examiner that ‘[a]n army of mentally ill homeless people have set up camp along the K Street blocks that constitute Washington’s premier business district, alarming tourists and worrying business owners in the area.’ The ‘army’ is called by some ‘an unintended consequence of Mayor Adrian Fenty’s ambitious reform agenda,’ closing emergency shelters and replacing them with Housing First beds. Says Terry Lynch: ‘They’re doing it when the wave is coming in, not going out.’ Adds Downtown BID’s Marquietta Henley: ‘If you come through here on Saturday or Sunday, it’s wall-to-wall homeless people.’
The squat Oregon Avenue home belonging to tax scammer Harriette Walters is on the market for $715K, Reliable Source reports: ‘The modest home where feds seized a treasure-trove of designer handbags, luxe furniture and faux Fabergé eggs can be yours: two-car garage, screened-in porch, rec room suitable for parties.’
D.C. Court of Appeals hears argument on case that could open District jury records to examine charges that ‘that the D.C. Superior Court system for picking juries systematically excludes African-American residents of the District,’ Legal Times reports. ‘Unlike in federal court, Superior Court defendants do not have unqualified access to jury records, which are typically confidential. The judges also questioned whether access to jury records would place undue burden on the Superior Court Jurors’ Office, which maintains the records.’ WCP covered this issue years ago.
Nikita Stewart covers the Leo Alexander campaign kickoff at D.C. Wire: ‘Alexander, 45, said he was more than pleased with the turnout, as a jazz band played in a corner and guests mingled. “I’m moved by it. For the first event, a first announcement, for someone who has never run for anything in D.C. … ” Alexander said….”We don’t have any money, but we have a ton of ideas,” Alexander said. “We’re up against someone who has a ton of money but no ideas.”‘ Also WTTG-TV.
WAMU-FM’s Elliott Francis covers Norton’s health care town hall yesterday. No yelling! No screaming! ‘There was absent of the heated exchanges and vitriol that characterized many of the health care town halls held across the country during the past few months. As one staffer put it, only residents of the District were admitted and they were expected to conduct themselves as members of any progressive community would.’ Also NC8, WTTG-TV.
WaPo: ‘Metro is stepping up efforts to clean and disinfect parts of the transportation system to protect riders and employees from contracting swine flu’
SCOTUS will have a chance to weigh in on the claim that the ‘Redskins’ name ‘is so offensive that it does not deserve trademark protection,’ according to a WaPo report by Robert Barnes. A group of Native American activists ‘is asking the court to review a decision this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the group waited too long to bring its claim.’ Keep in mind: ‘The Supreme Court takes only a fraction of the petitions it receives, and probably will not decide on this one for months. ‘
Blue Ribbon Schools list is out! In D.C., Noyes Education Campus in Edgewood gets the distinction, which ‘goes to public schools in the top 10 percent of academic performance in their state…and to schools where at least 40 percent of the students are from disadvantaged backgrounds and demonstrate dramatic improvement,’ WaPo notes. SecEd Arne Duncan made the announcement at Highland ES in Silver Spring.
City agencies celebrate National Child Passenger Safety Week with ‘events to help parents learn how to properly install child seats,’ Yamiche Alcindor reports in WaPo. Did you know that DDOT ‘estimates that more than 80 percent of the car seats in the District are improperly installed’? The events run through Friday; more info on times and locations.
Smithsonian apologizes for renting space to alleged hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform. ‘The Smithsonian did not cancel the event. FAIR, [spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas] said, made a $5,000 donation to use the space from 7 to 9 p.m. “The Postal Museum did say yes, and it isn’t fair to say, ‘We have just found out you violated our standards’ ” and force the group to cancel, she said. Furthermore, “we did not cancel this event because FAIR did nothing wrong. It was our mistake in giving permission.”‘
Wow: Pittsburgh blogger says that ‘Donald Wuerl‘s personal battle over the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington D.C. is nothing more than a classic example of the pot calling the kettle lavender.’
Expect traffic to be fouled for a couple of weeks on South Capitol Street at Firth Sterling Avenue SE as streetcar tracks are installed, WTOP reports.
Charles Clifton, 34, sentenced to 33 months for embezzling $570,000 from the American Society for International Law and the American Bakers Association between 1998 and 2004.
why.i.hate.dc’s Dave Stroup has some issues with Nickles’ reply to the open-carry handgun lawsuit: ‘I understand that it’s Mayor Fenty’s political position that gun control is good and helps prevent crime. However, Nickles’ reasoning as expressed in this filing is a bit of a stretch.’
On WaPo blog, UVa. researcher calls bunk the DCPS focus on ‘learning styles’: ‘Researchers have been conducting experiments on learning styles for 50 years. They’ve been tested with the sorts of materials that kids encounter in schools. They’ve been tested with kids diagnosed with a learning disability. There just doesn’t seem to be much evidence that kids learn in fundamentally different ways….[A] misunderstanding of a pretty basic issue of cognition is a mistake that one does not expect from a major school system. It indicates that the people running the show at DCPS are getting bad advice about the science on which to base policy.’
Alliance of Concerned Men takes credit for 30-year low in homicides.
GGW offers a back-pat to DCRA for its Tweeting, zoning office for its video system.
DDOT wants parents, kids to walk/bike to school.
Sniper John Allen Muhammad execution set for Nov. 10.
Tweet from Time’s Karen Tumlty, reporting from the Fortune mag Most Powerful Women Summit at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara near San Diego: ‘Michelle rhee’s favored euphemism for firing someone is to “remove.” #mpw09’
Tom Bridge has fun with the Kanye Apology Generator: ‘I’M SOOOOO SORRY TO MAYOR FENTY AND COUNCIL CHAIR GRAY FOR DANCING THE UMBRELLA. I SPOKE TO COUNCIL CHAIR GRAY RIGHT AFTER. MAYOR FENTY IS VERY VERDANT !!……….. I’M IN THE WRONG FOR CLIMBING AND PARKING!!!!!!!! I’M SORRY TO MY FANS IF I LET YOU GUYS DOWN!!!!! I’M SORRY TO MY FRIENDS AT DOUGLAS DEVELOPMENT. I WILL APOLOGIZE TO MAYOR FENTY 2MRW. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD!!!! EVERYBODY WANNA BOOOOO ME BUT I’M A FAN OF MARBLE!!! Y’ALL KNOW!!! BOOOOYAAAWWWWW!!!!!!!! HALF SMOKE I GAVE MY MONUMENT TO COUNCILMAN CATANIA WHEN THEY DESERVED IT… THAT’S WHAT IT IS!!!!!!!!!! I’M NOT CRAZY YALL, I’M JUST BEING REAL. SORRY FOR THAT!!!MUCH RESPECT!!!!!’
BLIND ITEM—-Which elected official complained to LL about too much ‘Kanye attitude’ in Hizzoner?
ON NEWSTALK WITH BRUCE DEPUYT—-Vincent Gray, 4 p.m. on NewsChannel 8.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Economic Development meeting (scheduled), JAWB 123; 1 p.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs hearing on B18-401 (”), JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee on Human Services meeting (scheduled), JAWB 123; Committee on Public Works and Transportation hearing on the ‘status of the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority’s maintenance and repair of the District’s fire hydrants,’ JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10 a.m.: remarks, Children’s National Medical Center gift announcement, Children’s National Medical Center, Main Atrium, 111 Michigan Ave. NW; 3 p.m.: remarks, DCPS Blue Ribbon Award announcement, Noyes Education Campus, 2725 10th St. NE; 4 p.m.: remarks, DCPS budget equalization update, 825 North Capitol St. NE; 6 p.m.: attendee, Sundance D.C. premiere of ‘Brick City,’ 25 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 100.