IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘No More ‘All Hands on Deck’ for D.C. Cops, Ruling Says‘; ‘D.C. Gay Marriage Polling: Some Thoughts‘
Greetings all. Marriage in the District of Columbia may soon be ‘the legally recognized union of two people,’ where ‘any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements…may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender.’ That is the language from David Catania‘s same-sex marriage bill, obtained by WaPo’s Tim Craig and soon to be introduced as the ‘Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009.’ And all members are co-sponsoring at this point, save for Harry Thomas Jr., Yvette Alexander, and Marion Barry—-though Craig’s story includes this interesting passage: ‘Catania said he is optimistic, however, that the final vote for his bill could be unanimous….In an interview Thursday, Barry said he is keeping an open mind on Catania’s bill. “Let him introduce his bill, and we’ll see,” Barry said.’
AFTER THE JUMP—-DCPS contract negotiations gets down to brass tacks; All Hands on Deck might not be long for this police force; White House farmers market is a go; more Metro messes; the Coast Guard shoots up the Potomac; and court says you can’t be kicked off a jury for being a weirdo.
MORE FROM CRAIG—-‘There is little doubt that the measure will be approved by the council, but that won’t stop national activists opposed to same-sex marriage from trying to stop the legislation in Congress….Tom McClusky, a vice president for legislative strategy at the Family Research Council, said that “a number of legislators are looking at different things” in preparation for the fight moving to Capitol Hill. “This is one of those cases where D.C. residents are asking them to get involved,” McClusky said. “On most other issues, it does look like Congress is interfering, using D.C. as some lab, but in this case it’s something D.C. residents have asked for. People have gone to various D.C. Council meetings in support of one-man-one-woman marriage, and they feel like they are being ignored.”‘
STRONG SUPPORT FROM VINCE—-From WaTimes interview: ‘”This is one of those where I believe this is the right thing to do. I’m hard-pressed to see the harm this is doing to me personally,” Mr. Gray said. “This is a step that I support and I’m prepared to stand up and say it wherever it needs to be said, and I’m prepared to deal with the consequences that come with that.”‘
WaPo’s Bill Turque reports that the Washington Teachers’ Union and Chancellor Michelle Rhee are ‘close to an agreement’ on a teachers contract, two years after the old contract expired, ‘but both sides say the negotiations could still collapse, and the union’s president places the chances of actually closing a deal at no better than 50-50.’ Turque cites ‘sources on both sides of the bargaining table’ saying that ‘the deal taking shape has evolved substantially over the past year, with both Rhee and the union poised to yield ground on key issues.’ Red Tier/Green Tier are gone, tenure will survive, teachers will get a 20 percent pay increase over five years, but merit pay is on the table and excessing will no longer be seniority-based (as Candi Peterson first reported).
BIG DEAL—-‘Under a proposed “mutual consent” provision, principals would have more power to pick and choose teachers. Teachers who failed to find new assignments would have three options. They could remain on the payroll for a year, accepting at least two spot assignments as substitutes or tutors or in some other support role. If they can’t find a permanent job after a year, they would be fired. Teachers could also choose to take a $25,000 buyout or, if they have at least 20 years’ service to the city school system, retire with full benefits.’
With arbitrator’s decision yesterday, pet policing initiative All Hands on Deck may be in its death throes. WaTimes, WTOP, NC8 cover, and Examiner‘s Bill Myers calls it a ‘crushing blow to one of the centerpieces of [Chief Cathy Lanier]’s regime.’ Harry Jaffe looks at the decision as proof that ‘the Metropolitan Police Department is losing—-badly’ when it comes to union disputes. Jaffe also reports that MPD internal affairs continues to investigate union chief Kristopher Baumann, to no particular end. ‘Lanier declined to comment—-but judging from Thursday’s ruling, the legal system is sounding off—-in favor of Baumann.’
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield explained to new DISB commissioner Gennet Purcell at hearing yesterday why the city shouldn’t pull $300M-plus out of their reserve coffers. And D.C. Appleseed explained why they should. LL set up the story in his column last week. Nikita Stewart covered the hearing for WaPo: ‘As commissioners questioned him, [CareFirst CEO Chet Burrell] asked, “Is there an incentive to find excess to…get the money?”‘ Why, yes, Chet, there is! The DISB ruling ‘could give the city’s coffers a much-needed boost at a time when the District is struggling to balance its budget and provide health care to residents.’ Purcell says she’ll hand down her ruling Sept. 30. WBJ’s Tierney Plumb also covers the proceedings.
The White House farmers’ market is a go; it will kick off next Thursday with ‘food raised by about 17 farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed’ and continue through October, WaPo reports. ‘The vendors’ debut next week, encouraged by the White House and community groups, will mark the return of a fresh produce market that once stood nearby during the administration of Thomas Jefferson, at the dawn of the 19th century. In Jefferson’s day, the market was in Lafayette Square, but security concerns require that its new incarnation be a tad farther north, on Vermont Avenue between H and I streets.’ Also WBJ.
Coast Guard boat starts shooting on Potomac as part of training exercise, sets off panic. Reports Examiner: ‘The shots set newswires ablaze with reports of gunplay on the Potomac just feet from the Pentagon, where President Obama and hundreds of others were gathered to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Spokespeople in two Coast Guard public affairs offices that cover the Washington area told the Examiner they had dispatched officials to the scene to gather information. The offices had not been warned of the training exercise.’ Also AP, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV.
It just won’t end: There was another Metro accident yesterday—-a track worker was struck by a train and seriously injured between Braddock Road and National Airport stations. Reports James Hohmann and Lena Sun in WaPo, ‘Few details of the latest accident, in Alexandria, were available Thursday night. Metro declined to reveal the name of the worker, what he was doing on the track when he was hit about 10:40 a.m. or the nature of his injuries. Metro officials would say only that the employee is 44 years old, has been with Metro since 1996 and works in the office responsible for repairing the communication network that alerts the agency’s control center about warnings from fire alarms and other sensors.’ Also Examiner, AP, WRC-TV.
JUST TO RECAP—-‘In less than three months: nine people were killed and 80 injured in a June 22 crash; a Metro worker was killed by a gravel-spreading machine; and a subcontractor was electrocuted while working at a bus garage. Last week, a 30-year-old House staff member…was struck by a Metrobus near Dupont Circle, and she remains hospitalized in critical condition.’
Yes, fare increases are on the table, given Metro’s budget woes. And add this to the list of fiscal pressures, Hohmann reports in WaPo: ‘Several members also warned that it is dangerous to assume, as Metro’s official forecast does, that local jurisdictions will agree to pony up the same subsidy next year as they did this year for the cash-strapped agency.’ Even WMATA board chair Jim Graham, ‘a leading critic of fare increases,’ is coming around, ‘suggesting that higher fares would be a “candidate” to look at after “a scrubbing of the budget” for other savings. He said the time “may well” have come.’ Graham tells Examiner reporter Kytja Weir: ‘At a time when I feel like the heavens have opened and every demon has been unleashed upon us, we have this budget.’ Also WRC-TV, and WBJ, which also reports that $380M in Orange/Blue Line repairs have been approved.
ALSO—-WMATA board gives Banneker Ventures another four months to come to a final agreement to develop Shaw site. ‘The development, known as The Jazz @ Florida Ave. is slated to include 124 apartments, a portion of which will be affordable and over 10,000 square feet of retail space. Metro tapped Banneker to develop the 28,892-square-foot site over a year ago.’ And while Metro won’t allow performances inside its stations, but here’s a consolation prize: The transit authority ‘will hold elaborate entertainment performances outside the Gallery Place-Chinatown and Dupont Circle stations’ today, WaPo reports. ‘A juggler, magician and acrobat are scheduled to perform in the District, Metro said. Performances will run at both stations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m.’
Vigilante memorialist places nearly two dozen ‘ghost bikes’ at Connecticut and R Streets NW to replace the memorial to biker Alice Swanson removed by the city last week. Everyone covers: WCP once, WCP twice, WaPo, Examiner, WTOP, NC8, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV, DCist, GGW. Yes, DPW has a policy of removing street memorials after 30 days—-see this vintage WCP piece for deets.
Is Green Dot going to run Eastern SHS? Hill Rag says it’s a real possibility: ‘DC officials have met several times with Steve Barr, founder and chairman of Green Dot Public Schools, and Barr has toured Eastern. Barr returned to DC in mid-August to continue those discussions to see if Green Dot would be a good fit for Eastern or other schools….If Green Dot is brought in by the school system, Green Dot would likely handle curriculum planning and teacher techniques and training, according to John Davis, instructional superintendent for DC public schools. School staff would remain employees of the school system.’
Phil Mendelson wants Robert Hannah tried for the death of Tony Randolph Hunter—-not pled out to a misdemeanor assault: ‘Although your office has a version of the events based on the evidence, the better version is the one that results from the adversarial process of a trial, whereby evidence is tested. Proceeding with a trial renders a more complete and accurate version of what happened.’ The U.S. attorney’s office reponds.
Peter Nickles responds in court to open-carry gun lawsuit. ‘Nickles counters the plaintiffs are attempting “to stretch the language of Heller far beyond what the Supreme Court found to be protected by the Second Amendment.”…”The District’s regulation of handguns at issue here is squarely in the mainstream and eminently reasonable, minimally intruding on the right announced in Heller to bear arms for the protection of ‘hearth and home,’ while at the same time safeguarding public safety under traditional police powers,” Nickles wrote, asking that the plaintiffs lawsuit be dismissed.’ Plaintiffs’ lawyer Alan Gura says to WaTimes: ‘It’s quite wrong, the city seems to think it’s not
down with [bound by] the Second Amendment, and they’ll find out they’re wrong.’ [UPDATE, 4:15 P.M.: Gura writes in to say he said “bound by” not “down with” in his conversation with the WaTimes reporter.]
Anton Mack, 23, pleads guilty to 2007 murder of his former girlfriend, Terrian Cormack. In a Superior Court hearing, ‘Mack admitted meeting his former girlfriend at her house in the 1600 block of F Street NE. The two went inside Cormack’s home, and Mack pulled out a gun and shot her once in the head. Cormack’s two sons, ages 7 and 9, found their mother’s body in their dining room when they returned home from school.’
Reginald Mallett, 51, of Clinton admits to stealing $60K in stamps from D.C. post office. He faces up to 10 years.
Child sex trafficking is ‘on the rise,’ WAMU-FM reports. ‘So far this year, officers in D.C. have identified more than 50 victims of human trafficking—-15 were minors….Linda Smith is the founder of Shared Hope International, an international non-profit dedicated to preventing child sex-trafficking. She says wealth in the D.C. area has helped turn the region into a sex trafficking hub. “A pimp can bring a girl to D.C., dress her up, advertise her on an erotic website, put her in a fancy room and make thousands of dollars off of her this week, and probably tens of thousands,” said Smith.’ ALSO—-Nats hold ‘Anti-Human Trafficking Night’
Falls Church man drives to Obama speech with shotgun, is arrested.
WaPo’s Jay Mathews on ‘How to Survive Our Worst Schools.’ He interviews a Ballou grad now at U. of Arizona about how he made it through.
WBJ’s Vandana Sinha profiles new WASA GM George Hawkins: ‘A former Environmental Protection Agency staffer, New Jersey watershed advocate and self-described “water guy” — his first case 20 years ago as a young Harvard Law grad was for a wastewater permit — Hawkins described the WASA gig as an unrivaled chance to answer a perennial question for the country’s water utilities: How do we fix generations-old, sometimes-cracked pipes to keep pristine water flowing to our faucets and rotten sewer water from running into our rivers? “That is the infrastructure of modern society without which everything else doesn’t matter,” Hawkins said. “I personally believe that the utility, this incredibly significant service to society, is at a very perilous point. What WASA adds is a level of operational management that DDOE doesn’t have.”‘ Sinha goes into great detail on DDOE succession plans.
ALSO—-WASAwatch lays out its hopes for the Hawkins regime.
“Strangeness” is not enough to get you kicked off a D.C. jury, D.C. Court of Appeals rules, via Legal Times. Superior Court Judge Zoe Bush erred in ousting a juror mid-trial in 2001 for asking ‘really off the wall questions.’
Preston Bryant, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, is the new chair of the National Capital Planning Commission, replacing fellow Virginian John Cogbill.
At D.C. Wire, Hamil Harris has much more on the National Baptist Convention lawsuit now before a Superior Court judge. For the plaintiff: Fred Cooke.
Housing Complex covers ‘Park(ing) Day,’ scheduled for Sept. 18, whereby parking spaces on the street are turned into mini-parks. They don’t have their permits yet.
Volunteers hit the Mall to scoop poop, and WaPo’s Lori Aratani is there for every turd! It’s mostly guano, actually: ‘All [15 volunteers] are employees at DoodyCalls, a professional pet-waste removal company. After reading about the mess that geese, ducks and fur-covered friends were leaving on the Mall, the group was inspired to deploy their scoopers.’ Also WAMU-FM.
Homeless yoga: Petula Dvorak‘s all over it. ‘It’s one hour a week at 8 a.m., taught by a volunteer [at Miriam’s Kitchen]. And it tells these people that just because they don’t have an address, it doesn’t mean they don’t have humanity.’
WAMU-FM covers effort to improve D.C. dropout rate.
Destination D.C. lays off 12 due to budget shortfall.
Nats to Jack Evans: Thanks for that stadium!
IN MEMORIAM—-Today is Sept. 11. Examiner looks back on D.C.’s security after eight years: ‘Despite the hundreds of millions of public dollars—-including $58 million in fiscal 2009 alone—-dumped into the region since Sept. 11 attacks, there have been embarrassing gaffes by the region’s public safety leaders….The capital still lacks a comprehensive evacuation plan, for instance. Regional officials have gone to the drawing board several times since the Sept. 11 attacks.’
TOMORROW—-Clark Ray kicks off his council campaign at 10 a.m. in front of Java Hut at 17th and Q Streets NW. TODAY—-Ray’s on NewsChannel 8’s NewsTalk at 4 p.m.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.