Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘@MayorFenty Twitter Feed Not Official!‘; ‘D.C. Archbishop Signs On to Push Marriage Vote‘; ‘Campaign Finance Hammer Comes Down on Democrats‘; ‘Pershing Park Case: Nickles Could Have Addressed Missing Evidence Long Ago‘
Morning all. Ah, could have seen this coming: The WaPo editorial board swoops in with an explanation of exactly how Mayor Adrian M. Fenty had his sons enrolled at top performing Lafayette Elementary—-accompanied, of course, by a stout defense of the move. ‘Mr. Fenty’s neighborhood school, West Elementary, has only one fourth-grade class. Most studies show that twins, particularly if they are of the same gender, should be in separate classes for both learning and social development. That’s apparently why Ms. Rhee — using a process employed for other families in similar circumstances — assigned the boys to Lafayette, where the existence of four fourth-grade classes made it easy to accommodate them.’ A reasonable explanation, to be sure, but no sourcing is cited and several questions are unanswered. Such as: Why not lay all this out before it even becomes an issue? Instead, here you have Fenty’s backhanded, halfhearted way of extricating himself from the media mess of the last week. See Harry Jaffe‘s column below for more on why it had to go down like this.
AFTER THE JUMP—-WaPo reporter gets a gun; Archbishop Wuerl lays down his marker on gay marriage; Peaceaholics sex assault trial gets underway; feds don’t like streetcar wires; and the fraud that is the Redskins season-ticket waiting list.
WaPo reporter Christian Davenport goes through the process to get himself a legal handgun in the District of Columbia. ‘It took $833.69, a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam….Reluctantly, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s administration set up a process through which about 550 residents — now including yours truly — have acquired a handgun. But as my four trips to the police department attest, D.C. officials haven’t made it easy. Which was exactly their intent.’
WHY—-‘I’ve been surrounded my whole life by people who see guns as a cause of social ill, not a cure. But what if they’re wrong? I live in a dangerous part of a dangerous city. I’ve heard gunshots from my bedroom window clearly enough so there was no mistaking them for firecrackers. And then, about a month or so ago, my wife went out to her car and saw the glass on the ground and then the shattered window. Nothing can make you want a gun more than that sickening, helpless moment when you realize you are more vulnerable than you had thought.’
Harry Jaffe asks of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, ‘What has happened to that masterful politician?’—-the one we fell in love with. ‘Fenty is still in perpetual motion, but the fluidity and ease of the man in motion to curry favor and votes has morphed into a gaunt and frenzied executive who has no time for people. Many who have dealt with him describe him as dismissive, short-tempered, a bit haughty, occasionally petulant. Rarely has a politician squandered so much natural good will. Fenty seems to have actively turned positives into negatives.’ Why would this be? ‘Friends and associates say Fenty sees life and politics as one big athletic event. It’s Adrian against the city council, against Cora Barry, against the press. Cross him, and he will crush you. Back in the campaigning days, the press loved Adrian. Now, not so much. It begs the question: Can you run against the press?’
Bishop Harry Jackson et al. have filed papers to put a gay marriage question on the 2010 ballot. They have a new ally: the Archdiocese of Washington. Examiner covers: ‘The Archdiocese…emerged to support the initiative “out of our religious teaching and our long-standing commitment to serving the common good,” the Most Rev. Barry Knestout wrote in a letter to Elections Board Chairman Errol Arthur.’ WaPo’s Tim Craig notes: ‘Wuerl sent a letter to 300 local Catholic priests Tuesday reminding them about the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and he launched a round of media interviews to bolster the church’s presence in the debate….”We will continue to let the voice of the Church, the teachings of the Church, be heard as clearly as it can be heard,” Wuerl said. “That is why we have sent out so much material to our priests to help them explain this to our faithful people.”‘ Also NC8, WUSA-TV.
Both LL and WaPo‘s Tim Craig cover a preliminary Office of Campaign Finance report finding that the D.C. Democratic State Committee erred in setting up a separate convention committee then not disclosing receipts and expenditures to OCF. As LL reports exclusively, this has touched off another round of DCDSC infighting.
The murderer of Deborah Ann Brown, the Dunkin’ Donuts worker killed Saturday night in Columbia Heights, is identified as Devonte Carlton, 17, of the 1400 block of Girard Street NW. Writes Theola Labbé-DeBose in WaPo: ‘Brown, 48, got to work at 7 a.m. Saturday and finished about 2 p.m. By Saturday night, she was walking just a few steps away from the doughnut store, in the 2900 block of 14th Street NW about 9:30 p.m., when police said a teenager with a gun riding a bicycle spotted a perceived enemy across the street. He fired, and Brown was caught in the crossfire between two rival gang members, police said.’ Also see WTTG-TV.
WaPo’s Keith Alexander covers the trial of Barry Harrison, the Peaceaholics volunteer accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl at Spingarn SHS. The student ‘alleged that he kissed and fondled her April 14 in the basement’ of the school, while Harrison holds that he was ‘a prime target of revenge for the girl and her friends after Harrison disciplined them for fighting and cutting classes.’ Might be something to that: The student ‘told the prosecutor that she sent a text message to one of her friends minutes after the incident and that she was “too scared” to tell a teacher or one of the police officers who worked in the school. But under cross-examination, [Harrison’s attorney] produced her telephone records, which showed that the only record of a text to her friend was two hours later, when the girls were being interviewed separately at police headquarters. The victim said she was having trouble with her phone repeatedly cutting off.’ Also on the stand: Ron Moten.
Candi Peterson at the Washington Teacher says she has details from the almost-done teachers contract proposal—-specifically, ‘performance-based excessing’ provisions, or buyouts. LL cannot vouch for the authenticity.
Bill Myers reports in Examiner that three victim advocates stand to be fired because of a botched federal grant application—-which the article blames on mayoral officials. ‘Laverne Harley, Jennifer Murphy and Dawn Christie were all paid by the D.C. police department to help relatives of the District’s numerous homicide victims with needs ranging from paying their bills to understanding the legal system. Their work was supported by a grant from the Department of Justice. But officials in the Fenty administration mishandled a crucial application and the feds pulled the plug on the program. Authorities are now scrambling to find new money to keep the women on their jobs after Sept. 30.’
The National Capital Planning Commission is telling the District not to erect overhead streetcar lines on the new 11th Street Bridge, Michael Neibauer reports for Examiner. ‘The new bridge won praise from commission staff for the prospect of “reducing traffic in Historic Anacostia, improving vehicle circulation, replacing structurally deficient bridges and improving public transportation and pedestrian and bicycle access across the Anacostia River.” But [the streetcar wires] left the group cold. “The anticipated infrastructure would introduce an element into streetscapes that has been intentionally avoided and prohibited for over a century,” according to the report, issued in advance of Thursday’s meeting.’
Bill Turque covers problems with special-ed busing. ‘Parents who have spoken to the District’s call center said they have been told that under the new set up, any change to a child’s “transportation information,” like a phone number, for instance, results in that name being deleted from the bus route. David Gilmore, the court-appointed transportation director, said his office is “getting the problem worked out” and that the issue should be resolved in the next couple of days.’ The part of the D.C. school system with the most startup issues isn’t run by Michelle Rhee. Ironic?
Turque also looks at the Lexington Institute/Heritage Foundation report on District school security and finds that ‘the report is a virtual infomercial for the D.C. school voucher program, which had its funding cut off by congressional Democrats earlier this year. Heritage and Lexington, conservative think tanks, both support the program and want to see it reauthorized. No less than eight times in the 15-page report, they pause to celebrate the virtues of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.’
Former DCPS employee Hakeem Blaize, 28, pleads guilty to stealing ‘about 20 computers, five projectors and more than 70 printer toner cartridges between December 2006 and October 2008,’ according to WaPo‘s Del Wilber. Blaize told U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, “I’m really remorseful.” ‘In addition to sentencing Blaize to six months in prison, the judge ordered Blaize to pay the D.C. schools nearly $35,000 in restitution. She said the crime was “a serious offense” because Blaize had deprived students of critical tools they need in today’s technology-driven world.’
Fenty will grace the first annual Democrats for Education Reform school year calendar. ‘The calendar, entitled “10 Champions for America’s Students,” highlights 10 star reformers who have demonstrated their long-term commitment to education reform in the communities they serve as well as on a national scale. Mayor Fenty has been selected as a champion of America’s students for his efforts to breathe new life into the failing Washington, DC school system. The Mayor is pictured in the calendar with students from John Eaton Elementary School, in Washington, D.C.’ Other honorees: Cory Booker, Kevin Johnson.
That vaunted Redskins season ticket waiting list? Utter BS, as James Grimaldi discovers in a WaPo investigation. Thousands of tickets have been sold by the team to scalpers. Excuse me, ‘brokers.’
Metro has the brilliant idea of closing the National Airport Metro stop over Labor Day weekend. As Myers puts it in Examiner, ‘Thousands of holiday travelers will have to schlep their luggage onto shuttle buses this weekend or find another way to get [there]’ thanks to track work. Says Gerry Connolly: ‘While I am happy that Metro is making needed infrastructure improvements, the decision to close the National Airport stop over Labor Day weekend — one of the busiest travel weekends of the year — is troubling. But what is truly disturbing is the short notice given to the public. To make this kind of announcement merely three days before a major station closure is unacceptable.’ WRC-TV has details on the shuttles.
RELATED—-WaPo on the staycation.
Loaded Metrobus involved in accident yesterday morning on South Capitol Street near Malcolm X Avenue. Five treated for injuries.
why.i.hate.dc remains on the Alice Swanson ghost bike story. His vow: ‘I’m not going to give up on this story, and I’ll continue to dig up as much detail as I can. Regardless of the “legality” of having a perpetual memorial on public property, the removal was handled very poorly. I will get to the bottom of who removed it, and how that process unfolded.’
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-1:30 p.m.: remarks, Capitol Gateway demolition, Capitol Gateway Housing Development, 126 57th St. SE; 2:30 p.m.: remarks, Hayes Street groundbreaking, 4427 Hayes St. NE.