Morning all. Jonathan O’Connell with a big-time biz scoop: Wal-Mart has been poking around the District—-again—-trying to find a good spot to plop one of their big boxes. According to O’Connell, they have a particular eye on Poplar Point, though a spokesperson says there is ‘nothing immediately on the horizon.’ But developer Jeff Epperson of Urban-City Ventures LLC ‘said he is in ongoing discussions with the chain about opening its first D.C. store’ on a plot he owns along Howard Road SE. But the developer says Wal-Mart is going to want some sort of break from the District on land or taxes. Mayoral spokesperson Sean Madigan slammed the door pretty hard on that: ‘We’re not entertaining any subsidies to bring Wal-Mart to the city for any site.’ Is another site possible? Fort Lincoln? Skyland? Maybe, but in any case expect a raucous reception from unions and community activists—-which is what happened when a Brookland store was floated in 2004, in case anyone forgot.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Fenty found at posh Jamaican resort; Kathy Patterson is back, takes swipe at AG; Wall Street loves the District; another Rock Creek bee attack; Independence Bank gets a regulatory smackdown; and the CareFirst saga carries on.
FENTYWATCH—-Wondering where Hizzoner is? He’s in Jamaica, where he was spotted by a local newspaper: ‘The affable Mayor of Washington, DC, Adrian Fenty (left), a triathlete of no mean order, is on the island with his wife, DC attorney Michelle, daughter Aerin and twin boys, Andrew (left) and Matthew, after a game with tennis star Rayne Russell. The mayor confirmed he will run in the Rose Hall triathlon in Montego Bay on October 31. He is vacationing at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa, with his family.’
Rose Hall Resort & Spa truly inhabits a more exclusive ocean-front location than other Montego Bay Jamaica resorts. This deluxe beachfront hotel, once a legendary 18th-century sugar plantation, evokes the historic charm and hospitality made famous by the island. Indulge in cool ocean breezes, a private beach, one of the Caribbean’s largest water park, a championship golf course, and the relaxing services of Soothe Spa.’
Kathy Patterson, former Ward 3 councilmember, takes a minute out from her Pew Center on the States lobbying work to fling a rejoinder at Attorney General Peter Nickles over ‘erroneous’ representations that the AG made in his statement to a federal judge on the mishandling of the Pershing Park case. WCP’s Jason Cherkis breaks down her letter to Judge Emmet Sullivan, as does Examiner Bill Myers in Examiner. She holds that council investigation records should contain much of the information that Nickles said is lost.
Pro-voucher forces give it one last shot: About 70 activists, according to WaPo, showed up yesterday at Department of Education headquarters to urge Secretary Arne Duncan to allow 216 new kids to start using vouchers. ‘The protest drew parents and students already in the voucher program, but seemingly few, if any, of the 216 whose immediate future is at stake. Children held signs saying “Save the 216,” chanted slogans of support and praised the program.’ Also NC8 and WaTimes, which captures this scene: ‘Clad in matching yellow T-shirts, the pro-voucher group assembled in support of school choice while counterprotester Robert Vinson Brannum, a community activist, strapped two loudspeakers to his car and shouted into a microphone at the demonstrators. The shouting match continued for nearly 45 minutes, with the volume of Mr. Brannum’s speakers drowning out the chants from the other side.’
Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner that the District is proposing to the feds a program that would hand $3,000 to as many as 30 folks willing to relocate to D.C. The thinking is that the environmental and congestion benefits of the shorter commute would be worth it. ‘The Department of Energy has not yet decided whether the program is stimulus-worthy…as it does not clearly fit into the State Energy Program’s bailiwick of solar panels and energy-efficient windows. It is unknown when the District might begin the effort….The grants would be available to anyone living more than five miles from his or her job. They would be required to move to within a half-mile of a Metro station, a quarter-mile of a bus route or 1.5 miles from their workplace.’
Harry Jaffe looks at the District’s most recent bond sale and sees good news: ‘Wall Street investors are betting on D.C. They keep putting their money on the table—-$800 million back in March. Fenty and Gray will have $31 million more to spend on building schools and such if this month’s bond sale succeeds….Gandhi—-playing “Dr. No”—-plans to salt away the money and use any savings from this particular bond deal to pay down bonds with higher interest rates. The candy store of the Marion Barry days has closed.’
The District’s campaign to get largest regional health insurer CareFirst to pony up for community health programs continues apace, Julekha Dash reports in Biz Journal. The D.C. insurance commissioner will hold a Sept. 10 hearing to determine whether the insurer has ‘excessive’ reserves. ‘If the insurance commissioner determines that the reserves are too large, it will ask the nonprofit to contribute the excess funds to community health initiatives.’ Dash also notes that ‘Maryland lawmakers unanimously passed legislation late in the General Assembly session that could prevent CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield premiums paid by its members in Maryland, including those portions covered by CareFirst’s D.C. affiliate, to cover the cost of health care in Washington.’
It’s very nearly back-to-school time here, and WaPo chips in a pair of vaccination stories. The first story, by Yamiche Alcindor, is about the city health department’s free vaccination program for kids, which continues through the weekend: ‘Although some parents complained of the heat and the sometimes hours-long wait to see a nurse, most said they were grateful for the free clinic.’ Second is a piece, also by Alcindor, on the human papillomavirus vaccine now quasi-mandated for District schoolkids. ‘For the first time since the Food and Drug Administration approved the controversial vaccine in June 2006, schools in the District and Virginia are asking that girls entering sixth grade receive the vaccine designed to protect them against HPV, which causes genital warts and can cause cervical cancer….Parents in both jurisdictions can choose to opt out of having their daughters vaccinated. In the District, parents must fill out a form affirming their decision; in Virginia, parents can simply choose not to have their daughters vaccinated.’ NC8, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV also covers HPV.
NOTE TO WAPO—-This is your anti-Gardasil expert? ‘Tilli Williams, a licensed naturopathic doctor in the District, counsels her patients against receiving the vaccine. She believes schools should wait to see the effects of the drug after 10 or 15 years before requiring it. “I’m just totally against mandating this,” said Williams who often treats women with HPV by encouraging them to exercise, eat healthfully and take vitamins.’ Sheesh.
Kavitha Cardoza reports for WAMU-FM on the new DCPS teacher evaluation framework. ‘The Teaching and Learning Framework, will be the foundation for a new teacher evaluation system. It offers specific classroom expectations including, the percentage of children on task and with what frequency the teacher is redirects bad behavior.’ Also WTOP.
Biz Journal’s Bryant Ruiz Switzky reports that Independence Federal Savings Bank has been nailed by federal regulators for ‘unsafe or unsound banking practices and violations of law and regulation.’ The historically black bank (now owned by white guy Morton Bender) just came out from a similar order in April 2008. ‘In the order…regulators chided Independence’s management, business plan, portfolio diversification and underwriting, among other things. The order accused the bank of operating “without an adequate level of experienced and qualified managers and failing to establish and implement an appropriate management structure and succession plan.”‘
WaPo’s James Hohmann takes Metro to task for its ‘mysteriously incomplete tweets. What’s happening is that WMATA is sending their normal e-alerts to Twitter without editing them. ‘Because a majority of the alerts are longer than the 140-character limit, Twitter has been truncating them automatically. As a result, Metro’s updates sometimes leave the agency’s 1,507 followers scratching their heads. What did Metro mean, for instance, when it posted: “No Line: There is no Blue line train service between Rosslyn & King Street. Shuttle bus service is established. Customers are encouraged to”?’ They’re working on it.
YouTube video shows huge fight last Saturday between groups of girls, ‘many of them armed with rocks, sticks, belts and a knife,’ at Parkside apartment complex; the video, WTTG-TV’s Paul Wagner reports, has led to two arrests, with more to come. (The video has since been removed.)
Also from WTTG-TV: Police tow Southeast man’s van as part of shooting investigation; he can’t get it back!
GGW looks at the Tourmobile monopoly on Mall transpo and what it’s a very bad thing. ‘Tourmobile tickets cost $27 for adults and $13 for children. For some, it’s worth it: riders get a running commentary on the importance and history of the memorials. But many people don’t need the explanations. They just want to get to and from some great memorials, and don’t want to have to drive. Plus, many of the memorials have scarce parking.’
GLAA’s Rick Rosendall on the Clark Ray candidacy: ‘”Three terms are enough” (which [Peter Rosenstein] has said of Mendelson) makes no sense (outside the realm of hackery) if the incumbent is a strong ally and is doing a good job. I believe in being good to politicians who are good to my community, and the case has not been made as to why that should not hold in this case.’
New playground opens at Marvin Gaye Park in Northeast, near Division Avenue and Foote Street; WaPo’s Martin Ricard covers, calling this ‘the first time in almost 30 years the park has seen a major improvement.’ The playground is ‘the first phase of an $8 million revitalization effort for the entire park.’ Also WAMU-FM.
BEEPOCALYPSE—-Another yellow jacket attack in Rock Creek Park! This time nine children and one adult were treated for stings not far from the location of the original attacks, at the Rock Creek Nature Center. Says WaPo: ‘Bill Line, a spokesman for the Park Service, said rangers told him that children veered from the trails, disturbing the nests.’ That’ll learn ’em!
Arrest made in shooting on 1300 block of Congress Place SE last night. Two wounded, neither fatally.
NC8 also does a story on how Brentwood DMV closing has meant long lines at other locations.
Golden Triangle BID employees are getting iPhones, Biz Journal reports, to help answer questions. ‘The BID’s hospitality “ambassador” team members, which plant themselves at Metro stations and other populated areas, previously had to dispatch an unknown answer to a question—-like where the nearest Italian restaurant is—-via radio.’
Developer plans to turn 9th and U property into LEED-certified art gallery, Biz Journal reports.
JDland has the list of approved Nationals Park boat service operators. ‘It looks like that for the rest of this year it will probably only be charter service docking at Teague, with scheduled water taxi service for games not starting up until next spring. But maybe some outfit will surprise.’
WAMU-FM covers possible Metro extension to Woodbridge.
New USN&WR college rankings are out, Examiner notes. D.C. schools: 23. Georgetown; 53. GWU; 84. American; 96. Howard.
RFK still possible site for World Cup games.
METRO WORK—-No Red Line service at Fort Totten this weekend.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.