City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘Fire Department Fails To Pay Whistleblower‘
Morning all. Former WaPo city hall beatster David Nakamura, now on fellowship in Japan, returned to the Metro section on Sunday with a fun op-ed piece on Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s driving habits. Is it much surprising that the guy doesn’t pay a whole heck of a lot of attention to the road with his Blackberries and his jumpy radio habits? Or that he’s apparently much less of a raconteur than Anthony Williams? Probably not. But a revelation that Mayor Triathlon ate Chicken McNuggets? And while in the presence of a reporter? Simply shocking, even if it was way back in 2006.
AFTER THE JUMP—-More Cora Masters Barry fallout; schools’ test scores jump around; A. Scott Bolden has another sketchy client; forget racial profiling—-try class profiling; rape alleged at United Medical Center; DCPS sells ‘smiling, happy kids.’
Hamil Harris follows up for WaPo on the future of Cora Masters Barry and her Recreation Wish List Committee at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. Parents say Barry et al., evicted last week from the center they created, do great work, but the opinion that matters is that of Attorney General Peter Nickles, who says: ‘Legally, you can’t give them a break. This is not the fault of the city. They should have known better. They were trying to do business with the city when they knew their status as a registered D.C. corporation had been revoked by the government.’ And now comes Harry Thomas Jr. promising a D.C. Council oversight hearing, saying Barry ‘is not being afforded due process that other groups have been afforded….This is strange precedence.’ Also Sam Ford at WJLA-TV/NC8.
FROM THEMAIL—-‘Here are my questions,’ Gary Imhoff writes. ‘Does anyone, anyone at all, believe that the problem with the corporate registration was really discovered in a random check of nonprofits? Does anyone believe that the problem, if it is one of a lapsed corporate registration, could not have been worked out by contacting the organization and having it update its papers? What is the purpose of the eviction? Does Nickles want another contractor to run the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center that badly? If not, why is Nickles deliberately picking a fight with Barry or Masters-Barry? How does he think Fenty benefits? Does he think, if Masters-Barry is evicted, that Fenty will carry a single precinct in Ward 8 in the next election? If Nickles started this without first clearing it with Mayor Fenty, why did he think he could cause a problem that could become this big without Fenty’s clearance?’
School-by-school DCPS test scores are out, and the results are rather puzzling: Year-to-year data is quite volatile, with 40 elementaries logging double-digit math gains, but 19 posting double-digit losses. In reading, 26 school had a 10-point gain, and 19 had a ten-point loss, according to a WaPo analysis of the numbers. Secondary schools saw similar swings. Says SSE Kerri Briggs: ‘Anytime we have a group of kids who aren’t on grade level, people need to take it seriously….The principals who got more children proficient—-great, they absolutely should celebrate. The principals who stayed the same or fell behind—-they’ve got more work to do.’ Read the raw figures.
Another OSSE story today, from Bill Turque in WaPo: The $12M Statewide Longitudinal Education Data Warehouse is ‘several months behind schedule, and officials aren’t prepared to say when it will be back on track.’ The SLED would ‘compile critical information about District schools—-including students’ academic growth, teacher quality and graduation rates—-in one database available to policymakers and parents.’ But ‘officials said the main contractor on the project, Williams, Adley & Co., has missed a series of deadlines since the contract was awarded early last year’ and one source says that ‘one option under consideration is to declare the firm in breach of contract and search for another contractor.’
Jonetta Rose Barras looks at the long, lousy history of Hawk One Security and its District dealings, kicking off with a blockbuster anecdote about a security guard who had to call for backup—-to get out of a chair that had collapsed beneath her. And look, pray tell, who has been tasked with representing this outfit, accused of providing the District with substandard levels of service for their millions in contracting dollars: Why, it’s A. Scott Bolden! ‘The government doesn’t have clean hands in all of this,’ he tells Barras. ‘You can change contractors, but until the District does a better job, [it’s] going to have some of the same issues and the same problems.’
The WaPo editorial board had a busy weekend in the realm of local affairs, with a Saturday piece decrying a lawsuit that aims to legalize carried handguns in the District (‘[I]t…makes no sense from a safety perspective to sanction the carrying of such weapons on city streets, where everyday clashes over a fender bender can suddenly turn deadly if weapons are at hand’), a Sunday piece on the benefits of bicycling in D.C. and beyond (‘All of these tangible improvements for the District’s bikers reflect years of effort, thoughtful planning and dedicated advocates, including former mayor Anthony A. Williams, incumbent Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. Council members’), and a piece today calling for an overhaul of the attorney general’s office in the wake of the Pershing Park case claims (‘The District loses credibility, prestige and money every time a fiasco of this sort occurs’).
WELL, THEN—-‘Some D.C. Council members with grudges against Mr. Nickles have seized on these recent developments to call for his ouster. This is preposterous. Mr. Nickles, who was confirmed as attorney general less than one year ago, inherited the problems with the Pershing Park cases and is taking action to remedy long-running problems.’
In other Nickles news, the AG called the police department’s general counsel, Terry Ryan, an ‘exemplary lawyer’ in correspondence with union officials. This, Examiner’s Bill Myers reports, weeks before federal judge Emmet Sullivan lambasted Nickles for egregious document practices in the Pershing Park case—-practices that took place, at least in part, in Ryan’s shop. ‘Nickles said he “absolutely stood by” his praise for Ryan.’
Colby King recounts a case of a D.C. cop engaging in profiling of a black man in a recent traffic stop. But it’s not what you think: ‘The short of the story is that the arresting officer was black. A white cop who later arrived on the scene had a look on his face which suggested the thought, “I can’t believe you’re arresting this guy.” The black cop, through his actions, was telling me what he thought of my achievements. And just because I had the nice car, the $1,500 suit, and spoke well—-none of that meant anything to him. He had the power and he was going to “show me!”‘
Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell looks at the differences between the ballpark financing package and the convention center hotel’s financing. ‘Greg O’Dell knows the baseball deal well, and as CEO of the Washington Convention Center Authority, he appears to have taken some lessons from it as he negotiates the final pieces of the convention center hotel.’ For one, the city isn’t on the hook for cost overruns. But the deadline is just as tight, since O’Dell ‘has signed conventions that are counting on the hotel for mid-2013. He expects construction to last 42 months which, if shovels go in the ground in October, puts him right up against the deadline.’
WaPo’s Jenna Johnson and Martin Ricard do a little town-gown story to mark college move-in season. ‘Living off campus,’ they write, ‘frees students from the adult supervision of the dorms, but they quickly learn that their new neighbors have rules, too—-and enforcement tactics that have been honed on decades of young neighbors.’ For one, there is a new ‘zero-tolerance’ policy in Catholic U.’s environs: ‘At a community meeting last month, 5th Police District Cmdr. Lamar Greene said officers will measure noise levels when called to student homes and make arrests for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct if necessary. Brookland residents have identified houses rented by Catholic University students, checked landlord licenses and reported those not in compliance.’
Seven kids wounded, none fatally, in Saturday evening shooting at a Deanwood block party. Two were as young as 14. Why? Reports WaPo: ‘A teenage witness said the incident apparently stemmed from rivalries between neighborhoods. “You got people around here that don’t like each other,” one 17-year-old who said she had been at the community event told a reporter….People from the neighborhoods “were just beefing,” the teen said. Then shots were fired. Police said each victim was hit once. A witness said at least one person’s head was grazed. Some people living nearby recalled hearing as many as 15 shots, in rapid succession.’ Also WTTG-TV. (WTOP/AP, incidentally, erroneously put the shooting in Southeast rather than Northeast.)
Ryan Collins, 26, was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds late Saturday behind the 5300 block of First Street NW.
Musician, teacher, Howard U. grad Dianne Grainger, 24, died Aug. 5 after falling from car in a freak accident, WaPo reports. Grainger, who taught school in Baltimore, ‘was “reportedly seated on top of the trunk area” of a car in the 7700 block of Eastern Avenue NW about 12:30 a.m. Aug 4. As the driver left the private lot, the woman fell and struck her head on the pavement, police said.’
Chinese GWU grad student, 28, tells NC8 that he was attacked by a gang of men on Friday evening at 24th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Woman, 42, alleges to NC8 she was raped by a maintenance man while a patient at United Medical Center. ‘”You should be able to go to sleep and not keep one eye open. Places like this should not exist,” said the woman. “I noticed him standing in the hallway—-he was watching them give me my medicine. The medicine made me fall asleep.” She went to sleep but says, “When I woke up he was on top of me.” The woman says the maintenance worker raped her and then ran out because she says a patient walked into the room.’
NC8/WJLA-TV examines a series of suspicious fires in Capitol Hill dumpsters/trash cans.
Two Metrobus drivers axed for previously reported incidents; one, according to WaPo, was accused kidnapper Michael E. Robinson, who ‘refused to open the doors until [a rider] handed over her camera. When the passenger refused, Gates said, Robinson pulled over and called Metro Transit Police to report that he was holding a disorderly passenger. Robinson, who has worked for Metro since 2007, said Friday that he did nothing wrong. He said the passenger threatened to have her son kill him. He complained that it took an hour for police to arrive.’ Also NC8, WTTG-TV.
ALSO—-WMATA board member Chris Zimmerman stands by John Catoe on Friday’s Kojo.
DCPS featured in Wall Street Journal piece on public school districts turning to marketing campaigns to pump up enrollment: ‘The Washington, D.C., district spent $100,000 on a campaign that included radio spots and bus ads. The district’s enrollment has plunged from nearly 150,000 in 1970 to less than 50,000 last year. To lure students, the ads include quotes from students who say they are glad they stayed in public school. “We wanted to show the city that there are smiling, happy kids in D.C. public schools,” said Jennifer Calloway, a district spokeswoman.’
ALSO—-Michelle Rhee appeared Friday at a education conference in Nashville, Tenn., hosted by Mayor Karl Dean. ‘Rhee said it’s not enough to have a mayor in charge of schools; a city must have a mayor willing to stake his political reputation on change,’ The Tennessean reports. ‘”He has not blinked once,” Rhee said of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. “And we’ve done some incredibly difficult things.”‘
Biz Journal: ‘Newly delivered office space in the District has compounded already weak tenant demand, pushing vacancy rates into the double-digits,’ according to report. ‘Overall, nine projects totaling 2.7 million square feet have been deferred in the District since the credit turmoil began in the second-quarter 2008, Cushman & Wakefield says. It says 1000 Connecticut Avenue, NW is now the only viable project likely to start construction in the District this year.’
Cheryl Cort and Jenny Reed look at the dawn of inclusionary zoning, at long last, at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute blog.
AP covers local schools’ H1N1 plans: ‘D.C. health officials said they have not finalized vaccinations plans, but they said school-age children are among the priority groups to receive them.’
More from Examiner on possible MSG-owned venue.
WAMU-FM covers this weekend’s 10,000 Book Bag Giveaway at D.C. General. Among the organizers: Kwame Brown.
‘Distressed asset’ specialist sets up shop in D.C.
New ‘Hawk’ crossing signal on Georgia Avenue confuses drivers, pedestrians.
Buyers line up for Watergate Hotel.
GGW mulls expanding into education. The readership seems skeptical.
Harry Thomas Jr. will be ‘on the corner’ to take constituent questions this week around his ward.
Marion Barry photographed Saturday with Chuck Brown at Baltimore’s Stone Soul Picnic.
Dan Zak examines the Real World phenomenon for Sunday WaPo: ‘It’s been a summer of hostility, curiosity and zealous indifference. What else do you expect from Washington when a mysterious neighbor moves in, when a strange monument goes up, when a moldy, superficial TV concept imposes itself where Purpose and Importance are paramount, where people specialize in gate-crashing, espionage and meddling?…Even though “Real World D.C.” doesn’t air until 2010, it’s already revealing something real about D.C. Whether drawn to the house or stuck living next to it, people see the opportunity to define reality before MTV does.’
WaPo music writer J. Freedom du Lac profiles Patrick Hand, a D.C. lawyer (and erstwhile WCP contributor), who, when not handling the estate of Banita Jacks‘ oldest daughter, is organizing a national tour of 60s rockers Love. It isn’t going too well. WTOP’s Mark Segraves, meanwhile, has entirely too much fun backstage at Hippiefest.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.