IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-D.C. Detox Clinic Manager Arrested for Double-Billing“
IN LL WEEKLY—-Marion Barry’s Nonprofits: Behind the groups created and funded by the Ward 8 councilmember
Morning all. Looking for an example of the consequences of taxation without representation? Check out this story by the AP’s Brian Westley and Brett Zongker. Their analysis of four years of congressional spending ‘found the mall has been at a disadvantage in competing for extra funds doled out by lawmakers, compared with sites that are represented by powerful members of Congress.’ For instance: ‘Last year, when dozens of ducks and ducklings died of avian botulism because the water in a mall pool near the Capitol was so fetid, and as urgent repairs were needed to stop the Jefferson Memorial’s sea wall from sinking into the mud, the Senate killed a $3.5 million earmark for the mall. Instead, funding went to projects back home.’ Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) explained things thusly: ‘[T]he American people are smart enough to know that it will do very little or absolutely nothing to provide economic stimulus.’ Yeah, because D.C. residents clearly don’t deserve to be employed as much as those in Terrell, Texas.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Hiring freeze for police; DCPS not immune to budget cuts; cops recants on the stand at Banita Jacks trial; Rock Creek Park sex assault; Upper Northwesterners go nuts over sidewalks.
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has frozen police hiring, Scott McCabe reports in Examiner. ‘A citywide hiring freeze was ordered last month, but there were questions whether public safety jobs would be affected. The Metropolitan Police Department was informed last week that all promotions and backfills have been placed on hold until further notice. “This is a result of the District facing significant spending pressures in Fiscal Year 2009, and the anticipation of further decline in projected revenues for the remainder of the Fiscal Year 2009 and 2010,” according to a July 13 memorandum from D.C. Director of Human Resources Diana Haines.’ The department is about 200 sworn officers short of its mandated goal of 4,200.
And Jack Evans is telling WUSA-TV that $50M needs to be cut from the D.C. Public Schools budget: ‘It’s certainly going to slow down hiring of teachers at higher levels; it’s going to slow down possibly renovations of the schools. We cannot afford to do what we’re doing right now in education.’ LL SEZ—-Wonder if Jack’s counting on another Fenty endorsement in 2012.
The WaPo editorial board cares not for WMATA’s PR campaign against its newspaper’s reporters, doubles down on their findings: ‘Metro’s bosses tried to characterize the latest news of safety problems as sensationalist, but the facts…were hardly comforting to an already rattled ridership. The train control system is breaking down across the rail network, suggesting that a technological failure suspected to be at the heart of last month’s fatal crash might be widespread, according to agency documents obtained by The Post. This doesn’t mean that Metrorail is too dangerous to ride, but the failure of officials to fully disclose the extent of the problems and how they have been addressing them is inexcusable.’
Those WaPo reporters, Lena Sun and Lyndsey Layton, report that Metro has engaged an Annapolis-based firm to design and implement a train control system backup. ‘The firm, ARINC, owned by the Carlyle Group, already has a $15 million contract with Metro to provide electronics for the agency’s backup operations control center in suburban Maryland and upgrade equipment at the main downtown control center, Smith said….Metro and ARINC have not worked out terms of an agreement, but the contract can be modified, she said….Metro officials say a real-time backup must be invented. Some experts have estimated that a system could take years to design and cost millions of dollars; others say there are simpler, less expensive solutions.’ Also Examiner, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
AND COMES THIS MORNING news that the faulty track bond thought responsible for the crash had been in place and malfunctioning for 18 months, not five days as originally thought.
Jonetta Rose Barras likens the city’s current budget crunch to the bad old days just prior to the control board imposition. This time, Barras says, politicos are talking the talk, saying drastic cuts will be made. But they will be tested when ‘activists, nonprofit association managers, business leaders and others converge on the John A. Wilson Building, demanding that their individual priorities become the priorities of the entire city….Members can catch a case of cold feet. They can develop severe amnesia, forgetting all about those five years when unelected people, beholden to Congress, ran the government. Or they can take the easy way out: Taxing everything in their sights, which, of course, would make a bad situation worse.’
A NOTE TO JONETTA’S EDITOR—-If you do nothing else to her copy, can you please at least lop off the “Stay tuned” that she appends to the end of every other column she writes? We’re tuned! We’re tuned!
Robert McCartney‘s examination of the Virginia DUI debacle in his WaPo column adds nothing new, but his coda is a perceptive enough tidbit: ‘The move by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to delete $325,000 from the city budget for an independent evaluation of school reforms is a challenge to the strong desire of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) to have the council exercise oversight over Fenty’s signature program. Whoever comes out on top regarding this outside review will have an edge in the jockeying leading up to a possible Gray candidacy for mayor next year.’ Of course, Gray has a near-insurmountable institutional advantage—-the council passes the budget, and he likely has the votes to override any ed-related line-item veto.
BANITA JACKS TRIAL—-Uh, oh…this isn’t good: a cop who once claimed to have seen Brittany Jacks healthy and alive inside her home recants that story on the stand. As Keith Alexander reports in WaPo, Sgt. James Lafranchise visited the Jacks home in April 2007, but didn’t write a report until the day the bodies were discovered, seven months later. ‘[D]uring questioning from prosecutors and Jacks’s defense attorneys Wednesday, Lafranchise said he had never seen Brittany or asked about her during the visit. Jacks’s attorney…asked him whether he lied in the report. Lafranchise said it was “inaccurate” and blamed the inconsistency on stress. “I was messed up,” testified Lafranchise, who is assigned to the 7th District. He later said that writing in his report that he saw Brittany was “wishful thinking.”‘ ALSO TAKING THE STAND—-Kathy Lopes, the social worker at Brittany’s school. ‘From the witness stand, Lopes glanced several times at Jacks, who was sitting next to her attorneys. Jacks, 35, rolled her eyes away.’ WTOP’s Mark Segraves reports that Jacks continued to receive full District benefits for her family long after they were dead. Also WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
At D.C. Wire, Nikita Stewart describes ‘Another First For Same-Sex Couples in the District’: Lesbians no longer have in engage in a complicated adoption proceeding to be listed on the birth certificates of children born to their partners. ‘The Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination Parentage Act of 2009 puts the city out front when it comes to children born of same-sex parents, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA), and American University law professor Nancy Polikoff….”A mother should not have to adopt her own child,” said Polikoff, who helped draft the legislation that was shepherded by Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large).’
WAMU-FM covers plans to integrate the intercity bus terminal into Union Station; Eleanor Holmes Norton held a congressional hearing on the subject yesterday. ‘Congress mandated that Union Station be a multi-purpose transportation facility for the District. And Norton says having inter-city buses like Greyhound at Union Station is overdue and necessary to satisfy that mandate. During a hearing on the matter, Norton was tough in questioning the head of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation. She asked him to better plan for the future. No word on how much exactly the plan will cost.’
WaPo’s Yamiche Alcindor covers the Hawthorne ‘sidewalk war’ in District Weekly: ‘Red signs opposing the sidewalks plan and blue signs supporting it line Chestnut and Greenvale streets NW….At issue are Fenty’s District Sidewalk Stimulus Program, various city repaving projects and D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh‘s proposed bill requiring that sidewalks accompany any repairs made on the majority of the city’s streets….Members of Concerned Citizens of Hawthorne, an opposition group, say the sidewalks would change the character of the neighborhood by making it look more urban.’ GOD FORBID!
Eastern Market-area merchants complain about 7th Street SE closing, also in District Weekly; Voice of the Hill also covers the debate, quoting Tommy Wells saying its unlikely Fenty will move to reopen the street: ‘There is no indication that the mayor is going to make [7th Street decision making] a community process. This is a ‘just do it’ government, and I’m still a process guy.’ (Also see his live chat at GGW.)
Examiner covers performance parking pilot programs. ‘Near the ballpark, people can pay $1 to $2 for one hour of parking, but after that the price jumps to $8 an hour. After three hours, the price returns to $2. John Lisle, spokesman for the District Department of Transportation, said the first hour of parking stays cheap to encourage people to use curbside parking for short trips.’ Also WTTG-TV.
Sex assault in Rock Creek Park yesterday morning; WTOP reports that it happened around 7 a.m. ‘on a running path near the Milkhouse Ford area, south of Bingham Drive and north of Joyce Road. U.S. Park Police say a Hispanic man grabbed the woman, pulled her into the woods and sexually assaulted her. The suspect is described as in his 30s, between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10, with a stocky build and wavy, black, shoulder-length hair. He was unshaven, smelled of alcohol and was seen talking to himself before the attack. Police say he was wearing a cotton T-shirt and jeans.’ Also NC8, WTTG-TV.
One dead, one injured, WUSA-TV reports, in early morning shooting on 1200 block of Eaton Road SE.
Group of local students could be released from Chinese flu quarantine by tomorrow.
Bill Turque at D.C. Wire: Charter schools will get the full balance of funds owed by next week, city promises.
A new library in Rosedale? ‘The Northeast Capitol Hill advisory neighborhood commission and other community groups are pushing two city agencies to work together to include a library in the soon-to-be-built Rosedale Community Center,’ VotH reports. ‘But current plans for the new community center — which will replace the Rosedale Recreation Center when it’s demolished at the end of the year — don’t include the 3,000-square-foot library neighborhood leaders want.’
That whole human-remains-at-Forest Haven thing yesterday? No such remains were found.
BLOCKBUSTER FOX 5 INVESTIGATION—-‘Parking Bullies: Clubbers Pay Big Bucks for Free Spots’…you know, the panhandlers who offer to watch your car for a ten-spot? WTTG-TV blows the lid off this thing.
Biz Journal: D.C. tourism expected to drop 2 percent this year, then remain flat for three years out, according to projections released by a consultant hired by Destination D.C. ‘The projections come despite a significant bump in January from the 2 million individuals who attended the inauguration…City officials are attributing the overall loss of visitors this year to the struggling economy….The research firm said there will be less citywide conventions than previous years in 2010, when 14 are slated to occur. The group also said movement on construction of the Marriott Marquis convention center hotel could attract additional bookings in the future.’
ALSO—-From Biz Journal: ‘United Van Lines says it moved more people into D.C. than out of the city from January to June, ranking D.C. its most popular migration destination. The moving company says 63.6 percent of its D.C. moves were inbound and 36.4 percent were outbound.’
Informer reveals the holdup in opening the would-be Barack Hussein Obama Park: ‘Due to safety concerns District officials have opted to re-surface areas of the park grounds before it opens to the public….[C]onstruction workers are refinishing portions of the park’s surface after several District agencies rejected the new “green technology” concrete….The D.C. Housing Authority and the Department of Parks and Recreation made the decision to remove portions of the faulty foundation and re-pour cement in certain areas.’
Metro Weekly has more on the Desi Deschaine Foundation for Excellence in Government. ‘While [founder Craig Max] says the foundation is still very much in the initial stages—-the articles of incorporation were filed July 17—-the general goal is an organization that helps local government make better decisions for District residents and that recognizes outstanding governance.’
ALSO IN MW—-The potential rebirth of the D.C. Coalition of Black GLBT Men and Women.
The GLAA tries to help save the D.C. Center’s earmark.
Danaher sales, profits down nearly 20 percent.
Arlington lawyer points out in WaPo letter a ‘major reason neglected children often remain in foster care rather than getting adopted: The District frequently reduces the annual subsidy that foster parents receive if they decide to adopt their foster children….That’s right, the District provides an incentive for these foster-care parents—-often the most likely candidates for adoption—-not to adopt.’
Chlorine leak reported yesterday at GWU.
WTOP explains how to get rid of a dangerous tree in public space.
Pictures from 12 hours in the life of Harry Thomas Jr.
City will make changes at Chain Bridge to improve traffic flow during construction.
Light rail, not rapid bus lanes, urges WaPo reader.
Richard Layman ruminates on the government-development complex. ‘As I have said from time to time in dealing with planning, zoning and development matters in the city, a lot of the time it makes me feel incredibly “dirty” as a citizen and as a believer in good government and participatory democracy.’
Why Vincent Gray loves summer, via Washingtonian: ‘I used to be a baseball player, and I still play, so I look forward to the summer for that and softball. I play in a men’s softball league that’s very competitive. I enjoy getting out for a couple of hours and just having fun playing ball.’
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.