City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Photos: Thursday, Before The Press Conference; “City Agency Fields Calls on Doinking Washington City Paper Cover; “Delonta Brighthaupt Responds To Barry Stalking Charge Being Dismissed“; “Marion Barry Press Conference: God Intervenes“; “Marion Barry: The Club Mix“
Morning all. At 2:30 p.m. today, members of the D.C. Council will meet in the John A. Wilson Building to discuss the aftermath of Marion Barry‘s July 4 arrest and revelations that he paid thousands to his ex-girlfriend and accuser Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. Among the topics of discussion, according to WaPo: An investigation, to be conducted by an ‘independent law firm’ into the contract that ‘comes amid mounting pressure for city leaders to respond to Barry’s use of tax dollars.’ Furthermore, according to the story by Tim Craig, Nikita Stewart, and Hamil Harris, members ‘will probably discuss the possibility of censure or stripping Barry of seniority or of his committee chairmanship.’ Also likely to be discussed: new ethics rules for councilmembers. See WAMU-FM, NC8, WTTG-TV.
AFTER THE JUMP—-New Beginnings staffers cashiered; Michelle Rhee has a heart; no weekday Circulator for the Mall; oh, and about that cover…
Michael Neibauer in Examiner on yesterday’s Barry press conference, where he said ‘his weekend arrest for stalking by a U.S. Park Police officer was “inappropriate,” but he refused to say whether he planned to bring a lawsuit against the law enforcement agency….”The Park Police should never have arrested me.”…The officer who made the stop, Barry said, “has caused great pain for my family, for this community and for this nation.” It has caused “consternation,” the former mayor said, and “led to embarrassment.”‘ Also WTOP, NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV.
ABOUT FRIGGIN’ TIME—-WaPo: ‘Council members are increasingly concerned that Barry’s behavior reflects poorly on all of them. A council source said Gray’s office barred Barry from holding his news conferences about his arrest inside or on the steps of the Wilson Building, forcing him to use the public sidewalk.’
WARD 8 REACTS to WUSA-TV’s Bruce Leshan.
AND, YES…this was this week’s WCP cover:
Howard Kurtz covered the reaction; here’s what LL’s boss said to him: ‘”Some people are going to find that vulgar—-that’s inevitable,” Editor Erik Wemple said, taking a break from fielding at least 30 calls from irate readers. “If they find it vulgar, they can complain. It’s worth putting it out there, and it’s the truth. Sometimes the truth is vulgar.”‘ NC8 and WTTG-TV as well. Among the irate is WTOP’s Mark Segraves; watch LL respond to him yesterday on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt.
SABOTAGE?—-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty fires five correctional officers at the New Beginnings Youth Center, saying that they ‘should have, could have, or just plain did not do everything they could have and should have done to prevent’ a series of escapes from the new, $46M Laurel, Md., facility. And, according to Paul Duggan in WaPo, The facility’s superintendent, Dexter Dunbar, ‘will be “severely demoted” within the agency.’ DYRS Director Vincent Schiraldi fired back at corrections officer union chief Tasha Williams: ‘We’re trying to change a culture that was a prison culture to one that’s more rehabilitative….Some folks don’t agree with that approach. I think Tasha is amongst them, frankly.’ Also WAMU-FM, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV, and Examiner, which notes that ‘Fenty said the building has been secured with barbed wire and “some bars on some windows.”‘
DCPS will revisit firings of 60 novice teachers, Bill Turque reports for D.C. Wire. ‘Under Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, the District has maintained that probationary teachers are not entitled to the formal grievance process tenured instructors can pursue if they are dismissed. But Rhee spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway says school officials will now conduct an “expedited review.”…Calloway said consideration will be given only to employees who request a review in writing and submit a letter explaining why DCPS should reconsider their termination. All letters must be received by July 15, and the ultimate decision is final.’
Get used to Red Line delays, says WaPo: ‘The transit agency is planning to begin a major overhaul of the line in early 2010 that will last years. The $177 million project, intended primarily to rehabilitate the oldest and busiest part of the aging rail system….Single tracking, when trains share one track, would begin as early as 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. During those hours, Red Line trains normally run about 15 minutes apart.’ Among the projects: ‘New escalators at the south entrance of Dupont Circle….Upgrades to the train power system and automatic train controls….Modernization of air conditioning and ventilation equipment….Retrofitting tunnel ventilation and fire equipment….New escalators, a staircase and a canopy at Foggy Bottom station on the Orange Line.’ Also Biz Journal.
ALSO—-‘Separately, board members expressed frustration that Metro staff was not able to clearly explain the additional protection a sister system has to address “flickering” track circuits….Metro does not have the same kind of tool, but it does have “diagnostic tools,” said Metro rail chief Dave Kubicek. Asked whether Metro could have prevented the crash if it had something similar to BART’s system, Metro officials said they did not know. “I want to commend you,” Jim Graham told Kubicek. “You should be a lawyer.”‘ See WTTG-TV on this issue.
WaPo, Examiner, WTOP, NC8, WTTG-TV cover new one-strike cell phone policy for drivers. AND—-Reading at the wheel? ‘A Metrobus driver was photographed apparently reading a book while driving a bus on a busy street in downtown Washington, the latest incident of a rider catching a transit employee multitasking on the job,’ Kytja Weir reports. And another texting video surfaces.
Brentwood DMV is closing Aug. 14, WaPo reports: ‘Northeast will now be the only quadrant of the city without a service center. DMV officials made the decision in January because the building, which used to house a soul food restaurant, has always been inadequate, spokeswoman Janis Hazel said….Officials say the need for the closure is reinforced by the fact that, starting Monday, the DMV will no longer process in-person vehicle registration renewals at any of its service centers. They expect that move to reduce DMV traffic throughout the city.’
Lou Chibbaro Jr. covers start of gay marriage recognition in the Blade: ‘Gay activists hailed the development as a historic landmark for same-sex couples throughout the country and noted that it opens the way for the Council to pass a separate law later this year allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in the District. “I think there’s tremendous significance and opportunity in Americans seeing legally married gay couples treated with respect in our nation’s capital,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom To Marry, a national same-sex marriage advocacy group.’
ALSO—-More on challenge to Harry Jackson‘s voter registration: ‘[A BOEE letter] was sent to an apartment at the Whitman Condominium at 910 M St., N.W., that Jackson declared as his residence when he registered to vote in D.C. on April 22, 2009. Sources familiar with the Whitman say Jackson informed the building’s management that he moved out of the building two weeks ago. Jackson could not be reached for comment to determine whether he has another D.C. address and still considers himself a D.C. resident.’
Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell covers five land transfers making their way through the D.C. Council before recess: ‘The projects are led by developer Chris Donatelli‘s planned 370-unit residential and retail complex on Minnesota Avenue Northeast, which would be the first major Metro-accessible housing development east of the Anacostia River….The city also quickly reached terms with E Street Development LLC to build two office buildings and a new fire station in Southwest, a project totaling $193 million….Three other deals would boost the New Communities initiative, in which D.C. plans to replace four aging public housing complexes with mixed-income communities.’
ALSO IN BIZ JOURNAL—-Vandana Sinha covers new D.C. Energy Office chief Keith Anderson, who ‘takes over during what may be its most climactic moment in its history’; Missy Frederick covers new Destination D.C. head Elliott Ferguson, hailed as a ‘consummate professional’; more on local banks’ lousy loan portfolios.
Tourmobile continues its stranglehold on Mall transportation, Examiner reports. The National Capital Planning Commission wants weekday $1 Circulator service on the mall, but the NPS said no, ‘citing a potential contract violation with its concessionaire, Tourmobile Sightseeing, which offers guided bus tour of the area for $16 to $30.’ NCPC member ‘expressed frustration with the park service’s position. “It seems strange that the park service would prohibit public, inexpensive transportation for visitors,” added Harriet Tregoning, the District’s director of planning.’
Give ’em credit for persistence: The WaPo editorial board simply will not give up on vouchers, pleading with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to reverse his decision not to accept new voucher recipients this fall. ‘We hope that Mr. Duncan agrees to help these needy families who want only a quality education for their children. If he doesn’t, then we hope that…council members will use District resources to achieve their worthy goal.’
World mag on D.C. abortion rider. ‘For the first time in over 10 years, local funds may be used for abortions in the District of Columbia….”We have a constitutional requirement to oversee the District of Columbia,” responded [Rep. Todd Tiahrt]. “It’s not meddling; it’s doing our job.”‘
SO LONG 22ND STREET CREW—-The ‘longest trial in D.C. Superior Court history’ concluded this week, Keith Alexander reports in WaPo, with six members of a vicious street gang found guilty of murders, assaults, and witness intimidation—-40 counts in all. ‘The biggest challenge was identifying, coordinating and retaining witnesses, prosecutors say. Several witnesses received death threats and had to be relocated throughout the course of the trial….With six defendants, eight defense attorneys and two prosecutors, D.C. Superior Court marshals were concerned about so many participants inside a smaller courtroom. The case was then moved across the street to a larger courtroom in U.S. District Court.’ Four other gang members still have to stand trial.
Northwest resident Karon Clifton Wilson, 21, arrested for the September killing in Prince George’s County of 9-month-old Anthony M. Savoy III. The baby was killed when a gunman sprayed the car containing him and his father with fire from an Uzi machine gun, WaPo’s Rick Rojas reports. P.G. cops say ‘that the shooting probably was in retaliation for a crime committed in the District.’
Kevin Darnell Allen, 16, found yesterday afternoon dead of multiple gunshot wounds on unit block of N Street SW, NC8 reports.
James von Brunn still not able to appear in court, and probably won’t be soon.
WaPo reader on Barry: ‘Mr. Barry continues to bring discredit to his office: He is already on probation for failing to pay federal income taxes. He almost flaunts his failure to pay on time or at all. I guess he doesn’t worry about those who pay his salary. Mr. Barry’s constituents may think this is fine, but the D.C. Council should not sit idly by while he brings still more embarrassment to the city.’
Harry Jaffe mourns the passing of Nathans—-‘Georgetown’s best saloon,’ he claims. ‘I courted the lovely Louise at Nathans. She craved their juicy burgers; I preferred the Jim Beam and beer. On Georgetown shopping trips after we got hitched, Nathans was a regular stop. Says Janet Donovan, a lifelong Georgetown resident: “It was like ‘Cheers.’ ‘Everyone knew your name.’ On Thanksgiving Day, it was the only place open.”‘ WTTG-TV also covers.
Well-meaning liberal types mount faux D.C. mayoral campaigns: ‘This year there are eight candidates running for Mayor of DC—-all superheroes. Our BootCampers have designed and built the websites below (in one night!), created field plans, built up email lists and social network followings, and received endorsements and blog posts across the country. By voting today you will be helping to support their tireless work and train the next generation of technologically-enabled organizers.’ From one ‘campaign’ Web site: ‘Rushing to the scene, the Green Lantern discovered an elegant woman being accosted by a shadowy figure. Leaping into action, he incapacitated the attacker, DC Council Member Marion Barry, as the mystery woman melted into the gloom.’
RELATED—-GGW: ‘Street cleaning tickets have a real purpose’
WaTimes on new city tennis program.
‘Bumfest’ at 14th and Newton Streets NW.
Tai Shan turns 4, enjoys ‘frozen treat made of water, bamboo, shredded beets and beet juice.’
Bring the bag bill to Baltimore?
New board members for Trust for the National Mall: ‘C. Boyden Gray, Maxine Isaacs and Steve Ricchetti will help the trust manage the National Mall’s $350 million maintenance budget,’ Biz Journal reports.
Civil War reenactment at Fort Stevens tomorrow.
Today: Mary Cheh‘s “Policy Greenhouse” at GWU.
WaPo reader on the Nats Park experience: ‘I recently drove up from Charlottesville with my two young daughters for our first Nationals game, and I was deeply disappointed by the experience. The night began with a 100-yard walk from the Metro, during which we were pestered by scalpers. We spent the next few hours in a soul-less stadium that seemed more oriented toward taking my last dollar than hosting a baseball game.’ AWW, DID THE BAD SCALPER MEN BOTHER YOU???
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-11 a.m.: Committee on Housing and Workforce Development meeting on PR18-390 (“Consolidated Plan for The District of Columbia, Fiscal Year 2010 Action Plan, Approval Resolution of 2009”), JAWB 412; 12 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary hearing on B18-65 (“Attorney General of the District of Columbia Clarification Act of 2009”), JAWB 500; 1:45 p.m.: Committee on Government Operations and the Environment meeting on B18-3 (“Pension Vesting Amendment Act of 2009”) and PR18-154 (“Contract Appeals Board William Purcell Confirmation Resolution of 2009”), JAWB 120.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-11:30 a.m.: remarks, 14th and Girard Park ribbon-cutting, 14th and Girard Streets NW; 2 p.m.: remarks, All Hands on Deck announcement, 600 block of Morton Street NW.