City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Marion Barry Arrested by Park Police; Charged With Stalking“; “Marion Barry on Arrest: Friend Donna Watts ‘Betrayed’ Me“; “Marion Barry Arrest: The ‘Stalkee’ Tells What Happened“
Morning all. LL was pretty sure he’d be leading off this Monday LLD with a quick rundown of the Palisades Parade, just as he thought he’d spend the wee hours of July 4 knocking a few back with his buddies. Instead, he spent more than three hours on Saturday night waiting outside U.S. Park Police headquarters for details on the arrest of Marion Barry. You can find links to the fruits of LL’s weekend labors above; what has emerged thus far appears to be a love triangle of Maury Povich proportions. In WaPo, Tim Craig and Jenna Johnson note that Barry ‘found himself mired in more political, legal and personal drama yesterday’ due to the arrest, and they quote a source saying that the offense violates Barry’s probation. And Scott McCabe reports in Examiner on the incident’s city hall roots: ‘The woman’s former boyfriend showed up during a reception at the Wilson building last week and allegedly warned Barry to stay away from the woman, a law enforcement source said. The woman, who lived in Southeast Washington, had asked her ex-boyfriend to intervene because Barry allegedly refused to stop pursuing her.’ See also WRC-TV (which broke the story Saturday), WTOP, WaTimes, NC8, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV, CNN.
AFTER THE JUMP—-New Beginnings, same old story; Mark Plotkin takes it to EHN; top DCPS analysts lose their professional home; and, as of midnight tonight, you can be gay and married in the District of Columbia.
More troubled kids escaped yesterday from the barely-month-old New Beginnings Youth Center, leading to this quasi-editorializing WaPo subheadline: ‘City’s ‘Anti-Prison’ Is Living Up to Billing.’ What happened, according to Matt Zapotosky and Michael Alison Chandler: ‘The six apparently broke through the door leading from their housing unit to the center’s school, then shattered and climbed out a window that allowed them to get to an area not enclosed by a fence….The incident occurred about 2 p.m. Police and employees from the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services found the youths and returned them to New Beginnings “without incident,” authorities said. At least some were caught near Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in the area, Williams said.’
BAD NEWS FOR VINNY—-‘The incident is another embarrassment for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s administration, which pitched New Beginnings as the “anti-prison” and a place where inmates could aspire to go to college….[Corrections officer union chief Tasha Williams] said that although Oak Hill sometimes suffered from a “bad rap,” it was more secure than New Beginnings. “It’s an empty box with a bow on it,” she said of the new facility.’
Mark Plotkin hits the WaPo Metro opinions page with perhaps the most strident criticism of Eleanor Holmes Norton‘s performance on the D.C. vote bill that’s yet made its way to print: ‘For the District to get a modicum of democracy — a full vote on the House floor — we have to dramatically change how we do things. The first person who needs to change or get out of the way is Eleanor Holmes Norton. She has to stop calling the vote “her vote.” The vote is not hers. Every citizen of the District deserves that vote. It belongs to all of us….Since the bill passed in the Senate this year, Norton has had more than ample time to move the bill in the House. Instead, I have been told by many involved in the process, she has been consistently inconsistent. One day ready to go, the next day timorous. She is acting not like a “warrior on the Hill” but rather a conventional politician who can’t and won’t act.’
Lena Sun asks ‘Six Key Questions’ about the Metro crash in Saturday’s WaPo. Most important: ‘Is the Wee-Z bond to blame?’ and ‘Is the work crew that made the repair to blame?’ HERE’S ANOTHER—-When was it determined that the bond was malfunctioning and who was notified? In other words, who knew and when did they know it?
SEE ALSO—-John Catoe‘s Sunday WaPo op-ed on ‘Working to Make Metro Safer’: ‘The fluctuation of the circuit was very unusual, and the indicators that there was a problem were fleeting during that time and not readily apparent. Again, the fluctuation was only identified in a trend analysis conducted after the accident. That in itself is a problem that we will address, but I think it is important to point out that the facts we have now don’t indicate that anyone was likely to have noticed this before the accident.’ And former NTSB chairman laments the toothlessness of the Federal Transit Authority to enforce safety standards.
WaPo’s William Wan writes up crash survivor Daryl Smith Jr., 19, who helped numerous other survivors escape: ‘It was not the first near-death experience for Smith. He has been in two major auto accidents since childhood. When he was 8, a car he was in flipped over. And last year, he was hit head-on in a collision. Both incidents left him feeling powerless. Ever since the car crashes, he has thought about how he would react if something happened again. He has run through scenarios and feared he would turn out to be the type of person who folds under pressure, gets panicked and confused. In the train last week, Smith freed himself from the wreckage. He heard the Lord’s Prayer being recited in the car and joined in.’
Where will the National World War I Memorial be located—-D.C. or Kansas City? That’s the subject of an ongoing congressional dispute, Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner. ‘On one side is Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, the sponsor of legislation designating the “overlooked” District of Columbia War Memorial on the National Mall as the national monument to fallen soldiers of the Great War. Poe’s bill calls for complete restoration of the D.C. memorial…and the construction of an additional element on the site to make it nationally applicable. On the other side is the entire Missouri delegation, which has filed bills in the House and Senate designating the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City as the country’s official monument to World War I dead.’
Gary Imhoff, in themail, rightly laments the demise of the public education work done by the Washington Lawyers Committee. Their analysts, Mary Levy and Iris Toyer, have to find new homes for their invaluable work, as of July 1. ‘After two-and-a-half years of running DC Public Schools, it is time Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee to start showing some concrete evidence that their methods are actually producing positive results. Toyer’s and Levy’s knowledge, judgment, and experience are especially needed now in order to help us evaluate the truthfulness and accuracy of the claims that Fenty and Rhee will make.’
ALSO IN THEMAIL—-Dorothy Brizill strikes back at the WaPo ed board’s bulldogging of the council on broadcasts of the fishy fire truck hearing: ‘The Post’s error is due, in large measure, to the fact that the newspaper has essentially ignored the story of the irregular and suspect donation of the fire truck and ambulance to Sosua, Dominican Republic….The July 2 editorial can be thought of as just another in the long series of the paper’s editorials in which the editorial board has blindly supported Mayor Fenty and his administration and criticized anyone who dares to question them, in which the paper has accepted Fenty’s or Attorney General Peter Nickles’ position without qualification.’
The D.C. police ‘CSI Man’—-aka evidence photographer Curtis E. ‘Stretch’ Lancaster—-is profiled in WaPo by Keith Alexander: ‘Lancaster photographs the District’s dead. With his camera, he hovers over mangled bodies for hours, ensuring that he has all the angles, close-ups and wide shots. For nearly 25 years, Lancaster has documented some of the city’s most horrific crime scenes. In trials, prosecutors hold up his pictures — blown up poster-size — causing many jurors to flinch and seasoned court clerks to look away. “I bring the jury from the jury box to the scene,” he says. “We’re advocating for the victim and next of kin who is looking for some type of closure.”…He’s the Weegee of the District, a nod to the New York photojournalist who captured crime and death scenes of the Big Apple in the 1940s.’
City issues ‘sweeping new rules governing the pricey private clinics and schools where thousands of mentally ill or disabled D.C. children have been sent for decades,’ Bill Myers reports in Examiner. ‘The proposed new rules forbid schools from “demeaning, violent or coercive treatment, including the use of restraints or seclusion” unless the restraints or seclusion are “necessary to protect the student or other person from imminent, serious physical harm.” It also requires schools and clinics to notify parents and city officials within 24 hours of the incident.’
WaPo’s Michael Ruane profiles James W. von Brunn, the alleged Holocaust Museum murderer: ‘In 1951, von Brunn’s future seemed bright. He had been a World War II PT boat skipper. He had talent and education. And he had married into a family whose pedigree went back to England and whose roots were now in the gentility of rural life by the Chesapeake Bay….Within a few years, it all came apart. Von Brunn and his first wife, Joan, separated, then divorced. Their teenage son was sent off to boarding school, a life estranged from his father and, years later, a lonely death in a cheap motel room. And von Brunn, infected with paranoia and virulent anti-Semitism, was well on the way to his own disaster.’
WEEKEND VIOLENCE—-Three dead, five injured in various shootings since Friday. Dead are Malik Kareem Logan, 23, found on the 800 block of 50th Place NE; Dewayne Coles, 20, found on the 600 block of Morton Street NW; and Taylor McFadden, 25, found on the 4800 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW. The wounded include a 10-year-old girl.
DDOT used post-fireworks rush to test ‘Fast Forward’ signal timing scheme, meant to clear downtown more quickly.
Gas explosion levels upper Northwest home, startles neighborhood; its occupants were gone for the weekend. Writes WaPo, ‘The cause of the ground-shaking explosion was not immediately known. However, a fire department spokesman said it might have resulted from the ignition of a natural gas buildup. Witnesses said they detected an odor of natural gas that seemed to pervade the neighborhood.’ Damage to the house, on Oregon Avenue NW near Rittenhouse Street, is estimated at $3M. Also WUSA-TV.
WaPo editorial board lauds the selection of Jerry Johnson to lead the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission: ‘It would be hard to imagine a better fit for the WSSC. Mr. Johnson, the first general manager of WASA, transformed the corruption-ridden, slipshod culture of utility services in the District….Some activists have zeroed in on the single blemish on Mr. Johnson’s résumé: the controversy over high levels of lead in the District’s tap water. There’s no question Mr. Johnson should have been more forthcoming but, as his colleagues point out, his less than stellar handling of the flap can be attributed more to botched public relations than bad management. ‘
ALSO—-The ed board keeps up its gay-marriage cheerleading: ‘Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere will be recognized in the District beginning Monday. This joyous occasion will be complete when the rights and responsibilities afforded those couples are extended to same-sex couples who want to marry in the city. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) plans to introduce a bill to make that so. It can’t happen soon enough.’
‘[T]he capital city’s storefronts are in distress,’ writes Harry Jaffe, with little more than the seat of his pants to go on. ‘Take, for example, Cleveland Park….Roma closed years ago, and though newer restaurants have moved in, the strip is sprouting holes. Magruder’s has closed, Cold Stone Creamery shut down, even the McDonald’s has been out of commission for many years. In a truly crummy sign, Starbucks at 3420 Connecticut just closed after 15 years. Drive farther down Connecticut Avenue south of Dupont Circle and you will see more empty storefronts. What is known as the Golden Triangle is looking a bit tarnished. There are empty storefronts on both sides of the street.’ Hell, you want empty storefronts, Harry, check Georgia or Rhode Island Avenues; forget Connecticut.
ALSO FROM JAFFE—-How the District’s budget problems could have been avoided: Better Medicaid billing, he says. ‘The District has been inept in applying for the federal funds…..From the costs of treating hangnails to mental health, from birthing babies to caring for seniors, the city has not been able to complete the simple task of collecting receipts, confirming treatment and sending the paperwork….D.C. doesn’t have a money deficit; it has an accounting deficit.’
WaTimes, meanwhile, finds a soft retail market in Georgetown: ‘Nakita McLelland, owner of The Dutch Lady on M Street, sells embroidered linens and antique furniture. Because the linens are often seasonal, she is cutting prices drastically and says sales are worse than last summer. “I have embroidered napkins that were once $125. Because I need to sell, they are now down to $35,” Ms. McLelland said. “My prices are now 50 percent under what they were last year at this time.” Ms. McLelland, who describes her shoppers as “sophisticated,” said loyal customers are no longer buying. As a result, orange sale stickers adorn nearly every item in her store. ‘
LeDroit Park residents split on ‘Boxer Girl’ mural painted on W Street NW rowhouse, WJLA-TV/NC8’s Sam Ford reports. ‘Veronica Jackson, the woman whose house it’s painted on says, “It’s a boxer girl. It’s about strength, it’s about creativity…” Jackson says the painting came to be when artist Lisa Marie Thallhammer received a grant from the city to do a wall mural….Still, some neighbors say they’re not thrilled with the artwork. “It borders on graffiti,” said Barbara Wilson, a neighbor. “I see it in my kitchen, in my bedroom, in my basement — it’s just in my face.”‘
WaPo goes big on Sunday A1 with story on Fairfax County City: ‘Regardless of whether the county changes its status, a process that requires approval from voters, the state and courts, the discussion underscored a growing tension within Virginia’s largest jurisdiction. What does Fairfax want to be? A giant urban expanse like many new Sun Belt cities? Or more of a residential suburb, with a handful of urbanized pockets sprinkled in?’ Columnist Robert McCartney likes the idea: ‘Fairfax should do it. Adopting a city form of government could overcome the Virginia General Assembly’s longstanding, irresponsible refusal to give Fairfax enough resources for transportation.’
‘Real Education Reform’-er Mark Simon on possible Green Dot intervention: ‘Is this a case of the blind leading the blind? Doesn’t running schools take more than blind enthusiasm? Education, after all, does have a knowledge base. Its as if decision makers in DCPS are pretending that there is no experience among long time educators, professional developers, school leadership in other districts or nationally — no state of the art out there that could be drawn upon. Are the ones who get hired just the ones who’s stories get the best press in national magazines?’
Lots of bike-related news from TheWashCycle: A ‘bicycle-mounted DDOT traffic enforcement program’ is about to start; South Capitol Street trail moves along; SmartBike changes could be coming.
Examiner: D.C. kids are ‘among the most overweight in the nation,’ study says.
Marine Corps Marathon expo to move from Armory to Convention Center, sez Biz Journal.
No to taxi medallions, Arlington resident argues in WaPo letter. ‘A cap on the number of cabs would mean that the well-connected who had medallions would charge handsomely for the privilege of driving. The result would be higher fares, much of which would go into the pockets of medallion owners, not the cabbies.’
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg: Big fan of the Palisades parade and picnic. ‘My daughter loves to lunge for candy thrown from the amateurishly decorated cars and trucks. We all applaud the local swim team and the boy scouts and the “different drummer” marching band (complete with lavish gay patriotism), we even cheer — or at least smile — when Marion Barry comes up MacArthur Blvd. like an American general liberating some French town.’
D.C.: the new cheap vacay option.
WaPo publisher’s apology to readers re ‘Salon scandal.’
OMG—-Real World film crews get into it with WUSA-TV camera.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-11 a.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary hearing on B18-70 (“Prohibition Against Human Trafficking Act of 2009”) and B18-178 (“Fire Alarm Notice and Tenant Fire Safety Amendment Act of 2009”), JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Jacks-Fogle legislation announcement, Anacostia Services Center, 2100 Martin Luther King Ave. SE.