City Paper is not for tourists
Morning all. Del Wilber tees up this morning’s Harriette Walters sentencing for WaPo: ‘Was she a deeply insecure and lonely civil servant who stole tax refunds out of an insatiable desire to be seen as a benefactor? Or was she a manipulative and greedy employee who pilfered the District’s coffers to selfishly fund an extravagant lifestyle? Federal prosecutors and Walters’s attorney will skirmish over those questions today in federal court during Walters’s sentencing in the $48.1 million, nearly two-decade-long embezzlement from the D.C. government. Under the terms of Walters’s plea deal, which still awaits the approval of U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, Walters faces 15 to 18 years in prison.’ Says her lawyer: ‘Harriette Walters is a pretty complex lady….She gave the District exemplary service on the one hand and on the other engaged in conduct that even she will say should result in the kind of serious punishment she faces.”‘
Stay tuned at City Desk today for all Walters-related developments.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Car lot crackdown continues; saying goodbye to the Wherleys; is FEMS too black?; and what happened to all the murders?
THE COLLABORATORS—-WaPo runs down the other sentences dished out in the OTR scam.
The car lot crackdown continues apace: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announces he’s revoked more than 30 car-related businesses’ licenses and cited more than 50 more. ‘The tally comes about six months after the city added regulations to rein in businesses that authorities say were a blight. Across the city, some lots were cluttered with dozens of vehicles, making them look like junkyards. “There are a lot of used-car lots that cause a lot of grief, frustration and wear our constituents’ patience to no end,” Fenty (D) said at LJ Automotive, a Northwest Washington used-car dealership and repair shop where the city towed away 26 cars.’ In Examiner, Michael Neibauer notes the progressive approach: ‘The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs began enforcement of the new lot rules May 4, focusing first on education and outreach. The second and third stages, which are ongoing, target off-premise repair and motor vehicle storage. And the fourth stage, slated to launch Sept. 1, is all-out enforcement.’ Also Biz Journal.
THE SANDWICH TREATMENT—-Lena Sun has more in WaPo on Metro’s plan to relegate the old 1000-series cars to the middle of trains. John Catoe ‘said Metro officials discussed the possibility of taking the cars out of service, “but it is not a feasible action, nor is it necessary,” he said. “The cars are safe.” If Metro were to sideline its 1000-series cars, the system would only have enough cars to operate four- and six-car trains, instead of the six- and eight-car trains that operate now, officials said, meaning 40 additional riders in each car….Reconfiguring the trains will probably take a few weeks because the 1000 series cars will need to be sent to different rail yards on other lines. “It’s not like you can take the Red Line to Gallery Place and hang a right” to get to the Green Line, said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel. “It’s not like moving a couple of cars out of an auto dealership.”‘ Also NC8, WTTG-TV.
WUSA-TV’s late to the ‘tax advantage lease’ party.
More Metro lawsuits: ‘Ivey Epps and her mother, Bernea Bell, say they were on the Red Line train 112 when it rammed into a waiting train June 22. They claim to have suffered “severe and painful injuries” and are blaming Metro officials for not inspecting the system’s brakes and not replacing the 1000 Series car that crumpled upon impact, killing nine and injuring up to 80 others. The suit was brought by Florida attorney Willie Gary, whom the Wall Street Journal once dubbed “flamboyant” for his private jet, posh offices and luxury cars,’ Bill Myers reports in Examiner. Another one in WaPo.
Catoe on condolences: ‘”It is an incredibly difficult experience to go up and talk to family members about lives that were taken on our system,” [Catoe] tells WTOP. He says, in some cases, the victims’ families do not want to talk to him. “To be honest, there are no words I can say that will relieve their grief. The most difficult one for me was the daughter of the couple who lost their lives. Talking to her about her mother and father.”‘
About that couple: Hundreds filed into the D.C. Armory to pay their respects to Maj. Gen. David Wherley (Ret.) and wife Ann. WTOP: ‘Many in the gathering said the couple were down to earth despite Wherley’s high rank. “If you knew the two of them, you’d know how much they lived their lives, how well they lived their lives, and how vigorously and involved they were in wanting to help others,” says Ret. Gen. Linda McTeague of the D.C. Air National Guard. “He was one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.”…D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton called Wherley “a good friend,” and the couple “citizens of D.C. by choice.” Holmes Norton announced that legislation to offer college tuition assistance to D.C. National Guardsmen would be named in his memory.’ Also in attendance: Phil Mendelson, Tommy Wells, Harry Thomas Jr., Mary Cheh, and Bill Hall. WaPo, NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
NOT AMONG THE MOURNERS—-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. And he has no public events scheduled today. Outta town?
RED LINE AGAIN—-Man struck and killed by Metro train yesterday afternoon at Forest Glen station.
The LaShawn A. case, which sent CFSA into receivership for years, was back before federal judge Thomas Hogan yesterday, and WCP’s Jason Cherkis took in the proceedings: ‘City Attorney Ellen Efros…emphasized that the agency had made progress but that the benchmarks were too old and too tough to actually meet. She argued that the standards are lower in other cities—in other words, why can’t we just lower our standards?…At one point early on in Efros’ testimony, Hogan interrupted her and sounded an exasperated note: “We’ve been at this since 1989.” Hogan was referring to the agency’s rollercoaster history—the inception of the class-action case, subsequent receivership and bumpy road since the city agency shedded court oversight in 2003. Hogan did not at all seemed pleased with Efros’ attempts to jettison benchmarks that didn’t fit her theory of a fit agency and denounce other benchmarks as too harsh. “It seems…oversight by the judiciary is important,” Hogan later stated.’
VERY GOOD NEWS—-Halfway through 2009, the District’s homicide total stands at 66—-20 percent less than last year, Martin Weil notes in WaPo. If the trend holds, and the homicide number stands at 134 at year’s end, that would be the lowest total since 1964 (!). Caveat constabulator: ‘The number of homicides in any given jurisdiction has been linked to so many factors that it is almost impossible to predict the rate in any given month based on the rate in the month before.’
Have the Obamas given up on picking a local church? Time says yes, but the White House says no! ‘The President and First Family continue to look for a church home. They have enjoyed worshipping at Camp David and several other congregations over the months, and will choose a church at the time that is best for their family,’ says a White House statement. Also WUSA-TV.
DOES director Joe Walsh appeared before Marion Barry‘s housing and workforce development committee yesterday. His message, reports Nikita Stewart at D.C. Wire: We’re fixing the summer jobs problems! Problems like this one: ‘Myeeka Mullins, an 18-year-old graduate of Bell Multicultural Senior High School, said she was assigned to a Springfield, Va., office of the US Department of Commerce – a long way from her Ward 8 home. Surita Mullins, her grandmother and guardian, said the commute is costing about $10 a day. Myeeka Mullins said in an interview that she fears the transportation expenses will significantly eat into her earnings of $6 an hour.’
Local angles on the Ricci SCOTUS case, courtesy of Examiner‘s Alan Suderman: ‘[T]here remains a feeling among some white firefighters that the upper echelons of the D.C. fire department’s leadership are mostly reserved for black firefighters, according to attorney James Maloney. “There’s a feeling … that the reverse discrimination still goes on,” said Maloney, who represented two dozen white firefighter captains who sued the city in 2004, alleging that they were unfairly passed over for promotion because of their race. A jury sided against the white firefighters in 2007.’ [LL NOTE: Really? Have you seen the FEMS brass lately?] ‘Lt. Ray Sneed, president of the D.C. Firefighters Association…said racial tensions still exist in the department over disciplinary issues but not over hiring and promotions. “We have a promotional process that yields what your looking for — a fair cross-section that’s representative of this department,” Sneed said.’
Hallelujah—-valet parking rules are finally here, Neibauer reports in Examiner: ‘Valet parking companies in D.C. have never faced regulation, which has sparked turmoil on some streets….Under the rules adopted last week, every business seeking a permit must provide the public space committee with photos of the proposed staging area, a traffic flow plan and proof that the applicant has secured off-street parking for every valeted vehicle. The permit costs 50 cents per hour per 20 linear feet of street to be taken away….DDOT anticipates 100 businesses will apply immediately, and each is likely to need two or three spaces for its staging area. A business that runs a valet service without a permit faces a $300 fine, and those caught parking cars on the street face a $250 penalty.’
Another summer, another fireworks crackdown that will be roundly ineffective. But NC8 reports on it all the same: ‘Authorities say their crackdown will be extra tough this year….”We’re working extra inspectors, we’re partnering with the Metropolitan Police Department. Our fire investigators are out there working in the streets,” said acting Fire Marshal Bruce Faust.’ At least no emergency legislation this year!
Six DCPS teachers handed summer central-office fellowships. Lucky them!
Also: Check the syllabus for University of Delaware ‘Women and Education Reform’ course: ‘During the first part of the course, the students studied a wide variety of women educational reformers. They learned about women from Alice Dunbar Nelson, an early 20th-century activist in Delaware who taught at Howard High School and later founded the Industrial School for Colored Girls in Marshallton, to Michelle Rhee, the current chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools.’
WUSA-TV covers possible med-marijuana initiative.
WTTG-TV rehashes Mark Segraves‘ parking ticket scoop from yesterday.
H1N1 FLU—-Not gone yet! WaPo’s Lori Aratani reports on the still hearty rate of infections being treated in local emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. ‘Officials at Washington Adventist Hospital said they have seen 68 flu cases in June compared with 11 in May. Officials at Inova Health systems say they have treated more flu cases during a single week this month than during the peak week of flu season in February. Many of those being treated are school-age children, officials said. “It’s like snow in the summer,” said Gaurov Dayal, chief medical officer at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital….”We typically don’t see flu at all this time of year.”‘
Airports Authority looks to go green, Biz Journal reports: The MWAA ‘issued requests for expressions of interest for solar energy projects at Reagan National and Dulles International airports. Part of a commercial aviation initiative to be carbon neutral and reduce or cap greenhouse gas emissions, the request calls for developers of solar panels and plug-in vehicle charging stations.’
ALSO—-Pepco HQ earns special LEED rating for existing buildings.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: additional Committee of the Whole meeting, to be immediately followed by the 12th legislative meeting, JAWB 500. SPECIAL NOTE—-The council is set to pass a resolution recognizing the media’s historic victory over councilmembers in March hoops tilt.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.