City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“City Lawyers Ejected From Fishy Fire Truck Depositions“
Morning all. Thursday’s double shooting outside the Columbia Heights Metro has ended in ways both expected and quite unexpected. Expected, in that on Friday, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, top public safety deputies, and four councilmembers stood on the site of the shooting, using the violence to press civil gang injunction legislation. As Gary Imhoff puts it in themail, ‘they didn’t try to claim that the provisions would have applied to the participants in Thursday’s shooting or could have prevented it. The mayor admitted that they were holding the press conference at the Columbia Heights station simply because Thursday’s shooting was in the news. In other words, it was cheap-jack exploitation.’ The twist, of course, came when the suspect was revealed as 17-year-old Devyn Black, who had been working for Jim Graham for less than a week as part of the summer jobs program. Graham told the whole story to WCP’s Jason Cherkis. Also WaPo, WTOP, NC8, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV, PoP, DCist.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Marion Barry hits the red carpet; will cab drivers ‘start stealing’?; more on Michelle Rhee‘s silent treatment; and guns, guns, guns!
WaPo covers the Columbia Heights violence in a number of other ways—-for instance, a Derek Kravitz story that makes the point for the umpteenth time that the Target hasn’t driven the gangs away! ‘”Columbia Heights has been completely transformed,” said [Graham]. “There’s been a major effort to turn this once-barren place into something.” But Graham is the first to admit that crime is “embedded in the culture” of gang-ridden sections of the neighborhood, including the 2800 and 2900 blocks of 14th Street.’ Also in WaPo, Martin Ricard talks to the kids. ‘More than a dozen young people interviewed last week said the measures wouldn’t have addressed the root causes of why youths are drawn into gangs or crews. They said their neighborhoods have been starved of resources and recreational activities, leading many to get sucked into that lifestyle.’ [LL NOTE—-Not to dispute their conclusions, but what do you expect them to say? ‘Yes, please starting throwing me and my friends in jail more’?] ‘[O]ne 22-year-old man, who did not want his name used for fear of retribution, said more law enforcement would not have stopped him from joining a crew in Columbia Heights. He said he joined for friendship, juvenile mischief and, later, protection against rivals from other neighborhoods. Partying and ditching school gave way to fights and eventually violence that led to gunplay and deaths. ‘
INTERESTING—-‘A police officer lives in Columbia Village, a low-income apartment complex near 13th Street and Columbia Road, but Tazah Richardson, 24, said she hardly notices him. “It was six months before I knew he lived there,” she said Saturday. A friend shook her head in agreement. Richardson said it is a mistake to think the rejuvenated commercial corridor has done anything to curb shootings and robberies….”I saw a woman who just bought something at Best Buy walk down this street, and a guy walked up and snatched it,” Richardson said. “Sometimes people seem to forget where they are.”‘
GANG VS. CREW—-A primer: ‘The [D.C. Council youth-violence study] defines a crew as a neighborhood-based group, smaller and less organized than a gang with hierarchy and, often, a national presence. According to the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council, there are nearly 100 crews and gangs throughout the city involving nearly 2,500 youths.’
Screw the liberal weenies! Count Jonetta Rose Barras on the reactionary side of this debate: ‘The majority of council members continue to believe that killers, robbers and thugs in waiting can be transformed simply by taking them to the nearest recreation center, unfolding a pingpong table, and giving them two paddles and a ball. That’s the bleeding-heart strategy for crime control.’ Ahead of reaching that conclusion, she does a nice job charting Fenty’s transformation from lock-em-up naysayer to lock-em-up yeasayer.
Saturday night saw the premiere of ‘The Nine Lives of Marion Barry’ at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring. When the mayor-for-life showed up on Colesville Road, he was greeted by a bunch of white people shouting ‘Shame!’—-at least one, anyway—-and black defenders shouting back. Just like old times! The omnipresent Dave Nuttycombe has the video. The screening was followed by brief remarks from Barry and a p[anel discussion featuring Tom Sherwood, Dorothy Brizill, Lawrence Guyot, and Juan Williams. See also DCist account (Carol Schwartz was there!), Examiner item, Hotline item, and Variety review.
ALSO SEE Imhoff’s review in themail. Actually, it’s less a review of the film than of the man: ‘[H]e had the potential to heal his city and reconcile the races better than nearly any other city leader in America. But when his personal vices could no longer be hidden, when his enablers and excusers could no longer claim that Marion was just fine, Marion continued to lie, and to bolster his lies by creating and exacerbating racial tensions and divisions….Instead of reconciling and uniting the city, Barry deliberately divided it for his own purposes. It was that division that hurt this city and its people, more than the corruption and more than the mismanagement. It was his exploitation of race for personal gain that remains as his legacy to his city.’
Get ready for a five-percent cab rate hike! Michael Neibauer has the scoop in Examiner: ‘In an executive order signed last week, Fenty delegated to the [Taxicab Commission] his authority to review and adjust taxicab meter rates by up to 5 percent without his prior approval. He also limited fare increases to one per year and barred the commission from establishing any additional charges, such as a fuel surcharge or fee for group rides, without his approval. A 5 percent increase would amount to about 7.5 cents per mile under the District’s current fee structure.’
WOW—-‘”That is criminal,” said Nathan Price, a D.C. cab driver and chairman of the Professional Taxicab Drivers Association. “He’s going to force drivers to start stealing, whether it’s through overcharging or whatever, because they have to take care of their families.”‘
WaPo ombudsman Andy Alexander writes up Michelle Rhee‘s nearly yearlong snub of beat reporter Bill Turque. ‘It’s not uncommon for public officials to temporarily slam the door on reporters who upset them. But this is unusual. Rhee’s effort to transform the public schools is arguably the biggest story in the District and has gained national attention. Her pique has lasted months….Turque believes her refusal to speak with him hurts readers. Not only is he unable to put hard questions to her, but “it’s also cast a chill over people around her, her deputies,” who have been reluctant to speak with him….Rhee’s reaction to The Post’s coverage strikes me as petty and thin-skinned—-and perhaps calculated.’ Read LL’s version of this story, from November.
WELCOME BACK, CRAIG—-‘Rhee…recently received a call from Craig Timberg, who will soon take over as the Post editor in charge of D.C. schools coverage, in which he suggested they get together. Timberg confirmed that they plan to meet soon “to see if we can get things on a better footing.”‘
Eastern Market reopens Friday, 26 months after it burned. Petula Dvorak previews the refurbished building for WaPo. ‘The $22 million rebuilding project has created a market that this generation has never seen. For years before the April 30, 2007, fire, the place was in disrepair. Now it is more structurally sound and truer to its magnificent past. All of the dozen or so vendors are returning to their familiar spots to sell food, flowers, crafts and other goods in a market that blends old and new. The window styles, color schemes and architectural details come from the Victorian age….Reflecting its importance as a community gathering place, the building will include a movable stage, walls to display art and photo galleries, even a dance floor. There is an elaborate sprinkler system, windows with UVA protection and ample restrooms—-instead of one.’
City publishes emergency rulemaking [PDF] Friday, vastly expanding the list of legal handguns. WaPo’s Tim Craig calls it ‘a shift designed to stave off another lawsuit over its compliance with the Second Amendment.’ In other words, the District caved. ‘City leaders sought to play down the effects of the new regulations, but gun rights advocates said they were another boost to their efforts to undo the District’s long-held restrictions on personal possession of weapons. “We are gratified the District is recognizing their approach is unworkable and unconstitutional,” said Alan Gura, who was the lead attorney in the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court case. “There is now a whole new universe of guns that will now be available.”‘ Volokh Conspiracy reacts.
WAPO ED BOARD ON GAY MARRIAGE—-‘The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics was right. A proposed referendum that sought to overturn the D.C. Council’s law recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, which takes effect next month, was a violation of the District’s elections law….Next the council is expected to consider legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. David A. Catania (I-At Large) says that he will introduce his long-anticipated bill sometime this fall. We hope that it succeeds.’
MUST READ—-Marion Barry talks Skins with Hogs Haven: ‘[W]e were about two or three weeks away from signing the deal when Sharon Pratt Kelly came into office, and she blew it. She blew it. Then they decided to go to Maryland, and that’s a tragic situation.’ On D.C. United stadium: ‘Mayor Fenty’s blown it. We can’t recover from it. Times moved on. This administration does not support the United at all. They do not support the United. He says he does but he doesn’t.’
Bill Myers reports in Examiner that post-and-forfeit fines have gone missing from police coffers: ‘D.C. police officials can’t account for thousands of dollars in cash or receipts from nearly 200 misdemeanor cases that were supposed to help support the city’s victims compensation fund, The Examiner has learned. City officials have opened an internal investigation to determine what happened to the money, Attorney General Peter Nickles confirmed….On average, cash or receipts disappeared 23 times per month between July 2008 and February 2009, records show. The incidents spiked just before Christmas. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, cash or receipts went missing 35 times, records show.’ ALSO—-Should MPD be subject to forensic audit?
District jobless number breaks 10 percent, reaching highest level since 1983. ‘Unemployment also rose in Maryland and Virginia, though not as much as in the District, whose jobless rate went from 9.9 percent in April to 10.7 percent in May. D.C. rate surpasses the national average, 9.4 percent, and is in the company of other urban areas such as Los Angeles (11.6 percent), Chicago (10.5 percent) and Miami (9.8 percent),’ Dion Haynes and Emma Carew write in WaPo. ‘In the District, the gap can be seen ward by ward. In April, in the largely affluent and white Ward 3, the unemployment rate was 2.5 percent, according to the Brookings Institution. In the predominately poor and black Ward 8, the rate was 23.3 percent.’ Also Examiner, Biz Journal.
UH OH—-New CFO revenue projections due today. Gandhi to Neibauer: ‘We all know, things just don’t look good….This is the widest and deepest recession that we have seen in the last 75 years. Things are bad across the country and it has caught up with the District.’ And $60M in spending pressures?
Remembering Stephen T. Johns: The Holocaust Museum security guard is laid to rest Friday. From the WaPo account, by Keith Alexander and Hamil Harris, ‘The Rev. John L. McCoy, senior pastor of Word of God Baptist Church in the District and the family’s minister, said the museum had one more victim of hatred. “The hope of the Holocaust museum was that the world would never again allow such crimes against humanity. Yet Officer Johns is another victim of an evil, criminal, pygmy and insane mentality,” McCoy said. “Officer Johns now belongs to the six million-plus who perished in the Holocaust.”…His family filled 18 pews, and the sobs of his wife, Zakiah, wafted through the church. The two had celebrated their one-year anniversary last month. John’s 11-year-old son, Stephen Jr., rested his head on his mother’s shoulder.’ Also WaTimes, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
IN ATTENDANCE—-Channing Phillips, Diane Groomes, Harry Thomas Jr., and David Catania
Von Brunn court hearing delayed again.
Michael Steele to Mark Plotkin: I will put Taxation Without Representation plates on my RNC car!
ENOUGH ALREADY—-WaPo prints yet another pro-voucher op-ed, this one from Joe Lieberman.
As of July 1, NextBus is back! For real this time! Lena Sun previews the newish Metro service for WaPo: ‘The system could make the area’s largest regional bus service a more viable option for thousands of people who now shun it because of its unreliability….Metrobus customers should be able to find out approximately when the next bus will pull up to any one of about 12,000 bus stops across the Washington region. Riders can get the information by phone, online or via electronic signs at several high-volume bus terminals, including the Pentagon, Anacostia and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations….NextBus technology will cover all 355 Metrobus routes and all of the more than 1,500 buses in the fleet. The goal is 90 percent accuracy. Transit advocates said the real-time information could transform the bus-riding experience.’
Examiner’s Kytja Weir previews the WMATA budget, set to be passed Thursday. ‘The agency did eliminate 313 jobs but escaped nearly all the proposed service cuts that would have hit 72 bus lines. Instead, the board agreed to tap the agency’s “rainy day” reserve fund for just over $13 million and find savings elsewhere. Now, only four bus routes in Maryland — the Z2, L7, C7 and C9 — are being eliminated, while three others will charge higher fares. Several routes in Alexandria are being restructured.’
Advocates want ‘human trafficking’ laws added to city books, WAMU-FM reports. ‘Polaris Project’s Karen Stauss says the District is among a handful of states that does not have a definition of human trafficking in its criminal code….A comprehensive human trafficking legislation is currently before the D.C. Council and could be voted on sometime this summer.’
WaPo ed board points out that while the District may have an evacuation plan, it does not have a ‘reunification plan’ to get children back with their parents after an emergency.
Three wounded in drive-by shooting late Saturday in Edgewood Terrace. WaPo: ‘The victims were described as a 21-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, who were taken to hospitals, police said.’
Ward 6 to get dog training—-as in, dog-interaction training, sponsored by Tommy Wells.
WTTG-TV: East End’s Eldon hotel opened without a Pepco hookup, meaning it’s been using a generator. A big, loud, smelly generator, and the neighbors aren’t happy. Jack Evans, Linda Argo on the case!
John Kelly begins his ‘radical civility’ campaign by addressing a true scourge—-movie-theater texters: ‘The bright light of the screen is distracting, taking us out of our reverie. It ought not happen. We are determined to address it.’
Examiner on the State of the Nats: ‘Last month, Ted Lerner and his family marked their three-year anniversary as stewards of Washington baseball. But their plan is not working — at all. The Nats are again awful, headed for a second consecutive 100-loss season. Attendance has plummeted in the second year at Nationals Park, dropping from 19th in the majors to 27th. And television ratings — while up 56 percent as of last month — are still the sport’s worst (12,000 households per game). Every few weeks, it seems, another embarrassing public relations fiasco hits — the latest bit of unpleasant news is the tenuous job status of manager Manny Acta….Those who know him say none of this is easy for Ted Lerner. The proud, 83-year-old patriarch doesn’t fail often.’
Harry Jaffe gets wise to the SIX Flagging saga: ‘Imagine if football teams were subject to the same takeover rules that allowed [Dan Snyder] to get control of Six Flags. Fans — as stakeholders — could organize and throw the bum owners out. It would be messy and unstable, but some might say the Redskins have been both under Snyder.’
FOR COMPREHENSIVE SNYDER COVERAGE—-WCP’s Dave McKenna is your man.
Fathers rally at Lincoln Memorial Saturday, WaPo reports, ‘to issue a national call for fathers to become more committed to their children, rallying through occasional downpours and bursts of lightning.’ Also WRC-TV.
ALSO—-Colby King on fatherhood: ‘This Father’s Day finds more than 130 District offspring stashed around the country. Fathers have sons in custody of a city government that treats their kids as cases to be experimented on based on “best practices” gleaned from other parts of the country. Do those fathers even know? This Father’s Day finds many of them out of commission: either in jail, in cemetery plots or out of sight in somebody else’s household.
The band’s back together! From Friday morning Bisnow event featuring Valerie Santos:
NC8 covers teacher firings.
Adams National Bank merger delayed.
Wanna know what’s going on with Nathans? Here you go.
ITU Triathlon: It screwed up your Sunday drive, no doubt. But Fenty did well: ‘Fenty, 38, completed an age-group triathlon Sunday in 2 hours, 17 minutes, 54 seconds, finishing 16th in the elite male category,’ reports USA Today, which also covers youth tri efforts.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Green Summer Jobs kickoff, Anacostia River at RFK Stadium; 2 p.m.: remarks, MPD graduation, MPD Training Academy, 4665 Blue Plains Drive SW.