City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Bishop Harry Jackson to Bill O’Reilly: ‘They Hacked Into My Records’“; “Nickles Says No Referendum Allowed on Gay Marriage Measure“; “Liveblog: Holocaust Museum Shooting Press Conference“
Morning all. More utter inanity from Harry Jaffe today in his Examiner column. He runs down how the split between local politicos over guns have essentially killed the D.C. House Voting Rights Act. So far, so good. Then he writes this: ‘As a voteless Washingtonian, I come down squarely with [Adrian Fenty, Jack Evans, and Jim Graham]. Get the vote now, and worry about the gun laws later. Wake up to the fact that the streets of the capital are inundated with guns, despite decades of regulation under the most stringent ban in the nation.’
Now, wait a second—-this is the same guy who’s spent months on a crusade against Phil Mendelson and his deliberate treatment of Fenty’s anti-crime bill. He called that piece of legislation, working around the edges of the District’s criminal code, ‘the most important work the government will do this decade,’ and now he stands up in support of gutting a centerpiece of those laws? The very laws he harps on police and prosecutors for not enforcing? Unbelievable. Hypocritical. And that goes double for Jack Evans, who’s leading the legislative push to get an emergency crime bill through the council Tuesday.
Mendo was right: Nothing like crime to get politicians grandstanding. And journalists, too.
AFTER THE JUMP—-D.C.’s top hooker lawyer; new DMPED on interbranch relations; is Fenty the ‘next Obama’?
THE SECOND DAY—-More Holocaust Museum shooting reporting. WaPo writes on James von Brunn‘s unsurprised former neighbors in Easton, Md.; the contents of the FBI’s affidavit; the security-guards-are-important angle, and more details on the life of Stephen Johns. Examiner runs down the new details on the shooting itself, as does WTOP. WaTimes runs down the charges, gets tourist reax, and covers museum reopening. Also NC8 (1), NC8 (2), NC8 (3), WRC-TV (1), WRC-TV (2), WUSA-TV (1), WUSA-TV (2), WUSA-TV (3), WTTG-TV (1), WTTG-TV (2), WTTG-TV (3), WTTG-TV (4).
Sounds like Jo-Ann Armao finally got sick of hearing folks around town saying Michelle Rhee hasn’t done anything. Writes the WaPo editorialist, ‘You can list Michelle A. Rhee’s accomplishments since becoming D.C. schools chancellor two years ago today, and they run more than 10 pages: boosting math and reading test scores; putting art, music and physical education classes in every school; streamlining the central office; closing 23 schools; recruiting new principals….[But] forces more concerned with protecting the status quo than with helping students…are regrouping, seeking to nibble away at the mayoral control that has allowed Mayor Adrian M. Fenty—-much to his credit—-to give the chancellor the support and resources she needs. Sadly, union officials and the old guard political establishment leading the revanche have found a receptive audience in the D.C. Council….She should not have to spend time fighting the efforts of those who would hold her back, and the District’s children along with her.’
ALSO—-Ed board offers a pat on the back to the organizers who saved Screen on the Green: ‘After founder Jesse Rauch learned the cost of the annual screenings from HBO, the group urged its members to write both to the network and to potential new sponsors….It was this more-than-theoretical enthusiasm, demonstrated by the e-mail deluge and backed by the sheer numbers of the Facebook group, that inspired Comcast, HBO and the Trust to offer their support.’
CERTAIN JAWB DENIZENS will note the subtle irony of today’s editorial page.
In WaPo, Theola Labbé-DeBose covers how a surge in policing could not save the life of Rahiem Moore, the man slain behind the Columbia Village apartments along the 100 block of Columbia Road NW. ‘Cmdr. George Kucik of the 3rd Police District said extra officers have been assigned to the area since February. A police car with a portable light tower also is part of the increased police presence, but the tower wasn’t lit Wednesday night because of thunderstorms. “I know the officer was in the block, but I don’t know exactly where the officer was at the time of the shooting,” Kucik said. “I’m going to look into it.”…Cliff Valenti, head of the advisory neighborhood commission that covers the 1300 block of Columbia Road, said he wasn’t so concerned that an officer was nearby when Moore was shot. He wanted to know more about how the officer was working the beat….”If he’s just standing there, then it’s not going to have that great of an effect.”‘
Ed Lazere makes the case against a subsidy for a boutique hotel (no, not that hotel) at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute blog: ‘The justification for this bill is that a changing economy and weak credit market have made it harder to finance the hotel’s development. But that hardly seems to be a good reason to give it a $1 million tax break for seven years, as the bill would do.’ His points: ‘The District cannot bail out all stalled commercial projects….There are plenty of affordable housing developments that are stuck due to financing problems….There is no evidence that the hotel needs this subsidy to succeed….Other forms of assistance have not been sought.’
Freeman Klopott in Examiner idenitifies the leading practitioner of the District’s Asian-massage-parlor-defense bar. That would be Wendell C. Robinson, whose ‘name turns up in court records defending six accused prostitutes arrested in the raids of four alleged brothels,’ Klopott writes. Guy’s got a bit of a checkered history: ‘In 1990, Robinson was disbarred for spending $600 of a client’s winnings from a court case, bar records said….Robinson petitioned to be readmitted four times over the next 17 years. The board refused because Robinson was still bouncing checks and repeatedly failed to pay his taxes. He was readmitted after he got his finances in order.’ Says Robinson, ‘Just because these clients ask me to represent them doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong.’
Peter Nickles pens memo holding that gay-marriage recognition law should not be subject to a referendum. WaPo’s Tim Craig has it, so does Metro Weekly. But LL offered some more penetrating analysis. Hey Mr. AG? Any chance you could release the Spagnoletti memo now?
COULD THE BOEE DECISION COME DOWN TODAY?—-Maybe. Who knows? But go to Examiner’s Michael Neibauer for a handy rehash of the arguments presented Wednesday: ‘[F]or board members…the question was clear: Would the referendum violate the city’s Human Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation? If it would, under the law, then the matter does not belong on the ballot….Brian Raum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund and a referendum supporter, focused his attention on Dean v. D.C., a 1995 case that barred the D.C. court clerk from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples….Brian Flowers, the D.C. Council’s general counsel, said the Dean case holds no bearing: The District is not performing gay marriages, only recognizing outside unions, a tenant of the city’s Home Rule Charter.’ Gary Emerling in WaTimes, too.
Do check out Adam Serwer‘s piece at the American Prospect on the alliances at play behind the anti-gay-marriage effort. ‘A veteran of campaigns to ban same-sex marriage in Florida, Arizona, and California, [Harry Jackson] is represented by Shirley and Bannister Public Affairs, a conservative public-relations firm that also represents luminaries Ann Coulter and Peggy Noonan, as well as the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, with whom Jackson co-authored a book. Two of the signatories to a letter Jackson and other D.C.-area clergy penned to Mayor Adrian Fenty opposing same-sex marriage are members of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, a group founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who also owns the right-wing Washington Times. The treasurer of Stand 4 Marriage DC is Brian S. Brown, who is also the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage. And the group is represented by Brian Raum, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian-right legal organization founded by James Dobson.’
Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell does Q&A with new DMPED Valerie Santos: ‘Mostly what everybody is curious about is, in this position, is anything going to change? My message is that I think one of the reasons the mayor selected me to take this role was I think we’re doing a number of things wrong that I think we could do better, but [that] we need to keep a consistent approach towards projects. I obviously know our portfolio extremely well, and trying to reassure folks that our core team is not going to change significantly, and therefore it’s not like we’re all just going to take a left turn on some of these projects, which is I’m sure comforting for people.’
CHECK IT—-Santos: ‘I wouldn’t say our relationship is bad with the council. I don’t perceive it that way. Part of the reason I’m reaching out is that as far as I know I have good relationships with every council member, and so far the conversation has been quite productive, but you know we’re all just getting started. I think it’s an opportunity for all parties to sort of hit the reset button. So anything that was more personal to my predecessor, if there were such things, it’s also an opportunity to hit reset, and we can focus on policy and projects, which is what’s important to everybody.’
Fenty makes surprise visit to Eastern SHS graduation, Reliable Source reports. There, he read a letter he had sent to graduates. ‘And after all the “you will make a great contribution” and “my best wishes for great success” stuff, he kept on reading through to the very end: “Adrian Fenty, mayor of the District of Columbia.” Ooops? It got some laughs, but a rep said the mayor knew what he was doing: He always reads those parts out loud, proclamation-style.’
O’Connell also covers Stevens ES redevelopment pitches. ‘All three teams plan to rehab and maintain the 39,000-square-foot Stevens building itself, a historic property built in 1868 just east of Washington Circle on 21st Street. D.C. native R. Donahue Peebles, whose Peebles Corp. in Coral Gables, Fla., has a development portfolio of more than $4 billion, proposes a single luxury hotel for the site, the Stevens Hotel. It would be run by Morgans Hotel Group Co., the New York City-based operator of 12 hotels worldwide in cities including New York, London and Miami….The largest development is planned by Moddie Turray Co., the D.C. real estate firm founded by a one-time assistant to former Mayor Anthony Williams….Turray and partners from Gensler Development propose a hotel by Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC, a Class A office building and 14,000 square-feet of retail….Multifamily housing is the central offering of a team headed by Chicago-based Equity Residential and D.C.-based Neighborhood Development Co. Classrooms would be transformed into homes by Hickok Cole Architects.’ All three say they’ve got cash in hand.
PLUS—-O’Connell chats up Don Peebles.
Dr. Gridlock on Metro’s coming budget crunch. ‘Board Member Jim Graham doesn’t want you to panic. He doesn’t want another “media circus,” like he says we had this year. But I think you’re big enough to take it: Metro won’t go even one more year without another big problem in balancing its budget. A fare increase is very likely, and service cuts are certainly a possibility, to close what could be a gap of about $130 million in the budget that will start in July 2010.’
New Metro bus garages on the way? Writes Kytja Weir in Examiner, ‘Transit officials are eyeing plans to update or replace at least three garages, but they don’t have money to move ahead with some of the worst buildings….Nearly all of the facilities are older than the Metro system, and some now sit surrounded by pricey homes or prime land….The northern garage off 14th Street sits between the Crestwood and Brightwood Park neighborhoods of Northwest. Neighbors and developers are eager to see them move. But they are key pieces of the transit system’s infrastructure that help keep buses running properly, according to the transit agency.’
WTOP: ‘Metro certainly has a less than sterling reputation with some of its every day riders. But is that stigma justified?’ Study says no!
Examiner’s Bill Myers reports on the MPD’s training backlog. ‘City law requires every officer to attend three days of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and basic first aid every calendar year, but about 680 officers still haven’t been trained from 2008, internal documents obtained by The Examiner show. That’s about 17 percent of the force….The backlog not only puts the department on the wrong side of the law, but is forcing Chief Cathy Lanier to rush the remaining hundreds through training before the annual summer surge in violent crimes….”During the most violent time of the year, 20 percent of the people are going to be in training,” police union Chairman Kris Baumann said. “That’s a public safety issue and that’s bad management.”‘
BAUMANN QUOTE RATING—-B. High on hard data. Low on pizazz.
Fenty picked by Daily Beast as possible “Next Obama.” ‘Fenty’s already got his eye on the next election: He is joint fundraising with Cory Booker. Both are running for re-election in 2010, but Fenty—only 38 years old—likely has his sights set on a higher office. “I really do believe that Barack Obama is part of a generation of politicians—both African-American and otherwise—that really caters to what people want in politicians, and that is just results,” he has said.’
Kentucky superintendent says she ‘has studied firebrand Washington, D.C., Chancellor of Education Michelle Rhee, who gained national attention for offering teachers the chance to trade tenure for higher pay – and criticism for posing for the cover of Time magazine holding a broom, suggesting house-cleaning. “At times, she has dismissed people without due process and time to grow. I don’t think we could do that in Kentucky,” [Lynda Jackson] says. “We need to look at our evaluation system centered around helping teachers get better. But if that fails, what do you do?”
ALSO—-Check snippet of Rhee speech in Denver on teacher evaluations.
Woman crashes into tree on 1700 block of Verbena Street NW last night.
Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) is accused of underreporting the value of his Cap Hill townhouse, Roll Call reports. ‘In May, Berry filed a financial disclosure form reporting the value of the house at between $250,000 and $500,000, the same value that he has listed on his disclosure forms each year. But according to District of Columbia tax records, the current assessed value of the house is $947,080, and the proposed 2010 assessment value is $864,970, reflecting the drop in Capitol Hill property values.’
DCmud picks up on new ‘Workplace Design Guidelines,’ authored by the HOK architecture firm (famous for ballparks!). The guidelines, ‘in the words of District reps, “standardizes the materials and furnishings that can be used in District office buildings” through bulk purchases and codified style standards. “This will be a common brand making sure that efficiencies bring big cost savings,” said Fenty. Because, as we all know, the best way to attract DC’s best and brightest to local government is by forcing them to all use identical mauve swivel chairs in their mass produced cubicles. Oy.’
WaPo reporters union ratifies new contract. The important part: It ‘preserves the union’s two weeks pay per year of employment severance requirement.’
Old Italian Embassy, at 16th and Fuller Streets NW, is finally up for sale.
Chef Geoff’s opening in Tysons.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-12 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary hearing on B18-193 (“National Guard Morale Welfare and Recreation Act of 2009”), JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-12:15 p.m.: remarks, DDOT sidewalks infrastructure announcement, intersection of Nash and 48th Streets NE.