City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Adrian Fenty Rated One of World’s 25 Fittest Men“
Morning all. How about nature’s alarm clock this morning? The line of powerful storms that passed through shortly after 6 a.m. has caused standing water on Beach Drive NW, Canal Road NW, and Kenilworth Avenue NE.
AFTER THE JUMP—-Fireworks back at Nats Park; feds pay District for inaug; police shootings galore; DCPS goes Army Strong
Turns out Nationals Park didn’t miss a single shot: After suddenly shutting down fireworks displays there after being struck by falling debris, Fire Chief Dennis Rubin announces all is hunky-dory at 1500 Taxation Without Representation St. SE. But not before WaPo’s Theola Labbé-DeBose gets a hold of the story, quoting a fan who gets regularly showered with ash. See also video of Rubin explaining his call. And WUSA-TV’s Dave Statter reports that changes will include ‘altering the firing angle and changing the material that is being fired’ and also notes that ‘Rubin denied a report by Washington City Paper reporter Jason Cherkis that the chief had a run in with Nationals officials and had to pull rank saying, “Do you know who I am?” Rubin says it didn’t happen that way.’ Plus WTTG-TV, WTOP (which explores the Charlie Slowes angle).
BUT…the real FEMS fireworks were in the council chambers. (Yup—-lines like that are why LL gets paid the big bucks.) As Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner, Rubin clashed with At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson over budget numbers. Their ‘rocky relationship,’ Nei-man writes, ‘further devolved during the latest in a series of oversight hearings, as the two men went after each other over the department’s burgeoning budget, overtime spending and threatened cuts.’ Mendo hammered the chief for overtime overspending, leading Rubin to respond, ‘angrily, that Mendelson’s committee “arbitrarily and capriciously” cut Mayor Adrian Fenty’s proposed fire budget by $2.9 million in 2009 and $2.8 million in 2010, making it virtually impossible to fully staff his agency and reduce overtime expenses. “We have done an absolute outstanding job with no acknowledgment or support from you,” Rubin said.’ Harrumph!
ALSO—-Much, much more from Statter. And see also WaTimes, where Gary Emerling focuses on FEMS commitment to retrain paramedics who failed basic knowledge tests. ‘Rubin stressed that the exams were evaluations that were meant to guide the department’s training program and to improve medical protocols. He added that the department’s medical director, Dr. James J. Augustine, recognized that the tests showed a “generalized deficiency” in two areas, including one related to paramedics’ reading of the electrical activity of the heart. But he said the workers were not in need of discipline.’
POLICE SHOOTING NO. 1—-A 38-year-old man suspected in the May 31 stabbing death of his girlfriend is killed near Navy Yard by police bullets and one from his own gun. Allen L. Haggins was spotted by police blocks from the funeral of 26-year-old Goldean Hawkins, whom he allegedly killed at the Burroughs ES playground. Writes WaPo, ‘When Haggins saw the officers, he ran about a block to a parking lot at Sixth and L streets, where, police said, he drew a handgun. Two officers fired their own weapons, striking Haggins, police said. An additional gunshot wound was apparently self-inflicted, they said. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead….Police disclosed no motive in the woman’s slaying. But community residents said they considered the killing an act of domestic violence.’ Also WTOP, WRC-TV, NC8, which notes that ‘it all played out in front of children at a day care.’
POLICE SHOOTING NO. 2—-Park Police shoot man dead in alley behind 1200 block of Holbrook Place NE in Trinidad. NC8: ‘The officers are part of a Safe Streets jump out squad, and were responding to a call about a man with a gun….The exact number of officers who opened fire was not immediately available Monday night. An estimated 200 outraged residents gathered at the scene after the shooting, claiming the man had not been given proper warning by the officers.’ A plain-clothed Cathy Lanier and Harry Thomas Jr. came to the scene to calm tensions. Also WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV, and WRC-TV, which notes the crowd dispersed peacefully.
ALSO—-Youths, 9 and 15, both shot in a parking lot on the 2900 block of Stanton Road SE. Reports WaPo, ‘[A]uthorities thought the two had been struck by stray bullets following an argument by two groups. ‘The girl was struck in the buttocks, police said. The teenager was hit in the leg. Police said early today that neither wound was regarded as life threatening.’
The feds have handed over $43M in inauguration costs to the District, while District leaders handed themselves a pat on the back. ‘The D.C. Homeland and Emergency Management Agency concluded yesterday that the presidential inauguration in January was “highly successful given the unprecedented challenges” associated with handling 1.8 million visitors on the Mall,’ Tim Craig notes in WaPo. ‘In their report, agency officials said the city should be applauded for pulling off an event that featured no arrests, fatalities or other major incidents.’ No mention, though, of the Purple Tunnel of Doom. Also Examiner, WaTimes, AP.
The four-year graduation rate for D.C. Public Schools students has dipped below 50 percent, according to Education Week researchers, Michael Birnbaum reports in WaPo. ‘The study…examined data from 1996 to 2006, the latest available federal figures, to calculate the percentage of students who graduate from high school within four years of starting ninth grade. In 2006, the study found, the D.C. graduation rate fell to 48.8 percent, down 8.8 percentage points from the previous year. The figure did not include public charter schools.’ Gotta love this policy: ‘D.C. schools spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway…declined to comment on the study’s graduation numbers, saying that it was D.C. school policy not to discuss performance data from the period before schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee took office in 2007.’
NEW FACE AT 825 NORTH CAP—-Rhee hires former Brigadier Gen. Anthony J. Tata, 28-year Army veteran, to be her new chief operating officer, Bill Turque reports at D.C. Wire. ‘Tata, 49, who started work June 1, previously served as deputy director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Organization, the agency responsible for coordinating military and industrial efforts to blunt the threat posed by IEDs….He is currently enrolled in the Broad Superintendents Academy, started by Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad to train leaders with executive experience and place them and urban school districts.’ Federal City Council’s Terry Golden helped lure the general, Turque writes.
IN CASE YOU FORGOT—-‘DCPS has called in the Army before, and it didn’t end all that well. In 1996 the D.C. financial control board, eager to give the school system a clean break from its troubled past, fired Superintendent Franklin L. Smith and replaced him with a tough-talking war hero, retired Army Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton Jr.…Becton quit in frustration 17 months later.’
IG report: District’s Department of Human Resources kept sensitive employee info in unlocked cabinets, Neibauer writes in Examiner. ‘The D.C. personnel office kept the personal information of more than 30,000 past and present District government workers, including their Social Security and bank account numbers, in unlocked filing cabinets, cubicles and an easily accessible copy room….In an alert issued late last month, the city’s inspector general reported that the Benefits and Retirement Administration, an arm of the Department of Human Resources that handles health care and insurance programs for roughly 32,000 people, “is not properly safeguarding sensitive information submitted by and/or pertaining to D.C. government employees and retirees.”’
Changes in store for MetroAccess? Aging baby boomers means that WMATA’s paratransit crisis stands to worsen, Lena Sun reports in WaPo. ‘On Thursday, officials will review ridership and costs and discuss policy decisions the Metro board could take to cut costs, such as increasing fares and limiting service to minimum federal requirements,’ she writes. ‘The cost to operate MetroAccess next year is projected to be about $86 million, a 30 percent increase from two years ago. The increased costs are one reason Metro has faced budget shortfalls in each of the past three years….The downsizing of the District’s Medicaid program has resulted in a 120 percent increase in MetroAccess riders from three years ago, according to statistics. But Prince George’s County accounts for the biggest number of passengers.’
Cherkis: City drops efforts to fire Gerald Pennington, one of two former fire investigators who says they were demoted for speaking out about the department. His colleague Greg Bowyer faces a trial board later this month.
QUITE AN HONOR—-Vincent Gray to receive GWU Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in October, DCist notes.
On behalf of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, Jenny Reed argues against raiding the ballpark Community Benefit Fund to pay for this year’s summer jobs program: ‘The fund wasn’t intended as a source of money for unexpected shortfalls-or expected ones, as is the case with the summer jobs program. Council Chairman Vincent Gray said last week that he doesn’t think the Community Benefit Fund should be used that way – and we agree. The Council should reject using the fund to bail out the summer jobs program – and instead devote the money to important unmet community needs like affordable housing.’
Examiner milks federal drug stats for misleading headlines, this time for a story claiming District as tops in cocaine and alcohol abuse. (At least WCP made some sweet jokes!) That conclusion, of course, comes from numbers comparing D.C. to states, not cities. But you gotta love this filler graf: ‘The Washington area has had a troubling association with drugs and alcohol, from the overdose death of University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias to the undercover bust of then-Mayor Marion Barry to last year’s DUI arrest of Rep. Vito Fossella of New York.’
‘Mr. Potter,’ a DCPS high-school math teacher, airs the deficiencies of PPEP—-the system’s teacher evaluation process. ‘The way I see it, teachers are divided into two groups at my school. One group (mostly — but by no means exclusively — newer teachers) is desperate for some kind of support, so they see the evaluation as an opportunity to have an honest conversation with our principal about ways they can grow. They spend time filling out their evaluation, and give themselves some “needs improvement” ratings on the areas where they think they do want to get better. They end up ranking themselves probably lower than the principal would. The other group, (mostly — but, again, by no means exclusively — veteran teachers) has been trained by DCPS to avoid honesty in evaluation. These teachers fear that any admission of weakness could be an opening for administrators to fire them. They fill out mostly “exceeds expectations” even if they don’t believe (or deserve) it. They end up ranking themselves probably higher than the principal would.’
Arlington moves ahead with Columbia Pike streetcar project. TEN LL BUCKS SAYS—-This’ll be done before the Anacostia streetcar project.
P.G. County remains not those of Pamela Butler; rather, WRC-TV reports, they belong to Dominique Diane Curtis, 21, of Southeast D.C. She died of a gunshot wound.
Wisconsin Avenue bicyclist crashes, breaks hip. Motorists continue on their merry way, WUSA-TV reports. ‘A guy in a black Honda actually played chicken with him. “He sort of drove at me and looked at me like are you going to move, and then finally went around me,” [Jim Johnston] says.’
WTTG-TV covers Erika Peters family lawsuit.
WaPo reader, racer for the Cure ‘appalled at the chaos that attended every facet of the race on Saturday.’ Get this: ‘Race finishers were rewarded with a fruitless search for water and an offer of rock-hard green bananas.’ GREEN BANANAS!!!
14SB potholes will be fixed for today’s commute.
JAWB denizen Jesse Rauch (Vince Gray’s education dude) will save Screen on the Green!
OH, YEAH—-There’s some sort of election in Virginia today.
TONIGHT—-The rarely seen Ward 1 Dems convene to vote on gay marriage. 7 p.m. at Reeves Center.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-2 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary meeting (scheduled), JAWB 123; 2:30 p.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs hearing on B18-257 (“Vending Regulation Act of 2009”), JAWB 412; 4 p.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation meeting (scheduled), JAWB 120.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: remarks, Metropolitan Branch Trail groundbreaking, Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center, 700 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE; 12 p.m.: commencement speaker, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School graduation, American University Bender Arena, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW; 12:50 p.m.: remarks, City Year National Leadership Summit, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW.