City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Behold Harry Thomas Jr.’s Nuanced Position on Same-Sex Marriage Legislation“
IN LL WEEKLY—-The Terminator: How APRA’s Tori Fernandez Whitney fired the woman who gave her mother an kidney.
Morning all. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s mea culpa tour continued this morning on WRC-TV, and LL is quite welcome to see it. He tells Barbara Harrison, “I didn’t know about the East Potomac Pool heater; I didn’t know about that. In retrospect, probably not something that we should have done. I’ve made a lot of mistakes as mayor of the District of Columbia. Every time I do, I try and tell people I won’t make them again, but I’m a human being and I’m sure that there will be more to happen in the future.”
The group Stand 4 Marriage D.C. has filed papers with the Board of Elections and Ethics asking for a citywide referendum on whether same-sex marriages should be recognized in the District of Columbia. ‘It’s a declaration of war,’ Bishop Harry Jackson tells WaPo’s Tim Craig. ‘We are sending a clear message this is going to be fought every step of the way.’ The question is, will the BOEE allow the question to appear, since matters falling under the District’s human rights act are banned from the ballot. ‘Mark Levine, a lawyer and gay rights activist…said the elections board would be “engaged in an extraordinary act of lawlessness” if it allows the referendum to move forward.’ Oh, yeah? ‘Jackson said he is willing to pursue the matter in court if the board rejects his application.’ DCist ponders whether a referendum is the right thing to do. Also see WaTimes‘s Gary Emerling and Examiner‘s Michael Neibauer, who report that Walter Fauntroy is backing the referendum. He tells Emerling, ‘In my well-considered view, it is neither logical nor fair to reward citizens with financial benefits when they cannot perform the tasks for which the benefits are given.’
UNDER THE RADAR—-From Neibauer: ‘U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., last week filed a joint resolution to disapprove the council’s action. For Congress to defeat the measure, the resolution must be backed by a majority of both Democratically-controlled Houses and signed by President Barack Obama.’
Jonetta Rose Barras shares some ‘Lessons for Mayor Fenty.’ Some lessons on hubris, that is. ‘I am not ready to join the “kick-him-out posse. I do worry about the increasing dissatisfaction I hear from residents around the city, however. Too many of the critics are people who worked tirelessly in the mayor’s campaign, helping him win every precinct — an unprecedented feat. “I like Adrian. I want him to succeed. But I don’t understand what is happening to him,” one Ward 2 resident recently said to me. That statement, or a version of it, has been repeated to me so often in the past three weeks, it’s fast becoming the city’s unofficial mantra.’ She goes on to cite the precipitous fall of Detroit’s Kwame Kilpatrick as a cautionary tale. And Sharon Pratt Kelly, she writes, ‘can tell him a thing or two about how public perception and a seemingly minor misstep — spending $7,500 for a makeup artist, for example — can converge to annihilate good will. Kelly’s polls numbers during the waning days of her tenure dropped to 13 percent; the rest is history.’
TICKETS, TICKETS EVERYWHERE—-WaTimes’ Emerling reports that about one-half of those who contest tickets have them dismissed, ‘a rate that suggests widespread problems with issuing tickets in a city that plans to expand its use of cameras and officers to dole out even more fines in the coming months.’ Says Jim Graham, ‘If it’s that high, it’s a problem, and we need to really look into it.’ By the numbers: ‘DMV statistics show that of 87,694 citations challenged through April, 43,631 were dismissed by adjudicators while 44,063 were upheld. Nearly 33,000 of the dismissals were granted for violations such as parking at an expired meter, parking in a reserved or illegal space or even parking on a lawn. Roughly 8,000 of the dismissals stemmed from moving violations such as speeding, while nearly 3,000 tickets generated by the city’s photo-radar system out of about 9,000 challenged were kicked to the curb.’
More on Ingmar Guandique‘s court appearance yesterday: In WaPo, Keith Alexander reports that Superior Court Judge Geoffrey M. Alprin has set trial for Jan. 27, 2010; defense attorney Santha Sonenberg asked for more time to prepare, noting ‘that the prosecution had spent eight years investigating Levy’s death.’ Alprin wasn’t buying it. As for the suspect himself, ‘Guandique was aided by a Spanish interpreter during the hearing. He kept his head down and remained silent, except to say, “Si,” when asked whether he understood the charges.’ Next hearing: July 31. Also AP, WTTG-TV.
The D.C. government is trying to identify and remove illegal billboards, Neibauer reports in Examiner, and it’s no easy task. ‘The District’s moratorium on new billboards took effect nearly 80 years ago. Signs in place as of Nov. 30, 1931, were allowed to stay, and most of those that were demolished or removed afterward were not allowed to be replaced. Through 1972, the list of legal billboards was kept up to date. Then the updating stopped — so signs still hanging today may be legal, or not. Nobody knows. “Unfortunately, after contacting the National Archives, the D.C. Archives, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission, we have been unable to find a copy of that authorized list,” Linda Argo [said] in a recent e-mail. “However, we are currently creating an inventory of all legally authorized outdoor signs in the District.”‘
SUMMER JOBS UPDATE—-All 22,000 kids who have signed up have been assigned jobs, Hizzoner reports. WTOP’s Mark Segraves puts it this way: ‘Unlike last year, all of the kids who signed up for the program actually live in the District and will only get paid if they show up for work.’ THE BREAKDOWN—-‘Community Based Organizations: 4,957; Charter Schools: 1,316; Private Sector: 1,186; Federal Government: 782; Mayor’s Conservation Corps: 4,437; Other DC Agencies: 3,790; DCPS Career Pathways: 3,370; DC Dept of Parks and Recreation: 1,426; DDOE Green Summer: 812.’
Metro preps for NextBus relaunch—-for real this time. Writes Kytja Weir in Examiner, ‘Metro has started posting signs at thousands of bus stops around the region touting its Next Bus system. But the program slated to give bus riders a better sense of when the transit agency’s buses will arrive won’t be ready for another month. Callers who try the telephone number on the signs get a cheerful message telling them that Next Bus was suspended in October 2007. Yet Metro said the signs had to go up now to be ready in time for the July 1 relaunch date.’
Bill Turque has still more on the tussle between Michelle Rhee and Vincent Gray over DCPS enrollment figures. ‘Gray is telling constituents that if Rhee is so concerned about the $27.3 million the D.C. Council pulled from the 2010 DCPS budget, she can close the gap by diverting some of the torrent of federal stimulus dollars and other funds available to DCPS. But Rhee says the money is already spoken for….[S]pokeswoman Jennifer Calloway…said this evening that DCPS’ portion of the $76.3 million in stimulus dough has already been rolled into the per-pupil funding formula for 2010. “This money is not an independent piece of the overall budget that can be reallocated at will,” she said. Same for the $42.2 million from Education, which she said is already earmarked for specific reform projects.’
At the National Zoo, 11 stringrays died over the weekend, WaPo’s Petula Dvorak reports, ‘probably the victims of water problems in the Amazonia exhibit’s aquarium.’ That’s more than half of the zoo’s ray population. ‘Zookeepers tested the water as soon as the deaths were discovered and began supplementing the tank with reservoir water after they found low levels of dissolved oxygen, officials said.’ Also WTTG-TV.
Hamil Harris profiles new parks-and-rec director Ximena Hartsock in WaPo’s District Extra. ‘Over the past four years, she has gone from being an assistant principal at Harriett Tubman Elementary School to principal of Ross Elementary School, where her students posted gains in reading and math on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System, and then to the D.C. public schools administrative post.’ And now, to a cabinet position. Says Harry Thomas Jr., whose committee must confirm her, “[S]he has an educational background that is pretty strong.”
Plethora of office developments on tap threaten D.C.’s historically low vacancy rate, writes Tierney Plumb in Biz Journal, summarizing a Cushman & Wakefield report. ‘Inching near 9 million square feet, D.C.’s development pipeline is the highest in the U.S. and remains largely not leased and available. Out of those 22 office projects under construction and renovation in D.C.—-with estimated delivery dates ranging from this quarter to early 2011—-just 24 percent of the space has been leased.’ Particular areas of concern: NoMa, Navy Yard.
Peter Nickles is not giving any ground on toughening his lawyers’ work schedules, Legal Times reports. ‘Nickles told the union that the policy change is supposed to cut costs and to foster “speedy access” to District lawyers.’
The $100,000 won by Giant for selling a winning $144M Powerball ticket to a reclusive Southeast man is going to the Capital Area Food Bank. WaPo: ‘Giant has had a long relationship with the food bank. The donation will go toward construction of a larger distribution center, which will allow twice the amount of food to be distributed throughout the city, said Kim Brown, a vice president with Giant Food.’
WAMU-FM’s David Klatt says District animal investigators say teens are their target in preventing cruelty. ‘[W]hen it comes to dog fighting, their greatest challenge remains convincing urban teens with cruel intentions to pick on someone their own size.’
WUSA-TV follows up on connected murders in U Street and Fort Washington.
More, from Examiner, on Caps, Nats steroid purchase allegations. ‘While interviewing [arrested dealer] Richard Thomas, detectives asked whether he sold steroids to professional athletes. “You name the sport, and I’ve sold steroids to athletes who play it,” Thomas reportedly said….Thomas went a step further and specifically mentioned the Nationals and the Capitals. They were the only teams he mentioned.’
NC8 covers GWBOT panel discussion on economy.
Woman in wheelchair tries opening non-ADA compliant dry cleaner door with foot, breaks the door, WUSA-TV reports. Joan Bowman ‘says nobody asked her if she was OK. She says the woman who runs the cleaners told her it was her fault, and then the woman told her she owed them $500 to fix the door. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Bowman. She refused to pay it.’
FAT CHANCE—-Politico suggests Michelle Fenty as one of the Real Housewives of Washington, D.C.
Writes John Kelly, ‘For four years, it has been [Brian Peterkin-Vertanesian]’s dream to grow the world’s longest eyebrow hair.’ And who was there, in Peterkin-Vertanesian’s Mount Pleasant home, but ‘independent observer’ Jim Graham. After the measuring of the world-record hair—-6 3/8 inches—-Graham said, ‘This is history, and we were part of it.’
Charleston, W.V., columnist: ‘Guns are up in D.C., violence is down’
Washington Kaleidoscope details new fire hydrant rings.
AU does financial literacy workshop for D.C.’s college-bound kids.
Reason blogger says our gay-marriage debate ‘Mangles English Language.’
New York Times newsstand prices going up; now $2 on weekdays, $6 on Sundays.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs and Committee on Housing and Workforce Development joint roundtable on ‘The Impact of Foreclosures on Home Ownership and Affordable Housing in the District of Columbia,’ JAWB 500; Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs meeting on B18-134 (“Raze Permit Community Notification Amendment Act of 2009”), JAWB 500; Committee of the Whole roundtable on PR18-203 (“State Superintendent of Education Kerri L. Briggs Confirmation Resolution of 2009″), JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee on Human Services hearing on B18-180 (“Newborn Safe Haven Act of 2009”), JAWB 412; 3:30 p.m.: Committee on Public Works and Transporation markup of B18-148 (“Transportation Infrastructure Improvements Bond Financing Act of 2009”), JAWB 120; 4 p.m.: Committee on Economic Development markup of PR18-260 (“District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission Bryan Scottie Irving Chairperson Resolution of 2009″), PR18-263 (“District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission Bryan Scottie Irving Chairperson Resolution of 2009″), and PR18-265 (“District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission Viraj V. Gandhi Confirmation Resolution of 2009″), JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:45 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV; 10:30 a.m.: remarks, Park at the Yards groundbreaking, 4th and Tingey Streets SE; 3:15 p.m.: remarks, Fire and EMS achievement announcement; Engine 16, 1018 13th St. NW.