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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Jim Graham: I Am Not Trying to Abolish the Jumbo Slice!“; “Clark Ray for D.C. Council Draft Committee Reveals Itself“
Morning all. Now, Mr. Mayor, was that so hard? Nikita Stewart‘s Monday story about how Mayor Adrian M. Fenty had old buddy and District contractor Keith Lomax driving him around in his city-owned SUV prompted a rare show of next-day humility from Hizzoner: “I made a bad decision,” Fenty said. “I’m not going to do that anymore….No more letting anyone else drive.” Now he doesn’t go so far to admit that what happened was illegal, but, “Nonetheless, it shouldn’t have happened and won’t happen again.” (Also WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.) Good on ya, Mr. Mayor—-now watch how quickly, barring further developments, this story disappears—-unlike, say, travel or tickets.
ACTUALLY—-Looks like Lomax is going to get the worst of this. From Stewart’s story: ‘His “principal residence” is in Fort Washington, according to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. But D.C. voting records show that he was registered to vote in the city last year and cast a ballot in the February 2008 primary. He listed a home address on Minnesota Avenue NE, the same address used for his business on city contracts and purchase orders. When being weighed against other companies for contracts, RBK received preference points for being a “resident owned business,” according to records of the Department of Small and Local Business Development.’
Guantanamo detainees in D.C. Jail? Says Peter Nickles in a broad WaTimes interview, “If [President Obama] said he’d want us to do it, we’d do it.” He would, however, have a ‘few questions’ for Eric Holder. The more pressing problem, he says, are ‘more than 10’ Colombian ‘narcoterrorists’ being housed in D.C. facilities ahead of federal court proceedings. ‘”Some of these individuals have connections to the FARC, some of them may be lower level, some of them are probably higher level,” Mr. Nickles said. “You put all those people together in one area and there could be mischief.”‘ In other matters: No referendum on gay marriage should be held; DCHVRA is dead barring presidential intervention. And Nickles ‘said Mr. Fenty, now in the third year of his term, is the same politician who knocked on the doors of residents on his way to winning all of the city’s 142 precincts in the 2006 mayoral election, despite recent criticisms that the mayor has grown arrogant as his bid for re-election approaches….”I think he’s more frustrated. He’s a young guy who wants to do things quickly.”‘
The Clark Ray for D.C Council draft movement reveals itself. LL had the announcement first; also chek items in D.C. Wire and Examiner. Says Ray to Hamil Harris, “I am going to sit down, talk with my partner, talk with my family and then I will meet with residents from across the city and then I will share my vision for the city that I call home and love and take it from their.” He tells Michael Neibauer, “I was not caught off guard, but just overwhelmed…I did not know the depth of the support that was out there.” Oh, yeah—-he’s running.
Is Michael A. Brown pondering a mayoral run? This is what he tells the Brookland Heartbeat at an April ANC meeting: ‘Mr. Brown did not dismiss the suggestion that he was running for Mayor in 2010. “It’s no secret,” said Mr. Brown. “People talk about it all the time that there is going to be a race between me and Adrian.”‘ He gave a speech to the Brookland ANC that ‘painted a picture of the District becoming a place of haves and have-nots, where longtime residents are pushed aside in favor of newcomers. Mr. Brown said it was time to decide “who this city is for,” explaining “we shouldn’t have to kick our folks out to make room for the new people.”…Mr. Brown criticized Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee for insufficient transparency and lack of communication. Mr. Brown also criticized the District’s school modernization program for failing to address what he said were the real problems facing District youth: lack of vocational/technical schools, gunfire, excessive video game playing, and lack of neighborhood amenities such as grocery stores.’
ALSO IN HEARTBEAT—-A great story about how Harry Thomas Jr. wrote a letter of support for developer EYA’s St. Paul’s College project a day after EYA decided to give $40,000 payment to an organization formed by Thomas as part of a community benefits package. ‘The organization, called the Ward 5 Business Council, had been created by Mr. Thomas six weeks before, in May 2008. Mr. Thomas appointed the organization’s three board members: staff member Vicky Leonard, and Ward 5 residents Andre Tyler and James Grayton….EYA Vice President Jack Lester was emphatic that EYA’s $55,000 donation to the Ward 5 Business Council was unconnected to Mr. Thomas’ letter of support for the project.’ Also: Did Fenty screw Thomas on Ward 5 streetscape projects?
Police are investigating whether the shooting death of a man at a Northwest nightclub is related to the double slaying of a couple in a Fort Washington home the same night. First, Carl Ashton O’Neil Gray Fitzgerald, 25, was shot to death near the Pure nightclub at 13th and U Streets NW. A half-hour later, Audrey Bryant, 48, and boyfriend, Keith Jordan, 44, are shot in what P.G. Police call a ‘targeted assassination.’ Writes WaPo, ‘A law enforcement source said the two were longtime friends of the man fatally shot in the District….One of Bryant’s sons reportedly performed Monday night at Pure, according to law enforcement sources.’ Also WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
Ingmar Guandique pleads not guilty to killing Chandra Levy.
Harry Jaffe continues to atone for his crime-bill antics. His latest column is ostensibly about his own difficulties with the Office of Tax and Revenue, but the real meat is when he takes a well-deserved look at Deborah Robinson, the federal judge handling the Marion Barry tax case. ‘A graduate of Morgan State University and Emory University Law School, Robinson is no friend of the government. She served as a federal prosecutor in D.C., but once on the bench, she often slammed the feds — and average Americans….She was the judge who dismissed the lawsuit against Iran by survivors and families of victims of the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia — for lack of evidence, despite testimony by FBI Director Louis Freeh….Robinson’s son, Phillip Robinson Winkfield, was arrested in Baltimore last year for dealing heroin and having an arsenal of handguns and rifles. She was in court last month when he was sentenced for heroin trafficking. Perhaps that’s why Robinson lambasted prosecutors for not proving their case that Barry should serve some time. I was in court when she grilled the prosecutors, rather than Barry. Her ruling sounded vindictive to me.’
Neibauer covers the tax break being requested by Union Station’s property managers. For those of you with a deep interest in local taxation, it’s a must-read: ‘Legislation introduced by Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells and Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans would replace the station’s $3 million-a-year “possessory interest” tax bill with a payment in lieu of taxes of $253,000 annually….[Office and retail lessee Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.] is subject to the city’s possessory interest tax, a levy on all leases held by for-profit companies doing business on tax-exempt federal property. The rate is the same as the District’s commercial property tax….Replacing the tax bill with a payment in lieu of taxes would deprive the District’s coffers of $15 million through 2013, according to city Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, and potentially $50 million through 2024.’
Bill Turque has the latest DCPS org chart at D.C. Wire: Chief of Schools Tracy Martin and Chief of Teaching and Learning Sherry Ulery are out; a new chief academic officer, yet to be hired, is in.
In wake of Examiner piece on local houses of ill repute, Muriel Bowser calls for a ‘comprehensive brothel investigation,’ Freeman Klopott reports. ‘Bowser, who has oversight of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, said Tuesday that she would meet with DCRA investigators to push them to be more aggressive in their pursuit of brothels that hide behind the facade of massage parlors. “We have to address this comprehensively,” Bowser said. “DCRA has to play a role, the police, and the Office of the Attorney General has to be active, too.”‘
On WaPo A1, Lena Sun covers Metro’s new campaign to urge riders to give up those seats for the pregnant, elderly, and disabled to the pregant, elderly, and disabled. ‘The manners movement coincides with the start of warm weather, Metro’s busiest season. The transit authority is reminding riders that the four seats near the center doors of each rail car are reserved for seniors, the disabled and others in need. More visible signs with arrows pointing to the seats are being installed in the cars. Ads are also going up inside the cars and Metrorail stations. Metro is making announcements in stations and on trains. There’s even a YouTube video….The message: If you sit in one of those seats and you’re not a senior or someone with a disability, it’s your responsibility to give the seat to someone who needs it. Metro spokeswoman Angela Gates likened it to sitting in an airplane exit row: “If you don’t want to take that responsibility, don’t sit there.”‘
In WaPo, Allison Klein and Nelson Hernandez note a ‘Dramatic Rescue’ performed by D.C. first responders after motorists are trapped in Northeast flood. ‘[I]n areas such as the District’s Rhode Island Avenue near the CSX railroad tracks, where storm drains were blocked with trash, water quickly rose four or five feet high. And in the 5 a.m. darkness, it was almost impossible to tell how deep it was. “These folks, I’m sure, didn’t see it coming,” said [Kevin Sloan], the D.C. battalion chief. They were treated for hypothermia but were not seriously injured, he said.’ Also Examiner, WaTimesNC8, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV.
Courtland Milloy, in his WaPo column, turns to Jim Graham and his supposed war on commuters. ‘As chairman of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, Graham is a driving force behind the city’s aggressive—-some say oppressive—-two-part traffic control program….[T]here’s part two: the talking war, aimed at commuters in particular. “I am determined to slow these people down,” Graham said. “I know it bucks the suburban tradition of thinking they can come into the city and drive recklessly and park in front of fire hydrants or anywhere they want, but I apologize to no one about enforcing our traffic laws. Get used to it. People are already calling me the ‘King of the Speed Bumps.'”‘ Graham singles out Marylanders: ‘”My ward has most of the major north-south commuter routes cutting through it, so I know how reckless these people can be,” he said. “The commuters from Montgomery County who think 13th Street is Route 1 and who think Connecticut Avenue is Route 66 and people from Prince George’s who drive through the city like they are on Route 50….Oh, no, no, no. Those days are over.”‘
CHIMING IN—-WaPo reader, from Alexandria: ‘I believe Mayor Adrian M. Fenty was being disingenuous when he claimed that the District’s plan to beef up parking enforcement is not about generating revenue. I’m sure this effort is indeed about the money—-to the point of further corrupting an already mismanaged system.’
Ground is broken on MPD evidence warehouse, finally: ‘D.C. teamed with Akridge to build the storage facility at the site of the former D.C. Village emergency shelter, which shuttered in late 2007,’ writes Tierney Plumb in Biz Journal. ‘The design phase of the 30,000 square-foot warehouse has been completed….Amenities will include computer-automated storage system for logging and retrieval of evidence, secure and controlled access to all areas, video event logging of transactions, bar code scanning and refrigerated units for storing DNA samples.’ Also Housing Complex, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV.
D.C. area home prices: Down 18.4 percent from a year ago, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. ‘The price declines in the Washington region are not as severe as in other parts of the country, but help reinforce fears that home prices will not begin to stabilize this year, despite glimmers of improvement in some of the nation’s hardest hit areas,’ writes Renae Merle in WaPo. Also Biz Journal.
Biz Journal’s Vandana Sinha has more on the proposed Pepco rate hike. ‘For an average homeowner who uses 750 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, their bills would increase by $6.43, from a typical $106.26 to $112.69 a month. The additional payments would add up to a total $51.7 million, which the utility said it needs to counter-balance increased pension expenses, inflation and capital investments to keep up with increased electricity demands.’
Examiner does its 3 Minute Interview with Destination D.C.’s Bill Hanbury. ‘It’s certainly a tough economy nationally for the hospitality industry, but we’ve only seen a slight downturn in visitation. Actually, hotel occupancy is only down about 2 percent, while other parts of the country have seen much steeper declines….People are staying closer to home. They’re spending less money. They’re thinking more economically. And they’re staying a shorter amount of time….All of that stuff plays into D.C.’s hand, in a good way, I think. I wouldn’t want to be Orlando or the Grand Canyon.’
BEWARE—-Click It or Ticket on Thursday at Eastern and Rhode Island.
Michelle Rhee will be heading to Aspen, Colo., in June once again for the Aspen Institute’s ‘Ideas Festival.’
The Daily Northwestern does Q&A with incoming law student, outgoing budget director Will Singer. ‘Law school is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time as something to do for my career. As interesting as things are with the stimulus and the changing economy and what I think is a very exciting example of leadership in Mayor Fenty, I think it’s time for me personally to head to school….Anytime you work for a politician, you don’t necessarily have anything to fall back on. There could be an election tomorrow and the day after, you find yourself looking for a job. What I’ve really come to appreciate, working with so many lawyers in city and state government, is that they’re the people who really help work through the legal issues, the personnel issues, the preparedness issues that are too often the barriers to getting things done. I wanted to go to law school to acquire those skills that really translate into action.’
Andy Altman, former Williams administration planning director, has left his job as Philadelphia deputy mayor to head London redevelopment outfit.
WaTimes ‘CITIZEN JOURNALIST’ covers Michael Brown’s May 13 hearing on the history of ‘self-determination’ in the District.
Did accused Florida steroid dealers give drugs to Caps, Nats players?
H Street Country Club finally opening!
‘Real Housewives of D.C.’: It’s coming.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation roundtable on Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and childcare background regulations, JAWB 500; 2:30 p.m.: Committee on Public Works and Transportation hearing on B18-148 (“Transportation Infrastructure Improvements Bond Financing Act of 2009”), JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Summer Youth Employment Program announcement, Ridgecrest Village, 2000 Ridgecrest Court SE; 3 p.m.: remarks, J.O. Wilson field and playground announcement, J.O. Wilson ES, 660 K St. NE.