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Morning all. BREAKING: WTOP’s Mark Segraves is reporting that Peter Nickles is a Chinatown resident, living in a 7th Street NW apartment.
Here we go: Congressmen introduce “D.C. Defense of Marriage Act” that says simply, “That in the District of Columbia, for all legal purposes, ‘marriage’ means the union of one man and one woman.” Your introducers are Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.); the bill has 30 cosponsors, one of whom is a Democrat. LL wrote the sucker up, as did Examiner, WaTimes, Blade, AP, WAMU-FM, NC8, Politico, UPI, CBN, Cleveland Plain Dealer ,and WaPo’s Hamil Harris, who reports that Jordan said, “We saw what happened in Iowa. We saw what happened in New Hampshire. And when the D.C. Council did this, this is the national city, this is the national capital of the greatest country in the world, and this is a fight worth getting into, defending that key institution.”
MEANWHILE—-Harry Thomas Jr. tells the Blade he’ll be voting for a full same-sex marriage bill, ‘making him the 11th member of the 13-member Council to inform the Blade in an informal survey of their support for the legislation,’ Lou Chibbaro Jr. writes. ALSO—-‘The National Organization for Marriage, a religious-oriented group that opposes same-sex marriage, began placing radio ads over past two weeks urging city residents to demand that the City Council leave marriage as a union only between one man and one woman. The group so far placed the ads on WHUR-FM, the Howard University radio station. A spokesperson for the station said April 21 was the last day the group had arranged for its ad to air. The ad had been running during popular nationally syndicated programs hosted by Steve Harvey and
Michael Botsden Michael Baisden.’
WaPo’s Tim Craig does a big A1 writeup on the District’s effort to squeeze money out of every driver in the city via parking tickets. Already a national leader in ticketing, D.C. is gearing up for more: ‘The campaign, which comes as the city attempts to close an $800 million shortfall, will target night owls who swarm into neighborhoods on the weekends, residents who don’t have parking permits for specific neighborhoods and anyone who lives on a street that is cleaned weekly by a street sweeper.’ The raw stats: ‘The District now issues about 1.5 million tickets annually—-70 percent to motorists who live outside the city—-not counting red light and speed camera citations. That’s more than triple the number of parking tickets issued in Baltimore. Parking control officers in the District, population 600,000, write about half as many tickets as those in the city of Los Angeles, population 4 million.’ ALSO—-DPW says the ticket-you-in-your-driveway practice ‘is under review.’
DID YOU KNOW?—-‘Officials at AAA Mid-Atlantic…deem the District the most “motorist-unfriendly city” in the nation.’ AAA spokesperson says officials ‘are trying to make the District a car-free zone.’ To which Jim Graham says, “Cars are not a threatened species anywhere in the world, and certainly not here.” Nice!
WUSA-TV covers the Adams Morgan parking sitch, and the performance parking plan now before the council.
The widely anticipated Part II of Harry Jaffe‘s crime-bill jeremiad is here! The columnist says he will ‘double down’ on his earlier claim: ‘I said the crime bill wending its way through the council is the most important legislation the D.C. government will handle in a decade. Let’s make it two — an even 20 years.’ The bill, he writes, addresses a ‘fundamental truth’ here: ‘The nation’s capital city is soft on crime. The scales of justice are weighted toward the bad guys. Too often criminals go unpunished. Our notoriously weak laws are a product of 30 years of lawmakers who favored perps over victims.’
JUST A THOUGHT—-Most of the bill isn’t revolutionizing anything. It’s mostly improvements around the edges. The civil gang injunctions piece of this, though, is indeed bold, and that’s what taking so long. And you know why? Because the people coming to these council hearings will file a lawsuit the first time this thing gets used, and by working with them for an extra couple of weeks, a law might be forged that won’t immediately draw a federal lawsuit, delaying its implementation by months and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands in legal costs.
Michael Neibauer follows up on his police-overtime-fraud scoop in Examiner. Turns out two detectives, Brett Smith and Elbert Griffin, have been removed from street duty pending an investigation, and more may follow. ‘The move to suspend the detectives’ police powers comes more than two months after [Commander Hilton Burton] first brought the matter to the attention of the MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and one month after he laid out his allegations in a whistleblower letter to the D.C. inspector general….In the letter, Burton accused 17 members of the department of overtime fraud.’
Blade has more on the charges filed against the former partner of Superior Court Magistrate Judge Janet Albert. Chibarro writes that Taylar Nuevelle ‘pleaded not guilty to charges that she repeatedly stalked her former partner and burglarized the woman’s home in September 2008.’ Furthermore, ‘The affidavit for her arrest…says Nuevelle allegedly broke into Albert’s home at least twice while Albert was not home. On one occasion, Albert discovered Nuevelle unconscious in the attic of her home, the affidavit says. It says that after calling police and an ambulance, Albert discovered a suicide note that Nuevelle left in her mailbox, which said she had consumed prescription drugs and alcohol.’
Admiral tells Congress that the closing of Walter Reed Army Medical Center is on schedule, but Congress ain’t buying it, reports Christian Davenport in WaPo. ‘Vice Adm. John M. Mateczun‘s comments in a House subcommittee hearing were met with skepticism by powerful Reps. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who said there was no comprehensive plan in place, no clear sense of how much the project would cost and great uncertainty that the 2011 deadline would be met. “If our highest priority is the care of our patients, we are going to fall short,” Moran said. “You’re going right up against the deadline, and there’s no Plan B.”‘ Walter Reed is currently scheduled to close by Sept. 15, 2011.
Public-interest lawyer files Freedom of Information request to get Peter Nickles‘ address, Nikita Stewart reports at D.C. Wire. ‘Paul Alan Levy, an attorney with [Public Citizen], said he was intrigued by the local controversy and decided that the group should get involved. “I’ve sort of been chewing on the fact that this person lives in a fancy suburb…or did live there,” Levy said….The FOIL request asks the city to provide everything from expense reports to voting registration to telephone records showing that he’s made calls from his new D.C. digs.’ And more on disclosure forms: ‘Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) said he has been told that he cannot see the first page of the disclosure form since it has the address on it. Mendelson is protesting.’
Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell profiles DOES head Joseph Walsh, who talks summer jobs: ‘Walsh has resisted calls for scaling back the program — despite its problems. “The program failed on a couple of key administrative pieces that hurt the credibility of the program, but it wasn’t a failure from the youths’ point of view,” he said….The city has not studied the program to statistically quantify its benefits to the city’s youth, and Walsh said, “We need to be more rigorous about that.”…In April, Fenty made a plea to representatives from 20 of the city’s top employers, asking each to take 25 and 100 youths. “They all said yes,” Walsh said. Employers that are taking more than 50 youths include Carpenter’s Youth Services, Singa Inc. and The Washington Times.’
ALSO—-Bit of a swipe at Kwame Brown here: ‘There are about 3,000 [First Source] agreements on the books, and the average portion of workers from D.C. is about 36 percent, Walsh said. The way to increase that figure is by working with employers, rather than getting tougher on enforcement, he said. “I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere approaching it as an enforcement problem.”‘
O’Connell also covers yesterday’s finance and revenue committee hearings on tax-break legislation for struggling developers. He ledes with Chris Donatelli, who wants $8.5M in commercial property tax abatements for developments in Columbia Heights and Petworth. Said Donatelli, ‘”We have never before found it necessary to request a public subsidy or tax abatement.” But he said that rents weren’t what he had hoped for to this point. “We’ve realized lower rents than we expected on these units,” he said.’ Also on their knees: Union Station Redevelopment Corp. (@$50M), Metropolitan Development ($20.3M), Perseus Realty ($138K), Studio Theatre, and KIPP DC.
Owners of used car lots jaw to NC8 about the Fenty crusade to put them out of business. ‘They say the mayor’s trying to drive them all out of business, and the mayor didn’t exactly contradict that Thursday. “Used car lots are blighted, they bring too much blight to a community,” Fenty said….Fenty’s tow trucks have been busy for months, shutting down more than one hundred lots that he says were just storing old cars for trans-shipment to Africa or other places overseas. But Fenty is now going after long-time dealers like Jimmy Route, they say, telling them they must construct buildings to house their cars, and limiting the number parked outside to no more than four or five.’
City pools are open! Before Memorial Day! And they’re still free! Kudos to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who, though you may rarely hear about it from LL, still does a great thing or two on occasion.
More on Victor MacFarlane‘s exit from D.C. United, from Biz Journal‘s Tierney Plumb: ‘MacFarlane came to D.C. with high hopes of expanding his real estate holdings. In addition to investing in Monument Realty’s Half Street project, Forest City Washington’s The Yards and Jair Lynch‘s Solea condominium project, MacFarlane wanted to build a new stadium for United as part of a mixed-use complex at Poplar Point. When negotiations with Mayor Adrian Fenty stalled, the city issued a solitication for the site and his hopes were basically dashed. MacFarlane then tried to negotiate a deal for a new stadium in Prince George’s County, but the county council balked at those plans as well. “In the beginning Victor was the lead, visibly, and [Will Chang] was more recessed. He will be more visible at this point and stay active in management,” said Julie Chase, a spokeswoman for the team. “Victor’s intention was to leave the team in good hands. He needed to let go and refocus on his business in real estate investment management.”‘ See also WaPo’s Soccer Insider.
WAPO BRIEFS—-Man shot early yesterday in Marshall Heights is ID’d as Marcus Jones, 26; Marcel Cross, 18, charged in February killing of Clinton, Md., man in Anacostia; and Timothy T. Fitzpatrick, 19, charged with December stabbing murder of homeless man in Brentwood (also WTTG-TV).
Due to nearby construction, Second Baptist Church has been ordered to close for repairs, forcing the congregation to worship at Walker-Jones ES, writes WaTimes ‘CITIZEN JOURNALIST’ Lyndia Grant . ‘The walls of the church at 816 Third St. NW in the Mount Vernon Square area are cracked, the ceiling is falling down, and the pastor, the Rev. Dr. James E. Terrell, said the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) advised him that the church is not safe for use….Eighteen months ago, when Quadrangle Development Corp. began construction work, the church was secured as required, but damage starting occurring slowly. It reached a crisis point about six weeks ago. Quadrangle is responsible for completing the repair work for the church, and the contractors are paying for the church to rent the school for its services, Mr. Terrell said.’
Still no word on what caused the Benning Heights house explosion, Karen Gary-Houston reports for WTTG-TV. The victim has been ID’d as Vernon McCoy—-‘He now has second and third-degree burns over most of his body.’
In other congressional meddling: House GOP members introduce legislation to fund vouchers, Bill Turque reports in WaPo, briefly. Your introducers are Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.). ‘Boehner said in a statement yesterday that District schoolchildren have been unfairly caught in the middle of a political fight and that the program deserves to be fully funded. “Ending it at the behest of powerful special interests would be shameful,” Boehner said.’
Missed this earlier in the week: President Barack Obama has tapped former D.C. police chief Ike Fulwood to head the U.S. Parole Commission. He’s been on the panel since 2004.
Already this year, Examiner reports, NPS reports 22 river-safety incidents on the Potomac. That’s a lot. ‘The Potomac River Safety Task Force, which is a coalition of police, park rangers, and fire and rescue teams, gathered on the river gorge Thursday to reinforce park safety guidelines. The catchphrase of the day was “respect.” “Respect of the river is a must and it is not negotiable,” said Bob Zoldos, Fairfax fire and rescue operations chief.’ Also: MPD to crack down on drunk boaters. WAMU-FM, WUSA-TV also cover.
From WaPo Going Out Gurus, on closings of Adams Morgan bars for lack of food sales: ‘There was a big meeting at Jim Graham’s office yesterday with representatives from the ANC, neighborhood groups, the bars, the business district, etc. Basically, the long and short of it is that Bobby Lew’s and Bossa are appealing to the District Court, and they’ll be open until that case ends. Given the speed at which justice works in D.C., I have a feeling they’ll be open for a while.’
Blade: Frank Kameny and Lilli Vincenz will be honored at this year’s Capital Pride, along with Andrew Abell (aka Blair Michaels), David Lett (aka Lena Lett), Ellen Kahn, Margaret Murray, Donna Payne, and Bob Witeck.
DDOT moves forward with prep for I-395 Center Leg air-rights project, Beyond DC reports.
New “pocket park” for Shaw.
OPM issues “Green Building Guide, Biz Journal reports, ‘to walk its agency project managers through the design and construction process to win the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. City agencies must adhere to the D.C. Green Building Act, which began requiring last year that substantial publicly funded building projects achieve LEED’s silver status or above.’
ALSO—-801 17th St. NW, owned by Louis Dreyfus Property Group and bulit by Clark Construction, is the first building in D.C. to be certified LEED Platinum.
Per bag bill, Biz Journal editor approaches the poop problem.
Is the Blade for sale?
Former city beatster Eric Weiss has left WaPo, GGW reports.
LIVE IN VIRGINIA?—-The WaPo ed board wants you to vote for Creigh Deeds.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled—-four day weekend!
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Wheatley School playground groundbreaking, Wheatley Education Campus, 1200 Morse St. NE.
NOTA BENE—-LLD is taking Monday off!