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Last Thursday, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Attorney General Peter Nickles held a press conference and made a big show about how the D.C. Council—-especially Councilmember Phil Mendelson—-needed to move a sprawling anti-crime bill now pending in Mendelson’s committee.
Well, before that can happen, Mendelson has made it clear the bill will be subject to a full round of hearings. Today, dozens are expected to testify on the legislation, including top executive officials.
Make that some were expected to testify.
If you tune into Channel 13 at the moment, you’ll see the cameras focused on the District seal above the council dais—-Mendelson recessed the hearing after a top legal official, Senior Assistant Attorney General David Rosenthal, didn’t show for his testimony on key components of the crime bill.
Mendelson, LL is told, is now walking the John A. Wilson Building, trying to track down Nickles to find out what is going on.
UPDATE, 12 P.M.: Mendelson has restarted the hearing. Rosenthal still hasn’t shown. Mendelson says that he spoke to Nickles, and that he indicated that AG’s office will only testify once, at the end of the hearing, rather the participate in individual panels devoted to each issue contained in the bill. “He will be coming at the end of the hearing,” Mendelson says, noting that Nickles has decided “not to participate in this panel format, which is issue-focused.”
UPDATE, 1:05 P.M.: Mendelson’s sent a letter [PDF] to Fenty: “When I called for executive branch testimony regarding the first issue on this morning’s hearing agenda there was nobody—-nobody—-from your administration in the Chamber…It is extremely disappointing that the Executive is withholding witnesses. I trust you understand that Council process cannot be dictated by the Executive. This unwillingness to cooperate is an affront—-to the Council as well as the importance of this legislation.”