City Paper is not for tourists
Morning all. A whole heck of a lot of news happened since the last time you read LL Daily—-Hizzoner’s right-hand man has been sent off to Obamaland, a longstanding squabble has been squashed, and a police shooting put the spotlight once again on violence in this city. Much of the city government, however, is out of town today, at the yearly International Council of Shopping Centers confab in Las Vegas. That includes Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, and a handful of other councilmembers. Fenty, of course, has not advertised the trip, and WRC-TV has this anonymous slam from a ‘staff member’: ‘If the convention were in Kansas City instead of Las Vegas, the mayor would still need to go. But I don’t know how many council members would still go.’
LAST TANGO AT THE WILSON BUILDING—-Dan Tangherlini was sent off to a top Treasury post by Fenty and the entirety of his cabinet on Friday afternoon. WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood had the news first. Writes WaPo, ‘Tangherlini, who has worked for the federal and local governments for more than a decade, has always been considered a star on the Democratic mayor’s staff. The Obama administration approached him, according to city government sources….For months, D.C. Council members and others have privately quipped that Tangherlini was so good at his job that he was the one running the city, not Fenty. “What time will prove is that statement’s false,” Tangherlini said in an interview. “The mayor certainly runs the government.”‘ Also WaTimes, Biz Journal, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
The ticket tussle comes to a quiet end, with Neil Albert handing the Nats billets over as his first act as city administrator. WTOP’s Mark Segraves says he broke the news, beating LL by five nimutes, and WaPo unearths this fab bit of color: ‘The standoff was even evident during the weekend’s Dragon Boat Festival on the Potomac River. After a boat sponsored by the council defeated one sponsored by the mayor, council staffers started singing “Take [Us] Out to the Ball Game,” and chanting “Give us our tickets!” one council member said.’ Kwame Brown says he will push on with his auction-the-tickets legislation. Also WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
QUESTION—-What was Ted Lerner doing at the Wilson Building Friday?
Colby King puts it all together: ‘Adrian Fenty is not invincible. There’s dissatisfaction in the land, not overwhelming but hard to ignore. The mayor out and about in the District of Columbia is not the candidate who captured all 142 precincts in the 2006 Democratic mayoral primary. There’s a different man in office today. People seem to know it….There is a certain haughtiness in Fenty’s bearing, a trace of scorn in his demeanor, a sense of self-importance that was not present (or at least was not noticeable) in him before. The word that comes to mind, and which frequently slips out of the mouths of people who spend time observing the mayor, is “arrogance.”‘ As proof, he namechecks travelgate, ticketgate, PERBgate, and his ‘[r]efusal to consider the possibility that Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is not always right.’
In themail, Gary Imhoff piles on, asks his readers for names of potential challengers. ‘Fenty has squandered the affection that many of his supporters felt for him two years ago; his only passionate supporters today are the developers with whom he trades favors and those who want to shrink DC’s public school system because of their opposition to teachers unions. And he has alienated many communities that were his core supporters. If you have to place your bet on the mayoral race before any challengers announce, bet on the mayor. But don’t bet now if you don’t have to.’
The Ward 8 Democrats gathered Saturday afternoon at the Washington Highlands Library and voted to support a pro-gay-marriage resolution. LL, several other reporters, and another 40 or so visitors joined the 33 registered ward Democrats who actually voted, 21-11, for the measure. Marion Barry, originally scheduled to argue the anti-marriage point, was no-show for medical reasons (Ward 8 Dems president Sandy Allen explained that a doctor wanted him to submit to some tests), leaving the Rev. Patrick J. Walker of New Macedonia Baptist Church to defend the position against the strong advocacy of Phil Pannell and the Rev. Dennis Wiley of Covenant Baptist, just up the street. For a more complete rundown, check Nikita Stewart‘s account in WaPo.
Meanwhile, in Examiner, Bill Myers examines the racial divide on same-sex marriage. He speaks to former Ward 7 school board candidate Ralph Chittams, who opposes gay marriages but makes this good point: “It doesn’t matter whether you’re straight or gay: You should not be able to go down to the courthouse and get a marriage license…Anybody who goes down to the courthouse, all you should get is a certificate of a civil union.” Also, Myers asks: ‘Will gay marriage cause blacks to divorce the Democratic Party?’ Harry Jackson says yes!
Jackson responds to Ward 8 vote: ‘Everyone knows that straw vote campaigns are a part of political “sleight of hand.” The side that needs the most credibility buses in many voters from other parts of the city to attempt to drum up support for their side. It’s amazing the “academy award winning performances” that people will put on when buses, stipends, and professional organizers are paid for.’
Also on the gay marriage beat, check Barry’s Friday interview with NPR’s Tell Me More, the Socialist Worker’s coverage and Marc Fisher‘s sit-down with good ol’ Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the freshman Republican and ranking of the House committee overseeing the District. Hard to beat this lede: ‘Lying on his cot in the Longworth House Office Building in the small of the night, Jason Chaffetz had a scary dream: The conservative Republican from Utah had beaten the odds, defeated an incumbent and made it to Washington, only to end up by some bizarre twist of events arm-in-arm with Marion Barry, the crack-smoking laughingstock former mayor of the District of Columbia….”Oh man, if I had run a campaign saying I’d be working closely with Marion Barry, I don’t know that I would have been elected,” Chaffetz says.’ Fisher nails the guy nicely here: ‘Chaffetz speaks with forked tongue on the democracy question. He says it’s fair and appropriate that someone like him should apply Utah values in making choices for the people of the District, yet he concedes that Washingtonians “should have full representation.” He says he feels compelled to listen to D.C. residents, yet he has not bothered to meet with gay advocates, or any member of the D.C. Council, or even with the church members who he says support his view.’
REALLY?—-The ‘only Washington restaurant the congressman frequents’ is Five Guys. Yeesh. No wonder he’s so constipated.
It was a violent weekend in the District of Columbia, the undeniable centerpiece of which was an early Saturday shooting that left two cops wounded and an 18-year-old dead a block from LL’s office. Here’s the WaPo narrative of the incident: ‘It was about 3 a.m. in Adams Morgan when a fight erupted, and someone in the crowd pulled out a gun, police and witnesses said. Two shots rang out. Suddenly, undercover officers working in the area appeared, one pulling out a badge and ordering the gunman to put down his weapon, police said. Instead, the young man ran away, and two plainclothes officers began chasing him. The man turned and fired. One officer was hit in the lower back, below his bulletproof vest, and the other in the leg, police said. The officers fired back and fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Griffin near Kalorama Road and Champlain Street in Northwest Washington.’ Also WUSA-TV.
Needless to say, the violence comes an an opportune time for those pushing the Fenty anti-crime bill through the council. Without mentioning this weekend’s events, and without getting anti-Mendo, the WaPo editorial board calls for the Fenty measures to be enacted by summer. Interesting: ‘Since the proposal’s introduction, the Fenty administration, [Phil Mendelson], the Public Defenders Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have hashed out some sensible compromises that have increased civil liberties protections in the bill. For example, the administration first argued that prosecutors need prove only “by the preponderance of the evidence” that a designated gang member had violated an injunction. The administration has since agreed to make prosecutors’ burden tougher by requiring them to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the injunction was breached. Nevertheless, the program must be closely monitored once enacted to guard against overreach by law enforcement.’ MEANWHILE—-WaTimes’ Gary Emerling has a story today on Mendo’s plans for the bill; nothing will be ready for June legislative meeting, he says, but Peter Nickles says, ‘I think we can get nine members to get it done on June 2.’
FINALLY—-The Fenty administration has issued the long-delayed inclusionary zoning regulations, Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell reports. Well, sort of: ‘[T]he published rules say they are not applicable until 90 days pass or until after a rent and price schedule — which sets the prices for affordable units — is published, whichever is later, and the administration did not include that schedule in the published rules.’ DMPED says it’ll be coming in 90 days. (LL covered this a year-and-a-half ago!)
REALLY?—-The Department of Corrections has apparently banned jeans-wearing lawyers from entering the D.C. Jail, Examiner reports. Lawyer, UDC prof Stephen Mercer is trying to figure out what’s going on.
CFO projections say that the Tommy Wells bag bill will indeed drastically cut disposable-bag use, Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner. ‘Within the first year of the tax, [Nat Gandhi] said, the city would see a 50 percent reduction in the number of disposable bags used, or a 135 million bag cut. By 2011, the reduction jumps to 60 percent, 70 percent by 2012 and 80 percent by 2013. All told, Gandhi wrote, the District would reduce the number of disposable bags used by 270 million over the next four years.’
BACK TO GENPOP—-DCPS says it’s moving away from segragting emotionally disturbed kids in alternative schools, WAMU-FM’s Kavitha Cardoza reports, and moving toward placing them in traditional schools. Also: Rhee on enrollment-based budget cuts.
Jonetta Rose Barras admirably covers efforts by arbitrarily fired District employees to change how “at-will” employment works in the D.C. government. Harry Thomas says he’s ‘working towards possible introduction’ of MSS reform legislation. But Barras closes with this contradictory blather: ‘I’m a fan of “at will” employment….But, given recent actions by the executive and allegations of abuse of the system, the council should step in. Immediately halting all “without cause” MSS terminations and amending the law to give employees appeal rights seem a prudent course, until it can determine what’s really happening.’
Vince Gray writes WaPo op-ed piece on issue close to his heart: youth baseball in Ward 7. Plans for a youth baseball academy ‘are being held up by stalled negotiations between the District and the federal government,’ he writes—-in particular, the National Park Service’s insistence on a “reversionary clause” on the land transfer. ‘This provision calls for the return of the property to the Park Service if there is noncompliance on many requirements that have nothing to do with the mandate that the land be used for recreation….The District believes such conditions can be enforced through means other than reversion. This broad reversion clause would put planned public and private investments in the project at substantial risk and make it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain such financing.’
Gray had some strong words for Nevada Sen. John Ensign at a Thursday D.C. for Democracy/Drinking Liberally confab, blogger Art Levine reports. “Why don’t you run for D.C. Council if you want to be all up in our business? I have no doubt he’d go down to a resounding defeat,” said Gray, described as ‘nattily-dressed, somewhat nerdy, but still folksy.’
The District says it has settled with a pair of auto title lenders sued by AG Peter Nickles, Hamil Harris writes in WaPo, for breaking usury laws. Under the $1M-plus settlement, ‘Nickles said more than 650 D.C. residents who obtained loans from Nov. 24, 2007, to this month will be eligible to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds under the terms of the settlement. One such person is a 67-year-old retiree who paid more than $2,000 because of interest payments on a $1,500 loan.’ That’s assuming there actually is a settlement: ‘Michael Lester, president of CashPoint, said in an interview: “There is no signed agreement. Mr. Nickles has put me in a very difficult position. We are cooperating, and they are working with us, but this caught us completely by surprise. They gave us no warning, and I am astounded.”‘
Neibauer covers federal legislation that would help the D.C. National Guard offer college aid, allowing ‘the Washington branch to compete in recruiting with its suburban neighbors.’ Why are feds doing this? Because there’s no incentive for the locals to get involved: ‘Only the president has the authority to call up the D.C. Guard, so the local branch receives most of its funding from the federal government. Norton’s legislation provides up to $5,500 annually in financial aid to any member of the D.C. Guard who commits to the branch for a minimum of six years.’
Harry Jaffe wants the Lerner family to get some advice from Caps owner Ted Leonsis on how to build a successful and beloved sports franchise. ‘The Lerner family deserves more time. They are new at this game. They are starting to make the right moves. They signed franchise player Ryan Zimmerman to a solid, long-term contract. They brought on slugger Adam Dunn. They have a rising star hurler in Shairon Martis. But the team’s fielding and bullpen are miserable. The first can be fixed with practice; the Lerners need to spend some money on their backup pitching staff. And it would help their ranking among fans and the community if they would become more accessible.’
LACHES—-Federal appeals judges say Redskins can keep calling themselves the Redskins, WaPo reports—-not on the merits of the case, mind you, but because the plaintiff waited too long to bring his case, which dates to 1992. ‘Suzan Shown Harjo, one of the activists, said a group of younger Native Americans was ready to challenge the trademarks if any appeals are unsuccessful,’ Del Wilber writes. Also Biz Journal.
Gang of about a dozen thieves rush Logan Circle store Wednesday evening, rob the place blind.
Another body pulled from the Potomac near Chain Bridge; could be kayaker gone missing earlier this month.
Northeast resident Demetrius E. Prince, 17, died early Saturday after crashing his car at high speed on the 5000 block of 7th Street NW.
Yet another defense of vouchers in the pages of the Washington Post, this time from Sidwell Friends honcho Bruce B. Stewart. ‘Recently, two of our students came to the school as a result of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, and three came through the privately funded Signature Scholarship initiative. They have all thrived at Sidwell Friends, taking full advantage of the school’s varied and rigorous programs. While I felt we would proffer great service to them, there was no doubt in my mind that they, in turn, would significantly enrich our school community.’
WaTimes goes off on traffic-camera expansion: ‘The District has stamped the obnoxious quip “Taxation Without Representation” on its license plates since 2000 to protest its lack of voting members in Congress. That slogan is apt in this case, as numerous traffic cameras are placed on the outskirts of the city to target Maryland and Virginia commuters coming and going to work. Maryland residents receive 64 percent of the District’s photo tickets. This makes Mr. Fenty’s proposal a ripe form of taxation without representation. The District practices what its license plates preach against.’
WaPo’s Avis Thomas-Lester remembers Tom Blagburn, the former director of community policing and youth gang intervention for MPD (previously remembered by Harry Jaffe). ‘With his jovial manner and cardigan sweaters, Tom was good-natured, but he was also one of the most insistent, most relentless, most intense champions of the city’s young people—-those who were on the right track, those who found themselves caught in the criminal justice system and those who were struggling to find their way back after running afoul of the law….When Tom called reporters, he always had a good story, even though sometimes we couldn’t tell it. After I stopped covering the District and moved to the suburbs several years ago, he’d still call. “If you can’t write it, you should make sure somebody else does it,” he would tell me.’
WaPo’s Petula Dvorak covers the annual Blessing of the Fleet, held yesterday in the Washington Channel. ‘The blessing of the fleet is a salty, ancient tradition that began when boats were made of reeds or wood and mariners could be at sea for months or years. But today, when even a relatively humble pleasure craft can be outfitted with a GPS device, satellite weather data, autopilot, radar, night vision technology and sonar, the blessing of the fleet remains important to modern seafarers, said Roger Thiel, who has lived aboard a boat at Gangplank Marina for 20 years and yesterday announced each boat as it came down the channel and slowed for the blessing. “This is an appeal for safety,” he said.’
Mary Cheh delivers commencent address to GWU students: ‘”You are never stuck, you are never trapped, you can always act, you can always move,” said Cheh, who is also a GW Law School professor. “In the name of heaven, act, don’t just whine.” Cheh said if students are miserable in their situation, they should not accept it, but instead negotiate. And if the negotiations fail, try and find the good in the position.’
Little interest in girls’ softball at D.C. public schools, WaPo’s Alan Goldenbach reports.
AP covers downtown church razing order.
WaTimes prints piece about D.C. Council interns, written by D.C. Council intern. ‘Interns receive weekly training covering subjects such as customer relations, etiquette and public speaking. They also are required to volunteer with community service projects like Food and Friends.’
Fenty, Kevin Chavous appear at Brown v. Board anniversary rally with Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Al Sharpton.
Had trouble replacing a broken SmarTrip card? So did this guy.
Metrorail riders: You’re smart and rich. Metrobus riders: Umm…
WaTimes says the most crime-ridden Metro stations, mostly in Prince George’s, aren’t getting exterior security cameras.
Also in Examiner: Vent at mycommutesucks.org!
Adams National Bank not doing so great.
Rep. Roy Blunt‘s homestead deduction: Still under review, says Roll Call.
Three hospitalized after Friday dog attack.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary hearing on B18-138 (“Omnibus Anti-Crime Amendment Act of 2009”) and B18-151 (“Public Safety and Justice Amendments Act of 2009”), JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled. (He, like Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and numerous other councilmembers, is at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas.)