IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Another D.C. Employee Sues Over Mystery Firing“
Morning all. Don’t see this everyday—-a police inspector (and former district commander) writing to the inspector general about how ‘upper levels of the executive command staff…have chosen to ignore and disregard…blatant conduct.’ That’s the story Michael Neibauer‘s got in Examiner this morning, with revelations that ex-4D commander Hilton Burton, now in charge of the MPD court liaison division, claimed in an April 17 letter to the IG that officers ‘have defrauded the District Government out of tens of thousands of dollars’ by falsifying court appearances to rack up overtime.
Colby King investigates the shooting death of Kwanzaa Diggs, 17, last month. Diggs had been a DYRS ward; he knows this only because his former caseworker talked. ‘Sidi N. Bojang, a social worker and 18-year DYRS veteran…said Diggs was placed in a six-month program that would have been followed by placement in a residential treatment facility. He said he believed Diggs needed daily supervision and therapy to help him deal with some serious problems that had led to his detention….Bojang said he was overruled, however, by DYRS officials, who released Diggs back into the community within three months….That decision, said Bojang, returned Diggs to the same conditions that contributed to his commitment and to the same community where two of his friends had been killed.’ Bojang has since been fired due to an unrelated matter.
COLBY STRIKES BACK—-‘Critics of my columns on DYRS say I want to lock up youthful offenders and throw away the key. False….I want to know whether troubled youths committed by judges to DYRS for rehabilitation and treatment in a secure setting are actually getting the level of professional services and treatment that they need—-before they are released. There’s a concern among judges and law enforcement officials that juvenile offenders are being returned to the community prematurely in pursuit of an ideological agenda that scorns detention.’
The WaPo editorial board decries ‘Mr. Barry’s Ugly Words,’ noting that ‘it was distressing to see the [gay marriage] debate framed along racial, and troublingly divisive, lines.’ ‘[I]t was heartening to see council members facing election next year—-Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) comes to mind—-vote their principles in the face of a hostile audience threatening political retaliation. By contrast, [Marion Barry] said he had to oppose the measure because he believed that is what his constituents wanted….Throughout his career as an activist, school board member and mayor, Mr. Barry has supported gay rights….He thinks that record must be considered before judging his opposition to same-sex marriage, oblivious to the fact that it only makes his conduct that much more disappointing.’
And today, WaPo slaps the Obama administration for failing to include $150M for Metro in its budget proposal. ‘[I]t’s disappointing that an administration so supportive of public transit couldn’t even scrounge up a pittance for the cash-strapped agency….Fortunately, the Washington region has a powerful—-and united—-congressional delegation still working to secure the $150 million.’
WaPo hosts Sunday same-sex marriage op-eds from David Catania, who writes that ‘the District took an important step toward fulfilling its motto of justitia omnibus‘; Harry Jackson, who writes that councilmembers ‘acted surreptitiously and violated the sacred trust of their office’; and observer Michael Stanek, who asks Barry ‘to learn about his gay and lesbian neighbors: to get to know us and to see how our lives are affected by both outright bigotry and the more subtle kind of prejudice that permeates even tolerant places such as the D.C. Council’s chambers.’
Jonetta Rose Barras hammers Phil Mendelson today for his ‘political doublespeak’ on gay marriage. To wit, his pledge to have a hearing on gay marriage if ‘the halls become filled with people who oppose it.’ He didn’t. Barras says that Mendo’s marriage antics can be explained by his re-election prospects: ‘In 2006, the last time Mendelson faced the electorate, he won all eight wards. The animus toward A. Scott Bolden, his black opponent, proved greater than Mendelson’s documented vulnerability….To overcome his continued weakness, Mendelson has to repeat his 2006 performance in Wards 1,2, 3 and 6; each has a sizable gay population. There is one problem with that calculation, however. Gay marriage has the potential of galvanizing black voters in a way that Bolden, even in his wildest dreams, could never imagine.’
Marc Fisher asks this morning, ‘What will [historians] make of prominent leaders who rose to power as early advocates for gay rights, but then tempered their views or reversed course just as much of the country was heading the other way? What’s behind these strange turns in the public attitudes of former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and President Barack Obama?’ Says Fisher, ‘Barry has positioned himself of late as the voice of pre-gentrification D.C.—-the older black residents who feel as if their city has been taken over by newcomers, and especially by affluent young whites. Add the face-off between Barry and Mayor Adrian Fenty—-whose deepest support comes from exactly those newcomers—-and you have a fairly compelling political rationale for Barry’s flip on gay rights.’
A pair of leader black opinionators lay into the mayor-for life: Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page recounts all the usual history; and Leonard Pitts Jr. writes in Miami Herald, ‘There’s something to be said for representing one’s constituents. But there is more to be said for leading them. Barry’s failure to understand the difference is galling in light of the fact that he was once a leader in the civil-rights movement.’
One DCHA cop shoots another in Potomac Gardens on Friday afternoon. Write Nikita Stewart and Clarence Williams in WaPo, ‘The shooting, at about 3:45 p.m. happened while the two officers were trying to arrest a suspect, according to law enforcement sources. The officers had their weapons drawn because the suspect was armed with a brick, sources said. Other circumstances surrounding the incident were not known.’ That includes the extent of the officer’s injuries. Also WTTG-TV.
Losing bidder Tompkins Builders appeals Fenty decision to have Whiting-Turner build crime lab, Stewart reports for D.C. Wire. Holland & Knight’s Rod Woodson is representing Tompkins. Says the city: we “wanted to keep the project moving.”
In letter to Eleanor Holmes Norton, AG Peter Nickles expands on his filmic motorcade-assault nightmare, Bill Myers reports in Examiner. ‘Nickles said the [Ensign amendment] jeopardizes the safety of D.C.’s dignitaries. “Government facilities, dignitaries and public servants are prime targets for terrorists, both foreign and domestic,” Nickles’ letter states. “But in Washington, D.C., the likelihood of attack is higher and the challenges to protecting the city are greater.”‘
WaPo’s Del Wilber wraps up Friday’s appeals-court argument on the Trinidad checkpoints. Looks like LL might have had no idea what he was talking about when he predicted a easy victory for the District. ‘Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney for the [Partnership for Civil Justice], said [U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon] had erred in his ruling and urged the judges to reverse the decision. The District’s attorney, Todd Kim, told the judges that the checkpoints were a legal way to combat violence. But the judges seemed skeptical of the District’s arguments and pressed Kim about whether the checkpoints were narrowly tailored enough to survive constitutional scrutiny.’ Also WaTimes.
ALSO AT PRETTYMAN—-Georgetown rockfish scofflaws get three years probation for illicit fish trafficking.
Dorothy Brizill has a partial earmark list from the draft BSA: ‘Representative earmarks include: $50,000 to the High Tea Society; $25,000 to the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance; $25,000 to the Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association; $250,000 to the Ward 4 Georgia Avenue Collaborative; $50,000 to the Cleveland Park Business Association; $250,000 to Fort Dupont Kids on Ice; $250,000 to the Mid-City Business Association; $250,000 to the National Building Museum; $1,000,000 to the national Council of Negro Women; $125,000 to the North Tivoli Business Association; $250,000 to the Parents Association of Boys and Girls Club No. 10; $125,000 to the Park Road Business Association; $1,000,000 to the Phillips Collection; $325,000 to the Textile Museum; $500,000 to the DC LGBT Center; $100,000 to the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce; $150,000 to the Crystal Meth Working Group; $75,000 to Ward 8 Clean and Sober, Inc.; $1,000,000 to the African American Civil War Museum; and $1,000,000 to the DC Historical Society.’
Gary Imhoff, meanwhile, reveals that he and Dorothy have ‘been experimenting with a variety of homemade Thai smoothies (fruit, milk, condensed milk, ice, an optional touch of vanilla, sugar to taste, blended until smooth; we’ve tried making mango, banana, strawberry, and, best of all, avocado).’
Jason Cherkis spent Friday at Friday’s youth conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center; there he heard David Muhammad of DYRS talk about the impending closing of the old Oak Hill and Roque Gerald give his CFSA staffers a pep talk.
Bill Turque follows up on last week’s Politics Daily interview with Rhee, where she accused Randi Weingarten of dissembling. ‘Neither Rhee nor her spokeswoman, Jennifer Calloway, would provide the basis for this claim. As best we can tell, Rhee is talking about Weingarten’s April 21st letter to The Post, which referred to an editorial noting that after the foundation money was gone Rhee planned to sustain the pay hikes with savings gained through reforming DCPS.’
Metro explores linking transit spending to bank cards, Lena Sun reports in WaPo. ‘The cards, embedded with a computer chip, would be an alternative to the current payment methods—-traditional paper fare card (Metrorail), cash (Metrobus) and Metro’s electronic fare card known as SmarTrip. SmarTrip is the preferred payment method on trains and buses, and is virtually the only way to pay for parking at Metro stations. Metro is seeking board approval this month to solicit proposals for a provider to issue and manage such bank cards. A board committee is scheduled to hear a presentation Thursday.’
On the occasion of UDC’s graduation, WAMU-FM profiles Allen Sessoms‘ first academic year in office as university president. ‘The city-funded institution that has long battled low graduation rates, financial problems and a reputation for poor academics. Sessoms assumed the presidency on promises of reform, but he’s hardly the first to do so.’
Not just Michelle Rhee‘s thing anymore: ‘Performance Pay Being Considered for Pr. William Teachers,’ Michael Birnbaum reports in WaPo, noting that ‘a performance-pay plan has proved a major sticking point in the District in negotiations between [Rhee] and the Washington Teachers’ Union.’
‘CITIZEN JOURNALISM’—-WaTimes prints Mark Lerner‘s piece on lobbying efforts to strike charter-school oversight changes without mentioning that he’s an outspoken charter advocate—-only that he sits on a charter board.
Code Pinkers protest Mall ordnance display. WaPo: ‘Upon Code Pink’s arrival, U.S. Park Police instructed protesters to leave the area so as not to disrupt a permitted event, said Sgt. David Schlosser, a Park Police spokesman. One 47-year-old Tallahassee woman was arrested for shoving a Park Police detective, he said. A few protesters managed to make it inside the exhibit, and one woman climbed atop a Humvee and swirled a pink hula hoop around her hips before being ushered out by police.’
FEMS, Coast Guard rescue four sailors from the Potomac yesterday. WaPo: ‘Authorities said the boat capsized around 10:30 a.m. in the Alexandria area. The sailboat was estimated to be 17 to 19 feet long. “The wind picked up incredibly, and they were gone,” said Alan Etter, a spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.’ ALSO—-Man, 60, rescued near Chain Bridge after hike goes awry.
BIZARRE—-Today’s WaPo: ‘A car that crashed into a dry-cleaning business in Prince George’s County about 1 a.m. yesterday drove into the District and crashed into another car, killing one person. D.C. police said the fatal crash occurred at Southern Avenue and Chesapeake Street SE.’
WTOP covers D.C. United fans’ march for a new stadium.
NO MORE PLYWOOD?—-District now testing steel screens to secure vacant buildings, WRC-TV reports.
One-third of major roads in the region are ‘poor,’ study finds. ‘The report, “Rough Roads Ahead: Fix Them Now or Pay for It Later,” found that 30 percent of Washington area roads in 2007 were considered in mediocre condition, 13 percent were fair and 27 percent were good,’ Chris L. Jenkins reports in WaPo. ‘The study, by the Road Information Program and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, found that among metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 people, Washington ranks 25th in the country for poor road conditions, behind major cities such as Los Angeles, which is rated the worst, New York and Philadelphia.’
H1N1 UPDATE—-Three more cases confirmed; total is now four. MEDIA FRENZY at GWU. Meanwhile, Howard U. passes out sanitizer with its commencement programs, WaPo reports. ‘A university spokeswoman said Howard did not seek to raise alarms but rather to go the extra mile with precautions. As another step, the university had said in a statement that the traditional commencement handshake would “be held in abeyance.”‘ Also NC8.
In his WaPo education column, Jay Mathews grades a list of ideas put together by top education reformers on how to spend some $100B in federal stimulus funds. ‘I don’t believe committees are capable of good ideas, so I doubt the alleged origins of the list. But let’s put that aside for a moment and see what they’ve got….You can Google the report, “Smart Options: Investing the Recovery Funds for Student Success,” sponsored by the Eli and Edythe Broad and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations, and judge for yourself whether 37 people wrote it.’
COMMONWEALTH CAPERS—-WaPo went A1 this weekend with a story alleging that Virginia guv candidate Brian Moran used his influence to steer the Dulles Airport taxi contract. The District connection? Airports Board member H.R. Crawford wanted the contract to go to D.C.-based LTMC/Dragonfly Inc. Marc Fisher, in a companion column, explains that outfit is ‘a father-and-sons operation, an amalgam of taxi companies that Jerry Schaeffer‘s father cobbled together starting more than half a century ago. Today, the family operates 14 cab companies with 600 taxis operating under names such as District, Liberty, Checker, American, Washington and Consolidated Cab….”It’s all about relationships,” says former D.C. Council member John Ray, now a lobbyist who has worked with the Schaeffers in their effort to win back a piece of the Dulles contract. “If this had anything to do with the merits of the case, there’d be no question but Jerry would still be at Dulles.”‘
Examiner’s Barbara Hollingsworth offers a scattershot indictment of foster care in D.C., elsewhere.
Atlantic’s Megan McArdle on vouchers: ‘[H]ow come the Obama girls benefit from leaving the DC public school system? Surely, if it doesn’t make any difference, the Obama girls would do just as well in ordinary, democratic, thoroughly American public schools as in an elitist Quaker institution. Wouldn’t it bring wonderful diversity to both the school, and the Obama daughters, to have the children of the president rubbing shoulders with the children of the district’s more ordinary residents? What is it about the Obama girls that enables them, nearly uniquely, to benefit from school choice?’
Blue Skye gets District deal to do $4.6M in renovations to Brightwood apartment building.
Mary Cheh to deliver commencement address to GWU’s College of Professional Studies.
Donna Brazile remembers Jack Kemp.
Downtown helo flyover before noon today.
NGA East Building needs facade repairs.
Allied Capital keeps losing money.
NERDPROM—-WRC-TV’s got the WHCA highlights. Wanda Sykes ‘apologized for not making a Marion Barry joke,’ The Root reports. Priceless dispatch from Politico: ‘DC Mayor Adrien Fenty [sic] thought all the screeches and applause were for him…but then he turned around and Dennis Leary [sic] was standing there.’ And guess-who accompanied Michelle Rhee, who was apparently a guest of Time mag—-wonder if she brought her broom?
Angelos C. Demetriou, renowned architect and designer responsible for planning the Georgetwon waterfront and West End, is dead in Athens at 79. (His daughter and son-in-law, incidentally, have designed most of the hot restaurants in town.)
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation roundtable on summer readiness for the Department of Parks and Recreation, JAWB 500; 1 p.m.: Committee on Government Operations and the Environment roundtable on the Spring Valley formerly used defense site, JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, pedestrian safety announcement, Brentwood Road and 13th Street NE; 7:30 p.m.: remarks, Citizens Association of Georgetown meeting, St. John’s Church, 3240 O St. NW.