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IN LL WEEKLY—-Veterans Affairs: Firing of DOH vet Catherine Bego shows what the new D.C. government is all about.
Morning all. President Barack Obama is stepping up to save vouchers. Sort of. As WaPo’s Shailagh Murray first reported yesterday, the Obama administration is recommending that funding be authorized to allow current voucher recipients to finish out their educations through high school. ‘The proposal, to be released in budget documents today, is an attempt to navigate a middle way on a contentious issue,’ Murray writes, with Bill Turque, today. But while this will ease authorization, you still have appropriation. Also Examiner, USA Today, Fox News, WaTimes, NC8, WRC-TV, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV.
NEEDLESS TO SAY—-The WaPo editorial board is pleased with this development, but by no means satisfied: ‘In an ideal world, we would hope for more than that compromise. The Senate…had already scheduled a hearing next week to evaluate the program….It seems that D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty declined a chance to testify but will submit a statement, a move that is depressingly typical of his lukewarm support for the program. The hearings need to be conducted with an open mind. If indeed this program is shown to work to the benefit of children, it should be continued. And, not — we submit — just for the ones who are lucky enough to be in it now. ‘
FENTY ON VOUCHERS THIS MORNING—-‘I think it’s a big relief for parents of kids who are in the program…Who knows what the future of the program holds?…At least this baseline has now been established….I align myself exactly where the Obama administration has aligned themselves with their statements this morning.’
Apropos of LL’s column this week, Jonetta Rose Barras raises questions about the manner swaths of the District government are being privatized. ‘The mayor’s new modus operandi — retreat and ignore — has some people declaring that the “real” Adrian M. Fenty — the uber-responsive legislator who represented Ward 4 — is no longer in the executive suite….Fenty and Tangherlini’s failure to respond to legitimate questions prompted D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas to introduce emergency legislation Tuesday to halt the privatization efforts. The Ward 5 legislator said he has been trying since December to get straight answers from the executive….As a lean-mean-municipal-machine fan, I’m not scared by privatization. It is something I have advocated for years. But there are ways to implement it so that everyone benefits.’
Peter Nickles says council will get no fishy-firetruck testimony from city officials—-not without some rules, man! Writes Bill Myers in Examiner, ‘Nickles’ letter suggests that the council arrange pro bono representation for Gill and Booth. The council used a similar tack when it commissioned an outside audit of the $48 million property tax refund schedule.’ Also WaPo.
ALSO—-As noted yesterday by LL, and noted today by Myers, Nickles is suing another special-ed lawyer.
Several good items from Turque:
—-(a) Nathan Saunders is back to his union duties after meeting with Michelle Rhee. ‘Rhee, who has enough issues with the WTU, seemed to want no part of this internecine drama. Saunders said the paperwork restoring his leave was waiting for him when he arrived at his office. He added that they had a “productive” meeting on other issues, including the importance of keeping union members up to speed on policy changes, and agreed to stay in touch.’
—-(b) AFT’s Randi Weingarten decries WTU infighting at union reception: ‘Weingarten, calling for peace, began her remarks by giving [George Parker] a hug. “And if Nathan were here, I’d hug him too,” she said.’
—-and (c) Rhee—Joel Klein joint appearance billed as “Can the New York City School System Serve as a Model for D.C.?” isn’t quite that. When ‘the session at Bell Multicultural High School ended an hour and twenty minutes later, hardly a word had been devoted to the issue. Neither the moderator—David Johns, an education policy advisor to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy—nor procession of questioners from the audience was interested in pursuing it.’
City to finally sell 16-acre D.C. Village parcel to Metro for bus garage, ‘finally relieving the city of what had become a costly albatross,’ Michael Neibauer writes in Examiner. ‘D.C. Village, now a shuttered homeless shelter, was independently appraised at $8.05 million, according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. But the District expects to earn only $6.85 million from the sale, because the city must repay Metro for the “interim accommodations WMATA had to make after the closing of the former Southeastern Bus Garage.” That is costing the city $400,000 a month, which will be deducted from the sale price of the 16 acres.’
Informer covers NIF raiding.
City picks Whiting-Turner for $133M contract to build MPD forensics lab.
GAY MARRIAGE AFTERMATH—-Fenty says he has signed the bill. NC8 does some Ward 8 man-on-the-street. Pat Robertson‘s CBN covers the debate, as does the godless NYT. Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune cover the Jason Chaffetz angle. Aside from the Utah freshman, Roll Call says, House GOP seems ‘slow to react.’ Mendo hits The Hill’s blog. Also, do check out CP alum Ta-Naheisi Coates‘ thoughts on Marion Barry at The Atlantic. See also The Root.
Examiner’s Leah Fabel does piece on school violence. Lots on D.C., right? Notsomuch: ‘Schools in D.C. have traditionally been among the most violent in the region. A recent report by the D.C. Public Schools documented about 740 serious incidents ranging from fights to homicides. But the city failed to provide The Examiner with a school-by-school breakdown of violent episodes.’
‘FUNK FENTY’—-Tonight at Freedom Plaza. Bands Godisheus, Machetres, Doc Night & The Hipnotix, and DJ Earth 1NE will perform in between speeches from folks like Lawrence Guyot, Johnny Barnes, Dave Zirin, Vanessa Dixon, and David Schwartzman. Sponsored by Empower DC, Statehood Greens, Save Our Schools, Jobs with Justice, TENAC, and the Black August Planning Organization.
DAYBOOK—-As Jason Cherkis noted yesterday, a hearing was scheduled this morning before Judge Thomas F. Hogan in the LaShawn CFSA case. LL was unable to attend, but if any LLD readers were there, he’d love to hear all about it.
Appeals court refuses to rehear FEMS beard case—-will Nickles take it to SCOTUS?
Adams Morgan water-main break causes all sorts of problems. ‘As yesterday’s evening rush hour began, Florida Avenue, normally a bustling cross-town artery, remained closed between 17th and California streets, the D.C. Department of Transportation said. The 1700 block of V Street was also closed. Asphalt in the area was severely damaged as the road buckled and ripped apart. Motorists were advised to use alternate routes, including U Street,’ WaPo reports. ‘As of last night, WASA crews were still trying to reach the broken pipe. Officials had not determined the cause of the break.’ Also WaTimes, NC8, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV. Cherkis took some sweet pictures of the action, and remember FEMS whistleblower Greg Bowyer? He spent yesterday swabbing bathrooms.
District preps to grab a piece of nearly $2B in housing-related stimulus money, Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell reports. DHCD’s Leila Edmonds ‘said her first two priorities are money for both the acquisition and renovation of properties that have fallen out of use either due to market conditions or foreclosure….[And] she said stimulus money could be used to augment the city’s Home Purchase Assistance Program….Lastly, Edmonds said she also plans to seek money for a revolving loan fund available for acquisitions of larger properties that would be accessible by nonprofit developers’
ALSO—-WAMU-FM covers how stimulus money could help the homeless.
Here’s a nice little bookend to Myers’ MPD overtime scoop for the Examiner earlier this week: Karin Coppens, a 23-year MPD vet, was sentenced by a federal judge to a year in prison yesterday for stealing some $175K in false overtime. How’d she do it? Take a guess: ‘Coppens, 49, acknowledged that from 2004 to 2008, she filed 94 fake overtime sheets asserting that she had worked 3,400 hours for the department’s photo radar program,’ Del Wilber reports in WaPo. ‘In fact, prosecutors said, she did no such work. Coppens, who worked at the department’s training facility, forged supervisors’ names on time sheets.’
Prompted by rapid Eckington razing, Housing Complex asks, ‘Does Fenty Just Get to Demolish Buildings Willy-Nilly?
WaPo: ‘A man who threatened to kill himself with a gun was in a standoff last night with police that shut down a section of New York Avenue NE for several hours. D.C. police eventually took him into custody and reopened the road.’
DPR’s Senior Games kicked off yesterday, and WaPo’s David Betancourt pens a nice little feature about ’em. ‘This is the 26th year for the Golden Olympics….The opening ceremonies took place Monday at the Emery Recreation Center on Georgia Avenue NW. The games, which are being held at recreation centers around the District, will conclude tomorrow.’
WAMU-FM on the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund.
D.C. hybrid driver irate he can’t drive in Virginia’s HOV lanes, WTOP reports.
PANDAWATCH—-Mei Xiang, potentially with child, refuses to submit to ultrasound. ‘She did the same thing right before her cub, Tai Shan, was born in 2005,’ writes WaPo’s Michael Ruane, ‘but the zoo’s panda experts don’t know what, if anything, to make of that. The ways of panda reproduction are capricious and frustrating, and with Panda-nation awaiting an outcome, one zoo official referred to Mei Xiang as “this dang bear.”‘ It’s all about the hormones, now.
Remember Raymone Bain? She’s suing Michael Jackson for $44M!
H1N1 UPDATE—-One D.C. case now confirmed by CDC; three new probable cases, including Simon ES student.
Here’s the transcript of the latest NewsHour piece on Rhee—-about her media coverage!
WaPo: Tunnel, single-track options make Metro Purple Line less feasible, studies find.
WAPO DISTRICT WEEKLY—-Hamil Harris on Obama faith adviser’s JAWB visit; District Notebook (remembering Jack Kemp, whose memorial service is tomorrow afternoon, incidentally); news briefs; home sales; crime blotter; and ANIMAL WATCH.
D.C. United fans to rally for new stadium Saturday in Lincoln Park ahead of game.
World Team Tennis finals coming to D.C. on July 26.
HOW DARE HE?—-Ted Leonsis urging Caps fans to sell tickets only to other Caps fans? The outrage! (BTW—-Caps lost in OT, 2-3.)
Metro board will vote this month on retail kiosks in rail stations.
Welcome, Mountain State University.
Local consumer confidence is up, GWBOT survey says.
Developer Joseph Smith Jr., native Washingtonian and owner of Federal City Corp., is dead at 81.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-3 p.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks & Recreation hearing on B18-82 (“African-American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation Inc. Museum Funding Authorization Act of 2009”), JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:30 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor with Barbara Harrison, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV; 9:15 a.m.: remarks, Washington Kastles season kickoff, Old Convention Center site, 11th and H streets NW; 11:45 a.m.: remarks, clean diesel stimulus announcement, 1833 West Virginia Ave. NW; 5 p.m.: remarks, D.C. fleet electrification announcement, Frank D. Reeves Center, 2000 14th St. NW; 6:15 p.m.: attendee, HSBC Bank grand opening, 1715 Wisconsin Ave. NW.