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Morning all. Budget markup week begins today. All those of you jawing about how Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chair Vincent C. Gray should stop bickering about such petty matters as baseball tickets should take heart: They’ve moved on to much more substantive matters. As noted late last night by LL, Gray is proposing to fiscally castrate Deputy Mayor Victor Reinoso and is moving to fix the charter-school-facilities funding issue by pulling $10 million from Fenty’s pet summer jobs program—with the help of summer-jobs king Marion Barry, of all people. This feud’s just getting good, people.
WWC WRESTLEMANIA II—-The second round of David Catania‘s Whitman-Walker inquisition was as juicy as the first, if not juicier, with Catania accusing the clinic of breaking federal law in administering their retirement plan, and with board members in turn accusing Catania of malfeasance of his own. Writes Tim Craig in WaPo: ‘Whitman-Walker board members, who support Blanchon, accused Catania, in turn, of making threats and being abusive to clinic officials as part of a personal “vendetta” against the clinic. Board member Michael Manganiello, in written testimony, said Catania verbally assailed him after he refused to support firing Blanchon. Catania said Manganiello was “lying.”…The bickering underscores the challenges city leaders face in trying to combat the city’s HIV/AIDS epidemic.’ Also Blade, which captures this: ‘Catania noted Monday that while the [Arnold & Porter] report was presented as an “independent, thorough and unfettered” review, former Clinic board chair James Sandman worked for Arnold & Porter for 30 years. Catania also said Robert Weiner, an Arnold & Porter representative who appeared Monday alongside Blanchon, was married to Cheryl Weiner, a Whitman-Walker board member.’
Will Bishop Harry Jackson turn out 1,000 this morning in Freedom Plaza to protest the D.C. Council’s pro-gay-marriage stance? LL will be surprised if he gets 100. READ Hamil Harris‘ 2005 profile of Jackson.
Harry Thomas Jr. comes strong at WaPo for their anti-council PERB editorializing. ‘We have workers whose livelihoods are at stake, many of whom have been unemployed for 15 months while waiting for their cases to be resolved. A board of one also has precedent: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is proposing to allow the Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals to use one-person review panels.’ Ooh, good one. Also weighing in is AFGE President John Gage: ‘While the response of the D.C. Council may have been unconventional, it was necessary….It would be unconscionable to force these public servants to continue to be subjected to the whims of Mr. Fenty’s and Attorney General Peter Nickles‘s sensitive egos and blistering senses of vengeance without the protections afforded by due process.’
WaPo’s Nikita Stewart covers the District’s embrace of Zipcar technology to manage its auto fleet. More to the point, she covers this: ‘Gabe Klein, city transportation director, did not attend the event. Klein is the former regional vice president of Zipcar (also known as Mobility), which is based in Cambridge, Mass., and promotes itself as the largest car-sharing company in the world, with 275,000 members….Mafara Hobson, the mayor’s spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail that Klein still holds a financial interest in the company but that “the ethics office said the amount wasn’t a significant amount and therefore not a conflict of interest.” Hobson did not disclose the value of Klein’s stake in Zipcar.’ Also Biz Journal.
District-based mortgage plan was a $70M Ponzi scheme, federales say. Writes Freeman Klopott in Examiner, ‘Metro Dream Homes was founded by 58-year-old Andrew Hamilton Williams Jr., who used some of the $50,000 minimum payments provided by homeowners to cover the losses of an automated teller machine scheme he was ordered to shut down in 2001, according to the indictment unsealed Monday. Williams and four of his top-ranked employees were charged Monday with wire fraud and money laundering.’ Also WaPo, Biz Journal, WRC-TV.
DCHVRA is stalled, and DC Vote’s Ilir Zherka tells WAMU-FM that President Obama could help get it unstuck.
WaPo ed board connects today’s Supreme Court argument on private placements for special-ed students to the D.C. voucher debate. ‘Don’t get us wrong. We’re not arguing for the unilateral right of parents to enroll their sons and daughters in any school they wish with the taxpayer picking up the tab. Abuse of special-education provisions has contributed to escalating costs that threaten to take needed money from general public education funds. Safeguards are needed. Public schools should be pressed to do a better job for students with disabilities and students without. But there are schools in Washington where statistics show that failure is almost guaranteed. If a school system can’t educate a child — whether because of acute special needs or its own historical failings — why should that child not have options for a “free appropriate public education”?’
THEY ALSO remember George Kettle, the businessman who became patron to 60 Southeast kids in the 1980s, mentoring them and financing their educations. He died this month at 80.
D.C. ‘microloan’ program has yet to catch on, Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell reports. ‘A total of $233,000 is available….The program was announced at the beginning of the year but to this point, only about 15 companies have applied, according to Donna Grigsby, executive director of the Washington Area Community Investment Fund Inc., a Northeast D.C. nonprofit that operates the program through a contract with the city. Grigsby said many small business owners are still in “shock mode” and have been focused on cutting costs, rather than making new investments. “You get people so drilled and focused on, ‘Oh my god how am I going to survive,’ that they are ostriches for a while,” she said….Councilman Kwame Brown, D-at large, initially proposed much more for the program, $5 million, and is looking for more money despite the city’s budget shortfall….Brown worried that the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development and Washington Area Community Investment Fund were not doing enough to publicize it.’ QUESTION: Is this CAPCO redux?
NOT JUST THE ASIANS—-Vets, too, ticked at Fenty office cuts, WAMU-FM’s David Schultz reports.
Slip ‘n’ Slide at GWU frat event causes burns, hospitalization, William C. Flook reports in Examiner: ‘The Saturday event was part of Pi Kappa Alpha’s fifth annual Fireman’s Challenge, which raises money for the D.C. Firefighters’ Burn Foundation. The fraternity this year opted for a convenience store-bought brand of detergent to soap up the track on University Yard, which contained a “caustic chemical that can cause skin and eye burns or irritation along with allergic reactions,” university officials said in an e-mail to the heads of sororities….The university e-mail identified the brand as Kirkland Signature Laundry Detergent.’ UHH, ‘ZAMINER? That’s a big-box-warehouse-bought brand of detergent!
Metro IG discovers overpayment problem when…two of her own employees are overpaid, reports Kytja Weir in Examiner. ‘A memorandum obtained through a public records request shows that two employees “received a lump sum overpayment of $3,000 each,” instead of having their 3 percent salary increase spread out over a year….It’s not clear how far the glitch extended within Metro’s 10,000-strong work force. [IG Helen Lew] said she was told of two other cases since her memo.’
GOOD JOB, NAT—-Examiner: ‘The Office of Integrity and Oversight under Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi opened a record 94 investigations last fiscal year and closed 80, according to a recently completed annual report, obtained by The Examiner through a Freedom of Information Act request….Among other notable catches, all of whom were fired: An OTR employee was nabbed for generating fraudulent personal income tax refund checks. Another tax office staffer was nailed by D.C. and the FBI for soliciting a $6,000 bribe from a taxpayer during an audit. One supervisor and one manager in the Office of Finance and Treasury were caught drawing checks for themselves. One also borrowed $900 “from the vault.”’
More than 100 arrested in set of three protests, including five members of Congress. WaPo: ‘All told, police squared off with demonstrators at three unrelated protests that began in the morning and continued into the afternoon. Eight people were arrested outside the [Sudan] embassy, seven Greenpeace activists were arrested near the State Department, and 91 others were arrested during a demonstration by disability rights advocates outside the White House.’ The reps: ‘Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.)….Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.). They were charged with crossing a police line, a misdemeanor, and released.’ Also WTOP, WaTimes, NC8.
WTU Vice President Nathan Saunders has been sent back to school—-to teach, that is. Saunders, who has been a thorn in the side of both Chancellor Michelle Rhee and WTU President George Parker, is ordered to Eastern SHS by DCPS, which say he did file the right paperwork to remain on leave, as is customary for union officials. Writes Bill Turque for D.C. Wire, ‘Saunders says that’s bunk and that DCPS and Parker have contrived to effectively oust him. “There’s no question about it,” said Saunders….”This has everything to do with what transpired inside union meetings.”…Parker said he never received Saunders’ annual application to renew his leave, and that their personal differences are beside the point. As it stands, he said, it’s matter between Saunders and DCPS.’
ALSO FROM TURQUE—-DCPS calls parents with this message: ‘I am calling from the District of Columbia Public Schools with a message about the recent news reports of swine flu in the United States. Please be assured that NO cases of swine flu have been reported in the District of Columbia or DCPS. However, as a precaution we are working with the Department of Health to ensure that your school nurse and you have information about swine flu. We will also be sending a letter home with children within the next few days with information about swine flu. More information is also on our website and available at the Department of Health. Thank you for listening to this message, and enjoy your evening.’ Examiner’s Leah Fabel covers prep in other jurisdictions.
WUSA-TV’s Bruce Johnson writes that ‘9NEWS NOW has learned that mandatory auto safety inspections will end next fiscal year for DC vehicle owners.’ Uh, no, Bruce—-LL learned that during the mayor-council budget breakfast. But you did have this nice tidbit: ‘Sources close to the DC Council confirm that when the fiscal budget for next year is marked up this week, legislators will have eliminated the $400,000 needed to run the Safety Inspection program.’
Those dang parking meters are just too expensive, people tell NC8. ‘”It says three minutes for each dime and seven-and-a-half minutes for each quarter — that’s ridiculous,” said D.C. resident Derek Kindle.’
Walter Reed Army Medical Center celebrates its centennial this week, WaPo’s Christian Davenport writes. ‘To commemorate the centennial this week, there are public tours of the hospital every day through Friday. Before dawn today, there will be a two-mile walk and run designed to showcase some of its historical sites. Tomorrow, there is a history symposium, and Friday, a formal ball.’
The boy who fell into the Potomac near Chain Bridge Sunday evening, and is presumed drowned, is identified as Jorge Castro, 11, of Winchester, Va. WaPo: ‘The search for his body continued yesterday with specialized water emergency crews and search boats from various agencies, said Lt. Paul Niepling of the police department’s Harbor Unit. The FBI is assisting with its underwater cameras, Niepling said.’ Also WTOP, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
D.C. lawyer Charlie Schulze, 73, dies while rescuing boys caught in Florida riptide. WRC-TV, WTTG-TV, NC8 cover. ‘Schulze’s law partner of 30 years says this wasn’t the first time his friend had saved someone’s life. In fact, Schulze, he says, had saved several people over the years from rip currents in Ocean City. Schulze will be buried here in the Washington area.’
WaPo’s Krissah Thompson and Michelle Boorstein deliver the umpteenth OMG-where-wil-the-Obamas-go-to-church? story, injecting race and class overtones along the way. ‘Everyone in Washington’s church-going community seems to have an opinion about where the first family should go to church — and nowhere is hope higher than among the city’s scores of predominantly black churches, which are in the mix for the first time. Their pastors and members are asking: Will Obama choose one of us? Like so many choices the first family is making in this city, the search for a church has spurred discussions about the state of race relations and a hot competition for its mark of approval.’
WAPO BRIEF—-Former lawyer Reginald J. Rogers, 55, gets 57 months in prison for bilking elderly clients. ‘U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts sentenced Rogers to four years and nine months in prison and ordered him to pay $385,000 in restitution to the victims, prosecutors said,’ writes Del Quentin Wilber.
Ward 8 development: DCmud reports on Matthews Memorial Baptist Church project with developer Community Builders ‘to expand their community servicing mandate into the realm of affordable housing. The Church…is now looking to bring a new housing project and community center to a large parcel adjoining their location at 2616 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE.’
DCist questions the effectiveness of this weekend’s AHOD. Says commenter, ‘Are you sure it was called “All Hands on Deck?” It sure seemed to me like it was called “All Hands at the 7-11 on South Capitol Street.”‘
WTTG-TV follows up on bedbug problem at DCHA’s Claridge Towers.
ROOTY TOOTY—-IHOP to DCUSA?
Low water pressure in Tenleytown!
YOU HEARD IT FIRST ON FOX 5—-NoMa is on the rise!
LL likes PoP, really does. Then he goes and publishes something like this….
SHAME, THAT—-Mandarin Oriental losing general manager to Bangkok.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-9:30 a.m.: budget markup preview press conference, JAWB 412; 10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole FY2010 budget markup, JAWB 500; 2 p.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs meeting (scheduled), JAWB 120; 3 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary FY2010 budget markup, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-8:30 a.m.: remarks, Diamond Teague Park dedication, the grand staircase at Nationals Park, First and Potomac Avenue SE; 10:30 a.m.: remarks, Hubbard Place Apartments ribbon-cutting, 3500 14th St. NW; 1:30 p.m.: remarks, Wilson Senior High School modernization update, 3950 Chesapeake St. NW; 4 p.m.: Fort Stanton baseball diamond ribbon-cutting, Fort Stanton Community Center, 1812 Erie St. SE; 6:45 p.m.: remarks, Convention Center Community Association meeting, 1401 7th St. NW.