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IN LL WEEKLY—-Free Harold Brazil! Prosecutors hang the former councilmember out to dry. Plus: Why did Mayor Adrian M. Fenty fire Clark Ray?
Morning all. Tune into washingtoncitypaper.com all day today for all sorts of food-related coverage for our first-ever Food Day. LL, natch, will be covering the political angles thereof, spending the day at the John A. Wilson Building eliciting food-related insight from key policymakers. It will even more exciting than it sounds!
District tells WMATA it will no longer pay for $27K-an-hour Metro service after late Nats games, Lena Sun reports in WaPo, putting Metro ‘in the unenviable position of having to choose between stranding baseball fans or running service it can’t afford.’ ‘Metro officials said they did not know of the change until they received a letter from D.C. transportation director Gabe Klein on April 16, three days after the Nationals’ first home game. The letter said that the city no longer has the money to pay for the service. Team officials said they did not find that out until Monday night, when a rain delay pushed the game past Metro’s midnight closing….Metro initially refused to stay open late unless someone agreed to pay the extra costs. Nationals officials balked, and confusion ensued; the Nationals announced that Metro would be closing at 11:45 p.m. In the end, however, Metro decided to remain open rather than strand fans. The game ended at 12:04 a.m….Sixteen people entered the Navy Yard Station at midnight Monday or later, Metro officials said.’
The WaPo editorial board follows up on PERB item from Tuesday, slapping the D.C. Council for its ‘absurd’ one-member-quorum vote. ‘More troubling than this one issue is what it says about the deterioration of relations between the executive and legislature — and how that affects the public’s interests. We’ve criticized Mr. Fenty for his churlish treatment of the council, as exemplified by the unbelievable pettiness of actions such as withholding baseball tickets. Nonetheless, that the mayor has hurt the council’s feelings doesn’t give the council license to retaliate at the expense of D.C. residents. The PERB decision is simply indefensible, as was the council’s toying with school renovations that were desperately needed or its refusal to award a new lottery contract that would have saved the city millions of dollars. D.C. residents are right to wonder why their elected officials are squabbling like 3-year-olds while serious city business languishes.’ Look to Tony and Linda, they say!
Huge f’in mess of traffic thanks to Third Street Tunnel accident this morning.
Is Marion Barry exploring a pot-legalization effort? ‘He says no,’ Tim Craig writes for D.C. Wire, but Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws, said a caller who identified themselves as being from Barry’s office called him last month to inquire how to legalize pot in the District….Pierre said he does not remember the staffer’s name, but was told “to be ready to present them with white papers and positions papers.”‘
Jonetta Rose Barras calls Clark Ray’s firing ‘a display of capriciousness’ and says Ximena Hartsock might have trouble being confirmed as his replacement. ‘When Ray took over in late 2007, the place was a mess. He made steady and noticeable improvements: enhancing partnerships with nonprofit organizations; renovating facilities, including swimming pools; and increasing the number of youths participating in agency programs — some by as much as 47 percent. Yes, there still are problems at the DPR. But there was every indication that Ray had the skills to resolve them. I’ve never been shy about calling out incompetent managers. Ray wasn’t one of them and shouldn’t have been removed….It appears his only sin may have been his reluctance to commit to the mayor’s privatization program….Hartsock, DPR director designee, won’t have any problem with that agenda.’
Ingmar Guandique, accused killer of Chandra Levy, has arrived back in Washington. According to WaPo, he ‘said nothing as he walked past a swarm of reporters and photographers and into the police office in Southeast Washington. He spent about 90 minutes there before being driven to a cellblock at police headquarters downtown, where he awaits a likely appearance today in D.C. Superior Court….Authorities planned to give Guandique a chance to answer their questions yesterday, but the short amount of time he spent at the violent crimes branch indicated that the discussion never got going. His attorneys, with the D.C. Public Defender Service, later issued a statement criticizing the case against him.’ Also AP, WTOP, NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
Mary Cheh to ask Superior Court to enforce investigation subpoena against voting-machine manufacturer.
BUT THE BUDGET CRISIS IS NOW—-PCSB chair Tom Nida tells WaPo the city should wait a year before implementing changes to charter school facility funding. ‘Nida and other charter advocates said this will seriously disadvantage schools that want to accumulate the capital reserves necessary to get bank financing—especially in a tight credit market. Moreover, Nida said, the District dropped the proposal into the budget after only cursory discussion. “It was done with a minimum of interaction and consideration,” said Nida. “It was under the heading of preliminary dialogue and was never intended by me as something that was going into the text of the budget.”‘
WASA finds leak in crosstown water tunnel, Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner. ‘All potable water flowing through the so-called Crosstown Water Tunnel has been rerouted to other mains as the agency gears up for a monthlong inspection of the pressurized chute, which runs from Foxhall Road to Scott Circle. The tunnel is 7 feet in diameter and ranges from 70 feet to 200 feet below ground. WASA officials say there should be no effect on water service during the investigation….The leak, which released about a half gallon per minute, was discovered several months ago roughly just west of 25th and N streets in Rock Creek Park. A National Park Service employee found an inexplicable patch of wet ground on a dry day, and the water authority was called in to figure out why.’
D.C. WWI memorial to get $7.1M restoration, interior department announces, ‘along with $69.5 million in the Washington region to fix other eyesores, repair the Jefferson Memorial seawall and rehabilitate infrastructure in Rock Creek Park.’ Writes Michael E. Ruane in WaPo, ‘Judy Scott Feldman, president of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall…said the war memorial, which was built as a bandstand in a grove of trees, and the reflecting pool to its north are in poor condition. The National Park Service wants to restore the memorial as a bandstand and beautify the reflecting pool, which is often filled with stagnant water.’ Work will begin immediately. Also AP, Biz Journal, NC8, WTTG-TV.
MPD hires public-relations firm to pump up departmental good news, WaPo’s Theola Labbé-DeBose writes. ‘[Cathy Lanier]’s decision to seek outside assistance in communicating with the public is the latest example in the District and across the country of a shift in policing, from shielding the public from crime news to finding the best way to package it to them….[T[he department is working with the Glover Park Group, made up of several Clinton administration officials and Republican strategists. It has offices in Georgetown, New York City and Los Angeles and has earned millions of dollars in lobbying fees. Pfizer and Coca-Cola are past clients. The firm is volunteering its services, an arrangement made by the D.C. Police Foundation, a group that solicits in-kind donations for D.C. crime programs.’ Says Phil Mendelson, ‘[T]he best way to spin crime is to reduce it.’
THE BURIED LEDE—-‘Reporters say the department’s media office — made up of a civilian director and several civilians and officers whose combined salaries total about $400,000 — gives delayed responses to basic requests for public information. Sometimes, they say, it obstructs reporting out of a concern over how the story might appear.’ Includes testimonials from WCP’s Jason Cherkis and WTOP’s Mark Segraves.
It’s been one year since the Mount Pleasant fire, and a meeting was held yesterday to figure out why nothing’s been moving on fixing the building, NC8 reports. ‘Residents complain there’s not enough pressure on the owner to restore the building and point to more than half a dozen boarded up storefronts — results they say of fewer residents there. “That’s 200 people that aren’t spending money on Mount Pleasant Street anymore,” said Gretchen Georgiadis, a restaurant manager.’
Marc Fisher relates the astounding story of Karen Piper, who shortly after giving birth to a boy at Washington Hospital Center remarked that ‘she’d been hoping for a girl.’ That, Fisher writes, led her ‘into the rigid, overlawyered maw of a child protection system that substitutes mandatory reporting for the judgment and human sensitivity medical professionals should exercise.’ ‘When nurses finally told Piper she was free to leave, no discharge papers for her son were brought out. Instead, she faced a parade of inquisitive official visitors, including uniformed police, a social worker, a psychiatrist, and assorted doctors and nurses. Her baby had been placed on medical hold while government investigators considered whether Piper was fit to take Luke home to Prince George’s County, the authorities said. She had failed to bond with her baby, a nurse told Piper….For three days, Piper fought through a bewildering nightmare of lawyers, investigators from the District and Prince George’s, and hospital officials. A night nurse reported that Piper had declined an opportunity to breast-feed her baby, according to the mother and her lawyer. “I was so groggy, I don’t even remember that incident,” Piper says.’
WJLA/NC8’s Sam Ford follows up with Christopher, a child from a troubled background he first met in 1989. ‘Sam’s 1989 story on Christopher introduced him as a boy who wanted to be wanted to by a hustler — a drug dealer — when he grew up. “Why do you want to be a hustler when you grow up?” Sam Ford asked in 1989. “So I can make a lot of money,” Christopher replied….Christopher at 10 seemed a likely candidate for that career. He, his two brothers, and his mother, Dorothy Jackson, lived in a homeless shelter called the Capital City Inn….At age 30, he works two jobs and is a full-time dad.’
WaTimes follows the Capitol Police Facebook scandal!!! Chief says, ‘We will investigate it vigorously….And if we find any misconduct, we will deal with it very swiftly and very seriously.’ RECAP—-‘The Washington Times reported Tuesday that an anonymous complaint addressed to the department contained the names of nine purported Capitol Police officers who were said to belong to a public group on the social networking site Facebook called the “Make-it-Rain Foundation for Underprivileged Hoes.”…One of the purported officers also founded a Facebook group called “Passed Out in Trashcans” – a three-member group geared toward “anyone else that has woken up from a long night of drinking to find themselves in the trashcan.” Also WTTG-TV.
The proposed 2009-2010 DCPS schedule is out, and it includes six days for teacher training, Bill Turque reports in WaPo. ‘School officials said they are working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to develop alternative programs for students for those days….District children would have the same number of classroom days — 180 — under the plan. But the calendar would shuffle and expand “professional development” time for teachers, addressing a longtime complaint by District educators that the school system is not committed to helping them improve their skills….The six midweek closures are likely to be the greatest source of contention in the proposal. Some months would be significantly fragmented. In October, Wednesday the 7th would be a parent conference day, Monday the 12th is Columbus Day, and Wednesday the 21st would be a teacher development day.’
DCPS dropout rate down slightly, WRC-TV reports.
Union HQ moves from D.C. to Anne Arundel Co.
Examiner covers the Fenty ‘green agenda.’ ‘“It’s different from other green agendas in the past because we’ve never had one before,” said Alan Heymann, spokesman for the D.C. Department of the Environment.’
WAPO BRIEFS—-‘Cheh to Seek Court Order in Elections Probe’; ‘Officials Investigate Officers’ Facebook Activities’; ‘Judge Resets Sentencing in Tax-Fraud Case’
$1.7M in artwork for Dulles rail line.
WaPo letter writer: ‘I have had substantial respect for Mr. Fenty and council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, and this dispute is beneath these men and the offices they hold….That council members and the mayor’s staff feel that they are entitled to these free tickets in these economic times is unbelievable. The mayor and council members are elected and paid well by the citizens to carry out legislative, fiduciary and executive functions on behalf of District residents. How does this make them eligible for free baseball tickets?’
Metro Weekly wraps up Monday’s Stein Club meeting.
Dr. Gridlock has the latest on Benning Road construction. And WashCycle has the latest on Smartbike expansion: ‘in two month we’ve gone from 50 stations/600 bikes by 2016 to 100 station/1000 bikes by 2011. That’s quite a change. Could that be the influence of new DDOT Director and former Zipcar employee Gabe Klein, or is it a result of stimulus funding and system popularity?’
ASK THE JUDGES—-At 10 a.m. today: DCCA Chief Judge Eric Washington and DCSC Chief Judge Lee Satterfield appear together on WTOP radio to ‘discuss topics including the budget dispute with the Fenty Administration’s effort to transfer rental appeals from the District government over to the Superior Court. Washington and Satterfield will take calls and emails from listeners.’
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole FY2010 budget hearing on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Act of 2009, JAWB 500; Committee on Government Operations & the Environment FY2010 budget hearing on Board of Elections and Ethics, Office of Campaign Finance, District Retirement Board, Public Employee Relations Board, Office of Employee Appeals, Office of the Inspector General, and Executive Office of the Mayor, JAWB 412; Committee on Housing and Workforce Development hearing on B18-54 (“Office for Youth Mentoring Establishment Act of 2009”), B18-74 (“Office for Ombudsman for Jobs for D.C. Residents Establishment Act of 2009”), B18-183 (“Get DC Residents Training for Jobs Now Act of 2009”), and B18-188 (“Unemployment Compensation Extended Benefits Amendment Act of 2009”), JAWB 120.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:30 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty with Fox, WTTG-TV; 10:30 a.m.: remarks, Benning Road Construction update, Hechinger Mall parking lot (Benning Road between 15th and 17th Streets NE); 3 p.m.: remarks, School Without Walls site visit, 2130 G St. NW; 4 p.m.: remarks, Ontario Courts apartments ribbon-cutting, 2525 Ontario Road NW; 7:30 p.m.: remarks, ANC 8D meeting, Hadley Hospital, 4601 MLK Jr. Ave. SE.