City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Mayor Stands Up Council for Breakfast“
Morning all. Last night, LL went down to the First Rock Baptist Church in Ward 7 for the Washington Interfaith Network’s “accountability event,” with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray scheduled to speak. LL was curious if Fenty’s churlish behavior of late and his various budget shenanigans would have vexed WIN, virtually his only connection to the city’s faith community. Short answer, no, even though he’s raided WIN’s pet program—-the Neighborhood Investment Fund—-for parking subsidies and arts earmarks. “You are the least paid but most effective lobbyists in the city,” Fenty told them, before receiving a standing ovation. It probably helped that Gray, tied up in a council hearing and another event, showed up late, after the Rev. Dr. Joseph Daniels of Emory United Methodist got done with the crowd. Note to Vince: You don’t follow him with a budget lecture.
PERB BATTLE BREWS—-At yesterday’s legislative meeting, D.C. Council passes emergency legislation, 9-4, to reduce Public Employee Relations Board quorum to a single member, allowing board business to continue in the absence of qualified nominees, reports WaPo and Examiner. That prompted this strongly worded statement from Fenty: ‘Today’s council vote does not reflect the spirit and intent of the District of Columbia Merit Personnel Act. My administration is committed to maintaining a proper and appropriate structure for PERB in an effort to provide the best possible decision making for District employees.’ Even WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood covers this once-picayune conflict!
TOMMY WELLS DAIS POETRY—-“When elephants struggle and fight, it’s the grass that suffers.”
ALL HAIL THE ‘GREEN AGENDA’—-Fenty unveils his enviroplan, containing hundreds of green-related city projects. Writes Vandana Sinha in Biz Journal, ‘The agenda items cover nine areas — homes, schools, neighborhoods and communities, parks and natural areas, transit, jobs and economic development, city and government operations, the Anacostia River and climate change. They vary in scope from assessing which city buildings could use green roofs by the end of this month to coming up with a way to give businesses with eco-friendly practices extra points in competitive bid reviews by fall 2014.’ Also WaPo, and check the nifty Web site!
Michael Neibauer files another fun one in Examiner, this time on city purchase-card charges. No huge scandal: ‘Most of the charges between January and March appear to be run-of-the-mill, cost-of-doing-business expenses….But there are some curious expenses as well. There was a $2,000 payment from the city’s Office of Human Rights to Democracyinaction.org, for example, which describes itself as a “progressive nonprofit whose core activity is providing e-advocacy tools to other progressive nonprofits.”…The Department of the Environment spent $799.60 at Maryland’s Anglers Sports Center for 40 no-harm eel traps, which it needed for an ongoing eel survey. The city contributed more than $400 to the Public Broadcasting Service. The Office of the Attorney General has a $17.98 monthly Netflix account.’ It goes on.
WaPo covers the Peaceaholics sex-assault arrest broken yesterday by WTTG-TV’s Paul Wagner: “In charging papers, police said that [Barry Harrison] kissed and fondled a 15-year-old girl April 14 in the basement of [Spingarn SHS] on Benning Road NE….The charging papers also stated that Harrison recently told another 15-year-old student that he was going to ‘kidnap’ her and ‘have fun like sex’ with her. Other female students also reported that Harrison talked about having sexual relationships with the girls, according to the charging documents….Harrison appeared Monday in D.C. Superior Court, where he was ordered held at the D.C. jail pending a follow-up hearing April 30.” Also NC8 and Wagner’s followup.
LEADERS REACT—-From Wagner’s piece: ‘”You can’t condemn an entire organization because of the action of one, an awful act,” said Marion Barry, a City Council member representing Ward eight, “Peaceoholics have about a hundred people on its payroll, that’s the first thing. Secondly its obvious Peaceoholics need to do a better job of screening people—-gotta get a rap sheet, a background check.” Barry says the Peaceoholics should be responsible for screening their own people, but councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. of ward five, whose district includes Spingarn, doesn’t see it that way. “I don’t even put the onus on the Peaceoholics, I put the onus on this government,” Thomas said. “I put the onus on us as leaders we should have the most stringent safe guards in place of any outside vendors that come in contact because in essence we are funding those sources.”‘
OPM decides not to lease new space for Child and Family Services agency, Biz Journal reports, “deciding instead to move the unit to undisclosed space it already controls.” The decision is a major setback for developer David Tolson, who had expected CFSA as a lessee for his Benning Station development. ‘The cancellation leaves developers of Benning Station…out of luck, at least for the moment, and it has left people in the surrounding community unhappy. Plans for the development included office, housing and retail space….Councilwoman Yvette Alexander…said the decision was “very disappointing.”….”We are determined to bring a government agency to that site,” she said.’
DCPS says the Democratic State Committee is in hock for expenses for its delegate selection caucus held last winter at McKinley Tech, Bill Turque reports for D.C> Wire. ‘The committee held January 19, 2008 delegate selection caucus at the Northeast school, but still owes a $487 rental fee, $2065.80 in overtime pay for custodial and security personnel, and proof that the group was properly insured for the event. In a delinquency letter sent to committee offices yesterday, DCPS realty director Veronica Falwell said her office sought three times last year to get payment and insurance information from vice chairman James Berry, but to no avail. “Therefore, it was assumed by the DCPS Realty office that the requested usage did not take place,” Falwell wrote.’ DCDSC, of course, is currently under OCF investigation.
Harry Jaffe counts ‘Ten reasons Fenty loves the media.’ Here’s a few: “4. Fenty looks great in running shorts, which makes great video of him doing triathlons….7. By showing Fenty as the young, activist mayor, the press helped him raise millions of dollars for his re-election and scare off opponents….8. As a student of D.C. politics, Fenty knows Barry won three mayoral elections despite constant negative portrayals in the press….10. He tells media types he loves them, for good reason. He has neutered them.” He also misspells Mark Segraves‘ name, misstates when Segraves accosted Fenty at National Airport (it was at dusk, not dawn), and fails to mention his own fawning coverage.
OBAMA IN WARD 7—-President Obama chooses SEED School as location for signing $5.7B national service bill, later visits Aquatic Gardens. Reports NC8: ‘Joining Obama was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer. Kennedy championed the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and the bill was named in honor of the Massachusetts Democrat. Kennedy told the audience that included former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former first lady Rosalyn Carter that Obama’s efforts echoed that of his late brother, former President John F. Kennedy….Obama visited the SEED School of Washington, a public boarding school that serves inner-city students facing problems in both the classroom and at home, for the signing ceremony. Afterward, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama joined Clinton to plant trees at a national park site along the Anacostia River in Northeast Washington. At the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Obama rolled up his sleeves with volunteers from the Student Conservation Association and local public high schools.’
Kwame Brown introduces his sell-the-suites bill to the D.C. Council, estimated it could raise as much as $500K (ha!). Meanwhile, Tim Craig reports, the Nats have remained stone-cold silent on the issue. Also WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV, NC8.
LL POLL—-Conducted last night at the WIN event: Of five persons queried, two had no idea, two thought it made Fenty look petty, and one thought it made everyone look petty.
Roll Call (via DCist) reports that Eleanor Holmes Norton wants action on DCHVRA, but Steny Hoyer‘s shop says that’s not likely to happen until late May. ‘”We’re endangering the bill itself for how late it’s going,” [Norton] said, pointing out that it will already face a long court battle after passage. “We’ll lose the opportunity to get the vote because we’ve run out of time.” But little seems to have changed over the two-week recess. City officials are still divided over how to handle a controversial gun amendment, and pro-gun Democrats haven’t given any indication that they would vote against it.’
MEANWHILE—-About 75 participate in afternoon Capitol Hill rally against Ensign gun amendment on DCHVRA. Writes Nikita Stewart in WaPo, ‘They dramatized their opposition to the gun amendment by throwing paper guns into a trash bag and marched around as Joe Mann, wearing mirrored sunglasses, beat on four drums hanging from his neck. It was a sight for congressional aides and tourists who whipped out cameras, especially when the recognizable Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) took her turn on the soapbox. Norton said the legislation is being “shot through by bullets.”…The setbacks have been frustrating, said shadow senator Michael D. Brown, an unpaid elected official whose job is to push for voting rights. He was disappointed by yesterday’s turnout.’
Weekly Standard’s Mary Katherine Ham lauds Fenty for budget rectitude: ‘Congress might want to take a gander at D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s budget when it reaches the Hill for approval in June, for some lessons in restraint. Fenty’s proposed budget does quite a bit of what Obama promised to do with the federal budget, but hasn’t. (Although the city council and Congress will still have the opportunity to stuff it full of unfunded unicorns before final approval, so don’t count on it staying this way.)’ UH, MARY KATHERINE—-You do know, right, that Fenty is required to balance the budget? And are you familiar with the ‘Streetlight Maintenance Fee’?
GGW’s David Alpert asks, ‘Does Fenty believe in the “unitary executive”?’ In support of that notion, he submits Hizzoner’s refusal to implement inclusionary zoning regs. HEY DAVID—-If you want a lot more evidence for your Fenty-as-Bush hypothesis, lemme know.
ALSO ON GGW—-A chat with George Hawkins.
Biz Journal: DHL cuts ribbon on new distribution facility in Ward 5. ‘In a consolidation of several suburban facilities, DHL Express established a new 70,000-square-foot regional distribution center at 3130 V St. NE….DHL said the new location would immediately create 59 new full-time positions, the majority of which will be filled by D.C. residents. DHL also indicated it expects to hire additional staff and independent contractors over the next few months as the services at the site expand.’
SHOCKED, SHOCKED!—-WaTimes: ‘U.S. Capitol Police officials are investigating allegations that several of the force’s officers participated in online groups that posted degrading references to women and exulted in behavior such as attending strip clubs and excessive drinking. 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.”‘
MEI Futures Academy, a residential charter school in Lamond-Riggs catering to the needs of teen mothers, will close after the Public Charter School Board voted Monday night to revoke its charter, Bill Turque reports for D.C. Wire. “MEI had struggled to establish an acceptable curriculum, officials said, adding that none of its high school students were on track for a diploma. Last year, not one of the 15 tenth graders who took the DC-CAS standardized test achieved proficiency levels in either reading or math. Enrollment has dwindled to just 31 students from 66 in fall 2007. Chronic truancy was an especially serious issue. An unannounced audit earlier this year showed that 17 of the 31 students were not there.” Also WAMU-FM.
What causes intersex fish in the Potomac? No one’s quite sure, David Fahrenthold reports in WaPo.
DOJ signs on to fully occupy Two Constitution Square in NoMa, Biz Journal reports. ‘The building, at 145 N St. NE, is part of the 1.6 million square-foot mixed-use development that will include a Harris Teeter grocery store, a Hilton Garden Inn, a residential building and another office space.’
Another measles case reported, in Virginia. AND TODAY ON KOJO—-DOH director Pierre Vigilance talks measles, 1 p.m. on WAMU-FM, 88.5.
WaPo letter writer on Marion Barry apres-courtroom protestations: ‘[Barry] was quoted as saying that prosecutors “make it appear that I’m a scofflaw” and that “just because I’m a public official doesn’t mean I lose my rights as an American citizen.” Well, Mr. Barry is a “scofflaw” (a habitual law violator), and “as a public official,” he isn’t relieved of his responsibilities as “an American citizen,” either.’
Bring a Metro card or SmarTrip, get $3 off tonight’s Nats game.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs FY2010 budget hearing on Office of the People’s Counsel and Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking, JAWB 412; Committee on Economic Development FY2010 budget hearing on Walter E. Washington Convention Center Authority, Destination D.C., and D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, JAWB 500; 11 a.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation FY2010 budget hearing on D.C. Public Library, JAWB 123; Committee of the Whole FY2010 budget hearing on University of the District of Columbia, JAWB 120; 1 p.m.: Committee on Government Operations and the Environment roundtable on the Spring Valley munitions dump, JAWB 123; 1:30 p.m.: Committee on Public Services roundtable on PR18-207 (“Board of Real Estate Richard Gersten Confirmation Resolution”), JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs roundtable on elevator maintenance standards and Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act exemption clarification, JAWB 412; 5 p.m.: Committee on Human Services roundtable on “The Road to Permanency for Foster Care Youth,” JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, green public housing announcement (with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan), Regency House Senior Center, 5201 Connecticut Ave. NW