Morning all. As briefly noted in yesterday’s LLD, the well-liked, well-regarded Clark Ray is out on his keister as parks-and-rec director per Sunday night orders of Dan Tangherlini. This is what he tells Examiner: “I stand behind the work we did….I’m going to walk out of here the same way I walked in, with my dignity and self-respect intact.” ON HIS MODE OF DISMISSAL—-“When you get called to the Wilson Building at 7 p.m. on a Sunday, you don’t expect a fruit basket.” His replacement is Ximena Hartsock, deemed “a D.C. Public Schools official with no parks experience.” True enough, but she’s run DCPS out-of-school programs. Also WRC-TV and WaPo, which notes Fenty’s rationale: “It was very clear that we needed to shift gears.”
LAST GAY STANDING—-Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, at behest of erstwhile Fenty supporter Peter Rosenstein, pass resolution last night decrying firing of only gay major-agency head. The statement in full: “Today’s firing of Clark Ray as Director of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is a slap in the face to the GLBT community. With Clark Ray’s departure as agency head there is now no openly GLBT agency head in your administration. In a City with a huge GLBT population, which supported you in large numbers, that is unacceptable. It is clear to most that Mr. Ray performed his duties in a way that was a credit to the administration and the District. He was responsive to all segments of the community and if any further proof is needed of his successes at the Department then one only need look at the dc.gov website to see that two of the five banners running touting the accomplishments of the administration are DPR events….The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club Executive Committee requests that you meet with them to explain this firing and to work together to ensure that the GLBT community will be represented at the highest levels of your administration which was a commitment you made to the community when you ran for office.”
A fun one in Examiner from Michael Neibauer: He accounts for some $214K in D.C. employee travel in FY09 Q2. Some of the fabbest trips: “D.C. Taxicab Commission Chairman Leon Swain charged $1,034 to his card for a multiple-day stint at the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino, one of the ritziest stays on the Las Vegas Strip. He was attending the ‘national limo trade fair,’ he said Monday, ‘and that’s where I was.’…Two employees in the Office of Administrative Hearings spent five days in Jamaica, at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club, for the National Bar Association annual conference, said Chief Judge Tyrone Butler. Total cost to the city: $1,464….The D.C. Department of Human Resource’s substance abuse program manager will spend five nights at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino resort, a $1,114 booking, for the upcoming Drug and Alcohol Training Industry Association’s annual conference.”
MO’ PROBLEMS FOR MO—-WTTG-TV’s Paul Wagner with the scoop: Peaceaholics mentor arrested for sexually assaulting 15-year-old at Spingarn SHS. ‘The 15-year-old student came forward last week, telling police that 50-year-old Barry Harrison took her to the basement of the school where the offense took place. But that’s not all….Court records show Harrison is a convicted murderer who was sentenced to prison in 1989, and was released in 2006. Court records also show he’s been arrested at least three times on drug charges—the most recent in 2008. He pled guilty to possession of cocaine charges in September 2008. The founders of the Peaceoholics say Harrison never would have been inside the school had they known about the murder conviction.’ No answers from MPD, DCPS, or EOM on why this guy was let into a school.
The record is now closed on United States v. Harold Brazil, and Judge Jennifer Anderson will be rendering judgment a week from Friday. LL’s colleague Jason Cherkis filled in during Brazil’s testimony for LL, who was covering the DPR presser. And WaPo’s Keith Alexander also covers the proceedings. But if you have a spare minute or two, watch Sam Ford‘s coverage for WJLA-TV/NC8.
WaPo ed board gets back on Fenty’s good side—-sort of. On PERB nominees, they write, the council ‘oversteps its role…in trying to pressure the mayor to make new selections from a list prepared by unionized labor. So intent are some council members on usurping Mr. Fenty’s authority that they are prepared to make a fundamental, and troubling, change in the operation of this important board.’ BUT—-‘[Fenty] erred, though, in selecting people who were controversial because of their personal ties to him and who couldn’t pass muster with a council oversight committee. Mr. Fenty should have withdrawn the names and not insisted on today’s vote.’
MAN OF ‘THE PEOPLE’—-Kwame Brown will introduce baseball-suite auction legislation tomorrow, Tim Craig reports in WaPo. Its moniker? Wait for it—-“The People’s Stadium Fund.” And he gets in a nice AF slam: ‘It is time for us to stop focusing on who gets and who doesn’t get tickets, and the mayor being irresponsible and immature, and start focusing on the issues people care about.’ WTTG-TV deems this a ‘solution to the ongoing controversy.’ Thing is, Hizzoner would have to sign the bill for it to be a solution. And who the hell wants overpriced Nats tix these days?
WWC FIGHTS BACK—-From an e-mail sent yesterday to Whitman-Walker Clinic supporters by CEO Don Blanchon: ‘In recent weeks, many inaccurate statements and unfounded accusations have been made about us by Councilmember [David A. Catania] in his position as Chair of the Committee on Health….After an independent review of these allegations by the law firm of Arnold & Porter that found no evidence of mismanagement or malfeasance, and written responses and eight boxes of supporting documents to 72 questions, Councilmember Catania is still determined to use his political power to burden us in a political and personal vendetta stemming from the December 2008 layoffs….We always welcome opportunities to talk with Members of the Council and with community leaders and members about the Clinic’s work. But, after three months, we also think it is time to say “enough is enough.” We think you will agree that our best efforts should be focused on fighting HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia.’ A petition e-mail form is attached.
Bill Myers files a pair of gun stories today for Examiner. The first chronicles a rise in gun sales in the region: ‘Gun enthusiasts here and around the country say they don’t trust the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress. There was a similar sales rush after President Bill Clinton won election in 1992, but Philip Van Cleave of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League says he’s “never seen anything like this.”‘ And the second explains the Heller v. D.C. fallout: ‘Last year, the court ruled for the first time in history that Americans have an inalienable right to own firearms — and to use them to protect themselves. So why don’t firearms advocates feel better?…Some gun rights advocates say they were gratified that the court upheld the right of self-defense, but were still put off by Justice Antonin Scalia’s ruling that guns are nonetheless subject to “reasonable” restraints.’
SW MEASLES!—-D.C. man confirmed to have measles, reports Jenna Johnson in WaPo: ‘It is the fifth case of measles in the region this year, but is not related to the others. The rare outbreak has prompted health officials in the District, Virginia and Maryland to focus on small pockets of unimmunized individuals, mainly babies who have not yet been vaccinated and people born outside the United States. The District man contracted the virus during a three-week trip to India but did not show symptoms until after he returned home, said D.C. Health Department Director Pierre Vigilance.’ Also WaTimes, WTOP, WTTG-TV.
NOTA BENE—-If you were in any of the following places at the following times, take note—-Saturday, April 4: Potbelly restaurant, 409 3rd St. SW, 3:30 to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, April 8: Safeway, 401 M St. SW, 4 to 6:30 p.m.; Friday, April 10: Safeway, 401 M St. SW, 3 to 5:30 p.m. ‘Anyone not immune to the virus who was at the sites during the day and times announced by authorities is urged to contact his or her health departments.’
Metro riders to WMATA: Raise our fares, don’t cut our service! Writes Lena Sun in WaPo: ‘A 5-cent across-the-board fare increase would eliminate any need for bus service cuts….But it’s doubtful that the board will have the votes to consider a fare increase this year. Even if District members, who blocked consideration of a 5-cent increase last month, changed their position, it’s unlikely there would be enough time for another round of required public hearings on such a proposal before the board adopts a budget in June, members said.’
NICE WRITING THERE, LENA—-‘One of the most impassioned pleas came from a single mother who used to ride the P17, 18 and 19 buses because she had no choice. That is the Oxon Hill-Fort Washington line that runs to downtown Washington during weekday rush hours. The proposal calls for rerouting service to the Southern Avenue Metro station. “I was on it as a single mother without any form of transportation whatsoever, trying to get back and forth to day care, to work and to run errands,” said the woman, Rep. Donna Edwards (D), who represents Maryland’s Fourth District.’
District earns kudos for its doctor discipline from watchdog group, reports Cheryl W. Thompson in WaPo. “The District is among the five most improved jurisdictions. It was ranked 42nd in 2003 and 17th in 2008. The others are Hawaii, North Carolina, Maine and Illinois….The Washington Post found in 2005 that the D.C. medical board rarely punished doctors, even after they were disciplined in Maryland and Virginia for questionable medical care, criminal wrongdoing or substance abuse problems. The newspaper’s examination prompted District officials to allocate more funding for staff and improved technology.” Gee, thanks, WaPo!
AFT head Randi Weingarten writes WaPo to complain, gently, about their pro-reform editorializing: ‘I was pleased that your recent editorial on contract negotiations between the D.C. public schools and the Washington Teachers’ Union…gave a positive nod to at least one of the provisions in the WTU’s contract proposal. Of course, I would have been even more pleased if you had avoided the straw man portrayal of these negotiations as a battle and instead offered support for the discussion in which the WTU, Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and the American Federation of Teachers are engaged….I hope The Post can find a way to support rather than deride our efforts, because we are all in this together.’
Marc Fisher does a bit more than bemoan the loss of Vertigo Books in his Metro column. He relays the owners’ thoughtful note to its customers: ‘The note is frank: “Why are we closing? There are many reasons, but basically, not enough people buy books here.” It goes on to argue that “way too many people (not you, but someone you know) are buying their books at Amazon.” Your local bookseller cannot compete with the behemoth on price or choice. Rather, the local shop offers more intangible benefits: Relationships — a real intellectual exchange with staff who can guide you to more fulfilling reading. Community — readings, author events and book clubs where you might connect with people whose ideas challenge your own. And a sense of place — something even most gadget-happy folks yearn for.’
CONGRATS—-To WaPo’s Eugene Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Social Safeway closes temporarily; Balducci’s on New Mexico Avenue NW closes for good.
Man struck, killed by car Sunday night on nonexistent 1100 block of New Hampshire Avenue NE, according to WaPo. LL will just assume they meant NW. ALSO IN BRIEFS—-Randolph Smith Harris, 46, gets 20 years for armed assault during church service.
WASAwatch goes after CDC culpability in waterborne lead crisis.
NoMa BID announces finalists for $100K art project for First & M development: ‘An 11-member selection committee named Alexandria-based landscape architecture firm ParkerRodriguez a semi-finalist, which has teamed up with Chris Doyle, a Brooklyn-based artist….Stephen Glassman, an artist from Venice, Calif. and Office dA, a Boston-based architecture and design firm, are also in the running.’
DC Fab on Hizzoner’s choice of Caps jersey at a playoff game last week: ‘Not only did he wear the wrong color of “Rock Red” day but c’mon…who wears a jersey with their own name on the back?! Not. Fab!’
White powder found in FTC mailroom is harmless.
Timberlake’s to close June 1 after 31 years in business, Biz Journal reports.
Fannie Mae promotes COO Michael Williams to CEO, Biz Journal reports.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting, with seventh legislative meeting to follow, JAWB 500; 1 p.m.: Committee of the Whole FY2010 budget hearing on Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization and hearing on PR18-155 (“Master Facilities Plan Approval Resolution of 2009”), JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: remarks, Green Agenda kickoff, River Terrace ES, 420 34th St. NE.