City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Peter Nickles Has Found a New Residence“; “Michael Brown on His First 100 Days: I’m Doing Great!“
BREAKING—-Clark Ray out as Parks and Rec director. Presser at 11:30 a.m.
Morning all. The weekend’s must-read is clearly Cheryl W. Thompson‘s Sunday A1 WaPo investigation into the shooting death of DeOnté Rawlings at the hand of off-duty cop James Haskel. Why is this investigation so welcome? “Instead of being open, officials declined to release the details supporting their conclusions, saying their hands were tied by federal grand jury secrecy rules that ordinarily do not apply to local police shooting cases. The FBI and grand jury had been brought in to ensure an impartial investigation. The lack of transparency left a host of unanswered questions throughout the city: If Rawlings fired, where was his gun? Why did the minibike vanish from the scene, then reappear days later? What evidence tied the boy to the shooting? The Washington Post examined the Rawlings case, obtaining and analyzing previously undisclosed internal police reports, statements by officers at the scene and depositions from witnesses. Together, the documents present a much more ambiguous picture, revealing a chain of police missteps and oversights that invite questions about what happened that evening.”
WHAT THEY FOUND—-“The officers involved in the shooting didn’t identify themselves as police officers, didn’t attend to the wounded suspect and fled the scene. All were violations of department policy….By not securing the scene and the evidence, the off-duty officers made it impossible to conclusively determine whether Rawlings had fired a weapon. No gun was found even though uniformed police arrived within three minutes, and only seven seconds after the off-duty officers had left….One of the officers took a key piece of evidence with him—-driving off in the sport-utility vehicle, which a police investigator says was hit by a bullet. The officer who shot DeOnté, James Haskel, left the scene on foot, flagging down a nearby police cruiser. That officer drove Haskel to his mother’s house and failed to question him or take notes about what happened….Haskel also was allowed to make unmonitored phone calls, including at least one to the officer who accompanied him during the shooting, and was not questioned for two hours and 33 minutes….Authorities tested Rawlings’s clothing for lead residue and found none, police records show. No gunshot residue, soot or powder was found on his fingers or hands, according to the autopsy report.”
MORE QUESTIONS—-WCP’s Jason Cherkis wonders why MPD has yet to release their internal report to the council or to the public.
ARE THEY TURNING ON FENTY?—-Fresh off its Friday scolding on baseball tickets, the WaPo editorial board Sunday goes after Hizzoner’s lack of straight answers on the fishy fire truck: “The final indignity was the administration’s refusal to allow the one official said to know about the transaction to testify before the council. Mr. Nickles barred the testimony, citing an investigation to be conducted by the city’s inspector general. It’s quite likely that this gift was perfectly appropriate; after all, in 2007 the council formally thanked the mayor of Sosúa for his kindness in working with District youth visiting there as part of an exchange program. But the circumstances of the transaction have taken on a life of their own, and the mayor shouldn’t have to wait for a formal inquiry—-or subpoenas from the council—-to level with the public about the actions of his government.” And he gets tough treatment today in yet another editorial pushing vouchers. “It has been disappointing that many of those one would expect to speak up for the educational rights of poor, minority children—-and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) tops the list—-have been almost mute or, as has been the case with D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), downright hostile.”
Harry Jaffe chronicles the “twilight years” of Marion Barry in a longish piece for Examiner. “He’s 72, living alone in a small apartment in Congress Heights, a tough neighborhood east of the Anacostia River. His four marriages have failed. His $125,600 salary is being garnished by the IRS to the tune of $1,350 every two weeks. Even in his dotage, Barry can be a potent and divisive force on the city council, to which he was re-elected by Ward 8 voters last fall. But he’s not aging well, physically or mentally.” AND HOW BOUT THIS SLAM?—-“Mayor Adrian Fenty’s constituent service office says he’s done little for his ward, and calls for service come directly to them. He will show up for news conferences announcing new programs or fresh developments, but he rarely initiates them or works to complete them….But Barry still works hard for longtime cronies. Next week he is scheduled to try to put through emergency legislation that would give a tax break to H.R. Crawford, a black developer whose projects have depended on public funds.”
Jonetta Rose Barras compares Barry’s tax troubles to those of Catfish Fridays owner Christopher Dinwiddie. “Barry owed more than Dinwiddie. The feds said the Ward 8 legislator’s tab is about $275,000. OTR told the world how much Dinwiddie owes. But it’s hush-hush about Barry’s bill….Reviewing the two cases, it’s clear who received the better treatment. OTR officials cautioned that the money Dinwiddie didn’t pay belonged to the government; they compared his actions to robbing a bank. Average residents don’t make a distinction; both men didn’t file their returns or pay their taxes. Further, Barry remains in business. He can be found in his office at the John A. Wilson Building.”
Get ready for more lottery-contract shenanigans: The new contract RFP has been drafted, Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart report in WaPo, and changes indicate the contracts may be being steered to current holder Lottery Technology Enterprises: “The revised proposal, instead of putting a heavy emphasis on which company can operate the lottery at the lowest cost, places a priority on modernizing the system….Eric Payne, the former director of contracts in the office of the chief financial officer, said the council and city officials are improperly meddling….[Vincent Gray] said he was pleased that the contract is up again. He said he does not automatically favor LTE or any other bidder. ‘I think if you emphasize the technical aspect of this, you will end up with a good price,’ Gray said. ‘You will end up with people who have demonstrated they have some grounding and experience doing this work.'”
WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood captured Fenty’s latest dodge on baseball tickets questions on Friday: “So I do want to say this: You know, I really love everything about my job, and one of the things I love most about my job is the media.” And WTTG-TV keeps up their coverage, reporting that “everyone’s talking tickets—-except the mayor.” They also got a shot of two empty suites at Nationals Park Friday. And check this breakdown from the D.C. Universe, and other blogger reax.
WHA HAPPENED?—-Fenty was skedded to appear at a Chevy Chase ballfield Saturday at 12:30 p.m. He hadn’t arrived by 1:15, tipster says.
Legal Times covers possible U.S. Attorney picks: “Several names have already surfaced for U.S. attorney. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner Ron Machen, McDermott Will & Emery partner Roy Austin Jr., and D.C. Superior Judge Thomas Motley—-all veterans of the office—-are said to be considering a run for the job. Monty Wilkinson, who recently left the office’s No. 3 position to join Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.‘s staff, has also been named as a potential candidate by several former D.C. federal prosecutors.” (Via Tickle the Wire, which writes, “The current U.S. Attorney Jeff Taylor is well respected and doing a good job, but there’s no way D.C. Del Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has had limited power as a member of Congress, is going to pass up an opportunity to exert her influence and help select a new U.S. Attorney.”)
More than 1,000 people have taken the taxi license exam in the past two months, Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner, “potentially putting hundreds more cabbies on the streets even as existing drivers complain that revenue is drying up….[T]he rising number of cabbies will crush existing workers, the chairman of the D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association said. ‘The market will become oversaturated and the attempts to put the drivers out of business will be in place,’ Nathan Price said Friday.”
WaTimes stays on the inmate release story only they seem to care about: Phil Mendelson‘s public safety committee has yet to see proposed rules governing the proposal with a budget vote coming next week. Says Mendo, “I’m a strong believer in planning first and then acting on the basis of the plan….It’s been a problem the council has had with the executive that they act first and plan afterwards.” GOOD POINT—-“Fenty spokeswoman Leslie Kershaw said the Department of Corrections was still working on the regulations and pointed out that Mr. Mendelson’s committee had not given city officials a deadline.”
Federal mediator says city hasn’t been good about paying its bills, Bill Myers reports in Examiner: “‘[The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service] has received far too many complaints from arbitrators regarding the District of Columbia’s slowness in paying and sometimes failure to pay,’ Federal Mediation’s Vella Traynham wrote in the letter to the city’s chief labor lawyer….Federal Mediation is already refusing to assign arbitrators in some cases, Traynham’s note states. The letter, dated April 9, puts new pressure on Mayor Adrian Fenty’s reform efforts. Without arbitration, D.C. might face tens of millions in litigation fees to settle employee disputes, experts say. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of arbitration cases now pending in the city’s docket, employees union leaders say.”
It’s standardized test time for D.C. schools, and Bill Turque details the preparations in WaPo: “D.C. police will be deployed to pick up truants and deliver them to classrooms. Administrators are urged to schedule testing in the morning when students tend to do better. But not too early for high school kids, not generally known as morning people….Play classical music at a soft volume, one administrator said in a memo to principals. And don’t forget snacks during the test.” Why is this important? “In the District, the test—-DC-CAS, short for the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System—-is particularly important because it is one of two tests this year that will provide much-anticipated snapshots of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee‘s progress in her efforts to overhaul the historically underachieving public school system.”
D.C., Maryland, and Virginia all pass legislation providing dedicated Metro funding, Lena Sun reports in WaPo, but only the District’s bill conditions additional federal representation on the Metro board on the feds actually appropriating, not just authorizing, additional funds. “D.C. Council member Jim Graham, who co-sponsored the District’s bill and is also Metro board chairman, said he will be consulting fellow council members and is planning to raise the issue during a council hearing on Metro’s budget tomorrow….Graham said the District wants to work with Maryland and Virginia on the issue. At the same time, he said, he wants a guarantee from the federal government. He said an ‘assurance that this is a funded promise from the United States Congress’ would help him ‘reach this accommodation.'”
Hundreds show up to protest Metrobus cuts at public hearings last week, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. “Single moms, elected officials, high school students, union members and suit-clad suburbanites from Palisades to Fort Washington poured into public hearings last week to plead for their buses. In a picket line in front of Metro headquarters Friday night, about 20 people chanted: ‘They say cut back, we say fight back.’ They oppose Metro’s proposal to plug the coming fiscal gap by eliminating, rerouting or reducing about 70 routes. The system currently serves more than 400,000 bus riders each weekday….’When they forgo public transportation, what will happen?’ testified D.C. Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh in a packed hearing of more than 100 people Friday night that lasted nearly four hours. ‘We will increase public costs in a different way.'”
Marc Fisher bids farewell to the Master Chorale of Washington. “The chorale is the largest arts organization in the area to fail since this recession began, but it is not the first and will surely not be the last, says Terri Lee Freeman, president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, which manages 700 charitable funds for individuals and businesses.”
Michelle Rhee spoke Thursday in Denver: “Rhee…spoke at a meeting of the Democrats for Education Reform in the auditorium of the Denver Newspaper Agency building,” Denver Post reports. “The standing-room-only crowd included Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, state Senate President Peter Groff and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis….Rhee said radical changes are necessary. ‘Unless we do something massive about this right now, unless we are willing to turn the system on its head…then all of the ideals of this country are actually hollow,’ she said.”
Cory Booker speaks for Fenty in endorsing Michael Bloomberg for another term as New York mayor, NYT reports. “I know what I know, and I know that Mayor Bloomberg is not just the mayor of New York. He has become the national model, and he has become, in a professorial way, a help to dozens of mayors. Talk to Mayor Fenty. Talk to Mayor Kevin Johnson in Sacramento. Talk to Gavin Newsom in San Francisco. A lot of us younger, next-generation, thirty-something forty-something mayors have been relying on him for a long time as giving us examples and instruction in how to dramatic change in our cities.”
GOOD LUCK WITH THAT—-Adam Fogel of FairVote argues for voter-registration reforms: “To increase participation and engage all citizens, we must change the way we think about voting in this country and in the District….In short, we need a paradigm shift from the current self-initiated, opt-in system to one where citizens start out on the voter rolls and opt out if they choose. To begin modernizing the District’s voter registration system, the D.C. Council should set a uniform voter registration age of 16, as Florida and Hawaii have done. This common-sense policy would allow schools to conduct systematic voter registration drives, increase registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles through “motor voter” programs and give these newly registered voters time to learn about candidates and issues….Another proposal is for the D.C. Board of Elections to prepare the voter rolls by automatically registering all citizens to vote through existing databases….This policy would not only increase the District’s registration rate, but it would also alleviate some of the burden on local election officials close to Election Day.”
WaTimes delivers a classic Don Peebles puff piece on the “D.C. real estate developer” (or is it Miami?). “Reflecting on his nearly 30 years of success, Mr. Peebles said he wants Americans to know that anyone, regardless of his or her background, can be just as successful,” Andrea Tomer writes. GEE, THANKS, DON.
Beware the “endocrine disruptors,” Potomac Conservancy H. Hedrick Belin warns in WaPo op-ed piece. “These compounds are the primary suspect in the mystery of intersex fish that have been found in the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. To date, we know that these compounds disrupt the development of many aquatic species, most notably male smallmouth bass that have developed eggs. This condition has been documented in the Potomac River watershed and beyond. It is becoming a global phenomenon.”
Vivek Kundra has company in top federal technology posts: Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s technology secretary, will be federal chief technology officer, and Jeffrey Zients, former CEO of the Advisory Board Co. and former chair of Corporate Executive Board Co., will be chief performance officer. WHY IS ZIENTS’ NAME FAMILIAR?—-He teamed up with Fred Malek to bid on the Nats. Read a 2004 WaPo profile by CP alum Annys Shin.
Young local Jews live and hang out at Adams Morgan’s Moishe House, says WaPo contributor Brittany Levine. “Tucked on a tree-lined street, the house is part of a fast-growing network of Jewish community centers in 25 cities around the world. Young Jews live in the houses and organize religious and social events for twentysomethings. In return, Moishe House subsidizes their rent and pays for the events.”
Jonetta is not a fan of the contemporary NAACP: “The organization is as anachronistic as colored-only water fountains and white-only bathrooms. Its racial focus perpetuates the evils it claims it wants to eradicate, and its audiovisual rendering of America as ‘them vs. us’ abets the nation’s balkanization.”
Jaffe says you should plant a tree, with help from a $50 Casey Trees rebate. “It’s not the best season; the optimum tree-planting time is fall. But early spring is swell. May can been too far toward summer; trees planted in June often suffer from heatstroke. So call Casey, get a rebate and plant a tree; it will satisfy your green guilt all summer long.”
MEASLES!—-MoCo outbreak may extend to District. “Area health officials from several jurisdictions, speaking on condition of anonymity, tell WTOP they’re concerned that the male patient traveled through several jurisdictions during the period he was infectious. Officials tell WTOP they have been in phone or e-mail contact with all people known to have been in proximity to the patient. However, one health official says ‘potentially hundred of people have been affected.'”
WaPo’s Roger K. Lewis says minority obstructionists have led to bad policy decisions on Tenley/Janney and Cleveland Park Giant projects. “Some residents of the District cling to a suburban mentality. This mentality, coupled with government mismanagement, can obstruct desirable redevelopment. For the city to evolve, residents’ attitudes and government performance must change….They may represent a minority of people affected by redevelopment, but that minority can be organized and outspoken while redevelopment supporters remain silent. Hearing little from the majority and pressured by the minority, the city can make bad decisions.” Hear that, Mendo?
Richard Layman runs down EHN’s Saturday sit-down with bloggers, focusing mostly on transit issues.
WashCycle asks, now that John Porcari has left the Maryland transportation secretary job for a federal appointment, “Would Dan Tangherlini take it or be a good fit if offered? Frankly, I’m not familiar enough with MDOT or Maryland to know the good options.”
Veterans Affairs commits to One NoMa Station, now 90 percent leased.
AP: “The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has charged the foundation building a monument to the civil rights leader on the National Mall about $800,000 for the use of his words and image—-an arrangement one leading scholar says King would have found offensive.”
Man found dead early Saturday on 1300 block of Barnaby Street SE.
Sedley Randolph, 23, sentenced to 35 years for beating death of toddler.
Two P.G. cops struck by car early Saturday on 1500 block on Southern Avenue SE.
WTOP’s Adam Tuss has more on “self-correcting” parking meters.
NC8: “Winner of D.C. Lottery Still a Mystery”
Coalition for Smarter Growth is hosting a “house party” with new DDOT Director Gabe Klein. Tix are $25 and up. (via GGW)
LINCOLNS INVADE WASHINGTON!
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-9:30 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue roundtable on PR18-179 (“Georgetown University Refunding Revenue Bonds Project Approval Resolution of 2009”) and PR18-195 (“The Urban Institute Revenue Bonds Projects Approval Resolution of 2009”), JAWB 120; 10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole FY2010 budget hearing on D.C. Auditor, Office of Zoning, and Office of Planning, JAWB 412; Committee on Housing and Workforce Development FY2010 budget hearing on Department of Employment Services and Office of Ex-Offender Affairs, JAWB 500; Committee on Public Works and Transportation FY2010 budget hearing on Water and Sewer Authority, Washington Aqueduct, Department of Transportation, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, JAWB 123; 11 a.m.: Committee on Human Services and Committee on Government Operations and the Environment joint hearing on B18-182 (“Food Stamp Expansion Act of 2009”), JAWB 120; 12 p.m.: Committee on Human Services briefing on “Cost of Quality Out-of-School Time Programs” report commissioned by Wallace Foundation, JAWB 104.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-11:30 a.m.: remarks, agency director announcement, Ferebee Hope Recreation Center, 3999 8th St. SE.