Morning all. The WaPo editorial board this morning gets unusually testy with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty over the baseball ticket squabble: “What we wonder is what Mr. Fenty hopes to gain by being so petty. Perhaps he is seeking to punish council members who haven’t gone along with his bid to award a new lottery contract or confirm his choices for government boards. Maybe he wants to be seen as a big-city mayor unafraid to play political hardball—-in contrast to his predecessor, Anthony A. Williams, who some accused of having insufficient mettle. Whatever his thinking, Mr. Fenty risks more than his image if he doesn’t repair his relationship with the council. His ability to govern—-to improve public education, reform the city workforce, undertake new initiatives—-depends on council support. He should be smart enough to know he needs to play ball.”
It’s all but certain now that Marion Barry will not be going to jail for failing to file his 2007 tax return—-the eighth time he’d failed to file in nine years. LL makes that determination after federal prosecutor Thomas Zeno decided yesterday to withdraw his request for incarceration when Barry’s probation officer recommended an extension of his probation, and Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson made it clear she was concerned about the medical facilities in any jail or halfway house facility Barry might be sent to. Read LL’s real–time dispatches, and read more from the bevy of reporters on the scene: Michael Neibauer of Examiner, Del Wilber of WaPo, Gary Emerling of WaTimes, Joseph Curl of WaTimes, Hank Silverberg of WTOP, Tom Sherwood of WRC-TV, Pamela Brown of WJLA-TV/NC8, Bruce Leshan of WUSA-TV, and Karen Gray Houston of WTTG-TV.
THE BARRY RETINUE—-son Christopher, kidney donor Kim Dickens, friend Donna Watts, companion Chenille Spencer and her children, spokesperson Natalie Williams, aide Bernadette Tolson, and the Rev. Anthony Motley.
Federal judge lays the hammer down on Attorney General Peter Nickles and his attempts to recover costs from special-ed lawyer. Writes Bill Myers in Examiner, “U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts tossed Nickles’ complaint this week, rebuking the attorney general for wasting time and money. ‘It is beyond ironic that D.C.’s attorney general complains with great flourish…about lawyers who help parents secure disabled children’s rights, when his client, the [schools] has been found repeatedly in this court to have violated the children’s rights,’ Roberts wrote in a footnote to the 10-page decision. ‘It is particularly unclear how the attorney general’s choice to sue in federal court…and not sue in the more streamlined and far less costly small claims branch of our D.C. Superior Court furthers his interest in saving taxpayer money.'” Oof. WaPo’s Bill Turque has the AG’s response: “Nickles said this afternoon that he ‘thoroughly disagreed’ with the ruling and would certainly appeal. He also called the comments Roberts directed to him ‘completely inappropriate.'”
WCP’s Jason Cherkis reports on big problems at the D.C. Jail. The biggest? The doors don’t work: “A corrections officer…says the doors either can’t lock or can’t be unlocked. The problem has been going on for more than a year. They estimate that the problem ballooned to 200 faulty cell doors before officials got concerned. That number has since been cut in half.” READ IT!
Lou Chibbaro Jr. covers possible congressional intervention on gay marriage for the Blade. Most likely, he reports, is an appropriations rider, not a direct legislative veto. An aide to the House leadership “said the ability of Democratic leaders to block an amendment to overturn the city’s proposed marriage recognition law would depend on whether rank and file Democratic House members from moderate to conservative districts join Republicans in voting to kill the marriage measure. ‘There is a longstanding recognition that D.C. should be allowed to run its own affairs….This is the view of the Democratic leadership.'” You know, like on guns.
Metro Weekly covers report—-“The Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-sex Couples in the District of Columbia”—-that says full same-sex marriage rights could be an economic boon: “The study was released earlier this month by the Charles R. Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. According to the report, ‘Extending marriage to same-sex couples will boost the District of Columbia’s economy by over $52.2 million over three years, which would generate increases in local government tax and fee revenues by $5.4 million and create approximately 700 new jobs.'”
Four years later, Emancipation Day still comes as a surprise to many, David Nakamura reports in WaPo. “At Judiciary Square, people continued to show up at government offices only to be met by locked doors. A woman from Pennsylvania and her daughter came to the Department of Motor Vehicles to try to register a car. A woman from Florida had come to challenge a $500 ticket. When told the office was closed for Emancipation Day, she grimaced.” CELEBRATIONS—-“The holiday brought forth a mix of small celebrations, including a rally for representation in Congress in Franklin Square downtown, where about three dozen activists gave speeches tying emancipation to the struggle for voting rights and statehood for the District.” Fenty, who has proposed eliminating the day off for D.C. employees, attended none of them—-rather he saw the Alpha Kappa Alphas collect a Guinness world record for largest sit-down dinner.
POLL—-Most responses to a WaPo Internet poll support eliminating E-Day.
OH MAN—-Harry Jaffe thinks, hey, what’s so bad about letting Congress keep the vote, while we keep our taxes? “The idea is neither new nor farfetched. Former congressman Jack Kemp has been advocating a ‘flat tax’ for D.C. since 1997, when the capital flirted with bankruptcy and its finances were taken over by a federal control board. When Congress failed to install a low-tax enterprise zone in D.C., Kemp called the move ‘stupid’ and told an executive conference that the way to fix D.C. was to ‘let capitalism do its mighty work.’…What’s wrong with letting the ‘mighty work’ begin now? Imagine the effect on home values in D.C. if the feds let us institute a 15 percent flat tax. Businesses would locate in the capital, much as they are attracted to Delaware for its tax structure. K Street would be awash in Fortune 500 company headquarters….We keep our taxes. We get to regulate gun ownership. We could fund our schools and roads to the max. Seems like a win-win-win. Why not?” LL SEZ—-What about simply being treated like the rest of America? Why not?
HUGE MEDIA NEWS—-WaPo undergoes huge newsroom reorganization, as first reported by former LL Erik Wemple. Top Metro editor Robert McCartney will leave that post and take a spot as Metro columnist; current sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz moves to helm local coverage. Current Metro columnist Marc Fisher is reportedly heading to the editor ranks.
Via Nakamura: Rapper Rasi Caprice records “Free D.C.” track, hands it out at E-Day event. Sample lyric: “They build stadiums and taxpayers pay for them. But repairments for our schools, we gotta wait for them, and yet they wonder why the youth got hate for them.”
NC8: Richard Harding, 46, of the 3900 block of Legation Street NW in Chevy Chase, arrested on child porn charges. “Sources say Harding began Internet conversations with someone he thought was an adult pedophile, but it was really an undercover officer. Those sources say Harding exposed himself to the officer via a Web cam before sending graphic images and videos of young boys, even infants, being sexually abused.”
WUSA-TV’s Dave Statter asks around about proposal that would allow D.C. drivers to keep the same license photo for 17 years. Didn’t find too many fans. Also from Channel 9: Inspection stickers are getting stolen!
IN MONDAY’S BIZ JOURNAL—-Jonathan O’Connell on the District’s prep for stimulus spending; Vandana Sinha on new green roofs for H Street NE businesses; Lee Matsos on the D.C. Armor’s inaugural season; and a Nationals fan “stops believing.”
IN WAPO DISTRICT EXTRA—-Keith Alexander covers Judge Robert Rigsby‘s deployment to the mideast; in District Notebook, Hamil Harris covers the Obama church search; Timothy Wilson covers D.C. Tap Fest, “a three-day event featuring classes, jam sessions and a concert” beginning today at at the D.C. Dance Collective in Tenleytown; home sales; crime blotter; news briefs; and ANIMAL WATCH.
Md. legislature is considering bill that would make the homeless among those protected from hate crimes, WaPo reports; the D.C. Council is considering a similar measure.
The people play the WaPo budget game, submit their own pitches. Here’s Shalaya‘s: “I cut taxes overall across the board. D.C. residents pay so much in taxes, but get little in return. I put big budget cuts in education because D.C. spends too much for little results. I also put a major decrease in public works, because D.C. never cleans the streets anyway, and no one wants parking enforcement officers around.”
D.C. Repubs lay into Mary Cheh for constituent-service expenditures outside the District.
WTTG-TV: Bedbug battle begins at Claridge Towers, a DCHA senior building in Logan Circle.
Harry Thomas Jr. comes out against Jeleff club sale, according to Current via Georgetown Metropolitan.
SILVER LINING—-District unemployment dipped a tenth of a percent in March, WAMU-FM’s Kavitha Cardoza reports. And Biz Journal says D.C. office vacancies still low. “The District’s first quarter vacancy rate rose 1.4 percent to 9.2 percent, the second-lowest office vacancy rate in the nation, behind only New Haven, Conn. The first quarter vacancy rate in New York rose 1.6 percent to 9.6 percent. Portland, Ore, Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia all had below average vacancy rates last quarter.”
Cyclist LL sez: BRING THE IDAHO STOP TO D.C.! (Lay off the insufferably precious short films, though.)
“Washington Teacher” Candi Peterson sends roses to Bill Myers for his Shadd ES expose. “Unfortunately, what many fail to realize is that DC special education centers like Shadd are just the tip of the iceberg of with what’s wrong in special education in the District of Columbia Public Schools,” she writes.
Surprise! Pending WTU contract poll is, um, a little one-sided, Education Sector blogger reports.
TODAY ON THE POLITICS HOUR WITH KOJO NNAMDI—-Tom Sherwood, WRC-TV; Kevin Naff, Washington Blade; Michael Brown, at-large councilmember; Kimberly Propeack, CASA of Maryland; Chelyen Davis, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. 12 p.m. on WAMU-FM, 88.5.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled; spring recess.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10 a.m.: remarks, R Street affordable housing ribbon-cutting, 1436 R St. NW.