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IN LL WEEKLY—-Jerk in the Box: What does baseball ticket squabble say about Adrian Fenty? Plus items on Democratic State Committee investigation, historical Hill smackdowns!
A happy Emancipation Day morning to all. D.C. government workers have the day off, and so does D.C. Superior Court, but not the federal courts! At 9:30 a.m. today, Marion Barry is scheduled to appear before federal magistrate Deborah Robinson, who has the power to send him to jail, at long last, for failing to file his tax returns. Don’t expect that to happen. But, as Del Wilber reports in today’s WaPo (and as WTOP’s Mark Plotkin reported days ago), Barry has filed his 2008 return. Hey, he beat LL! Best, though, to watch Barry’s lawyer, Fred Cooke, preview his argument to Robinson on video: “If they want compliance,” he says, “they’ve gotten compliance!” If LL ever finds himself in the sights of federal prosecutors, he knows who to call.
HARDBALL HARDBALL UPDATE—-Peter Nickles sat down with Vincent Gray Tuesday night on the baseball ticket issue, Nikita Stewart reports. Nickles: “I’m doing all I can.” ALSO—-VCG appeared on NewsTalk With Bruce DePuyt yesterday, where he said the ticket squabble indicates “a lack of good faith” on the part of Hizzoner in dealing with the council. WTOP’s Mark Segraves runs down the recent council-executive squabbles. And the TV reporters pile on: WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood does an item, complete with video of an awkward Fenty-Gray joint appearance yesterday. And Bruce Johnson asks, “What’s Up With Mayor Fenty?” SPECIAL KUDOS, THOUGH…to WTTG-TV’s Roby Chavez, who actually took Fenty at his word and followed up on his promises to “get us details.” Watch what that got him:
“PR nightmare,” indeed—-update promised tomorrow! Also, this issue has brought LL and Gary Imhoff closer together than have been in some time.
Couldn’t get enough of LL’s exhaustive gavel-to-gavel coverage of United States v. Harold Brazil? Well, WaPo’s Keith Alexander has you covered! You won’t read the dirty words allegedly spoken at the Georgetown tattoo parlor in his piece, but you will get a nicely crafted capsule description of the competing narratives at stake here. And a mention of the puddle of urine left by Brazil on the Jinx Proof floor.
Catfish Fridays, the popular Edgewood soul-food carryout, hasn’t been paying its taxes, Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner and Nikita Stewart reports in WaPo. That led OTR to shut the joint down, but that didn’t mean that owner Christopher Dinwiddie went out of business. Nope—-he broke back into his place to cater an inauguration event: “‘An Inaugural Celebration,’ an artsy affair at National Harbor that drew rising hip-hop stars Charles Hamilton and Tabi Bonney,” Stewart writes. “Event organizer Ian Callender said he had no idea that Dinwiddie was having legal troubles then. ‘The food was excellent,’ he said.”
Non-news news story of the day: Dedicated Metro funding is going nowhere. Writes Kytja Weir in Examiner, “Maryland, Virginia and D.C. lawmakers have not yet agreed on what terms should be required to change the compact that governs the transit agency. Now they may have run out of time to make the change this year. Both Virginia and Maryland have finished their legislative sessions, leaving behind laws that don’t match one approved earlier in the District.” And, LL notes, Fenty has axed the dedicated Metro money from the 2010 budget.
WaTimes celebrates the holiday by recycling stale budget news: Did you know Fenty’s trying to abolish Emancipation Day! Something he supported as a councilmember? You should, because LL had it first a month ago. Of course, LL didn’t make great hay about Fenty’s council vote. Hundreds of millions in spending pressures will do that to a guy. Never fear: Harry Thomas Jr. says he’s going to try to roll back the measure.
WHERE ARE YOUR ETHICS, WAPO?—-Asian-American David Nakamura—-about to leave for fellowship in, you guessed it, Asia—-covers Asian-American protests of provisional budgetary decision to close city’s Asian and Pacific Islander office. “Fenty (D) proposes consolidating the office within the larger Office of Community Affairs, which would allow the city to cut four positions and save $300,000. Fenty aides said they’re not eliminating outreach to the Asian community but rather streamlining agencies to save money on redundant administrative costs in a year when projected revenue has plummeted. But activists contend that the office, which has seven employees and a budget of about $1 million, would be swallowed by the larger agency, which focuses on aiding seven constituent groups, including youths and gays and lesbians. There’s no guarantee the community affairs office would focus on helping Asians, they said.”
Bill Turque has a fab tidbit in the wake of the Kurt Schmoke-as-teachers-contract-mediator announcement. DCPS included media mogul Mort Zuckerman on an early list of possible mediators. Might as well dream: “Zuckerman has written favorably about the Education Equality Project co-founded by New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein and civil rights activist Al Sharpton, which counts teachers unions as among the entrenched interests blocking reforms that could close the achivement gap between black and white students. Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty are among the signatories to the group’s statement of principles.”
TEA PARTY FAIL—-Heavy-handed regulation foils small-government protesters when lack of permits means tea deliver is turned away. Hard to have a tea party without one! Michael E. Ruane covers for WaPo: “Finally, the truck’s driver, who had been wandering around town for hours after an overnight drive from Georgia, found a place to unload the cargo: 12 floors up in a downtown advocacy group. Without much of an audience….The tea party protest of 2009 was a comedy of aggravation, but no matter. Hundreds of demonstrators ignored the missing truck, the dreary weather and the red tape and gathered in Lafayette Square yesterday for a rain-soaked but boisterous rally to protest high taxes, congressional earmarks and government bailouts.” Colleague Dana Milbank, meanwhile, documents two of the best signs on offer: “Hey Big Brother: Show us Your Real Birth Certificate,” “Blackbeard Obama, King of the Tax Pirates.” Also WRC-TV, WTTG-TV.
Tax bills lead to liquor-license auctions, Neibauer reports in Examiner: “The alcoholic beverage license for the now-defunct Felix Lounge, at 2406 18th St. NW in Adams Morgan, sold for $50,000 to the building’s owner, Sheldon Arpad of Fort Myers, Fla. The license for long-shuttered Chaos Restaurant and Bar at 1603 17th St. NW, in the heart of Dupont Circle, went for $10,000 to Amy Bowman, a Glover Park resident. Both East Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan are moratorium zones for new liquor licenses. Two for sale on the same day was a rare occasion, officials said.”
GOTTA READ HOUSING COMPLEX—-Thanks to adjacent construction, man’s Florida Avenue house collapses on him; he thinks DCRA should have prevented it.
Slow day for the WaPo ed board: They weigh in on the Banita Jacks IG’s report released two weeks ago. “Most striking was the inspector general’s finding that this was not a story of a family living in isolation but rather of one that sought and received numerous services and benefits from a generous city. But different groups worked separately, oblivious to the efforts of others, with the result that no one entity knew the whole story.” More action is needed!
Columnist Bill Fletcher Jr. on Fenty: “Mayor Fenty is part of a new crop of younger African-American elected officials who are post-Civil Rights/post-Black Power, and deeply pro-corporate. What makes them confusing for many people is that they are not stereotypical Uncle Toms. They are quite Black in culture, style and language, but they make little effort to advance a platform for racial justice or economic justice. In fact, they seem to be enthralled with corporate-oriented solutions to the problems facing government and the public sector generally.”
United Medical Center (formerly Greater Southeast Community Hospital—-how much longer will LL need to say this?) get schmancy new $1.2M MRI unit, Biz Journal reports. “District officials also unveiled UMC’s new Advanced Center for Wound Healing, which will treat chronic, non-healing wounds like diabetic problem wounds, bone infection and carbon monoxide poisoning.” NC8, too. ALSO—Anyone besides LL see UMC’s new commercial during the Masters last week?
THIS MONTH IN CAPITAL COMMUNITY NEWS—-The Nose on inane Hill security measures [PDF]; a profile of Ward 8’s only sit-down restaurant…IHOP, as well as the EotR community court; a new H Street-focused column from Frozen Tropics blogger Elise Bernard; the latest Eastern Market news; and the column you’ve all been waiting to read: Ed Lazere on the Fenty budget proposal [PDF].
Blade: Whitman-Walker’s ED Don Blanchon and board chair Jim Sandman (also DCPS general counsel, incidentally) summon to appear again before David Catania‘s health committee on April 29.
WTTG-TV: Three Howard U. students robbed at gunpoint since Tuesday.
CORRELATION WITHOUT CAUSATION, PERHAPS—-WaPo letter writer points out an amazing fact on voucher study: “The study found that simply the offer of vouchers improved students’ reading skills by the equivalent of 3.1 months of instruction, compared with the skills of students who applied for but did not receive vouchers. This increase occurred among students who did not change schools….The greatest change was the result of telling students (and their families) who had applied for a choice that they could have a choice.” Even better is this analogy from another correspondent: “My son, a product of the city’s public schools, remarked, ‘If the Metro isn’t working, you don’t solve the problem by buying 2,000 people BMWs. You fix the Metro.’ The only thing wrong with that statement is that ‘Edsel’ would be a better comparison.”
American Prospect’s Dana Goldstein makes the case that bad economy spells doom for Rhee-esque school reform.
Michael A. Brown pens voting-rights op-ed for Informer; not even going to ask who edited this.
Examiner: Dulles Rail, phase II, moves forward.
Also Examiner: D.C.’s proposed city employee cuts are steep by regional standards.
UH OH—-Informer on bag bill: “Clean River Will Cost You”
Casting begins for Rayful Edmond movie, says WTTG-TV.
WTTG-TV discovers BEDBUGS!
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled; spring recess.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:30 a.m.: interview, Connecting with the Mayor with Barbara Harrison, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: interview, Fenty on Fox, WRC-TV; 10 a.m.: remarks, Guinness World Record induction ceremony, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW; 7 p.m.: remarks, Kalorama Citizens Association meeting, Goodwill Baptist Church, 1826 Kalorama St. NW.