Morning all. Slooow news day today. WaPo gets in on the Nats ticket story: Tim Craig writes on B1 that after the latest squabble with Hizzoner, Vince Gray has sent a letter to Ted Lerner “asking that he void the tickets and reissue them directly to the council. ‘We await your immediate response,’ Gray wrote.” Kwame Brown, more mindful of the politics, says just auction all the seats to the highest bidder. “It’s the people’s boxes!”
WHO WAS IN THE BOX?—-Who knows? LL hears Dan Tangherlini was there. If you saw anyone or you were on the premises, tell LL! (BLACKMAIL ADVISORY: Dropping the dime on someone else is the only way to guarantee your own name will not be revealed!)
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty was on MSNBC yesterday morning to talk schools, talks up the need for good principals with total autonomy. Pat Buchanan asked him if he’s a union-buster, and Mika Brzezinski gets him on the streetlight fee!
In Examiner, Bill Myers details a chilling coincidence: Delonte Haskins, 24, was shot dead at a Naylor Gardens dice game Thursday afternoon—-hours before a jury convicted Andre Mason of a 2007 killing in virtually the same place due in part to Haskins’ Superior Court testimony. Charged in the Haskins murder is Gerald Washington, 17. “Prosecutors alleged in court papers that Washington and Haskins got into a fight over the dice game. Washington went back inside his home and returned with a handgun….It’s nearly the identical narrative in Mason’s case. Authorities alleged that he and 23-year-old Delonte “Big Face” Borum got into a fight over a game of dice and Mason shot and killed Borum, leaving him to die on the street….Haskins’ death sent a tremor through law enforcement over the weekend, as authorities scrambled to determine whether he was killed in retribution for having turned against Mason.”
Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner that under new DMV rules, you can keep the same driver’s license picture for 17 years, “spurring some to wonder how a criminal might use graying, balding, wrinkling and other inevitabilities of age to steal someone’s identity.” Jim Graham is concerned: “[W]ith all of our concerns about homeland security and all the proposals circulating about improving our identification, this is a step back. Just from my own experience, I know how much I’ve changed in 17 years. Seventeen years ago, I had a beard.”
VOUCHER VOUCHERS VOUCHERS—-Emerging from the wilderness into the WaPo op-ed page are Tony Williams and Kevin Chavous to defend the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program they pushed while in office waaay back when. “Ensuring that every American child receives equal access to high-quality education represents our last civil rights struggle. By any objective measure, the educational offerings we provide for our children, particularly children of color, do them a disservice….We should learn from the legacy of Malcolm X and the civil rights movement….’By any means necessary’ is a calling. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is a necessary means of educating children who otherwise would be lost; it must be maintained and allowed to flourish.”
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Washington, prime beneficiary of voucher dollars, is decrying the congressional move to end the program, Neibauer reports. Says schools superintendent Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, “Secretary Duncan’s decision to ban new students from entering the program means federal money designated by Congress to help poor families will go unused….It is unfortunate and sad that poor families, who received eligibility letters, would now be denied access to funds appropriated by Congress for them….The Archdiocese of Washington is committed to doing all that it can to urge reauthorization of the Opportunity Scholarship Program because the program has been so successful, as the recent U.S. Department of Education study showed.”
Judge smacks city around a bit on Third Church of Christ, Scientist lawsuit, Marc Fisher reports, cribbing from the Current et al. ” At a hearing last week, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson displayed little patience for the city’s insistence that the church has no right to determine the future of its own building….[T]he judge tangled early and often with the city’s lawyer, Assistant Attorney General Leah Taylor….The judge was not shy about stating his view of the situation church congregants face in a building they’d love to tear down and sell off so they can build themselves something more appropriate: ‘The building is practically unusable, the entrance is lousy, the place is cold and dark,’ Robertson said, summarizing the church’s position.”
Myers follows up on his Shadd ES expose yesterday, gets Mary Cheh to demand answers and accountability from DCPS. Says the Queen of Subpoen’: “As [DCPS is] experimenting, our kids aren’t getting the services and care they need….You may have had a colossal waste of money in a part of the school system that has been wasting money for years.”
Anti-tax “Tea Parties” scheduled for downtown, Examiner’s William C. Flook reports: “Whether the event locally amounts to a flop or a coup will, of course, hinge on turnout, projections of which remain elusive. Rebecca Wales, the lead organizer of the event in D.C., declined to venture an estimate. Perhaps overly hedging, she said she expected ‘more than five’ people. Local organizers are, however, confident enough in public interest that they’ve split the protest into two venues: a ‘grassroots’ stage at Lafayette Park and a ‘national’ stage outside the U.S. Treasury Department.”
Park Police shoot 54-year-old Ronald Hughes nonfatally yesterday afternoon north of Union Station after he tried hitting an officer with his car while fleeing. DCist has primo coverage and links to primo pictures. Also NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV.
Historic docs go on display at Capitol Visitor Center, including, via WaPo, a “list of supplies requisitioned for the historic 1803 Lewis and Clark expedition went on display yesterday at the recently opened Capitol Visitor Center.” There’s 49 more—-don’t miss the first draft of Senate Joint Resolution 119, “which declared war against Germany. It was adopted Dec. 11, 1941, at the outset of American participation in World War II.”
Lottery board keeps ad agency MDB Communications, Biz Journal reports. “The win comes after a competitive review for the up to $12.5 million, five year contract, which MDB has held since 2004.”
Local Catholic blogger on gay marriage vote: “So, here we have the DC Council voting on this and at least three of the council members are ‘practicing’ Catholics. Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) is not only a member of Holy Redeemer Parish but she is on the Parish Council. Murial Bowser [sic] (Ward 4) is a member of St. Anthony’s Parish. Vincent Gray (Chair) is also Catholic. However, I am not been able to identify which parish he is affiliated with….Will their pastors speak with them about this? I hope so, but I doubt it. Will the DC Catholic Conference lobby against this with them? I hope so but I don’t think it will do much good. Will the Archdiocese say something to them? I hope so but I also don’t think it will do much good, even if they do.”
Beltsville preacher (via Metro Weekly): “I was shocked at the boldness of the DC City Council as they voted to open the door for a marriage reciprocity measure that would allow anyone legally married in the nation to be legally received in the District….This law would essentially begin the process of opening the back door to allowing same-sex marriage in America’s first city….It almost goes with out saying that a legal battle of epic proportions is undoubtedly going to ensue….Therefore, we need the nation to mobilize to protect marriage.”
Virginia readers, in WaPo letters, fear for our gay-marriage-lovin’ souls.
WAPO BRIEFS—-FONZ wants volunteers; D.C. Court of Appeals gives Ted Stevens his law license back.
Study: We drive a lot!
META-AGGREGATION—-LL loves the River East Recap! (Well, he hates the term “River East,” but still loves the recap.)
GGW asks, “Could the slowing economy benefit DC schools?”
Examiner’s 3-Minute Interview: Shane Salter, founder and executive director of CASA for Children of D.C., and Williams administration official.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled; spring recess.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: remarks, Columbia Heights fountain and public park groundbreaking, Tivoli Center, 3301-3325 14th St. NW.