Morning all. For great lunchtime entertainment, tune into the Politics Hour With Kojo Nnamdi at noon today on WAMU-FM, 88.5, where LL will meet minds with Kojo, resident analyst Tom Sherwood, plus guests Phil Mendelson and ousted Virginia GOP head Jeff Frederick. That’s appointment radio!
Council judiciary and government-ops panels vote themselves subpoena power to investigate fishy fire truck giveaway. “I just want to know what happened,” Mary Cheh tells Examiner’s Bill Myers. “But my larger objective is, if there’s some screwy way that we’re dealing with surplus property, I want to fix it.” Here’s what AG Peter Nickles has to say: “I think they ought to spend their time on matters that are of greater importance to the city,” and calls the probe “a misallocation of resources.” You mean, like giving away a perfectly good fire truck and ambulance? Also WaPo, WUSA-TV.
INCIDENTALLY—-LL heard a lot of jawing in the JAWB about Jonetta Rose Barras‘ column yesterday taking Cheh et al. to task for all these investigations. They wouldn’t have do all this subpoena crap, wags say, if Nickles wasn’t muzzling city employees left and right.
A $144M lottery ticket that hasn’t even been cashed yet is a WaPo A1 story. Writes Petula Dvorak, “For decades, residents of Ward 8 had watched as vast grocery stores were built in other wards, as fancy condominiums went up elsewhere in the region and as Powerball lottery winners from other parts of the country mugged for the cameras. At long last, they have a shiny new supermarket. Condo developments have been built. And, finally, according to lottery officials, a multimillionaire had been made right there on Alabama Avenue….The winner remained a mystery yesterday. D.C. Lottery officials waited outside the store in a bright blue van decorated with stars and lottery logos. They had a bunch of balloons and a camera ready.” Also NC8, WUSA-TV.
Also getting the WaPo A1 treatment: The District’s lawsuit against alleged church scammers. “D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, in a 16-page affidavit, alleges that agents for the companies offered the churches free computer kiosks to enhance their outreach. What the churches actually received was inexpensive computer equipment that often did not work. The kiosks, located in church foyers, were to serve as electronic bulletin boards for announcements and community activities and would pay for themselves through paid advertisements. But the suit alleges that congregations unknowingly signed leases obligating them to pay tens of thousands of dollars for faulty equipment. After the kiosks were installed, Nickles said, church accounts were drained by unauthorized withdrawals and unlawful collection practices. ‘They didn’t go after rich people,’ Nickles said. ‘They went after African American churches who really need the funds to help the poor and the needy, and we are not going to put up with this.'” One victim is identified as Mount Horeb Baptist in Northeast; churches have organized as “United Churches for Justice,” hired Fred Cooke to press their case. Also Biz Journal.
Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr. covers Tuesday’s gay-marriage-recognition vote, calling it an “abrupt development.” Also in Blade: Q&A with David Catania and an op-ed from political hand Lane Hudson saying the time has come for a full gay marriage bill. (Hudson also pipes up at HuffPo.)
Did typo mean Jim Graham‘s tax-the-rich bill was actually a tax-cut-the-rich bill? Jack Evans‘s right-hand man thinks so, and he tells Examiner’s Timothy Carney all about it. “Experts agreed Graham’s intent when he introduced the bill Tuesday was to raise taxes on those in high income brackets. But under a literal reading, the bill would reduce revenue and give a tax break to the wealthy, they said.” What happened is that Graham added a new top bracket for earnings of over $500K without refiguring the base amount for income earned up to $500K. Of course, none of this matters since this bill is going nowhere.
WTOP’s Mark Segraves reports a shocking incident (shocking to us reporters, anyway) where a federal employee demanded that WAMU-FM reporter hand over his recording equipment while covering a public meeting at the VA hospital in D.C. The confiscator is identified as Gloria Hairston, an internal communications specialist. “She was aided by at least two other employees of the V.A. and four armed security guards.” They got Schultz’s memory card and have yet to get it back. READ IT!
Metro wanted $2.5M in federal reimbursements for inaugural expenses, but feds are only ponying up $1M, David Sherfinski reports in Examiner, due to “reimbursement guidelines.” Board member Chris Zimmerman can do math: “They’re looking to stick us for $1.5 million.”
Harry Jaffe wants his House vote, guns or no guns. Witnesses at Michael A. Brown‘s “show hearing,” he writes, “created their own reality, but the reality is that Congress controls the District’s fate, as the Constitution mandates. Neither I nor any D.C. resident likes that reality, but it’s a fact….Going toe-to-toe against congressmen who believe the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms is a losing proposition. Most Americans agree with them — as does the Supreme Court. Why not face the congressmen and senators who added the noxious gun amendment and negotiate one that gives us more power to regulate? That seemed to be Mayor Adrian Fenty’s position, until he blinked. Instead of holding show hearings, show some movement toward democracy.” LL SEZ: Right on.
WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood does a nice piece on St. Elizabeths access issues. Eleanor Holmes Norton, he says, “is trying to make sure the spectacular overlook on a bluff over the Anacostia and Potomac rivers called the Point will be open to the public. It’s a panoramic view that includes Catholic University and Catholic Shrine, the National Episcopal Cathedral, the Nationals’ baseball stadium, and the Washington Monument. If it’s open to the public, it’ll be like a soccer riot on the Fourth of July.”
WaPo’s Del Wilber profiles federal judge Emmet Sullivan, who earlier this week ordered an investigation into the prosecutors who botched the Ted Stevens case. “The harangues captured the vintage Sullivan, who has spent more than 20 years on the bench, recently presiding over a series of high-profile cases and building a reputation as a formidable, if unpredictable, presence in the courtroom….At the federal courthouse, and lately in government and political circles, the judge has become a well-known figure. He blocked snowmobiles in national parks, is overseeing the sentencing of three people who pleaded guilty in a D.C. tax scam and handled a lengthy trial brought by animal rights activists who alleged that circus elephants were being mistreated….Sullivan is an avid Redskins fan and an aggressive tennis player, and also spends hours tending the flower garden at his Northwest Washington home, friends say. The 61-year-old grew up near Howard University and proudly calls himself a ‘native Washingtonian.'”
Cops arrest 20 in Southeast PCP bust, authorities announce. Writes Clarence Williams in WaPo, “D.C. police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration had targeted the group since October in an effort to stop PCP sales in the Woodland neighborhood, near the 2400 block of Ainger Place and the 2700 block of Langston Place SE….Investigators have secured 20 indictments and six additional arrest warrants in the case….They have served 16 search warrants, he said, and seized one gun, $10,000 worth of PCP, heroin, cocaine and marijuana, and about $3,000 in cash. Police released little information about the 20 people arrested on illegal drug distribution and possession charges other than that they appeared to live or work in the neighborhood.” Also WTTG-TV.
IN BIZ JOURNAL—-Jonathan O’Connell looks at Bill Hanbury‘s charge at United Way; O’Connell’s also on the efforts of eight community groups to avoid losing DHCD funding; Melissa Castro on East of the River CDC’s credit default after being cut off by District; how EastBanc is filling its West End condos; and big package on the stimulus package.
DCPS budget hearing was yesterday; it lasted just short of 12 hours.
WTTG-TV covers the Michael Williams firing.
Metro to put 20 new rail cars into service Monday on the Red and Green lines, Examiner reports. “Metro will convert three trains each on the Red and Green lines to eight-car trains during morning and afternoon rush hours. The remaining cars will be used as a ‘gap’ train available when another train experiences problems in an effort to help ease delays during the summer tourist season. With the additional 20 railcars, Metro will use 850 rail cars during the morning and afternoon rush hours each weekday, reaching that level for the first time in the agency’s 33-year history.”
$73M in federal stimulus headed to area jurisdictions “to expand and improve child-care and immunization programs for low-income families,” Chirs L. Jenkins reports in WaPo. “The money can be used to expand the number of child-care vouchers offered, pay agencies more for their services or help states deliver these services more efficiently, officials said….Experts said that states probably will use the money conservatively, as the allocation is designed to last only two years, and many states don’t want to be saddled with programs they can no longer afford. Virginia will receive about $43 million; Maryland, almost $28 million; and the District, about $2.9 million.”
HOW STIMULATING—-COG to track local stimulus projects.
AP reports Corcoran will lay off 18 employees. “The layoffs announced Thursday affect senior managers, as well as entry-level jobs and represent about 5.6 percent of the staff. The museum also is extending a hiring freeze and will suspend contributions to employees’ pension plans….The museum will maintain its full exhibit schedule and won’t change operating hours.”
Greg O’Dell details the convention center sitch for Tradeshow Week: “We’ve had minimal cancellations for the convention center; it’s been up and down….Some shows have held consistent attendance rates, and others have felt the impact on their shows and seen attendance drop.”
WELCOME TO THE PARTY—-Region sees increase in Catholic converts, Examiner reports. “The Archdiocese of Washington will see its highest number of confirmations in the past six years, said Susan Gibbs, director of communications. This year, 1,192 people will be confirmed in the archdiocese, which covers the District and the Maryland suburbs, up from 1,114 in 2008….’We’re in a culture now where people are just not brought up in religion, so as adults, they’re making that decision,’ Gibbs said. She also cited marriage to a Catholic and an increase in immigrants from traditionally Catholic locations, such as South America and West Africa.”
Jason Cherkis is PO’d about his denied police FOIAs.
David Wilmot is investor in new NoMa Marriott.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS DOGNAPPERS!—-Reports NC8, “While the dog’s elderly owner was occupied in his yard, two juveniles allegedly untied the dog from the front yard fence and ran with him eastbound from the 3200 block of 11th Street Northwest….Sparky is described as a four-year-old charcoal gray Shih Tzu/Poodle mix weighing about 12 pounds. He was wearing a Washington Redskins collar with two ID tags with the owner’s information and was attached to a purple leash.” WRC-TV, WTTG-TV have video. Kwame Brown is offering a $500 reward!
Arne Duncan showed up, addressed the audience at Wednesday night’s Neko Case show at 9:30 Club.
WaTimes covers teacher performance-pay plans across the country. Guess who gets mentioned…
CNN: “Obama family good for D.C. tourism.” On the agenda: Ben’s, Equinox, Wiz game, Ken Cen, Hay-Adams.
DDOT: 9th Street NE bridge to be replaced.
D.C. home sales up 2 percent.
Deanwood dump is demolished; WaPo’s Hamil Harris shoots video.
ENOUGH OF THIS “TIVOLI NORTH” BULLSH*T ALREADY.
More, but not much more, on possible ‘Real World’ season in D.C., from Biz Journal.
GGW’s David Alpert caps on Mendo for arguing against Cathedral Heights Giant project. “While Cheh looks forward to a better Ward Three, Mendelson looks backward, to the anti-development neighborhood fights of the 1980s when he was an ANC Commissioner and helped downzone the area and institute the overlay….The 1980s are over. Not all PUD proposals will enhance neighborhoods. But many will. It’s time to focus on the good of our city rather than blind adherence to a set of overlays.”
Metal plate on Connecticut Avenue roadbed in Cleveland Park falls, snarling traffic.
Man shot last night on 1400 block of Howard Road SE is in critical condition.
THE STARBUCKS ARE CLOSING! THE STARBUCKS ARE CLOSING!—-Two D.C. stores axed, Biz Journal reports: “In D.C., Starbucks will close the 3301 M St. NW location, which has been boarded up for months. Also being closed is the Cleveland Park store at 3420 Connecticut Ave. NW.”
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled; Good Friday.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-3:45 p.m.: remarks, Walter Pierce Dog Park ribbon-cutting; 20th and Calvert Streets NW.