City Paper is not for tourists
Morning all. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, ladies and gentlemen, is being a dick. Understand that LL does not toss around such terms lightly, but “dick” is pretty much the only word that comes to mind to describe how Fenty acted last night when WTOP’s Mark Segraves caught him curbside at National Airport, leaving town for New York on “official business.” Yesterday morning on WRC-TV, he defended his decision not to release the location of his recent vacation by saying his family has a right to privacy. OK, fine—-but why make a big secret about this supposedly official trip, especially when—-as first revealed in Monday’s LLD—-it’s public knowledge that he’ll be appearing on an education panel with fellow mayors Michael Bloomberg, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Kevin Johnson? Unbelievable!
Jerry Johnson is forced out as general manager of WASA after lead concerns continue to dog his tenure. Write WaPo’s David Nakamura and Carol Leonnig, “The WASA board of directors voted yesterday to reach an agreement with Johnson about his departure, which will come a year before his contract was to expire, city officials said. WASA will negotiate a buyout with Johnson, who makes $230,000 a year, and begin a search for a new chairman.” Says board chair William Walker, a Fenty appointee, “‘To insinuate that this change was driven by the lead issue is just not correct'”…adding that Johnson was ‘ready to move on to other things.'” An earlier version of the story reported that Fenty “was said to be supportive of removing Johnson, the sources said.”
MEANWHILE—-Jonetta Rose Barras, who first reported that Johnson was on the outs with Hizzoner, takes a very well-deserved victory lap. There’s a reason she was named second-best columnist, people! And WASAwatch reacts: “The departure of General Manager Jerry Johnson from WASA may very well mark a new chapter in our water utility’s history. We hope that in this chapter, WASA will turn a new leaf, leaving behind forever a culture of deception, secrecy, and disregard for public health, and replacing it with a commitment to honesty, transparency, and constructive steps forward that will elevate the safety of DC’s drinking water to the top of the agency’s agenda.”
Well, the Washington Post finally covers the fishy fire truck giveaway. However, it’s the WaPo editorial page that does it. And Jo-Ann Armao et al. are scathing: “There is no question that [Peaceaholics] does laudable work, and there may be a case for the District to help out other parts of the world….But then why the secrecy? And why has no one connected with Mr. Fenty’s administration been able to provide clear answers to how this donation came about?…Even though this story has been in the news for days, [Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin] and others in his department professed an ignorance that, quite frankly, was not credible. If top officials are so “clueless”—-and that’s Mr. Rubin’s word—-as to authorize travel to a beach resort in the Caribbean without wanting to know the trip’s purpose, we have to wonder: What else aren’t they curious about?” WTTG-TV also joins the party.
Cathy Lanier is on the Hill today to appear before Eleanor Holmes Norton‘s House subcommittee “to examine homeland security and public safety dangers posed by the proposed gun amendment to the D.C. House Voting Rights Act.” Also Capitol Police chief, local homeland security honcho, National Guard, Red Cross, and FEMA. AP covers.
“I am totally in the tank for D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee,” writes Harry Jaffe, before taking Rhee to task for firing Wilson High biology teacher Art Siebens. “The transfer of Siebens, perhaps the best biology teacher in the city, has troubling elements of selective enforcement of rules and a scent of reverse racism. Art Siebens is a quirky and creative teacher. He wrote songs about capillary action and molecular biology….’It was the worst of the adult agenda hurting the kids,’ one parent told me.”
ALSO FROM JONETTA—-She ponders Marion Barry‘s tax troubles, and Peter Nickles agrees to release juvenile records, with conditions. A lot of conditions.
More on DOJ D.C. vote memo, from WaPo’s Carrie Johnson: “Holder contacted Deputy Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal, who served as one of his advisers in the Justice Department during the Clinton era. Katyal gave Holder, who said he had already decided that the bill passed muster, an informal view that the measure could be defended in court if Congress passed it and the president signed it….Whether that conversation was part of a bid by the country’s chief law enforcement officer to gather expert advice or an override of a legal conclusion with which he disagreed is the subject of debate among veterans of the department and on Capitol Hill.”
Planned youth baseball academy at Fort Dupont Park still in limbo, Jonathan O’Connell reports in Biz Journal. That’s because “the plan has become mired in a land dispute between the city and National Park Service, which controls the property. Although the 41,888-seat Nationals Park was built in 23 months, little progress has been made in more than three years toward acquiring a 15-acre plot in Fort Dupont Park, and there is no timeline for construction to start.”
ALSO FROM O’CONNELL—-Long-awaited stormwater regs are about to be released, and developers are worried. “While the agency would not provide details until they are released for public comment sometime this month, the regulations are expected to require developers building along the Anacostia River to capture one inch of stormwater on their sites and three-quarters of an inch elsewhere in the city. The rules would force developers to invest in new features such as green roofs, water retention systems, permeable paving and rain barrels to capture stormwater that otherwise sweeps trash and waste from the sewers into the Anacostia River, one of the country’s most polluted waterways.”
Fenty and Martin O’Malley cooperating on parole issue that kept as many as 400 convicts on the streets, Teddy Kahn reports in Examiner. “Approximately 400 felons under supervision by D.C. police have been charged with crimes in Maryland that should put them back behind bars. But because the charges are for misdemeanors, the felons cannot be extradited to the District under current law. ‘The warrant is useless,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who took part in Thursday’s session at the District’s Wilson Building.” Also WAMU-FM.
Upgrades coming to Nationals Park, Examiner reports: “The biggest change is a new food vendor — the organization’s third in as many years….The Nationals also have made noticeable cosmetic changes to the stadium. Increased signage, including light-emitting diode signs near ticket windows at both the center field and home plate gates, will direct fans around the park. Fans can sit and eat on new picnic tables now available on all levels throughout the park. Also, the popular Red Porch Restaurant in the center field plaza has been expanded.” As for on the field? Who knows.
WaPo covers the IG’s report on the Banita Jacks tragedy. Writes Petula Dvorak, “The team of investigators that researched the case and the lives of Banita Jacks and her children, who were between 5 and 17 years old, said the child welfare agency was not the only one that didn’t catch the family’s problems in time. In many instances, ‘errors of omission and commission, failures to communicate and coordinate, and deficient policies and procedures were evident,’ the report said.” Also WaTimes, WAMU-FM, NC8, WTTG-TV.
Half-off discount on parking tickets ends for local fleets, Examiner’s Kytja Weir reports. Jim Graham says DMV “has had a program to simplify parking ticket payments for companies, such as UPS and FedEx, that rely on a fleet of vehicles, by sending them regular reports detailing all the tickets they racked up in the District. Many businesses that rely on trucks to deliver or pick up products factor in the cost of parking tickets in their budgets. But under the D.C. program, Graham said, the agency was giving the companies a 50 percent discount on the fines.” Revenues estimated at $120K. Also WRC-TV.
Deborah Gist is officially Rhode Island’s new education commissioner. Says Providence Journal: “Gist was appointed by former Mayor Anthony A. Williams in 2004, but found herself in an awkward position after Mayor Fenty took over the school system in 2007 and named Michelle Rhee as the day-to-day administrator for the city’s schools. Rhee has spearheaded a time of huge upheaval in the distressed Washington, school system and has been profiled on the cover of Time magazine.”
DON’T FORGET…the D.C. Armor’s home opener, against the Reading Express at 7 p.m. at the Armory—-“box office will open for game ticket sales at 4:30 p.m., outdoor tailgating begins at 4 p.m. weather permitting and arena doors will open for the event at 6 p.m.” Halftime show features Chuck Brown and the Eastern High marching band! “The game night experience includes fun for the entire family. Beginning with a kid’s zone, where children and adults alike can participate in a range of family fun oriented football skill challenges. The experience will also include interactive gaming, a music DJ and complementary prizes.” FOR LL’S DOLLAR, THIS IS THE SPORTING EVENT OF THE DAY.
Biz Journal covers bag-bill testimony, including dueling restaurateurs: “Lynne Breaux, president of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, said her members are overwhelmingly against the new fee, particularly given the recession. ‘Anybody we speak to is like this is one more burden in an already overburdened industry during an already overburdened time,’ Breaux said….*Andy Shallal, owner of the popular 14th Street NW restaurant and book store Busboys & Poets…doubted even carry-out restaurants would be harmed by the bill. ‘People who spend $20 on Chinese food – they aren’t going to care about another 5 cents. It’s really a bogus argument.'”
WTTG-TV picks up WaTimes scare story on early releases for D.C. Jail inmates.
Council committee votes itself subpoena power to investigate OCTOgate. ALSO—-WaPo city editor can’t spell Peter Nickles‘ name (as of 8:49 a.m.).
What to do with Ward 5’s empty big-box stores?
“Knock, Knock- Chancellor Rhee, Anybody There?” writes Candi Peterson at the Washington Teacher. “It’s time for a counter contract proposal from Rhee that’s good for students and fair to teachers….A little birdie told me that Rhee is not talking directly to [WTU prez George Parker] anymore even though Parker is the WTU’s Chief Negotiator.” DUH—-It’s Randi Weingarten‘s show now.
Thoughts on the charter school budget hearing from Mark Lerner.
D.C.’s “creative economy” creates $5B a year, city study finds. “The industry in D.C. encompasses building arts, design, media, communications, performing and visual arts, museum management, and culinary arts.” GLAD LL COULD DO HIS PART.
Jack Evans was honorary chair of a dog fashion show.
“Ultra-high-end” hotel coming to Georgetown? Biz Journal: “A joint venture between two D.C. companies, Castleton Holdings Inc. and ICG Properties LLC, has attracted an undisclosed high-end, boutique operator for a 50-room hotel in the former headquarters of the American Trial Lawyers Association, 1050 31st St. NW. Castleton bought the property from the association in January 2008 for $18.3 million.”
WHITE-SHOE MASSACRE CONTINUES—-Hogan & Hartson axes 93 nationwide.
Is The Real World finally coming to D.C.?
OBITS—-David W. Scott, 92, was “an artist and art historian who served as founding director of the National Museum of American Art, played a key role in expanding the National Gallery of Art and shepherded the Corcoran Gallery of Art through a difficult time after a controversial exhibit”; Loree Murray, 88, “founded the Near Northeast Citizens Against Crime and Drugs to lead street patrols that helped police document evidence of drug dealing”—-including that of Rayful Edmond and associates.
TODAY ON THE POLITICS PROGRAM WITH MARK PLOTKIN—-Kwame Brown, at-large councilmember; and Ken Ullman, Howard County executive; 10 a.m. on WTOP-FM, 103.5.
TODAY ON THE POLITICS HOUR WITH KOJO NNAMDI—-Tom Sherwood, WRC-TV; Bill Myers, Examiner; Joshua J. Cohen, Anne Arundel County councilmember; Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County executive; and Paul D. Craney, D.C. Republican Committee; noon on WAMU-FM, 88.5.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Health FY2010 budget hearing on Department of Health Care Finance, JAWB 500; Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs and Economic Development roundtable on the D.C. Auditor’s report on the Certified Capital Companies Program, JAWB 120; Committee on Finance and Revenue roundtable on B18-198 (“Allen Chapel A.M.E. Senior Residential Rental Project Property Tax Exemption and Equitable Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2009”) and B18-199 (“CEMI-Ridgecrest – Walker Washington Community Center Real Property Tax Exemption and Equitable Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2009”), JAWB 123; 1 p.m.: Committee on Human Services FY2010 budget hearing on Child and Family Services Agency, JAWB 412; 3 p.m.: Committee on Economic Development FY2010 budget hearing on Department of Small and Local Business Development, JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-“No public events scheduled.”