Morning all. Man, slow news day today! That means, per Peter Nickles, that LL has to kick off with a mayoral travel item: After four-day mystery vacay, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty tells reporters from NC8, WRC-TV to shove it, that he paid for trip out of his own pocket. “I had a great time,” he said. “I really appreciate you asking!”
Michael Neibauer, who broke the fire truck giveaway story for Examiner, files another piece today on the matter. “A city hall official who asked not to be named told The Examiner on Monday that the vehicles, on their way to the Dominican Republic town of Sosúa, had been ordered turned around….D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles on Monday said he still wasn’t ready to comment on the bizarre gift to a town with which no District official claims any relationship. No one in the D.C. government acknowledges any role in the contribution.”
Also from Neibauer: Mary Cheh‘s government ops committee to investigate OCTOgate scandal—-with subpoena power! “Cheh, joined by Council Chairman Vincent Gray, adjourned a public briefing into the OCTO scandal after 10 minutes because none of the invited guests showed up. ‘The council recognizes and appreciates that there is an ongoing criminal investigation and that the executive is taking steps to uncover how this situation occurred,’ Gray said. ‘But these important and necessary actions are not a substitute for the oversight role of the council.'” WUSA-TV has video of the no-shows!
YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY RESIST—-Watch LL and Neibauer discuss all of the above stories and more on yesterday’s NewsTalk With Bruce DePuyt!
WaPo’s Del Quentin Wilber and Michelle Boorstein do their very best to explain confusing dispute at D.C. Islamic Center, about to be hashed out in federal court for the second time. In a nutshell: “The center’s business manager has been accused of stealing $430,000 from the mosque in a complicated check scam. The key witness against him is the center’s director and imam, a Saudi who says he noticed the crime when he spotted too many checks being written to a gardener. The Iranian-born business manager has a different story. He says the imam told him to take the money.”
White House launches internship program for D.C. students, Bill Turque reports for D.C. Wire. “The D.C. Scholars Program will place students in part-time, unpaid positions in White House offices and departments this summer….Applicants must be 18 years old by June 22. They’ll need two letters of recommendation and must write two 300-to-500 word essays: one describing a time when they asserted leadership in a community or civic activity and what they learned from it; the other a letter to the President or the First Lady on a topic of their choice. Applications are due April 30.”
SURPRISE, NC8!—-Marion Barry staffers aren’t answering tax questions.
Hours before Friday evening Metro derailment, inspectors found no visible track flaws, Lena Sun reports in WaPo. “Ultrasonic testing of the entire Red Line conducted from March 15 to March 19 also found no defects. But ultrasonic testing does not pick up ‘very, very small blemishes’ on the rail surface, he said. Those blemishes can cause the rail to deteriorate over time, a process known as ‘shelling.'” Also WTTG-TV. And Examiner’s Kytja Weir reports that Metro will take a “very close look” at rash of derailments.
IN BETTER WMATA NEWS—-16th Street express buses debut.
Ronnell C. Knight, 54, has been charged in the broad-daylight murder of a Skyland street vendor. WaPo: “According to court documents, two people saw Knight approach Wallace from behind, shoot him once in the back of the head and then flee….Yesterday, residents placed flowers and a Washington Redskins bear at a tree near the site of the shooting where Wallace sold lotion and oils from his sidewalk table.” Also WTTG-TV.
Nickles sues auto-title lender Loan Max, AP reports. That’s what you get for charging 300 percent interest rates! “The suit also claims that Loan Max used illegal tactics, including unauthorized repossession of cars, when borrowers were unable to make repayments.”
Natwar Gandhi and IG Charles Willoughby will appear before a Senate subcommittee this morning for a hearing on “Stability through Scandal: A Review of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.” 342 Dirksen, if you Hill rats are free.
NC8 covers new DCPS dress code.
WASA: “Odor abatement” projects along Potomac Interceptor sewer in D.C. and Maryland will be complete by November 2011, reports Gazette. “The project to build six carbon filtration buildings along the line in Maryland, the District and Virginia has run into delays largely because of the complicated approval processes involved with working with multiple jurisdictions and agencies, WASA has said. The Potomac Conservancy and other groups filed suit against WASA in 2004 in an attempt to pressure WASA to speed up odor abatement plans, but were unsuccessful.”
In WaPo letters, Andy Shallal, Busboys & Poets owner, speaks up in favor of the Tommy Wells bag bill as co-chair of “Think Local First DC.” Then fellow D.C. resident asks, “But wouldn’t more be accomplished by expanding existing recycling programs?”
Blogger 14th and You calls out Jim Graham for not noticing the plethora of out-of-date Metro ads. So out of touch, that guy!
You have TILL TOMORROW to appeal your new property assessment!
P.G. UNITED UPDATE—-Annapolis bill to do stadium-feasibility study is delayed. “Monday was ‘crossover day’ —- bills that passed one chamber by that day are automatically debated in the other chamber. The soccer stadium study did not pass either chamber before the deadline.”
Examiner op-ed contributor gets to the voucher whine-fest late. But it’s good whining! “Why must this program end? Why must these children suffer? Because their success would run risk of exposing one of the biggest lies going in this country – that a supposed lack of money is the only thing holding back the quality of public education.”
IT’S ALMOST THAT TIME OF YEAR—-You know, the funky-chlorine-tasting-tap-water time of year.
LL might be getting a new corporate overlord today!
LL closes with a District Limerick…
In response to the fiscal malaise
The council saw fit to appraise
The money they’re due
Saves a staffer or two
So they’ll turn down the usual raise
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole FY2010 budget hearing on the D.C. Council, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining, Office of Budget and Planning (OCFO), and Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, JAWB 412; Committee on Government Operations & the Environment FY2010 budget hearing on Office of Disability Rights, Contract Appeals Board, Department of the Environment, Office of Policy & Legislative Affairs, Office of Grants & Partnership Development, and the Office of the City Administrator, JAWB 500; 2 p.m.: Committee on Public Works and Transportation roundtable on Bill 18-148 (“Transportation Infrastructure Improvements Bond Financing Act of 2009”), JAWB 123; 6 p.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation roundtable on Department of Parks and Recreation personnel practices, JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:45 a.m.: remarks, affordable housing ribbon-cutting ceremony, 4100 Georgia Ave. NW; 10:45 a.m.: remarks, U.S. Conference of Mayors National Forum on Education, Capital Hilton, 1001 16th St. NW.