City Paper is not for tourists
NOTA BENE—-Yesterday’s LL Daily did not reach dc.gov and dccouncil.us addresses because it contained a foul word buried in one of the links. LL expresses his thanks to OCTO’s Ayanna Smith, Rob Mancini, and others for quickly explaining what happened. LL Daily will watch its language in the future!
Morning all. Mark Segraves uncovers the latest Adrian M. Fenty travel outrage and writes about it for his Malcontent Minute blog: Hizzoner attended American University’s NCAA basketball tournament game last Thursday in Philadelphia as a guest of Mayor Michael Nutter. Fenty didn’t tell the public about his “completely justifiable” trip, but Nutter’s office said plenty: “According to a spokesperson for Nutter, Fenty requested six tickets to Nutter’s sky-suite at the Wachovia Center. Nutter, who did not attend the game, provided the tickets valued at a total of $420. Fenty was apparently accompanied by two staff members, three children and a security detail.” Here’s spokesperson Mafara Hobson’s response to Segraves’ queries on who accompanied him: “According to the Attorney General, I don’t need to tell you that.” Segraves’ lede says it all: “It sounds like a game, but it is actually a serious matter the District mayor wants to treat as a game.”
AND—-Where is he today?
WaPo continues to dig into the mayor’s budget proposal. David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart are late to cover the possible end of Emancipation Day as a D.C. public holiday, but Nakamura and Bill Turque add some value with a short piece looking at the myriad ways the budget plan means bad news for public-employee unions. “D.C. teachers are the lone exception in the no-raise budget, assuming their union reaches a deal with [Michelle Rhee], who has proposed a controversial performance-based pay system. William Singer, a mayoral budget aide, said teachers are ‘a special case’ whose potential raises are being financed in part by $29.4 million in federal stimulus money.” Said Dan Tangherlini at Monday’s budget hearing: “Our position is that we’re more than willing to talk and work with organized labor…The question is: I would like to hear from them the definition of a path” out of the sour relationship. “I’m not sure what it is myself.”
BTW, COUNCILMEMBERS—-“Neither Fenty, who is paid $200,000 a year, nor D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), who is paid $190,000, is eligible for a raise. However, the other 12 council members, who receive $125,583, are scheduled to receive their annual cost-of-living increases of 3 to 5 percent in 2010. Gray said he will advise his colleagues to decline the raises.
Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner on big cuts to the D.C. National Guard’s budget. “The Fenty spending plan drops all funding for the guard’s Youth Challenge Program and the Youth Leaders Camp, cuts supply and materials funding in half, reduces funds for tuition assistance and slashes equipment and training expenses. Fenty’s proposal leaves the guard with only $66,000 for non-personnel related expenses, Major Gen. Errol Schwartz told a D.C. Council committee Tuesday….The mayor’s decision to kill the youth programs has frustrated guard leadership. ‘I’m asking for some reconsideration of that action,’ Schwartz told the council’s public safety panel.” Also WAMU-FM.
Jonetta Rose Barras looks at the many ways the budget proposal squeezes the business community. “For example, production companies filming in the District will pay more to use the city’s public space; surveyors seeking building plats will have to hand over $50 for up to three maps; once free, a zoning compliance letter will cost $25; it’s $100 for two or more, according to the Budget Support Act submitted this week to the council. When a renewal of a ‘basic business license’ is less than 30 days late, it will be considered lapsed; the company would be required to pay a $250 fine. A renewal of a BBL that is 30 days or more late will be deemed expired, and a $500 fine will be imposed.”
Also in WaPo, Hamil Harris covers objections to budget plans to close DPR-run child-care centers. “Residents raised issues ranging from child care to mentoring programs during a hearing that stretched more than 13 hours….Clark E. Ray, director of the agency, said it serves about 550 children through its early child-care and before- and after-school programs. But they might be privatized eventually, he said, and the agency can no longer afford to staff them.”
MOVEMENT ON TEACHERS CONTRACT—-Turque reports that DCPS is ready to return to negotiations with the Washington Teachers’ Union/American Federation of Teachers. And DPCS says it’s “ready to engage a third-party mediator to untangle the talks, which are now in their 16th month….The two sides are expected to exchange a list of possible meeting dates by Friday.”
WaPo ed board writes that “Congress and the District don’t have to accept a dire choice between voting rights and city gun laws.” How so? “A better idea is to push House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) for a full-scale hearing on the implications of this bill. This would give D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier the opportunity to reiterate the ‘grave concerns’ she expressed last year when a similar bill was being considered. We would like to hear the Department of Homeland Security weigh in on letting the District be the one place in the nation where it is acceptable to cross state lines to buy handguns. We’re curious as to what the Secret Service might say about providing easy access to semiautomatic firearms with high-capacity magazines.”
New York Times looks at the Obamas’ many forays into their new home city. Hizzoner gets a quote: “Everywhere you go, you’re wondering whether or not you’ll run into them.” Writes Rachel L. Swarns, “Mr. Fenty said it was the president who suggested lunching at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a well-known black-owned restaurant. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s delegate to Congress, said Mrs. Obama suggested lunch at B. Smith’s, also black-owned, a Southern-style restaurant near the Capitol.”
Jim Graham tells WTOP that “drastic reductions in service” will not be necessary to close Metro budget gap. “‘For instance, we have in D.C. a situation where we have some fairly painless service reductions….We are talking about increasing the headways on some bus routes by 30 seconds.’…Each local jurisdiction owns a share of the budget gap. In the District, that number is about $5 million. ‘We are only proposing $1.5 million in service reductions in the city—-the remaining $3.5 million we have been able to find in subsidy,’ says Graham.”
Graham chats with GGW about various issue. NOTE TO JG: Get a typist! Bests, LL.
The Hill runs down some congressional gun politics that may have bearing on DCHVRA chances. “But the bill would still face severe obstacles even with the gun amendment. Despite the addition, Republicans won’t vote for D.C. voting rights, which they claim to be unconstitutional. Unless Norton urged them to support it, most liberals and members of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote no. The “no” votes of Republicans, liberals and CBC members would likely sink the bill.”
IN WAPO DISTRICT EXTRA—-District Notebook has more on SEC-WCCA merger, including quotes from Vince Morris, plus item on Peters family vigil; Stephen Lowman on Anacostia waterfront plans; briefs; crime reports; home sales; and ANIMAL WATCH.
Man shot to death early Wednesday at 16th and Hamlin Streets NE identified as Metro employee Eugene F. Neal Sr., 52. WaPo: “Metro spokeswoman Candace Smith said Neal left the Takoma Station about 12:30 a.m. He had been a Metro employee since January 2002 and ‘was considered a well-liked and good employee. It’s unfortunate for his family and his Metro family, and our hearts go out to them,’ Smith said.” Also NC8.
ODD—-“Smith said it was the second time that a Takoma Station manager had died within the past year, but she did not immediately have information about the victim in the other incident.”
Local hospitals feeling the bad economic conditions, WaPo’s Lori Aratani reports. “District hospitals have yet to report results for the final quarter of 2008, but Robert A. Malson, chief executive officer of the District of Columbia Hospital Association, said they, too, are affected by the downturn.”
Armed robbery of Adams Morgan liquor store caught on tape!
Local jurisdictions prep for pedestrian/biker/driver safety crackdown, Examiner reports. “Drivers in the District who fail to give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks now face tougher penalties. Starting in November, drivers face a $250 fine, up from $50, and they now receive three points on their driver’s licenses. Those who strike pedestrians pay $500 and receive six points.” Also WTOP.
Peaceaholics to Metro: Don’t give up on ex-offenders. Writes Kytja Weir in Examiner, “For the past decade, [Ron Moten] said, Metro has been quietly hiring ex-offenders, helping them re-enter society and support their families legally. He estimates 10 percent of the transit agency’s employees are what he calls ‘returned citizens.’…Last week Metro said it created a special task force to review its hiring practices after Metrobus employees were involved in high-profile incidents.”
In themail: Gary Imhoff‘s mad about parking hikes.
Fenty to appear next Wednesday at cable industry convention.
Sodexo is your new RFK Stadium vendor for D.C. United games.
A reminder from DCist: You can donate to statehood efforts on your D.C. tax form.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole FY2010 budget hearing on University of the District of Columbia and Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization, JAWB 412; Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary FY2010 budget hearing on Department of Corrections, Office of the Attorney General, Office of Unified Communications, and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, JAWB 500; 5 p.m.: Committee of the Whole hearing on PR18-155 (“Master Facilities Plan Approval Resolution of 2009”), JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.