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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“That Had to Hurt“; “Paul Strauss DUI Trial Postponed to June“; “2010 D.C. Budget Plan: No Tax Hikes Except for These Tax Hikes“; “Mayor: No More Car Inspections!“; “Mayor Proposes Cutting 776 City Jobs“
Morning all. Here’s your results from the SunTrust National Marathon: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty ran the full marathon in 3:25:46, shattering his personal record. At-Large Councilmember Kwame R. Brown finished the half-marathon in 2:06:25. And LL, well, he was a big ol’ DNF, quitting at Mile 15 after his right knee gave out. But some small comfort: His half-marathon split was 2:05:40—-take that, Kwame!
Woman, two boys found slain Saturday at Carver Terrace apartments on 1900 block of Maryland Avenue NE. Erika Peters, 36, and her sons Eric, 11, and Dakota, 10, were allegedly killed by boyfriend Joseph Randolph Mays. Read up on WCP’s coverage over the weekend, and check WaPo stories from yesterday and today. Also WTOP, NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV. CFSA had investigated the family in 2006, but the case was closed in 2007.
FENTY’S STATEMENT—-“It’s an awful, awful thought that something like this should ever happen. This breaks the hearts of all the residents of the District of Columbia. It just doesn’t get any worse in my mind than young people losing their lives potentially at the hands of another human being. Especially kids this young.”
Michelle Rhee gets the full Sunday treatment from NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof. He’s a big fan—-so big, in fact, he skipped writing about Darfur, but does say that “Ms. Rhee’s weakness is her bedside manner.” And here’s the money quote from Rhee, regarding union negotiations: “If we come to an impasse, we’re going to move forward with our reforms anyway…Then it potentially gets uglier.” Kristof responds, “She’s right on both counts — it could get very ugly, and Washington’s children shouldn’t suffer indefinitely in broken schools just because of a collective-bargaining stalemate. It would help if President Obama firmly backed Ms. Rhee.” Comments here.
A week later, two perspectives of the District’s HIV/AIDS crisis. One is from former city hall reporter Craig Timberg, who essentially says cool it on the Africa comparisons, saying that HAA Director Shannon Hader‘s “comments that AIDS here is ‘on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya’ muddied the picture.” He should know: He moved from the Wilson Building to covering Africa for WaPo. Then there’s Colby King, who in his Saturday column notes the absence of any mention of AIDS in Fenty’s SotD speech last week. Or, of course, youth violence.
AGAINST ALL ODDS—-Marc Fisher reports on man who fought city hall over booting—-and won. What motivated the guy: “I had this mental image of Mayor Fenty sitting in a fancy restaurant in Dubai while I was being taken to the cleaners.”
WaPo’s Jay Mathews says it’s time to call it quits on school vouchers. “Congress should fund the 1,713 current voucher recipients until they graduate from high school but stop new enrollments and find a more promising use of the money….My problems with what is formally known as the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program are political and cultural, not moral….Vouchers help such kids, but not enough of them. The vouchers are too at odds with the general public view of education. They don’t have much of a future.”
SCANDAL—-This was the talk of the Wilson Building press briefing room prior to Fenty’s budget press conference Friday: For yet-to-be-disclosed reasons, the city briefly blocked the Examiner Web site!
TO COMPROMISE OR NOT TO COMPROMISE—-Michael Ruane and Mary Beth Sheridan in WaPo ask around to see if gun regs are worth stomaching in order to get a House vote. Deal, say Phil Pannell, Kelvin Robinson, E. Gail Anderson Holness; no deal say Ron Moten, Mary Cheh, Sandy Allen. And this USN&WR blogger says deal, too.
SEE ALSO—-Afro article on Fenty-Norton split.
Trinidad residents plead with archdiocese to keep day-care center at Holy Name Catholic Church open, N.C. Aizenman reports in WaPo and Leah Fabel writes in Examiner. The Model Cities Child Development Center, Aizenman writes, “has been a bedrock of the Trinidad neighborhood for more than three decades and is one of the city’s few licensed infant care facilities….Susan Gibbs, director of communications for the archdiocese, said Catholic Charities made the decision to pull out of the day care about a year ago as part of a larger reorganization effort. Gibbs said Model Cities has been running a roughly $260,000 annual deficit and is the only such program Catholic Charities operates.”
Phil Mendelson responds to “Mayor” John Ensign in Sunday WaPo op-ed: “Why does the District want to register firearms so badly? Chances are, when an unregistered gun is seized by police, they have encountered a criminal, not an otherwise law-abiding citizen. Being able to charge that individual with possession of an unregistered firearm is an important crime-fighting tool….If we so limit gun control as to favor individuals to protect themselves, but then disadvantage the right of individuals to be protected by the police, what will we have gained for the public good?” Firearm fans disagree.
WaPo’s Theresa Vargas looks at the Capital Gains pay-for-grades program a semester and a half in. The early returns: “Inhttp://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=18796&message=4terviews with parents, educators and youths reveal that most students compare their earnings as soon as they’re handed out, excited by the financial reward. A few, in a show of apathy or rebellion, destroy checks intended to help them. And some walk home disappointed, envelopes closed.”
The digital divide among the homeless is not as wide as you might think, according to Petula Dvorak‘s A1 piece in WaPo today. “Today, it’s not unusual for the homeless to whip out Nokia 6085 GoPhones (with optional Bluetooth and USB connectivity), stop at a public computer to check e-mail or urge friends to read their blogs. It’s another sign of a society in transition by way of technology, as businesses shed physical addresses for cyberspace and homeless people can establish an online presence and chase opportunities digitally. ‘Having a phone isn’t even a privilege anymore—-it’s a necessity,’ said Rommel McBride, 50, who spent about six years on the streets before recently being placed in a city housing program. He has had a mobile phone for a year.”
Michael Neibauer summarizes the Fenty budget proposal for Examiner, Gary Emerling does the same for WaTimes, Jonathan O’Connell breaks things down for Biz Journal, and David Nakamura wraps things up in WaPo. The Dan Tan money quote: “These are not gross city-wide layoffs, but a programmatic-based realignment….We’re trying to change the dialogue from a plus or minus [staffing] number to ask how these departments are constructed. That’s a massive change in how budgeting is done in this city.” COUNCIL REAX—-Harry Thomas, Marion Barry, and Michael A. Brown render their concerns.
Washingtonian’s Larry Van Dyne does big ole piece on historic preservation of modern architecture: “The conflict over the [First Church of Christ, Scientist] has brought to the fore a broader issue that will be played out in Washington over the next decade: Of the thousands of modernist buildings built from the 1940s through the 1970s, which ones have the architectural distinction or other significance to merit protection? Are some of these structures, often not that attractive or lovable, worth saving as a reminder of their time? Are works by I.M. Pei, Edward Durell Stone, or Chloethiel Woodard Smith as important as the work of John Russell Pope or Adolf Cluss? Is Brutalism worthy of the same respect as Beaux Arts?”
Metro IG finds “weaknesses in the agency’s handling of federal funds and tracking of Farecard inventory,” as well as “sloppy accounting, a lack of internal controls and poor oversight,” according to Lena Sun in WaPo. And they want more cash from member jurisdictions to cover budget gap? Says John Catoe, “We’re not perfect, but we’re getting there.”
Examiner columnist Gregory Kane: “D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty may be a latent Republican,” and colleague Marta Mossburg says that Martin O’Malley is “becoming D.C.’s best friend,” thanks to “recent hikes in the corporate income tax, sales tax and personal income tax in Maryland [which] make D.C., once far and away a tax nightmare compared with Maryland, competitive with one of its neighboring states.”
Eli Broad mentions Rhee in interview with Steve Forbes.
In Sunday WaPo op-ed, trustee of City University of New York applauds Allen Sessoms‘ UDC reforms: “[A]t CUNY, enrollment has soared across the board since we reintroduced admissions standards in 1999. When endowments are tumbling and families face acute financial pressures, more of the ‘same old, same old’ simply doesn’t cut it: It doesn’t inspire confidence in our universities and it doesn’t attract those increasingly rare philanthropic dollars. Bold, well-informed leadership—-in the form of presidents who will challenge the status quo where needed, and boards who will stick with them—-does. That’s the lesson of CUNY’s renaissance—-and UDC seems to have learned it.”
Harry Jaffe plays compare-and-contrast with the OCTO and OTR scandals, concludes, “So why do public employees keep breaking our public trust? Why do they keep ripping off D.C. funds? One could excuse it as human nature. There are bad apples in every bunch. I subscribe to Natwar Gandhi‘s view. The head of the tax office said there is a ‘culture’ of corruption in the government. Rather than budget for corruption, Fenty could start planting undercover corruption cops around. Sounds totalitarian, but it might be necessary, and it might work.”
In Saturday’s WaPo, Brigid Schulte exposes D.C. Council proclamation lauding quackish “brain wave education.” GOOD SPINNIN’ DESI—-“‘It is very New Agey,’ said Desi Deschaine, spokesman for D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who sponsored the proclamation at the behest of a local businessman. It recognized practitioners who teach brain vibrating in public schools and senior centers, he said. ‘It’s not a role for government to endorse their methods,’ he said. ‘But it is a recognition of the fact that they’re promoting education, promoting health awareness, and they’re promoting peace and happiness. At a time like this, in our nation’s capital, how can one be against health and peace and happiness?'”
John Kelly tells the story of “Serenity,” one of the fabulous pieces of statuary in Meridian Hill Park.
DCHA resident slams the agency in WaPo: “The first thing I noticed upon moving to Knox Hill was the overpowering stench of the building’s garbage, which was kept in dumpsters on an elevated dock directly beneath my unit. When the weather got cold a few months later, I discovered something else: cold drafts through my bedroom windows that were so strong they caused my blinds to undulate like ocean waves. All that was bad enough, but in February 2008 I fell prey to another aspect of DCHA incompetence: accounting errors.”
In themail, Gary Imhoff explores the future of newsgathering and sees the present of newsgathering as faulty. To wit: “Mayor Adrian Fenty and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey, held a major joint fundraiser in town. The Washington City Paper sent a reporter, but the paper didn’t do any original reporting on the event; it just linked to the Post’s account. The Post sent three reporters, but its coverage the next day was shockingly incomplete,” meaning there was no mention of protests outside. WELL, GARY—-If the next day a city office hadn’t been raided by federal agents, LL would have been glad to write about the event, complete with coverage of the protests. LL is but one man, and sometimes you get screwed by circumstance.
Jim Graham delays streetwalk-sign enforcement for a week, says WTTG-TV.
There was an anti-war protest on Saturday.
New York Avenue NE bride deck will be replaced with stimulus money, Biz Journal reports.
WaPo letter writer debunks the city’s much-lauded AAA bond rating: “In contrast to the District’s “general obligation” bonds, these latest Triple A bonds are ‘secured’ (by income tax revenue), which means they will be paid first in the event of a default by the District government. The reality is that the higher Standard & Poor’s rating does not reflect any change in the District’s fundamental creditworthiness. Our city leaders are mixing up apples and oranges.”
Another local tapped for federal job: Long & Foster head reportedly will helm FHA.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT—-“Washington Gas Light Co., the D.C. area’s largest natural gas supplier, placed No. 1 in J.D. Power and Associates’ rankings for customer satisfaction among gas utilities in the eastern U.S.,” per Biz Journal.
National Arboretum gets solar irrigation system.
More on SmartBike expansion.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole public briefing on the FY2010 mayoral budget proposal, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10 a.m.: remarks, public briefing on FY2010 budget proposal, JAWB 500; 6 p.m.: opening remarks, 24th annual Mayor’s Arts Awards, Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW.