There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“Nakamura Out in WaPo City Hall Shuffle“; “Suspect in Shoe Robberies Worked for Council Campaigns“
Morning all, and first off, please accept LL’s apologies for the late arrival of yesterday’s LLD. Though LL thought he’d sent it out shortly after 11, a software bug means it wasn’t sent until an alert reader notified him several hours later. Mea culpa!
Senate vote essentially means end of D.C. vouchers, reports Examiner and WaTimes. Sen. John Ensign introduced amendment to omnibus spending bill to remove reauthorization restrictions; it failed 58-39. Writes Michael Neibauer: “The effort is worth evaluating and perhaps continuing, but there are too many unsettled questions — student success, school safety and teacher quality among them — to extend it through an appropriations bill, said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. And District leaders, who are being left out of the conversation, ought to have a role in the conversation rather than be used ‘as our laboratory.'” Also WRC-TV, L.A. Times, Fox News.
Congressional leaders have a skull session on gun bill, but, according to WaPo’s Mary Beth Sheridan, “no breakthrough appeared imminent.” On the bright side, Steny Hoyer “said he was confident the voting-rights bill would clear the House this year and go to the president. But he offered no timetable. He said it would be difficult to block the gun amendment, given its popularity in Congress. The most promising compromise seems to be promising a standalone D.C. guns bill—-one that might be somewhat less absolute than the Ensign/Childers amendments. Meanwhile, Eleanor Holmes Norton sends a letter, and Phil Mendelson mobilizes the COG!
FENTY’S NORTONIAN POSITION—-“This may be the only time we can get Congress to vote on getting…a representative.”
DYRS to share youth data with community groups in effort to improve oversight of most-troubled youth. Writes Robert Pierre in WaPo, “The goal is to determine whether neighborhood disputes might jeopardize the juvenile’s chances for success after release and whether there are any threats against the juvenile or his family. If significant concerns are raised, a youth’s release could be delayed or he could be sent somewhere else. The criteria for putting a youth on the most-serious list include previous convictions, behavior in confinement and runaway attempts.” Privacy advocates are somewhat concerned. Also WAMU.
OUTSOURCING—-“Three groups committed to fighting violence—-Peaceoholics, the Alliance for Concerned Men and the East of the River Clergy-Police-Community Partnership—-are a critical component in the program. By conducting what Peaceoholics co-founder Ronald Moten calls ‘street background checks,’ they will help ensure that youths don’t return to their old ways.”
Harry Jaffe‘s headline says it all: “D.C.’s criminal justice system failed, killed Arthur Daniels.” If it had worked, he holds, killer Ransom Perry “would not have been walking on Minnesota Avenue with a gun to shoot an innocent kid.” THE DEETS—-Perry picked up weapons charge Jan. 18, but prosecutors didn’t press for jail; on Jan. 24, he was arrested for threatening his father, but judge would not jail him; on Feb. 10 he had court appearance on weapons charge, where prosecutors asked for jail time which a judge did not grant. Daniels, 14, was killed Feb. 28.
Four shot in Eckington drive-by shooting, shortly after a vigil for a friend slain a year ago. Reports WaPo: “A woman, 19, who was hit in the eye, cheek and arm, appeared to be the most seriously wounded. One 18-year-old man was hit in the thigh, and a second in the foot. A 20-year-old man was also hit in the foot….No motive was known nor was it clear whether the attack was connected to the vigil.” Also NC8, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
Jonetta Rose Barras, at The Barras Report, writes that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is trying to force out WASA General Manager Jerry N. Johnson. “‘No one from the administration has asked for his resignation,’ says mayoral spokesperson Mafara Hobson. Not so, say government sources. They say Johnson already has had preliminary talks about his departure. William M. Walker, WASA board chairman, reportedly was involved in those discussions….It’s not clear whether Fenty has the eight votes needed to remove Johnson. In the past suburban representatives have fought to minimize the District’s control. Johnson is considered a politically neutral administrator.”
Metrobus driver shot by off-duty cop wasn’t exactly an angel, Scott McCabe reports in Examiner. Jelani Khalid Slay, 34, “had a violent past that included being charged with two killings and a 10-year prison term for armed robbery….Just two months after [Slay] was released from federal prison on robbery and gun charges, he was hired by Metro to drive a city bus.” Related ‘Zaminer story on Metro hiring. LL SAYS—-Boy, it sure would be nice if us reporters could do a background check on the shooter, too.
President Barack Obama gives major education speech, calls for charter schools expansions, adoption of national education standards, and—-merit pay. Says WaPo‘s Scott Wilson, “The president signaled a willingness to take on influential Democratic constituencies, including teachers unions….He said he intends to treat teachers ‘like the professionals they are while also holding them more accountable.’ Good teachers will receive pay raises if students succeed, Obama said, and will ‘be asked to accept more responsibility for lifting up their schools.’ But, he said, states and school districts must be ‘taking steps to move bad teachers out of the classroom.’…Obama’s support for ideas such as merit pay and toughened accountability for teachers is similar in tone to proposals placed on the table by D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee in contract negotiations with the Washington Teachers’ Union….A spokeswoman said last night that Rhee had no immediate comment on the president’s speech.” Also NC8.
Jim Graham, in Examiner article by Kytja Weir, seems confident that Metro board will vote to close budget gap with stimulus funds, meaning service levels will be maintained. Budget chair Peter Benjamin has doubts, though: “‘Will we go along with D.C.’s proposal? I think we have to….As long as D.C. doesn’t agree to service cuts and D.C. doesn’t add money to its share, the only way for D.C. to make up its subsidy is this.’…Benjamin added, though, that using a portion of the transit agency’s approximately $200 million share of federal stimulus funds to plug the hole would mean an even bigger challenge in coming years….He said the agency would likely need higher fare increases, bigger taxpayer subsidies or service cuts in the future.”
DCPS is not sharing info on Capital Gains program until academic year is over in order to “protect the purity of [researchers’] data,” WAMU-FM reports.
Police department is about 150 officers short of full staffing, Neibauer reports in Examiner. “Documents and statements provided to the D.C. Council’s public safety committee…show the MPD’s total sworn membership at 4,048 as of Monday, well short of the 4,200 the department is supposed to have on staff by Sept. 30, the close of fiscal 2009. The number of officers dipped late last year — from 4,051 on Oct. 1 to 4,022 on Dec. 31 — and attrition rates appear to be on the rise after a multiyear decline, Chief Cathy Lanier said in a written response to the committee’s questions.” More than 400 recruits are now in the police academy. And they’re hiring!
TEE HEE—-P.G. United now says county, not just stadium authority, will have to finance part of stadium costs, WaPo reports. “Prince George’s County should sell at least $47 million in bonds to help build a stadium for the D.C. United professional soccer team, team officials told council members yesterday, a change of financing plans that prompted some council members to express skepticism about the project.” YOU DON’T SAY?
Courtland Milloy ponders his son’s decision to join the military: “The Pentagon announced Monday that 4,255 U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq and 589 killed in and around Afghanistan. And I still don’t know for what. On the other hand, there have been roughly 2,400 homicides in the Washington area since 2002. And I don’t know what that’s all about, either, other than that most of the killing is concentrated in the District and Prince George’s County, where I live, and involves mostly young African American men, like my son. Statistically speaking, he’d probably be safer in Baghdad than in parts of our nation’s capital….Is that a rationalization, or has this tanking economy caused me to lose my mind?”
Rhee called a “Public Ed Herione” [sic] by conservative talker/former TV movie critic Michael Medved. “Most public education bureaucrats reflexively oppose vouchers as a threat to their monopoly, denouncing any use of government funds to allow poor children to choose parochial or private school alternatives to failing neighborhood schools. Ms. Rhee, however, fearlessly spoke up against efforts by Congressional Democrats to kill a promising vouchers program in the nation’s capital.”
ALSO—-SacBee covers ed summit Rhee attended Monday.
LEFTOVERS—-WaPo’s Paul Duggan covers McGruff-puncher’s WMATA firing.
WAPO BRIEFS—-Michael A. Brown proposes food stamp expansion; California man arrested near Capitol with “two rifles, three handguns and a sword.”
WUSA-TV’s Dave Statter—-effecting change. FEMS promises a review of surplus gear auctions.
More on latest FEMS beard ruling.
Bus ad makes fun of people who take the bus. Also from GGW: Check out these nice short Metro station names. Some of them are pretty bad, but LL likes the idea.
Boy falls down ventilation shaft at Children’s National Medical Center.
Number of homeless kids on the rise, says WTOP.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole agency performance oversight hearing on D.C. Public Schools, JAWB 500; Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs agency performance oversight hearing on Office of Tenant Advocate and Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, JAWB 412; Committee on Human Services agency performance oversight hearing on Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, JAWB 123; Committee on Finance and Revenue regular meeting (scheduled), JAWB 120.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-9:15 a.m.: remarks, Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association breakfast meeting, Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. NW; 10:30 a.m.: remarks, “Potholepalooza” campaign kickoff, 2nd and Q Streets SE; 12:20 p.m.: remarks, The Q&A Cafe, Nathans of Georgetown, 3150 M St. NW; 4 p.m.: guest, NewsTalk with with Bruce DePuyt, NewsChannel 8. OFF-SKED: Joint fundraiser with Cory Booker at Local 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.