Morning all, and here’s a big LL plug for this afternoon’s hoops showdown between the D.C. Council and local media types, set for 4 p.m. at the Verizon Center. LL is out for blood after word came down that Ward 5 Councilmember and confirmed enemy of the media Harry Thomas Jr., entrusted with the printing of our T-shirts, unilaterally changed the team name from “Damn Media” to something involving the word “hoopsters.” LAME, in a John Ashcroftian way. Check previews of the game from WTOP, DCist, WaPo. And remember: It’s all about the kids—-the City Title basketball games follow, with the H.D. Woodson girls playing Good Counsel at 5:30 p.m., and the Ballou boys vs. DeMatha at 7:30 p.m. $15 gets you into all the games.
Nikita Stewart covers Wednesday’s joint Adrian Fenty/Cory Booker fundraiser in Sunday WaPo. Says Booker aide: “They’re the new hotness….What you’re starting to see are these 30-somethings and 40-somethings motivated by Obama mobilize behind who they think is next.” NUT GRAF—-The event “reflects the continued development of a generation of black politicians and supporters who are not limited by money, race or geography….The party is also another signal that the District is the place to be, thanks to the new residents in the White House. The buzz—-or, maybe more accurately, the hope—-is that Obama’s caravan will head to U Street for the event.”
UDC proposes closing undergrad education programs, Susan Kinzie reports in WaPo. Says President Allen Sessoms, “The students who do graduate are excellent. The trouble is, hardly anyone graduates.” By the numbers: “7 or 8 percent of the students who enroll in the department have graduated from it within six years, according to UDC data….In the early childhood education major, typically four to six of the approximately 150 students graduate each year.” Those figures, he says, are “scary.” NUT SENTENCES—-“The debate is affected by issues of race, class and expectations in a city where public education has long fallen short….Administrators say they are trying to break the cycle of training teachers who lack basic skills because they are products of D.C.’s schools, then return to teach in those schools if they manage to graduate.”
POLICE SHOOTING—-Jelani Khalid Slay, 34, of Clinton, Md., according to WaPo report, “was armed and wearing a mask when he approached the officer, who was in his personal vehicle in the 5300 block of B Street SE about 5 a.m. Sunday. The officer got out of his car and exchanged gunfire with Slay, who fled on foot, police said.” Officer not identified (of course), other than that he’s an “18-year veteran of the force, currently assigned to the 4th District.” (The shooting was in 6D.) Also NC8, WUSA-TV.
Stewart collects local residents’ opinions on congressional gun meddling. Said one, “They don’t even live in our city….They don’t have to worry about getting [shot] in the back….Tell them if they want to pass this law, live in inner-city D.C.”
And here’s another opinion on the matter, that of Colby King, who pens a scathing column questioning the motivations of just about everyone involved in this thing. “Please allow a more modest appraisal of the Senate’s performance. Thanking senators for what they did to the District is akin to expressing pleasure at getting a swift kick in the rear. (‘Thank you, sir; may I have another?’) The Senate-passed bill actually thumbs its nose at home rule and disrespects officials duly elected by District voters.”
COMPROMISE?—-WAMU-FM reports on possible gun compromise—-accept Maryland’s gun laws. Says Mary Cheh: “I could see accepting that if we could get a postive vote on the voting rights.” And Nancy Pelosi to meet with Congressional Black Caucus regarding gun bill The Hill reports, though, “It’s not clear what the CBC can do to resolve the situation. The D.C. vote bill is currently in the hands of centrist Democrats who support gun rights and seek the backing of the NRA.”
Metro shuts down NextBus test site after it’s discovered that, gasp, PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY USING IT! Writes Kytja Weir in Examiner, “Metro initially let riders use the program in a pilot phase, but decided in October 2007 to ‘pause’ the program because the agency said the system was accurate only 80 percent of the time, down from an initial 92 percent. But riders stumbled onto a test version of the site, using it from hand-held devices and computers to avoid waiting at stops for delayed buses. Word started to spread. And the hidden online site was actually better than the pilot. Metro officials had been providing data on more bus routes as Nextbus worked out the kinks.” ALSO—-Budget cut talks start for real this week—-finally.
As linked above, Marc Fisher has more on Thomas’ threat against the Brookland Heartbeat: “Thomas says he hasn’t ‘made a final decision’ about whether to carry through on his threat and contact Long & Foster and other Heartbeat advertisers. I asked if his intent was to chill further critical reporting. ‘No,’ he said, ‘but advertisers should understand what they’re dealing with, what kind of publication they’re in. The only thing I have as a politician is my reputation.’ He’s doing a pretty good job of shredding that….[G]oing after a tiny, non-profit paper’s advertisers when you don’t even accuse the paper of a single error is pure bullying. Thomas should pick on someone his own size; he owes [editor Abigail Padou] and her readers an apology.”
In other Harry Thomas Jr. news, the parks-and-rec chair is opposing a budget reprogramming that moves DPR money from Banneker Rec Center and others to rehabbing a ball field at Chevy Chase Rec Center. According to Michael Neibauer in Examiner, Thomas says, “I don’t think we should be taking money from one community and turning it over to another….I wanted both fields done.” What does the ward councilmember have to say? Not much: Mary Cheh “deferred to the judgment of others as to which projects need money more than others.”
Jonetta Rose Barras wants some big-picture cohesion when it comes to District education policy: “Fenty, his deputy mayor, chancellor and other education team members have parsed their reform movement, presenting it in weekly news conferences and staged community events with enormous gesticulation….Enough with the trees. It’s time for the forest….After two years, it may be time to start another campaign, giving residents and legislators what they demand: a clear, global view of how the various reform pieces connect to create a seamless, high-quality, student-center system — prekindergarten through college.”
Marion Barry greeted Friday by council colleagues at Wilson Building, Bill Turque reported at D.C. Wire. “Dressed in a D.C. United warm up suit and fedora-style hat, he stepped from his car at about 3:30 p.m. to balloons, a white sheet cake with red roses and cheers of ‘We Love You.’…’You have to go home and rest,’ one well-wisher said. ‘I’ve been doing that all week,’ said Barry, looking visably tired and speaking barely above a whisper. He stayed for about 10 minutes before returning to the car. He said he expected to be back to his council duties in about a week.” Also NC8, WTTG-TV.
Former LL and current LL boss Erik Wemple takes to WaPo Outlook to offer his ideas for a “must-do, attention-getting first-term legislative agenda” for a D.C. congressperson. The “Jersey Barrier Licensing and Inspection Act,” for instance. “The large, ugly concrete barricades that surround most official buildings not only pollute our cityscape, they also pose a safety risk (even though they’re supposed to protect us), because they can tip over or break apart if not properly maintained. So we’re going to have to charge the feds licensing and inspection fees of $500 per Jersey barrier. Homeland Security officials may contact the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for more information.”
Metrobus driver can’t be charged with “assaulting, resisting, or interfering with” a cop for putting her hands in her pockets, appeals court rules, according to Examiner article by Bill Myers. “Ava Howard had been convicted…after Metro Police Officer Rashad Watson ordered her to keep her hands out of her pockets while he tried to referee a dispute between Howard and another woman in late 2007 at the Minnesota Avenue Metro station….The judges wrote that the assaulting/resisting/interfering law requires ‘active and oppositional’ behavior other than sticking one’s hands in one’s pockets.”
Stimulus funds coming quickly to school systems, WaPo’s Daniel de Vise reports. “The District will get $227 million, according to National Education Association estimates. D.C. Council members hope stimulus funds can replace at least some of the $100 million in sales tax revenue set aside annually to rehabilitate schools.”
Blogger expresses concern about Michelle Rhee‘s private fundraising.
OLD-FASHIONED POLICE WORK—-Cops apprehend suspect in Georgetown shoe robberies, WaPo’s Clarence Williams reports. “Friday night, police posted a robbery detail in Georgetown, supplied with a photo from a store surveillance camera. A man on M Street resembled the person in the photo, said Officer David Jackson of the 2nd District vice unit. Officers followed the man and watched him peer into windows and put on gloves, Jackson said. He turned a corner and police took him into custody, Jackson said.” He is Ezra Mathis, 29.
In WaTimes, Gary Emerling polls local experts on the Chandra Levy murder evidence, finds divergent opinions.
D.C. National Guard is getting new helicopters.
D.C. resident, former librarian at National Presbyterian School murdered in Long Island, according to WaPo report by Elissa Silverman and Martin Weil. Nancy McKinley, 61, of Beekman Place NW “had been stabbed ‘multiple times’ [and] died at a hospital. Her attacker had fled, police said.” NC8 reports arrest has been made.
WaPo’s Theresa Vargas profiles man, 20, killed after crash with off-duty cop in Shaw last week. Arnell Robinson “graduated from the D.C. National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy in 2007 and took an EMT class as a steppingstone toward becoming a firefighter, a job he had wanted since he was a child…[He] had been accepted into the D.C. fire department’s October cadet class, but it was canceled because of funding. He was waiting for the next class to start.” Also NC8, WRC-TV.
Much skepticism on P.G. United deal among Maryland lawmakers, WaPo finds. Says one, “We’re crying broke and making funds for an entertainment venue….It’s bad timing, no matter how you try to couch it.”
WaPo obtains preliminary data: Not a whole lot of kids or teachers showed up to school last Monday after snowstorm.
Examiner: Former MPD assistant chief Richard Pennington under consideration for DEA post.
WaPo Biz section covers conflict between D.C. Bar and Avvo.com over lawyer directory info: “The association wants an online directory that compiles profiles of lawyers—-from the bar’s own Web site, no less—-to cease and desist, arguing that posting information about Washington lawyers for commercial purposes violates copyright laws and privacy rights. ‘This has nothing to do with obstructing access to information,’ said the bar’s spokeswoman….’It has to do with a commercial company taking this information without authorization and in some cases perpetuating misinformation’ by not updating the data frequently enough.” CLASSIC WAPO—-No acknowledgment of WaTimes EXCLUSIVE last month.
WAPO A1—-Transit ridership at a 52-year high nationwide, Lena Sun reports. “Despite job losses and falling gasoline prices, record numbers of Americans rode subways, buses and commuter rail last year, boosting public transportation ridership to its highest level in 52 years, according to a survey to be released today by the American Public Transportation Association.”
Motorcyclist dead in late Sunday crash at 14th and Constitution NW.
Visitor parking pass pilot program coming to Mount Pleasant.
Mind your illegal sidewalk signs—-DDOT’s crackin’ down!
Examiner interviews Frank Kameny.
BE A COP—-Tests coming up.
SUV driver reportedly rams cyclist during Critical Mass ride.
Dogs are getting shocked on Thomas Circle sidewalk.
Residents line up for “Next Top Model.”
Schoolkids clean up D.C. WWI Memorial.
Stars come out for Ted Kennedy.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee of Public Works and Transportation agency performance oversight hearing on Water and Sewer Authority, Washington Aqueduct, Soil and Water Conservation District, Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, and ABC Board, JAWB 123; Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary agency performance oversight hearing on Metropolitan Police Department, Office Of Police Complaints, Forensics Lab, Office of Administrative Hearings, and the Office of the Attorney General, JAWB 500; Committee on Health agency performance oversight hearing on Department of Health Care Finance, JAWB 412; Committee of the Whole agency performance oversight hearing on Public Charter School Board, JAWB 120.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-8:45 p.m.: remarks, 43rd annual City Title basketball game, Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW.