City Paper is not for tourists
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“John Ensign: D.C. Vote ‘Has Nothing to Do…With Civil Rights’“
IN LL WEEKLY—-“Fund and Games: Inside Michelle Rhee‘s Official Schedule“; LL FOIA’d the chancellor’s sked and uses it to detail the web of education-oriented charities, think tanks, business interests, and “venture philanthropists” that are shaping the future of the D.C. Public Schools.
ALERT—-Catch LL today on NewsTalk With Bruce DePuyt, 4 p.m. on NewsChannel 8.
Morning all. It’s official: CTO Vivek Kundra has joined the Obama administration. And his new title is a big upgrade from the job it had been rumored he’d take. Rather than the administrator for e-government and information technology in the Office of Management and Budget, he will become America’s first chief information officer, according to Washington Business Journal, the New York Times, and a White House press release.
The D.C. House Voting Rights Act is on life support, David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart report in WaPo. “In an afternoon conference call with city officials, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said he did not have enough votes to bring the bill to the floor without the possibility of amendments, according to sources with knowledge of the discussion.” So what now? “[T]he parties, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), agreed to lobby specific legislators whose support is deemed critical. Additionally, House leaders plan to mention the dilemma to President Obama.” Oh, and Norton plans to write a “frank letter” to NRA-friendly Dems. Colby King says if gun language stays, the whole thing should be scuttled. Also AP, Politico, NC8, and WaTimes identifies the House members who introduced gun amendment: Republicans Dean Heller of Nevada and Steve King of Iowa.
LL SUGGESTION—-Hey Eleanor? How ’bout you call up your buddy Stephen Colbert?
SecEd Arne Duncan makes public comments on vouchers, DCPS in WaPo exclusive interview. First off, sounds like he needs a call from Mary Levy, becase he peddles the old line about DCPS funding: “History has shown that money alone does not drive school improvement, Duncan said, pointing to the District of Columbia….’D.C. has had more money than God for a long time, but the outcomes are still disastrous.'” DUNCAN ON VOUCHERS—-“Duncan said that he opposed any move to disrupt the schooling of children now in the program but that vouchers were not the answer to school improvement in the District or elsewhere. ‘You need to fix the D.C. school system,’ Duncan said.” Tells AP much the same thing.
ALSO—-WaPo ed board loves what Duncan’s saying.
MORE ON VOUCHERS—-Senate Republicans Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Jon Kyl have called a Hill press conference this morning to discuss their attempts to save the program. And in Examiner, Leah Fabel files a pair of stories about the program—-one on the national implications of the voucher battle and one on the prospects for current voucher recipients. And here’s thoughts from TNR’s Clay Risen on Duncan’s voucher position.
More on Marion Barry‘s return to Howard University Hospital—-long story short, the drugs gave him gas. WaPo says he could be back out as soon as tomorrow; “Barry was readmitted Monday night after experiencing discomfort in his abdomen, which doctors told him was the result of gas in his intestine and not a rejection of the kidney.” Also Examiner, WaTimes, AP, NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
WCP’s Jason Cherkis with a scoop: D.C. police to adopt “crisis intervention team” approach with dealing with mentally ill. That might have prevented tragedy in the David Kerstetter and Osman Abdullahi cases.
ALSO IN WCP’s EDUCATION ISSUE—-How UDC wrecked a professor’s caeer.
Sorry it took LL this long to post this news: Sam Smith, the irrepressible publisher of the Progressive Review, informed his readers on Monday that he will be leaving the city of his birth for Maine. A highlight of LL’s short tenure was when Smith referred to his “normally turgid approach to local affairs.” Do yourself a favor and read his farewell. An excerpt:
“[Washington] has become a city where the police chief erects apartheid style roadblocks, where the deputy mayor hides a community library in a high rise like it was just another Starbucks, and where the government is spends over $600 million on a baseball stadium but can’t keep its recreation centers open all weekend….It is a city of magnificent views and dismal viewpoints, wonderful communities and dubious egos, natural spaces and artificial words. It is a city that too often can’t tell the difference between intelligence and wisdom and, as Russell Baker once noted, the difference between being serious and being somber….It is also a city in which all politics becomes office politics, and where imagination and free thought are restricted to thirty minutes on weekdays and violators will be towed.”
STIMULUS!—-Dan Tangherlini tells councilmembers city will pursue $300M in competitive stimulus funding, Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner. The bad news: “The dollars are available, but the District has had trouble in the past applying for, managing and monitoring grants. Those problems have cost the city millions of dollars and threaten future allocations, according to the D.C. inspector general. The inspector general’s office cited grant management as a ‘persistent problem’ in its 2009 audit plan.”
WTOP’s Mark Segraves: DCPS is prepared to give higher-performing schools more budget control. “The move would allow decisions on hiring, purchasing and the expansion of educational programs to be made at the school level, bypassing the red tape of the Central Office….According to sources familiar with the application process, applications went out to Benjamin Banneker Senior High School, School Without Walls Senior High School and Deal Middle School, as well as 16 elementary schools.”
Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell covers Neil Albert talk to business owners: “Sliding tax revenue means the city is looking to cut about 15 percent from its budget, Albert said, but ‘that doesn’t mean we are going to sit on our hands as a city and wait for the economy to turn around. We are going to continue our ambitious goal of transforming this city into a true 21st century city, as the mayor calls it.'” The city, he said, will spend $200M on development projects.
Will ad dollars, vendors help save Metro? They haven’t yet, writes Kytja Weir in Examiner, “In 2006, Metro’s board approved adding retail vendors. The next year, Metro again tried. Today Metrorail still doesn’t have vendors inside its stations like other transit systems around the country do where riders can buy newspapers, knickknacks and even food inside subway stations. ‘It feels like pulling a donkey up a hill,’ [said] Metro Chairman Jim Graham.”
Examiner’s Bill Myers profiles federal prosecutor Amanda Haines, who is handling the Chandra Levy case. “She has incredible drive, her boss, Glenn Kirschner, told The Examiner. ‘She is really one of the premier homicide prosecutors, I’m comfortable in saying, in the country,’ he said. As a senior lawyer in the U.S. attorney’s homicide section, Haines has handled several high-profile D.C. homicides, including the David Rosenbaum murder case and the killing of Shaquita Bell.”
AP covers the whole Chandra backstory, and the leadup to the Ingmar Guandique arrest.
Takoma library branch set to reopen next week after $1.95M rehab, Hamil Harris reports in WaPo. “The one-story Renaissance revival-style brick building, at 416 Cedar St. NW, got a new floor plan, replicas of original furniture, more space for books, more computers, better lighting and restored architectural details…..The renovation is part of a $55 million citywide effort to transform the library system. As part of that program, six libraries are in various stages of construction, and two are in the design stage.” AND A LOT OF THEM SHOULD BE DONE BY NOW…
WAMU-FM covers last night’s community meeting in Ward 5 about the closing of Webb-Wheatley ES.
In themail, more on whether citizen journalists can fill the government-reporting void left by foundering newspapers. Gary Imhoff approvingly quotes guru/hack Jeff Jarvis‘ weak response to such concerns.
ALSO IN THEMAIL—-Correspondent points out this bizarre letter penned by Harry Thomas Jr. bickering with the Brookland Heartbeat community newsletter. The letter ends with this ridiculous threat: “In addition, Long and Foster will be held accountable for its role in underwriting the Brookland Heartbeat, as well as the businesses that support the publication.” Blogger reacts.
Arrest made in killing of 14-year-old Arthur Daniels, police announce. WaPo: “Investigators served a search warrant at the home of Ransom J.H. Perry Jr., 18, in the 5300 block of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue at 8 a.m. yesterday and charged him with first-degree murder.” GOOD COPS—-“Lanier credited the swift arrest to round-the-clock efforts by Sgt. Walter Fleming and detectives Ray Shields and Kim Lawrence, plus a task force of D.C. police officers and FBI agents investigating carjackings.” Also NC8, WTTG-TV.
HAVE COPS CAPTURED THE BORDERSTAN ROOF BURGLAR?—-WTTG-TV thought so, after man was caught breaking and entering Duplex Diner though roof hatch. But WRC-TV says not so fast: However, police do not believe the same person is responsible. Investigators say the only similarity between the restaurant bust and the skylight burglaries appears to be how the criminals gained access.”
Jonetta Rose Barras writes the procurement reform column you’ve been itching to read. OCP chief David Gragan, she writes, “has implemented some changes. He created the Office of Integrity and Compliance, began updating the records, and, working with the city administrator, began putting credit/purchase cards transactions online….But the vendor pool isn’t the only culprit crippling the competition rate. Agency directors…are guilty of narrowly writing requests for proposals and invitations for bids to ensure only their preferred contractors meet the specifications. Gragan concedes there’s more work to do.”
National Mall plan released; contains big changes, says WaPo’s Michael Ruane: “The latest vision of the Mall calls for removing the Capitol Reflecting Pool and the existing Sylvan Theater, according to a planning document unveiled this week by the National Park Service….The D.C. War Memorial and its surrounding landscape would be restored, along with the dramatic, but weathered, sculpture of the Grant Memorial, near the reflecting pool and the west front of the U.S. Capitol.” TALK BACK!
MORE WAPO BRIEFS—-Lanes on 14th Street Bridge to close today and Monday for inspections; Steve Madden shoe stoe in Georgetown robbed last night; three submit bids to redevelop Park Morton; Dennis Rubin wants $41M in stimulus money to fix up firehouses.
O’Connell has more on the Park Morton bids in WBJ: “Two of the three teams have not done major real estate projects in D.C. One is led by Pennrose Properties LLC, a Philadelphia-based specialist in mixed-income, multifamily housing. Pennrose partnered with FM Atlantic LLC and Harrison Adaoha LLC. Another team is led by Landex Corp. of Linthicum, Md., which has completed a number of major HOPE VI projects, the federal low-income housing development program on which New Communities is based. Landex partnered with the Warrenton Group and Spectrum Management….The third bid comes from a team headed by the Neighborhood Development Co., headquartered just off Georgia Avenue and led by Adrian Washington, former president and chief executive officer of the D.C.’s former public-private developer, the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. Washington’s partner is The Community Builders Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit builder that has built more than 22,000 housing units nationally and also has experience with HOPE VI.” Also Housing Complex.
NC8 covers Mary Cheh light pollution bill. And Dorothy Brizill doesn’t like it: “The preference for dark skies began with astronomers whose observatories were near large cities; the night-sky glow from those cities interfered with their observations. Now the issue is being framed as an environmental issue. The rationale is that nighttime is naturally dark and that man-made lighting disturbs the natural order, and is therefore a form of pollution.” ANOTHER WAY TO LOOK AT IT—-Why waste precious energy illuminating the sky?
Angela Diggs of the Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center will attend Obama health care forum today.
On Sunday, one Claudia Ricci, D.C. resident for all of “a few weeks,” wrote in WaPo opinion piece that Meridian Hill Park should just be renamed Malcolm X Park for once and for all. “Isn’t it time that we as a nation recognize that names matter and that we as a nation owe it to African Americans to respect the names that matter so much to them? The people have overwhelmingly spoken their minds in naming a magnificent urban park on a hillside near Columbia Heights.” Today, a response from a WaPo correspondent: “Enduring place names provide important windows into human experiences at given points in history. When viewed through the lens of current affairs, it is often tempting to expunge aspects of our past that seem no longer relevant.”
Another WaPo letter: “Let’s Rid D.C. of Vouchers”
Cultural Tourism D.C. has new civil rights history audio tour.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Government Operations and the Environment roundtable on nominations of Brenda Oliver, Diaa Nour, Darryl Wiggins, and James Byles to the Public Employee Relations Board, JAWB 120; Committee on Economic Development agency performance oversight hearing on the Washington Convention Center Authority and Destination DC, JAWB 412; Committee of the Whole agency performance oversight hearing on the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization, and the District of Columbia Charter School Board, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-6:45 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV.