Morning all. The truth outs! Mayor Adrian M. Fenty was in Dubai, jewel of the United Arab Emirates, last week with his family, according to a WTOP report yesterday and a WaPo report this morning by Elissa Silverman and Martin Weil. What was he doing on this privately funded trip? “The mayor met with officials there, including the mayor of Dubai….the family also visited a number of attractions.”
CHANDRA BACK ON WAPO A1—-Cathy Lanier apparently succeeds where Charles Ramsey couldn’t, reportedly ready to arrest long-suspected Salvadoran immigrant for 2001 murder of Chandra Levy. Mother Susan Levy says “Lanier told her that ‘in all her 19 years of police work, this is really big—-“We really came down with a break.” They’re very proud.'” Also Examiner, AP, WaTimes, WTOP, NC8, WRC-TV, Detroit Free Press.
On WaPo B1, Mary Beth Sheridan gives the state of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act. “Although passage is likely,” she writes, “it is not ensured.” Senate action is expected today, and a similar bill “is also positioned to move through the House soon. The Judiciary Committee is expected to approve it this week, setting up a key vote by the entire body, possibly in early March.” Also Examiner, WaTimes, Bloomberg, CBS News.
BY THE NUMBERS—-“At least 55 Democrats are likely to vote to begin action on the bill [requiring 60 votes]….As in 2007, at least two Democrats are expected to not support the bill: Sen. Robert C. Byrd (W.Va.) and Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.). In addition, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) is ill, and it is unclear whether he will be present. Seven of the eight Republicans senators who backed the measure in 2007 are expected to vote to begin consideration of the bill. The eighth Republican, Norm Coleman, is locked in a legal battle over the fall election results for the Minnesota seat, which hasn’t been filled. At least two senators—-Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)—-said Friday that they would vote to take up the bill but that they weren’t sure they would support it on final passage. A bill needs only a simple majority of those present on the ultimate vote.”
At National Review Online, Heritage Foundation scholar gives a fine encapsulation of the most common constitutional objections to the DCHVRA.
In Examiner, Michael Neibauer reveals the magic of “self-correcting” parking meters. The takeaway for you, District motorist: “So a person who parks at a meter displaying a ‘fail’ message may return an hour later to find a working meter flashing zero time and a ticket on the windshield — a process that may repeat several times a day.” BEHOLD THE FUTURE—-“DDOT is moving to replace its self-correcting meters with newer technology, including pay-by-cell phone devices, but the project has been slowed by budget cuts. By June, the agency said, 17 percent of the old meters will have been removed, but they will still account for 57 percent of the meter inventory.”
Another Saturday, another Colby King screed on DYRS. He’s getting awfully upset that most of the executive and legislative branches of government in this town continue to back DYRS chief Vincent Schiraldi in spite of a year’s worth of critical columns. A year! “I believe it is clear that city officials remain satisfied with the agency’s stewardship and direction; otherwise, they would have made changes….A D.C. Council member told me that my columns about DYRS simply contain ‘anecdotes,’ the same dismissive label that…Schiraldi reportedly applied to my columns in a public forum last year….So there it is. Lo, a steady stream of juvenile justice columns over these many months signifies nothing.” If only Gary Imhoff were running the show.
New DDOT Director Gabe Klein to WTOP: “‘I don’t think tolls are really on the table at this point. Particularly in the economy that we’re in now.’…But Klein would not completely rule out the possibility of a tolling system in the future.”
BIG PAYDAY FOR BILL LIGHTFOOT?—-The former councilmember has filed suit against the District on behalf the family of Edward L. Givens, the Northeast man who was told he had acid reflux by an ambulance crew, then later died of a heart attack. “Mr. Givens’ death was preventable…and our goal is to see that there are no more needless deaths,” Lightfoot tells Elissa Silverman. Responds an unusually subdued Peter Nickles, “Bill’s a good lawyer, and I look forward to seeing him in court.”
SOME GOOD LEGAL NEWS FOR THE DISTRICT—-Court of Appeals sets aside $950K jury decision finding that D.C. cop acted negligently by chasing car with expired plates, Bill Myers writes in Examiner. That car struck Valentina Chambers‘ auto, and she lost two fingers and a thumb. “Writing for her fellows, Judge Inez Smith Reid said that the lower-court judge should have given [the cop] wider latitude.” A new trial is likely.
YOUR MARION BARRY UPDATE—-“D.C. Council member Marion Barry remains in intensive care at Howard Hospital, but his condition continues to improve, doctors said yesterday….’He is doing well, and he is getting better every day,’ said Clive Callender, the surgeon who led the team that transplanted a kidney into Barry (D-Ward 8) Friday,” reports Hamil Harris, briefly. Also see WaPo’s Saturday wrap and short Sunday donor profile, plus NC8, WRC-TV, and WTTG-TV.
A CLASSIC OF THE GENRE—-The old do-Metro-board-members-use-Metro? story, from Lena Sun in WaPo. “Half of Metro’s 12 board members, including Chairman Jim Graham, do not regularly ride the train or bus system they oversee. And even as members say they need to trim expenses and boost revenue, several haven’t paid their parking fees at Metro headquarters for at least 2 1/2 years.” GRAHAM’s PROMISE—-The WMATA board chair, who hasn’t ridden a bus since December and a train since baseball season, says, “I’m going to become a more regular rider…On a weekly basis, I will be found on the bus.” FUN FACT—-Graham’ VW Bug is painted “harvest moon beige.” A blogger reacts.
THE RUNDOWN—-Regular Metro riders: Peter Benjamin and Gordon Linton of Maryland; Christopher Zimmerman, Catherine Hudgins, and Jeffrey C. McKay of Virginia; and Anthony R. Giancola of the District. Not-so-regular riders: Betty Hewlett of Maryland; William D. Euille of Virginia; and Neil Albert and Michael A. Brown of the District.
Harry Jaffe is AGAINST the Tommy Wells bag bill: “Here’s what I believe will happen: Rich folks and kids with loose change will fork over the 5 cents. Families who shop once a week and fill their carts with $100 of groceries will not bring 10 cloth bags to the counter. Poor folks who have a hard time scratching up cash for macaroni and getting organized to shop will pay the price….Why not flip the equation? Why not pay people a nickel for each bag they recycle? Why would that not achieve Wells’ goal of cutting usage and also encourage people to pick up trash? A twofer!”
More on hydrants, from Examiner’s Rachelle Brown. One issue: “Private fire hydrants can be found throughout the District in gated communities, universities and government agencies, but the city doesn’t know whether they work and has no record of how many there are.” And changes are coming: “Starting next month, red rings will be used on hydrants that are ‘out of service’ and unusable. Green rings will be used on hydrants that require maintenance but still work.”
IN THEMAIL—-Dorothy Brizill discovers Fenty BOEE nominee Omar Nour‘s voted only only since 2005: “Nour, 30…has voted only once, in last November’s presidential election. He didn’t even bother to cast a ballot for his benefactor, Adrian Fenty, in the 2006 mayoral election. This casual attitude to voting may not be relevant to membership in many other boards and commissions, but it is disqualifying to membership on the Board of Elections and Ethics.”
Jonetta Rose Barras looks at Parks and Rec spending: “Some District residents are baffled…that the Department of Parks and Recreation seems to have made dogs its prime interest — above day care centers, maintenance of facilities, retaining sufficient program personnel and restoring athletic fields.” Harry Thomas Jr. to DPR honcho Clark Ray at recent hearing: “Don’t make this your Waterloo.”
WaPo’s Jay Mathews, author of new book about the KIPP charter schools, writes about the KIPP charter schools in his column today. TIDBIT—-“On Friday, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is scheduled to visit the new Benning Road SE headquarters of [Susan Schaeffler]’s charter school network, KIPP DC, and bless plans for its expansion to 10 schools by 2012. In most cities, superintendents and charter school leaders don’t cooperate. But Rhee and Schaeffler are in sync….We hear much about Rhee, with good reason. She is moving rapidly to shake up how children are taught in the city. But Rhee’s is a top-down movement, its impact still uncertain.”
Also in WaPo, Bill Turque writes up Rhee’s recent appearance on the Kojo Nnamdi Show, in which she said that pursuing a federal “state of emergency” on contract talks was “never something we were truly considering or that we had ever announced.” Turque also mentions her Turque slam: “That was reported, falsely really, based on a FOIA request that was done by a reporter….[I]t was never something that was considered strongly and I think that it was totally misrepresented in the press.”
WaTimes’ Deborah Simmons reports that Friendship PCS will “restructure” Anacostia SHS under No Child Left Behind: “The law gives school authorities five options: reopen the restructured school as a charter school, reconstitute the school by replacing all or most of its staff, collaborate with an external partner, undergo a state takeover, or develop another major restructuring effort. Mrs. Rhee proposed five schools – Anacostia, Ballou, Coolidge and Dunbar High School, and Hart Middle School – be restructured under the third option.”
Riggs Park residences tested for soil contamination from Chillum gas-tank leak, Neibauer reports in Examiner. The gas problem wasn’t quite so huge a deal, but “cancer-causing perchloroethylenes, or PCEs, most often associated with dry cleaners, were found at concentrations well into the dangerous range,” which means the city “will install vapor extraction systems in at least 45 Riggs Park homes [that] cost about $2,500 each…and there will be an attempt to recoup that money from the parties responsible for the contamination.”
GWU Medical School: Troubled, says WaPo. Susan Kinzie writes about “a potentially serious conflict of interest” where, “[s]ince 1999, John F. Williams, GWU’s provost and vice president for health affairs, also has received money and stock options for serving on the board of directors of Universal Health Services, which owns the university hospital.”
WaPo’s Paul Duggan examines the Pamela J. Butler disappearance: “Butler’s brother, Derrick Butler, said her family began to worry last weekend when they could not reach her by phone. On Tuesday, after sending several text messages asking her to get in touch with him, Butler said he sent a text message falsely telling her that their mother was so worried that she was about to be hospitalized….’When she didn’t respond to that,’ said Butler, 46, ‘I knew something was wrong.'”
WaTimes uses Chandra Levy break to talk about…D.C. crime lab.
Woman badly burned in fire at Harvard Hall apartments.
Man arrested in District for La Plata, Md., slaying. WaPo: “Antoine D. Smith, 24, of Fort Washington was arrested by the D.C. police’s warrant squad about 9 a.m. in the 2700 block of Langston Place SE, authorities said.”
Washington Ballet dancer struck by car and killed early Saturday in Harford County, Md., while with touring company.
VIRGINIA MAY HAVE SNAGGED HILTON…but the District has lured the National Confectioners Association from the Old Dominion.
Expect lotsa fencing on the Mall, reports WaTimes’ Timothy Warren.
BAD ECONOMY STORY OF THE DAY—-Summer associate hiring slumps at local law firms, Examiner reports.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Government Operations and the Environment agency performance oversight hearing on Department of Human Resources, Office of Property Management, Office of Disability Rights, Office of the Secretary, and Office of Risk Management, JAWB 412; Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs hearing on PR18-122, “Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia Betty Ann Kane Confirmation Resolution of 2009,” B18-133, “the Mortgage Lender and Broker Amendment Act of 2009,” JAWB 120; Committee on Public Works and Transporation agency performance oversight hearing on District Department of Transportation, JAWB 500; 2:30 p.m.: Committee of the Whole roundtable on PR18-73, “Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors Earle C. Horton Confirmation Resolution of 2009,” JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10:30 a.m.: remarks, Nationals Park announcement, Nationals Park, PNC Diamond Club, 1500 South Capitol Street SE; 3:30 p.m.: remarks, update on OPM public safety projects, Bowen Elementary School, 101 M St. SW; 6:45 p.m.: remarks, Deanwood Civic Association meeting, First Baptist Church of Deanwood, 1008 45th St. NE; 8 p.m.: remarks, 2nd annual State of Chinatown keynote address, Wah-Luck House, lobby level conference room, 800 6th St. NW.