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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-“The Fenty Athletocracy“; “D.C. House Voting Rights Act: What Happens If It Passes?“
Morning LLDers. Marion Barry has filed his taxes: Yesterday, both WTOP and WUSA-TV reported that the mayor-for-life handed over his 2007 federal tax return to the IRS yesterday, after filing his District tax return the previous Friday. KEEP THOSE ACCOUNTANTS ON RETAINER—-April 15 isn’t so far off!
WTOP’s Mark Segraves takes an absolutely chilling look inside the house where Banita Jacks‘ four children died. “Drawings on the walls of a home where four girls were found dead may provide a somber glimpse into their tormented and short lives….In one of the bedrooms, drawings and scribbling can still be seen on the walls. In one place, the phrase, ‘Yes I do love Mom’ is written. In another you can read, ‘Love me.’ There’s a drawing of four cracked eggs, lined up biggest to smallest with the smallest egg opened and a small child popping out. It’s an eerie reminder of how the bodies were found lying side-by-side in order of their age.” The house is listed for $90,900.
Capitol Hill man sues WASA over his twin sons’ lead-related health problems, Keith Alexander and Carol Leonnig report in WaPo. “John Parkhurst filed suit in D.C. Superior Court in a case that he hopes will become a class-action on behalf of others affected by elevated lead levels in the city’s water from 2001 to 2004. The suit seeks $200 million in damages.” In Examiner, Michael Neibauer interviews plaintiff: “Parkhurst said he approached the law firm a few weeks ago after learning that his sons’ classmates had also tested positive for lead and suffered from similar ailments. Around the same time, new research was released that concluded the number of D.C. children with dangerously high lead levels more than doubled after 2001 — contradicting an earlier report touted by WASA. ‘It was the first time that all of the dots were connected,’ Parkhurst said.” Also WTTG-TV, WUSA-TV, WRC-TV.
TORT OF CALL—-His attorney is Stefanie Roemer of Sanford, Wittels & Heisler; she’s “interested in speaking with D.C. residents who have children who were 6 and younger between 2001 and 2004, especially residents living in the areas of Capitol Hill, Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights.”
Whistleblower fire investigators prepare lawsuit against DCFEMS, reports WJLA-TV/NC8. “D.C. Arson investigators Greg Bowyer and Gerald Pennington…intend to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit that levels a laundry list of allegations against the department — including retaliation and discrimination. When this is announced later this week, sources say a number of fellow firefighters will stand with Bowyer and Pennington and call for the removal of D.C. Fire Department Chief Dennis Rubin.” The two had accused Rubin of botching major Eastern Market and Mount Pleasant fire investigations.
ANOTHER FENTY CAVE—-Withdraws contract with controversial Florida school, according to Bill Myers’ Examiner story. “Fenty’s attorney general, Peter Nickles, told The Examiner on Tuesday that the city wanted to ‘tailor’ short-term, individual contracts for each of the 19 District residents in the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation. All city residents will be out of the clinic by September, Nickles said….The new proposal is a victory for Council Chairman Vince Gray, who balked at giving a full-year contract to the Florida clinic last month and threatened to veto the deal.”
Local politicos react to D.C. United move in Examiner: “It is ‘reckless’ and a ‘dereliction of responsibility’ that Prince George’s leaders would throw their weight behind a stadium project but not behind a plan to fix their rotting health system, said at-large Councilman David Catania. Any politician who puts scarce resources into ‘something as frivolous as a soccer stadium has their priorities completely out of whack,’ he said.”
In WaPo, Bill Turque takes a close look at the sudden closing of City Lights Public Charter School—-what was a “last chance” school for troubled kids in Eckington. “The collapse of City Lights, housed in a former Catholic elementary school on T Street NE, has triggered a round of finger-pointing and second-guessing among school and District officials over alleged mismanagement. But the most immediate casualties are students such as [Mike Green], who is three credits shy of graduation. He came three years ago from McKinley High after spending time in the Oak Hill juvenile detention center. He said City Lights’ small size and caring faculty made a huge difference, down to the office manager who took him shopping for a suit to wear to a job interview.” LL BROKE NEWS OF THE CLOSING LAST MONTH. Some reaction from Mark Lerner.
Harry Jaffe steals a bit of the thunder from LL’s column tomorrow, covers Fenty’s nominations to the PERB in his Examiner column. “Gruesome as it might sound, the fictional cancer debacle matches up well with the way Mayor Adrian Fenty has dealt with the Public Employee Relations Board. As it became sick and withered, he ignored it; when the pain it was causing forced him to act, he called in people with thin qualifications.” READ LL WEEKLY TOMORROW FOR FULL TREATMENT, SANS TORTURED METAPHORS.
Jim Graham is only councilmember not to co-sponsor Tommy Wells‘ bag bill. His explanation to Nikita Stewart: “I’m generally concerned about considering the impact on poor people and what we can do…We know we want it to work a certain way. How it works in practice could be very different?” Meanwhile, WaTimes covers the bag legislation. IN OTHER COW NEWS—-Graham brings back “hot spot” legislation of questionable constitutionality.
Courtland Milloy profiles C. Kenneth Johnson in his WaPo column. Johnson, a retired District social worker, “has adopted eight children since 1983. Three daughters and two grandchildren still live with him. He has taken in another 144 foster children, most for a few days but some for as long as three years. And he has done it all as a single man, too busy to look for a mate, he says, figuring that the chances of finding someone willing to help raise so many troubled children would be slim to none.” Tommy Wells calls him “just an amazing man with an incredible commitment to helping our youth.”
Circulator, Fairfax Connector to take on some Metrobus routes, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. “Officials from the two government-run bus services say they can offer the same service as Metro for less money. And a regional group assigned to find ways to trim Metro’s budget said the transit agency could stop providing such local bus service, Jim Graham, Metro’s chairman and a D.C. councilman, recently told The Examiner. Instead, Metro could offer regional routes that cross between communities and leave the local jurisdictions to pick up other, more local service.”
Vincent Abell, formerly accused by Peter Nickles of being a slumlord, is bidding on city-owned house, according to Housing Complex.
Eleanor Holmes Norton loves her some Japanese Zelkova trees: “Norton met with officials from the Office of the Architect of the Capitol about whether security bollards could be placed around the trees instead of cutting them down, according to a news release. The architect’s office agreed to try to save the trees on Second Street NE, according to officials there.”
Rihanna—Chris Brown prompts forum on domestic violence at Union Temple Baptist Church. “Last night’s gathering followed a week of frenzied discussions about domestic violence that forced local radio stations to consider whether to stop playing Brown’s music. People of all ages recounted personal experiences with domestic violence. Some spoke of their fathers hitting their mothers. One young man said his girlfriend abused him and asked: What happens when the girl does the hitting?” reports David Betancourt.
Nats drop food concessionaire, go with Chicago-based Levy Restaurants for 2009, according to Biz Journal. “Industry sources last month pointed to Levy as the likely successor to Stamford, Conn.-based Centerplate Inc., which parted ways with the Nationals in January after running the concessions for just one year. Numerous explanations have been made by industry sources for the change. There has been talk that the Nationals were unhappy with the vendor’s performance in 2008 and that Centerplate lost large amounts of money in its commission deal with the Nationals.”
Cop heads to Listserv to plead with pedestrians, drivers to pay attention, Neibauer writes in Examiner. “Officer David Baker posted his opinion on the 2nd District newsgroup on Feb. 6, four days after a 64-year-old woman was struck by a car as she crossed the Nebraska Avenue intersection with Connecticut Avenue Northwest….As he surveyed the site with his radar gun, Baker said he watched pedestrian after pedestrian stroll by listening to their iPods and talking on their cell phones, crossing against the walk signal and stepping into the crosswalk in anticipation of a walk signal. ‘As I have mentioned before, technology is a good thing but it has its faults too,’ Baker wrote. ‘People walking and driving are not aware of their surroundings as much as they should be.'”
UDC students not appeased by phase-in of tuition hike, NC8 reports. “Joshua Lopez of student group Save UDC said, ‘We’re still one hundred percent against it. There are still legitimate concerns that have not been addressed.'” And UDC alum on hikes in WaPo letter: “If not for UDC’s open enrollment and affordable tuition, I would not have been able to finish my degree program with no loan to repay and would not be working at one of the most reputable think tanks in the United States….Regular, working-class people, the demographic of UDC students, are hardest hit by the economic woes. When will they receive a bailout instead of a bill?” writes Nefta Freeman.
BARGAIN ALERT—-Victor MacFarlane drops asking price on SF townhouse from $70M to $49M.
WTTG-TV covers Cleveland Park/McLean Gardens dog park fight.
Ralph Lauren closing Georgetown outlet.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Economic Development meeting, JAWB 123; Committee on Government Operations and the Environment agency performance oversight hearing on FY2008-2009 budgets, JAWB 500; Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation agency performance oversight hearing on FY2008-2009 budgets, JAWB 412; 2 p.m.: Committee on Housing and Workforce Development roundtable on PR18-0057, “Director of the Department of Employment Services Joseph P. Walsh Confirmation Resolution of 2009,” JAWB 123; 4 p.m.: Committee on Housing and Workforce Development roundtable on the Home Purchase Assistance Program, JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.