A good Friday morning to all. LL Daily is back in a big way now that LL himself is back in the chilly confines of the District after his week’s sojourn in warmer climes. Special thanks to LL emeritus Erik Wemple for running the show in LL’s absence. Huge weeks ahead for local politics in the District! GET PUMPED!
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty joined about two dozen governors and mayors at Barack Obama‘s economic stimulus speech yesterday at George Mason University. The District is requesting $92M for road maintenece, according to CNSnews.com; WUSA-TV reports Hizzoner was “out schmoozing the crowd at George Mason University before the speech even started.” He also took the opportunity to weigh in on Obama’s active transition to USA Today: “He’s putting down his marker. And I think with the huge mandate he got on Election Day, Congress will have to pay attention.”
NCPC votes 9-1 to approve new homeland security HQ on St. Elizabeths grounds, WaPo’s Mary Beth Sheridan reports: “The $3.4 billion headquarters would be one of the largest construction projects in the Washington area since the Pentagon was built in the 1940s. Advocates say it would generate economic activity in one of the city’s poorer corners and provide a secure workplace for 14,000 Homeland Security employees scattered across the Washington area….If Congress provides funding, construction will begin next year and continue through 2016.” Who cast the no vote? “[A] National Park Service representative, who warned that the development could endanger the site’s historic landmark status.” So much for Richard Moe. Also Biz Journal.
WTOP’s Mark Segraves reports that proposed transfer of 15 acres of federal land in Fort Dupont Park is threatened, due to unusually restrictive conditions on the deal. The land’s meant for a baseball academy, a project close to Vince Gray‘s heart: “I have been involved in many land transfers and have never seen anything like this,” he says.
Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr. has more on David Catania‘s decision not introduce a gay marriage bill at the first council session. Still no word from Catania himself on when he’s going to drop the bill. Also: extended interview with Jim Graham on the subject.
D.C. Chamber of Commerce pulls out from 2009 summer jobs program, according to Biz Journal’s Jonathan O’Connell. The group placed about 200 kids last year; chamber honcho Barbara Lang gives Hizzoner a nice little screw-you in letter: “With the economic challenges and resource constraints we now face, we have decided that our work in 2009 with the city’s young people will be concentrated on our new initiative [the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Foundation], and we therefore will not participate as a direct provider with the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.” A NOTE TO LANG—-Fenty’s going to be a lot harder to Schwartz than Schwartz.
Metro faces 13 percent budget shortfall, making layoffs and other cutbacks all but certain, according to reports from Examiner’s Kytja Weir and WaPo’s Lena Sun. Measures will include snipping “almost 900 positions and enacting the largest-ever cuts in train, bus and paratransit service….The gap of $176 million is the largest in the agency’s 33-year history. Unless board members and agency officials are able to make significant additional expense cuts or discover new revenue to plug the hole, riders could be facing $73 million in service reductions starting in July, officials said.” Says Jim Graham: “In my time on the board, there has never been anything of the magnitude of this type of service cut.”
Former Fenty chief of ex-offender affairs criticizes his old boss, to WaPo’s Robert Pierre: “We’re the only city on the Eastern Seaboard without a state-run reentry program,” says Rodney Mitchell, whose office “had an annual budget of $300,000, most of which went for the salaries of three people. Little was left for direct services to ex-offenders, he said.” BLAST FROM THE PAST—-Pierre quotes old Barry aide Roach Brown, who knows a thing or two about incarceration.
All Hands on Deck will be back in 2009—-at least eight times, according to police memo obtained by Examiner’s Bill Myers. Obligatory Kris Baumann quote: “He said that if it was important enough to have thousands of officers on the streets once in a while, it ought to be important enough to hire enough cops to ‘have All Hands on Deck every day.'”
Tommy Wells introduces bill to grant income-tax credit to folks who volunteer as youth mentors, reports Examiner’s Michael Neibauer. Anonymous council source is skeptical: “I can easily think of 10 ways to cheat on this off the top of my head.”
Harry Jaffe wants District to get tough on gun crime. Suggestion from Baumann: “15-year mandatory sentences for committing a crime of violence with a gun; illegally transporting, distributing or selling a firearm; and 15 years for a convicted felon who uses a gun for criminal purposes.”
Video of violent arrest hits YouTube, NC8 reports. For your edification:
Robert Cane of charter advocate group FOCUS wonders why charters weren’t given top dibs on closed DCPS schools.
Suspect in Spevak double murder decides he wants a trial. Peiro Fuentes Hernandez was expected to plead guilty to Superior Court Judge Michael Rankin, “[b]ut Rankin was unconvinced that Fuentes Hernandez understood the decision to plead guilty. Rankin explained the charges by using a plumbing and pipe analogy. He explained the two murder charges as being meshed like an elbow pipe fitting a straight pipe.” Fuentes Hernandez replied to questions, “I participated, but they can’t say I actually killed them when I hit them…Either way I’m going to get time.” He then said he wanted a trial, according to WaPo’s Keith Alexander. Also WTOP.
Real estate scammer Duane McKinney gets 12-and-a-half years from federal judge, reports WaPo’s Del Quentin Wilber. “During a three-year period, he pocketed more than $700,000 by forging the names of property owners—-most of them dead—-onto deeds and then selling the rundown houses, apartment buildings and vacant lots, prosecutors say….In all, McKinney stole more than $1 million in property. Most of the property in the District and Maryland belonged to heirs of working-class residents, including firefighters, clerks and teachers, and had been in their families for generations.” Also WaTimes.
WAPO BRIEFS—-“Construction Worker Falls 8 Stories to Death”; “Shooting Victim, 25, Dies From His Injuries”
More on that construction worker, from WTOP: “[T]he worker was operating a miniature backhoe on the eighth floor of a nine-story building at North Capitol and K streets. About 12:45 p.m. Thursday, the machine rolled out of the side of the building and plunged about 80 feet while the worker was trapped inside.”
—-THE INAUGURATION SECTION—-
WaPo’s David Nakamura files his version of the oh-look-no-one’s-renting-inaugural-housing-after-all story you might remember from such publications as Politico and Washington City Paper. Still good stuff, though! “Those who listed their properties within a week or two of Obama’s Nov. 4 election victory were able to score deals, but those who jumped on the bandwagon after that have largely been left without offers.” Killer quote, from apartment specialist: “I’m blown away by how little demand there is.”
LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULEZ—-213 bars, clubs, and restaurants have signed up for extended inauguration drinking hours. And 73 more wants to do it, but need approval from ANCs to be let out of their voluntary agreements. The city’s payday, according to interim ABRA director Fred Moosally: About $100,000. Also WaTimes, which names some names: “Chief Ike’s Mambo Room in Adams Morgan, Dukem Ethiopian restaurant and bar on U Street Northwest, the Dubliner Irish bar and restaurant on Capitol Hill and hotels such as the St. Regis, the Willard and the Four Seasons.”
Planning to take Metro trains on Jan. 20? Here’s some words you might want to ponder, courtesy of USA Today: “crush load.”
TAKE THE BUS INSTEAD—-Metro plans special buses into District Jan. 20—-“The buses will run every 10 minutes from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 20 and will travel into the District along major thoroughfares, including 16th and North Capitol streets and Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Georgia avenues,” reports WaPo’s Lena Sun. “The special corridors will be in addition to normal Metrobus service, which will be operating on a modified Saturday schedule.” ALSO—-$5 bus passes will be available. Also Examiner report. WTOP has a detailed list of all the routes.
Metro also plans to bring in 100 outside cops to assist transit police, NC8 reports.
At inaug security briefing, FBI warns of possible “Mumbai-style” terrorist attack.
Amtrak expects thousands to line Northeast Corridor to greet Obama’s train to Washington for inauguration, WAMU-FM reports (RealAudio), as does NC8. Last time this happened: Bobby Kennedy‘s funeral train.
How to get folks to work on Jan. 20? AP takes a look. Hospitals, in particular, are concerned. And Biz Journal has some helpful inaug tips for local businesses (even more helpful if you have a Biz Journal subscription). Here’s one idea, courtesy of the Smithsonian: Have a sleepover!
WHERE ARE ALL OF THESE PEOPLE GOING TO FIT?—-Examiner’s Leah Fabel examines the question. “Up to 300,000 could funnel through 13 security checkpoints along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route, and countless more could be trapped in their cars on congested roadways when Barack Obama takes his oath of office….[F]or the people who trekked across the country to witness the inauguration and find themselves unable to board a train or cross a Virginia bridge into the District, frustrations could boil over.” Says consultant, “I don’t know where you’ll put a million people.”
Even on foot, don’t expect to move too freely on Jan. 20. Everyone, even big-shot donors, have to file through the same security lines, writes Examiner’s Kaitlyn Funk. AAAND—-“Checkpoints inside the security perimeter will also limit mobility once the parade has started….’It’s going to be a much more sequestered parade from the standpoint that once someone gets somewhere, they’re there for the day,’ said Patrick Murphy, senior vice president of M Capital Management, a firm that will host a private party at the Capital Grille at 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. ‘I get the sense that there’s going to be no ability to go from spot to spot.'”
GOOD LUCK—-5,000 parade tix go on sale today at 1 p.m. via Ticketmaster. Call 202-397-7328. Or don’t even try. If you’re in a District middle or high school, your better bet might be to write an essay.
Get your Obama jewelry!
—-END INAUGURATION SECTION—-
Heritage Foundation researcher looks at the prospects for vouchers in the new Congress.
Zillow crunches the numbers, says White House has lost $23 million in value over past year. It’s now only worth $308M.
Dulles rail passes last fedeal funding hurdle; SecTrans gives approval.
Luxury apartment glut in D.C., Biz Journal reports. And the condo market is definitely going to be a buyer’s market. Oh, and commercial real estate? That’s bad, too.
16-year-old shot dead on 1400 block of Morris Road SE.
Two elderly pedestrians hit by Comcast truck on 200 block of M Street NW.
Northeast mother arrested for leaving three young kids alone.
NC8 covers vigil for victims of Northeast house fire.
TODAY ON THE POLITICS HOUR WITH KOJO NNAMDI—-Tom Sherwood, WRC-TV; Bill Myers, Examiner; Va. Gov. Tim Kaine; Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh; Md. Video Lottery Facility Location Commission chair Donald Fry. Noon, WAMU 88.5 FM.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Health roundtable, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-No public events scheduled.