City Desk

Ben Bradlee, Legendary Post Editor, Dies at 93

Benjamin_C._Bradlee

Unless you haven't read it in about 50 years, the Washington Post as you know it is the way it is because of Benjamin Bradlee.

Bradlee, who died Tuesday at 93, edited the paper for 26 years, presiding over its publication of the Pentagon Papers and its coverage of Watergate, launching the Style section, and turning the Post into an institution that could rival—or at least aim to rival—the New York Times as a national newspaper. (He was also, in one of the bits of luck like those that dot his 1996 memoir A Good Life, fortunate to retire from the job in 1991, before the economics of the print news business soured.)

"Ben Bradlee was the best American newspaper editor of his time and had the greatest impact on his newspaper of any modern editor,” former Post publisher Don Graham told former Post managing editor Robert Kaiser for his obituary of Bradlee.

His biggest journalistic triumphs at the Post were on national news, even if Watergate started out on the Metro desk; his biggest failure, Janet Cooke's invented 1980 piece "Jimmy's World," about an imaginary 8-year-old heroin addict, was a local story. But even though we at Washington City Paper like to snark at the daily now and then, it's impossible to overstate the significance to the city of the Post Bradlee built, along with the late former publisher Katharine Graham and her son Don.

Read more Ben Bradlee, Legendary Post Editor, Dies at 93

The Needle: Foo Fight

Times Like These: If you didn't start lining up outside the Black Cat hours before tickets went on sale today at 6 p.m. for Friday's surprise Foo Fighters show, you didn't stand a chance at getting tickets. Sucks if you wanted to go and, you know, had to work today. -3

Arlington Man: A man was arrested in Arlington for doing naked pushups in the middle of the street while under the influence of PCP. -1 Read more The Needle: Foo Fight

D.C. Struggles to Keep Its Pants Up On Metro

More men have apparently felt the need to drop their pants and expose themselves on the Metrorail system in recent months.

Metro Transit Police said today that in the past two months they have seen an increase in indecent exposure incidents and are currently searching for four men involved in unrelated incidents on the Metrorail system.

"Indecent exposure cases can be a gateway crime to more serious sexual misconduct, which is why we have placed a priority on advancing these investigations," said Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik. "We are absolutely committed to keeping Metro a safe space for all riders."

The four incidents occurred on a Red Line train at the Rhode Island Metro station at 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 3; a Red Line train at the Gallery Place station at 9:51 p.m. on Aug. 28; a Green Line train at Naylor Road at 11:25 p.m on Sept. 13; and a Red Line train at Glenmont at 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 6.

Anyone with information on these individuals is asked to call Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-1212. Tips can also be sent via text to MyMTPD (696873).

Read more D.C. Struggles to Keep Its Pants Up On Metro

New Law Could Ban Sidewalk Biking Beyond Downtown D.C.

The debate over the etiquette of biking on a sidewalk could soon be resolved on some city streets if a newly introduced law makes it past the D.C. Council.

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham introduced legislation today that would make biking on a sidewalk illegal when there is a bike lane running in the same direction available. Biking on the sidewalk is already illegal in the District's Central Business District—an infraction that comes with a $25 ticket. Outside of the business district, cyclists are permitted to ride on sidewalks provided they do so in a "safe and non-hazardous manner."

The Sidewalk Safety Amendment Act of 2014 would apply to one- or two-wheeled bikes—sorry unicyclers—and Segways. Riders under 12 years of age and bicycles with smaller than 20-inch wheels would still be permitted on the sidewalk.

The legislation defines a bike lane as a "demarcated lane in the public roadway for use primarily by bicycles and other permitted devices."

Graham says he introduced the bill because he has received numerous reports of cyclists recklessly riding on sidewalks without regard for pedestrian safety. He cited a tragedy four years ago in which an elderly man died after he and his wife were struck by a hit-and-run cyclist on the sidewalk near the Convention Center.

Read more New Law Could Ban Sidewalk Biking Beyond Downtown D.C.

Hailo App Will Turn Off in D.C. This Sunday

That Hailo app on your phone will stop hailing cabs this Sunday.

Hailo, the taxi e-hailing app, abruptly announced last week that it would shutter its entire North America operation due to competition. Last night, it announced in a "fare-well" email to customers that its last day of operation would be this Sunday, Oct. 26, at noon.

"Unfortunately, Hailo's ideal to deliver on hassle-free for both drivers and city-dwellers required factors that were very much outside of our control."

Hailo charges $1.50 to hail a cab on its app, and then regular cab fares kick in. To use Hailo, customers would have to pay slightly more than the typical cab fare at a time when D.C. cabs are struggling to compete with UberX and Lyft—services whose prices aren't regulated by the D.C. Taxicab Commission and which can charge cheaper fares.

Read more Hailo App Will Turn Off in D.C. This Sunday

District Line Daily: Bowser Tops Catania in New Poll

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Muriel Bowser has a 12-point lead over David Catania, according to a poll from pro-business group Economic Growth D.C. The new poll shows Bowser with 45 percent of the votes, Catania with 33 percent, and Carol Schwartz with 12 percent.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Some evidence suggests D.C.'s black electorate is unusually divided this election cycle. [Washington Post]
  • Two tornadoes touched down in D.C. during last week's storm, the National Weather Service confirms. [News4]
  • Two men were shot and injured Monday evening while one of them was carrying his 3-year-old son on the 3800 block of Q Street SE. The child was not shot, though he sustained some cuts after his father dropped him after he was shot. [News4]
  • Four men were stabbed around the 3000 block of 15th Street NW in Columbia Heights this morning. Police currently have a suspect in custody. [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Read more District Line Daily: Bowser Tops Catania in New Poll

A Drunkard Stole My Kale, Then Apologized With a Gift Card

Flickr_-_Sigfrid_Lundberg_-_R0014932_v1About two weeks ago, my Tuscan kale plant disappeared. More precisely, the upper two-thirds of it did. My girlfriend and I, who have tried our hand at gardening this year in the small patch of dirt in our front yard, discovered the formerly two-foot-high plant reduced to a ragged stump, the portion with all the leaves apparently ripped off during the night.

Lest this appear the ultimate yuppie sob story, I should say that we weren't exactly shocked. We live on a block in Columbia Heights whose wonderful diversity carries its share of risks. Our neighbors include a handful of wildly energetic children who love to run into our house and demand impromptu lessons on our guitars; maybe they got restless and took it out on a strange-looking plant? We live within a three-block radius of three different clusters of bars; a drunken passerby could easily have been the culprit. Or maybe someone simply got hungry.

In any case, we wrote it off as lost, a casualty of the urban environment in which we knew fenceless gardening to be a risk.

And then, over the weekend, we found this wet note sticking out from under a flowerpot:

kale thief

Read more A Drunkard Stole My Kale, Then Apologized With a Gift Card

The Needle: Counting One Crow

The Birds: This nightmarish headline says it all while leaving questions that are best left unanswered: "[Pigskins] Fan holds crow for reasons that remain completely unclear." -3

Here We Go Again: The New York Times tackles covering D.C. as an actual city and not just the nation's capital. The paper of record finds that the city has a booming restaurant scene in actual neighborhoods, and describes Adams Morgan as "once-dicey Adams Morgan." -4

Read more The Needle: Counting One Crow

New Capitol Hill-Area News Site Debuts Today

HillNow.com—a Capitol Hill offshoot of ARLNow.com—made its official debut in the blogosphere today.

The website will serve as a hyperlocal news site for Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods in Ward 6, including H Street NE and Navy Yard. Local News Now, the publisher of the site, is also behind BethesdaNow.com, ARLNow.com, and RestonNow.com.

Andrea Swalec, who formerly worked for New York City's hyperlocal DNAinfo, is running the site. She also wrote for Voice of the Hill, the now-shuttered monthly paper that covered Capitol Hill. Freelancers will also contribute to the site.

Although HillNow.com makes its official debut today, it has already posted a number of articles this month, including news stories on crime, a Q&A with a Council staffer who lives in Capitol Hill, and an ANC vote to protest the expansion of the Ugly Mug.

Scott Brodbeck, the founder of Local News Now who is also contributing articles to the new operation, told City Desk in June that there's a hunger for this type of fast, local coverage in these Ward 6 neighborhoods. 

"What I have been hearing from people in the area is that there is a void—there's not a daily news source that covers that area and it's a very dynamic and civically engaged neighborhood," Brodbeck told City Desk. 

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Top Rabbinical Organization Says It Received Concerning Allegations Against Georgetown Rabbi in 2012

A top Modern Orthodox rabbinical association says it knew since 2012 of concerning allegations against the Georgetown rabbi charged last week with voyeurism, though the allegations were not sexual in nature.

Rabbi Barry Freundel, the rabbi of Kesher Israel synagogue, pleaded not guilty to six counts of voyeurism last week for allegedly filming naked women without their knowledge in his congregation while they were preparing for a mikveh—a ritual cleansing bath. A mikveh is used for a variety of religious purposes, including as part of the conversion process.

The Rabbinical Council of America says in a statement that in 2012, some conversion candidates reported they felt pressure to perform clerical work at Freundel's home—the synagogue does not have an office—and to give money to the synagogue. He was also the co-signer on a checking account with a conversion candidate. The council investigated the allegations and confronted Freundel about them. He assured the council the practices would stop.

At the time of the allegations, Freundel served as the chair of the council's Geirus Protocol and Standards conversion system—a network of rabbis that works to establish uniform standards to ensure the validity of all conversions. He served in the position from 2006 to 2013.

Freundel's attorney, Jeffrey Harris, didn't immediately return a call for comment.

Read more Top Rabbinical Organization Says It Received Concerning Allegations Against Georgetown Rabbi in 2012

District Line Daily: Start Voting for Mayor Today

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Early voting in D.C. kicks off today at 8:30 a.m. at One Judiciary Square NW. Eight additional early voting polling locations will open Saturday.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • The attorney general candidates wouldn't actually have the legal power to fulfill many of their campaign promises. [Post] 
  • Police are looking for a suspect in a Monday morning shooting that left one person dead and another injured around 8th and Jefferson streets NW. [News4]
  • At a time when the city needs housing the most, landlords and property managers are forced to choose whether to raise their rent and kick out longtime tenants, or keep the rent the same and take a financial hit. [Post]
    A federal judge denied the District's request to reconsider his ruling overturning the city's total public ban on carrying a gun in public. [City Desk]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Read more District Line Daily: Start Voting for Mayor Today

The Needle: Breaking Zen

Closing Time: CityZen, the restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, will close its doors Dec. 6. It was once considered one of the best restaurants in the city, and its shuttering is a loss for the dining scene. The good news is that its chef is opening his own restaurant in Mount Vernon Triangle. -3

Milk and Cookies: Catholic University originally postponed a campus screening of the film Milk because the student-planned event may have been one of advocacy instead of education. The university has now approved the program, which has been rescheduled. +4

Read more The Needle: Breaking Zen

Don’t Freak Out When Terrorists Attack D.C. This Weekend

Before Walter Reed can be redeveloped into this, it'll have to withstand an IED attack.

Before Walter Reed can be redeveloped into this, it'll have to withstand an IED attack.

At approximately 9 p.m. on Sunday, an improvised explosive device will explode at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Shortly thereafter, a gunman will attack the Navy Yard. Wounded residents will be rushed to George Washington University Hospital.

But don't worry, it's all fake.

D.C.'s first responders are carrying out a multilocation exercise Sunday night into Monday morning to simulate terror attacks and practice responding to them. The party kicks off at Walter Reed—the currently vacant site between Georgia Avenue and 16th Street NW that will soon be redeveloped into a mixed-use community—around 9 p.m. with an IED explosion, followed by an an active-shooter simulation at the Navy Yard, home to an actual shooting last year where 13 people were killed. Then the action will move to GW Hospital for a medical response.

"We’re going to have fake casualties and fake injured people," says Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Robyn Johnson. "We have volunteers in that role."

Read more Don’t Freak Out When Terrorists Attack D.C. This Weekend

Judge Denies District’s Request to Reconsider Handgun Ruling

A judge's order to overturn the District's total ban on carrying guns place will stay in place for now.

U.S. District Senior Judge Frederick Sullin Jr. denied today the District's request for the court to reconsider his July ruling declaring the city's concealed carry ban unconstitutional, the Legal Times reported.

A District lawyer argued, in part, that the second amendment just guarantees the right to own a gun, not to carry that gun in public. Ultimately, according to the Legal Times, the judge called the District's arguments "somewhat disingenuous" and questioned whether the lawyers had thoroughly read through his decision.

The city recently passed emergency legislation that, in light of Sullin's original ruling, defines who can obtain a permit to carry a gun in public. City officials says that this legislation meets Sullin's findings and will protect residents. But the party that originally questioned the constitutionality of the District's concealed carry ban says the legislation goes too far and filed suit saying it violates the second amendment. The city is expected to respond to that next week and court hearings will occur next month.

The city has still not decided whether it will formally appeal the judge's decision, according to the Legal Times. 

Read more Judge Denies District’s Request to Reconsider Handgun Ruling

Buy D.C.: Pumpkin Party

Each week, Buy D.C. will highlight shops and items you can only find in the D.C. area, curated by Kaarin Vembar, owner of personal shopping and wardrobe editing service Closet Caucus.


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