City Desk

Ahead of Third Hearing on Paid Leave Legislation, D.C. Council Makes Contested Changes to Bill

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One of the District's most anticipated pieces of legislation this year has just undergone some significant revisions.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson—who also chairs the legislature's Committee of the Whole—on Monday circulated a draft committee print of the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2016. A third hearing on the bill is scheduled for Thursday. The amended bill reflects an effort to tighten the initial bill's provisions and ultimately to drive down expected costs. It reduces the maximum annual leave an individual with a qualifying condition is eligible for from 16 to 12 weeks, cuts the wage-replacement rate for beneficiaries across all incomes, and requires residents to exhaust their sick leave from the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 before tapping into the universal benefit.

Read more Ahead of Third Hearing on Paid Leave Legislation, D.C. Council Makes Contested Changes to Bill

District Line Daily: Bowser Rolls Out D.C. General Plan

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

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At a D.C. Council breakfast on Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced her administration's plan to close the D.C. General family shelter and replace it with smaller-scale facilities spread across the District—one in each ward. They would serve hundreds of families, but community and Council feedback are needed before implementation.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • D.C. didn’t get much snow-accumulation overnight thanks to higher temperatures, but a winter-weather advisory remains in effect north of the District. [Post, WTOP]
  • Metro is running regularly today despite planning yesterday for reduced bus service. [Popville, City Desk]
  • The Federal Transit Administration says it will withhold funding from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia if they do not create a new safety-oversight body for Metro by next year. [WAMU]
  • D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has released an updated draft of the District's proposed paid-leave legislation, which in part cuts the total number of weeks of paid leave an individual is eligible for. [WAMU]
  • Post editorial board: The District needs to look at the proposed paid-leave legislation “more carefully”. [Post]
  • Local fast-casual restaurant chain &pizza has some significant expansions planned for 2016. [DC Inno]

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

  • Ward 8 Race: Trayon White is again challenging LaRuby May for the Ward 8 D.C. Council seat.
  • Slayed: Beyoncé won’t be coming to D.C. during her “Formation” world tour. But there’s always Baltimore…
  • River Sheen: As of Monday afternoon, the source of an oil spill into the Potomac River remained unclear.

Read more District Line Daily: Bowser Rolls Out D.C. General Plan

D.C. General Closure: Mayor Announces Locations of Proposed Shelters

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The Bowser administration today announced the proposed locations of eight facilities—one in each ward—that will replace the D.C. General family shelter.

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D.C. General is currently home to 260 families, including around 400 children. The old hospital facility is located near the Hill East neighborhood in a complex of buildings that includes the D.C. Jail and a methadone clinic. It became a shelter for families under the Fenty administration and has continued in that fashion as the family homelessness crisis in D.C. has exploded (the number of homeless families has increased by 40 percent since 2010). Its many problems were thrust into the spotlight in 2014 after the disappearance of Relisha Rudd, an eight-year-old girl who was living at the shelter with her mother and brothers. Rudd was kidnapped by a shelter janitor, police say, and has not been seen since March 1 of that year. Read more D.C. General Closure: Mayor Announces Locations of Proposed Shelters

Source of Potomac Oil Spill Unclear as Investigation Continues

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The source of last week's fuel spill into the Potomac River remains unclear, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Michael Keane said Monday.

Authorities have been able to determine that the spill contained fuel oil. The afternoon briefing was held at Gravelly Point, a park and boat launch just north of Reagan National; the spill likely began near the Arlington airport.

“The sheening from Gravelly Point has ceased, but you will see some tidal action that will create some rainbow sheens still in the area,” Keane said.  

As time goes on, the oil is becoming harder and harder to track. “It has been significantly degraded because of weathering,” Keane said. “Right now I have not ruled out any sources.” Additional samples have been collected for further testing, with results expected Wednesday. Authorities initially believed the spill may be related to last month’s blizzard, but have since ruled out any significant link. Read more Source of Potomac Oil Spill Unclear as Investigation Continues

With Snow Expected, Metro Buses to Run on Reduced Service Tuesday [UPDATED]

bus Stop Snow

Update 9:00 a.m.:

As of Tuesday morning, Metro says it's running on its "regular weekday schedule," according to a release, because there are "no weather-related issues to report."

Original Post:

Metrobus will run under a "moderate snow plan" on Tuesday, due to anticipated accumulations of an inch or more.

The moderate plan means some bus routes won't operate while others will make detours to avoid "hilly terrain, narrow streets, and other problem areas," according to the agency. As of 3 p.m. Monday, Metrorail will run on its regular weekday schedule both above and below ground. The transit authority explains in a release that staff will de-ice rails overnight and clear "station platforms, sidewalks, parking lots and bus loops." MetroAccess, the agency's service for passengers with disabilities, will provide planned service on Tuesday, but there could be delays.

The last time Metro ran buses under the moderate snow plan was during the week following January's big blizzard.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

D.C. to Fully Deploy Snow Team Ahead of Expected Accumulation

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D.C.-area residents still recall Jan. 20 with shudders, and not just because it was below freezing: Roughly one inch of snow effectively paralyzed the evening commute on that Wednesday due to the rather unfortunate fact that local jurisdictions had failed to sufficiently treat roads.

Mayor Muriel Bowser offered an apology for the District's lackluster response the next day while informing the public of her administration's preparations for the historic snowstorm that was to follow. Now, it seems Bowser is unwilling to have a repeat of Jan. 20 as forecasts predict that the region will get more than an inch of snow Monday night and into Tuesday.

The mayor has accordingly ordered D.C.'s snow team to enter into "full deployment" starting today at noon. This means around 200 pieces of heavy equipment such as plows will be out treating the city's roads with salt and brine.

"Plows will be positioned on bridges and overpasses as well as the freeways, major routes, and residential streets to monitor conditions and spread salt or plow when necessary," a news release issued by the District on Friday evening explains. "The deployment will continue until the threat of snow has passed." Read more D.C. to Fully Deploy Snow Team Ahead of Expected Accumulation

Sorry, D.C.: Beyoncé’s Not Coming Here for ‘Formation’ World Tour

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The moment that Beyoncé's new song "Formation" dropped on Saturday, fans knew something big was coming at the Super Bowl. And so when halftime rolled around Sunday night, Bey's faithful swooned at her outfit and moves.

What many fans could not have expected was the imminent unveiling of Queen B's "Formation" world tour, which hits 37 cities beginning with Miami on April 27. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Feb. 9. But District-dwellers may be disappointed to learn that Beyoncé won't be stopping at Verizon Center or Echo/Arena stages. Did we get snubbed?

Read more Sorry, D.C.: Beyoncé’s Not Coming Here for ‘Formation’ World Tour

Gear Prudence: I Need to Ban Guests’ Bikes From My Home

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Gear Prudence: I frequently have guests over and most of the time they arrive by bike. I try to be a good host and accommodate them by letting them bring their bikes into my place rather than leave them locked up on the street. The other week, however, during inclement weather, I did this and they made a huge mess in my apartment. I had to get one of those carpet cleaners from the grocery store! Now I’m second-guessing being so polite, and I think it’d be better if they just left their bikes outside. How do I tell them that the arrangement has changed and they can’t bring their bikes inside anymore? —Helping Others Stops Today

Dear HOST: It’s good to finally be consulted on a question of hosting etiquette. GP is an excellent host. Not only are all bikes admitted into the premises, but there is an assortment of scented chain lubes in each restroom and a pump concierge to see that tires are inflated to proper pressure prior to any guest’s departure. It sounds like to this point you’ve been an excellent bike host but some time scrubbing has led you to reconsider. And this is your right—a person’s home is his castle, not his bike parking lot—but before you do, consider a few things. Read more Gear Prudence: I Need to Ban Guests’ Bikes From My Home

District Line Daily: Welcome to Fe-brr-uary

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from 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.

Get ready for this winter’s “coldest week yet,” folks. Tonight, the District could see a couple of inches of snow accumulate, followed by below freezing temperatures that are expected to endure from Thursday through Sunday.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • On Saturday, residents and churchgoers discussed a controversial bike lane planned for Shaw, but with no immediate resolution. [City Desk, WAMU, Post]
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie are at odds about how best to reduce crime. [Post]
  • Does D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act do much to prevent the displacement of residents? [Post]
  • A juvenile and a man were injured during a Saturday shooting on Georgia Avenue NW. [NBC4, WUSA9]
  • Donald Trump’s new hotel at the Old Post Office building will open ahead of schedule, Ivanka says. [WSJ]
  • Organizers marched against sexual assault in Dupont Circle on Saturday night while pro-masculinity blogger Roosh V tried to explain his incendiary positions on gender in a hotel basement. [DCist]
  • A poll commissioned by AAA Mid-Atlantic finds that 66 percent of D.C. residents oppose increased traffic penalties as the District considers such measures. [Post]

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

Read more District Line Daily: Welcome to Fe-brr-uary

Preferred Alternative for Controversial Downtown Bike Lane Still Unclear

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Passions ran high but attendees behaved civilly at a public meeting organized by the District Department of Transportation on Saturday, held to discuss a contentious planned bike lane that would run through Shaw.

Since last year, urban-planning officials have floated the idea of installing a protected lane going north and south somewhere from 5th to 9th streets NW, and between Florida and Pennsylvania avenues NW. When the study made headlines, so too did local churchgoers' sentiments that the lane represented an existential threat to their religious establishments. In particular, members of the United House of Prayer, at 601 M St. NW, raised a clarion call against potential bike lanes in part because they would limit parking spots nearby.

Some members also felt that the lanes signified the latest effort by newer residents to push them out. Those concerns culminated in a heated meeting at the Shaw library in October, which authorities closed down an hour ahead of its scheduled conclusion because the room it was being held in had exceeded the safety capacity.

But this weekend, the scores of residents, cyclists, and churchgoers who attended the community meeting at public charter school KIPP DC's 421 P St. NW campus evidently saw fewer sparks fly. Starting with an hour-long "open house"-style display of five alternatives for the bike-lane study, followed by a presentation on them, the meeting eventually evolved into an outpouring of opinions and arguments during a period for public comments. Many spoke for and against the bike-lane plans, but no single option emerged.

Read more Preferred Alternative for Controversial Downtown Bike Lane Still Unclear

Two Former D.C. Public School Buildings Will Become Long-Term Homes to Charters

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At the end of her administration's "Education Week," Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that a pair of buildings where traditional public schools used to operate would come up for solicitation by public charter schools in March.

The buildings—the former sites of Ward 5's Keene School and Ward 8's PR Harris School—currently house a trio of schools under the purview of the D.C. Public Charter School Board: Ingenuity Prep and  National Collegiate Prep at 4600 Livingston Road SE and DC Bilingual at 33 Riggs Road NE. Previously, the District hadn't made the facilities available for long-term leases, so that it could take them back for other uses. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, led by Jennifer Niles, will encourage the current occupants to apply for and agree to multi-year leases.

"This is good for our students, parents and community because our schools can focus on teaching instead of looking for new space,” said Scott Pearson, executive director of D.C.'s public charter school board, in a statement Friday.

Read more Two Former D.C. Public School Buildings Will Become Long-Term Homes to Charters

Buy D.C.: Super Bowl 50

Each week, Buy D.C. will highlight shops and items you can only find in the D.C. area. It's curated by Kaarin Vembar, fashion and beauty writer, and co-host of the ​Pop Fashion​ podcast.


Wish You Were Beer

BeerBands

Make sure your guests don’t lose track of their brew with these cheeky beer bands. Beer bands, $10. Chocolate Moose. 1743 L St. NW. (202) 463-0992.

When I Dip You Dip We Dip

Salsa

This salsa goes great with chips, but you can also use it as a meat marinade. Either way, it’s a food win. Frontera salsa, $3.99. Streets Market & Cafe. 2400 14th St. NW. (202) 265-3300.

When Pigs Fly

PigBowl

Use a punny plate that illustrates flying pigskin. Pig plate, $16. Salt & Sundry. 1309 5th St. NE. (202) 556-1866.

Ain’t No Thang

Chicken

It’s estimated that Americans will eat 1.3 billion chicken wings during the Super Bowl. Lemon Pepper Wings from this U Street establishment are hard to beat. 6-Piece wings, $6.95. Oohhs & Aahhs. 1005 U St. NW. (202) 667-7142.

To the Letter

Letter

You can wear team colors, but why not take it to the next level and break out your letterman jacket? Varsity letters, $9 each. Junction. 1510 U St. NW. (202) 483-0261.

Chatter: Survey Says

cover-issue1887-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

Washington City Paper and D.C. Vote last week published the D.C. Poll, a survey of almost a thousand voters on an array of issues. Things you definitely want? Pot clubs, campaign finance reform, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and the city’s leaders to tell Congress to get bent when they interfere in District matters. “And DC wonders why they get laughed at when they insist on being recognized as a state. Take a look at the answers here and you’ll figure out why,” wrote Typical DC BS, proving that yes, the Internet is available in Virginia. While a slim majority of voters want to see an NFL stadium on East Capitol, amazingly, many readers—who apparently haven’t been inside RFK in a while—don’t even see the need to tear the current place down. “DC can rent it for incidental events, such as a concerts and rallies. Probably make enough to pay for what little upkeep it needs,” commented Jetsam. We’ll let you dodge the falling concrete in the upper deck. “Only SJW’s read that shitty rag now,” tweeted @CapsExaminer at the news that 58 percent find the NFL club’s nickname offensive. He’d rather shoot the messenger. “Very few people read that paper.” So does anybody read the City Paper? Apparently the D.C. Council does. Less than a week after we showed that 61 percent of voters favor cannabis clubs, the Council unexpectedly tabled a permanent ban and formed a study committee instead. “I TRULY DONT SEE WHERE THIS WOULD AN ISSUE IN A PRIVATE CLUB” intoned our favorite all-caps commenter Noodlez about pot clubs. And after the poll, neither do the city’s leaders.

Editor’s Note

We’re excited to announce that Will Sommer has been named politics editor. A 2010 graduate of Georgetown, Sommer joined the paper on the City Desk beat in 2012 before being named Loose Lips columnist. His wry take on the District’s politics has since delighted readers and annoyed the city’s establishment. Deep dives into corrupt lawyers and failed nightclubs have demonstrated that he’s an excellent writer with a gift for finding a good story. He’ll maintain his Loose Lips perch while helping our editing staff plan and execute the paper’s coverage in print and online in what we expect to be a busy election year. Congratulations, Will.

Want to see your name in bold on this page? Send letters, gripes, clarifications, or praise to editor@washingtoncitypaper.com.

This Week’s Page Three Photo

1100 Block of 14th Street NW, Feb 3

1100 Block of 14th Street NW, February 3

Page three photos are also in this gallery.

‘Rainbow Sheen’ Reported in Potomac Has Tainted More Than a Dozen Geese

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A "rainbow-colored sheen" that was first reported in the Potomac River on Wednesday has led the District to activate its federal resources in a multi-agency environmental response.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, as of Thursday oil sheens had stretched "approximately eight miles" along the river with a point of origin somewhere near Arlington. Eighteen "oiled geese" have been reported. Although the precise source or nature of the sheen has not been confirmed, local officials have conducted surveillance and clean-up missions on the Potomac, and sample results are expected soon. The sheen has not hit the Anacostia River.

“This is a complex situation compounded by the residual snowfall, recent precipitation, and multiple avenues of impact to the river,” USCG Chief Petty Officer Joshua Miller said Thursday. “Our hope is the combined efforts of the Coast Guard, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and District Office of Energy and Environment will quickly resolve this situation.”

Read more ‘Rainbow Sheen’ Reported in Potomac Has Tainted More Than a Dozen Geese

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