City Desk

District Line Daily: Police Pinch

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

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The D.C. police department could soon face a severe officer shortage as a wave of officers retires and other young officers leave the force for better paying jobs in the suburbs, an alarming trend for the police chief, who has said her force can't get much smaller. The flood of retirees comes 25 years after a large number of officers joined the force during a hiring spree in the city.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Chris Brown is expected to make an appearance at D.C. Superior Court Tuesday for a possible plea deal in his simple assault case. [Post]
  • Ocean City approved a plan to restrict smoking to designated areas on the beach and board walk starting May 1, 2015. [WAMU]
  • The D.C. fire department is a lot more functional under the helm of the interim fire chief. [Washington Times]
  • Jurors will begin considering the Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell corruption case Tuesday. [WAMU]

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

Read more District Line Daily: Police Pinch

The Needle: Brown Almost Out of Town

 

Legal Swan Song: It looks like Chris Brown's long-drawn out D.C. legal battles could soon be over. The singer is expected to accept a plea deal for allegedly punching a man in the face outside the W Hotel downtown last October. That means D.C. could be spared a trial spectacle and more Chris Brown sightings. +3

Four-Day Weekend: Students at Glen Burnie elementary school were sent home early today after animal control crews were unable to catch a feral cat running loose inside the building. You're welcome, children. +2

Read more The Needle: Brown Almost Out of Town

District Line Daily: McDonnell Trial’s Final Scenes

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.

Grab your popcorn: Closing arguments are set to begin today in the always-entertaining corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wifeand they're expected to be long.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • In the past two weeks, there have been three reported incidents of flashing on Metro. [News4]
  • Dupont's Pittsburg-themed Mighty Pint bar, which closed at the end of July, will reopen as a farm-to-table restaurant with craft cocktails called Second State. [Post]
  • Former Ward 1 Candidate Jeff Smith was sentenced to 60 days in prison for charges that he took off-the-books campaign money from Jeff Thompson. [Loose Lips]
  • Nearly 150 people were arrested Thursday in front of the White House during an immigration protest, including a Maryland state rep. [WAMU]

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

Read more District Line Daily: McDonnell Trial’s Final Scenes

Photo: Tiger

Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F NW, Aug. 28th.

Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F NW, Aug. 28th.

The Needle: Luddite Dan

 

Man of the People: Dan Snyder does not have email. Seriously, Dan Snyder does not have email. This could explain, well, a whole lot. -5

The Little Bookstore That Could: Politics & Prose will be the official bookseller at the National Book Festival—the first time in the festival's 14-year history that an independent bookstore has won the contract. Barnes & Noble had the role for the last 13 years. +3

Read more The Needle: Luddite Dan

This Week’s Page Three Photo

Page Three

1000 Block of 14th Street NW, August 18

Page three photos are also in this archive.

What Happens in Vegas…Causes a Local News Twitter Spat in D.C.

Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas

It's not rare for reporters from different outlets to be working on the same or similar stories at the same time, and often reporters will build off the earlier work of others. One thing all journalists appreciate: Being credited when their scoop informs the later reporting of others. One thing they don't appreciate: Well, you see where this is going...

Recently, WUSA9's Jim Osman and the Washington TimesAndrea Noble got into a tiff on Twitter over whether Osman should've credited Noble in a pair of his stories on D.C. Councilmembers' trip to Las Vegas. Noble had reported in July that D.C. councilmembers traveling to Las Vegas had run up a $14,000 tab on the taxpayer's dime, a scoop she got after filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Council. The argument erupted after Osman reported the same thing a week later—and then advanced the story in a later report—without mentioning Noble had broken it in the first place.

So Noble deployed an unusual, and ultimately humorous, use of FOIA: She FOIAed Osman's FOIA.

It turned out that when Osman submitted a FOIA for details on the trip, he simply asked the Council for "any and all documents released to the Washington Times newspaper (under a FOIA request) as it relates expenses incurred during a Las Vegas conference trip." That's not a rare tactic—but journalistic etiquette would suggest that at this point he should've credited Noble. He didn't, which the Post's Mike DeBonis noted on Twitter after Osman's original report aired:

Read more What Happens in Vegas…Causes a Local News Twitter Spat in D.C.

Chatter: Torn WCL

cover-issue1812-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

With its faltering ranking and diminishing employment prospects for graduates, American University’s Washington College of Law is looking less and less like it’s worth its $73,002 tuition. But is the sad state of AU law, as reported on by Will Sommer in last week’s Education Issue (“Lowering the Bar,” Aug. 22), an anomaly, or merely one example of a crumbling system? “No one should be in law school right now,” writes Redline SOS. “There should be a five-year law school freeze. There simply aren’t enough jobs for the number of JDs that are out there...The legal profession is in shambles for all but 1 or 2 percent.”

And Tbonebullets: “ I don’t think the price of ANY non-state-funded law school is worth it, including at the very top-tier schools...The dirty secret has always been that the top jobs go to those with family ties to the industry or some other patronage. The rest of the jobs, for the most part, are simply middle- or upper-middle-class positions that cannot be justified by a $200,000-plus price tag.”

While one reader brought up the example of AU law graduate and current Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Grimes, antiro pushed back: “The problem with WCL is it charges Cadillac prices for a beater with a less than 50 percent chance to get you around the block. To focus on the uber-successful like Grimes and politically connected grads who went to WCL ignores the vast majority of graduates who could incur well over six figures of nondischargeable, high-interest student loans for the terrible employment numbers of your alma mater.”

One reader was disturbed by the school’s current marketing emphasis on buzzy human rights and international law jobs. “I went to WCL and got a wonderful legal education, and it had NOTHING to do with human rights,” wrote J. “Human rights is, of course, a laudable professional goal. But what I think is important to note about WCL is that it IS a quality school to receive a legal education. What’s unfortunate is that the dean’s personal pet project has overtaken things, and the school’s true quality and worth is lost.”

Read more Chatter: Torn WCL

District Line Daily: The Dives of Others

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.

D.C. is seeing a resurgence of no-frills, relatively cheap bars in D.C. Does this make them dive bars? Our latest cover story explores the state of dive bars in D.C.—and whether it's possible for bar owners to simply concoct a new one.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Dan Snyder says the Washington football team has started the process of designing a new stadium. The stadium will be "very retro." [City Desk]
  • A group of men listening to music on the back deck of a Chevy Chase apartment around 10 p.m. were robbed at gunpoint by two men in ski masks. [News4]
  • Why is there pumpkin beer in August? Because, well, that's when pumpkin beer season starts these days. Here's why. [Young & Hungry]
  • An actual member of the Kennedy family—William Kennedy Smith—is running for a Foggy Bottom ANC position. [Post]

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

Read more District Line Daily: The Dives of Others

Dan Snyder’s Football Team Is Designing a New Stadium, Which Will Be “Very Retro”

Maybe the uninspiring preseason results are just a sign of distraction: The local NFL franchise is shopping for a new home.

Team owner Dan Snyder said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet Wednesday that the team has "started the process" of designing a new  stadium. The stadium, he said, could be in Virginia, D.C., or Maryland, where it's played at FedEx Field since 1997. Before then, the team called RFK Stadium in the District home.

“Whether it's Washington, D.C., whether it's another stadium in Maryland, whether it's a stadium in Virginia, we've started the process,” Snyder said. “We are going to push forward. We've started meeting with architectural firms. We are in the process of developing because it is a long term that you do it.”

These two states and D.C. will likely start wooing Snyder soon, but Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe may have a head start. D.C. Mayor Vince Gray originally said that if the team wanted to call D.C. home, it would have to discuss changing its name. A month later he backed off, and explained, according to the Washington Post, that his "original remarks were meant to acknowledge that the likely site of a new Redskins stadium—on the site of the old RFK Stadium—is federal property." The name, which recently was stripped of its federal trademark, Gray said, could make it hard to get federal approval for the site. In November, the D.C. Council passed a resolution in a 10-0 vote urging the team to change its name. (Councilmember Yvette Alexander abstained, and two other members were absent.)

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said this month that it's time to change the name. Lt. Gov Anthony Brown, the state's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has called the name "inappropriate" and hopes the team considers changing it.

But McAuliffe has deliberately not taken a stance, saying his job is to boost the state's economy, not tell private businesses what to do.

Snyder said he has already seen some preliminary drawings of the stadium, which is going to be "very retro."

Read more Dan Snyder’s Football Team Is Designing a New Stadium, Which Will Be “Very Retro”

The Needle: To Recline or Not to Recline?

 

Hero or Villan? A D.C. man invented the Knee Defender—the $22 contraption that clips onto a tray table and prevents people on planes from reclining their seats, and which recently led to an argument between two passengers on a flight, who were kicked off when the plane diverted to Chicago. So is this man a villain? The Needle's view: When you pay for your seat, you pay for the reclining function. Even if reclining is rude, it's still your choice.  -3

Sun Check: When nice weather arrived in D.C. in May, between 50 and 75 people canceled their volunteer shifts at D.C.'s Food & Friends each week. -4

Read more The Needle: To Recline or Not to Recline?

Former GWU President’s Solution for Sexual Assaults on Campus? Stop Drinking, Ladies

On Tuesday, The Diane Rehm show had a panel of guests talking about the roles of fraternities and sororities on campus, which eventually turned into a discussion of the roles these organizations play in promoting rape culture. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, the former president of George Washington University and a current professor of public service at the school, offered this backward answer in defense of Greek life, as noted by Jezebel:

Dr. Trachtenberg: My experience is that students that are in fraternities have higher grades on average than unaffiliated students. Uh, they get involved in philanthropic activities of one sort or another providing great numbers of hours of service and fundraising on behalf of good causes. They have the opportunity to get leadership training provided by the fraternities. They get other kinds of training as well. Combatting sexual misconduct, values-based—

Rehm: And you don't see them participating in sexual misconduct?

Dr. Trachtenberg: No no! I think it turns out that there are good and bad in fraternities and out of fraternities. What we're focusing here on is a general situation. I think what we're doing is creating a false correlation. For example, we point out that the women don't drink, don't have sorority parties which have alcohol. They don't have to. They go to the parties at the fraternities. So it's not as if the women aren't drinking. They are, in fact.

Without making the victims responsible for what happens, one of the groups that have to be trained not to drink in excess are women. They need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave. And so part of the problem is you have men who take advantage of women who drink too much and there are women who drink too much. And we need to educate our daughters and our children in that regard.

This line of thinking—that women drinking too much, not men sexually assaulting women, is to blame for said sexual assaults—is nothing new, and has rightly come under fire. Last October, for instance, an Emily Yoffe column in Slate headlined "College Women: Stop Getting Drunk" was bombarded with response pieces calling her argument dangerous and wrong.

A 2009 study of campus sexual assault found that 20 percent of college women will be victims of sexual assault by the time they are seniors. And highlighting why someone like Trachtenberg's view on sexual assault is so  important, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is currently investigating 76 colleges for their mishandling of sexual assault cases. GW isn't on that list, but with that sort of response from a former president of a major university, it doesn't seem all that shocking that colleges are so terrible at handling sexual assault cases.

Man Escapes Getting Hit by Train After Jumping on Metro Tracks

Last night, a 22-year-old man at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station attempted to commit suicide by jumping on the train tracks. As a train started approaching, the man decided to go back on the platform and was able to climb most of the way back onto the platform before two Metro Transit Police officers pulled him the rest of the way.

Metro sent out a press release this afternoon commending officers and the train operator for their swift action. The agency also released the footage of the man attempting suicide by jumping on the tracks.

According to the release, the officers arrived to the platform around 9:15 p.m. after receiving a report that a disorderly man was harassing other riders. When they approached the man, he jumped off the platform, reportedly saying he wanted to die. The video shows a Red Line train bound for Shady Grove approaching at the time the man jumped.

Read more Man Escapes Getting Hit by Train After Jumping on Metro Tracks

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Says Purple Line Will Not Threaten Endangered Species

Screenshot 2014-08-27 at 2.35.25 PM

The U.S. Fish and Widlife Service is sticking with its research and saying a proposed Purple Line—a light rail train line that would run from Bethesda to New Carrollton—will not have an impact on any endangered or threatened species, despite a lawsuit filed this week that claims otherwise.

Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail and two Maryland residents filed suit in federal court Tuesday to block the Purple Line, claiming the $2.4 billion line would harm two endangered shrimp-like species: The Hay's Spring amphipod and Kenk's amphipod. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was lodged against the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Interior, and the Federal Transit Administration. The plaintiffs want the government to reroute part of the line because construction of the Purple Line, the suit alleges, could hurt the Rock Creek watershed where the two species live.

The project cleared the federal environmental review process in March. The suit says this process was rushed and incomplete.

But the Fish and Wildlife agency still says the project would have no effect on any endangered or threatened species, Meagan Racey, a spokeswoman for the USFWS,  writes in an email to City Desk. Their habitat, the agency, is far away from the construction.

In January 2014, we found that this purple line project would have no effect on endangered, threatened or candidate species, including the endangered Hay's spring amphipod and the Kenk's amphipod, a species that is a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Sustainable Economy and others provided more information in a 'notice of intent' to sue earlier this summer and in a meeting with us. We recently thoroughly re-evaluated our initial determination in light of that information, and we have reaffirmed our previous findings that, based on the best available science, the project will have no effect on these two amphipods.

Construction of the project is slated to start in 2015 and the line is expected to open in 2020.

Read the suit below, and below that, read a letter the USFWS wrote to the FTA explaining why the project poses no threat to the species. Read more U.S. Fish and Wildlife Says Purple Line Will Not Threaten Endangered Species

Gear Prudence: Am I Cheating on My Hybrid With a Road Bike?

gearprudence

Gear Prudence: I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve been in a three-year relationship with a sturdy hybrid bike that’s met all my urban bike commuting needs. Or so I thought. On vacation I decided it might be fun to try something new, so I rented a high-end road bike and went for a 20-miler over some hilly terrain. Sweet Mother of God, riding this bike was like a religious experience. The efficiency with which power was transferred from my legs to the pedals was a revelation. I didn’t know riding a bike could feel this way. As a good Catholic girl, I assumed biking, like all worthy pursuits, must involve pain and sacrifice. The hills are the penance I pay for all my daily transgressions. Now I look at my trusty cycling partner and wonder if I can remain faithful. I don’t want to succumb to the materialistic desires of the flesh but I’ve been forever changed. I’ve asked my cycling friends for help and, of course, they just lead me into the temptation of acquiring a more expensive bike. What am I to do? —Resist Or Accept Destiny By Idealizing Kinetic Energy?

Dear ROADBIKE: Your vacation fling found you with a powerful new sensation between your legs. Now as you longingly recall your time away, you can’t help but project what could be. Maybe there’s white wine and wistful sighing and bubble baths involved. But what does it mean for your current ride? While three years with a bike is a solid commitment, most bicycle relationships aren’t lifelong. Maybe it’s time for you and your hybrid to go in for some counseling—with a trained bike-shop professional. A tune-up or some upgrades (new wheels? a new drivetrain?) could help rekindle the spark. Though probably not. Most of the time, a bike is what it is.

But before you slough off your sturdy steed, put foremost in mind your more quotidian needs. Most days aren’t for carefree 20-milers through rolling hills. What about your regular cycling life? Will you need to alter the new bike (slow it, even) with a rack, fenders, and a new seat to make it suitable for your daily commute—thus robbing it of the sleek splendor that drew you to it in the first place? Will you be afraid to introduce your new bike to your friends for fear of raised eyebrows and behind-your-back whispers about your mutual suitability? Will you need all-new cycling attire, so that when you’re out in public you look like an appropriate couple? New partners bring new complications.

Read more Gear Prudence: Am I Cheating on My Hybrid With a Road Bike?

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