Loose Lips Daily: CFSA Courthouse Showdown Today
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Morning all. Local political event of the day: Peter Nickles at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, Room 25A, arguing to Judge Thomas F. Hogan at 2 p.m. that not only should the District not be held in contempt for not submitting to court monitoring in the operations of the Child and Family Services Agency, but that—get this—that court supervision should be ended altogether little more than a year after Banita Jacks became a household name in this town. Gotta love the balls on that guy!
FER CHRISSAKES—Old Georgetown Board once again doinks Apple Store design, Paul Schwartzman reports in WaPo. The OGB "told Apple's architect that it is eager for the store to open on Wisconsin Avenue. But the three members, all architects, expressed disappointment that Apple keeps proposing a design that they have criticized. 'We're frustrated a little bit because we haven't gotten a response to our fairly consistent request,' board member David Cox told Apple's architect, Karl Backus." Neil Albert says he'll "move quickly to convene separate meetings with the Old Georgetown Board and Apple representatives to reach a consensus design."
Harry Jaffe gets a preview of the anti-crime bill that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is unveiling today. "Fenty’s new crime bill will ask the council to make it easier for prosecutors to arrest and detain gang members; stiffen penalties for felons in possession of a gun to a minimum of five years; amend pretrial release laws so that prosecutors have more tools to keep suspects behind bars, rather than sending them back to the streets; create a gun offender registry to track gun crime; establish a new charge for illegally possessing a firearm in a vehicle; and jail people for at least five years for using a stolen car to commit a crime....Nickles wants to see a bill on Fenty’s desk by June." YOU HEAR THAT, MENDO?
Metro could cut operating hours to meet budget, Lena Sun reports in WaPo. Ideas to make ends meet include "such drastic measures as closing the subway system at 10 every night and eliminating Yellow Line service weeknights after 9:30 and on weekends, according to area government officials....[S]ome measures, such as the early Metrorail closing, are likely to generate so much outrage that 'no one believes it's going to be implemented,' said one suburban government official who has seen the list." Examiner's Kytja Weir adds: "[WMATA] also is looking at closing some rail station entrances and eliminating some low-performing bus routes...One idea discussed has even called for Metro cutting all its local bus routes — meaning the buses that operate solely within one jurisdiction rather than crossing from county to county — according to Jim Graham, Metro’s chairman and a D.C. councilman." Also check Adam Tuss at WTOP and Jim Graham interview at WTTG-TV.
INTERESTING LEAD-IN-WATER DEVELOPMENT—Author of 2007 study that concluded that there was "no identifiable public health impact from the elevation of lead in drinking water in Washington, D.C., in 2003 and 2004" has been accused of failing to disclose the terms of his relationship with WASA, Environmental Science and Technology reports. "In the paper, the corresponding author, Tee Guidotti, acknowledged that he and his group had received a contract from the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority...but failed to disclose that before any research involving DC WASA support could be published, it had to be approved in writing by the utility."
MEANWHILE—WASAwatch blog is perplexed by WaPo story last Saturday prompted by newer study saying lead in water had "slight" and "subtle" effects. "If the number of children harmed from the 2001-2004 lead-in-water crisis is in fact in the thousands, will the city characterize the impact — in terms of school performance, socially, and economically — as 'slight'? And will all affected families perceive the burden as 'subtle'?"
Michelle Rhee is "invited but not confirmed" for a Feb. 28 speaking gig at CPAC—the legendary Conservative Political Action Conference, held this year at the Omni Shoreham—reports the National Review. Also on the lineup: Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and Sarah Palin. (NB: Rhee doesn't appear on the conference's official schedule yet, and Rhee's office was not able to immediately confirm the invitation to LL.)
DCPS officials unveil plans for overhauled Eastern SHS to lousy reviews. "[T]he reaction from parents, staff and alumni, hardened by years of abortive reform efforts," writes Bill Turque at D.C. Wire, "ranged from noncommittal to hostile....James Preston, head of the alumni group, said he believes that Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and DCPS are well-intentioned, but facing a difficult mix of racial and generational politics along with historic mistrust of the school system. He said some African Americans suspect that whites in the gentrifying Capitol Hill neighborhood want to 'take over' Eastern. He also said Rhee's hard-charging style, and her troubled relationship with the Washington Teachers' Union, have given the school community pause."
WTOP's Neal Augenstine has more on Dante Paire, who shot his ex-fiance and her parents before killing himself: "Court records show...Paire told a coworker last month that if his coworkers at the D.C. Fire Department 'keep [expletive] with me, I am going to walk up in the firehouse dressed in all black and shoot them [expletive].' In a request for a protective order, the coworker says she immediately notified the fire department. Paire was due in court Thursday for a hearing about the protective order. The coworker also says Paire had been arrested for stealing his medical records and other documents from the police and fire clinic."
FROM THE YELLOW BOOK—Jonetta Rose Barras at jrbarras.com: "SOME property tax refund checks still are being signed only by employees without the approval of managers, auditors at BDO Seidman, LLP found in preparing their independent annual report of the District’s finances and financial management systems....'[Twelve] vouchers were only signed by the Real Property Tax Administration and Adjustment Unit employee who prepared the vouchers. A manager’s review and approval was not documented for these vouchers,' auditors wrote."
THE THINGS KIDS DO FOR COOKIES—Harry Thomas Jr. wants to lower the age at which you can give blood to 16—with parent's permission, of course.
46 District individuals, estates, businesses, partnerships, foundations or nonprofit organizations included on list of Bernard Madoff's victims, WaPo reports. "The big names locally include many involved in real estate development, such as entities connected to the Gewirz, Abramson and Smith families; Edward H. Kaplan; Allan R. Hurwitz; and Albert H. Small. Other local names include Marion Rosenthal, whose family owns major car dealerships in the area; Esthy Adler, a big arts donor; Harvard scientist William A. Haseltine, founder of Human Genome Sciences in Rockville; and Roger Sant of AES Corp., a Virginia-based power company....No dollar amounts of losses appear on the list, which became public Wednesday." More at Biz Journal.
Inauguration week brought hike in violent crime east of the river, Bill Myers writes in Examiner. What could explain that? "Critics — including Councilman Phil Mendelson, D-At Large, and police union chairman Kris Baumann — had warned city leaders that the deployment and D.C.’s extended bar hours would leave vulnerable neighborhoods further exposed. Between Jan. 19 and Jan. 24 — the days when the officers were working their inaugural assignments — there were four homicides in Ward 8, police statistics show." LL RANT—Johnson was found shot at 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 20—three and a half hours before extended bar hours began. SO WE SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD THE INAUGURATION THEN?
Superior Court judge has additional questions for Banita Jacks today, WaTimes reports. Interesting tidbit: Her lawyer is G. Allen Dale, who's also recently represented Harold Brazil in his tattoo-parlor incident!
Federal judge sentences District Heights drug dealer "to 25 years in prison for 'spreading poison' on D.C. streets," Del Quentin Wilber writes in WaPo. "U.S. District Judge James Robertson said that [James Becton] is a danger to the community and that a 25-year sentence would keep him off the streets until he is no longer a danger. Prosecutors had sought a life sentence."
Area's most-wanted dude get collared, Scott McCabe writes in Examiner: "Authorities caught Gary Parham Jr., in Miami-Dade County, Fla., after his live-in girlfriend researched him on the Internet and discovered his violent past. Parham, 29, who had been using an alias, was wanted in the 1998 stabbing death of Theodora Cooper and the 2005 sexual assault of a Montgomery County mother while her daughter was in the next room."
Examiner's Leah Fabel looks at local stimulus dollars for education: "Proposed federal stimulus money aimed at low-income and special-needs students may end up only balancing budgets and maintaining the status quo at local schools....The House-passed stimulus plan allocates more than $150 billion to education. The bulk of the elementary and secondary spending is split among low-income streams, special education streams and construction projects....An analysis of the House plan by the D.C.-based New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization, found that students in D.C. would receive more money per pupil, about $1,810, than any state. Maryland would receive an average of $669 per student and Virginia would gain about $600 per student, placing the states 39th and 45th in the nation respectively."
Huffington Post has a fab slide show of Adrian and Michelle Fenty glamour shots. They are "Washington's Other Stylish Couple." Gag.
DOUG JEMAL MOVING INTO TONIER ZIP CODES?—Douglas Development snaps up foreclosed 12,000-plus square-foot lot at Wisconsin and Brandywine for $5M, says Biz Journal.
IN BIZ JOURNAL PRINT EDITION—Poplar Point postmortem; Economic Partnership is coordinating tech incubator effort (with Vivek Kundra—oh well). AND—editorial on Poplar Point: "For his part, Neil Albert, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, says the plans for Poplar Point are still on track with a key environment assessment under way. But perhaps it is time to acknowledge there are more pressing, promising and realistic projects around town that need the city’s full attention."
The Weekly Standard gets a hold of Eleanor Holmes Norton's constituent newsletter—probably the one sitting unread on LL's kitchen counter—and engages in a little stimulus snark.
ALSO FROM WINGNUTLAND—Columnist wants to know: Where's vouchers in the Democratic stimulus plans?
RACCOONS INVADE WHITE HOUSE—Or as oh-so-clever WaPo headline writer puts it, "Masked Intruders Roaming The White House Grounds." Washington City Paper has solved this problem, however: We found you guys a top-notch trapper.
WireTap Magazine on WTU-Rhee back-and-forth.
DOES, DOC open employment center at D.C. Jail.
Water main breaks wreaked HAVOC!
NC8 follows up on Jose Sanchez beating death, does a little Man-on-14th-Street interviewing. WTTG-TV (which has debuted a much improved Web site, BTW) has a little bit on suspects' initial court appearance. And today, at 12:15 p.m., there will be a "white vigil" for Sanchez at the location of his beating (3500 block of 14th Street NW). According to Graham press release, "White Vigils are often held in Latin American countries as a call for peace after senseless violence or to raise awareness of social issues plaguing a community."
WRC-TV does a very cool piece on the collection of Addison Scurlock & Sons photos depicting black life in early-20th-century D.C. currently on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Northwest Indiana native and ace PIO Alan Heymann gets some quality face time in Tom Sherwood's piece on green job fair for WRC-TV.
Ramp from 395 to 12th Street Tunnel closed this week.
Check out Bruce DePuyt's segment yesterday with LL and Mike Neibauer! We talked Fenty fundraising and Poplar Point.
Auto show gets the Hank Stuever treatment.
SURELY YOU JEST—WaTimes: "Pimlico infield to prohibit alcohol"
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting on FY2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, JAWB 500; 12 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary hearing on delegation of subpoena power to the chief of police pursuant to Mayor's Order 2008-154, JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—9:15 a.m.: remarks, anti-crime bill announcement, 6th Street and Mississippi Avenue SE.