Loose Lips Daily: The State of the District Is…?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"How Does D.C.’s HIV Rate Compare to Other Cities?"
Top o' the St. Patrick's Day morning to all. Assistant Chief Patrick Burke of the Metropolitan Police Department has a message for you revelers, via WaTimes: "Don't test your luck on St. Patrick's Day." As for LL's holiday revelry, it will likely extend solely to reveling in Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's State of the District speech this morning in Petworth (details at bottom).
POLICE SHOOTER FINALLY ID'D—WaPo reports 4D cop Keith Boyd is who shot and killed Jelani Slay nine days ago in Marshall Heights. Only details: "Boyd joined the D.C. Department of Corrections in 1990 and became a police officer in 2002, records show." MEANWHILE—the Deonté Rawlings report is still under wraps, WCP's Jason Cherkis reports.
Second-day reporting on HIV/AIDS report release: WaPo seizes on suggestion that 3 percent infection rate is actually an undercount, and looks ahead: "The city plans to increase testing and introduce a marketing campaign emphasizing the use of condoms and clean needles and other forms of prevention, [HAA director Shannon Hader] said. 'Our goal is to diagnose more people as early as possible,' Hader said. 'This report is a very good snapshot of where we're at.'" Also Q&A with Hader. Examiner barely covers; also NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV, and BBC, which puts Uganda in the third graf.
WHITMAN-WALKER MONDAY STATS—"From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, 44 clients got an HIV test, [CEO Don Blanchon] said, about 50 percent more than usual....Three people tested positive."
LISTENING YET, MR. MAYOR?—WaPo editorial board scolds Mayor Adrian M. Fenty for his two overseas trips billed to his hosts. "The mayor of the nation's capital should not be for hire by foreign governments....Mr. Fenty promised to run a transparent administration. He heaped scorn on then-Mayor Anthony A. Williams for his extensive travels. But Mr. Williams, at least, didn't conceal anything. The mayor owes the public more than staying "legally sufficient." He ought to repay the money and promise that there will no repeat." Marc Fisher also details the mayor's public obstinacy. READ LL'S RANT ON THIS ISSUE; as of last Thursday, Fenty had pledged not to change his habits.
Another OCTOgate hearing, and here's the fun detail: Yusuf Acar "had more than $4,500 inside pajamas he was wearing when he was arrested last week," according to WaPo's Del Quentin Wilber. This detail, inter alia, was cited by prosecutors in asking federal judge to keep Acar behind bars pending trial. "In yesterday's court filing, prosecutors wrote that they think Acar had operated the 'complicated scheme for years.'....Prosecutors said that the evidence against Acar was 'overwhelming,' and that the informant and three others, presumably D.C. government employees, have implicated Acar in the crimes. Federal prosecutors also said that Acar has 'admitted his involvement in the charged schemes.' They did not specify whether the alleged statements were made to FBI agents, the informant or others."
In Examiner, Bill Myers and Scott McCabe with OCTO scoopage: "The Examiner spoke with two of the principals in the alleged scheme. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. One principal said that before starting a scheme of his own, Acar talked about widespread corruption in the technology office. Contractors routinely filed phony work and parts orders, and the city would pay them, no questions asked, the principal said."
AND THEN THERE'S THIS—Was Vivek Kundra cited for theft in Montgomery County when 21? Blogger Hot Air says he was, and LL's follow-ups indicate that was indeed the former CTO who was pinched in 1996. In other Vivek must-reads, see NetworkWorld's Brad Reese.
IN OTHER WELL-KNOWN DISTRICT CORRUPTION SCANDALS—Jayrece Turnbull, niece of mastermind Harriette Walters, gets nine years in federal pen for her role in $50M tax scam. Write Henri Cauvin in WaPo: "The prison term was the longest imposed so far in connection with the fraud....Federal prosecutors said that over the seven years she was involved in the fraud, Turnbull had a hand in stealing about $24 million, or roughly half the total embezzled." Said judge, "Not only did we have dishonesty here, but we had greed." CHECK THE LOOT PHOTOS! Also AP.
BESTS—Jim Graham drops his pet anti-loitering legislation, pens hand-wringing letter to explain decision: "I care deeply about civil liberties. I am also concerned about giving government power that can be abused, through unfairly targeting people on the basis of race or background. After a lot of effort, there are still critical ambiguities (e.g. the definition of what constitutes 'loitering'). Thus, the opportunity for abuse is too great." Hmm—wonder if this had anything to do with it? Also NC8, PoP.
Metro says it will reexamine hiring practices, after bus drivers punch McGruff the Crime Dog, get shot dead by D.C. cop. Kytja Weir of Examiner, which has been all over this story, writes, "Agency officials said they had convened a team of Metrobus, transit police, human resources officials and legal experts to review the bus driver job description, candidate qualifications, background check standards and performance tracking," with recommendations to be implemented as soon as May. Also WUSA-TV, WaPo, which has Metro spokesperson making this valid point: "[Y]ou don't have a lot of people who really want to be bus drivers. It's not going to be a lot of college graduates." IF ONLY YOU COULD HAVE HIRED LL WHEN HE WAS 6....
Weir with another Metro scoop: "Metro fired 38 bus drivers in 2008 for drug and alcohol violations, according to the transit agency, and has already canned three more so far this year. The firings occurred despite the fact that Metro gives all employees who have been there more than six months a chance to undergo substance abuse treatment for a first violation."
In what can be called a big win for Mary Cheh, city announces construction will begin on Tenley-Jenney project WITHOUT public-private partnership in place. In fact, says DCmud, erstwhile developer LCOR's name "went suspiciously unmentioned by Fenty or his staff during the duration of the press conference." Library, however, will be built with structural supports for future development. GGW runs down the whole sordid story.
JACK GETS IT DONE—For NoMa developers, anyway. Michael Neibauer reports in Examiner on $50M property tax break package ($5M over 10 years) that passed Jack Evans' tax and revenue committee. "The NoMa legislation was crafted to accelerate construction of up to 3,000 housing units in the area generally bounded by Massachusetts Avenue to the south, R Street NE to the north, New York Avenue NE to the east and North Capitol Street to the west." Against it: Ed Lazere!
Is PCP use on the rise among criminals? WaPo's Keith Alexander makes the case on A1: "Ten percent of adult defendants now test positive for the drug, the highest rate in five years, according to D.C. Pretrial Services. The number of people with PCP in their system arrested on murder and sexual assault charges jumped to 12 last year, up from three in 2007....Police are concerned by the trend, because in several categories of crime — assault, murder, robbery and burglary, for example — the raw numbers, though small, have doubled or even tripled in the past year." Oh, and, "Officials in Fairfax and Arlington counties said they have seen no increase." EMPHASIS LL'S—Evidence largely anecdotal! Aren't these numbers too small and with too little historical data to write an A1 trend story? Expect Jack Shafer to weigh in soon.
Feds order D.C. public schools to cut number of students taking "read-aloud" tests, Bill Turque reports for D.C. Wire. "By 2010, it can be used 'only for students with particularly severe dyslexia or other decoding disabilities,' according to a recent letter to parents from Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee." Teacher reax.
Man found shot to death yesterday afternoon in Washington Highlands (4100 block 1st Street SE).
Third man, Jose Gilberto Portillo, 21, arrested Saturday for murders of Mike and Ginny Spevak.
Coalition comes to together to push legislators on D.C. voting rights, WaTimes reports. PROBLEM: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Urban League, League of Women Voters, and People for the American Way < National Rifle Association.
SHOULDER RUBBING—Visiting San Francisco supervisors (read: councilmembers) "had the opportunity to meet with Washington, D.C. officials on economic development programs, community courts and public education, including a meeting with DC School’s Chancellor Michelle Rhee," according to SF Examiner.
Fisher on beards. You know, firefighter beards.
WaPo letter writer, former MPD gang intervention specialist, applauds DYRS data sharing, but says "limiting such sharing to 60 of the most serious offender...amounts to a drop in the bucket....We love to tinker around the edges. But too often the heavy work seems to go undone."
You've probably read a dozen stories about this already, but one more time, from WTOP: STREET SWEEPERS NOW HAVING PARKING TICKET CAMERAS! And here's a killer quote to scare the bejesus out of you: "Previously, you probably had about a one in four chance of getting a ticket because of our limited parking enforcement staff. Now you pretty much have about a 100 percent chance of getting a ticket," says DPW's Nancee Lyons.
Speculative streetcars: Not just for D.C. anymore.
WASAwatch debunks Jerry Johnson radio interview.
Michelle Rhee, who "is heroically fighting the teachers' union for the excellence of student learning and a competitive pay system for outstanding teachers," is "Korea’s Treasure Obama Knows."
ON THAT NOTE—Do yourself a favor and read aging reliever Julián Tavárez's rationale for joining our local baseball club, as reported in WaPo: "Why did I sign with the Nationals?...When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J-Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me."
Reporters love cold case stories! Like this one from Examiner, about a 1980 killing! Wait a second...this case is closed? Has been for 25 years? HUH?
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting, JAWB 500; 11 a.m.: fifth legislative meeting, JAWB 500; 12 p.m.: Committee of the Whole meeting on strategies for use of "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" funds, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—10:30 a.m.: annual State of the District address, Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center, 324 Kennedy St. NW; 7 p.m.: remarks, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8E community meeting, Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Ave. SE.