Loose Lips Daily: Streetlights, People
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"Budget Proposal Includes Changes to Property Tax Appeals Board"; "Proposed Streetlight Fee Will Cost You $51 a Year"
Morning all. What could have been a one-day story for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has now turned into a one-month story, what with David Nakamura's B1 WaPo piece on the differing perspectives on his weeklong Dubai junket. Like this one, from Vince Gray: "It comes down to making people understand the priority being served, and the connection of where you are going will be a benefit to the city....People should have some indication what you accomplished....You must create transparency and trust. It's not the number of trips, but what is your purpose?" And, your honor, here's a BEST PRACTICE from a real BIG-CITY MAYOR: "In contrast to Fenty, who was accompanied by his wife and twin sons, [Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley] announced [his trip to the UAE] ahead of time as an economic development mission, and his delegation included a group of Chicago business leaders, who paid for the trip."
Joseph R. Mays, the 44-year-old man accused of killing his live-in girlfriend and her two sons, is held without bail by a Superior Court judge. Writes Keith L. Alexander and Hamil R. Harris in WaPo, "His arraignment was delayed and the courtroom was briefly cleared after friends and relatives shouted their objections when Mays's attorney asked that he be released." The details of Mays' alleged crimes are graphic and heartbreaking, and if so moved, you may find them in their piece. WaTimes takes the if-it-bleeds-it-ledes approach. Also WTOP, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV. Next court date is set for May 22.
Fenty, Dan Tangherlini sat before the council yesterday to sell their FY2010 budget. Part of the sell, reports Nakamura: No pay raises for city employees—the workforce investment fund, in fact, has been zeroed out. Says Tangherlini, "The city is not asking for reductions, furloughs or clawbacks, and we're not changing benefits. We just can't afford increases."
Meanwhile, Michael Neibauer, in Examiner, details all sorts of cuts coming to city services thanks to the new budget: "The Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, will shift to an online and mail-in-only system for vehicle registration renewals, allowing the agency to shut down the Brentwood Service Center in Northeast for a $1.65 million savings. The Department of Health will pare plans to increase the number of schools with nurses, saving $500,000. School crossing guards under the Department of Transportation will work three-hour shifts instead of the current four, saving $527,000." AND IT GOES ON...
ALSO—Neibauer does small item in Examiner on important budget shift: Mayor is proposing school modernization be moved from dedicated-revenue-stream paygo to GO borrowing. The result is that other capital projects suffer and Mendo gives this quote: “The purpose of the school modernization program was to create a dedicated revenue stream...We’ve lost that now. And instead we’re going to use borrowed money with interest.”
WaTimes' Tim Lemke details one cost-saving proposal in the budget that sort of makes sense: folding the Sports and Entertainment Commission together with the Convention Center Authority. Greg O'Dell would head the new entity, Matthew Cutts and Bill Hall would remain from the SEC board, and both Jack Evans and Kwame Brown—who tried to strip RFK from the SEC last year—are behind the move.
The District is now doing its own DNA testing, WTTG-TV's Paul Wagner reports—albeit "in [a] temporary lab, which is set up in an office park in Lorton." The permanent lab, of course, will be coming soon. Supposedly.
Fox News misidentifies Michael A. Brown as Michael D. Brown—and not shadow senator Michael D. Brown, but the heckuva-job Michael D. Brown. (As DCist points out, "There Are Too Many Guys Named Michael Brown.")
New Metro crime stats, via Examiner: "Crime rose in the Metro system last year, with transit police investigating the highest number of reported crimes in at least the past six years. Serious crimes increased more than 15 percent in 2008 over the previous year, according to the Metro report slated to be presented to the agency’s board Thursday. That was a total of 1,821 crimes, ranging from robbery to assault — an average of about five serious crimes a day. Riders can take some solace that reported assaults declined somewhat. There were no rapes or homicides. But the number of thefts rose substantially." SOME SOLACE TAKEN!
New Metrobus assault stats, via Examiner: "Metrobus drivers were hit with eggs, spit, pepper spray and a rock last year. In 2008, the transit system’s police investigated 70 assaults on bus drivers, a jump from 2007, when 55 cases were reported....Last year, 15 bus drivers were spat upon, 12 had paper or food thrown at them, and five had liquid spilled on them. The agency also reported five cases in which drivers were pepper sprayed and two cases where drivers were pelted with eggs."
Bill Turque gets day-after reaction in D.C. Wire to Michelle Rhee's totally aggro quote in Nicholas Kristof's NYT column Sunday. Rhee, via statement, says she's committed to negotiations, and Randi Weingarten says, "In the span of one week, the Chancellor has simultaneously apologized to teachers and told them their voices didn't count." Bloggers react, too.
ALSO—Turque reports Coolidge SHS principal will be leaving after school year; has nothing to do, he says, by impending takeover by outside operator.
BACKLASH TO THE BACKLASH—Shaw residents don't want Council to roll back vacant-property tax rate, Examiner reports.
Ace legislator Jim Graham reacts to fire-alarm troubles at Harvard Hall with legislation, he reports on his blog: "Landlords will be required to give existing and new tenants written notice telling them whether building smoke alarms are connected to fire alarms or to emergency rescue services. Landlords also must instruct tenants to call 911 immediately if there is a fire. Landlords of buildings with five or more units must maintain a fire safety plan and hold a fire drill at least once a year."
Some H Street NE merchants sick and tired of street construction, WTTG-TV reports.
Legal Times: Eleanor Holmes Norton re-establishes nominating commission "to review potential candidates for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, as well as U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshal and 'similar federal offices.'" Boldface names on the commission: chair is Pauline Schneider of Orrick, also Jon Bouker, Terence Golden, Robert Spagnoletti, Beverly Perry, and many more...
The man injured in yesterday morning's fire in Northeast has died.
WaPo letter writer: "Kudos to the powers that be for essentially bringing the city to a standstill on Saturday morning. The SunTrust National Marathon shut major arteries in the city, seemingly clogging every street east of the Capitol."
Two versions of events on what TV pilot's filming will entail, Paul Duggan reports in WaPo. City originally warned of an "explosion [which] will produce a 20 to 30' fireball that will last for approximately two minutes." But film office official says, "It will be a self-contained pyrotechnic special effect...It's actually out on the water. Nothing is being blown up. There's no impact or force of any kind. I think there was some indication that a boat was going to be blown up, and that's not the case."
Easter Egg Roll tickets are now online-only!
Owners of 1101 K St. NW get $100M in financing, "providing funds until the building is stabilized"; Biz Journal seems impressed.
AP says D.C. is missing out on stimulus benefits to the unemployed.
PURPLE TUNNEL OF DOOM REPORT IS OUT—"A report released Monday by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said the main problem was a surge of people, many without proper tickets, who overwhelmed the entrance gates," NC8 reports.
A toast to local James Beard award nominees!
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—9:30 a.m.: Committee on Health roundtable on PR18-58 ("Director of the Department of Health Care Finance Julie A. Hudman Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), JAWB 120; 10 a.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary FY2010 budget hearing on Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission, Judicial Nomination Commission, National Guard, Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure, Corrections Information Council, Office of Victim Services, Justice Grants Administration, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, JAWB 412; 11 a.m.: Committee on Public Works and Transportation FY2010 budget hearing on District of Columbia Bicycle Advisory Council and Alcoholic Beverage Administration, JAWB 500.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—12:30 p.m.: remarks, Dorothy Height’s 97th birthday celebration, 633 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 6 p.m.: remarks, LeDroit Park Civic Association meeting, Florida Avenue Baptist Church, 623 Florida Ave. NW; 7 p.m.: remarks, Westminster Neighborhood Association meeting, 922 Westminster St. NW; 8 p.m.: remarks, WTOP Radio 40th anniversary celebration, Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.