Loose Lips Daily: Picking Your Pocket
Morning, readers of D.C.'s Best Daily Local News Roundup. LL wants to give an early plug for Washington City Paper's "Best of D.C." issue, which will hit the streets tomorrow. Join Best Weekly Local Political Columnist LL and other WCP folks at 9 p.m. tonight at Lotus Lounge, 1420 K St. NW, to toast THE BEST. And the second-best, too.
Reporters continue to dig into the Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's 20910 budget proposal. Both WTOP's Mark Segraves and WaPo's David Nakamura cover the various tax hikes—ahem, revenue-raising measures—contained therein. "Council members have questioned Fenty's semantics," Nakamura writes. "'In terms of the particular fees, a little straight talk is appropriate. It's a kind of tax,' said Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3). 'We're increasing costs on people in a variety of ways.'"
Meanwhile, NC8, WTTG-TV, and WUSA-TV ask around about the streetlight fee, GGW details parking changes, and Gary Emerling continues a WaTimes obsession and thoroughly documents proposed increases in automated traffic enforcement. NEW FRONTIERS—In addition to speeding and red-light cams, "[o]fficials also will use existing red-light cameras to catch motorists speeding through traffic signals – a mechanism called 'speed-on-yellow enforcement'....The other new initiatives include using cameras for 'gridlock enforcement' – snapping pictures of vehicles stuck in an intersection – and using laser devices to capture speeders in tunnels, where standard radar enforcement does not work."
Steny Hoyer says he's "hopeful" that DCHVRA will comes to House floor before April 4 recess, according to Mary Beth Sheridan at D.C. Wire. Meanwhile, D.C. Vote has launched a print/radio/online ad campaign, WaTimes reports:"One online ad includes an image of a gun and reads, "D.C.'s rights held hostage."
Where LL looked the potential end of the Emancipation Day holiday and covered the labor angle, Michael Neibauer covered the story for Examiner and looked at the historical side of things. He got better quotes from councilmembers, too.
IG's report: City makes little effort to collect ambulance fees, according to Teddy Kahn in Examiner. $60M is estimated to be outstanding. "[FEMS] bills patients within five days of an ambulance ride and issues three subsequent notices in the following 90 days if the bill remains unpaid. But the department does not take action against District residents who refuse to pay their part of ambulance bills. The audit concluded that the department's practices were 'inconsistent with generally accepted accounting principles, impair the city's ability to reflect true asset balances, and may have resulted in lost revenue.'"
GOOD NEWS FOR BILL LIGHTFOOT—EMS workers seem not to have followed procedures while treating Edward Givens for chest pains in December, Elissa Silverman reports in WaPo. Givens, told he was probably suffering from stomach problems, later died of a heart attack. Paramedics were told Givens had family history of heart problems, "but routine treatment for chest pain was not administered. Instead, according to the documents, the paramedic judged his brother's problem was stomach-related, despite an abnormal result from a cardiac monitor. But EMS personnel are not trained to provide diagnoses, Medical Director James Augustine said in a report."
President Barack Obama has nominated Marisa J. Demeo, Superior Court magistrate, and Florence Y. Pan, AUSA, to the Superior Court bench.
Airports Authority wants to charge hotels $2.50 for every shuttle trip to National or Dulles, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. Hotels, needless to say, don't like it. "'The fees would cripple a hotel during a period of significant challenges,' wrote Rick Gerhart with Remington Hotels, a Texas firm that manages the Embassy Suites at Dulles. 'This is not the time to add a new large-scale expense.' The hotels estimate the fees could cost them each as much $40,000 a year, on top of their existing costs to run the vans."
Michael A. Brown, "self-determination" committee chair, had a "strategy session" on statehood or voting rights or something, D.C. Wire reports. Who showed? According to press release, League of Women Voters, DC Fiscal Policy, DC Vote, the Statehood-Green Party, Statehood Now! Yes We Can, Free DC, DC Represent and Jews for Justice. "Councilmember Brown presented and received feedback on an ambitious 60-day plan that will jump start the Special Committee's operations. The plan included meetings with national and congressional leaders; convening council hearings; developing a national media and public outreach plan that engages celebrities and utilizes new media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and other social networking systems; holding a 'State Hall' meeting for citizens to learn more about the issues and to voice their opinions; and building education and advocacy campaigns to mobilize national support for the District's bid for democracy." Also WAMU-FM.
Jonetta Rose Barras says all the warning signs were there within OCTO. "Though alerted to potential problems, the District government failed to prevent or stop the scam allegedly perpetrated by Yusuf Acar, Farrukh Awan and Sushil Bansal....[Procurement chief David Gragan] and Assistant Inspector General Bill DiVello confirmed that audits targeting specific contractors had been under way for a year — even before an OCTO employee blew the whistle, prompting the FBI to commence its undercover operation." But sources say the audit found nothing. She closes with this swipe at Vivek Kundra: "The cure for what ails OCTO is a solid, experienced manager who isn't so focused on making a name for himself that he ignores violations of District laws and regulations."
Still no renovations taking place at Shiloh Baptist's shabby 9th Street NW properties, NC8 reports. "The District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs confirms Shiloh avoided paying tens of thousands of dollars in penalty taxes on its vacant properties. It mowed the grass around a couple of the buildings and took out permits for renovations. The city believed the church was rehabbing the structures so it took the buildings off the roster of vacant properties." They're back on the vacant rolls, now, though.
LL's distinguished former paper, The Georgetown Voice, covers David Catania's talk to GU foreign service students. Objective reporter's conclusion: "[M]an, is he awesome." SOME NEWS: "Catania also gave a status update on the gay marriage bill he planned to introduce in January. He said that introducing the bill now would jeopardize the success of D.C. Voting Rights legislation, but reassured his audience that he hasn't forgotten the cause. 'It's the undying civil rights issue of our time and I intend to go forward with it,' he said."
WILL HE RUN AGAIN?—"I have no interest in doing this forever," he said. "I think having a full-time job [outside of politics]...keeps you sharp. It keeps you grounded. [Campaigns are about] going in front of the voters and being honest… You have to get up every day willing to lose. Once the aversion sets in, you become a joke. It means telling even your supportes 'no' once in a while."
Tom Sherwood: Fewer parking spaces for tourists! More parking spaces for bureaucrats!
Harry Jaffe says charter schools are killing DCPS. Why? Look at Capital City PCS, he says. "Capital City's success reaffirms a trend: The public school system in the nation's capital is heading toward extinction. Fifty years ago, white families fled the D.C. Public Schools for suburban districts or private academies; now Hispanic and African-American families are leaving for charter schools, or using the few vouchers available to reach for private education. White families who adhere to pubic [sic] schools are switching to charters, too."
MUST-READ—Jason Cherkis exhaustively runs down charging documents filed against suspect Joseph Randolph Mays.
Man shot dead at 15th and Hamlin Streets NE early this morning.
Cops crashes his cruiser head-on into parked taxi on 16th Street last night.
ABC News isn't letting Vivek Kundra slide, does piece on shoplifting charges, corruption probe. "The Office of Management and Budget, where Kundra's located, sent an e-mail saying, 'Right now, Vivek isn't doing interviews.' The White House issued two one-line statements of confidence in him."
Roll Call does a perennial fave: Chronicling all the members of Congress who are taking homestead exemptions on their D.C. homes while maintaining primary residences in their home districts—"reducing their annual property tax bills by hundreds of dollars and potentially much more over the long term." To get the list, though, you'll need a Roll Call subscription.
Dodger great Maury Wills honored last night at Wilson Building ahead of today's Banneker Field dedication.
IN OTHER GROUNDBREAKING NEWS—Bread for the City this morning started expansion of its 7th Street NW offices, with Eleanor Holmes Norton et al. in attendance.
AP: Federal appeals court rules against Allen Iverson, says he "must pay $260,000 for standing idly by and watching his bodyguard beat up another man in a 2005 bar fight" at Eyebar.
Public Service Commission decision means you'll be seeing a credit on your Pepco bill.
Gas leak at NoMa construction site.
P.G. UNITED UPDATE—County council votes against...something.
National Zoo has newborn leopard cubs; DCist, natch, has the "Insanely Cute" pix.
NC8 covers Dorothy Height's 97th b-day bash.
It's been four years since Donte Manning was killed by a stray bullet. The killer has not been found, and it's time for a WTTG-TV cold case story.
Check out the Rammy nominees.
Examiner blogger Mark Lerner interviews Deborah Gist.
DCist recaps Mayor's Arts Awards held Monday night at KenCen.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation FY2010 budget hearing on Department of Parks and Recreation, JAWB 500; Committee on Human Services FY2010 budget hearing on Department on Disability Services and Department of Human Services, JAWB 412; Committee on Finance and Revenue meeting (scheduled), JAWB 120; 11 a.m.: Committee on Government Operations and the Environment hearing on B18-89 ("Retail Service Station Amendment Act of 2009"), JAWB 120; 2 p.m.: Committee on Health meeting (scheduled), JAWB 123.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—9:15 a.m.: remarks, Banneker Field ribbon-cutting and dedication, Banneker Baseball Field, 2500 Georgia Ave. NW; 10:30 a.m.: remarks, Mayor's 2009 Summer Youth Job Expo, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Hall B, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW.