City Desk

Budget Season’s Almost Over: Loose Lips Daily

As much local politics as humanly possible. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"Longtime Mayoral Photographer Fired"

Morning all. Currently, the D.C. Council is sitting in the council chamber preparing to pass the FY2010 budget legislation. Will Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, slapped down by Chairman Vincent C. Gray and his colleagues on summer jobs and various schools issues, consider a veto to send a message?

For more budget insight, allow LL to direct you to Michael Neibauer's Examiner story today. He ledes, of course, with the earmarking, with totals more than $20M: 'That includes $1.5 million for the CityMarket at O Street project in Shaw, money that the economic development committee yanked from the Howard Theater rehabilitation. There's $1 million each to the National Council of Negro Women, the Washington Ballet and the Phillips Collection for capital projects. And then there's a list of some 120 community-based social service groups and arts-based organizations, from the Kennedy Center and the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival to the Crystal Meth Working Group, Keely's Boxing and Woodland Tigers Youth Sports, which all receive their share — in most cases, $250,000 or less.'

And what's a budget season without a WaTimes traffic cam story? Gary Emerling does this year's edition, detailing expansions in speeding and red-light programs. This, as they currently bring in record levels of revenue: 'Through the first seven months of fiscal 2009, the city had issued 53,094 citations from its 49 red-light-camera locations and brought in $4.3 million in fine revenue, putting the District on pace to rake in $7.4 million by the end of September....Meanwhile, the District's network of photo-radar cameras is on pace to bring in $30 million of revenue this fiscal year – second only to the $32.9 million brought in during fiscal 2006.' Hmm, but he didn't subtract the police overtime....

Six DCPS schools will undergo an NCLB 'reconstitution'—meaning teachers and some administrators will have to reapply for their jobs. The schools are: Hart MS, Ferebee-Hope ES, Anacostia SHS, Woodson SHS, MacFarland MS, and Dunbar SHS. Writes Bill Turque in WaPo, 'The shakeup, known in NCLB parlance as a reconstitution, will affect as many as 330 teachers and staff members at the six schools. Those who are not rehired or who decide not to return will not lose their jobs, Rhee said. Instead, they will be placed in an excess staff pool and reassigned to other schools....Reconstitutions are controversial among some parents and school activists, who say they have a questionable track record as a remedy for school performance. Seventeen D.C. schools underwent some form of reconstitution last year. Rhee said the District enjoyed "significant success" with some of them, including Shaw at Garnet-Patterson Middle School, Webb-Wheatley Educational Campus and Eliot-Hine Middle School.' Also Examiner.

WHOOPS—OSSE sends out e-mail to 1,250 tuition grant applicants with a spreadsheet attached with thousands of student names, addresses, DOBs, and SSNs. Says WaPo, 'OSSE never publicly announced the breach, which occurred Wednesday. It did express regret for the incident in an e-mail sent to students and parents the next day. A parent made the e-mail available to The Washington Post over the weekend.'

TAKE A CHILL PILL—From Turque: 'Parents reacted angrily to word of the breach. Brenda Thomas, whose daughter Leah is a senior at Maret, a private school in Northwest Washington, said she was "livid."..."We tell her how important it is not to give her Social Security number out, not even to join Facebook, for goodness' sakes," said Thomas, who described her daughter as "in tears." Even more irritating, she said, was that she was recently informed by OSSE that Leah, who will attend Stanford University this fall, was ineligible for assistance because the family exceeded income guidelines. "And now this," Thomas said.' LL believes DCist reacted appropriately to this.

WaPo ed board, believe it or not, keeps on top of the PERB battle, urging the council not to override the mayoral veto of the one-man quorum bill. Instead, the board wants the current nominees confirmed: 'In submitting the names of Johnine P. Barnes, Jennifer E. Chung, John P. Isa, and Mary Oates Walker, Mr. Fenty has tapped people with demonstrated credentials and qualifications in labor relations....The council should act with dispatch.'

MEANWHILE—Cheh says, according to Tim Craig in D.C. Wire, that's she's not going to move on the four other names until Fenty passes on a fifth name, from the labor-approved list—lest the current labor-picked member's term expire next month, leaving four management-friendly members. Once she gets that fifth name, Cheh says, 'I will move all five of them like a rocket docket.' The ed board, incidentally, says that 'the mayor would do well to, as the law provides, select a replacement from the lists prepared by union leaders.')

WCP's Ruth Samuelson has an interesting tidbit. Last month, while on a walk-through in Eckington, Fenty spied a dilapidated house and ordered it torn down—and it was, two weeks later. Does our mayor now have kinglike powers over his dominion? Well, turns out the city had already condemned the house and ordered in razed...back in 2006. So much for efficient city action.

OTR SCANDAL SENTENCE—This time it's Connie Alexander, described as a "compulsive gambler" in Henri Cauvin's WaPo story. 'Alexander...was sentenced yesterday to almost four years in prison for her role in the massive fraud....Appearing before U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. in Greenbelt, Alexander, 53, of Bowie, apologized to her family, to the court, to the government and to the "people of D.C."..."I know sorry doesn't make it all go away, but I am truly sorry," she told Williams.' She personally took more than $3.1M. 'As part of her plea, Alexander agreed to...forfeit goods including a 2000 Mercedes-Benz automobile, a 2002 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a 2003 Cadillac Escalade sport-utility vehicle, three projection televisions, designer handbags, 62 pieces of jewelry and eight fur coats.'

WTTG-TV does expose on 225 Virginia Ave. SE and other vacant properties that the District is renting.

Metro adds 20 new surveillance cameras to patrol areas outside stations in the District and Virginia 'to reduce crime inside and outside of the rail system,' Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. 'Buying and installing the cameras cost $275,000, with the District paying $200,000 and Fairfax County picking up $75,000. Metro will pay for their upkeep, which the agency estimated would cost about $5,000 a year.' Also WaPo, Biz Journal, WTOP.

Fenty releases pedestrian master plan; among the recommendations: More sidewalks; better pedestrian access; more pedestrian-related infractions for motorists; more speed cameras. Writes Robert Thomson in WaPo, 'The master plan, which challenges a century of car culture, infuses city planning with the concept that pedestrians have as much right to the streets as motorists do. The plan, under development for two years, includes recommendations that raise consciousness on safety issues, and it sets guidelines for engineers to follow as they design street and sidewalk projects.' Also WAMU-FM, WUSA-TV.

The District's conflict with CareFirst continues, though the D.C. Council has given the health insurer until July to expand its open enrollment, Insurance & Financial Advisor reports. 'The D.C. Council voted to pass emergency legislation April 7, suspending the open enrollment provision of its Medical Insurance Empowerment Act until July 10. That provision requires the Owings Mills, Md.-based insurer to expand coverage to a minimum of 2,500 District residents. The act, passed last December, officially became law in March. "This is not a freebie to CareFirst," said Spencer Maguire, legislative director for Councilmember Muriel Bowser, the emergency legislation's author. "If they can't put something together that works for them and the public, the provision goes into law."'

WaPo's Keith Alexander profiles ex-prostitute Jackie McReynolds, who now spends her days pulling women off the street with her group Angles Project Power. 'McReynolds, 50, still prowls the streets, only she hopes to help women who are following the same destructive path that defined her life for so many years. She tempts those who have been arrested with this offer: Spend four months with her, interning and learning life skills, for the chance to avoid up to six months in jail....McReynolds and her counselors go to court to identify women who could use their help. They submit reports to judges about participants. But the hardest work comes in the daily meetings with 40 or so women on the first floor of a Northeast Washington apartment building, where the program is based.'

Going to have to settle for a tease on this one: 'A 39-year-old convicted felon who dated a District of Columbia Superior Court magistrate judge is charged with stalking the judge and breaking into her Washington home,' the National Law Journal (formerly Legal Times) reports. 'The broken relationship has produced not only the criminal charges but also a civil suit and an ethics complaint against the judge.' Unfortunately, you'll need a subscription to read the whole thing.

Banita Jacks' lawyers tell judge that their client 'has refused to see them and they were having difficulty preparing for her trial in July,' Alexander reports. 'Jacks told Judge Frederick H. Weisberg that she was fasting and would not break the fast to meet with them. "It involved an all-day prayer, and I couldn't break it," she said, adding that the fast is over.' Also AP.

WaPo's Rachel Saslow explores how the DMH CSA privatization is impacting one women's mental health support group. One patient, Sylvia Adegoke 'gets help at CSA for her bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, an illness marked by shifts in mood, energy and the ability to carry out daily tasks. She suffered her first breakdown in her 30s, when she refused to leave her bedroom, bathe, eat or do her hair. And now she fears she will also lose a receptionist job that she has held since 2006 through another DMH program....She refused to attend the five events in March to learn about her treatment options ("a waste of time," she says), instead praying that the clinic will stay open. In addition to hosting "provider fairs" and offering counseling, the CSA staff has offered to help affected clients visit private treatment centers where they might continue their care.'

Black construction workers say they're being shut out of jobs, according to NC8. 'Critics are now asking why in a majority black city are there mostly white and Latino workers on construction sites....Cardell Shelton is a lifelong contractor. He says he and other local blacks are frozen out of projects like the new Anacostia Library. He is calling for an organized protest against firms that hire from outside the city. "When they bring them they move the same Latinos around from one community to another—from job to job and refuse to even give the blacks a chance," said Shelton.'

ACLU is not down with license-plate readers, WAMU-FM reports.

Yglesias on 'The Pointless DC Voucher Debate'

WaPo reader takes issue with WaPo's voucher 'obsession' in letter: 'If the editorial board thinks the public schools are a lost cause, why don't we shutter them, sell the property and give vouchers to all students? If the D.C. public schools are fixable, why spend nearly $13 million a year on vouchers for a few instead of putting that money into improving education for all?' ALSO—More readers weigh in on same-sex marriage.

WTTG-TV interviews Cathy Lanier on low crime rate.

Man fatally stabbed early Sunday in Columbia Heights is ID'd as Adan Cisneros, 19.

D.C. man charged in March rape in Edgewater, Md.

H1N1 UPDATE—Three more cases confirmed.

Federal stats: D.C. unemployment at 9.5 percent. Meanwhile, GWBOT survey says regional consumer confidence is slightly up, but spending is not.

It's National Law Enforcement Week here in the District.

Nats beer garden will open Friday.

CAPS WIN! CAPS WIN!

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee of the Whole additional meeting on Bill 18-202 ("Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request Act of 2009") and Bill 18-203 ("Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Act of 2009"), JAWB 500; ninth legislative meeting to follow; 2 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary meeting (scheduled), JAWB 123; 3 p.m.: Committee on Government Operations hearing on B18-1 ("Quick Payment Amendment Act of 2009"), B18-2 ("Debarment and Suspension Act of 2009"), B18-4 ("Placement of Orders with the District Department, Offices, and Agencies Amendment Act of 2009"), and B18-7 ("Procurement Practices Amendment Act of 2009"), JAWB 412; 4 p.m.: Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation meeting (scheduled), JAWB 120.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—9:15 a.m.: remarks, federal funding of District education announcement, Payne ES, 305 15th St. SE; 2 p.m.: remarks, Chesapeake Bay Executive Council meeting media availability, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Va.; 3:30 p.m.: remarks, DDOE Anacostia trash removal announcement, Kenilworth Park, end of Deane Avenue NE; 5:30 p.m.: remarks, Employment Readiness Center graduation, Central Detention Facility chapel, 1901 D St. SE.

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