What’s Happened In Vegas: Loose Lips Daily
Morning all. It's like 2004 all over again out in Las Vegas! LL has it on good authority that both Anthony Williams and Vincent Orange are in Las Vegas, strutting at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention. Who's not there? Your chairman of the council economic development committee, Kwame Brown, who begged off, pleading poverty in these tough economic times. He missed Williams playing host at yesterday evening's Arent Fox-sponsored get-together at the Wynn, and Orange doing the same at a Pepco event later that night.
For all of you who took Saturday's Ward 8 Dems vote as proof of citywide harmony on gay marriage, a wake-up call: Last night, at least twice as many folks showed for a Ward 5 Dems meeting in Michigan Park, where another gay marriage resolution was taken up. LL showed up just in time for the vote count: 51 voted to support the council's decision to recognize out-of-state gay marriages, but 87 voted against. The high turnout, most agreed, was due to pulpit PR from local ministers. Said Stein Club president Jeff Richardson after the vote, 'In Ward 8, there was an open discussion about marriage equality in the District of Columbia.' In Ward 5, he says, the issues was 'clouded and tainted by people's feelings about the council.'
There was no shortage of drama at yesterday's crime-bill hearing. Early in the day, public safety committee chair Phil Mendelson recessed the hearing after a top OAG official didn't show for his issue-by-issue panel format, as both LL and WaPo's Theola Labbé-DeBose noted. Peter Nickles, who apparently considers council hearing procedure to be under his purview, said his people would appear once or not at all. At the end of the day, Nickles was given 10 minutes to speak, and he went off on Mendelson's supposed obstructionist ways, as Michael Neibauer recounts in Examiner: “I don’t want the record to have a lot of namby-pamby about this issue....I’m not a politician. I don’t expect to mince words...of what needs to be done by this council in order to have more process. We are processed to death.” Mendo had the last word, though: He gave it right back to Nickles, and as the AG demanded to respond, he gaveled the hearing to a close.
GOTTA NOTE—After Jack Evans' podium-pounding performance at last week's press conference, he couldn't make the hearing. He was in Vegas. Jim Graham was left to do the law-and-order thing.
In Examiner, Neibauer covers the biggest joke in District government: the yearly financial disclosure forms, which were due Friday. Vince Gray and Harry Thomas Jr. turned theirs in late, and most other councilmembers and the mayor failed to declare much at all. Kudos to Tommy Wells and especially Phil Mendelson, who listed 'free tickets and dinner to the Shakespeare Theatre and three tickets to Nationals Park, worth $1,222.50 combined, as well as his interest in 14 companies and his ownership of a condominium.' As for Fenty, he 'declared nothing — not his $200 ticket to last year’s White House Correspondents' Association dinner, courtesy of CBS, nor his trip to the Beijing Olympics, paid for in part by the Chinese government....“Only gifts to the mayor personally [and then only from entities doing business with the District] are to be reported on his financial disclosure form,” Hobson said.'
WTTG-TV's Tisha Thompson does a FOX 5 INVESTIGATION into city 911 practices, highlighting Sabrina Richardson, who testified about Office of Unified Communications problems at a recent council budget hearing. 'She claims she routinely has calls disconnect. Callers put on hold, prompting many to hang up. Richardson says the new system also doesn’t recognize many local addresses. “There are a lot of new complexes in D.C. that are not programmed,” she says....The District’s 911 system has been plagued by problems in the past. When the District opened a state of the art facility in 2006, the District claimed the new building would fix those problems. But Richardson and other call-takers say there are still big issues that go ignored by management.'
THE MOUSE IS BACK—More than a decade after the Disney's America debacle, the Walt Disney Co. has bought land adjacent to National Harbor for an eventual resort development, WaPo's Thomas Heath reports in an exclusive. 'Disney plans to build a 500-room hotel resort on the parcel, providing another anchor for a 300-acre venture that seeks to rival the District as a conference and convention destination. National Harbor already includes six hotels; more than a dozen restaurants; and a giant conference center run by Gaylord Entertainment, owner of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Business, though, has been slowed by the recession, and many of the 400 residences at National Harbor have not been sold. A Disney spokesman said the company will almost certainly go ahead with the project despite the economic climate, but the company did not provide a timetable.'
OK, so the city has given the go-ahead to tear down the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, but what now? Biz Journal's Tierney Plumb says not a whole lot: 'ICG Properties has no immediate plans to turn 16th and Eye streets NW into a vibrant mixed-used property — a vision it had two years ago when it bought the site. The developer’s original vision to build a mixed-use project on the Christian Science Church site may have fizzled as the economy tanked in the midst of a drawn-out historic preservation battle over the 1970s-era concrete chapel.'
The D.C. Bar Counsel is now tasked with reviewing disbarment complaints against Bush 'torture lawyers,' in a scene down at Superior Court Building A that Dana Milbank details in WaPo. In Kevin Zeese's sights: 'John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury — the men who wrote the infamous memos — and supervisors and colleagues such as John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Mukasey, Michael Chertoff, Douglas Feith, David Addington and Michael Haynes.'
Bill Myers covers the perennial problem of Judiciary Square parking in Examiner: All those cops at HQ, at court, they gotta park somewhere! But they can't! '“I just couldn’t believe a fellow police officer would tell me he was giving me a ticket without even let me explain some of the circumstances,” Detective Howard Howland said. “What’s the next thing they’re going to be doing? Ticketing police for jaywalking?”' HERE'S AN IDEA, MPD—Free SmarTrips, perhaps?
Is Jim Graham using the recent police shooting to push his plan to open up Champlain Street NW at Marie Reed? AdMo ANC member Bryan Weaver thinks so, per WCP's Jule Banville.
ATTENTION UNEMPLOYED/UNDEREMPLOYED LLD READER—Per Leah Fabel's Examiner piece here, you'll now be competing for a new job with some fresh-faced Obamaniac college grad who's willing to work for one-third of what you are.
Etiquette reminder: Those Metro seats for the elderly, pregnant, and disabled? Those are actually for the elderly, pregnant, and disabled, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. 'For some riders, the question becomes: Can someone sit in those seats without a disability, the way people use a handicap bathroom stall if no one else obviously needs it? “It would be best if they do stay out of the seat,” advised Metro spokeswoman Angela Gates. “But if they do sit in the seat, they should make it available if someone comes on the train who needs it.”'
DCist, commenters ponder the supposed racial, class divides on gay marriage. And do check out Adam Serwer's coverage of the Ward 8 Dems meeting for American Prospect. (LL would knock him for misspelling Phil Pannell's name, but WaPo did the same thing Sunday.)
Bloomingdale man Tanner Stickney, 29, arrested in Florida on child sex charges. 'FBI officials say he rented a room on the second floor of a house on Seaton Place Northwest. Inside his bedroom, authorities found a video showing Stickney allegedly engaged in sex acts with a young boy.'
NC8, WUSA-TV: Mom says that toy gun led to police shooting earlier this month that wounded her son. '[T]he family's dog got out without his leash so her son chased after him down an alley, carrying a plastic Airsoft toy gun that shoots small pellets. The toys are plastic, but from some online photos, they look quite real. The family suspects someone called the police when they saw what appeared to be someone armed in the alley.'
Former AARP exec pleads guilty to stealing $140K from employer.
Richard Layman: 'I know that it's a Mayor's "job" to be a cheerleader, and DC has made great strides, but to call the city the best place in the world to bicycle, as Mayor Fenty did during his slot at speaking at last Friday's "Bike to Work Day" celebration in Freedom Plaza is a joke.'
Fighter jets to buzz downtown today, tomorrow.
Nickles issues subpoenas on Boss ticket problems!
WRC-TV discovers charter schools!
The Freakness is gone forever: Maryland officials resist calls to bring back BYOB.
FedExField could host Army-Navy football in coming years.
Frank P. Bolden, former Cardozo basketball coach, DCPS administrator, union head, and president of the Federation of Civic Associations, is dead at 91.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—2:30 p.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary and Government Operations and the Environment joint roundtable on CA18-72 ("Proposed contract with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Inc."), JAWB 412.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—No public events scheduled. (He, like Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and numerous other councilmembers, is at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas.)