Fenty to Wield Line-Item Veto?: Loose Lips Daily
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"Schadenfreude Alert: John Ensign to Admit Cheating on Wife"; "D.C. Crime Bill(s) Liveblog: Grandstand City!"; ""
BREAKING—Gay marriage referendum proponents file suit this morning in Superior Court. More to come at City Desk.
Morning all. Rather startling news contained on today's WaPo editorial page: In a piece hammering (again) the D.C. Council decision to remove the State Board of Education from under the OSSE umbrella, we learn that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty "is said to be exploring the legal and political ramifications of line-item vetoes overturning the changes." The line-item veto, defined in Section 404(f) of the Home Rule Act, has rarely, if ever, been used, to LL's knowledge, and would be a politically hazardous move. The editorial calls on Fenty to deploy that manuever: "[W]hy on earth risk a return to the bad old days when a balkanized school board could throw its weight around?...It's worrisome that these changes could be a harbinger of worse things to come, with some council members already talking about giving the board added power....[T]hese changes are neither needed nor justified. He should veto them and let the public see which members are willing to stand with him for education reform."
AFTER THE JUMP—Crime bill rehash; politicos look at debt shuffle to build hotel; John Hinkley, student driver; and John Ensign's zipper problem.
All the crime-bill grandstanding had its culmination yesterday in the Wilson Building council chambers. LL liveblogged the whole deal if you're up for it, but here's the short version: Phil Mendelson's revised bill was passed, with efforts by Jack Evans to add on the controversial civil gang injunctions failing miserably. Tim Craig in WaPo notes that several members, 'including a majority of the African Americans on the panel, fiercely protested the gang proposal because they feared it would lead to racial profiling. The objections outraged several other members, who argued that their constituents are increasingly afraid to leave their homes at night.' In Examiner, Michael Neibauer notes that what was passed 'further tightens the city's gun laws, raises mandatory minimum sentences for certain felonies and criminalizes riding in a vehicle where there is an illegal firearm.' In WaTimes, Gary Emerling explains gang injunctions: 'The provision would have allowed the D.C. Attorney General's Office to file a court complaint seeking to enjoin persons accused of being members of a criminal street gang from public nuisance activities. If a person violates the order, he or she could be fined or sentenced to months in prison.' Also see Tom Sherwood's WRC-TV report and Bruce Johnson's WUSA-TV report, and Beth Parker's WTTG-TV report.
REPORTERS' FAVORITE QUOTE—David Catania: 'The underlying bill is as weak as tea and will result in no tangible results this summer.'
FENTY STATEMENT—'I must express my great disappointment in the Council's failure to enact civil gang injunction legislation. We all know that the City experiences an increase of violent crime during the summer....The community demands that we deal with the gang problem now.'
KRIS BAUMANN QUOTE RATING—"This is an embarrassment," the FOP honcho told WaPo. "The Council has an obligation to protect the citizens of this city. If they gut portions of this bill, they have endangered everybody and they should be ashamed of themselves....What we have proven in D.C. is if you allow the ACLU to write your criminal laws, it's a blood bath." LL gives it a solid A—for the viscera, and for the foresight—it was a "pre-sponse" delivered Monday night.
In a welcome respite from the demagoguery, Harry Jaffe delivers a trenchant analysis of why Hizzoner lost: 'Fenty never testified when the bill was introduced. He never showed up at the hearings. What's more telling is that he was not involved in tense negotiations during the last week among council members. He never visited a council member's office or phoned to lobby for his bill....Compare this AWOL mayor with Fenty's attention to legislation that gave him control of the city's public schools. His first act as mayor in 2007 was to show up in person before the council to explain why and how he needed to run the schools....Fenty has tarnished his brand so badly with the council that he has no juice. "Negative juice," one member told me.' And get this: 'Mendelson does deserve credit for his willingness to toughen up laws on gun possession and a mandatory minimum sentence for felons caught with guns.' (Mind the typos, though: 'Pubic education'? Don't want to get Harry Jackson involved in all this...)
Also from legislative meeting: Council passes resolution asking that James von Brunn be charged with District hate crimes (never mind that the feds are exploring federal hate crime charges); bag bill gains final approval (also NC8); Harry Thomas Jr. introduces legislation to explore putting cameras on cops' guns.
FENTY ON BAG BILL—WTOP: 'Mafara Hobson, a spokesperson for the mayor, tells WTOP, "Mayor Fenty has not decided whether or not to sign the legislation." Fenty is out of town and could not be reached directly for comment.' LL hears he was in New York with the fam yesterday, attending Nats-Yanks game.
Biz Journal's Jonathan O'Connell figures out how the city plans to finance a convention center hotel while staying underneath the debt cap: 'The D.C. Council may consider withdrawing millions of dollars in subsidies from stalled city real estate projects....Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi met with members of the D.C. Council on Monday and discussed the list of projects with $704 million in subsidies that have already been passed and could be diverted to the hotel. The list includes the Southwest waterfront, the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg residential development on the Capitol Riverfront, the mixed-use O Street Market in Shaw and seven other economic development incentives....Evans said other options being discussed include trying to attract bank loans by footing only a portion of the cost or seeking new development partners that could build the hotel more quickly or for a lower price.'
ALSO—See related O'Connell blog post, which notes that 'shuffling the incentives would be an ugly prospect. Although in reality the city is constantly prioritizing projects, ranking one neighborhood's over another, it rarely does so in such an obvious way.'
The re-integration of would-be presidential assassin John Hickley continues apace: Federal judge allows the longtime St. Elizabeths patient to apply for a drivers license and spend as many as 10 days at a time with his mother in Virginia. Del Wilber writes in WaPo: 'The decision is the latest in recent years expanding privileges for Hinckley, who has been held at St. Elizabeths Hospital since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 shooting of President Ronald Reagan, his press secretary and two law enforcement officers. The psychiatric hospital is seeking to gradually increase Hinckley's freedom so that doctors can evaluate whether he is nearing the point where he can be released and live independently with his mother in the Williamsburg area.' Also WAMU-FM, WTTG-TV.
Michelle Rhee starts handing pink slips to teachers—some weeded out through the onerous "PPEP" process, but most newbies still in their probationary period who were not able to get licensed. Candi Peterson had it first at her Washington Teacher blog; Bill Turque follows up with DCPS confirmation. '[S]eparation notices were sent to four groups of employees: Paraprofessionals who work with students, but did not attain the "highly qualified" standard required by federal law under the No Child Left Behind Act. Teachers without a valid license. Teachers who failed to meet the requirements of probation. Teachers who were placed on 90-day improvement plans and who didn't show sufficient progress.'
In Examiner, Bill Myers looks at the tab for locking up juvenile delinquents in out-of-town facilities. 'The city has spent about $14.8 million since January 2008 to farm out hundreds of young offenders to private detention centers. Dozens of them are shipped to clinics from Colorado to Florida. The highest rate to hold the youths is $490 a day — which projects to $178,850 per year, or more than three times the cost of a year at Yale University....One hundred thirty-two young offenders are currently in the pricey clinics.'
D.C. lawyer fights off B.S. ticket handed to him by MoCo cop. The ticket was for flashing his headlights, which he did as a thank you to a fellow motorist who had flashed lights warning him of an upcoming speed trap. Writes Rick Rojas in WaPo, 'A police officer saw it and issued him a $50 citation, telling [Mark Zaid] that it was illegal in Maryland to flash headlights while driving and that he could actually be charged with something worse: "obstructing a police investigation." That officer might have picked the wrong guy to ticket: Zaid, of the District, is a lawyer who represents government whistleblowers. He believes he did nothing wrong. "The more I thought about it, I realized I'm going to make an issue of this," he said.' Also Legal Times.
SCHADENFREUDE ALERT—Sen. John Ensign—Republican of Nevada, Promise Keeper, rising political star, moral crusader, gun-rights advocate, and foe of District self-determination—has admitted to cheating on his wife.
Michelle Obama appears at Greater D.C. Cares philanthropy summit; O'Connell covers for Biz Journal: '"I'm here simply to say thank you for the work that you've done and to help celebrate all of your accomplishments, the work that you've done to make D.C. a truly wonderful community," she said. "It's been so nice to call this city our second home."...Obama told the lunchtime crowd at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel that she understands the difficulties of operating in a difficult economy.'
ALSO—Bancroft ES students return to the White House to tend their garden.
Renee Page, a 51-year-old homeless woman, died on a bench outside the CCNV shelter after allegedly being evicted. Tommy Wells is investigating, WaTimes reports.
Nikita Stewart reports how Fenty found some competition during a press conference yesterday: '[L]ike any good mayor, he asked the children a few questions to engage them. "What's your favorite thing you want to do this summer?" he asked...."I want to be mayor," said Demetrius Harris, 8. Fenty laughed. The Houston Elementary School student said in an interview that he had one good reason to run for office: "So I can get a job."'
YIKES—According to Examiner piece, there are apparently 'foreign diplomats who hide behind immunity while they enslave household workers.' Writes Freeman Klopott: 'The issue has long been a concern in the Washington area. Last year, the Government Accountability Office issued a report citing 42 cases in which diplomats — the majority of whom live in the region — abused their household workers. In most of those cases, the diplomats are not brought to justice, slinking out of the U.S. before their immunity can be lifted and they're prosecuted.'
Accused Cuban spies ask for home confinement—without those Cuban sailing charts, natch.
Harriette Walters sentencing delayed to June 30.
In regional transpo news, via Examiner: Herndon Town Council to weigh in on Dulles Metro plans; National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board to weigh adding Purple Line to planning agenda; SmarTrip machines to start appearing in CVS, Giant stores.
Sen. Patrick Leahy appears at UDC event, vows to confirm Sonia Sotomayor.
Will D.C. become a national smart growth model?
SEND A KID TO CAMP—John Kelly looks at the ways you can help. For one thing, you can be like Madam's Organ owner Bill Duggan, who for years has been taking dozens of local kids to his Dewey Beach house.
Biz Journal: Marvin owners talk with Donatelli about Petworth restaurant space.
Jason Cherkis breaks down the latest All Hands on Deck stats.
Blogger looks at D.C. bike-share program: 'Imagining that the DDOT wants to cover half the geographic area of the District, it would require 952 kiosks, one hundred times more than the current supply and ten times more than the planned size after expansion. If New York and Paris are right, D.C. isn't doing enough to create a full-scale bike sharing program.
FedExField, RFK shortlisted as possible 2018/2022 World Cup venues.
Check Mark Segraves' summer vacay plans: 'I got a three-bedroom condo in the Virgin Islands – that usually goes from $3,000 a week – for $1,200. The owner is letting me use his car for free.' Way to haggle!
WaPo obit: 'Doris B. DeBoe, 83, a longtime math teacher who was assistant director of the math and science resource center for D.C. public schools from 1984 until her retirement in 1987, died June 9 at Washington Hospital Center of respiratory failure.'
Local cost of living down 0.2 percent—'the first decline in area consumer prices since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began charting local prices in November 1996.' LL will take it!
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee on Economic Development roundtable on PR18-183 ("District of Columbia Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission Alberto Gomez Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), PR18-184 ("District of Columbia Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission George M. Worrell, Jr. Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), PR18-185 ("District of Columbia Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission Alberto Gomez Chairperson Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), PR18-204 ("District of Columbia Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission Latrice Strader Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), PR18-205 ("District of Columbia Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission Kristen Barden Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), PR18-206 ("District of Columbia Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission Lloyd Henry Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), and PR18-297 ("District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission Jeffrey Horowitz Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), JAWB 123; 11 a.m.: Committee of the Whole hearing on PR18-285 ("Board of Zoning Adjustment Stephanie Kay Confirmation Resolution of 2009") and PR18-286 ("Board of Zoning Adjustment Meredith Moldenhauer Confirmation Resolution of 2009"), JAWB 500; 11:30 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue hearing on PR18-340 ("St. John's College High School Revenue Bonds Project Approval Resolution of 2009"), PR18-341 ("National Association of Student Personnel Administrations Revenue Bonds Project Approval Resolution of 2009"), and PR18-342 ("The Methodist Home of the District of Columbia Revenue Bonds Project Resolution of 2009"), JAWB 120.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—3 p.m.: remarks, Summer Youth Employment Program orientation kickoff, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Hall C, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW.