Tweeting the Budget: Loose Lips Daily
Morning all. It was a Tweet-off yesterday on the fifth floor of the John A. Wilson Building! LL vs. Mark Segraves! Who could best capture the raw excitement of the three-hour D.C. Council budget summit? @mikedebonis or @SegravesWTOP? Michael Neibauer was there, too: He boils down discussion over the Summer Youth Employment Program into Examiner story, nothing that members consider it 'unclear [whether] the summer jobs program is running better than the 2008 version, when the initiative devolved into an epic debacle.' Says Jack Evans, who voted against curtailing the program last month, 'I’d now like to have the money.' 'Excruciating detail' has been promised for today, but LL won't be joining the proceedings until afternoon. Follow along!
AFTER THE JUMP—Marion Barry blames his earmarks on Evans; Michelle Rhee's approval rate inches up; sorority chief accused of buying $900K wax figure of herself; pants plaintiff loses again; and is D.C. United considering a move to Buzzard Point?
Marion Barry explains his funneling of money to nonprofits to WaPo's Tim Craig thusly: It's 'what politicians do all over America' and 'I am going to find as many resources for Ward 8 as I can, because I am not going to be here long.' And then there's the It-Was-All-Jack's-Idea defense: 'Barry said the earmarks stemmed from a request that D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee, made last year to secure a $10 million grant for Ford's Theatre. Barry said he was initially opposed to Evans's request but, in an effort to get more funding for Ward 8, began bartering with Evans and other council members who needed his vote....Evans was unavailable to comment, but Barry said he ended up with about $8 million in city funds that he decided to distribute to nearly 40 organizations, many of them in Ward 8.'
MEANWHILE—Barry aide Brenda Richardson will meet with investigators this week about the nonprofits, Bill Myers reports in Examiner. WaTimes, NC8 also confirm the federal investigation. And Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, meanwhile, could use a pro bono lawyer, Craig reports: 'She said attorneys who have a "vendetta" against the council member need not apply. "I would like the (investigation) to be ethical and fair," Watts-Brighthaupt said.' And she's still interested in starting up the Emerging Leaders of Ward 8, 'the project that Barry hired her last year to implement...."I wouldn't get much done in Ward 8 without working through him," she said.'
BANITA JACKS TRIAL—It's all over except for the verdict, which may come from Judge Frederick Weisberg as soon as Wednesday. Keith Alexander wraps up the proceedings for WaPo: 'In his nearly 90-minute closing argument, Peter Krauthamer, a member [of] the District's Public Defender Service, said the government had failed to prove that Jacks killed her children. "The behavior in that house defied logic, common sense and even that of a demented or delusional being. But it proves nothing," Krauthamer said. "There was neglect in this case. But there wasn't child abuse or cruelty."...Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jackson argued that Jacks "systematically" isolated herself and her girls from relatives, schools, neighbors and friends as part of a plan to weaken them through starvation and then kill them....At times during her hour-long closing argument, Jackson's voice wavered when she compared the Sixth Street rowhouse to Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison where Iraqis were mistreated and abused by members of the U.S. military. "These four children had their own prison of torture. And the jailer, the one who had keys to this prison, who signed and sealed their deaths, was their own mother," she said.' Also Examiner, AP, WTOP, NC8, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV.
THE DEFENDANT—'During Jackson's arguments, Jacks sat at the defense table writing in her notebook. She did not look at the prosecutor, who stood only a few feet away. When Jacks finally did look up, she locked eyes with Jackson, who was wrapping up her closing argument. "These children didn't have to live this way, and they certainly didn't have to die this way," Jackson said. "They're speaking now, not with their voices but with their bodies." '
Examiner's Kytja Weir notes 'questions about the [Red Line] crash and what the accident and continuing investigation mean.' Questions like: 'What caused the crash?'; 'Is it unsafe to ride in the front or back cars of trains?'; and 'How much will this cost Metro and its riders?' She also notes that WMATA has built a Web site detailing failing track circuits. And colleague Maria Schmitt reports on Senate bill that would mandate federal transit safety standards.
WAMU-FM's Stephanie Kaye reports that Trinidad residents 'question the lingering police presence on their street.'
Yet another pants lawsuit development: Roy Pearson's attempt to get his job as an administrative law judge back has failed miserably, with federal judge Ellen Huvelle tossing out his wrongful termination claim. Key line from her opinion, as related by Scott McCabe in Examiner: 'This case is a classic example of a plaintiff pleading himself out of court by alleging a host of facts that only serve to totally undercut his claims.' Oof. And here's Peter Nickles: 'This is a national and international embarrassment that a guy with nothing to say can go through court proceedings and waste the times and the resources of our judges and lawyers for so long.'
Another fabulous Jonathan O'Connell soccer scoop: Poplar Point isn't the only 'point' D.C. United is interested in for a stadium; they've reportedly contacted the Akridge Co. about a Buzzard Point parcel. 'Akridge has positioned the property, branded as 100 V Street, as perfect for a built-to-suit federal campus with room for major security standards. It comprises three blocks, enough for 2.7 million square feet of development, and is less than a mile from two Metro stations. Plus, it's near the Nationals Park, which would give D.C. its own mini stadium district.'
More muckamucks sign on to Clark Ray council run, D.C. Wire reports via a Peter Rosenstein press release. 'Ray's newest supporters include Carlene Cheatam, founder of the D.C. Coalition, Joel Lawson, former president of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and Spence Spencer, president of the Palisades Civic Association.'
Biz Journal's Melissa Castro reports on a sorority war: Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sue in D.C. Superior Court to oust Barbara McKinzie as national president for 'a long list of alleged financial misdeeds,' including a claim that 'McKinzie used the organization’s money to commission a $900,000 “living legacy wax figure” of herself.' Truly messy.
GGW has 13 great ways to 'internalize environmental externalities'—i.e. make people pay for the real costs of their earth-destroying activities.
Pro-Michelle Rhee advocacy group D.C. School Reform Now releases poll numbers showing that Rhee has 'an approval rating of 62 percent...with a 7% increase over a similar poll conducted in 2008.' And: 'Among DC officials, Chancellor Rhee had the highest proportion of respondents (27 percent) who "strongly approve" of her job performance.'
AU CONTRAIRE, JACQUES—Former LL turned D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute wonk Elissa Silverman makes the case 'Why Raising Some Taxes at This Time Is Sound Economic Policy,' refuting the Evans line of thinking. She's got Joseph Stiglitz and Peter Orszag on her side. ALSO—If you're simpatico, you might sign up to 'Save Our Safety Net.'
Bishop Harry Jackson can keep his D.C. voter registration, the Board of Elections and Ethics has ruled, according to Cary Silverman: 'The language of the letter is puzzling....[T]he letter states that Rev. Jackson provided "documents of your intent to become a qualified elector..." Was he not a qualified registered elector when he submitted the referendum on same sex marriage?''
Who Killed Robert Wone? has some tough questions for Cathy Lanier on alleged botching of the case by detectives.
WUSA-TV asks: 'Why Are Businesses Leaving Cleveland Park?'
WJLA-TV is 'On the Side' of a fired DCPS employee, Sheila Jefferson, who 'says she was promised her job would be there when she was ready to return but says she's now getting the runaround. After 28 years of working for D.C. Public Schools, she says she deserves better treatment.'
The District's $6.45M sale of D.C. Village land to Metro for a new bus facility is a done deal.
Fire reported yesterday morning at Anacostia SHS.
Metrobus collides with school bus downtown; no one seriously hurt.
Two teenagers shot on Atlantic Street SW yesterday afternoon. 'D.C. Fire & EMS spokesman Pete Piringer says one of the teens was hit in the stomach, and the other in the chest. Both were taken to Medstar, but their exact ages were unknown.'
OK, THIS PRESIDENTIAL BURGER THING IS GETTING OUT OF CONTROL—'Former President Bill Clinton popped into Z Burger Saturday night in Tenleytown. Despite having undergone by-pass surgery, the self-described burger enthusiast ordered a double, fries, and a shake,' WTTG-TV notes.
NOW TWEETING—@TommyWells! Sample: 'Appreciate the the Post editorial today supporting an increase in the DC gas tax. Question is how high? Equal to MD or more?'
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—He's back! 10:30 a.m.: remarks, DCPS New School Initiative announcement, Malcolm X ES, 1351 Alabama Ave. SE; 5:15 p.m.: remarks, Turner ES baseball field ribbon-cutting, 1500 Mississippi Ave. SE.