The Marion Barry Temp Agency: Loose Lips Daily
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"Barry, Staff Critical Of Ex-Girlfriend's Work", ""Pershing Park: Another Piece Of Evidence Goes Missing; One Cop Speaks Out," "Complaint No. 09-109484: Fenty's Traffic Accident Report," "More On The Fenty Accident Report."
Morning all. Let's get to it. FOIAs are starting to come back regarding Barry's suspicious contract work. WaPo provides a sweet overview of Barry's contracts. The upshot: Barry spent way more than his fellow councilmembers on contract work and the results of that work are ambiguous. It's like he operated a temp agency out of his office. WaPo writes: "Newly released documents show that from fiscal 2007 to 2009, Barry's office spent more than $252,000 on outside contracts, eclipsing the second-biggest spender, Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large), whose office spent $45,000....Barry (D-Ward 8) paid for a variety of consulting services, media relations assistance and temporary workers. Some of the work appears to have little connection to city business. One consultant hired to address poverty in Ward 8 lived in Ohio." WaPo also published a piece on the saga between Barry, his ex-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt and Delonta Brighthaupt. This time the story is told via e-mails between Barry, his ex and her ex-husband. What you need to know: If you are a councilmember or are thinking about becoming a councilmember, do not hire your girlfriend. It should be noted that days before Barry was arrested on stalking charges, Watts-Brighthaupt had rejected the councilmember's latest contract offer.
CAR ACCIDENT CHRONICLES PART ONE: This past Sunday's fender bender is becoming a minor controversy for Mayor Fenty. WaPo notes that the police report not only contradicts Fenty and Co.'s public accounting of the crash but appears to show D.C. Police officers violating their own procedures. Weirdest detail: the report was taken by a member of Fenty's security detail and not a regular beat cop. Key graph: "Spokeswoman Mafara Hobson wrote in an e-mail Sunday that 'a vehicle ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of the Mayor's vehicle, causing a collision.' But the accident report indicates that Fenty's Lincoln Navigator was the "striking vehicle" in the crash with the Nissan Pathfinder, driven by James Utt Jr., 19." We have the police report/collector's item.
CAR ACCIDENT CHRONICLES PART TWO: News crews, Fenty and others were about to start a press conference at Penn and Alabama Avenues SE when two cars collided in a bad accident. Citizens and politicos rushed to the scene to help. NBC4 has footage, interviews with one of the drivers and a shocked looking Fenty. WJLA has more: "Fire officials say the two-car crash occurred around 4 p.m. when witnesses and people passing by became first responders. After the crash, people ran to a smoldering Cadillac and battled to get the two people trapped and injured inside to safety away from the vehicle." WaPo has an account as well; the mayor's press conference was canceled. Fox5 was there, too.
PRIVATE SECURITY LOSES DISTRICT CONTRACT: The Examiner's Michael Neibauer reports that Fenty is moving to cut out Hawk One from city contracts. Hawk One security guards are the ubiquitous greeters/wanders at various government buildings and public schools. Hawk One has lost one city contract and is expected to be out as the school security force as well. Key graphs: "The company has fared poorly since winning the job in 2005, District officials say. Employees in government buildings are poorly supervised, inadequately trained and armed, and ineffective at checking people, city officials say. In the schools, Hawk One personnel have struggled to contain violence and have a history of fraternizing with students. 'Their performance was just not up to standards,' one city leader said. 'They did themselves in.'"
AFTER THE JUMP—Jonetta on the hydrant problem, the WaPo editorial board weighs in on Pershing Park, and some serious fiscal policy.
PERSHING PARK: WaPo's editorial board gently nudges AG Peter Nickles to get to explain the problems in a Pershing Park case languishing in U.S. District Court. Last week, a federal judge slammed the OAG's inadequate response to discovery and promised painful sanctions. By our count, this is the third time a federal judge has recently taken OAG to task. Judges have rebuked Nickles and Co. in the CFSA case as well as a Special Ed attorney case. This case stems from the September 27, 2002 mass arrests in Pershing Park. Key newsy graph: "Mr. Nickles told us that he is taking the judge's admonition to heart. He has blamed the city's inability to properly manage records during discovery on a chronic lack of resources, but he said he is reserving judgment on exactly what went wrong in this case until he knows all the facts. It's encouraging that he enlisted former federal judge Stanley Sporkin, who is offering his considerable expertise on a pro bono basis, to advise him." The editorial board suggests Fenty settle the case, and if the the problems aren't cleared up by Nickles, it states that the court should get involved—not the D.C. Council. The editorial states that the D.C. Council isn't fit to investigate since many have already "prejudged the outcome."
HYDRANTS: The Examiner's Jonetta Rose Barras believes Peggy Cooper Cafritz and her neighbors should sue over the faulty hydrants. It's the only way to get some straight answers on the matter. Key graph: "What's there to investigate about the fire that destroyed the home of former D.C. Board of Education President Peggy Cooper Cafritz on Chain Bridge Road? Either fire hydrants worked or they didn't. Either the water pressure was adequate or it wasn't. It's just that simple. But the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority and fire department are doing the butt-covering dance."
D.C. BUDGET: The DC Fiscal Policy Institute provides a great overview on the District budget and the D.C. Council's moves to make up for the revenue shortfalls. Key graph: "On the positive side, the Council saved programs crucial to the city’s safety net from the chopping block and avoided even deeper funding cuts by raising revenue. Yet some of the tax increases are regressive, meaning they will have a greater financial impact on moderate and low income DC residents."
WHEN SNAKES ATTACK: WJLA/News Channel 8 are reporting that two Southeast residents have been bitten by poisonous copperhead snakes! Key graph: "Forty-eight-year-old Angela Bradford was walking her dog last week when something brushed against her shoe. She bent down to see what it was, and a snake bit her finger. Bradford took a picture of the snake with her cell phone, and doctors determined it was a copperhead. She underwent anti-venom therapy."