Where’s the Transparency?: Loose Lips Daily
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—'Pershing Park Case: Nickles Plans To Respond To Patterson's Letter'
Morning all. Last night, WRC-TV's Tom Sherwood cited 'school sources' in his report that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty 'did follow the process' in getting his twin sons admitted to high-performing Lafayette Elementary. Those sources cite 'widespread public misunderstanding' of the out-of-boundary admissions process. But there has been no effort on Fenty's part to clear up that misunderstanding. Asked again by LL yesterday about the matter, Fenty said that he's 'not going to get into a discussion about my kids....I'm ready to move on to the next issue.' Question is, will the rest of the town move on without a full accounting—folks like this recent poster to the D.C. Urban Moms list: '[T]he Mayor has one set of rules for his own precious children, and another set of rules for the rest of us hoi polloi.' If the process was followed, why not put these attitudes to rest?
AFTER THE JUMP—Arts program brings gun parts into New Beginnings, guards miffed; another fired Fenty employee speaks out; Jack Olender enters the Metro crash lawsuit bonanza; District sues Virgin Islands; cupcakes save local economy; cocaine hidden in bra prompts media groaners.
A great story from WaPo cops beatster Theola Labbé-DeBose: Guards at New Beginnings Youth Center are angry over a therapeutic program called 'Guns to Roses,' which is 'designed to help teens realize the social impact of violent behavior by teaching them blacksmithing and welding, and then applying those skills to illegal weapons seized by D.C. police.' That, of course, means bringing gun parts into the facility. And 'union officials said that they weren't told about the program and that it was a safety hazard to bring weapons—albeit inoperable ones—into the facility, because guards could have mistaken them for working guns.' DYRS says security supervisors were fully briefed. Says union honcho Tasha Williams: 'I don't care if the guns are inoperable. You introduced contraband into a secure facility.'
Add another name to the lengthy list of disgruntled former Fenty administration at-will employees: Ex-DPR aquatics director Brendan McElroy tells WaPo's Tim Craig 'that his recent firing was "unjust and unfair," so he would like to have his job back.' He cites a 'strained relationship' with DPR chief Ximena Hartsock. 'McElroy said he remains unable to figure out the exact source of his tension with Hartsock. "She never has given me a task that has not been completed, verbally or written....I don't know what's in her mind," McElroy said. "But I know when she came in, she brought 10 people into the transition team, and the entire summer I was, in essence, reporting to a 23-year-old who had no experience in aquatics but had the ear of the director."'
Harry Jaffe rightly slaps critics trying to score political points (for instance, for instance) off a low initial DCPS enrollment number: 'Relying on that number would be like basing attendance for a baseball game by counting fans in the stands for the first pitch. The stands are always half-empty, but by the third inning, they have plumped up.' Jaffe also wonders why Fenty is so freakin' defensive about his kids' schooling: 'Chill, dude!...Why not flash that Fenty grin and say he's proud? Having broken the news last month that the boys would go to Lafayette, I can't figure why Fenty seems so embarrassed. Perhaps because he hopped Rock Creek Park to find the best school?' Uh, perhaps.
WEST EC REACTS—Jaffe gets a statement from Sherilyn Pruitt of the West PTA: 'Regarding our Mayor and his twins, we would welcome the children with open arms and would be glad to include the mayor, his wife, and his children as part of the West family. But regardless of whether or not they enroll at West, West will become a model of what can happen at a D.C. public school when you have the right leadership, great teachers and parental involvement.'
Superior Court Judge Maurice Ross has ruled that 'ex-gays' are a protected class under the the D.C. Human Rights Act. Both WCP's Sexist and Examiner cover the ruling, which comes as part of a lawsuit by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays over being excluded from a 2002 National Education Association event. The group lost its lawsuit, but Ross ruled that former gays are protected because '[t]he premise of the HRA is simple: to end all discrimination based on anything other than individual merit.'
YAY, CHARTERS!—Such is the WaPo editorial board's position this morning, lauding a new Public Charter School Board accountability initiative: 'In what is being described as a national first, the city's charters will be subjected to a uniform evaluation process. Developed with grants from national foundations, the "performance management framework" will include academic measures, such as student test scores and readiness for graduation, and nonacademic indicators, such as governance and fiscal management....The evaluations will help parents figure out the best place for their children, reward quality in schools and make it easier to close schools that don't perform.'
Darryl Fears hits WaPo A1 with a piece on ex-drug dealers who now play the streets of our city getting the word out about HIV/AIDS. Says one: 'The same rapport you had with people you were selling drugs to, that's the same skill set you use to sell HIV and AIDS prevention....The people skills you developed from that apply here.' The nearly-year-old program is run by the nonprofit Community Education Group, run by A. Toni Young. 'About 20 men and women, most of whom have criminal records, have completed the program's training courses since it began in October, Young said. "...[T]hese workers have distributed more than 100,000 condoms east of the Anacostia River, they have tested more than 2,000 residents of wards 7 and 8, and they have referred more than 100 people to substance abuse care and treatment, and this area needs that."'
Jack Olender is in on Metro crash litigation! WTTG-TV reports that the top trial lawyer has filed suit on behalf of Cameron Taihi Williams, who died in the June collision.
The District has taken the U.S. Virgin Islands to court, Biz Journal reports, over $5.7M in unpaid bills for USVI residents treated at St. Elizabeths. 'The four patients—indigent permanent residents of the Virgin Islands—were transferred to the hospital over the years 1985 to 1989. One patient was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia and two others were transferred to the D.C. facility after being found not guilty, by reason of insanity, of such criminal acts as grand larceny. The fourth was discharged from the hospital in 2006 and transferred to a rehab facility in the Virgin Islands, according to the complaint.'
ALSO FROM BIZ JOURNAL—Jonathan O'Connell follows up on his story earlier this month about the National Trust for Historic Preservation's proposal to move into the MLK Library. Local architect Darrel Rippeteau now presents a plan that suggests 'carving a cortile—a sort of enclosed courtyard—through the center of the building and lining it with glass so that people in the center would have some access to natural light. As Rippeteau points out, the building "harbors a deep dark airless interior suitable for machines or files, but not humans."'
And a list of 'distressed' local properties includes: 'The Collins Group's Marbury Plaza, a delinquent apartment building at 2300 Good Hope Road, SE that has a loan amount of $40.7 million' and 'Broadway Management Company's The Dumont at 425 Massachusetts Ave. NW, a completed condominium project that has a loan amount of $186 million.'
Michelle Rhee is now posting her public schedule on the D.C. Public Schools Web site—sort of. It seems to have been fixed now, but Bill Turque points out in a chuckler of a D.C. Wire item that the schedule for a long while just listed 'busy' for many of the time slots.
NB—Rhee will appear on both WTOP's Politics Program and WAMU-FM's Politics Hour on Friday.
WAMU-FM's Kavitha Cardoza talks with NPR's Tell Me More program about one charter school, National Prep, and their efforts to attract students for their Sept. 8 opening day. '[I]t was pretty amazing to see people's reactions. Some of them wanted more information. Some of them said that charter schools are no better than D.C. public schools. Some of them were so happy that there was a high school that was another alternative for children in that ward.'
MORE FENTY FIELD FALLOUT—The D.C. Republican Committee says, via D.C. Wire, that '[t]he administration has essentially created a Fenty Field' at Tubman ES in Columbia Heights. 'When did renovating a sports field for D.C. Kids take a back seat to the mayor's full throttle of self promotion? If the new field is really for kids, the Mayor should remove his name from the field immediately.' Also WRC-TV and New Columbia Heights, which asks whether local neighborhood residents will be able to use the facility.
Examiner's Michael Neibauer visits "Condo Canyon"—that would be the 200 block of 15th Street SE, where a 'former Hill East carry-out joint known to be magnet for drugs and violence has been reborn, to some neighborhood dismay, as a condominium and retail complex....Carry Lofts at 257 15th St. SE, with its four two-bedroom units, ground floor retail space and sidewalk patio, is a striking substitute for the New Dragon, which closed in late 2005 amid neighbors' protests and a lawsuit. But the new property has its critics, those who believe the rowhouse-lined neighborhood is growing oversaturated with condominiums.'
Savior of the local economy: Cupcakes! Thomas Heath writes in WaPo that '[i]n a recession that has laid low many businesses in the region...the pint-size cupcake sector is a bright spot. On a single weekend day, Georgetown Cupcake will bake 5,000 or so of the confections. Many are headed—in the company's Range Rover—for Washington's toniest suburbs, destined to fatten the waistlines at baby showers and birthday parties.' BUT: Will Georgetown Cupcake make it in Bethesda? The drama!
The construction of the National Mall memorial to Martin Luther King is waiting on National Park Service permits, Michael Ruane reports in WaPo. Says Harry E. Johnson Sr., president of the foundation building the memorial, 'I don't have an argument with the Park Service or anybody else...I just want to build a memorial.' On the permit, he says: 'All I know is that we don't have one, and I think that we should.' Nothing in the story about NPS comment. AP reports that the delay is 'because of a disagreement...over how to secure the site against possible domestic terrorism threats.' Also WAMU-FM, which reports that the memorial could be done in as little as 18 months.
District resident Sophia Williams, 53, is arrested at BWI Airport after arriving from Jamaica with more than 2.5 pounds of cocaine hidden in her bra. 'BWI Customs Agents Make a Large Bust,' reads the headline of the WaPo brief. Har har! The lede from Mark Segraves' WTOP item: 'It might be inappropriate to ask how big of a drug bust this was.' Har har har! WUSA-TV has video of a Customs official struggling mightily not to say 'breasts.'
Five-year-old is left on D.C. school bus after he was supposed to be taken to Prospect Learning Center, NC8 reports. He was left alone on the bus for at least 15 minutes at the New York Avenue NW terminal. 'According to transportation administrator David Gilmore, the bus driver and an on-board attendant were supposed to walk the bus after dropping off the children at school and do the same after reaching the terminal. Gilmore says there's even a bus monitor at the terminal who must check each bus. He says those three employees simply did not do their jobs and have been fired.'
Federal employee Alva Yelverton, 40, gets five years' probation for 'stealing 10 government-issued cellphones and giving them to family members and friends who ran up almost $20,000 in charges,' according to WaPo's Del Wilber.
Metro's lost-and-found office is moving from Silver Spring to Hyattsville, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. WMATA is 'estimating it can save nearly $6 million over the next decade on rent. The 40,000-square-foot office space on Belcrest Road in Hyattsville also gives the agency some room to grow for other customer services such as the headquarters of its fast-growing disability access service.'
H Street NE will be an even bigger mess than usual this week: Intersections, lanes will close today and Friday to allow streetcar track installations.
Harry Thomas Jr. participated in Sunday's 'Ride for Life' HIV/AIDS fundraiser, riding his new chopper!
The featured guest this year at Friday's D.C. Poetry Festival at Carter Barron is Gil-Scott Heron. Courtland Milloy interviews him for his WaPo column. Best part:
[Milloy] In the early 1970s, you came out with "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," about the erosion of democracy in America....Did we have a revolution?
[Scott-Heron] Yes, the election of President Obama was the revolution.
[Milloy] But that was televised.
American Prospect's Dana Goldstein examines the new DCPS Teaching and Learning Framework: 'Notably lacking is discussion of specific curricular questions—for example, how much should teachers emphasize writing or public speaking in formulating student assignments? Is multiple choice more effective than true/false at assessing student understanding? Nevertheless, the framework seems commonsensical.'
Northeast nonprofit The Fishing School to get the 'Extreme Makeover' treatment. WRC-TV reports that Police Chief Cathy Lanier has tasked 'dozens' of on-duty Special Operations officers to secure the Deanwood site. Kris Baumann calls the situation 'unacceptable.'
Some Edgewood residents don't like new 'graffiti'-like mural in their neighborhood, Sam Ford reports for WJLA-TV/NC8.
IN MEMORIAM—Fenty releases statement this morning on Sen. Edward Kennedy's death: 'Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered for his leadership as a life-long public servant, and for his legacy of reaching across party lines to get results on some of the most important issues of our time. Senator Kennedy's presence will be sorely missed in the halls of the Capitol and throughout our capital city. Our hearts and thoughts are with the Kennedy family during this difficult loss.'
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT—Washington City Paper has new owners. Again. LL will persevere.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—10:15 a.m.: remarks, Capitol Quarter ribbon-cutting, 1023 4th St. SE; 4 p.m.: remarks, DCPS Advanced Placement gains, Columbia Heights Education Center, 3101 16th St. NW.