Weekend in Review
OK, I've heard enough: The D.C. government, if I were King Adrian M. Fenty, would freeze all funding for nonprofit social service providers till each and every one of them could show documentation that they deserve their earmarks. That's the lesson from Washington City Paper's midsummer audits of the nonprofits that Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry funded via D.C. Council earmarks. In that group of sorry organizations, there were forgeries in incorporation documents, strange circumstances surrounding their creation, and precious little to show for the money.
If that's sounding familiar, perhaps because it's because you just read the latest installment in the Washington Post's series on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the District, with a focus on Wards 7 and 8, which make up the east-of-the-river portion of the city. Here's just a portion of the findings:
Much of what was left was awarded to programs that had little lasting impact east of the river, hobbling a well-intentioned effort to drive money into an area that has long lacked a network of established nonprofit groups to help slow the spread of the disease.
The Health Department used the fund to pay for a high-end study instead of services, a neighborhood AIDS office in Ward 7 that closed within months and grants to nonprofit groups tainted by financial and operational problems, records show.
The city's leaders, it appears, are suckers for earnest-sounding nonprofits. Time to start taking a close look at where the money is going. That job, sure, falls to the Fenty people, but it falls just as clearly to the council, which is supposed to be deploying its legislative staff to just the sort of followup that the Post has been doing on HIV/AIDS and that another outlet did on the Barry earmarks.
This oversight record can't help the big-time ambitions of the council's chief.
Saturday, Dec. 5: rainy and then some snow. Sunday, Dec. 13: rain almost all day. That may not mean much to the average D.C. schmo, but it means a lot to all those folks who try to raise some cash via the sale of Christmas trees and related accessories. These have been absolutely critical weekends for such entrepreneurs. Who, after all, is going to buy a tree on the weekend of Dec. 19 and 20? Just sayin'.
Robert McCartney, rooting for a two-individual mayoral race.