Showdown at Verizon Center: Loose Lips Daily
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—The Loose Lips Quotes of 2009
Morning all. Your regularly scheduled LL is back in the saddle here at LL Daily. His body's not quite back in town yet, but his spirit is. Nice quiet weekend on the local news front. The story thus far of the new year has to be the revelations of weapons-involved standoff on Dec. 19 in a Verizon Center locker room between Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton over a reported poker debt. Was it a Western-style showdown, as the New York Post first reported? Or was it a somewhat less dramatic encounter, as WaPo's Michael Lee describes? Gilbert's certainly been tweeting his fingers off about it. Whatever happened, Arenas and Crittenton will be telling D.C. police and prosecutors all about the incident today.
AFTER THE JUMP—The bag fee arrives; Colby King ponders a changing District; Love gets shuttered by police; DCPS facing $22M in 2011 cuts; city sues AT&T over calling cards; landmark plaintiff wants first District gay wedding; D.C. racks up 143 murders in 2009—lowest in decades
The bag tax is in effect! WaPo's very early findings: 'In interviews, residents exhibited varying degrees of awareness and enthusiasm about the law, which the District has tried to promote in recent weeks by sending businesses logo stickers and signs reading "Skip the Bag, Save the River." Some customers said they knew it was coming, but not when. Others were caught unaware.' Also NC8, WTTG-TV. One local biz owner tells Tommy Wells, 'It's working!' Americans for Tax Reform remains skeptical, via Examiner. WaPo readers are split. Alas, the D.C. ban has failed to persuade Mumbai to follow suit, the Times of India reports.
Colby King, in his Saturday column, ponders the changes in the District heralded by the population jump. He touches on changing demographics, mayoral leadership, and the snowball fight. His takeaway: 'The 10-year growth spurt has brought in residents with more income and education. Over that same time, two once-influential D.C. institutions — labor unions and black churches — have been relegated to marginal positions in city life. Both are casualties of black flight to the suburbs....It's not far-fetched to say that the city's power center is shifting from longtime residents to the newly arrived, meaning those who have moved in over the past 10 years or so. The political story of the decade, largely unreported, is how a succession of mayors has recognized and tried to accommodate the changes they saw coming — changes driven more by economics than by race. The simple truth: People moving in have the bucks to buy. [Anthony Williams] never tried to stand in the way. [Adrian M. Fenty] hasn't either. Instead, both mayors, without saying so, have sought to prepare residents, especially the younger generation, for what's to come: a more racially diverse and more competitive District where education and skills will matter more than the cover of a protective racial blanket.'
Marc Barnes is not a happy camper right now: Following a non-fatal stabbing inside his Love nightclub early on New Year's Day, police chief Cathy Lanier ordered the place closed for up to 96 hours, WaPo reports—marking the first time the high-profile Ivy City club has been shuttered. 'Lanier acted following a rash of violence at the club. According to police, a man suffered a skull fracture in an altercation with a bouncer on Dec. 26. And the following day a man at the club suffered a serious head injury....Barnes posted a response Sunday evening on the Love Web site, saying, "I fully respect the chief's decision and adhere to her demand . . . our patrons' and community's safety is our number one priority." The decision to shut down the club came on what could have been one of its most lucrative weekends of the year. It was forced to cancel a New Year's Day appearance by Drake and a Saturday concert by Nicki Minaj, two of the most buzzed-about rappers to emerge in 2009.'
Michelle Rhee tells WaPo's Bill Turque that a planned $22M in FY2011 budget cuts 'won't limit her efforts to transform historically poor academic performance' at DCPS. The news: 'A PowerPoint presentation that D.C. schools officials gave to principals and parent leaders on Dec. 16 showed "school support" dropping more than 13 percent, from $126.8 million to $109.9 million. Direct funding to schools, for teachers and basic classroom supplies, remained at the current level of $614.3 million under the plan.' Also, complaints persist about the schools budgeting process.
AG Peter Nickles has sued AT&T over calling cards—specifically, the company's practice of holding onto prepaid cards' unused balances. 'The suit claims that AT&T should turn over unused balances on the calling cards of consumers whose last known address was in Washington, D.C. and have not used the calling card for three years,' under unclaimed-property laws. Radley Balko at Reason is not a fan: 'Next up, D.C. sues Burger King for stray fries that go uneaten after falling to the bottom of the drive-thru bag.'
The 2009 murder count in D.C. stops at 143, a record-low number acknowledged by WaPo, Examiner, WaTimes, WTOP. And still no one's quite sure why. However: On Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, WaPo notes, five men were murdered in the District—'a surprising flurry of violence in a year in which the number of homicides in the city was at its lowest in decades. Until the first of the five separate killings, the number of homicides reported in December was three, which would have been among the lowest monthly figures for the year.' Three have been ID'd: Tavon M. Borum, 23; Emmanuel Durant Jr., 19; and Carnell W. Bolden, 36.
First murder of 2010: Zachery J. Funke, 22, of Frederick was stabbed to death Saturday night in a house on the 1700 block of Mississippi Avenue SE. 'Detectives quickly identified a suspect and arrested Terrance D. Brooks, 44, of Southeast Washington about 2:35 a.m. Sunday. Brooks has been charged with second-degree murder while armed,' WaPo reports.
Sad, tragic case: Temple Hills man pleads guilty to pimping his foster daughter on the streets of D.C., Freeman Klopott reports in Examiner. 'Shelby Lewis, 42, brought the girls from Maryland to the District, where they walked the popular prostitution track at 14th and K streets. The girls ranged in age from 12 to 16....Few details have emerged regarding how Lewis gained custody of the child because those records are sealed. Foster care reformers have said the circumstances are symbolic of the need for cases to be open to the public to prevent the future abuse of children.' Lewis faces 15 to 20 years in prison.
'District police face the possibility that nearly a dozen rapists who each have claimed multiple victims are still preying on area women after forensic scientists linked 11 unsolved rapes to similar attacks in the region,' Bill Myers reports in Examiner. Such a revelation comes after running DNA samples through an FBI database. 'The "hits," documented in a memo circulated among detectives, represent the first scientific breakthrough for the department in decades. While other police agencies routinely use DNA evidence to solve even low-level burglaries, the D.C. police department has struggled to build its own forensic program.'
WaPo's Clarence Williams, following Examiner's scoop, writes up the MPD sting operation that 'netted 123 guns, $150,000 and $1.5 million worth of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and PCP,' not to mention 44 arrests. 'Dozens were arrested, including suspects from Latin America and Africa. Federal authorities traced weapons to Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Through a wiretap, investigators also traced a heroin trail from Canada to the District....Nearly every day, the weapons poured in to EB Auto Body, the phony business in Langdon Park. Sellers with nicknames including Fat Boy and Killa came in with handguns, high-power assault rifles, extended ammunition clips and laser sights. The weapons were transported in pant legs, cardboard boxes and blankets.'
Kudos to AP's Jessica Gresko, who tracks down Craig Dean—he of Dean v. District, the landmark case on gay marriage in the District. He and Patrick Gill, now deceased, pressed their case through the D.C> Court of Appeals. 'And though they lost their landmark case, the city last month finally did what it had refused to do back then: legalize gay marriage. Mr. Dean, who now lives in South Carolina and runs a talent agency for gay and lesbian speakers, said he cried when he read the news. "They owe me a marriage license," he said....And Mr. Dean, who carries bittersweet memories of his and Gill's pioneering effort, wants the first spot in line.'
D.C., along with Virginia, is seeking federal cash to pay for snow removal from last month's blizzard, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. 'The Federal Emergency Management Agency funds could make a dent in the costs but will not solve the problem for the cash-strapped governments....FEMA pays for 75 percent of expenses for 48 hours of historic storms....But the storm hit some parts of the region worse than others, and the preparations and cleanup lasted in some places for well over five days. Snow totals also need to be close to or above record levels so the damage of past storms is also relevant.'
Also: The Department of Corrections had about 20 D.C. Jail prisoners shoveling snow around town, Agence France-Presse reports. 'Two work crews comprising some 20 prisoners convicted of minor offenses were deployed around the city December 18 and 19, along with two prison guards to watch over them, DOC spokesman Michon Parker told AFP. Each inmate was paid 7.50 dollars per hour for their work, he added.'
Arlington man, 22, dies after car plunges into Rock Creek. Writes WaPo: 'D.C. fire crews had to break their way into the ice-laden vehicle Sunday morning to get to Joshua A. Kuhlman, authorities said....Police said they aren't sure how or even when the car ended up in Rock Creek. D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said there were no witnesses to the incident. A jogger passing by the area of the creek around P Street NW just after 10 a.m. Sunday spotted the car and alerted authorities.' Also Examiner, WAMU-FM, NC8, WUSA-TV.
Jonetta Rose Barras has some New Year's resolutions: 'I'm also determined not to speak ill of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray's process obsession or Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's press conference mania. I won't describe at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson's style as "all trees and no forest." I won't refer to Ward 3's Mary Cheh as the embedded People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals advocate on the council....In fact, I've pledged to find at least one good thing in the executive or legislative branch about which I can write each month. Yes, really.'
Capitol Hill resident Jim Farley serves the homeless from his neighborhood church.
Metro cost-cutting strategy: Trim call-center hours. 'Beginning Jan. 10, the center that helps callers with trip planning and other information will close two hours earlier — at 8:30 p.m., Metro officials said.' That'll save $400K.
WaPo's V. Dion Haynes forecasts the regional economy in 2010. Expect 'continued sluggishness in convention bookings and commercial real estate but some improvement in employment and productivity.'
Census Bureau looks to partners to help with 2010 count.
From WaPo's 2009 'The List': Adrian Fenty is out; David Catania is in.
John Kelly's 2nd annual D.C. quiz!
WaPo: 'A D.C. man who threw his son's pet lizard across the street and fatally injured it was arrested on an animal cruelty charge this week, police said.'
Very good interview with Dan Tangherlini: 'My time in the city was one adventure after another. The great thing about the city is that you need to deliver services every day. There is an old joke in municipal governance that a mayor runs for office every day because someone’s garbage needs to get picked up or someone needs to respond to a 911 call. That really focuses you and shows you that it is all about the outcomes and service delivery to the taxpayer. Trying to bring some of that focus to outcomes and the need for speed is what I am trying to bring to the federal government now.'
See DC Agenda's Top 10 local stories of 2009.
Kevin Chavous talks education in C-SPAN.
Pennsylvania Avenue SE construction starts today.
Long-term Mall plan is issued for public comment.
Check out how Bill Rice spent his New Year's Eve...
Jack Neam, proprietor of the onetime 'most expensive market in the world,' is dead at 88.
See ya, Jim Zorn.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: press briefing, JAWB 412
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—12 p.m.: remarks, update on School Resource Officer coverage plan, MPD Patrol Services and School Security Bureau, 801 Shepherd St. NW.