Weekend in Review
Excuse me for mislabeling the title of this blog post: How can you have a weekend-in-review post for a three-day weekend that hasn't concluded just yet?
This is the King. Jr. holiday weekend. To commemorate the occasion, the Washington Post has written an editorial.
As the piece says, this is a day that defaults to rest and recreation, rather than to reflection. So there'll be a lot of resting and recreating happening out there today. City Desk will be tracking these events in real time, right as they do not occur. We'll keep you updated on the lack of news.
In other news, see this sweet post by Rend Smith on Trooper, the dog that was duct-taped and left for dead last summer. The pooch is up for adoption after getting some excellent post-trauma therapy.
What the hell is FoBoGro?
More typos in the Washington Post than ever before. Who would believe it? Ombo Andy Alexander blames a creature of the aughts–SEO.
Peter Nickles shines again, this time in a Post Metro story about $875 million in Fenty administration contracts. The scoop here is that D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray wants to give the administration more time to submit them for council review and avoid a legislative measure to stop payment on them.
This hubbub is all about power: The administration had been funneling contracts to construction firms without getting council approval, as required by law. And that's where Nickles comes in, via this excerpt of the Post piece:
Nickles acknowledged that such contracts should be sent to the council, although he said the construction contracts are legal and binding.
So even though the administration went around the instrumentality that's supposed to approve the contracts, they're still "legal and binding." That's been Nickles' position for some time, and there's some justification for it. Imagine if the government stops payment—you'd have tons of suits from the contractors, all of them complaining that the paper they signed was binding.
So I'm OK with binding. Calling them "legal," however, confers a propriety that this process has never had. "Legal" means properly done, respectful of approval channels, and compliant with all relevant regulations. And here, Nickles' characterization breaks down. The contracts, though binding, are outlaws.
Ward 8 Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr. gets it right: "I'm shocked that Peter Nickles, as a lawyer, would want to break the law. I'm willing to make them obey the law. If the government shuts down, it's at the feet of Peter Nickles and Mayor Adrian Fenty. I'm tired of it."