City Desk

It’s Not About The Bike(s): Loose Lips Daily

As much local politics as humanly possible. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: "Howard Theater Set To Break Ground In August,"Dennis Sobin Is Offended By Anti-Fenty Booing," "Witness: Joe Price 'Pulled The Knife Out' of Robert Wone," "The Blotter: They Don't Call It A 'Hack' License For Nothing," "World Cup Roundup"

Good morning. Mayor Adrian Fenty went into heavy damage control mode on Monday. Not for his Attorney General's absurd stance on FOIA requests. Not over mismanagement inside DYRS. No. Yesterday, he took full responsibility for the bike thefts from his home. The Examiner's Bill Myers, who broke the story yesterday morning, has a follow up. In his latest piece, Myers reports that Fenty has had a tense way with his security staff. It doesn't look fun over there in Crestwood:

"Records obtained by The Examiner show that at least two officers have been disciplined in previous incidents on the Fenty property. In June 2008, vandals sprayed 'Bact3ria' and 'MC Gang Member' on the mayor's garage door. As in the bike theft, the crime was caught on surveillance tape while an officer was in the nearby guard post. That officer was given a written reprimand for dereliction, internal police documents show. In December 2009, a neighbor knocked on Fenty's door, carrying some pamphlets for the mayor. The veteran officer who was on duty in the guardhouse at the time has been transferred from the mayor's security team and given a 15-day suspension for failing to keep the woman away, records show. The officer is fighting that suspension, arguing that rules requiring the officers to remain in their guard posts and to respect 'the privacy of the mayor, his family, friends, neighbors and visitors' meant that he had no right to interfere with the pamphleteer. According to internal police documents, Fenty walked to the guardhouse and demanded that his neighbor be escorted off his lawn."

WaPo's Nikita Stewart has more on the mini controversy: "Fenty's delay in publicly acknowledging the theft earlier and a policy that prevents officers on duty from easily patrolling the mayor's property renewed concerns about Fenty's secrecy, which have included questions about not being more forthcoming with his public schedule and out-of-town travel as well as shunning police protection. The mayor has said his travel and family outings are private. Kris Baumann, who heads the local Fraternal Order of Police, said he learned about the incident Saturday when the union was informed by police brass that [the Mayor's security guard] was being investigated and would possibly be disciplined for allowing the theft. Baumann said officers are required to continuously monitor surveillance cameras from a guard booth at the Fenty property and must immediately contact the commanding officer of the executive protection unit when there is an emergency. The unit's policy does not allow officers to adequately patrol the 17th Street NW property, because officers risk being disciplined for leaving the booth, Baumann said. He added that two officers assigned to the mayor's home have been disciplined since June 2008. 'This was a huge miss for the mayor. He could have said this happened. . . . Instead, he tried to hide it,' said Baumann, whose union has endorsed Fenty's leading primary rival, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. 'How do you go from not commenting and acting like this didn't happen to taking full responsibility for it in 24 hours?'" More coverage via WTOP.

AFTER THE JUMP—DCPS to overhaul six failing schools, Wells vs. Fenty over DYRS hearing, a petition mystery, Metro announces casting call, and much, much more!

BONUS BIKE LINK: WUSA9's Bruce Johnson makes a good point on the bike-theft issue: How did the police not arrest those bike thieves? Johnson writes: "Taft Snowdon, a neighbor, wanted to know what were the thieves thinking as the Mayor's house has police security round the clock including an officer stationed in a guard shack on the front lawn with his cruiser parked in full view across the street. Nine News Now also counted eight security cameras mounted on the house and garage. It was from inside the guard shack that an armed officer monitored at least two figures entering the open garage then disappearing with the stolen bikes."

WELLS VS. FENTY: WaPo's Henri Cauvin reports that at yesterday's hearing on the problems at DYRS, Councilmember Tommy Wells ripped Mayor Fenty "for blocking D.C. police from addressing a hearing on juveniles who escape supervision by the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. Wells, whose Human Services Committee oversees DYRS, said the administration's last-minute decision 'really defies belief.' The hearing, originally scheduled for last month, was prompted by recent high profile crimes alleged to have involved juveniles, including the slaying of Brian Betts, a D.C. school principal killed in his Silver Spring home. DYRS Interim Director Marc Schindler is scheduled to appear late Monday at the hearing; the Fenty administration decided that Schindler's presence would be sufficient. But Wells made clear that the police are supposed to play a significant role in locating juveniles and should have been at the hearing."

DCPS: Six D.C. schools are set to be overhauled reports WaPo's Bill Turque: "About 150 teachers at six low-performing D.C. public schools must reapply for their jobs under a shake-up announced Monday by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. Three of the schools — Ballou Senior High and Garfield and Stanton elementary — are in Ward 8. The others are Davis Elementary in Ward 7 and two Ward 5 schools: the Hamilton Center for special education students and Luke C. Moore Academy, an alternative high school for those who drop out or have trouble adjusting to traditional schools. One of the six, Stanton, will be operated beginning this summer by a Philadelphia-based charter school organization, Scholar Academies. The changes are mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which gives Rhee options to address problems at schools that have consistently failed to make what the law describes as 'adequate yearly progress' on standardized test scores. Overall, about 90 of the District's 123 schools are under some form of federal notice to improve. The six schools cited Monday, with a combined enrollment of about 2,200, have undergone waves of federally mandated improvement and restructuring. Four of them — Ballou, Stanton, Hamilton and Garfield – have not met annual progress benchmarks for at least seven years. They will undergo what the law calls staff 'reconstitution.'"

D.C. COUNCIL RACE MYSTERY: WaPo's Mike DeBonis, reports on another petition issue: "D.C. Council candidate Kelvin Robinson abruptly switched races last week, abandoning his bid for an at-large council seat in order to challenge incumbent Ward 6'er Tommy Wells in the Democratic primary. Robinson's since explained that he wanted to focus more on close-to-home issues in his neighborhood east of Capitol Hill — particularly crime. But one crime may have had a more direct bearing on his decision to change campaign gears. The week prior, a scoundrel had broken into his car and made off with his ballot petitions. In other words, he was faced with collecting new signatures from at least 2,000 registered Democrats — and probably many more in order to forestall any challenges — by July 9 to get on the Sept. 14 citywide ballot. To challenge Wells, Robinson faces the somewhat more manageable goal of finding 250 Democrats registered in the ward. At the time of the theft, Robinson says, he was investigating a constituent complaint about traffic near Eastern High School in his duties as an advisory neighborhood commissioner. Besides the petitions, he says, the thief made off with his laptop and several digital drives. Robinson said the theft was 'not a major factor, but one of many things that let me know there's something happening in my ward.'"

This LL would like to see the police report before he believes Robinson's story.

DCRA NEWS: WBJ's Michael Neibauer reports that inspection scheduling can now be had 24/7: "The system (reachable at 202-442-9557) picks the earliest available date for an inspection, assigns an inspector and then keeps track of that inspection until the results are available, usually 48 hours after the work is done. 'We're well aware that in this economic climate, time wasted standing in line or waiting on hold translates into money wasted,' Linda Argo, director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, said in a news release. 'The IVR system recognizes that our customers' time is a precious commodity, and the less time they have to deal with bureaucracy, the more time they have to spend on growing their businesses.' To reach the IVR system, dial the number above then enter your building permit number, inspection code, select a date and receive a confirmation number."

METRO: Is set to hold auditions for its summer buskers program.

NBC4 SUCKS TODAY: Why? Because the network chose to use a sexist photo to illustrate a very serious stabbing in Chinatown. We're all for web snark. But this is just frat boy nonsense. More coverage on the stabbing via WTOP.

CATHOLIC U: Picks a new president.

SHOOTINGS IN SOUTHEAST: NC8 reports D.C. Police are investigating a shooting on Birney Place. WUSA9 has details on a shooting along Benning Road which took place early yesterday morning.

ROBERT WONE: An account of Day 14 of the conspiracy trial.

APPLE STORE: finally opens in Georgetown on Friday.

JIMMY DEAN RIP

MAYOR'S SCHEDULE:

10:45 a.m. Remarks
Rebranding of DC WASA
Location: Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW

D.C. COUNCIL SCHEDULE:

10 a.m. The Committee of the Whole Committee meeting.
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 500

11 a.m. Thirty-Eighth (Additional) Legislative Meeting
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 500

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Comments

  1. #1

    Did you see the Tom Sherwood report about Fentys bikes? His garage don't look like it was built two feet from the property line like Greys fence was sposed to be. I wonder if he got the proper permit and how he was able to get around the 2 feet from the property line law. Do anybody know if the public can find out or is that more classified info?

    I bet thats why he didnt want closer scruitiny of his garage. We might have found out that he too has code violations. Is he being treated like every other citizen as he says Grey is?

  2. #2

    There is no such thing as a "2 feet from the property line law".
    The only story here is that the police union and its majority Maryland membership is stepping into DC politics (again)this year.

  3. #3

    The police union protects officer. They have right to say their peace in their arena.

    This is weird campaign year.

    And no one seems to realize yet...in the Chair's race it is useless to pick sides. Say Orange wins--Kwame still has his seat and probably his spot as Economic Development chair but it does stop him for running for mayor in the next round.

    Say Kwame wins--you don't think the DC Democratic State Committee won't just appoint Orange on an interim basis...and then the well finance, knowledgeable and organized former councilmember won't simply the win the special election.

    It is like routing for someone in a game of musical chairs when their is only two candidates and only two chairs. Okay maybe 3 candidates but he has to start from outside the room.

  4. #4

    Pretty pathetic piece, LL. I expect such nonsense from Nikita "I love Vince" Stewart, but I thought you were better than blaming Fenty because some kids stole bikes from his home.

  5. #5

    Brahmin-
    The union is making political hay over the theft of childrens' bicycles. They have that right, sure, but it seems unseemly to me. But I guess that's politics for you.

  6. #6

    TH and Rez- I know that you two are Fenty's biggest cheerleaders here but the point of this post was to show yet another issue that the Mayor could have avoided if he was simply honest from the beginning. He comes out saying its all his fault to the media yet behind the scenes, he reprimanded the officer on duty (who was only following instructions). This is just another thing that points out Fenty's arrogance, insincerity, and duplicious behavior. Keep posting.

  7. #7

    I've heard rumors for years, the mayor has beat his wife in the past. There's been no proof to these allegations. I do know, King Fenty has a nasty temper and I witnessed it in person.

    I am very disappointed in Adrian. I supported him, when he was a nobody. The time has come for the corrupt vindictive monster to leave office. Adrian Fenty will end up like the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick.

  8. #8

    ABM
    I'm not sure how much attention the theft of a child's bicycle deserves in the first place, but I'm pretty sure that the police union is pimping it to every news outlet between Annapolis and Richmond.
    Why would anyone expect the Mayor to go public over the fact that his kids' bikes got ripped off? I see nowhere in any story about this where it's reported that any officer was "reprimanded", but obviously as in any crime there would be an investigation.
    So I'm left with the union pimping stories to the media about childrens' bicycle theft. You know, to protect their members or some nonsense. Ridiculous.

  9. #9

    See:
    "This was a huge miss for the mayor. He could have said this happened. . . . Instead, he tried to hide it," said Baumann, whose union has endorsed Fenty's leading primary rival, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. "How do you go from not commenting and acting like this didn't happen to taking full responsibility for it in 24 hours?"

  10. #10

    Read further. I think your blind support for the man have ignoring key things that make this issue relevant. He tried to cover up a harmless issue by claiming something that he does not believe himself- "it's my fault" yet behind the scenes, he made it clear that the officer on duty needed to be reprimanded for not "allowing" the theft to happen. The non-issue you all claim would be so if Fenty had simply been honest and transparent.

  11. #11

    ABM, have you even considered the possibility Fenty said it's his fault because he left the garage door open? And that regardless of whether the mayor leaves his garage door open, the cop assigned to provide security couldn't have been doing such a great job if he didn't catch the theives who were displayed on a video screen the cop was supposed to be monitoring? Geeez.

  12. #12

    And ABM, the story does NOT say an officer was disciplined for this incident. It talks about 2 disciplinary actions: one in 08 and one in 09. So you're just plain wrong on your "facts".

  13. #13

    @downtownrez: As usual I disagree with your assessment of this incident. At the root of this foolishness is the Mayor's demand that the on-site security not leave the guard post when they see suspicious activity on the closed caption televisions, but, rather, contact the off-site commander for instruction. What is the point of on-site security if they cannot act without fear of being disciplined.

    Though I don't like this person calling himself a Mayor, he does have a wife and kids to protect. That is his principle responsibility. If you are in public office and, as such, a target of any and all types of hatred, hog tying your security detail just isn't very wise. These thieving youngsters could have very well been a homicidal lunitic with open access to his garage and home.

    Lets just hope that this serves as a wakeup call for the Mayor to revisit his restrictive policies with regard to his security detail.

    Mr. Bauman is responsible for protecting the due process rights of officers. Cathy Lanier had already begun the disciplinary process against the stationed officer. Were it not for Bauman's public pronouncement, this officer would have more than likely been scapegoated.

    He did his job. That is what union members elect him to do.

  14. #14

    "Kris Baumann, who heads the local Fraternal Order of Police, said he learned about the incident Saturday when the union was informed by police brass that [the Mayor's security guard] was being investigated and would possibly be disciplined for allowing the theft."

    Reading is fundamental Truth...

  15. #15

    ABM
    So, we have the head of a union which just endorsed Gray talking to The Washington Post saying that there is an investigation and there could possibly be discipline involved. Possibly. And no MPD sources are cited in the WP story. Just union sources.
    And why is this is news?
    Reading is indeed fundamental, but words are meaningless without context and, dare I say, critical thought. None of that is present in the WP story.
    In the end, all there is is the head of an antagonistic union trash talking to the press about the theft of childrens' toys

  16. #16

    Can anyone tell me why a young person in the Mayor's DC Summer Youth Employment Program (Brandy Edmonds) who received training (at DC taxpayers expense) and did a great job at the employer (the DC Public Employee Relations Board) cannot be allowed be allowed to return to her employer we matched her up with years ago? According to the WIASRD, taxpayers receive the highest return on their investment when partnerships between stakeholders such as government agencies, employers, and training providers provide services with a 52 to 60 month window. You will see the income level among females (such as young Brandy Edmonds) soar if they receive a comprehensive and ongoing supportive career strategy such as the one that she is getting now. What's the problem? Respectfully, I am asking anyone who is able to help me fight for Brandy Edmonds to be able to return to her job at DC PERB. She did a great job! The employer loves her! Push the button Joseph Walsh! Transfer Brandy Edmonds back to the DC PERB! It cost you NOTHING to let this young lady return to work!

  17. #17

    proball
    Yes, we seem to hold different opinions about most things. I can see how you might come to your opinion on this, but I do think you are wrong. Here's my reasoning: From the news reports we know that the officer in the guardhouse is supposed to monitor remote surveillance and coordinate communications regarding incidents at the Mayor's house. What we don't know is what precisely their SOPs are (nor will we ever), or if there is any sort of judgment permitted these guards. I'm guessing that they are permitted- mandated, actually- to respond to matters of life and limb or personal safety, but that in minor events like this one they are supposed to keep their eyes on the big picture- the security of the Mayor's family.
    After all, it would be regrettable and they'd look pretty stupid if something major happened while they were responding to the theft of a child's toy from an outbuilding.

  18. #18

    This might give you a little insight on the events. Last year, Darrow and I went over the to mayor's house. We wanted to see if we could steal internet if we parked across the street. (We could).

    We also got out of the car. I approached the property. I took maybe one step before the cop yelled at us. We did get any further on the property. I don't see why the cop could not go after the bike thieves. He presumably has a radio. He could have called in the theft via his or her radio and gave chase.

    The reason the police did not comment is that the police for the most part do not talk on the record anymore about anything sensitive like this. Everyone is--just a good guess--taking direction from Nickles and Fenty.

  19. #19

    Thanks Jason the bottom line is Fenty and Nickels.

  20. #20

    Jason:
    Lol about two reporters going to the mayor's house and stealing internet. I'm not surprised you got yelled at. But it's a pretty funny stunt, in a stupid/ballsey sort of way.
    I've no idea why 2 kids got onto the grounds or into the garage without being seen, or even if they weren't seen.
    I'm not surprised no one is talking about the specific security protocols for the Mayor's house, the least of the reasons why is the one you mentioned.

  21. #21

    Oh, Jason- if the cop gave chase, who would be monitoring the other cameras? Should the rest of the property and its occupants go unwatched while someone chases down kids on bikes? Is that really the point of dedicated security?

  22. #22

    When we were there, another cop I think was idling in a cruiser.

  23. #23

    Jason-
    Are you suggesting that another cop (perhaps there was one idling in a cruiser), should have given chase?
    If so, it seems there is no disagreement. :)

  24. #24

    Jason, when you went perhaps a year ago, the person in the booth stopped you after taking maybe one step... well maybe, in the mean time, the mayor had company and his visitors got stopped the same way. What do you think the officers in the booth would be told to do the next time one of his friends/family/visitor came to the house? And how is the person at the booth to know friend or foe prior to them reaching front/back door if he isnt allowed to approach them, or leave the booth? AND how can you blame/discipline him for not leaving the booth if hes following orders? AND how can you blame him if a strangers at your door if hes told not to stop anyone?

    Well the last two officers DID get blamed AND SUSPENDED which is the reason for this incident becoming public, to stop the third officer, working under impossible conditions, from having his work record tainted by a civilian who thinks they know more about police policy and procedure than the actual law enforcement agencies who make them.

    If Fenty really feels he knows more, then he should stand behind every bad decision that he makes regarding the home security. THAT MEANS NO OFFICER SHOULD BE DISIPLINED for being put between a rock and a hard place. Oh but they have... twice before the officers have been the scapegoat for something going wrong after Fenty altered/changed/set protocal. That's what Bauman was trying to stop from happening this time. Too bad for Fenty it just happened to be election time.

    And Bauman not supporting him doesn't mean Fenty isnt doing anything suspect, it means anything suspect that he does involving police officers WILL NOT BE COVERED UP!

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