Cocaine Blues: Loose Lips Daily
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"World Cup Roundup," "Another O.J. Simpson Expert to Appear At Wone Trial," "District Unemployment Rate Drops," "Kojo: 'What's With The Hatred of Adrian Fenty?,'" "Scene, Protests At Georgetown Apple Store Opening," "Shooting Near 4D Police Headquarters"
Good Morning. There's so much news, let's just get to it. The Examiner's Bill Myers reports that the Fenty Administration had raided millions from workers' insurance fund. The fund's mismanagement is now being investigated by the F.B.I. and the city auditor: "The Fenty administration took $10 million from a workers' insurance fund that is now at the center of multiple investigations, sources told The Washington Examiner. Fenty and his attorney general, Peter Nickles, have now acknowledged that hundreds of disabled workers were charged for life insurance but weren't actually given the policies. The administration announced that it was handing the matter over to the city's inspector general last week. The workers' money, which might be worth up to $6 million, went into the city's workers' compensation fund. Sources familiar with the investigations into the scandal told The Examiner that the Fenty administration took some $10 million from the workers' compensation fund to balance the fiscal 2009 budget. Then City Administrator Dan Tangherlini met with finance and Risk Management agency officials in early 2008 and discovered that the workers' comp money had continually "rolled over" from previous years, the sources said. Tangherlini assumed that insurance claims were falling and that the city was safe in raiding the fund, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigations. The fund has since been under 'spending pressure' and some workers have complained that they are being bilked out of both life and health insurance benefits." KEY LINES: "Beside the missing insurance benefits, authorities have also been told that contracts went to friends of Risk Management Director Kelly Valentine. Authorities have not found any evidence of corruption."
FENTY STAFF TROUBLES: WaPo reports that a Fenty canvasser has been arrested for allegedly selling crack: "A canvasser for the campaign of D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) was fired after being arrested Friday in connection with an alleged attempt to sell crack to an undercover police officer in Northwest." A Fenty spokesperson says that the staffer has been fired and was not canvassing at the time of his arrest. More coverage via NBC4. BONUS FENTY STAFFER GOSSIP: From commenter "Rob" from this past Friday's LL Daily on the ongoing Fenty Campaign's Sign Wars:
"A Fenty sign was also placed in my front yard right next to my Gray sign AFTER the Fenty campaign idiot was told (politely)that we were not interested. Enraged, I pulled up the sign and I am now awaiting the opportunity to do the 'appropriate' thing with it. Another thing that I've noticed, there seem to be an unusual number of Fenty campaign volunteer vehicles possessing Maryland, Virginia and even Delaware license plates. I guess Fenty is counting on those votes to get him back in."
And from "No To AMF" :
"Vacant property and homeowners often come home from work to find a Grey sign moved to an out of sight part of the yard and a new Fenty sign placed without permission. What can we do outside of throwing his signs out? There should be a penalty or fine for this. I can't go to his house and place signs in his yard without permission and he shouldn't be able to do it to my home!"
Is this a trend? Or just BS from Gray supporters?
AFTER THE JUMP—New residents could impact election, Metro one year later, Ron Moten vs. Vincent Gray, D.C. Police roll out curfew campaign, and much, much more!
NEW RESIDENTS: Those newly registered to vote in the District could have an impact on this year's big races, reports WaPo's Ann Marimow. Like all the newbies in Mount Vernon Triangle and elsewhere. There are 47,000 new voters. The biggest jump in voter registration has taken place in Ward 1 and Ward 7. Marimow writes: "To Fenty's camp, the fact that newcomers have chosen the District over, say, Bethesda or Ballston is directly related to the mayor's initiatives to improve schools and lower crime, said campaign strategist Tom Lindenfeld. 'We think we have a chance once they are exposed to the contrast in the race,' he said. 'We're going to do everything necessary to make that case.' Gray's campaign is trying to capitalize on his background as a community organizer—something he shares with Obama—and founder of a nonprofit group. Traci Hughes, spokeswoman for the Gray campaign, also stressed his deliberative, inclusive decision-making style and said new voters want a candidate 'who really cares about the people living in the city.' In the hierarchy of sought-after voters, residents with habitual records of participation are especially prized. At the other end are those who typically cast ballots only in presidential elections. Then there are the newbies, who have yet to establish a voting pattern in the District. The get-out-the-vote challenge for both mayoral campaigns heading into the September primary is to persuade the newly registered — without ignoring established voters — that they have a personal stake in who is elected mayor."
METRO ONE YEAR LATER: The Examiner's Kytja Weir asks: Is Metro any safer one year after the crash. Weir writes: "The crash did not end the safety problems. Instead, the transit agency saw a spate of other deaths, safety missteps, damning reports and other problems in the past year." Key detail: The transit agency signed an $886 million contract this spring to buy new steel-bodied rail cars to replace the Rohr 1000 series cars that federal investigators have called uncrashworthy for years, but it will take at least six years for the new cars to arrive and all the old ones replaced. The agency has been running trains in manual mode since the crash and has fixed problems in nearly 300 of its some 3,000 track circuits, according to a Metro database. It has not come up with the real-time sensor of failures in the train safety system that the National Transportation Safety Board asked it to create."
WaPo's Ann Scott Tyson produced a riveting feature on the Metro crash victims' families and the impact one year later: "The relatives of those killed in the deadliest accident in Metro's history have spent the past year dealing with practical hardships. They have had to find ways to replace lost incomes, care for orphaned children and shift living arrangements to create new homes. But they live with an aching sense of loss that is as raw today as it was in the days after one train slammed into another near Fort Totten Station in Northeast Washington. Some refuse to ride Metro trains; they're worried about safety and plagued by horrific memories. Lawsuits over the crash, which also injured 80 people, are crawling through the courts, and the National Transportation Safety Board won't announce a formal cause of the accident until late July. As the months have passed, many family members grew bitter over what they see as the indifference of Metro, government officials and the public to their suffering."
WUSA9 interviews Peter Benjamin, Metro's Chairman of the Board, on the system's safety improvements since the crash. KEY QUOTE: "Yes METRO is safe. Now, nothing is perfectly safe. There is always some chance of an accident. But you are safer riding METRO than any mode of transportation. I've got to tell you I take my grandchildren for rides on these trains. I wouldn't take them on these trains if it wasn't safe,"
Meanwhile, a Metro bus driver has been arrested over a fare fight. AP reports: "Metro Transit Police charged Vento Mickens with simple assault on Friday. Mickens was driving a 71 bus to Buzzard Point when the alleged incident took place near Georgia Avenue and Van Buren Street NW. Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato says that Mickens, who had worked for Metro for more than 23 years, is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation."
And NC8 reports that a Metro bus was involved in an accident with four other cars at Suitland Parkway and Stanton Road SE on Sunday: "As many as 10 individuals were evaluated for injuries and four were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Pete Piringer, the spokesperson for DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services."
FENTY FINISHES 16TH: Not in a straw poll. No, he finished a very respectable 16 in this weekend's triathlon.
RON MOTEN VS. VINCENT GRAY: Tim Craig reports on the Peaceoholics Co-Founder's potential impact on the mayoral race: "Frustrated by Gray's attacks on Fenty and concerned that a Gray victory would dry up funding for violence-prevention programs he credits with reducing homicides, Moten said he will use the sales skills he learned on the streets to put the mayor over the top in the September primary. 'I haven't even gotten started yet,' said Moten, 40. 'Adrian has helped a lot of people in the streets. People just don't know about it yet. I'm going to help change that.' In recent weeks, Moten has created a Web site to spread information about Gray's record, fueled newspaper articles on the illegal fence at Gray's home in Hillcrest and helped Fenty reach out to African Americans through radio ads featuring hip-hop artists. Now, Moten is gearing up to mobilize thousands on Fenty's behalf, confident he can drive up African American turnout enough to dilute Gray's expected advantage. Privately, some Fenty advisers said they are nervous that Moten's efforts could backfire, but the mayor said in an interview that he is 'honored' to have the support, calling him a 'friend' and a 'great Washingtonian.'"
CHARTER SCHOOLS: Three schools may close, reports the Examiner's Leah Fabel: "Facing closure are two Ward 1 elementary schools — Children's Studio and Academy for Learning through the Arts (ALTA) – as well as a Ward 4 secondary school, Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers (KIMA). The three threatened revocations constitute a strong signal from the board that it is willing to use its authority to uphold charter quality. About one-third of District students attend charter schools, and the city's charter experiment is being closely watched by education reformers around the country. Each of the three schools posted dismal test scores in 2009. At Children's Studio, fewer than 26 percent of students performed at or above 'proficient' level on the city's standardized math exams, while about 39 percent reached that mark in reading. In a recent board report, the school was criticized for having 'no clear instructional philosophy or model of exemplary teaching.' At ALTA, about 19 percent of students scored proficient or better in math, down from 27 percent in 2008. About half of the students scored proficient in reading. In a 2009 report, the school carried a cumulative deficit of $111,000, among the highest in the city. At KIMA, about 43 percent of high schoolers passed the city's reading test, and about 34 percent passed the math test. A report stressed concern over the school's ability to serve students with special needs, such as English language instruction."
JONETTA ROSE BARRAS: The Examiner columnist thinks Gray's recent victory in the Ward 3 straw poll may be meaningless: "Truth be told, straw polls and endorsement meetings are merely an opportunity for each campaign to take the other's measure: How much effort does it take for Gray to win in Ward 3? Is Fenty mimicking Muhammad Ali's "rope-a-dope," or is his organization in disarray? Neither campaign has hit its stride. 'This is still a very competitive race, and Fenty still has plenty of money,' said another political operative. The mayor has more than $3 million. Insiders told me he soon may release television ads: 'A lot of voters have fixed opinions [about him]. The only way to change that is to come into their living rooms,' said a campaign source."
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: On Friday, District officials reported that the city's unemployment rate fell by .6 percent to 10.4 percent: WaPo's Mike DeBonis tries to gauge the impact of this very tiny news on the mayoral race: "The dip in joblessness probably won't play much on the trail. For one, any effort to take credit for the trend is going to ring hollow in the parts of town where the numbers shoot past 20 percent. For another, what's going on in the nation at large — high unemployment due to fewer jobs — is not what is happening in the District. There are more jobs in the city than there were in 2006, but poorly qualified D.C. residents simply aren't filling them. So the campaign rhetoric tends to center on job training issues, rather than job creation issues. That certainly, is what candidate Vincent Gray is focusing his message on. At a June 3 mayoral forum hosted by Ward 3 neighborhood associations, Gray said: 'The skills that are required for the jobs that we have in the city don't match the talents of the people we have here. The job of the mayor is to be able to create the jobs program that will facilitate that.' He went on to advocate for more training in the areas health care, early childhood education, and financial services — what he sees as growth sectors in the District. He also boasted how he moved to restore a $4 million cut to workforce development programs. The man who proposed that cut, Mayor Adrian Fenty, has chosen to integrate his jobs policy with his No. 1 campaign talking point: education."
RAY VS. MENDO: Clark Ray has beat At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson in a Ward 8 straw poll. From the Ray press release: "Challenger Clark Ray, showing growing momentum, handily won the Ward 8 Democratic Straw Poll over longtime incumbent Phil Mendelson with the vote of 46 to 28." Ray can take heart that he beat Mendo in a straw poll. Mendo can take heart that less than a hundred residents participated.
TAKOMA AQUATICS CENTER: The awesome facility was scheduled to close for most of the summer for repairs. But residents protested. District officials have now decided that the pool will remain open, reports WaPo's Nikita Stewart. The pool will close right after the primary vote in September.
APPLE STORE MANIA: NC8 reports from the Apple Store's grand opening in Georgetown.
11 a.m. Remarks
Groundbreaking for Fort Stanton Recreation Center
Location: Fort Stanton Recreation Center
1812 Erie St SE
D.C. COUNCIL SCHEDULE:
Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (Hearing)
Bill 18-692, Health and Safety 911 Abuse Prevention Act of 2010
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 412
Committee of the Whole (Round Table)
PR 18-927, " Compensation and working conditions collective bargaining agreement between the district of Columbia and the Washington Teachers' union, American Federation of Teachers Local No. 6, AFL CIO Emergency Approval Resolution of 2010"
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 500
Postponed – Committee on Economic Development and Government Operations and the Environment (Round Table)
The Proposed Surplus and Disposition of the following District -owned properties: 4800 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave., N.E.; 335 8th St. S.E.; 1101 24th Street, N.W.; 2301 L ST, N.W.;2225 M St., N.W.; 3050 R St., N.W.; 27 O Street, N.W.
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 123