Eliminating The Kinks: Loose Lips Daily
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"No Last Call For SoberRide, After All," "Not Guilty! Judge Exonerates Defendants In Robert Wone Case," "Watch Fenty Dance To Go-Go," "World Cup Roundup," "Community Service Soon Over For Arenas"
Good Morning. Another summer, another round of problems with Mayor Adrian Fenty's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). This time, the Examiner's Alan Suderman reports it may become a campaign issue: "The Summer Youth Employment Program got off to a rocky start this week when up to 800 kids found out on the opening day of the program that the city hadn't lined them up jobs, some adult supervisors hadn't passed a mandatory background check, and there was an investigation started into whether some program participants stole a cell phone from their new place of work. This comes on the heels of two bad years for the program, and Fenty's main rival in the upcoming mayoral contest, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, said the problems go to the 'heart' of what's wrong with the mayor's leadership style. 'We know that there's been chronic problems associated with it, so there's every reason to think that people will be interested in the issue and there will be questions raised about it,' Gray told The Washington Examiner on Tuesday. Fenty has made expanding the summer jobs program one his goals. The program has grown from 8,000 participants to 22,000 under his administration, and he boasted to WPGC that the District has the biggest summer program in the country and 'maybe in the entire world.' 'Have we eliminated all the kinks? No, but ... you're not going to get to a perfect system by just leaving it in the position we found it,' Fenty said. 'We're ramping up, we're working hard.'"
NC8 interviews kids about the state of the SYEP. Fenty should be glad they can't vote in the primary: "Youth are asking the D.C. Summer Employment Program where to go, where they will be reassigned and what's going on. Those questions are heard almost every year. 'It's my third year doing it and every year it's getting worse and worse,' said Dhemeer Gore. For the second time Tuesday Dhemeer Gore was at Gallaudet trying to resolve exactly where to go for his summer job. Like every other participant in the program he will get paid $8.25 an hour. Gore shared, 'First, they told me to go here, then there, then somewhere else, then to come here today.' He claims he got the wrong work address, which is something the staff corrected Tuesday. He says getting a simple location shouldn't have been so complicated. It was at the hospital. 'Yes, the hospital. Exactly,' said Gore. Another teen didn't get the wrong address, but was told his job wasn't part of the program. So he went to another location and had the same results. Even Tuesday, it's back to square one." More coverage via DCist.
At a recent hearing on SYEP issues, Councilmember Marion Barry, the Dean of Summer Jobs, admitted that it took his administration four to five years to get the program perfected. But Barry added: "Then two years ago, our program was the best in the nation became the worst in the nation." Barry has his reasons to hate on the program; Fenty pulled a number on him in 2008 after Barry started complaining about problems within the SYEP. Last May, Barry vowed to hold weekly hearings on the summer jobs program. Unfortunately, Barry was consumed with a little problem of his own making. Councilmember Michael Brown, who took over from Barry oversight over summer jobs, has vowed to hold regular hearings on SYEP.
AFTER THE JUMP—Fenty responds to domestic-violence rumors, Jonetta Rose Barras pens nominee for laziest column of the year, D.C. Council approves starting nonprofit to take over United Medical Center, and much, much more!
UNITED MEDICAL CENTER: The D.C. Council approved the creation of a nonprofit to take over the Southeast hospital. WaPo's Tim Craig reports: "After months of wrangling between the city and Specialty Hospitals of America, the hospital's owner, Attorney General Peter Nickles plans to auction the Southeast Washington hospital on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building on July 9. Nickles has accused Specialty, a for-profit company that took over the hospital then known as Greater Southeast in 2007, of defaulting on its loan agreements with the city. Officials do not expect any bidders, and Nickles and council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) have drawn up plans to convert the long-troubled hospital into a quasi-city-managed facility until a new owner is found. 'The District believes it's in its best interest to foreclose to protect the District's substantial investment,' Catania said, noting that the city has spent more than $70 million on the facility over the past three years. 'I believe, and this council believes, we have a special obligation to continue the operation of a de facto safety-net hospital in the District.' Attorneys for Specialty will be in court July 6 to try to block the foreclosure. Company Chairman Jim Rappaport predicted that city officials would fail in the hospital business if they wrestle control. Rappaport noted that the city-run D.C. General Hospital closed in 2001 after myriad problems. 'The District of Columbia did such a great job with D.C. General, I am surprised at the process they are undertaking,' Rappaport said. 'They can't run it well because they haven't run it well. . . . It's a very complicated process to run and manage a hospital.' Under the emergency legislation moved by Catania on Tuesday and approved by a vote of 12 to 1, the city wants to create a 14-member board to oversee the Not-for-Profit Hospital Corp. The corporation 'would receive the land, improvements on the land, equipment, and other assets of United Medical Center' and 'operate and take all actions to ensure the continued operation of the hospital.'" More coverage via WBJ.
STREETCARS: The D.C. Council paved the way for overhead wires along the H Street Corridor/Benning Road. WBJ's Michael Neibauer reports: "The legislation repeals a pair of 120-year-old federal laws barring overhead lines in historic Washington, generally bounded by Georgetown to the west, Florida Avenue to the north and the Anacostia River. They are poorly written, 'ancient statutes' that no longer apply, [Councilmember Jim] Graham says. The Home Rule Act, adopted by Congress in 1973, bars the council from enacting any law or repealing an act of Congress that concerns federal property, changes the organization or jurisdiction of the D.C. courts, imposes a tax on a non-resident, or permits a building taller than existing-height restrictions. It makes no mention of overhead wires, so some D.C. lawyers conclude that those statutes can be repealed by the local government. The emergency bill needs to be implemented immediately, council members say, to ease any skittishness on the part of the Federal Transit Administration on the overhead wire issue. The FTA is deciding now whether to provide $25 million for the H Street streetcar line. The District is dueling with the National Capital Planning Commission on aerial wires. NCPC Chairman L. Preston Bryant of Virginia last week asked the Federal Transit Administration to withhold the $25 million grant until the overhead wire issue is resolved." More coverage via the Examiner.
THE REASON JONETTA ROSE BARRAS NEEDS AN EDITOR: The Examiner columnist decides to do NO REPORTING in her attempt to takedown At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson. She writes: "What is Mendelson's strange magnetism? Most people, who follow local politics and council antics, often talk about Mendelson's indisputable affection for minutiae and nitpicking. A political ad in the 2006 campaign turned that negative into a positive, asserting his attention to detail makes him a conscientious and thorough legislator. It's true, Mendelson is dedicated to the fine print — even when none exists. But his weakness isn't that fixation. It's the fact that his political and public policy arcs are late 20th Century. Often he's an obstacle to change." Barras goes on to site his opposition to the mayor's silly anti-gang legislation [which wanted to bring gangs in to civil court], and his investigation into that donated fire truck. Oh yeah, he's also a big friend of unions. I guess the unions really loved his grilling of the Fire Chief about overtime abuses. And shouldn't Mendo question AG Peter Nickles re: that fishy fire truck deal? And didn't Mendo help lead the D.C. Council's passage of a same-sex marriage bill? Then again, this is a columnist who isn't afraid to be homophobic. If Barras had actually gone out and watched Mendelson campaign, she'd realize why he keeps on winning. Sure, he's a total wonk. But he's also a truly gifted campaigner who actually doesn't sound like he's full of empty rhetoric when he's out greeting citizens. He actually remembers their names, and can talk eloquently about their concerns. And guess what? Residents respond to that.
HILL EAST: The District is set to take over the Hill East property. WBJ's Michael Neibauer reports: "The District now has the $5.8 million it needs to close the books on a 12-acre land buy that will finally allow the federal government to transfer its Hill East property to D.C.’s control. The congressionally-approved transfer of the 67-acre Reservation 13, also known as Hill East, could not go forward until the District provided 12 acres to the Architect of the Capitol for use as a mail-sorting facility. That condition has hung up the deal, and the much-hyped Hill East redevelopment, for four years. The property is roughly the size of Howard University’s campus. After years of fruitless searches for a location in D.C., the architect and the District recently settled on a site adjacent to the Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility at Suitland Parkway and Interstate 495. The District agreed to buy the plot from Jackson Shaw/Andrews LP and immediately turn it over to the federal government. Closing is scheduled for Wednesday. The money only came available Tuesday, after some last-minute wrangling that nearly scuttled the deal."
TEACHERS CONTRACT: D.C. Council signs off on deal that was years in the making.
FENTY RESPONDS TO THOSE RUMORS: Amazing. A reporter brings up those rumors concerning marital strife—including domestic violence. WaPo's Nikita Stewart reports Fenty telling WPGC: "It borders on libel and slander, to be perfectly honest with you. Every time something is raised, I send it right to my attorney because none of it is true."
D.C.'s CHILDREN: are still overweight.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS: Is there a more messed-up street than 14th Street NW in Columbia Heights? It's a total disaster zone, and traffic nightmare. NC8 reports that residents are fed up with it.
MANUTE BOL: Eulogized at Washington National Cathedral.
NE DOUBLE HOMICIDE: The Metropolitan Police Department have charged a suspect in the murders.
ABDUCTED GIRL: Is found in New York.
VINYL DIPLOMACY: Russian Prez sends two envoys to Som Records for a little vinyl shopping.
WATCH: Peter Rosenstein's interview on NC8's NewsTalk.
ROBERT WONE: Conspiracy trial ends in not-guilty verdicts for all three defendants. But you already knew that.
CLARIFICATION: Yesterday, LL credited Councilmember Phil Mendelson with proposing legislation aimed at fixing DYRS by making certain juvenile cases open to the public. Councilmember Tommy Wells actually introduced the legislation aimed at reforming juvenile confidentiality rules last year. A hearing was held in November but the law remained stuck in Mendelson's Judiciary Committee. Mendelson pushed forward an amended version of Wells' bill.
MAYOR'S SCHEDULE: No public events.
D.C. COUNCIL'S SCHEDULE: A Committee on Human Services roundtable, Parks and Rec business, Judiciary committee addresses ambulance chasers, and more.