Loose Lips Daily: Bad Timing Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! OMG, it happened again: LL gave birth to a second column, taking a crack at what Kwame Brown's ginormous debt means for the council chairman race. New tidbits: Besides the boats and the cars, Kwame also bought (and sold) a Harley and has some D.C. parking ticket issues. Perhaps less surprising: Marion Barry also has his own credit card problems. Here's some more news for ya:
Does the Madness Ever Stop?: The timing of Errol Arthur's resignation from the city's Board of Elections and Ethics couldn't have been much worse (except maybe Sept. 13). The Post's Timkita Crawart (get it?) report on a burgeoning brouhaha over who will take Arthur's place. "With Mayor Adrian M. Fenty facing council Chairman Vincent C. Gray in this year's Democratic mayoral primary, the selection of board members is quickly becoming entangled in election year politics. Administration officials said the mayor may have to make emergency interim appointments to the board if he and the council, which is on summer recess, are unable to agree on nominees. If that occurs, Fenty will have unilaterally seated a majority of the board charged with overseeing an election in which he is a candidate. 'I don't think that is correct,' Gray said. 'To not have the legislative body involved in something of this enormity is highly questionable.' Fearful that having a powerless board could make it difficult, if not impossible, to certify a winner or oversee a recount, council members are vowing to return from recess to deal with the vacancies. In recent days, council members Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) and David A. Catania (I-At Large) have reached out to the administration to head off a showdown." The Post's editorial board asks all parties involved to play nice: "It was irresponsible of the council to recess for the summer without taking action on this matter. But we would urge Mr. Fenty, given his self-interest in the coming election, not to use his authority to make an emergency appointment."
AFTER THE JUMP: Lotto contracts; blowback for Orange; Ward 4 skirmish...
You Say Sinclair Skinner, I Say Lottery Contract: The Times' Jeffery Anderson has more on the fracas over the awarding of the city's lottery contract, which led Attorney General Peter Nickles to ask the city's inspector general to investigate, essentially, Vincent Gray's role. "Mr. Nickles said the council chairman allowed, among other things, a substantial portion of the contract to be handed to a 'complete unknown.' He said he has no explanation of why an international gambling company that delivers state-of-the-art systems to lottery organizations worldwide felt compelled to team with an inexperienced firm that had questionable credentials." Gray said Nickles is motivated by "petty political retaliation."
Irony, Thy Name is the Council Chairman Race: It seems Kwame Brown's debts are causing headaches for his opponent, Vincent Orange. First, news breaks from WBJ's Michael Neibauer that two business groups who have endorsed Brown rebuffed the Orange campaign's overtures to rescind their endorsements after Brown's personal debt problems came to light. Now comes word from the Post's Ann Marimow that Orange campaign "finance chairman George Lowe, who cited the 'negative tenor of this campaign,' has become the second person from the campaign to jump ship. Linda Mercado Greene, who was Orange's spokeswoman, resigned from the campaign last month because of her personal history with Orange's chief Democratic rival, council member Kwame Brown. In an e-mail to Orange and other top advisers last week, Lowe wrote that he has 'given this a significant amount of thought... and continue to arrive at the same conclusion and that is that I no longer feel comfortable with the negative tenor of this campaign and will not be a part of such.'" The one glimmer of what LL supposes is good news for Orange: The Board of Trade left open the door to dropping its endorsement of Brown if more bad news comes out. (Uh, that's bad news for Brown, as opposed to still more bad news for Orange.)
War on the Homefront: The Georgetown Dish's Molly Redden has a wrap up of last night's mayoral forum in Ward 4, Fenty's home turf. "It may be a bad sign for Fenty, then, that mayoral hopeful Sulaimon Brown's enthusiastic recommendation that Fenty 'and his cronies' serve jail time for alleged corruption garnered boisterous applause—more than Fenty's own closing statement did."
Summer Jobs Program Problems Now Less Bad: The Post's Stephanie Lee reports that there are fewer payday "glitches" with the 18,000 youths on the city's payroll for the summer. "In contrast with previous years, the majority of the more than 18,000 youths working in businesses, nonprofit organizations and city agencies across the District were paid in full and on time, said John A. Stokes, a spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation. Yet some employees were not paid correctly, city officials said. According to City Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), more than 120 employees of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's Conservation Corps, a program dedicated to cleaning up trash and graffiti in the city, were not paid on time. Mafara Hobson, a spokeswoman for Fenty (D), said that 24 Conservation Corps supervisors claimed on Wednesday that they had pay issues. Stokes said city officials are investigating the complaints of 74 employees, of more than 18,400 total participants, who said they were not paid correctly." Umm, a few weeks ago the city was saying the program totaled 22,000 participants. Did 4,000 kids quit? LL will look into it and report. (Or better yet, Stokes, if you're reading this, what's the deal?)
What!? Bogus Police Stats: LL missed this yesterday from WTOP's Mark Seagraves. "The union representing the District's 3,600 police officers is calling for an investigation into how the police department reports crime statistics after comments made by Chief Cathy Lanier on WTOP." The Examiner's Freeman Klopott has more: Sexual assaults across the District spiked nearly 50 percent in the first five months of 2010 over the same period last year, according to internal police documents obtained by The Washington Examiner. From Jan. 1 to June 8 there were 82 sexual assaults in the city, up from 56 during the same period in 2009, the documents show. But Chief Cathy Lanier told The Examiner that the document is a 'preliminary report to be used in conjunction with and read within the context of all the reports and totality of the data available to us.' The statistics, she said, are subject to change 'for a variety of reasons, including late reporting, reclassification of some offenses, and discovery that some offenses are unfounded.' Lanier said when all classifications of sexual assaults are accounted for, including misdemeanors, there has been more than a 3 percent decrease when compared with last year. She did not elaborate when pressed to provide specific data showing the decline in sexual assaults."
$1 million for landscaping a library!? [WBJ]
Fenty Schedule: 3:30 Justice Park Affordable Housing Announcement, 1421 Euclid Street NW