City Desk

At Fire-EMS Hearing, Councilmembers Express Concerns over Mayor’s Emergency Plan

Surplus Fire Truck

If a plan put forth by Mayor Muriel Bowser gains traction, the District could soon enlist third-party ambulance companies to help alleviate the stresses on its overstretched fleet of 39 vehicles.

But as remarks at a two-hour hearing Thursday afternoon revealed, Bowser will have to convince some members of the D.C. Council that her proposal won’t render the District too dependent on private entities to perform a basic government function—and that the deals involved won’t be too costly.

Read more At Fire-EMS Hearing, Councilmembers Express Concerns over Mayor’s Emergency Plan

Buy D.C.: Keep in Touch

Each week, Buy D.C. will highlight shops and items you can only find in the D.C. area. It's curated by Kaarin Vembar, fashion and beauty writer, and co-host of the ​Pop Fashion​ podcast.


I Mean Business

You never know who you are going to sit beside on Metro. Keep your business cards handy in this Paris-inspired holder. Business card holder, $7.50. Groovy DC Cards & Gifts. 321 7th St. SE. (202) 544-6633


Push the Envelope

This envelope template is the perfect gift for the snail-mail crafter in your life. Envelope template, $18. Analog. 716 Monroe St. NE, Studio 5.


Strike Up a Conversation

A girl learns that her great-grandfather’s diary is composed of objects kept inside matchboxes. The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman, $16.98. The Fairy Godmother. 319 7th St. SE. (202) 547-5474


Lap it Up

If all of your correspondence is done via email, a lap desk can make the task more efficient while you remain comfy-cosy. iBed lap desk, $13.95. Homebody/Forecast. 218 7th St. SE. (202) 547-7337


Wax On, Wax Off

A wax stamp is an elegant touch to complement your handwritten love letters. Sealing wax stamp, $13. Proper Topper. 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 842-3055

Chatter: Squad Goals

cover-issue1869-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

Plenty of chit-chat went down in response to Will Sommer’s cover column—a look into Mayor Muriel Bowser’s push for yet another taxpayer-funded sports venue in the District. We’ve got some detractors: S.E. pointed out that our teams are too rotten to build anything for: “How about we wait until a Sports Team wins a CHAMPIONSHIP before rewarding them with a new Arena/Stadium.” Some of our teams can’t figure out how to prevent their players from choking each other out in the dugout, so this is a long row to hoe, S.E. But fair point!

Those in favor of the project, like SayWhat, took a “field of dreams” approach: “How about you haters STHU and wait and see how many jobs and economic development it brings to ward 8”. And of course, there are those who think sports investment is a huge waste of money, period. FD wrote, “Bowser please stop the corporate welfare. Bowser has thrown crumbs and rhetoric at job and homeless programs so she can look good but childhood poverty is rampant and truly affordable housing is almost non-existent. Shame on her. Next thing we know Congress Height will have luxury housing and a Whole Foods. That is not real economic development. How much money do we keep giving away to millionaires and billionaires and last Wednesday Kaya Henderson says the schools need to stay open so kids because that is the only meals some kids get?”

In response to a different comment lamenting the same spending priorities, empty_pant_suit wondered what the hell feeding the hungry and homeless ever did for anyone lately: “There is a also ‘so much money’ for hunger and homelessness in the district.” Yeah, piled on MacFly1. “Baltimore has LOTS of money for homeless, section 8. Does that help people get jobs? Answer: no.” They don’t call it Charm City for nothing.

Department of Corrections

The entry in the 2015 Fall Arts & Entertainment Guide for “Celebrating Photography at the National Gallery of Art: Recent Gifts” incorrectly stated that the National Gallery of Art is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Another On-Demand Delivery App Launches in D.C.

favorlogoYet another food delivery service launched in D.C. on Monday, competing with apps like Postmates and UberEATS for hungry customers. This time, the newcomer is delivery app Favor, which began servicing the District this week.

The service, which launched in Austin in 2013 and has since expanded to 13 metropolitan areas, works like many of its kind: Customers search for restaurants on the screen, type in an order, and pay through the app.

“There’s a huge concentration of great, great restaurants [in D.C.], and a lot of them don’t deliver,” says Yohan Ferdinando, the general manager for Favor’s D.C. location. “So it was just a natural move for a company like Favor.” Read more Another On-Demand Delivery App Launches in D.C.

District Line Daily: Don’t You Be My Neighbor

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

As presidential candidates and members of Congress talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, an anti-abortion-rights group called Abortion-Free DC has resorted to almost every possible tactic to prevent a clinic in the District from opening.


  • Anonymous sources say ex-mayor and federal-investigation subject Vince Gray may run for one of two D.C. Council seats. [Post]
  • Hurricane Joaquin has veered eastward and likely won’t be “an immediate threat” to D.C. Still, there’s a flood warning in effect for D.C. from today to tomorrow morning. [Fox5DC, NBC Washington, WJLA]
  • An 18-year-old was shot Thursday afternoon near Northeast’s Langdon Park Recreation Center. [WUSA9]
  • Georgetown cat café Crumbs & Whiskers shut down on Sept. 11 for health violations. [Young & Hungry]
  • What’s an amphipod and why is the District considering making one the official “state” amphipod? [Post]


  • Georgetown Gallery: The university is making room for the de la Cruz Gallery of Art, to come fall 2017.
  • You’re Kidneying Me: Marion Barry’s wife Cora Masters Barry doesn’t want to see her late husband’s name on the Barry Dickens Kidney Foundation. She’s been suing the group since April.
  • Veg City: Is the District becoming more vegetarian-friendly? One food festival this Saturday suggests so.

Read more District Line Daily: Don’t You Be My Neighbor

This Week’s Page Three Photo

1400 Block of I Street NW (Rear), September 23

1400 Block of I Street NW, September 23

Page three photos are also in this gallery.

District Line Daily: Eminent Domain, Imminent Stadium

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Mayor Muriel Bowser exercised eminent domain Wednesday to take over a two-acre parcel of land at Buzzard Point, so that the District can build a new stadium for D.C. United there. The decision came at the 11th hour.


  • Hurricane Joaquin is expected to move up the Atlantic, and it just might hit D.C. [City Desk, Post, WTOP]
  • The Federal Railroad Administration may soon directly oversee D.C.’s troubled Metro system. [City Desk]
  • The Georgetown steps made famous in The Exorcist will officially become a D.C. landmark. [Arts Desk]
  • Did the Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI illegally intercept cell communications? [Vice News]
  • D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange wants to create a mobile hygiene unit for the homeless. [City Desk] 


  • Kvetching at the Kitchen: There’s a right way to complain in a restaurant. City Paper is here to help you.
  • Investigative Journalism in the Spotlight: How did the Investigative Film Festival—taking place today and tomorrow—land a highly anticipated documentary on the Catholic Church’s child sex-abuse scandal?
  • Crash: A security guard who fatally struck a 68-year-old woman in April will serve 20 months in prison.

Read more District Line Daily: Eminent Domain, Imminent Stadium

Orange Proposes ‘Mobile Hygiene Unit’ for D.C.’s Homeless Residents


The District could soon see a vehicle equipped with bathrooms and showers providing homeless residents with the modern conveniences that many others take for granted.

At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange last Tuesday proposed the Mobile Hygiene Pilot Program Amendment Act of 2015, which would commission the D.C. Department of Human Services to re-purpose a city-owned bus with “hot showers, clean toilets, and hygiene products.” Such vehicles already operate in Honolulu and San Francisco, where they’ve met some success.

Read more Orange Proposes ‘Mobile Hygiene Unit’ for D.C.’s Homeless Residents

Unobstructed View: Worst Week Ever


There’s a Byronic allure to being a market that’s cursed to deal with an ongoing cascade of sports catastrophes, not just a town full of bad teams. Sometimes I think we’re all prone to that, fans and media, and I agree with the people who say that D.C. sports angst is histrionic and overblown.

But then weeks like this one reappear.

First consider the Pigskins. They pulled a classic rope-a-dope, beginning with a win against a lowly opponent, showing promise and improvement across the board, to get fans just a little bit excited while their division rivals appear to completely implode. For three glorious days after that win, the team didn’t do anything overtly stupid, and national pundits were cautiously talking about their chances to sneak into a division championship.

On Thursday, though, the rightful order of the football universe was restored, as the team humiliated themselves in a mistake-filled performance against the Giants on national TV that would have been right at home in any of the last few disastrous seasons.

Then take the Terps, who were beyond humiliated at West Virginia, losing a game 45-6 that wasn’t nearly as close as the score implies. Head coach Randy Edsall’s job should be in jeopardy, although a recent Washington Post report quotes a number of boosters and decision-makers saying that Edsall is safe. It’s going to get much more difficult to make those assertions with a straight face if the team continues to be such a paragon of futility.

Then the Nationals finally, mercifully destroyed the last shreds of hope from their season and officially got themselves eliminated from the playoffs—an outcome that had taken on such a sense of inevitability that it barely even seemed worth noting.

All of those things, though—that’s all stuff that just happens to your basic bad teams. What happened next—what always happens next in D.C. sports—is that the losing escalated into farce.

On the Nationals’ Fan Appreciation Day—yes, Fan Appreciation Day—the second-to-last home game of the season, closer Jonathan Papelbon chided star Bryce Harper for not running hard to first on a fly-out. Things, as they say, escalated quickly, culminating with Papelbon choking Harper and slamming him into the dugout bench as teammates and coaches moved to separate the two.

Of course it was all caught on video, because it’s D.C. sports. Because it’s 2015, the video immediately got turned into GIFs and Vines and put on Twitter. And just like that, the Nationals—preseason World Series favorites—managed to make their elimination from the playoffs just their second-most embarrassing incident of the week.

Manager Matt Williams handled the situation with his characteristic mixture of no-nonsense bluntness and abject, baffling, tone-deaf stupidity. First, he left Papelbon in the game (where he promptly gave up five earned runs); then he defended his decision to leave Papelbon in the game; then he walked back his defense of the decision and claimed that he was the only person in the entire baseball-watching universe who didn’t realize quite what had happened.

The idiocy continued the next day. The team suspended Papelbon for the remainder of the season—which was a fine if meaningless and inadequate gesture—but also held Harper out of Monday’s home finale for his “part in the incident,” i.e., sticking his throat emphatically in front of Papelbon’s outstretched hand.

What’s most significant about this particular goat rodeo, though, is that it happened to the Nationals. The Pigskins manage to stage this kind of big-budget Hollywood disaster twice a week every offseason, but the Nationals were supposed to be the chance for a D.C. sports team to distinguish itself from a circus sideshow.

And they were so close! Their highly-touted early draft picks had actually blossomed more or less as they were supposed to—into stars (in Stephen Strasburg’s case) or MVP-level supernovas (in Harper’s). Their big-ticket offseason free agent signing seemed to have paid off, as starting pitcher Max Scherzer opened the season looking every bit the ace he was expected to be.

But there were still problems. Smart baseball people said from the outset that there was a lack of relief pitching on the team. The cost-cutting that drove the decisions at the closer slot created early problems. And the fix—a midseason trade for Papelbon—was widely derided as foolish from a baseball perspective and downright atrocious for clubhouse chemistry.

But this—the initial brawl and then the idiotic, ham-handed way in which it was handled—is the kind of thing that the Nats were supposed to leave to the meatheads in Ashburn. This is the kind of thing that changes the national perception of a team, turning a preseason favorite into an object of scorn. It’s the kind of thing that make people embarrassed to be fans.

And yet, as a D.C. sports fan, it’s the kind of thing that seems sadly inevitable.

Follow Matt Terl on Twitter @Matt_Terl

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Weather Report: It’s Too Early to Know If Hurricane Joaquin Will Hit D.C.


Here comes the story of a hurricane—Hurricane Joaquin.

Read more Weather Report: It’s Too Early to Know If Hurricane Joaquin Will Hit D.C.

In Wake of Problems, Metro May Get New Oversight


Update 2:30 p.m.:

The National Transportation Safety Board has officially released its recommendations for D.C.'s Metrorail system, "calling for direct federal oversight" of the transit agency by a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The recommendations ask USDOT to petition Congress to designate Metro a "commuter authority," allowing the Federal Railroad Administration to exercise regulatory oversight of it. Once Congress has changed Metro's status, NTSB asks that USDOT "direct [the FRA] to develop and implement a plan to transition the oversight of [Metro]" within six months. NTSB is asking USDOT to respond to these two recommendations within 30 days.

“There is now a lack of independent safety oversight of Metrorail,’’ NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart said in a prepared statement. “This is an unacceptable gap in system safety.”

Metro’s Interim General Manager and CEO Jack Requa issued his own statement this afternoon:

"While today’s recommendation is not directed to [Metro], we are continuing to work every day to address recommendations we have received previously from the NTSB and other oversight agencies. We welcome the support we have received from all of our oversight agencies and regional partners, as we work on our common goal of improving safety for WMATA’s customers and employees.”

As increased federal oversight for Metro rears its head, regional Congressmen are starting to chime in as well. Virginia Democrat Gerald Connolly, who represents most of Fairfax and part of Prince William counties, recalled the fatal Jan. 12 smoke incident near L’Enfant Plaza as a “tragedy [that] has laid bare the stunning absence of a culture of safety and competence within Metro.”

“The constant barrage and increasing severity of service disruptions are creating a crisis in commuter and stakeholder confidence and underscores the urgency for Metro to hire a new General Manager with operational experience,” Connolly said in a statement today.

It's worth noting, as Metro watchdog Chris Barnes does, that NTSB has only issued recommendations. "It's not a mandate, it's not something that's going to happen until it does happen," he says. "I see this as just another of the many possible ways to fix [Metro]."

Original post:

Big changes may be coming for Metro.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to recommend an “urgent” oversight overhaul for the transit system today, NBC Washington reports. Essentially, the NTSB—an independent federal agency—wants the Federal Railroad Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation to take over for the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which currently monitors Metro. The TOC has six members, drawing from the District’s, Maryland’s, and Virginia’s departments of transportation. Unlike the FRA, though, it cannot impose fines, civil actions, or other penalties based on its findings—those have to come from state legislatures (in the District’s case, that means the D.C. Council and ultimately Congress). The TOC also lacks the same engineering resources and expertise the FRA boasts­­—still, the latter doesn’t oversee many city subway systems. Read more In Wake of Problems, Metro May Get New Oversight

Woman Who Fatally Struck Pedestrian Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison


The security guard who pleaded guilty to hitting a woman with a vehicle near United Medical Center and fleeing the scene was sentenced to 20 months in prison today.

Chatara Sophia Johnson (also listed as Shatara in some court documents) admitted to striking 68-year-old Faith Josephine Pines as she crossed the 1300 block of Southern Avenue SE in April. Pines died the following morning.

At first, Johnson told authorities someone had stolen her Mercedes Benz, the car witnesses say they saw speeding away from the scene. However, her brother-in-law called police the next day and told them Johnson was behind the wheel when the fatal incident occurred. Read more Woman Who Fatally Struck Pedestrian Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison

IG Report: Returning Citizens Office Lacks ‘Fundamental’ Ability to Help Ex-Offenders

DC Jail

The office charged with providing services to some 8,000 returning citizens per year is ill-equipped to successfully meet its goals, which are among Mayor Muriel Bowser’s highest priorities, a D.C. Office of the Inspector General report released last week says.

Bowser’s "Safer, Stronger" plan pledges a “pathway to the middle class” for the District’s most vulnerable citizens, many of whom suffer from physical, mental, and substance abuse, limited education and job skills, and an unstable family background. But the 52-page report raises serious questions about whether the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizen Affairs is up to the task.

OIG inspectors found that, while MORCA staff worked diligently to directly serve returning citizens, it “lacked fundamental organizational mechanisms and resources” to inform them about available resources and collaborate with other entities on critical job readiness, life skills, and family reunification services. According to the report, ORCA Director Charles Thornton agreed to seven of 12 recommendations to improve internal efficiency among staff and external collaboration with District and federal agencies. Read more IG Report: Returning Citizens Office Lacks ‘Fundamental’ Ability to Help Ex-Offenders

District Line Daily: Legalize (Selling) It

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

A rider in this year’s deal to prevent the federal government from shutting down would forbid the District from creating a legal market for marijuana, like those in Colorado and Washington.


  • Another Vince Gray campaign staffer faces charges: Reuben Charles, alleged tax-evader. [Loose Lips]
  • Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who briefly went to jail for denying same-sex couples marriage licenses, reportedly met with Pope Francis during his visit to the District. Only in D.C. [NPR]
  • Even though Orange and Silver line trains will skip the Stadium–Armory station during rush hour for the foreseeable future, due to a power-substation malfunction last week, riders still pay peak fares. [City Desk]
  • The District is today expected to annex two acres of land for the D.C. United stadium from Akridge. [WBJ]
  • Get ready for Joaquin: Meteorologists predict D.C. will get wet due to the impending tropical storm. [Post]


  • Drugs and Alcohol: A Latin American wine bar will replace a Petworth store accused of selling synthetics.
  • #MuseumSquareStays: Tenants of the Section 8 building in Mount Vernon Triangle will rally today.
  • A Sunset of Color: The last living Washington Color School painter, Paul Reed, died Saturday in Arizona.

Read more District Line Daily: Legalize (Selling) It

Could a State Diploma Move the Dial on D.C’s Adult Literacy Problem?

mendoAmong an audience dressed in suits and pumps at a D.C. Council hearing last Thursday, El Salvador native Francisco Ferrufino sat decked out in a black chef’s uniform.

Ferrufino, who came to the U.S. eight years ago and now works as executive chef at Meridian Pint, embodied a success in the midst of the conversation on adult illiteracy in the District. The meeting, hosted by Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember David Grosso, provided possible solutions for the city’s adult literacy problem, which a few witnesses said is fueled by a racial divide.

“[D.C. is] home to the most educated and the least educated, the wealthiest and poorest,” said Ramona Edelin, executive director of the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools. “The academic achievement gap between its affluent white residents and its residents of color from impoverished backgrounds is the greatest such gap in the nation.” Read more Could a State Diploma Move the Dial on D.C’s Adult Literacy Problem?