Loose Lips Daily: Pay Up Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning, sweet readers! Ramadan Mubarak to LL's Muslim readers. When LL was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, a mostly Muslim country, he fasted a few times during Ramadan. It is not fun. His favorite part of the experience: the pre-dawn meal and the post-dusk meal. News time:
Pay Up: The Examiner's Freeman Klopott follows up on Washington City Paper's first look at whether Peaceoholics is broke, and whether Mayor Adrian Fenty is trying to get them an extra $400,000. Here's what Klopott adds to the story: Peaceoholics co-founder and avid Fenty supporter Ronald Moten says the city's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services owes his group $400,000 for "work Peaceoholics performed over two months last fall after the council canceled its contracts. That funding was canceled by the D.C. Council in August 2009 after concerns were raised about the contracts' no-bid nature. 'We should have stopped the work once the contract was stopped,' Moten said. 'Lesson learned.'" LL is not sure what the lesson being learned here is, other than you can do work for the city without a contract and still expect to be paid. But wait—there's a lot more, including the fact that recently fired DYRS chief resisted pressure to fund Peaceoholics. "Fenty has been searching for a way to get cash to Peaceoholics for several months, according to several sources. But unlike previous years, he had trouble finding justification for a contract, the sources said. Much of this year's resistance came from former DYRS chief Marc Schindler, sources said. 'Unlike previous years, the demand from Fenty to contract with Peaceoholics didn't come as an outright directive,' said one source. 'Marc simply did nothing.' Fenty fired Schindler on July 19 after a series of incidents that left 10 youths in city custody accused of murder and six killed. The mayor replaced him with Robert Hildum, deputy attorney general in charge of the public safety division. Within three weeks, Hildum promoted Linda Harllee-Harper to replace the outgoing David Muhammad as head of commitment. Harllee-Harper was a member of the Peaceoholics board of directors until 2007, when she stepped down upon being hired by DYRS. Soon after her promotion, Ron Moten and Peaceoholics' co-founder Jauhar Abraham met with DYRS officials to discuss the $400,000 contract, sources said." Whoa, that is a very suggestive article. It would be nice to have some more voices besides Moten's to clear things up.
AFTER THE JUMP: Fenty Vetos Vote Buying Bill; Moten Speaks Out; Jaffe is Cops' Best Friend...
Cause I Told You To: Speaking of Moten,check out this story in The Washington Post by Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart, about Fenty's decision to veto a bill that would make buying votes a crime, to see how he's now become Team Fenty's spokesman. "At the urging of Ronald Moten, a longtime friend of Fenty's who has become a chief strategist of his campaign and is leading the go-go promotions, the mayor recently blocked a bill that would have made it a crime to pay people to vote. Last month, the council approved emergency legislation by member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) that would have adopted federal prohibitions against paying someone to vote or register or accepting payment to vote or to register. It also would have made it a crime to use a false name to register to vote. Violators would have been fined as much as $10,000 and have faced five years in prison. But Moten worried that [Vincent] Gray and the council were trying to rush the bill through to quash the mayor's go-go concerts, designed to get low-income African American residents registered to vote. Moten, co-founder of the nonprofit Peaceoholics, which has flourished with millions of dollars in contracts under Fenty, said the mayor's camp generated 500 new registered voters Saturday at three go-go events. According to council staff members, Fenty blocked the election fraud legislation through a pocket veto because the council is on summer recess. Moten said Fenty's pocket veto does not mean he condones vote-buying. 'He believes people who pay people to vote should be locked up, and I agree, too,' Moten said. 'But Gray and Cheh clearly passed a bill that was not clear on what the rules are, and they did this at the last minute of a tight election .'" Um, paging Sean Madigan, paging Mafara Hobson. Was Moten the only person taking reporters' calls yesterday? Is LL alone in thinking that it's bizarre that Moten has now become Fenty's spokesman in the Washington Effing Post? Who is running this campaign?
Also in that article, the Post has details on the number of party switchers: "Monday was the last day to change parties to vote in the primaries. Preliminary numbers showed that 2,068 voters who declared 'no party,' often dubbed independent, and 308 Republicans changed their affiliation to Democrat from January through Monday morning, according to the Board of Elections and Ethics. Several hundred members of the Statehood Green and other parties changed their affiliations, too."
Bloomberg Endorsement Reax: TBD's Sarah Larimer does some man on the street reporting about what effect New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's endorsement of Fenty will have on the race. Results: probably little. “'I don’t care,' says 41-year-old Krushae Starnes, an undecided voter. 'Michael Bloomberg has done his thing up there, but he’s in New York, he knows what’s going on with New York. ... When our Metro’s flooded, he doesn’t deal with that.'” One vote the endorsement won't bring Fenty: Bloomberg's. He's a) not a Democrat and b) not a District resident, so unless he manages to change D.C.'s charter the way he did New York's, he won't be casting a ballot next month.
The Cops Are Alright: One of these days, LL is going to get blotto with Harry Jaffe and see how many laws we can break in one night. Because with articles like this one, there's no way the rank-and-file cops are going to be giving Jaffe any grief. Jaffe sticks it to the man, in this case Attorney General Peter Nickles, for the dissimilarity between treatment of a regular street cop accused of wrongdoing and the top brass and attorneys. "Switch to the pending Pershing Park case. In September 2002, D.C. cops rounded up and arrested protesters and folks strolling in downtown. Investigations and court proceedings have shown the cops acted improperly, under orders from the brass, including then-Police Chief Charles Ramsey. The city has paid millions to settle the cases. Now federal judges are investigating city lawyers and police officials for making evidence disappear that was crucial to the case. Magistrate Judge John Facciola has said these officials are under investigation and could face criminal prosecution. Are any of these officials, including two top police lawyers and an assistant chief, going to be iced like McConnell was until their cases are cleared? 'My view is they will continue to be active as police officers,' D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles tells me. 'There's no evidence I've found that indicates misconduct.' Fine—but who appointed Nickles judge and jury? Nickles says he has disciplined attorneys under his purview for the way they handled evidence, which might indicate mistakes were made, as they say. But might these attorneys, especially General Counsel Terry Ryan, be vulnerable and indeed tarnished in future cases if they mishandled evidence? And what about Assistant Chief Peter Newsham? He's central to the investigation of who said what to whom when orders came down, what happened to evidence, whether Ramsey—now chief in Philadelphia—committed any crimes. Why not take Newsham and Ryan off the front line until the investigation is complete—as if they were street cops charged with violating a simple regulation? 'Every case is different,' Nickles says. Not if you are a street cop in D.C., where you are always guilty until proven innocent." Let's roll, Jaffe, I'm buying.
Hey, We're Here Too: The Washington Times' Deborah Simmons takes a look at the city's Republican Party. "For the DCGOP, the bottom line is: Don't fight every fight; fight the fights that matter. The battles that matter this election year include campaign irregularities, four ward races and a seat on the D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics. 'Ethics is a big campaign issue this season,' Paul Craney, executive director of the D.C. Republican Committee, told The Washington Times. ... Tim Day, who faces no Republican challengers in the Sept. 14 primary for the Ward 5 seat, said City Hall has a one-box-fits-all approach that leads to enormous government waste. He said property taxes and parking enforcement are two specific places where the city can root out waste. ... The D.C. Republicans running in September are hardly cookie-cutter Republicans. They know the die was cast long ago, but today's Republican candidates want to remind D.C. voters of their options and that they share with Democrats some of the same concerns. The Republican candidates in the other ward races, Marc Morgan in Ward 1, Dave Hedgpeth in Ward 3 and Jim DeMartino in Ward 6, support school reform, making D.C. a greener city, innovative economic development and targeted social services, and want to combat government waste. 'I'm anti-gun and pro-choice,' said Mr. Day. 'We're not all Dick Cheney.'" Something tells LL that Day isn't going to be getting the coveted Sarah Palin endorsement.
How to Fix Summer Jobs Program: Oops, LL missed this op-ed yesterday in the Post from Brookings' Martha Ross, on tips to make the city's embattled summer jobs program work better: "That there are enough job sites for participants, and that each job site has a clear work plan vetted by DES. No one gets paid for doing nothing or gets make-work assignments, and all participants learn new skills. That youth are matched to their job sites based on an assessment of their hard and soft skills. Some sites want to provide basic skills enrichment and work-readiness training. Others, usually private-sector employers, want someone who is ready to go and needs less coaching. That there are clear standards for youth and job sites, and that both receive orientation, support and oversight throughout the summer. That managerial and financial systems are sufficient to handle registration, job site assignment, timekeeping, payroll and troubleshooting. Every summer, Employment Services has to dramatically ramp up its operations in a short time. This is not an insurmountable problem but appears to make it more likely that logistics swamp quality concerns. Rather than building a program around unlimited enrollment, the city should deliver on its promise to provide meaningful work opportunities and help young people build skills—and stay within its budget."
We're Free: Two DYRS briefly escape from transport van [Examiner]
Fenty begins SW waterfront demolition. Neibauer learns the difference between an excavator and a bulldozer [WBJ]
Andrew Sullivan looks at Rhee [Atlantic]