Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Pay Up Edition

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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]

MyFoxDC reheats marathon fee-waiving story, obviously doesn't read LL's column [Fox]

  • Mr. Bigglesworth

    LL's piece on GWSA was WAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY more useful than FOX5 (no surprise). Only good nugget in FOX5 report was GWSA's Christopher Browne claiming: “The Greater Washington Sports Alliance is a non-profit organization that provides a valuable service to ... the children in our community."

    Really? I recall a certain LL note: "the foundation gave away only $13,780 in grants to other non-profits." Most of that money went to phony programs that haven't done jack to improve local kids' lives.

    The GWSA has nothing to do with the public interest, and it is high time that our city pulls the plug on its funding.

    "Politically-motivated" reporting? How about transparency-motivated?

  • downtown rez

    Re MyFoxDC reheat:
    I saw that piece and wondered why they couldn't get anyone with more credibility than Union Flack Kris Baumann and Ex MPD Chief Ramsey to comment.
    I honestly didn't expect much from Baumann, but was a bit surprised by Ramsey, who was either deliberately lying or has forgotten more than just the events at Pershing Park since he left DC.

  • David Hoffman

    Voters WANT FAIRNESS in contracting and other opportunities! Not just contracts steered to "Friends of Fenty", campaign contributers, etc.

    Voters WANT JOBS! When you drive by these buildings being built, how many DC residents are working at these sites? BTW - before you answer, we have been video taping them for the last 3 years!

    Voters want ANSWERS, not go-go parties, media assaults, ribbon cuttings, hip-hop songs blasting through the streets about how "everything is great-everything is legal", the District is moving forward (even if it's moving forward-fast, off the edge of a cliff) and bused-in supporters badgering them to support Fenty but mysteriously don't know what school they went to, what neighborhood they live in, or what's really going on when you ask them specific questions.

    But what do you expect? Everyone uses variations of this line, ".....I cannot answer any questions about any specifics. I'll be happy to get the answers from someone and report back to you." How is the city being run then if no one knows anything and openly admits in public about knowing NOTHING? Is it possible to have someone HIRED to run things who actually KNOWS whats going on in their HEAD as they're being paid to? Here are some answers we've had to dig up on our own since we tired of the same old scripts and people wanted to know:

    Q. Who is getting the jobs to build all those parks, recreation centers, libraries?
    A. Not DC residents according to DC's audit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdKT5yh3Qu0

    Q. Are DC residents paying a fair price for these parks, libraries, recreation centers, etc?
    A. Not that I could tell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbFpMdskMis

    Q. Are the best qualified people getting the contracts to build these parks, recreation centers, libraries, schools, etc?
    A. You decide, but in my humble opinion, no:

    Q. If District of Columbia residents are paying too much for anything, does it affect the city's finances? Are we safe financially based on the person hired (elected) to run the executive branch of government?
    A. I'd say no, but you decide: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/12/AR2010081206269.html

    Q. Can DC residents do anything to prevent any contractor from being paid for something they reject such as NO-BID contracts?
    A. Absolutely not! Are you kidding: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/Fenty-backer-in-line-for-no-bid-contract-498482-100810519.html

    Q. Can DC residents 'FIRE' or vote someone out of office this upcoming election? Is there anything stopping people from using ill-gotten gains to commit voter fraud in the upcoming election? You must be joking, right?
    A. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2010/08/fenty_blocks_vote-buying_bill.html

    Q. Are Elders treated with respect by Fenty?
    A. This elder certainly wasn't and I am outraged: http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0909/656054.html

    Q. Are causes for women given the same and fair treatment that other 'Friends of Fenty' supported causes are given?
    A. I would have to say, no at least the world renowned Women's Organization fighting Cancer "Susan Komen" wasn't: http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/dc/reasons-still-unclear-about-lack-of-reimbursement-for-dc-police-services-081610

    Q. Summer Jobs Program? Is it being run right?
    A. DC taxpayers have spent over $122,000,000.00 in the last couple of years for summer job training (6 to 10 weeks each year) and what have they got to show for it? I've been telling people for a long time there is both good, and bad in the program but it's the BAD that has to be cut out right away such as this not bury it, and cover it up:

    Kids paid over $300/hour as a clerk in Fenty's Dept of Employment Services Director Joseph Walsh: http://twitpic.com/2edwr2

    In 2010, Fenty "RESULTS" highlight systems put in place by Walsh that automatically pay kids 325% increase in salary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSP8tjdiN00

    In 2010, Fenty "RESULTS" highlighted Director Walsh's perjury under oath numerous times, here's one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=YYrc85a9tZc

    In 2009, Fenty "RESULTS" highlighted potential Title VII Civil rights violations, firing hundreds of kids who were actually qualified and assigned to good worksites:

    In 2009, Fenty "RESULTS" highlighted Director Walsh telling his staff to PRETEND TO WORK, so they can get paid more hours:

    I am amazed that the voters STILL let this Director keep his job after results like these when a woman was fired-released-resigned for less (Summer Spencer). Why the unfair treatment?

    What are your thoughts about these things?

  • Pingback: Discriminatory Employment Screens Could Be Illegal | KKBS Law

  • And you’re surprised?!?

    Hey Hoffman, why don't you answer to this?

    "Earlier this week, the Department of Employment Services (DOES) fired the David Hoffman Agency, one of the contracted firms helping DOES find jobs for the Summer Youth Employment Program participants. Apparently the Hoffman Agency was having trouble placing all of the youths, so it started sending them "to development and construction companies to see if they were complying with a city law to employ District residents." Harassing random companies about the law? That simply is not a proper city-sponsored summer job.

    The David Hoffman Agency is owned by a fellow named "David Hoffman," whose (relatively new) firm has now suffered a public blow to its reputation over allegations Hoffman deems untrue, or incomplete."

    Was that your bright solution for the Summer Youth Program?

    Way to go! And you're really surprised your firm was fired?

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  • http://www.twitter.com/jobforce David Hoffman

    @And You're Surprised
    Thank you for the invitation to respond to your question. I'll skip past the re-quote from the media article, and address my response FIRST to the 'letter of the law' by reference to federal law (20 CFR Part 667.262) which addresses the question:
    Q. "Are Employment Generating Activities Or Similiar Activities Allowable Under Federal Law?"
    A. 20 CFR 667.262(a) states "...For purposes of this section, employer outreach and job development activities are directly related to training for eligible individuals."

    Section (b) reads: "These employer outreach and job development activities include:

    (1) Contacts with potential employers for the purpose of placement of WIA participants;"

    Other sections include these allowable activities:
    (6) General dissemination of information on WIA programs and activities;

    (7) The conduct of labor market surveys;

    (8) The development of on-the-job training opportunities; and

    (9) Other allowable WIA activities in the private sector. (WIA sec. 181(e).)

    CLEARLY, this Federal WIA program was designed with job creation in mind, and outreach is a key component of job creation as anyone with experience will tell you. I'm batting around 3,000 people we helped get jobs to date. As to your re-quote of harassing random companies, the companies weren't random, and they weren't harassed. They were companies obtained from data-mining activities (super-crunching) using the dataset of DC contractors with contracts over $100,000 and possible new hires (aka First Source Law).

    SECONDLY, I'll admit we do need to revisit the WIA program for continuous quality improvement to make sure the taxpayers are getting the best value for their dollar investments as job creation goes, but we simply cannot do nothing with unemployment so high.

    As far as the 'public blow' to my reputation, I am far less worried about any comments in the media as I am concerned about taxpayers being charged for job creation programs, and the funds being raided for other purposes.

    I am against raising taxes for the upper middle class (or any class for that matter) when the money already given has been WASTED.

    I think the waste, and abuse should be put in check FIRST before people go asking for more money from others. I also strongly believe in a 'FREE ENTERPRISE' system based on my experience. Business owners, and CEO's don't hire or spend when they get mad, insulted, or have unanswered issues. Job creation is a 'GRASS ROOTS activity', not a 'policy activity'.

    As far as the 'firing' by DoES, I am hired (or paid) by employers for finding and bringing them quality talent. There have been approx 1003 employers who have hired us who are happy with the quality talent we have delivered to their job openings. There has been 1 employers (DoES) who has terminated their relationship with us. That makes our success rate 99.90039.

    I think the kids should be actually DOING WORK, and they should EARN the job, not be guaranteed a job. I also see we need to focus more on quality job training opportunities which match youth with actual work assignments.

    We also need to make sure that there are summer job opportunities for ALL DC's youth. Where are the summer jobs opportunities for aspiring engineers, or physicians, or computer programs, or attorneys, or the founder of emerging businesses like Youtube or Apple?

    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak actually met at a summer job working at HP. Imagine that if there were no summer job for them, there might have never been Apple!

    If your tax dollars can go towards creating environments where your children can be exposed to some actual 'hard work', together with 'smart work' then I think you'll have a much better summer jobs program.

    If you don't agree, then I respect your opinion. But as far as my performance, I am judged by my ability to get people jobs - PERIOD. Outreach is one option. As long as it's legal, which the law states it is, then my aggressive job creation strategies should be at least discussed if not implemented. You can look at the law for yourself here: http://bit.ly/dtWAsK

    I welcome your feedback AFTER reading the law. I'm also just curious, have you helped anyone get jobs? If so how many? Also, do you have any ideas about what we should do in solving the problem of expiring unemployment benefits? Seriously, we'd like your ideas. We'd like to see if we can give them a try and do something about them. Thanks.