Loose Lips Daily: More D.C. Council Arrests and Budget Cuts Edition
Good morning Washington. Happy Cinco de Mayo. (Did you also know that it is also Tammy Wynette's birthday?) Those are some fun facts on this Thursday. Be sure to pick up this week’s Washington City Paper print edition, especially if you’re an animal lover. Or not. Franklin Schneider follows a D.C. animal control officer in "The Alligator Whisperer." Here’s the teaser quote from the intro: "The dog threw up his dead owner’s ass all over the inside of my van. That was before we got the new carriers with drains in the bottom so we could just hose them out. I had to clean it out myself. That was probably the worst thing that's ever happened to me on this job." Actually it's not.
Alan Suderman is on vacation, so there's no Loose Lips this week in print, just Loose Lips Daily, which you’re reading now. Lydia DePillis details the complicated tenant battle at the Kennedy-Warren, one of D.C.’s best addresses. And Dave McKenna writes about how the biggest winners during the Capitals' recent playoff run (really, Tampa?) have been bars and restaurants around the Verizon Center.
News time for you local D.C. politics junkies!
There was another round of District of Columbia civil disobedience on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, this time resulted in a number of women, including Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, being arrested. The group was protesting the House of Representatives voting to approve legislation that would "permanently ban the District's use of tax dollars to pay for abortions for low-income residents," per The Washington Post. Cheh led the charge on Constitution Avenue NE outside the Russell Senate Office Building, blocking traffic, and was arrested within a couple of minutes by Capitol Police. DCVote has videos galore!
Wouldn’t it make more sense to protest on the House side of Capitol Hill and not the Senate? Just saying. Also, where exactly was Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, who turned out for the protest, but sent the local political Twitterverse aflutter with ponderings as to her exact whereabouts. Was she in the bathroom?
Amanda Hess of TBD ponders the gender divide among protesters. During the April 11 protests, where D.C. Mayor Vince Gray and other councilmembers were arrested, less than 30 percent of the “DC 41” were women: “What accounts for the civil disobedience gender divide? D.C. hosts a majority-female population, and last month's budget compromise hit them the hardest. While all D.C. citizens lost their right to dictate the destination of their local tax dollars, the real burden fell on low-income District women who were stripped of necessary Medicaid funding for abortions. So where were they?”
AFTER THE JUMP: Jim Graham Ready to Cut "Top Heavy" CFSA, Ward 6 Fights Marion Barry, a Blue Neon Schwinn on the 15th Street Bike Lane, DCPS Has to Rehire a Visually Impaired Teacher Wrongly Fired
Speaking of Yvette: Councilmember Alexander continues to face questions from The Washington Times about whether she used her political power to influence the D.C. auditor’s probe of Peaceoholics.
CFSA Cuts Coming: Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, chairman of the Committee on Human Services thinks that the Child and Family Services Agency is "top-heavy" and during a hearing on Wednesday, “asked for a description of the agency’s 103 vacant, yet funded, positions.” According to The Washington Times, Graham told agency chief of staff Loren Ganoe: "[G]ive me a few sentences to justify each one of them," he said. "Obviously I’ll want to go there first for savings."
Simmons’ Skewering: What would happen if The Washington Times’ Deborah Simmons were locked in a confined space with Jim Graham? Perhaps there’d be some time to chat about this column? Simmons doesn’t hold back her! "Like a typical liberal, ...Graham … at first sounds like a law-and-order politician, but the more he talks, the more he reveals his bleeding heart.... He’s punch-drunk from repeatedly being sucker-punched by liberal philosophies that assume all young offenders can be rehabilitated. Young violent criminals, like fully grown ones, should be locked down in tough-as-nails institutions."
Keeping Marion Barry at Bay: Residents of Ward 6 met on Wednesday night to discuss Ward 8 Councilmember’s Marion Barry's hoped-for so-called "annexation" of sections of their ward as part of redistricting. There's a petition being circulated by ANC Commissioner 6D07 David Garber. According to JDLand, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells said "I don't want to lose one inch of Ward 6," but told everyone to cool their jets and not have the redistricting debate center on "personalities." Good luck with that!
An Appeal From Richmond: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has asked D.C. Mayor Vince Gray to speak with D.C.’s three appointees to the board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority about their recent votes to OK an underground Metrorail station at Dulles International Airport instead of a cheaper aboveground station that’s farther from the terminal. Per The Washington Times, Gray says there’s a “very strong case” for the underground option that’s closer to the terminal.
Defamation Suits: Revisiting some sort-of-settled but unsettled business from Adrian Fenty's mayoral administration, frat brother, engineer, and dry cleaner Sinclair Skinner is suing Anthony Currie, owner of Currie & Associates LLC of Hyattsville for statements that "were reckless untrue and per se defamatory under Maryland law." More from LL's colleague Rend Smith.
Demographics Bonanza: According to U.S. Census numbers, the population of young adults in the District now stands at 190,000 myopic little twits (Courtland Milloy is on vacation this week!). That’s nearly a third of D.C.’s population of 600,000 people, The Washington Post reports. You see, D.C. has jobs and is “a mecca for workaholics," but a place that’s "thought of as a place that’s fun." In fact go-to think tank demographer William Frey says D.C. "is following the same pattern seen in Boston." (If that's the case, can our Big Dig be a new crosstown M Street Subway?) Then there are the Post’s man-on-the-street interviews with young adults! David Helfrich, for instance, likes the "international tone of the city," the "robust legal scene and the clubs," and namedrops hot spots like Josephine, Recess, and Smith Commons! The Post also interviewed somebody riding a "neon blue Schwinn on the new bike lane along 15th Street NW." The biker says D.C. "still feels basically like a singles city." Except when you feel like there are all these new suburban families all around you!
The Examiner details numbers that show "[m]ore than 300 families relocated from Maryland and Virginia to the District and enrolled their children in D.C. Public Schools for the first time this school year." But those families are scared of budget cuts to DCPS. What will happen when these schoolchildren and young adults have to share?
DCPS Scolded: In an impactful ruling, an arbitrator says the D.C. Public Schools must rehire a visually impared teacher who was wrongly fired in 2008, pay more than $200,000 in back pay, along with benefits and seniority. Per the Examiner, the arbitrator wrote: "This is a very sad and troubling case. ... Instead of fixing the situation promptly and correcting a personnel action that it surely realized would not be sustained if judged on its merits, DCPS invested several years and substantial taxpayer funds defending its decision to terminate [teacher Denise Hamilton]'s employment." Nathan Saunders, the teachers' union president, says Hamilton's firing has been part of a "pattern of behavior" used against visually impaired teachers.
Bad Landlords: A study by the Equal Rights Center finds that D.C. landlords "illegally discriminate against D.C. tenants with housing vouchers on a regular basis," according to the Examiner. Refusing a housing voucher is a violation of D.C. civil rights laws on income discrimination.
The Mount Pleasant riots started 20 years ago today.
George Hawkins of D.C. Water is driving an electric car. Nifty.
Interested in a history of Shaw? Dig in!
Martin Austermuhle vs. Gary Imhoff. Decode this from Gary: "Martin is like Pauline Kael, who in 1972 famously said, "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them."
NBC Washington is shocked that the Exxon at the Watergate has regular gas priced at $5.07 per gallon.
Mayor's Schedule: Visit to the Ballou Senior High School Automotive Technology Center, 11 a.m.; Desk work, JAWB, 12:30-2 p.m.; Presentation of Key to the District to Raheem DeVaughn, front steps, JAWB, 2 p.m.; More desk work, 2:45-5:45 p.m.; Passport D.C. Kickoff Reception, Blair House, 6-8 p.m.; Thurgood Marshall Academy Shining Star Gala remarks, 8:15-9 p.m.
D.C. Council Schedule: Committee on Health hearing, 10 a.m., Room 500, JAWB; DYRS grilling at the Committee of Human Services hearing, 1 p.m., Room 123, JAWB; Committee of the Whole, Room 500, 2 p.m., JAWB