Loose Lips Daily: You’ve Got Mail, No I Don’t Edition
Good morning Washington. Same drill today as has been the case all this week. Your normal LL, Alan Suderman, is on vacation. And wouldn’t you think he’d relish the latest news in l'affaire Sulaimon? What’s going on? News time …
The D.C. Council's Committee on Government Operations and the Environment—which has been artfully trying to find ways to serve Sulaimon Brown, the failed mayoral candidate turned controversial and showstopping Gray administration fired hire, with a subpoena to compel him to testify about the recent mayoral hiring scandal(s)—declared on Thursday that Brown and another uncooperative former hire, Cherita Whiting, have been indeed been served with said subpoenas. It was done via certified mail. Per The Washington Post, Mary Cheh, the Ward 3 councilmember who chairs the committee, said: "The aim of this investigation is to lay out the facts about the executive’s personnel practices. The people of the District have a right to know if something improper happened, and if it did, we need to correct it. In order to lay out these facts and make a determination, we need to speak with these former hires."
Good luck with that Mary! Brown, through a text message to Freeman Klopott of the Examiner, said that he won’t appear, saying it’s illegal to serve a subpoena through the mail. LL has to agree with the unsolicited legal opinion from the lawyer-tweeters at the Veritas Law Firm: "I think I would side with the GW law professor in a dispute about service of process." (That G.W.U. law professor is Cheh, for those who might not know. Brown, to our knowledge, does not hold a law degree.) According to The Washington Times: "Under council rules, a member can issue a subpoena by mail if reasonable attempts at in-person service prove unsuccessful. The summons must go out eight business days before the hearing." Sulaimon, your move!
AFTER THE JUMP: Breath Test Program Will Eventually Come Back, Marion Barry Celebrates Cinco de Mayo in Georgetown, Adrian Fenty on Twitter, Bag Tax 2.0?
Back in (Eventual) Action: D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan has an update on D.C.’s unreliable alcohol breath test program, which has been shut down since February 2010. According to the Examiner, it’ll be back "within a few months." Says At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson: "I need to keep the pressure on them. It's clear that after 15 months they need pressure to get this done."
Money Matters: The Washington Times reports on the funding situation facing the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corp., a non-profit fund for youth programs. Mayor Gray’s budget significantly cuts fund appropriations, which worries parents and those who administer the youth trust money. But Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, in a hearing this week, said, per the Times, that the trust "must establish goals to justify the restoration of funding that has declined sharply in the past three budget cycles." Winifred Carson Smith, the trust’s chairman "acknowledged that clear goals have not been established."
Marion Barry, Out on the Town: Look who was celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Georgetown! Declares the Georgetown Dish: “The former Mayor demonstrated that he hasn't lost his sharp instincts—at least for tacos.” OK!
A Social Media Revolution Awaits: Yay, former D.C. Mayor and former Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian Fenty, is on Twitter! And he continues to wrap his legacy in former DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Look at Fenty’s personal description! "Thrust educ reform to the top of the nat'l agenda hiring @m_rhee, closing ~20% of the city’s schools & implementing a system that tied teacher pay & performance.” It seems that this Fenty account is legit (though it is not a verified account. Do former mayors even get verified Twitter accounts?): This Twitter feed follows trusted campaign aide John Falcicchio, former DDOT chief Gabe Klein, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where Fenty declared his support for union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker this winter!
Mount Pleasant, Two Decades Years Later: Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the Mount Pleasant riots. At-Large Councilmember Michael A. Brown said in a statement: “We can be proud of the tremendous gains that have been made following the 1991 riots. However; we cannot forget the cause of the upheaval. We must continue to be open to diverse ideas and strive to work together as a government and a society to foster acceptance and understanding of all cultures. One thing we know: failure to do so would diminish our enrichment." Here are some photos of today's Mount Pleasant. Here are Washington City Paper photographer Darrow Montgomery's photos from the 1991 riots.
Bag Tax 2.0: Now that Montgomery County has passed a single-use plastic and paper bag tax, the District could be prompted to strengthen its own bag tax. As The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis notes, “Montgomery actually went further than the District. Where the District only mandates that food sellers charge for bags, the county extends its tax to nearly all retail locations.” Tommy Wells, D.C. bag tax champion, tells DeBonis that he’ll consider amendments after the current fiscal year ends in September.
DeBonis vs. Jaffe: Speaking of DeBonis, what does he really think of Examiner columnist Harry Jaffe’s notions on police officer staffing levels? Wow, such crude language, Mr. DeBonis! What’s this all about? Depending who you ask, 3,800 is the magic number of police officers D.C. needs so the city doesn’t implode. DeBonis writes this week: “Under Gray’s budget proposal, the force, now about 3,880 sworn officers, would dip under 3,600 by September 2012. That level of policing — about what the city had in 2001 — has stoked crime concerns that have bordered on fearmongering. A local columnist recently said the city would be risking a summer 'blood bath' should the number of officers fall much below what we have.” That local columnist is Jaffe, who writes in today’s Examiner about crime and police staffing levels! “I am too deep into the way the city treats its cops, the looming drop in sworn officers, the politics behind the impending budget negotiations. To my loyal readers, forgive my obsession.”
Food for Thought: All you who have an interest in Ward 6 redistricting and the prospect of Ward 8 annexing part of the west-of-the-river jurisdiction, here’s a brief historical reminder from former LL Elissa Silverman, who tweets: “Best argument against bring ward 8 across river is when ward 6 went across river east of the river folks were ignored by [the D.C. Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose & rest of 6.”
Good Ideas: Look, transparency can work!
No Return, No Rebuilding: Former D.C. Board of Education President Peggy Cooper Cafritz won’t be returning to Chain Bridge Road.
Mayor’s public schedule:
Remarks at the Dorothy Height/Benning Library dedication, 11 a.m.; Kojo Nnamdi Show interview, noon, WAMU-FM; desk work, 2:30-6 p.m., JAWB
D.C. Council schedule:
Committee of the Whole, 10 a.m., Room 412, JAWB; Committee on Human Services hearing, 10 a.m., Room 500, JAWB