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Morning Roundup: June 3
D.C. COUNCIL CHAIRMAN KWAME R. BROWN turned up his nose at a 2011 Chevy Tahoe because, according to an email between Department of Public Works staff, he wanted a Navigator just like the mayor’s, Loose Lips tells us in City Paper. In even more emails FOIA’d as part of the unending Navigatorgate scandal, Mr. Brown’s statements that he did not intend to copy the mayor’s SUV and that he merely requested a black-on-black SUV are put to the test. But the best part: an email exchange between two DPW staffers wary of getting caught up in what was destined to be a medium-sized public scandal. “You need to make damn sure that you are able to show exactly everything from a to z, and who said what and when concerning this Navigator issue for Chairman Brown. One day someone is going to come back and dig into this. I want to make sure that we can tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on the purchase of this vehicle and the waste and abuse of taxpayers money,” one wrote. The reply: “You’re absolutely right. This thing smells to high heaven.”
D.C. COUNCIL MEMBER JIM GRAHAM has questions about the new head of New Beginnings, whose recent appointment was made after a job description appears to have been altered to suit his qualifications. Tom Howell Jr. writes in The Washington Times that the controversy over the appointment of retired Coast Guard Capt. Steven Baynes could spell trouble for the nomination of Neil Stanley to head DYRS. “Laying out a timeline, Mr. Graham said Capt. Baynes was interviewed Jan. 4, the job posting was withdrawn upon instruction by D.C.’s human resources department, it was reposted March 24 with juvenile justice requirements that formerly had been in the posting deleted. More interviews were conducted and Capt. Baynes was hired April 25.” Also, Marion Barry hedges on a pledge not to vote for Stanley that was made before the first witness testified in Stanley’s confirmation hearing. Go figure.
ONE OF THE TEENS WHO ESCAPED A SECURE DYRS FACILITY in Northwest last week walked away less than a month earlier from a South Carolina facility and a “low risk” group home in the District prior to jumping from the third-floor window of the locked treatment center, Jeffrey Anderson reports in The Washington Times. Both the teen escapees who fled last week have been recaptured. The youth who had previously escaped from the S.C. facility has a history of escapes and has been a ward of the District since he was 12 years old. DYRS insiders complain that a lightly experienced bureaucrat has the authority to overrule seasoned (and licensed) case workers on placement decisions. Also noteworthy: As the D.C. Council mulls a bill that would release the photo and record of offenses of a juvenile who escapes custody, folks at DYRS privately tell The Times that access to the case file of the serial absconder who escaped last week was restricted after the incident.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL PRESIDENT VALERIE ERVIN has had a falling out with Walt Bader, a police officer and a longtime leader of the Montgomery police union, over a budget that did not include pay raises an arbiter had awarded to police, The Washington Post reports. “Ervin says Bader said the council’s moves to cut spending would turn Montgomery into the “Wild West” — a comment that in her mind crossed the line. “No matter what was said or intended, the breakdown in the relationship between Ervin and one of Montgomery’s most influential labor leaders shows how the terrain has changed in a liberal county long seen as a union stronghold,” The Post reports. The drama escalated, with cops heckling council members at the budget meeting, suggesting the politicians call 311 instead of 911, and engaging a “troupe of mimes, apparently intended to be council members. With them was a plump, red-haired clown wearing a name tag that read “Valerie.’” Wow, that’s pretty low.
ANOTHER PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY DEVELOPERhas pleaded guilty in the ongoing federal corruption probe, Andrea Noble reports at The Washington Times.
U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE GEORGE ALLEN is sticking with his Alexandria church, even after a handful of people left upset with the church’s decision to allow Muslims to pray there on Fridays while a nearby Mosque is being renovated, the D.C. Examiner reports.
METRO TRAINS will continue to be operated in manual mode for a number of years because the agency still needs to swap out “well over half” of the safety modules of the type that faltered in the 2009 train crash, the D.C. Examiner reports.
VACATIONERS WHO DRIVE ACROSS THE CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE to Ocean City and elsewhere on the Eastern Shore could pay roughly three times as much under a sweeping toll increase proposed Thursday. Sen. E.J. Pipkin calls the increase “highway robbery.”
PROSECUTORS WILL NOT PURSUE CRIMINAL CHARGES related to the death of a Silver Spring man near the DC9 nightclub in the District’s U Street corridor in October. The man threw bricks through the window of the club in the early hours of Oct. 15 when he was turned away after it had closed. A co-owner and some employees chased, seized, and held him down him until police arrived. Witnesses said he was beaten to death. Police charged five and later dropped the charges amid criticism they had acted too hastily. Now prosecutors say a medical condition caused his death and there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone. Case closed.
About the Author
Matthew Cella is The Washington Times' Metro editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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