Morning Roundup, Sept. 13

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D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown is pledging to revisit open-ended laws that govern how city legislators can spend money from constituent service accounts as part of a sweeping ethics reform bill that he says is decades overdue and intended to diffuse mounting distrust of city government. There are expenses “that just don’t make any sense, that just shouldn’t be,” Mr. Brown said Monday in a wide-ranging interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.

D.C. police have released an account of the arrest of former mayoral candidate Suliamon Brown, including that he allegedly had a “police official business” placard in his vehicle.

Police say that at about 1 a.m. Monday an unmarked cruiser pulled behind Mr. Brown’s 2003 Mercedes with Maryland tags, which was going south on Georgia Avenue Northwest. Officers activated emergency lights and a siren in the 600 block of Florida Avenue NW. Three uniformed officers approached the vehicle and advised Mr. Brown, 41, that a front headlight was out and asked for his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, The Washington Times reports.

Mr. Brown’s Maryland license was found to be suspended. He refused to exit the car, “immediately rolled up all of his vehicle windows, locked all four doors, grabbed his cell phone and made a phone call,” according to police. Mr. Brown reportedly said the officers were in plain clothes and he was wary of the arrest so he called a dispatcher. He eventually exited the vehicle. He was arrest for Failure to Obey a Lawful Order and not having a D.C. permit. The second charge remains unclear.

Mr. Brown is well known for alleging that members of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s election team paid him and promised him a job to stay in the 2010 mayoral race to bash incumbent Adrian M. Fenty, sparking probes by the FBI and others. Mr. Brown’s vehicle was impounded, and an inventory uncovered a 26-inch retractable baton and a window placard that read “Metropolitan Police Department POLICE Official Business” that included an MPD logo, police said. The department is investigating why Mr. Brown had a window placard, as he has never been a member of the agency.

D.C. police Chief Cathy L. Lanier says she will continue the increased police presence, even though 9-11 memorial events have ended. The chief also responded to a union accusation that she violated overtime policy by ordering 12-hour shifts last week following reports of a possible terror threat during 9-11 anniversary events, according to The Washington Times.

“First and foremost, you can’t put a cost on securing the nation’s capital,” the chief said in a written statement. “I am going to do whatever is necessary to keep our community safe. I have been heavily involved in Homeland Security for more than 10 years and have rarely seen threat streams that are both specific to Washington D.C. AND credible. So questioning whether this is necessary is a no-brainer.”

Furthermore, President Obama has included funding for the District specifically for “response to immediate and specific terrorist threats,” and the fund was created to avoid the dilemma of choosing between security and cost, the chief said. She also said union chief Kristopher Baumann questioning the deployment of officers to safeguard District residents and visitors “unfathomable.”

D.C. Council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, is responding to Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s accusation that Mr. Barry is using a legislative tactic to delay funding for security improvements at the problem-plagued New Beginnings youth detention center in Laurel, Md.

“It is the mayor’s slow reaction to critical security breaches that is causing a 10-month delay in necessary repairs to the facility,” writes Mr. Barry. “The mayor has known about the urgent need for these security repairs since he took office in January of this year. The request for these security repairs was made in January by the current Department of Youth and Rehabilitative Services director … and yet the initial funding was not approved until June. The doors will not be installed until the end of October. In the meantime, several youth have been popping the locks on their doors in order to roam the grounds after curfew hours, a staffer was severely beaten, and a youth escaped from the facility in April, all under the watch of the mayor. Additionally, DYRS Director Neil Stanley admits that youth are still freely leaving their rooms after curfew hours,” The Washington Times reports.

The damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee is being assessed across the region, as officials prepare to repair and pay for washed-out roads, collapsed bridges and a government building that was soaked in 3 feet of water. On Monday, employees wearing white face masks carried boxes of documents from the Prince George’s County Administration Building, in Upper Marlboro, which will reopen today, according to The Washington Times.

Alexandria’s mayor has penned a pointed letter to President Obama saying he was “disturbed” by a recent damning news report suggesting potential security vulnerabilities at the Mark Center, according to The Washington Times.

A shooting early Monday that wounded a transgendered woman in Southeast Washington does not appear to be related to two earlier shootings this summer that targeted transgendered women, D.C. police said Monday, according to The Washington Times.

The Maryland agency responsible for collecting child support let millions go uncollected by overlooking such collection methods as garnishing wages and seizing bank accounts, according to a state audit released Monday, reports David Hill of The Washington Times.

A Virginia audit shows inadequate security policies has put the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind at risk for information technology breaches, and it has uncovered accounting lapses related to a construction project, reports David Sherfinski of The Washington Times.

Maryland’s new alcohol sales tax brought the state $6 million in extra revenue during its first month, the state comptroller’s office said Monday, according to The Washington Times. The state’s sales tax on alcohol increased from 6 percent to 9 percent on July 1, after the General Assembly approved the increase in April.

Attorneys for the woman accused of killing her coworker at a Bethesda yoga store apparently will not argue their client was too mentally ill to be held responsible in the slaying. Attorneys for Brittany Norwood, 29, had until Monday to file a plea of not criminally responsible — Maryland’s version of the insanity defense. But no new documents had been filed in the case by Monday evening, according to a Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk’s office and the judge’s chambers. Norwood is charged with first-degree murder in the March slaying of 30-year-old Jayna Murray at the Lululemon Athletica where they both worked, according to the Washington Examiner.

All Metro employees get free rides on the transit system, but 116 of them also get to drive agency-owned vehicles home each day. Of those, 88 mid-level managers and superintendents in the bus, rail, track maintenance and engineering divisions drive the vehicles, according to information obtained by The Washington Examiner through a public records request. The remaining 28 are assigned to Metro Transit Police.

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