- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2016


Here’s a big-city mayor who has given herself Excedrin headache No. 131.

Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday released a checklist that compares what she proposed to do as mayor with what she has done.

By her own measure, the mayor doesn’t measure up.

All told, Ms. Bowser says she has fully completed only nine of 131 administration goals. Indeed, 94 of the 131 promises are simply marked as “launched” (I say “initiated”), because some of her promises are so tethered to similar goals that there’s no way to tell whether a goal is effective or not.

For example, Team Bowser proposed a confidential hotline that would specifically focus on crime prevention among children and young adults. The hotline didn’t happen. Instead, the proposal is being “reconsidered” to include “productive opportunities for the city’s young people.” If the hotline were up and running, perhaps police, our schools and our businesses would have been spared the burglaries, robberies and terrifying violent events that are being committed by bands of young thugs roaming the city, including twerking women and young female hoodlums.

SEE ALSO: Second Baltimore police officer’s trial in Freddie Gray case postponed

Another example is one neighborhood in the heart of the District’s Catholic enclave in Northeast. The neighborhood has been struggling with wave after wave of youths wreaking havoc after school. The anonymity of a hotline would surely help school and law enforcers. What’s the city going to do? Offer milk and cookies?

Yet another public safety example is Team Bowser’s promise “to ensure District residents have an opportunity to participate in an open and honest dialogue about public safety in their neighborhoods.” This is a positive “launch” as it reconnects residents to law enforcers and policymakers, something former Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey wholeheartedly believed in.

The Bowser administration tagged some of her own proposals with asterisks, mostly blaming the D.C. Council for failing to pass legislation that she wanted to implement. Among those is her comprehensive public safety bill — which has yet to pass the council because it reflects the mayor’s “knee-jerk” reaction, as Council member Kenyan McDuffie rightly called it.

Anti-crime legislation needs deep thought and requires looking at the forest and the various trees. The Bowser bill really does neither, and the mayor concedes as much in her report.

While she lays out her public safety posture among more than a dozen separate platforms, one is particularly startling — and Ms. Bowser tags it with an asterisk.

The proposal was: “Provide the Chief with the resources necessary to recruit, hire, and train as many officers as possible in a responsible way, with a commitment to bring the size of the force to its authorized strength of 4,000 sworn officers as quickly as possible.”

The report says “launched” with an asterisk: “Funded civilianization plan in the FY16 budget, which will move officers from working at desks to back out on the street. Funded an education-based retention incentive for MPD officers at the beginning or end of their careers, the times when officers are most likely to leave. Streamlined recruiting and hiring to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

“Asked the Council for the authority to retain qualified police officers to work as civilians with the Department of Forensic Scientists without any impact to their retirement benefits. *awaiting further legislative action”

Recruiting, hiring and training are prerogatives of the chief. The police-to-forensics vis-a-vis police-to-civilians is far too tricky for the council to give her a pass. So is the possibility of officers double-dipping. (Besides, may D.C. officers live in other states, and many D.C. criminals and suspects do, too.) That police-forensics proposal shouldn’t be part of any routine, annual budget measure. Mr. McDuffie and other lawmakers are smart to continue serious deliberations on the mayor’s omnibus crime proposal.

And sticking with the public safety, here’s another thumb sucker: In her report, Ms. Bowser pats herself on the back for keeping Police Chief Cathy Lanier in the city’s employ.

Oy vey.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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