Tuesday, April 22

DC TUESDAY

THE COURT APPROVAL of the taxi cab meters is one of the saddest - and most telling - events for those trying to make an ordinary living in this town. The two great entry jobs in Washington have been street vending and taxis. The DC government has already made the former as difficult as possible and now Mayor Fenty has taken action to rid the taxi industry of small time operators and turn it over to major corporations. DC has been, until now, the big city in America where a majority of cab drivers own their own vehicles. The demise of independent cab system is yet another sign of how the culture of greed is ruining DC.

PAUL DUGGAN WASHINGTON POST "I was a little bit shocked when I first looked at it," cabbie Nathan Price said of [Judge] Hedge's 24-page decision. Price, 64, a taxi driver in the District for 36 years and chairman of the drivers' coalition that filed the lawsuit, said the outcome left him "kind of despondent.". . .

Price said many of the District's 6,500 to 7,000 cabbies worry that fares based on time and distance will be higher than the current flat rates based on geographic zones and that a price increase would cause a drop in ridership and force many independent owner-operators out of business. "I've got people who ride, they've got just ordinary jobs," said William Wright, 84, a cabbie in the District since 1943. "They ride the same place every day, and they can afford to ride, because they know what the fare is. . . ."

OF COURSE, if you're at the other end of the economic spectrum, another set of rules apply. As we have noted, Franklin Raines, late of Fannie Mae and a favorite of the Washington Post, has - by any objective standard - outdone Marion Barry and the Teacher's Union embezzlers to become the city's leading scoundrel. But you'd never guess that by reading today's Reliable Source. Raines agreed to pay $24.7 million to escape further actions on his massive misdeeds at Fannie Mae, but the RS duo make it sound like it was just a little mistake - calling it "accounting shenanigans." You engage in a $25 million accounting shenanigan and see what happens.

RELIABLE SOURCE, WASH POST - The former chief executive finally closed the book on his controversial stint at Fannie Mae . . . and is selling his house, getting a divorce and has a new girlfriend. Last week, Raines settled a civil lawsuit with the feds by agreeing to pay $24.7 million, ending more than three years of legal wrangling over accounting shenanigans at Fannie Mae. Raines admitted no wrongdoing; he now sits on the board of Steve Case's Revolution Health company.

He's already moved on in his personal life, too. We've learned that Raines and his wife of more than 25 years, Wendy Farrow Raines, have been separated for more than a year. Beechwoods, the 1910 colonial they shared with their three daughters in Forest Hills -- the site of their huge annual Christmas party -- went on the market last month for $8.25 million. The seven-bedroom, seven-bath property (movie theater, pool and cabana, tennis court) was assessed at $3.2 million last year. Raines, 59, is dating Denise Grant, a partner at the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

CRYSTAL SYLVIA - Yesterday, two students with behavior problems were enrolled at my school with less than 2 months left of the school year. Both students came from charter schools. For privacy reasons I can't give the name of the charter schools but I will say that both charter schools are regularly touted as the best schools DC has to offer. Both students were transferred out of their charter schools because their schools would not or could not meet their needs. Now we see once again DCPS is saddled with the responsibility of educating these students because it is only DCPS and not charter schools who have the burden of being required by law to educate all children. . . . I only work with students who have learning and behavior challenges. This is one way that charter schools "cherry pick" their students.

HERE ARE SOME tidbits about the sainted educational mercenaries Michelle Rhee wants to have take more than two dozen schools

- Friends of Bedford (Bedford Academy) just registered as a non profit corporation in NYS in January. No track record outside one school, which is highly selective.

- Of the five Friendship Schools in DC, 3 of them didn't make AYP last year. One made it in one subject only. One made it in both.

- Only 52% of 2003 freshmen who entered St. Hope in Sacramento, graduated last year. This is a "proven track record?"


OFFICAL DC STANDARDIZED TEST

Where we subject officials and agencies to same rigorous testing standards they apply to our children. The rankings are only for this year.

FENTY & LANIER lose three for their police-state scheme of 5,000 coordinated spy cameras

FENTY loses one for his stupid trick of denying some members of the city concil Nationals tickets. And Council members Alexander, Brown, Mendelsohn and Schwartz gain a point for being on the mayor's hit list.

DMV loses two points for not checking on cars they ticket to see if they are stolen

RHEE loses three points for her mercenary approach to outsourcing education.

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