Saturday, May 10

DC SATURDAY

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, ESPECIALLY THE CHANCELLOR'S

WELL, WELL, Michelle Rhee may not be all about excellence after all. She's fired Oyster-Adams principal Marta Guzman who, reports the Post, has 30 year's experience and runs hose dual language program that "has long made the Cleveland Park school among the city's most coveted, with high test scores and a national blue ribbon for academic achievement. Every year, parents from outside its attendance boundaries vie through a lottery for a handful of spaces to enroll their children." Two of Rhee's children go there. . .

BILL TURQUE, WASH POST Guzman's departure has stunned many Oyster-Adams parents who wonder why, in a city filled with under-performing public schools, Rhee would sack a principal who has presided for the past five years over one of its few success stories. The move has also heightened ethnic and class tensions within the school's diverse community. Eduardo Barada, co-chairman of the Oyster-Adams Community Council, the school's PTA, said Guzman was toppled by a cadre of dissatisfied and largely affluent Anglo parents with the ear of a woman who was both a fellow parent and the chancellor. "I believe there are some parents who want to control and dominate," he said. "They want to silence the Latinos there."

Claire Taylor. . . was one of a group of Oyster-Adams parents, both white and Latino, who dined with Rhee in November and aired complaints about Guzman. Among the issues raised with Rhee, who took notes, according to another attendee, were Guzman's alleged lack of organization, reluctance to delegate and sometimes-brusque style. . .

Maureen Diner, who has a fourth-grader at the school, said Rhee's silence is not seemly for a chancellor who came into office a year ago promising reform. "Anybody asked not to return deserves a process, at the very least a community meeting," Diner said. As for Rhee, "she talked about creating a culture of accountability. At the same time, she needs to be accountable for her own actions."

PORK BARREL UPDATE

STEVEN PEARLSTEIN, WASH POST [Radio One's] advertising sales slumped as bigger competitors had moved aggressively into Radio One's hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues formats, and listeners had begun to migrate from traditional radio. The company was struggling under the weight of a heavy debt load taken on to buy up stations, many at the height of the telecom bubble, and later to finance its initial forays into television and the Internet. Its stock price, which had peaked at $20 a share in spring 2004, was down around $7.

It's only been downhill from there. Last year, Radio One posted a net loss of $387 million after its sales fell even faster than those of the industry generally and it was forced to write down more than $400 million in the value of its radio licenses. Several of its top executives quit or were forced out, its credit rating was cut, and it was forced to sell off several stations to raise cash. Because of accounting errors, the company restated several years of earnings and has been caught up in the Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into backdating of stock options. Yesterday, after announcing another quarterly loss of $18.3 million, Radio One's stock price closed at 86 cents. . .

This is also the story of a management team and a tightknit board of directors who have overreached in their strategy, underperformed in executing it and sometimes put their own interests ahead of those of their public shareholders.

The most egregious example is the new compensation packages recently awarded by the board to Hughes and her son, Alfred C. Liggins III, the chief executive. Under the agreements, Hughes, as chairman of the board with no clearly defined executive responsibilities, will receive an annual base salary of $750,000, along with a potential bonus of $250,000. That compares with a 2007 salary and bonus of $560,000.

Liggins, who in addition to his base salary of $575,370, last year earned a bonus of $468,720 for turning in the worst financial performance in company history. Going forward, the board has determined that Liggins is apparently so valuable and essential that his base salary has to be increased to $980,000, with a potential bonus of another $980,000.

WASH BUSINESS JOURNAL, JAN 2008 - The D.C. Council has approved a $23 million subsidy for the mixed-use Broadcast Center One development in the Shaw neighborhood, which will include new headquarters for Radio One Inc. The deal is slated to bring 103,000 square feet of office space, close to 25,000 square feet of retail, 180 rental apartments and a 195-spot underground parking garage, which will provide parking for the renovated Howard Theater on T Street. Radio One currently owns 54 stations, which primarily target African-American and urban listeners.

DC SHORTS

ARTOMATIC, the homegrown art extravaganza has opened with over seven hundred visual artists and three hundred performances, its one of the most celebrated arts events of the year. Artomatic 2008 will occupy ten floors of the Capitol Plaza I building, located at 1200 First Street (1st, M, and Patterson Streets), NE, next to Fur & Ibiza nightclubs. Just one block west of the New York Avenue Metro station. Hours are: Fridays & Saturdays: noon-2:00 a.m.; Sundays: noon-10:00 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays: 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Artomatic's last day is June 15. A full schedule of events

ELISSA SILVERMAN WASHINGTON POST They have scared away patrons of restaurants, put fear into Sunday worshipers and given indigestion to dinner party guests. . . It's the District's hawk-eyed parking enforcement brigade, including city-owned tow trucks that prowl the streets during games. . . More than 200 people packed a room at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church to voice their opinions . . . Many said that the District was too vigilant, ticketing and towing cars that had no connection to baseball. Cars in violation receive a $30 ticket and a tow to the parking lot at the old D.C. General Hospital, Howland said. "I actually had two employees quit because of parking tickets," said Joyce N. Thomas, president and chief executive of the Center for Child Protection and Family Support, which aids abused children. . . Churchgoers also questioned the virtue of aggressive enforcement, which several said requires them to listen to sermons with an eye on their watches. "Is it being done to squeeze out the African American churches in this community?" said Cheryl Kelley, a Maryland resident who is a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church at Fourth and D streets SE.

JOSHUA KUCERA took the whole trip from DC to NYC by local transit. Now you don't have to; you can read about it in City Paper. Clip: "The itinerary of "The Bus" is clearly designed for those for whom time is not money. We drove into the Villas at Whitehall ("A Senior Rental Community"), stopped at Union Hospital and at Foxridge Manor Apartments. We did a loop through one neighborhood where all the houses were identical aluminum-sided duplexes and the streets had names like "Road 1" and "Road 12"-and then came out exactly where we had entered 15 minutes earlier. I had to change buses; the transfer station was at the Acme grocery store in the Big Elk Shopping Center in Elkton. We also made a 10-minute stop at the Cecil County administration building, where we all had to get out of the bus and into another one with a new driver to continue the journey. . . It was, however, a bargain compared to Amtrak: I paid $11 for the MARC train, a total of $4.50 for two "The Bus" buses, $1.15 on the Delaware DART bus, $9 on SEPTA, and $12.50 on NJ Transit, for a total of $38.15.

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