FENTY SWEETHEART DEAL OF THE WEEK
David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart.
Fenty and D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi are seeking to give control of the lottery operations to W2I, a nine-month-old venture, but council members have questioned the firm's credentials. Gandhi has said the city is losing $5 million a year under the management of Lottery Technology Enterprises, which has been working with the city for 25 years. . .
W2I is a partnership between international gaming services provider Intralot and W2Tech, a firm established less than a year ago by real estate developer Warren C. Williams Jr. and his wife, Alaka Williams. Council members have raised doubts about Warren Williams, who operated a nightclub that was closed after a patron was fatally stabbed. He also owns an apartment complex where residents have criticized his management.
UNION OFFICIAL GOES TO THE TEACHERS FAIR
At first glance, I noticed that there were approximately one hundred forty schools listed on the Excel spreadsheet that was provided to potential applicants, outlining school vacancies for positions ranging from teachers of varying specialties to special education coordinators. Although one hundred forty schools were on the list to interview potential applicants, approximately forty-four schools were conspicuously absent for reasons unclear to all of those in attendance. Many teachers who inquired about the "absent schools" were advised to leave their resumes and told that someone would be in contact with them later.
I took the opportunity to speak with as many teachers as I could. I saw looks on my teacher colleagues' faces that ranged from worry, fear, disappointment, depression, and confusion to frustration, even pain. Even without knowing me, teachers welcomed the opportunity to speak candidly with me. Many wondered what would happen to them if they did not get selected for a position. Some spoke of wanting to follow their students, while others grappled with their own uncertain futures - with college tuition yet to pay, ailing and aging parents, and the fiscal responsibilities of day-to-day life. The hard-core reality is that mid-level to senior teachers just might get overlooked by a reformed school system that favors younger, teachers under age forty. Principals can buy two inexperienced and uncertified teachers for the price of one experienced, certified one. It seemed to me that all they were asking for is a little help from our school system. . . After all, these are the same people who held our system together when for many years DCPS jumped from one educational bandwagon to another, changed superintendents every two-and-a-half years, lacked a long term educational strategic plan, was consistently under funded, failed to provide appropriate professional staff development, lacked high quality leadership, and disregarded the input from our most critical stakeholders - our teachers and related school personnel.
Our Official DC Standardized Test results for the grown-ups running our city has been updated
Washington Times The D.C. public school system's entire inventory of buildings made the D.C. Preservation League's annual list of endangered places in the city this year. "Years of deferred maintenance as a result of budget cuts and mismanagement have left many school buildings in an advanced state of disrepair," said the group. Members also were deeply concerned about the future of the school buildings, despite a promise last year by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, to close 23 of the 165 buildings, including those of Elizabethan and Modernist designs, and repair the rest.
Arts Journal Starting next week Night at the Museum II: Escape from the Smithsonian, a Ben Stiller vehicle, will be filmed at the Smithsonian. This is the first time the Smithsonian has allowed its name to be used in a commercial movie title. See the complete memo from Smithsonian acting Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture Richard Kurin after the jump. . . Set primarily in
Radar Heads are voluntarily rolling at the Washington Post as reporters across the paper have opted to take company buyouts from the cutback-happy paper. Among those grabbing the cash: David Broder, known as "the dean of the
Beltway Poetry Quarterly and Split This Rock will be offering: "GLBT Poets of Washington," a guided walking tour of the
Montgomery Blair Sibley, who represented the late DC Madam, Deborah Jeanne Palfrey has been suspended by the
"He is someone who abuses the legal process," said Barnaby Min, counsel for the Florida Bar.
Nikita Stewart, Washington Post The D.C. Council approved Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's $5.7 billion spending plan for fiscal 2009 yesterday after inserting several amendments, including doubling the cigarette tax to $2 and keeping
Reasoned discourse on local listservs Neighbors, in the absence of viable prosecution despite police action, I believe it is time to bring in the police, judge and prosecutioner. In the absence of Judge Dredd or Robocop I suggest a community collection to bring in a few Blackwater, CACI or similar community policing agents. If we can leverage unfettered power elsewhere, why not here? Please let me know if you are willing to help fund a community policing effort to fight back on the mayor's lack of action. - Hill
Marc Borbely, Fix Our Schools The city council voted unanimously to reject the mayor's proposal to repeal requirements for DCPS budget information and budget hearings. This victory for transparency and public input was thanks to the leadership of Chairman Gray, and the backing of every councilmember, especially Gray, Barry, Schwartz, Cheh and Wells, all of whom expressed their support for DCPS budget information and public input at a council hearing on April 25. More than one thousand parents, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, teachers, and other school reform advocates submitted a letter urging the council to preserve parents' (and others') ability to provide meaningful, informed input before DCPS budgets are finalized.
DC Watch Jonetta Rose Barras has been fired by WAMU-FM as cohost of the DC Politics Hour, recently renamed the Politics Hour, which airs on Fridays on the Kojo Nnamdi Show. WAMU severely diluted its focus on District issues when it expanded the focus of its one-hour-a-week coverage to include
Go easy on the pork barrel complaints. The $10 million for Ford's Theater was outrageous but many extremely important non-profits depend on special funding from the city to keep going. The idea that these grants should stop is based on an extremely simplistic and selfish view of government. Here are just a few of the good groups that got helped this time around: CHAMPS, Cultural Tourism DC, the Historical Society of Washington, the Marshall Heights Community Development, $1 million to the Lincoln Theatre, Washington Parks and People for the Hoaward University archeological team and to reclaim four parcels of vacant propery in Columbia Heights, the Ethiopia Community Service and Development Council, Vietnamese-American Community Service Center, Avalon Theatre, Field of Dreams, Keely's Boxing and Youth Center, Takoma Theatre, Greater Washington Urban League, the Capitol Hill Community Foundation for community gardens and so on. While there were a number of indefensible grants - such as a half million bucks to DC Vote to pursue its continued support of colonial government by seeking only a vote in the House - many of the grants are not only important but an essential part of communities and our cultural life. It is fine to fight over individual grants but the idea that all such grants are evil is basically a rightwing lie.
Hill Rag Fenty says this budget will add a lot to DC public schools, but no one has been able to find that money in the budget. The mayor also touts lots of new money for housing, yet some key housing programs actually are losing funding. . . In the two years since Fenty has been in charge, public works has seen the largest budget growth. . . And there's a large drop for the Housing Production Trust Fund - DC's main source for affordable housing production. That's because the Trust Fund is tied to DC's deed taxes, which are plummeting. The decline means that the city may not even have enough to fund existing projects. Overall, the housing budget for 2009 is lower than this year's. But it's a lot higher than in 2006. . . Overall, 2009 is not a human services budget, with funding that is relatively unchanged from 2008 and just 1.4 percent higher than in 2007, after adjusting for inflation. . .
DCRTV WAMU (88.5 FM) is touting its fifth place overall finish in the DC radio ratings. Usually, public radio outlets, like WAMU, are not included in the commercial radio ratings. WAMU says its broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition" ranks third, with 353,000 weekly listeners. The evening drive, anchored by NPR's "All Things Considered," placed second, with more than 214,000 weekly listeners, according to WAMU. The station, which programs news and talk on weekday, and some music programs on weekends, also touts its top-rated Saturday morning and Sunday lineups. When compared with public radio stations in other markets, WAMU says it ranks third nationwide, with 534,100 DC metro listeners, and a weekly total audience of 621,600, including the
New ANC Listserv Whether you're a new ANC Commissioner learning to navigate the maze of DC government, a seasoned Commissioner with knowledge to share, or a constituent with suggestions for organizational improvement, you use this Google group. Some goals of this group for the immediate future include: Initiate an inter-Commission dialogue to identify issues surrounding the delivery of government programs and services. establish a forum to promote civic organizations, community organizing and community events, city-wide, develop standard operating procedures for the effective management of our commissions and for improved communication with DC offices and agencies.
DC Examiner A D.C. proposal to install sirens across the National Mall to warn visitors of impending terrorism or other hazards has run into a federal roadblock over aesthetics, District officials say. The National Capital Planning Commission objected to the pilot siren project based "on the look," said Jo'Ellen Countee, spokeswoman for the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. The protests, she said, were raised during a meeting several months ago and have yet to be resolved. The sirens have not been rejected, responded David Levy, NCPC's director of urban design and plan review. "Those in attendance basically expressed that there was really not enough information to provide informative feedback," Levy said. "There was very little information on what kinds of devices they wanted to install, where they wanted to put them and on what buildings they wanted to put them on. We never heard back from them.". . . Bill Line, National Park Service spokesman, said the federal agency has proven itself adept at evacuating masses from the National Mall "in pretty quick order" during the past two Fourth of July celebrations, in both cases for severe thunderstorms.
Under DC's rules, an engineer cannot teach math, even though engineering majors use a lot of high-level math and probably placed out of the courses required for a certificate. A history professor isn't "qualified" to teach history here. etc. Many special ed teachers responsible for teaching all subjects (in special programs, for instance), aren't "highly qualified" because they don't have a bachelor's in every subject they teach - i.e., math degree, history degree, etc. Last month, the DC State Board of Education approved a new definition of "highly qualified" similar to the federal definition and those in other counties. Now, a teacher can demonstrate content knowledge of math, say, by passing the Praxis II (like SAT II) test. The board took this step to widen the talent pipeline so that DCPS wouldn't have to take the one 'qualified' candidate that fit our city's narrow and restrictive definition. We have a long way to go in creating a system that can attract and support top teachers. . . Also, bear in mind that private, religious and charter schools do not need to jump through these hoops, and many of their teachers seem to be doing a fine job of educating children.
Vinnie Rotondaro, Washington Post A few months back, I attempted to get a license for a vending cart that would sell homemade Italian goods. . . . I realized that, unlike
Sopan Joshi, Washington Post -It was 50 years ago that Max Kampelman returned home to a surprise. His wife told him she didn't know he had agreed to head a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the zoo. Some neighbors active in a
Hilltop According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, in 2007
Howard is one of only seven HBCUs, which include
WTOP Last Friday night, when D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Cardozo/Roosevelt game, it signaled a new era in high school sports in the nation's capital.
For the first time ever,
DC'S MOST ENDANGERED PLACES OF 2008
Foundry Branch Trolley Trestle
St. Elizabeths, West Campus 2700 Martin Luther king Boulevard, SE
Third Church of Christ, Scientist
Historic DC Public Schools Citywide
Judiciary Square Clusters 300 Block of E Street, NW
Barry Farm Frame Houses