Saturday, June 28

DC SATURDAY

DC SHORTS

Have you noticed how Adrian Fenty is turning into Baby Bush, bullying people around, abusing police powers, reducing public services like schools and making sure government takes care of corporations before ordinary citizens? The latest example is his homeland security style ID card which may even be required to enter an ordinary community center just to go to an allegedly public meeting Reported the Post: "Some details are being refined. Signs at community centers last week said the One Card was required to enter the facility. Several people at the Chevy Chase Community Center said facility users were asked to sign up for the One Card if they were planning to exercise or attend a meeting. . . Not all community center users are happy. 'Why should one need an ID to go into a public building with no security problems?' said Ted Gest, who uses the Chevy Chase Community Center every week. 'I think that it's a very slick salesman who has sold the city this system.'"

Anita Huslin Washington Post Olsson's Books, one of the oldest independent booksellers in Washington, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, founder John Olsson said. Pressed by creditors who have filed claims against the company's inventories and by rising overhead costs, Olsson's is closing at least one store and will evaluate its ability to operate its remaining five properties, an attorney for the company said. . .

Last week, two of its biggest publishers, Random House and Penguin Group, as well as Hachette Book Group petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Greenbelt to place Olsson's in involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would force the company to liquidate. Two other creditors hold claims on the company's book and music inventories, Olsson's attorney Richard H. Gins said. Olsson, 76, began selling books and records in the District 50 years ago and has battled the economic forces of big-box competition and Internet sales. But ultimately his business is being strained by forces close to home. "We sort of helped make the neighborhood what it is. And it's a great neighborhood, but we can't afford the rent," Olsson said. A few years ago, the store's rent in the renovated Lansburgh department store building was $30 a square foot. Now, it has risen to $50 to $60 a square foot.

Former Assistant city auditor Carl Bergman (from back in the day when you still heard about that office) writes to note of reported plans by UDC to sell Building 52: "The UDC board will not tear down building 52 and sell the real estate. It's simple. They don't own it. The city owns the building, but GSA owns the land. This is why Marion and Tony had to abandon their UDC real estate schemes. How soon they forget."

Jim Myers, New Hill East - [The] Supreme Court ruling in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller in regards to the District's longstanding handgun ban has origins, of sorts, in Hill East -- on Kentucky Avenue, where the only remaining plaintiff in the case lives. Dick A. Heller, a security guard and former Capitol Hill Safeway checkout clerk, who appealed the denial of his application for a handgun in his home, lived across from the old Kentucky Courts housing project during an infamous era of violence there in the early and mid-1990s. Several homicides and other shootings took place virtually in front of or across the street from Heller's house, and Heller's original lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in 2003, stated that he lives in a "high-crime area." The Kentucky Courts family units were closed for good in 1997 (because an invasion of pigeons had created a health hazard) and the site at Kentucky and C Streets was subsequently redeveloped into mixed income housing. The most recent homicide near Heller's house was in 2007 -- a stabbing.

An award for the most creative use of a Metro station goes to Dupont Circle station manager Sharon Waters who is accused of having told an undercover cop that she could get him a prostitute. And she did, via the station loudspeaker, no less. The called custodian arrived and purportedly agreed to have sex in the future with the cop. Waters was also allegedly distributing flyers advertising sex trips to Brazil.

David A Nakamura, Wash Post Police union chief Kristopher Baumann said he was disappointed at the reaction to the Supreme Court ruling from Mayor Adrian Fenty and Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who said they will craft gun registration rules and work with the D.C. Council to develop new laws governing the storage of guns in the home. Baumann said the city should have done more, including announce new rules that establish "minimum mandatory sentences" for those who violate a host of other laws pertaining to guns, such as illegal dealing, transporting and manufacturing. Baumann said the union never believed the handgun ban was an effective way to fight gun violence because criminals still were able to get the weapons even if law-abiding citizens were not. "They should have been making the laws that are effective, instead of spending all their resources and energy fighting for a statute that was never was effective," said Baumann, a frequent critic of Fenty's and Lanier's.

Mike Debonis, City Paper Time was, a few short months ago, when a seat on the board of the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp. was a nice little resume item. You got to rub shoulders with the likes of board chair John W. Hill, CEO of the powerful Federal City Council, and vice chair Diane Bernstein, a well-regarded philanthropist long active in child-welfare causes. Here are the titles of the top two officers on the CYITC board these days: "program manager" with the American Association of Retired Persons; "program analyst" with the city administrator's office. Hope you like programs, board members. . .

In recent months, the agency has undergone a leadership overhaul, with its seven-member board taking a steep hit in prestige as business and policy leaders have given way to lower-profile folks with closer ties to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. It's become a theme in city politics: The CYITC is only the latest supposedly quasi-independent District instrumentality to get thoroughly Fentyized in the mayor's 18 months on the job. . .

For starters, there are the bodies that Fenty has summarily absorbed: the National Capital Revitalization Corp. and the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. After a D.C. Council vote a year ago, those two groups, both under fire for sluggish performance, became part and parcel of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil O. Albert's operation.

Where Tony Williams was happy to leave his appointees to their better judgment, there is no part of the District government over which Fenty doesn't want utter and complete suzerainty. Such an attitude has trickled down to even the most piddling of governmental bodies. Take the Green Collar Jobs Advisory Council: A document obtained by LL reveals that members of that august organ had to sign an oath promising, among numerous other things, to "uphold the values and vision of District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty."

Joshua Lynsen, Blade A citation issued to Trio Restaurant alleging overcrowding on its patio nearly led to its closure during last week's Capital Pride parade. And at least one local gay activist is raising accusations of anti-gay bias, saying the city is attacking Dupont-area businesses that are popular among gays. Trio owner George Mallios, a longtime restaurateur, said the trouble began when an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board inspector counted the people standing on the Trio deck during last year's high heel race. . . Mallios, a longtime restaurateur, said the inspector questioned him about the patio's capacity, but issued no citation at that time. . . But months later, Mallios was cited for allegedly allowing 120 people on the Trio patio Oct. 30. The headcount reported by the inspector is about 70 above the deck's certified capacity. The citation arrived June 11, three days before the Capital Pride parade would again draw large crowds to the Trio deck.

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