Saturday, November 15



Greater Greater Washinton Metro produces an annual bus productivity report. Which are Metro's "Worst Performing" bus lines? One missed all five criteria; missed four out of five:

98: Chairman Graham mentioned this one specifically at the parking hearing when the topic of transit to Adams Morgan came up. He's also proposed replacing it with limited-stop circulator service, which would be faster and funded by the District instead of WMATA. This line is intended to shuttle folks from the Metro stations at U Street and Woodley Park to the hot night spots on U Street and Adams Morgan. It runs all day in the evening and late into the night (3am on Friday and Saturday), has a cheap 25 cent fare, and runs pretty frequently (every 10-13 minutes from 6ampm to midnight weekdays and Sunday, and all the Friday and Saturday hours too). . . . It doesn't meet Metro's effectiveness criteria at a subsidy cost of $730,000 per year and $6.80 per passenger.

E6: It runs weekdays between Friendship Heights Metro and Rock Creek Park, serving the Knollwood Retirement Home. Each of [its] passengers costs a subsidy of almost $6.00.

Here are the winners . . .

For passengers per day, it's the 30/32/34/35/36 combination, at 15,500. . . . If the 70/71 and 79 were all combined, that one would be higher, at 16,830. . . .

For passengers per revenue mile, it's the X2 at 10.3. . .

For subsidy per passenger, it's the X2 at 56 cents. Interestingly, even the best bus lines don't operate at a profit.

City Desk - Before Metro was built there were a number of lines that were making a profit, including the L line, but the subway was built to directly compete with this service and many bus lines were redrawn to force more people on the subway


Union City
- Former DC teacher Harold Cox is the definition of a dedicated teacher. A twenty-one year teaching veteran, Cox worked hard inside and outside the classroom, frequently staying late after class to work with students and lobbying DC City Council to address problems in the schools. So Cox was shocked when he was fired, without any explanation, at the beginning of the school year. Like hundreds of other summarily-dismissed teachers, aides and principals, Cox was forced to reapply for his position as part of DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Mayor Adrian Fenty's controversial plan to fix the ailing DC public schools. But Cox now says that he thinks "Rhee was brought in to break the union" and that the "hiring process had little to do with guaranteeing teaching standards and everything to do with strong-arming teachers to make concessions union have fought off for years." For example, when Cox re-applied for his job, he discovered that the principal of the school was insisting that teachers "sign an agreement which included extending teaching hours," a clear violation of their union contract. When Cox refused to sign, he "was sent packing."

Lou Chibbaro Jr - Gay D.C. Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large) said he and several of his colleagues are considering introducing a bill in January to legalize same-sex marriage in the nation's capital if a majority of the Council's 13 members sign on as co-authors of the legislation. . . But a number of activists have joined some Council members in questioning whether 2009 would be the best time to introduce such a bill considering the decision by voters last week to ban same-sex marriage via ballot measures in California, Arizona and Florida. "There isn't going to be an easy way to do this," Catania told the Blade. "It's going to be a lot of work to do. But I believe that at the end of the day, the citizens of the District of Columbia are fair-minded people."

Phil Mendelsohn plans to hold hearings to discuss "hate crimes." The main thing to discuss is why, under the Constitution, why such a category exists. Hate is a despicable but permitted emotion under our system and it is sad to see liberals using an authoritarian strategy to get people to act the way they would like. We have yet to see a "hate crime" that wouldn't be adequately covered under criminal statutes. Adding a penalty for motivation is not only unconstitutional, it opens the door to similar laws by the right. It's just a few steps to barring atheism as a hate crime against Christianity.

Union City - "I like to call it Project Trojan Horse," says Cherylyn Pipkin, DC CSA clinical social worker and SEIU 1199 member. Pipkin is referring to DC Mayor Fenty's recently-announced plan to privatize DC Department of Mental Health Community Services Agency's mental health services. Privatization "delivers little, usually raises costs, destroys the government infrastructure and at the end of the day, it's private companies who benefit," says Pipkin. "The rampant contracting out of vital government services does not work."

Bill Turque, Washington Post - Hart is one of 15 District schools in the demonstration project jointly run by D.C. and Harvard University. But violence and disorder reached such a level last week that Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee dispatched a team of administrators and additional security to stabilize the Southeast school. On Monday, she fired principal Kisha Webster. It now turns out that, rather than encouraging students to get serious about school, the program might actually have deepened the dysfunction at Hart. Webster and two Hart teachers say that on the program's first payday some misbehaving students got checks while others who played by the rules were shut out. The problem, they said, was confusion over how to fill out the "classroom capture sheet" used to document attendance and behavior in each class. Some staff thought that to show a student in compliance, the spaces were to be left blank. "A lot of teachers were not understanding the process," Webster said. "It was a mass miscommunication," said a Hart teacher, who asked that her name not be used to avoid getting crossways with administrators.


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