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Posted at 10:54 AM ET, 05/03/2011

DeMorning DeBonis: May 3, 2011

TODAY IS MAY 3, 2011 — DAY 118 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION

Today’s D.C Council legislative meeting looks to be relatively brief, but a couple of interesting emergency bills are on the agenda Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), reacting to two recent escapes, “wants to speed up the release of pertinent information to the public when a young offender flees from custody,” the Washington Times notes. Rather than mere “descriptive information of the escapee,” Graham wants to force DYRS to release a name, photo and criminal background. (Incidentally, Treyvon Cortez Carey, 18, who escaped from New Beginnings last month after assaulting an officer, has been captured.) Also, amid a debate about how many officers the Metropolitan Police Department needs, David Catania (I-At large) is proposing a six-member commission to study police staffing and retention, with the backing of the police union. Mayor Vincent C. Gray would get three picks; the union would get three. Read more about it in the Times and in the Examiner. And, oh look, Catania’s proposal is not to Harry Jaffe’s liking, prompting another Examiner column featuring casual use of the word “bloodbath.”

AFTER THE JUMP — court monitor warns about CFSA cuts in Gray budget — Kwame Brown deposed; not unusual, lawyer says — Prince Charles and Hizzoner to hobnob at “urban farm”

*** MAIN COURSE ***

MORE JAFFE — Writes the caped columnar crusader: “We are at 3,875 [sworn MPD officers] and falling. Police Chief Cathy Lanier sees ‘trouble’ if the number falls below 3,800. Mayor Vince Gray’s new budget would effectively cut more cops. What to do? ... ‘Good ideas come from sitting down and producing a report,’ Catania tells me. Half of the six-member group will come from the executive, half from the police union. The panel would disband within three months. ‘Then the judiciary committee could hold a hearing.’ There are so many things wrong with this process I hardly know where to begin. Six members? Who breaks a tie? Two co-chairs, one from each side? These people cannot agree, a prescription for confusion. And finally, what happens to the alleged report? If it goes to Phil Mendelson’s judiciary committee, I predict death by lack of attention. ... Jack Evans, Ward 2 council member and a true law-and-order guy, has proposed legislation to set the force at 4,000. Mendelson has not moved it. Police union chief Kristopher Baumann cooked up the commission with Catania in hopes it would trigger deep reform of the police department, so that good cops would stop leaving the force, as they have been doing at the rate of 150 or so a year. The D.C. police department has been studied enough. ... Let’s hope it doesn’t take a bloodbath to force [Mendelson] into taking action.”

CFSA WARNING SHOT — The court-appointed monitor of the Child and Family Services Agency has issued a new report on the troubled agency — reserving particular criticism for Gray’s budget proposal, which appears to cut nearly $6 million in programs and contracts. As I note in today’s Post that includes “$635,000 for community groups that help at-risk families and a $2.5 million program that provides mental health services to badly traumatized children. ‘The impact of the loss of these funds threatens to derail the advances that have been occurring, although slowly, in building the District’s mental health system capacity for children and families,’ the monitor, Judith W. Meltzer of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, wrote of the latter program. ... Although the new report praises the city’s effort to streamline the adoption process and to ease the once-overwhelming caseloads for CFSA social workers, it also found that the agency is having ongoing troubles with its data reporting and in moving ambitious reform proposals into reality. The latter finding did not come as a surprise to Judith Sandalow, executive director of the Children’s Law Center, which represents children in the welfare system. ‘That is the hallmark of CFSA,’ she said. ‘There’s a lot of planning, not a lot of doing.’”

KWAME BROWN DEPOSED — Live reportage from the Kwame Brown deposition, courtesy of the Post’s Tim Craig: “Brown (D) was put under oath at about 10 a.m. in the office of his attorney, Frederick D. Cooke. When Brown emerged at about noon, he declined to comment on his deposition and quickly went into an elevator. Cooke said Brown ‘continues to cooperate with the investigation.’ ‘We are happy to complete the interview today and look forward to bringing this to some closure,’ Cooke said. He declined to comment further because Brown is trying to ‘respect the process,’ he said. ... Brown was deposed by William Sanford, the OCF’s general counsel, and Jean Diggs, another lawyer in the office. Renee Coleman, the audit manager, also attended. ... Several current and former elected officials said Monday that it’s highly unusual for OCF to require testimony from a public official under oath. But Cooke and [OCF spokesman Wesley Williams] both downplayed the deposition, saying that it’s a routine investigative tool.”

HRH COMES TO TOWN — Prince Charles comes to town today, and he will be spending some time this afternoon with Gray at the Common Good City Farm, located at the old Gage-Eckington School near Howard University. Also, AP notes, “he’ll be the keynote speaker at a conference at Georgetown University called ‘The Future of Food.’ The prince also plans a visit to the Supreme Court, where he’ll attend a reception for Marshall scholarship alumni. The scholarship program gives American students a chance to do graduate work in the United Kingdom.”

MORE BIN LADEN REAX — Just because, here’s a couple more statements on Osama bin Laden’s death, from Eleanor Holmes Norton : “The death of Osama bin Laden closes ten years of effort at every level of the federal government, by states and localities, by members of the military, and, especially, by our citizens. We have many to remember in our region but they may be best represented by the three schoolchildren from the District of Columbia who had won a National Geographic trip to California and died on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. ... We deeply appreciate that President Barack Obama was able to maintain his unwavering focus on the nation’s commitment to capture or kill bin Laden, despite being handed two simultaneous wars and the worst worldwide recession since the Great Depression.” And from Kwame Brown: “With the demise of Osama bin Laden, the United States of America has struck a significant blow for justice and freedom. We are grateful to the valiant men and women of the military and intelligence forces who have served, as well as those who have given their lives, in the war against terrorism. Their tenacious perseverance and dedication to this mission have brought us to a moment of great national relief and pride. President Obama’s stalwart leadership in the operation that has now closed a chapter of the heinous September 11, 2001 attacks will help to reassure the families, friends and acquaintances of those victims that our government remains vigilant in defending our citizens.”

*** SMALL PLATES ***

No specific threats, but bin Laden killing has city and Metro cops on higher alert (Post, Examiner)

White House revelers used Capital Bikeshare — a lot (Post, GGW, WAMU-FM)

Leckie Elementary remembers teacher, students killed in 9/11 attack (WTTG-TV)

Gray says he’d support tall buildings east of the river (Current via Housing Complex)

Public Service Commission is engaged in a litigation war with Pepco over 2008 downtown outage (Legal Times)

Wal-Mart launches direct-mail campaign “aimed at improving public opinion of the chain’s plans to opens its first stores in the District” (Post)

Public Charter School Board votes to shutter Nia PCS (news release)

Spring Valley Superfresh in closing — Trader Joe’s to follow? (TBD)

Neighbors concerned about AU students’ windows (GGW)

AG nominee Irv Nathan approved by judiciary panel, could be confirmed today (WaTimes)

Monsignor John J. Enzler, D.C. native, named new head of Catholic Charities (Post)

A movie theater east of the river? (@brfreed)

No more chlorine in the water (DCist)

Cool maps (GGW)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Gray appears with Prince Charles at the Common Good City Farm, 3 p.m. on V Street NW between 2nd and 4th Streets; holds Ward 3 budget town hall, 7 p.m. at Deal MS, 3815 Fort Drive NW — D.C. Council legislative meeting, 10 a.m. in JAWB 500; D.C. Council budget hearing on the D.C. Public Schools, JAWB 500 immediately following legislative meeting; budget hearing on the Housing Finance Agency, Department of Housing and Community Development, and D.C. Housing Authority, 2 p.m. in JAWB 412

By  |  10:54 AM ET, 05/03/2011

 
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