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Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 05/04/2011

DeMorning DeBonis: May 4, 2011

TODAY IS MAY 4, 2011 — DAY 119 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION

PREVIOUSLY — Fun facts about the D.C. special election results!Michelle Rhee a big draw for DCPS school auction

Running down yesterday’s D.C. Council business: David Catania’s bill to study police staffing levels was tabled after DeMorning DeBonis: May 4, 2011 and others raised objections, as noted in the Washington Times and Examiner. The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott notes that “members fell in line with [Mayor Vincent Gray]’s opposition to the bill ... showing that despite a series of scandals, Gray still carries weight with the council he once led.” In other news: Irvin Nathan was confirmed as attorney general, as noted by D.C. Wire and Legal Times; Cynthia Brock-Smith was also confirmed as District secretary. The Council re-upped its Equal Rights Amendment ratification vote. Phil Mendelson and Michael Brown want to put “Taxation Without Representation” on the D.C. flag. And the 10-day waiting period for a gun purchase has been temporarily suspended while we wait for a licensed dealer to set up shop. And Sekou Biddle celebrated his last legislative meeting and his 40th birthday as Kwame Brown “presented a glass bowl to Mr. Biddle and welcomed him to ‘the four-zero club,’ prompting an enthusiastic round of ‘Happy Birthday.’ ”

AFTER THE JUMP — Neil Stanley to field tough questions from Jim Graham on DYRS management — Is the city’s political “bench” strengthening? — Why did bus driver who killed a man get his job back? — Prince Charles inquires about apples

*** MAIN COURSE ***

NEIL STANLEY AND DYRS — In the Washington Times, Jeffrey Anderson previews tomorrow’s confirmation hearing for DYRS Acting Director Neil Stanley “who faces tough questioning ... about his ability to lead the troubled agency.” Writes Anderson: “Experience at the top of the agency and widespread perceptions of an overly therapeutic philosophy shared by Mr. Stanley’s top advisers figure to be the topic of questions on Thursday by Ward 1 council member Jim Graham, who has expressed doubts that DYRS has struck a proper balance between rehabilitation and detention. ... Mr. Graham said he is concerned that DYRS spends more than $900 per committed youth per day, but seems to lack the ability to control a frequently violent population dispersed in communities in the D.C. area and facilities across the country. ‘I want more bang for that buck,’ he said. ‘I’m in favor of rehabilitation, but we need to acknowledge that these are dangerous young people. I don’t see the vocational training or the mental health care or the substance abuse treatment or even gang intervention that we need to make rehabilitation a reality.’ ”

STRONG BENCH? — Jonetta Rose Barras is encouraged by a “strong bench of potential political leaders,” she writes in her Examiner column. “These newcomers could move the city forward in the tradition of former mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty — but without the attending idiosyncrasies and personality flaws. While most have yet to win any elections, they have promise and eventually could be victorious, if they persevere and District voters don’t lose hope, choosing to remain engaged in local activities. Joshua Lopez, Bryan Weaver, Patrick Mara and Andrew Moss were players in the recent special D.C. Council at-large election. Douglas Sloan and Dave Hedgepeth were candidates last year. While they didn’t win the offices they sought, they demonstrated political skills, understanding of local issues and a sincere, deep desire to serve. ... Vincent Orange, who last week was elected at-large councilman, offered his own warnings. ‘If I were a ward [council] representative, I would be a little concerned,’ Orange said on WPFW-FM’s ‘D.C. Politics’ show hosted by Chuck Thies, citing Mara, Weaver and Lopez as up and coming candidates.”

WHO DROPPED THE BALL? — The Post editorial board highlights the case of Ronald W. Taylor, who in 2008 was a rookie Metrobus driver who plowed the bus he drove into a taxi, killing a man and badly injuring his wife. An investigation found that Taylor ran a red light, and he was subsequently fired. “Then, amazingly, all action against Mr. Taylor ground to a halt. One D.C. police detective assigned to the case got sick; another let it sit on his desk, ignored, for months. For more than two and a half years, prosecutors were silent. A labor relations arbitrator even ordered that Mr. Taylor be reinstated. Last summer, he was back at work — although not as a bus driver. And there he remained until a couple of weeks ago, when he was indicted for negligent homicide. He has been suspended — with pay. How could Mr. Taylor, having killed a man after allegedly blowing through a red light, have been rehired by Metro? The details of the case cast doubts on the policies and actions of Metro, whose initial review appears to have been cursory; of the transit workers’ union, which pushed for Mr. Taylor’s reinstatement despite the severity of the accident; and of the D.C. police department, which, unconscionably, let the case drop. Here’s what’s clear: No one was looking out for the public — not police and prosecutors, not Metro and not the transit union.”

HANGIN’ WITH THE PRINCE — Nikita Stewart was on the scene for Prince Charles’s visit with Gray: “Garden lovers, neighbors, medical students and staff workers from nearby Howard University Hospital, and loyal royal watchers surrounded the wooden fence at the Common Good City Farm in LeDroit Park to get a prime spot for a glance of Prince Charles of Wales and a rumored visit by first lady Michelle Obama. About an hour later President Obama and the prince arrived at Common Good with a police escort and was greeted by [Gray] and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). ... Prince Charles spent much of his time speaking with children at the farm. Of a group of them, he asked: ‘What are you doing with those apples?’ They were cutting them up for a salad, [a witness] recalled they said. Prince Charles responded that the task must be difficult because they were using plastic knives.” Also, check this pic from the @mayorvincegray Twitter account. His Royal Highness later paid a visit to the Supreme Court.

OSAMA AND US — Courtland Milloy paid a visit to Barry Farm and Woodland Terrace in the company of Ron Moten to get some street reaction to the weekend’s big news: “Out in the District’s feuding neighborhoods, a world away from the revelry around the White House, the killing of Osama bin Laden has simply reaffirmed the code of the streets — especially the principle of an eye for an eye. ‘You get on the wrong side of the wrong people, you reap what you sow,’ a youngster from the Woodland Terrace housing complex in Southeast told me. ... The difference is that while the United States celebrates taking revenge against its enemies, the gunslinger in the ’hood is condemned for doing the same. Such differing responses to similarly employed tactics have only revived disdain among youngsters long wearied by ‘do as I say, not as I do’ adult hypocrisy. ‘People who kill innocent bystanders during drive-by shootings are no different from people who operate drones that do fly-by bombings and kill innocent people,’ a youngster from Barry Farms in Southeast told me. ‘If one is wrong, then all are wrong.’ ”

*** SMALL PLATES ***

Special election maps galore! (Four26, DCist, GeoCommons)

Montgomery County passes D.C.-inspired bag tax (The Post)

Kaya Henderson assures council that DCPS funding isn’t going to central office (the Examiner)

“What can [Kwame] Brown do for you?” (YouTube via DCFPI)

“GOP Makes Inroads in D.C. Politics” (Afro)

Council tells Hill leaders to keep District out of abortion funding ban, expected to pass the House today (D.C. Wire)

DDOT has reservations about Ward 4 Wal-Mart plan (Brightwoodian, Housing Complex, @OConnellPostBiz)

More reasons why taxi medallions are a bad idea (OpenMarket.org)

Planning office ponders paying folks to live in the city (Housing Complex)

The effect of “The Wire” on contemporary drug-dealing: “The bad guys know there are wiretaps, but they also know how difficult they are to get.” (City Desk)

DCPS closes special education centers at Shadd, Hamilton schools (D.C. Schools Insider)

DYRS official had restraining order against him from wife, since withdrawn (WaTimes)

Vanessa Ruiz to step down from D.C. Court of Appeals (Crime Scene)

Meet Mr. Bicycle Manners (GGW)

D.C. Jail escapee collared in Southwest Virginia (the Examiner)

Pepco bills to decline (the Examiner)

LeDroit Park church goes solar (The Post)

Tomorrow is Raheem DeVaughn Day in D.C. (TBD)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Gray holds weekly news briefing, 10 a.m.; holds Ward 5 budget town hall, 7 p.m. at Luke C. Moore Academy Senior High School, 1001 Monroe Street NE — D.C. Council budget hearings Office of Chief Technology Officer, Office of the Secretary, Executive Office of the Mayor and the Office of the City Administrator, 10 .am. in JAWB 500; Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization, 10 a.m. in JAWB 412; Child and Family Services Agency, 11 a.m. in JAWB 120; Not-For-Profit Hospital Corporation and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, 2 p.m. in JAWB 123 — Near Southeast community meeting on redistricting, 6:30 pm at Arthur Capper senior building, 900 5th St. SE — D.C. Vote Women’s Protest of abortion bill, 5:30 p.m. in Upper Senate Park, 200 New Jersey Ave. NW.

By  |  11:02 AM ET, 05/04/2011

 
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