A ‘New Community’ in waiting


A construction crane looms over the site where the Temple Courts Apartments once stood. (Jahi Chikwendiu /The Washington Post)

In 2004, 14-year-old Jahkema “Princess” Hansen was murdered in a Sursum Corda home by a gang enforcer worried she might snitch. The shocking killing prompted pledges to remake the violent, gang-infested neighborhood, and in the coming years two mayors would move to transform Sursum Corda and neighboring Temple Courts through the “New Communities” program into a safe, mixed-income area with upscale residences, retail and job opportunities. Nearly a decade later, the Post’s Robert Samuels finds, “a succession of oversights, missteps and missed opportunities” have meant progress has been halting at best: “The city didn’t hire someone to oversee the project for nearly eight years. It couldn’t get the housing agency, headquartered just up the block from Temple Courts, to move out and make room for new housing. The city’s planning department lost track of the original blueprint for the project and was unable to locate the document until last month.” And so on.

In other news:

With job duties unsettled nine months before primary, still no takers for elected attorney general post (PostLoose LipsWAMU-FM)

Irv Nathan: Without changes, elected AG “would have the ability to stymie or undermine the mayor’s programs” (WAMU-FM commentary)

A year after being blinded in vicious attack, Scherelle Outland adjusts to “a life sometimes paralyzed by fear, a life of darkness and shadows, a hard life now harder” (Post)

For Wal-Mart, D.C. Council’s living-wage vote smacks of bait-and-switch (Post)

Politicos primp for Palisades parade (Loose LipsWaTimes)

Afterward, Vince Gray cut the ribbon on a new Palisades playground (WTOP)

Tom Sherwood: “If you think the fireworks on the Fourth are dramatic, you should stay tuned for the fireworks still to be set off by U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen” (WRC-TV)

Citing paver repairs, Metro rips out phantom gardener’s Dupont Circle flowers (Post column)

Newseum is a tourist draw but is draining parent foundation’s endowment (AP)

Council committee shows “supremely muddled thinking” in endorsing one-license approach to immigrant ID (Post editorial)

Cop’s commitment to Ward 7 baseball stands in stark contrast to Harry Thomas’s thievery (Post editorial)

Adam Kokesh didn’t march with an armed mob, but he did load a shotgun on Freedom Plaza (PostWTOP)

Police: Howard student Omar Sykes was slain after “random encounter” on lower Georgia Avenue (Homicide WatchAP)

Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe on his critics: “There may be folks who don’t see your vision. But that’s part of leadership.” (WRC-TV)

Ladder truck broke down on way to fire Thursday, union says (WUSA-TV)

National Building Museum program helps teens understand the city’s changing neighborhoods (Post)

You, too, can live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue … Southeast (WBJ)

David Grosso: Public financing for District campaigns “will help prevent future ethics scandals” (Post op-ed)

Mark Plotkin: Time for Senate to vote on D.C. statehood (Post op-ed)

Jonetta Rose Barras: New revenue should have funded the “powerful rippling effect of a quality education” (Post column)

Deborah Simmons: David Catania is “mimicking” Michelle Rhee (WaTimes)

D.C. charter schools on average are good for “essentially an extra half-year of school” over DCPS, study finds (Post editorial)

Metro picks higher-density development plan for Takoma station (Capital Business)

D.C. corrections chief: “Jails are not the place for people with severe mental illnesses” (WaTimes)

Man, 38, shot to death Saturday morning in Marshall Heights (Post)

Man, 23, stabbed to death Wednesday afternoon in Deanwood (Post)

Boy, 14, shot and wounded Friday morning in Langston Terrace (Post)

Nightclub fight spurred North Capitol Street drive-by shooting, detective says (Post)

Metro’s July 4 ridership was highest since 2010 (Dr. Gridlock)

Construction starts this week on Benning Road streetcar barn (WTOP)

Pepco substation failure darkened Shaw, Logan Circle (Post)

Sibley Hospital gets moving on major expansion (WBJ)

Vietnam memorial activists are in search of photos of the District’s KIAs (WTOP)

UDC Community College could get a new landlord (WBJ)

Washington Monument gets lit tonight (GOG)

The city’s fastest-gentrifying swimming pool? (Housing Complex)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | July 4, 2013