Fire chief: ‘We are in a critical period of change’

August 14, 2013

Seemingly almost-daily reports of dysfunction within the Fire and Emergency Medical Services department continued this week, with two ambulance fires Tuesday and reports Monday that the “Medic One” ambulance assigned to the presidential motorcade ran out of gas — news that was dutifully seized upon by the firefighters’ union to attack Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe’s leadership: “It is time for the collective voice of the community to speak out, and address the mounting threat to the public’s safety,” Local 36 said in a statement. Ellerbe, who has been reticent to speak publicly at times, took questions on WTTG-TV this morning, saying the department is “in a critical period of change” and that he’s been “working hard behind the scenes” to address the well-publicized problems. New ambulances will start arriving soon, he said, and the motorcade incident is under review. “Any time things don’t go well,” he said, “I do take it personally.” More coverage from WJLA-TVWTOPWRC-TV and WAMU-FM.

In other news:

Vernon Hawkins pleads guilty, reveals new “shadow campaign” details (PostWUSA-TVLoose LipsWAMU-FMD.C. Crime StoriesWTOPWJLA-TVAP)

Old tensions rekindled over Uber’s new low-cost product (WAMU-FMDCistMoneybox)

Cathy Lanier leads bevy of high-ranking female law enforcement officials in D.C. (USA Today)

Adam Kokesh could leave the D.C. jail soon (PostDCistWaTimes)

Christian Carter threw himself a campaign kickoff with catering, balloons, literature and signs — and yet reports no expenditures (Loose Lips)

Shadow spending on Vincent Orange might have been a game-changer in 2011 (WRC-TV)

Real-estate agents want to end real-estate taxes, and other shocking requests of the Tax Revision Commission (WBJ)

Dupont Metro entrance will get plants, but not from the “phantom planter” (Post)

Barricade situation this morning near Lincoln Park (Post)

Can the Metro Riders’ Advisory Council get its act together? (GGW)

Yellow Cab boss still hasn’t warmed up to taxi industry changes (WAMU-FM)

Ward 2 is particularly peeved by the new visitor parking pass program (Current via Dish)

A better way of selling parking passes: “Dutch” auction (GGW)

The InTowner comes out in support of creating a McMillan Park: “The well-being of the developer community should not trump the well-being of the residents” (InTowner)

More on the Donnie McClurkin situation (Blade)

D.C. community groups get combined $6.4 million in grants to spread word about heath insurance exchange (Post)

DCHA’s capital funding from HUD is dwindling (Housing Complex)

Jesse Jackson Jr. will be sentenced today at the District’s federal courthouse (Post)

He wants to do his hard time in the same prison as Harry Thomas Jr. (Legal Times)

Jackson’s sentencing is big moment in spotlight for new federal judge Amy Berman Jackson (Chicago Tribune)

A star turn for restaurateur Ashok Bajaj (NYTGOG)

Have you ever seen the rain? (Capital Weather Gang)

A green roof pays off for one Petworth resident (Where We Live)

Recalling the days when Frederick Douglass was D.C.’s federal marshal (D.C. Crime Stories)

The D.C. jail chaplain is your Salvation Army Chaplain of the Year (Post)

Creepy apartment building is creepy (PoPville)

Hizzoner pays tribute to Clyde’s on its 50th anniversary (Dish)

It’s really not that hard to get a mayoral proclamation for a restaurant, or much anything else (Young & Hungry)

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 · August 13, 2013