Civil war in the fire department

August 15, 2013

The aftermath is seen of a fire that destroyed a rowhouse in Southeast Washington. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Relations between Fire and Emergency Medical Services department brass and its rank-and-file are “deteriorating,” Peter Hermann reports in today’s Post, and that is putting it kindly. At the direction of Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander, police are looking into Tuesday’s twin ambulance fires to ensure, in Quander’s words, “nothing untoward is occurring.” Under questioning, he did not rule out employee sabotage. The firefighters’ union, meanwhile, bristled predictably at the suggestion something “untoward” might be going on. Enter D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who told Hermann Wednesday the department “is becoming an embarrassment to the city” and said matters are in a “downward spiral.” With Quander’s involvement, Mendelson said, “the citizens are safe.” Asked whether residents are safe with Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe, Mendelson responded, “I said what I said.” More from WAMU-FMWJLA-TVWUSA-TVLoose LipsWNEW-FM and DCist.

In other news:

“What’s really unfortunate is that the mayor of the District of Columbia doesn’t have the spine to level with his constituents” about his campaign shenanigans (Post editorial)

Peter Nickles renews broadsides against Vincent Gray, garners rare response from Hizzoner’s lawyer (NewsChannel 8)

Metropolitan AME succeeded in getting cycletrack bollards removed in front of its church (WAMU-FM)

“Post Impressionism”: Blanket coverage of the post-Graham Washington Post (City Paper)

Tommy Wells gives up on his “livable, walkable” branding (Loose Lips)

Kaya Henderson and new union leader Elizabeth Davis are all smiles for now (Post)

Twenty-four of 112 DCPS schools will have new principals this year (Post)

The correlation of charter-school fundraising to charter-school performance is weak (GGW)

D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute chief: Soccer stadium cost should be “totally capped or finite” (WBJ)

If stadium actually gets built, Capital Bikeshare will have to find a new home base (WashCycle)

The decline and fall of the Chuck Brown amphitheater (Arts Desk)

Two women who worked as prostitutes testify against suspended D.C. cop in sexual assault trial (Post)

Why property tax assessments tend to lag sale prices (Housing Complex)

The judge handling the Vincent Gray/Jeffrey Thompson prosecutions now has huge airline antitrust case (Reuters)

Can tax adjustments stave off economic doldrums in the city? (Blade)

City cap on wine corkage fees — yes, there was a city cap on corkage fees — is now gone (Post)

Would the District’s health insurance exchange fail without congressional staffers? (Examiner)

Array of community groups will soon get to work promoting exchange (WJLA-TVBladeDCFPIWaTimes)

Can the city get some new multi-use trails out of parkland sewer construction? (GGW)

15th Street cycletrack will be repaved starting in early September (WAMU-FM)

Police deny unfairly cropping speed camera photos (DCist)

Mother accused in hospital abduction case has been arrested on theft charges (Post)

Tysons gets a Wal-Mart as fate of living-wage bill is decided (WJLA-TV)

Big concern for marijuana dispensaries: cash-only sales (Blade)

The first Boilermaker Shops restaurant is open (WBJ)

JBG has big, inchoate plans for NoMa (WBJ)

WWMLKD about Donnie McClurkin? (Post letter)

The one and only Phil Pannell: “God may have delivered him from the curse of homosexuality, but the U.S. Mail is going to deliver that paycheck” (WJLA-TV)

McLean scamsters used D.C. charter school’s good name (PostWaTimes)

Could the city’s ticket-notification system work faster? (GGW)

Former city planner David Colby is dead at 80 (Post obituary)

Jesse Jackson Jr. will do less time in prison than Harry Thomas Jr. for stealing twice as much (Post)

Union Market vendor says it’s too much of a food court, not enough of an actual market (GOG)

The 100 reasons Baltimore is better than D.C. are mostly pretty dumb (Sun)

Great name for ANC blog (Short Articles About Long Meetings)

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 14, 2013