WEEK IN REVIEW
Sunday, April 10, 2005; Page C05
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), saying he wants to give law enforcement the tools it needs to make the city safer, unveiled a criminal justice bill that includes more than a dozen new criminal offenses and increased penalties for some crimes. D.C. Council members did not leap onto the bandwagon. Some raised concerns about the mayor's proposal to criminalize any failure to show up at juvenile court, and others said more criminal charges and longer sentences will not, by themselves, protect residents.
D.C. Schools Superintendent Clifford B. Janey said more than 1,400 -- or 25 percent -- of the District's public school teachers are not properly credentialed. Half have never gotten a license in the subject they teach, Janey said, and the other half have expired licenses.
Thursday is Opening Day for the city's new baseball team, but the Nationals were making news on the road, taking a series from the Philadelphia Phillies to have a winning season after three games.
The D.C. Council gave preliminary approval to measures to extend rent control for five years and close a loophole that has allowed landlords to sell buildings and bypass a law giving tenants the first right to buy. In recent years, hundreds of landlords have avoided the requirement by selling less than 100 percent of a building to a buyer.
A cast iron casket that lay undisturbed in Columbia Heights for more than a century was unearthed by construction workers -- and abruptly brought into the 21st century. They locked it in an empty building for safekeeping, but vandals broke in and broke the glass beneath the casket's faceplate. The casket and the remains of whoever lies in it await experts from the Smithsonian, who will try to determine who was in the casket and the circumstances of the burial.
Christopher Barry, 24, son of D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from a confrontation with city police. If he completes community service and is not arrested again, he could withdraw the plea and the case would be dropped.
A judge suggested a cooling-off period between the city and CSX Transportation in their battle over the city's plan to ban railroad shipments of hazardous materials. CSX and the federal government opted out of that, so U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan probably will rule this week on whether the ban can take effect. District officials are determined to reroute such shipments out of the city, but a CSX attorney said her client is unwilling to halt shipments through the District.