WTF?!

DC songwriters perpetrate fraud upon unsuspecting listeners

Photo courtesy of
‘John Denver’s Greatest Hits’
courtesy of ‘thejcgerm’

Okay, the headline on this one is a total joke, but I’m going to stick to my gut this morning and go with it.  I couldn’t believe it as I drove across town, listening to WAMU, but it turns out that John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was:

A) Written here in DC in 1971
B) Was once about Massachussetts
C) Was written for Johnny Cash

Oh God. Really? Yes, Really.

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The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Why Google Transit matters

North view from Columbia Tower

Visiting Seattle this past weekend, I found myself jealous of the Emerald City, and not just for their fine food and coffee options, or for the warm weather and gentle rain.  No, what I found most amazing about Seattle was the wealth of transit options I had in the palm of my hand through Google Maps on my iPhone.

If you’ve ever tried to use the transit mode in DC, you know that it holds nothing but certain disappointment, and you find yourself trying to find directions another way.  You muddle through the wmata.com website, you try to remember which bus route runs where, and which ones are named after streetcar routes, and if you’re like me, you can’t keep it all straight.

WMATA has committed to bringing Metrobus and Metrorail routes to Google Transit, but have missed deadline after deadline, first saying January of 2011, and then saying “any day now“.  The project has foundered for reasons that WMATA isn’t discussing publicly.  I do recognize that processing five rail lines, and 300 bus lines is a chunk of work, but after my weekend of wandering Seattle, and spending a chunk of money on fares, it’s awful hard to go back.

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News, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Petition Challenges Bear Fruit for Biddle

Photo courtesy of
‘Signature’
courtesy of ‘tbridge’

Councilman Sekou Biddle (D-At Large) has succeeded in the first part of his challenge to at least one of his challengers’ ballot petitions, and has preliminarily knocked Jacque Patterson off the ballot for the upcoming April election.  Today’s preconference hearings were an “opportunity for the candidate and the challenger to review the staff findings on each challenge and decide whether they want to proceed with a formal request for a public hearing,” according to DCBOEE’s Alysoun McLaughlin.

Preliminary results from DCBOEE showed today that Mara submitted 3,182 valid signatures, Weaver submitted 2,948 and Patterson submitted 2,217.  Each campaign was also furnished with a list of signatures that could be found to be valid, provided DCBOEE receives a change of address form within 10 days of today.  Mara submitted 992 of those, Weaver 261 and Patterson 565. Mara needs none of those potentially valid signatures to qualify, while Weaver would need 52, and Patterson would need a miracle.

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All Politics is Local, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Report: Kwame Brown’s SUV is illegal, along with 41 others

Photo courtesy of
‘IMG_4631′
courtesy of ‘dbking’

The Committee on Public Works and Transportation, chaired by Council Member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), has completed the initial investigation into the District’s fleet management practices, launched as a response to the controversy surrounding Council Chair Kwame Brown’s city-provided, “fully loaded” Lincoln Navigator.

In 2002, the District passed a law forbidding the procurement of SUVs or any vehicle rated at less than 22 miles per gallon, unless it’s for emergency, security, rescue, or an armored vehicle. Since that time, the District has obtained 42 such prohibited vehicles, including the two involved in Navigatorgate.

The report, released this morning, also calls for additional investigation into who is driving these vehicles. Under District law, only the Mayor may have an on-staff driver, and any other assignment of District employees to act as chauffeurs must be approved in writing either by the Mayor or by the appropriate agency head, depending on the situation.

I encourage you to read the report for yourself; it’s only a few pages long, and is pretty hair-raising stuff when it gets to the part about how many vehicles remain unaccounted for.

All Politics is Local, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Sulaimon Brown’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

Sulaimon

Don’t know who Sulaimon Brown is? That’s not a surprise. He was a Democratic Candidate for Mayor in this past summer’s mayoral primary with a penchant for speaking his mind about Adrian Fenty…and then telling everyone to vote for Vince Gray.

“Wait, what?” you say. Yeah, you heard right. He pushed for Vince Gray, despite appearing on the dais at debates and at other events as a candidate himself. I’m just as baffled as you.

It was revealed by the City Paper’s Alan Suderman, that along with Kwame Brown’s SUVs and the growing salaries in the Mayor’s office, Mr. Brown received an auditor’s position in the DC Department of Health Care Finance, making $110,000 per year.

This morning Brown was let go, and escorted by police out of the office of the DHCF by police after troubling remarks made during his termination arrangements.  Then he decided to show up for Mayor Gray’s afternoon press conference. That’s when things got hilarious. Continue reading

The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Metro Announces March Work Weekend on Orange/Blue Lines, 5 stations closed

Orange and Blue Lines of Metro, affected by closures

Fresh off a 3-day closure of two stations in the heart of the city, WMATA announced this morning that they’ll be closing five stations at the end of the Orange Line, as well as splitting the Blue Line, to perform NTSB-mandated maintenance over the weekend of March 4th through 6th.

The Orange Line will not operate between Stadium-Armory and New Carrollton, closing the stations at Minnesota Ave, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover and New Carrolton. In addition, no Blue Line trains will traverse the gap between Stadium-Armory and Benning Road.  The closures begin at 10am on Friday March 4th, and will conclude when the system reopens on March 7th.

Metro will be working to repair aerial structures at Cheverly, as well as make upgrades to Stadium-Armory and “install 6,000 feet of cellular communication cables to ultimately improve cell phone coverage, replace 2,000 feet of track, 380 insulators, 1,400 rail ties and 400 track fasteners.”

 

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The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Kwame Brown’s Navigator, and Vincent Gray’s Deep Pockets

Photo courtesy of
‘BIGGPAPA’
courtesy of ‘lazzarello’

It’s been a bad weekend for Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame Brown. The former, it was revealed by the Post’s Nikita Stewart, has been spending quite a lot of money on senior staff.

Vincent Gray has hired a number of senior advisors at significantly higher dollar values than Adrian Fenty, with several salaries approaching, or meeting, $200,000 per year. Most of the people in these positions are getting paid significantly more than their predecessors. Gerri Mason Hall, the mayor’s chief of staff, is being paid over the bracketed salary for the position at $200,000, which is about what the mayor himself draws from city coffers. For comparison, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at the White House made $172,000 per year. While it’s certain that the White House also pays people in prestige and notoriety, it’s a difficult pill to swallow for many city workers facing furlough and layoffs.

And then there’s Kwame Brown’s “fully loaded” Lincoln Navigators. Yes, he has two of them. Mike DeBonis of the Post did some excellent digging into the circumstances around the council chairman’s ride, and boy is this one ugly. The city has now leased a pair of Navigators – yes, that’s plural on purpose – for the Council Chairman, due to the requirement that the vehicle be black-on-black. The city will pay close to $3,600/mo for these two vehicles, which is, with insurance, about double my mortgage payment in Brookland.

Council Chairman Brown was uncharacteristically silent on Twitter yesterday, but that didn’t stop the rise of a new hashtag: #whatshouldkwamedo. Personally? Cancel the contract of the spare unit, and trade the Navigator for the Mayor’s old Smart car. At least that one’s already paid for.

WTF?!

NPR’s take on Anacostia: Whitey Is Coming

Southeast DC Census Data by race

Most mornings, my radio is tuned to WAMU for Morning Edition, and of course it’s the one morning I need XM that I miss an interesting story centered on DC.  Alex Kellogg from NPR reported a piece titled “D.C., Long ‘Chocolate City,’ Becoming More Vanilla” all about the recent census numbers, gentrification in Anacostia, and the change of the neighborhoods east of the river.

I’d like to say that NPR did a thorough job that represented DC in a good light.

I’d like to say that. But I can’t.

Kellogg’s quick and dirty race narrative is the sort of story that drives me crazy because it sounds right. It sounds like its grounded in good statistics and lengthy discussions with people in the neighborhood.  But it’s not, and NPR wound up providing legitimacy to economic disaster porn in DC when the story should’ve been the recovery of a community.

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News, WTF?!

TBD.com handed to WJLA GM

Photo courtesy of
‘ABC 7 WJLA-TV Sign’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

TBD.com announced today (okay,  the Post announced, and TBD admitted) that their operations have been placed under the management of Bill Lord, general manager of WJLA (also owned by Allbritton Communications). Coincidentally, it’s exactly six months after TBD’s launch. Way to let the new business model percolate, Allbritton!

The move seems to be designed to bring TBD more directly under Allbritton’s established management team, rather than under Erik Wemple, the Editor-in-Chief who had been recruited to TBD specifically from the Washington City Paper. While there’s no particular indication that Wemple is out at TBD, I’ll just point out that his entire team has just been placed under another manager, and ask whether you would be looking to stick around in that situation.

Right now there are no public plans for staff cuts. While TBD staff emphasize that this is just some internal reorganization, TBD founder Jim Brady, who left the company three months ago over disagreements with Allbritton management about the direction of the venture, is fairly vocal that this is not a positive development. Continue reading

The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Will Daniel Snyder’s Lawsuit Go Anywhere?


‘Statue of Iustitia’
courtesy of ‘ralpe’

In my family, to my mother’s constant disappointment, I’m the one who didn’t go to law school. But I grew up around legalese and learned to argue at the kitchen table, so I like to read legal filings and opinions more than the average non-lawyer.

This is how I came to read the filing in Daniel M. Snyder vs Atalaya Capital Management, LP, et al.  I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but here’s a quick analysis of the filing and what it might actually mean. Postscript: TBD has also written about the suit’s merits

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Dupont Circle, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

DC Lady Warning: Dupont Circle is a hazard zone this weekend

Photo courtesy of
‘Thomas Jefferson, Pimp Daddy’
courtesy of ‘tbridge’

Heads up ladies and gentlemen, there’s a shark hazard going out this weekend.  According to the City Paper, there’s a pickup artist (nay, the world’s finest pickup artist) on the loose this weekend, and he’ll be giving lessons to schmucks desperate enough to pay $1,300 to get a bit of game.

They’ll be working out of a Dupont Circle hotel, with “field trips” to area bars and coffeeshops, so if this is your normal bailiwick, consider yourself warned. Though, as WCP points out, the gents desperate enough to pay $1,300 to a scam artist are probably pretty loaded catches, so gold diggers, this is your definition of a “target rich environment”.

Or, if you like, you could have a blast just fucking with these guys.  That’s personally what I’d do.  But I’m not a lady.

News, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Metro to close Federal Triangle, Smithsonian metro stations for President’s Day weekend

Photo courtesy of
’29 Jan 2011 – No 064: Me This Week’
courtesy of ‘B Jones Jr’

Another Federal Holiday weekend, another set of closed stations on a day that not everyone gets off.  Metro announced this afternoon that they will be closing Federal Triangle and Smithsonian for the weekend to comply with NTSB recommendations and make safety and reliability repairs.

As much as this sucks, and this sucks an awful lot, it’s better than single-tracking for weeks on end while they do work in fits and starts.  The orange and blue lines will run in two pieces, with no service at all between L’Enfant Plaza and Metro Center at all.  Metro will run shuttle buses between the two stations.

For those who just went scrambling to a calendar, the closure is from 10pm Friday, February 18th, through closing on Monday, February 21st.  Metro has said you should plan on adding 40 minutes to your commute if you have to traverse that area, and to please dress warmly so you can wait for the infernal shuttle buses without dying of frostbite or exposure.

In addition, the Red line will be single tracking during that time between Shady Grove and Twinbrook, so if you come in from the outer reaches, expect some quality standing on the platform time to add to your suffering.

The Daily Feed, WTF?!

About that vacant DC property…

Photo courtesy of
‘Pima County Assessor & Board of Equalization Cheat Raquel’
courtesy of ’666isMONEY â�® â�¥ & â� ‘

There’s a possibility that you got a letter in the last week from the DC Office of Taxation and Revenue about your property taxes, and you opened it, like me, to discover “Oh shit! They’re gonna raise my property tax because they think no one really lives here!”

That’s right, DC OTR sent out letters to all vacant property owners about the upcoming tax assessment period, and it may have caught some people unaware.  DC maintains a significantly higher property tax rate for vacant properties, and an even higher one for those properties listed as “blighted.”  For those keeping score at home, blighted means: “unsafe, insanitary, or which is otherwise determined to threaten the health, safety, or general welfare of the community,” which I can surely say our house is not.

If you got listed by mistake, there’s steps you can take to fix it, read on.

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Business and Money, Crime & Punishment, The Daily Feed, Ward 5, WTF?!

Dispatches from Ward 5

Photo courtesy of
‘DSC_0940′
courtesy of ‘mediaslave’

The Ward 5 lists were active this week, with several things going on to talk about.

Numerous discussions ensued across both the Eckington and Ward 5 lists after the Truxton Circle murder of Billy Mitchell, who was on his way home from the theater when he was shot at the corner of North Capitol and Florida NW while trying to help a woman involved in a conflict with a man, who in turn was the shooter.

In addition to the typical point-scoring and debates about gun control and concealed-carry, there were numerous calls for additional steps to make that specific area safer, including neighborhood watch groups, coordinated dog-walking groups, a surveillance camera, etc. There will be a vigil held for Mitchell at the site of the shooting at 6PM tonight, followed by an emergency public safety meeting with the Fifth District police and Ward 5 Council Member Harry Thomas at Wesley AME Zion Church at 1712 North Capitol Street. Continue reading

News, Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

WMATA responds to 23 Dec incident

Photo courtesy of
‘Steppin’ Out, WMATA Style’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

Metro has released a statement regarding the incident first reported on Unsuck DC Metro that has horrified many: six armed men reportedly boarded an Orange Line train on December 23rd, and allegedly robbed and beat passengers aboard that train, and according to some accounts, the Metro operator did not respond to emergency calls made from within the car.

The incident is pretty horrifying, and suggests that perhaps MTPD should spend a bit more time on trains rather than ineffectively searching our bags.  The Statement is below and in full, and says that MTPD apprehended suspects within 30 minutes and recovered the stolen property.

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Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Weekend Metro Work to split Blue & Orange lines, close Foggy Bottom

Photo courtesy of
‘Metro Fail’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

Get ready for an ugly weekend of transportation.  Starting at 10pm on Friday night, Metro will stop all Blue and Orange trains at Rosslyn and Farragut West and turn them around, meaning the only line across the Potomac this weekend is the Yellow line.  Hanging at Metro Center and going to Court House or vice versa?That’ll be Metro Center to L’Enfant, to Pentagon, to Rosslyn, to Court House. Sure, there’s a shuttle between Farragut West and Rosslyn, too, but will it save you any time? Not so sure about that.

Yeah, that’s going to be awesome.

On top of that, add in red-line single tracking between Friendship Heights and Van Ness, and New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue, and your Red Line trip is going to be a lot longer this weekend, too.

Couple all this delightful convenience with the fact that Metro drivers are pooping and peeing in their traincars, and you’ve got some warm fuzzy feelings for Metro, I’m sure.

The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Light Snow Expected Tomorrow

Photo courtesy of
‘big step’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

Expect the grocery stores to be packed to the gills tonight and the dairy and bread cases empty. Why? Well, the powers that be in the Weather world are predicting 1-4″ of snow.  While those of us who’ve been here more than just a couple minutes know this isn’t the end of the world, that won’t prevent us from acting like we don’t need more toilet paper tonight.  But, here’s what the weather gurus we like and trust are saying:

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The Daily Feed, Ward 6, WMATA, WTF?!

A difficult morning on Capitol Hill

Photo courtesy of
‘good morning’
courtesy of ‘volcanojw’

If you can avoid Capitol Hill for the next few hours, you probably should.

A woman was found dead inside a burning car on the 800 block of A Street SE in the 5:00 hour this morning. The car was fully engulfed when DC Fire & EMS arrived, and it was only after the fire was put out that the woman’s body was found. It seems like the car may have crashed into the garage at a low speed to start the fire. The investigation is ongoing.

A suspicious package was found outside the Capitol South metro station this morning. Metro trains are passing through the station without stopping.

So if you can adjust your business this morning to not include Capitol Hill, I recommend that you do it. Stay out of the way while police do their jobs and save yourself the frustration of navigating around them while they do it.

News, Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

WMATA issues statement in wake of beating video

Metro Emergency Button>
Metro Emergency Button by Mr. T in DC

By now, I am certain that you have seen the video, or heard about the incident that took place at L’Enfant Metro this past weekend, where a man was beaten by a group of teenagers while they took video of the incident. Metro has now issued a statement after the fact condemning the incident. It’s after the break. Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Increased Food Truck Enforcement?

Photo courtesy of
‘Vacation in a Cup!’
courtesy of ‘Phaesia2011′

The word spread over Twitter in yesterday’s lunch hour that MPD was spotted talking with two food trucks at L’Enfant Plaza, and that perhaps one of them had received a ticket.  This morning, we’re hearing that one of the Sauca vehicles was forced to move yesterday. We talked with one of those trucks yesterday afternoon late, and spoke with the operator, Dingo from Fojol Bros.  They have noticed a significant uptick in MPD attention to food trucks since the new year.

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