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DeMorning DeBonis: Nov. 16, 2010

By Mike DeBonis

TODAY IS NOV. 16, 2010 -- 47 DAYS UNTIL INAUGURATION

PREVIOUSLY -- Can the D.C. special election be done on the cheap?

Maybe it really is 1994 again: Republicans sweep into Congress, and welfare reform is the talk of Washington. The Wilson Building, anyway. Marion Barry and Yvette Alexander did their best yesterday to channel a Contract With America-vintage Newt Gingrich, advocating in a council hearing that the District should do what virtually every state did after the Clinton welfare reform and put the "temporary" into the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. Tim Craig reports in today's Post that while most states end benefits after five years, when federal subsidies end, "[a]bout 40 percent of the city's 17,000 families on TANF have been getting benefits for" longer than that, funded by city taxpayers. "Barry and Alexander, both of whom represent neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, say too many District residents now rely on their monthly check from the government. ... 'We have to break the cycle,' Barry said. 'Part of the purpose of the bill is to start a dialogue about how ineffective our current system is.'" Well, the dialogue has begun, but the bill is going nowhere, even amid a staggering budget shortfall: "At a hearing on the bill Monday, council members Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) both said they opposed it. About 8,000 families would immediately lose their benefits and other government help, such as child-care subsidies, if the bill was approved, they said." Deborah Simmons also covers for The Washington Times, describing it as Barry's "own brand of conservatism."

AFTER THE JUMP -- yes, DYRS has problems -- why the District is cleaner than Prince George's -- Reuben Charles won't be chief of staff -- appeals court hears Heller II arguments -- Levy trial nears end

*** MAIN COURSE ***

WHAT'S WRONG WITH DYRS -- Jeffrey Anderson and Matthrew Cella of The Washington Times look at the failings of the city's juvenile justice system through the case of Chicquelo Abney, who was murdered last October in his home neighborhood. He was 19. "Like an alarming number of D.C. youths, at the time of his death, Chicquelo was officially under the supervision of the city government. An investigation by The Washington Times found that more than one in five D.C. homicides in a recent 12-month period involved a DYRS ward, either as a victim or a suspect. ... While violent crime figures and particularly homicide rates have plummeted across the nation in the past decade, the pattern of youth killings among a population under DYRS supervision has been one of the most persistent and troubling trends in the nation's capital in recent years. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said the problem is particular to the District. Other cities, like Baltimore and Philadelphia, are struggling with recidivism among a population of adult returning offenders. But in the District, where juvenile justice reform ostensibly has been under way since 2004, youths are driving a spike in violence." They speak to new DYRS chief Robert Hildum, who criticizes the old regime: "[T]hey were lacking in oversight, they were lacking in services. There didn't seem to be any consequences for noncompliance. They seemed to reward noncompliance."

D.C. IS NO P.G. -- Harry Jaffe does his best in his Examiner column to relate the mess in Prince George's County to us city folks. "[F]or us in the nation's capital, it's a spectacle that can put a few things into perspective. To wit: When it comes to hard-core corruption, we are neophytes. ... Federal prosecutors, beginning with Joe diGenova, despised Barry. They knew he was flawed and vulnerable. They dogged him, bugged him, trailed him. They got zip in basic public corruption. ... Yes, we have our corruption. Barbara Bullock fleeced the teachers' union for $5 million. Harriette Walters stole $50 million from the tax and revenue office. Our political leaders, though flawed, appear to be free of graft. But we are deep into the game of pay-to-play. Both incoming Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown have invited fat cats to pay up to $25,000 each to finance their transition committees. That's not corrupt until they ask for something in return -- and get it. A slippery slope, indeed."

SORRY, REUBEN -- Reuben Charles, the mayor-elect's controversial fundraiser and transition manager, will not be running his mayoral office, Tim reports at D.C. Wire. Charles "is unlikely to become the new mayor's chief of staff, but could land another role in the administration, several sources close to Gray said. ... Despite his close-working relationship with Gray, Charles has been battered by a series of media reports about a series of liens and judgments that have been filed against him in other states. Many appear related to his business career. Although he's being more thoroughly vetted by Gray, the chairman has been telling friends that Charles is not a leading candidate to become his chief-of-staff. It's unclear whom Gray could tap for that position, but sources say Gray most likely won't be making major personnel decisions until after Thanksgiving."


*** SMALL PLATES ***

Post, GGW apparently part of "a movement to manipulate the [Democratic State Committee] out of its power" to name an at-large council member, says Vincent Orange (Loose Lips)

Federal appeals court hears arguments in Heller II (Legal Times)

Doug Jemal enjoys the fruits of his tenants (Housing Complex)

A RIF'd teacher does end-around WTU lawsuit to file his own (press release)

Pest-control lobbyist continues broadsides against Wildlife Protection Act, says it could lead to rat glut (All Opinions Are Local)

Drive your Chevy to the 17th Street levee (WBJ)

Public Service Commission nixes Pepco petition for 15th electricity surcharge, to fund temporary conservation programs (WBJ)

Find the fake Pepco fees! (DCist)

More hoping that Gray resists calls for a taxi medallion system
(Ezra Klein)

Hear Gary Condit's last messages to Chandra Levy (Crime Scene)

Defense attorneys attempt to discredit key jailhouse witness against Ingmar Guandique (Post)

Meet the Levy trial jurors -- sorta (Crime Scene)


*** ON THE MENU ***

Kwame Brown on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt, 10 a.m. on TBD -- Council hearing on "corrupt election practices" act, Mount Pleasant small-area plan -- Fenty unveils electric car charging station, 10:45 a.m. at Reeves Center

By Mike DeBonis  | November 16, 2010; 10:25 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike, The District  
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Next: DeMorning DeBonis: Nov. 17, 2010

Comments

"If we’d go back to some of the things that we used to do in the old days we would be a better institution," said the 300-pound Oak Hill recreation aide who knocked out a helmet-clad youth at football practice with a single blow. Benjamin Weiser, "Youth Facility Policy, Reality Clash," WASH. POST, 26 Oct. 1985, A1, A18.

Posted by: hungrypug | November 16, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

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