Archive for the '2010' Category

City jobs for city residents

NCJC to Picket Bozzuto, Metro Project on RI Ave. in NE

Washington, DC, October 26, 2010: The National Capital Jobs Coalition (NCJC) will launch a public job action against the Bozzuto Construction Company and the METRO development project on Rhode Island Ave. Metro Station in NE Washington, DC on Thursday morning, October 28th at 8:30 AM. Linwood Martinez-Bentley, a longtime DC activist and co-director of the group, said that, “… Bozzuto and others like them have ignored DC Law long enough. Mayor Fenty has failed to enforce this law. We urge Vincent Gray to make this a high priority.” …

… The presumptive new Mayor Vincent Gray commented during a recent Town Hall meeting that, if city funded projects do not hire the number of city residents required by First Source legislation that they, “… should be shut down.” NCJC agrees totally with those sentiments, as do key members of The City Council. We have had expressions of support from other Councilmen including the following sitting council members: CM Michael Brown and the presumptive Council Chairperson Kwame Brown. We also have support from At-Large Candidate David Schwartzman. Given such widespread encouragement, NCJC intends to strike the first blow in support of more aggressive and direct citizen involvement.

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David Schwartzman calls for fresh start for DC public schools

Council David Schwartzman (G): Save DC Public Schools; Overturn the Fenty-Rhee-Catania charter school scheme

“We can improve the District’s public schools by pulling together, by welcoming the participation of parents and teachers and by repairing neighborhood schools and keeping them open. We can begin by rehiring unjustly fired teachers and other public employees,” said Dr. Schwartzman, who is promoting a program to “Create Green Collar Jobs for our Youth with Apprenticeship Programs in DC Public High Schools and the Community” (http://www.davidschwartzman.com/Issues/Green_Collar_Jobs)

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David Catania’s Double Dipping

The fight back:

In addition to his Council salary of more than $125,000, Office of Campaign Finance records show that Catania earns an additional $120,000 a year as general counsel to a company that does a huge amount of business with the District. Since at least 2006 Catania has earned more than $100,000 a year as general counsel for OpenBand LLC, a subsidiary of M.C. Dean. (It’s unclear how much Catania earned from M.C. Dean in 2005: On his “Honoraria and Outside Income Disclosure Statement” for fiscal year 2005, Catania failed to report his gross outside income and instead reported having earned “$10,000 per month” as General Counsel for OpenBand, LLC. For fiscal year 2006, Catania reported earning $101,538 from OpenBand LLC and $13,750 from Akin & Gump. Since 2007, Office of Campaign Finance reports show that Catania has earned $120,000 a year from OpenBand, LLC.)

Who/what is M.C. Dean? The Washington Post noted: “The company holds the contract to maintain and repair city traffic signals — one of the most lucrative contracts in city government. Last year’s contract was worth $9.3 million to the company… Since 1999, according to city billing records, M.C. Dean has done more than $130 million in business with the District.” Unmentioned in the Post’s article was that “one of the most influential… men in city government” is on M.C. Dean’s payroll to the tune of $120,000 a year.

Vincent Gray is a very tough character

Washington City Paper quoting Newsweek:

Duncan acknowledged that he has already spoken to Rhee once, and will talk to her again when she returns from her honeymoon with new husband Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, Calif. He also said he has repeatedly tried to reach Gray by phone to discuss the matter with him. “We’ve been trading calls the last two days, but we will talk,” Duncan said.

Since when was a DC Council Chair and Democratic nominee not available to a cabinet member??? I guess Gray is determined to talk to Obama personally. Seems reasonable to me, but I never would have thought that Gray had it in him to be unavailable to a cabinet secretary. Of course if Gray has decided that Rhee is not simply unacceptable to him, but unacceptable to the voters, well, that is another thing. Nothing like letting it be known that he cannot be pressured into doing that which the city does not want to be done. Better to defy the White House than the voters.

And there is more good news:
Gray will consider rehiring fired D.C. teachers

Gray tells DC 50’s NewsPlus that he thinks any of those 266 teachers who were fired only for budget reasons should be allowed back in the classrooms.

Preservationists and Planners “Jubilant” About Gray

Understanding the DC Democratic primary

Why Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty Lost

When the results came in, Fenty was trounced in largely black districts. In Wards 7 and 8, his opponent, Vincent Gray, won 82 percent of the vote. In Northwest Washington, where white voters predominate, Fenty won 76 percent of the vote. Fenty decisively lost the black vote and decisively won the white vote. D.C. public schools are about 5 percent white, so it is a reasonable supposition that the anti-Fenty vote was fueled to a large degree by parents of children in the public schools. Gray won handily, 53 percent to 46 percent.

Journalists attributed Fenty’s loss to the power of the teachers’ union, but such an explanation implies that black voters, even in the privacy of the voting booth, lack the capacity to make an informed choice. When the Tea Party wins a race, journalists don’t write about who controlled their vote, but about a voter revolt; they acknowledge that those who turned out to vote had made a conscious decision. Yet when black voters, by large margins, chose Vincent Gray over Adrian Fenty, journalists found it difficult to accept that the voters were acting on their own, not as puppets of the teachers’ union.

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Gary Imhoff of DCWatch, for one, is sick of the Rhee hagiography. He says Rhee “became a national symbol of educational reform and, at least in the national press, the success of her methods was unquestioned,” and says that in both national and local coverage of the D.C. campaign, “it became a racial narrative; in fact, it became a racist narrative. Black people, who didn’t value education and who didn’t want their children to be better educated, voted against Fenty because they were angry that Rhee was improving their schools.”

Who Vincent Gray should select for schools

Unlike Gray, I don’t like the idea mayoral control of schools. I know people did not like the old elected school board, but areas which have good schools, have elected boards. You can’t empower parents if they don’t elect the school board, that is just basic. Much of the school deform movement is about stripping parents of any involvement in their children’s schools.

In every bureaucracy, even those most dysfunctional there are always standouts, dedicated public servants who manage to get the job done under even the most trying circumstances. THAT is who Gray should appoint. It would show civil servants that there is a career path and that good work will be rewarded. It will also spare DC yet another bungee boss who will have no clue as to how DC really operates. The only problem is that there are all these philanthropists who will rip their money from DC unless we let them call the tune. For my part I saw good riddance, take your money and get out of town. But the Fenty voters will see it another way and Gray must reach out to them. In another four years DC will be majority white and those voters have to believe that Gray has their interests at heart.

Gray is also a big believer in charter schools. I am not.

Teachers are not the enemy

Washington City Paper

Michelle Rhee’s assault on the D.C. Public Schools status quo will go down as a rare attempt to raise local institutions above the low standards Washingtonians once accepted. Rhee shares Fenty’s abrasive traits, but in her case, it’s easy to be more charitable: When it comes to reforming a failed school system, you either go monomaniacal or go home. It’s naïve to think that you can do it while simultaneously making nice with the old guard.

The use of the word assault is indicative of the racial divide of our city. Michelle Rhee and the education deformers have indeed conducted an assault on the DC Public School system, with entirely predictable results, parents are pulling their children out of school as never before. Not as part of a long time trend, but at an accelerated pace.

If Vincent Gray prevails he will have a hard task healing the racial divide. There are just too many white people who delight in seeing black public employees get beaten on and insulted. Too many white people who simply have no idea about what is going on east of Rock Creek Park.

I am not optimistic. Vincent Gray strikes me as a hack, not somebody who is ready to go to bat for the city’s dispossessed, or having the communication skills that would allow him to explain to the West of Rock Creek Park crowd why it is in their interests are connected to the well being of the cities most disadvantaged residents.


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