News Bullets, the other 38% Tuesday;

One of the bigger stories today is the (mostly useless) poll that came out yesterday, showing Fenty's re-election weaknesses. The poll has D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray leading Mayor Fenty by 41% to 37%. The poll was conducted by a non-profit, Clarus Research Group, sampling registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. Gray, of course, has not yet announced a run for the top office in D.C., and it should also be noted that of those sampled, 38% did not know who Vincent Gray was. Fenty also showed a 49% disapproval rate, which is never good for an incumbent facing re-election. It's far too early to make anything of this poll beyond what we already knew, Fenty's numbers are bad, but he has time and money to fix them.

Washington Post follows up on a missing persons case from February. Pam Butler, 47, disappeared without a trace the day before Valentine's Day this year. Her boyfriend, Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, was initially a person of interest, though no charges were ever filed. Butler has not been seen or heard from since, and MPD has had very little to go on. Not many new details are revealed, but the piece profiles both Butler and Rodriguez-Cruz. This is the first part of a series the Post is doing on the case.

Tri-State Oversight Committee monitors to inspect Metro tracks next month. After much controversy, independent inspectors will have access to Metro tracks. As I've noted time and again, Metro's suffers from a lack of transparency and a lack of emphasis on safety. Inspections are a good thing, but for this to ever become something more, there will need to be surprise inspections with no notice, to see how Metro operates on a day-to-day basis.

District settles in case over mass arrests in 2000. The D.C. government has agreed to pay $13.7 million to roughly 600 protesters who were arrested in 2000. The plaintiffs were activists arrested after sitting down in a street already closed by D.C. police. Some were also making gazpacho. From CityDesk:

The Becker case also included individuals who had sat in a street already closed by D.C. Police. They had linked arms in such a way rendering them useless. D.C. cops had charged at them and beat them with batons. The activists suffered broken noses and head wounds as a result.

Messineo recalls the scene he uncovered through the lawsuit: "A [police official] shouted 'let’s do it!' and the officers charged off the bus, their badges and nameplates removed. They took the batons and smashed them into the faces of people who’s arms were immobilized. They suffered broken noses, broken teeth."

The deal includes a maximum payment of $18,000 to each of the 600 people on the class-action suit. Up next, Pershing Park.

Nothing new here--sadly--D.C. cabs discriminate. Fox5 does an investigation on taxicab discrimination. What we know: It's hard for a black man to get a cab in this town. Fox5 goes out and proves it. We've all likely seen this first hand, I've seen friends of mine waving $20 bills at cabs, trying to get a ride to Petworth and having the cabs drive away. I've hailed a cab for a friend, only to have the cab drive away when he tries to get in. While taxicab robberies do occur, this outright, ridiculous discriminate is completely uncalled for. Yet another thing to file under, "we resign ourselves to this."


  1. cabs discriminate against anyone trying to go somewhere outside of wards 1, 2, and 3. i've had friends who live in woodridge denied a ride from logan circle. gotta do what david alpert did and refuse to budge until the idiot driver follows the law.

  2. The cab thing reminds me of a story I heard from a bartender in New York who visited D.C. a while ago. Said their cab was beset by prostitutes on one of the avenues downtown. It's a jungle out there.

  3. IMGoph called it. My husband and I live in a quiet area in SE, near Congressional Cemetery. If a cab drives up and asks where we're going, and we tell him the address, 95% of the time they just drive off - and we're white. So we've taken to getting in the cab first before telling them our destination; even so, we've had many drivers tell us to get out of the cab, flat out refusing to take us to our destination. The later at night it is, the harder it is to get a cab to drive us home.

    It's ridiculous. My husband - a night-time bartender - has found a solution: he has a VA hack on speed-dial, who he pays twice the metered rate just so he can get home after his shift.

    This story isn't news to me - I used to live in Baltimore, another predominately African American city, and people have the same problem there. From what I could tell, it was also sexist - the men I knew always had a harder time getting a cab than women.