Metro barred independent safety monitors from observing the system. Last month I looked some previous accidents on Metro involving track workers, and found some disturbing trends. Today the Post ran a front page story on safety problems involving Metro workers. This is fascinating material, but also very troubling. From the article:
I'm not surprised by any of this, nor am I surprised by Metro's failure to release documents to the Post. It's par for the course with WMATA, and yet another reason why I am continuing to work on this research.
Since the spring, Metro officials have barred independent monitors from walking along subway tracks to observe safety procedures while trains are in normal service, even if escorted by Metro employees, newly obtained records show.
The monitors, from the Tri-State Oversight Committee, wanted to determine whether Metro was following rules put in place in recent years after a number of workers had been fatally injured on the job.
Instead, they have spent the past six months pressing Metro in writing and in person for access -- a period in which two Metro employees were struck and fatally injured on the tracks.
The monitors became so frustrated that at one point, internal e-mails show, they discussed formally notifying federal officials and invoking their toughest sanction: declaring Metro to be officially out of compliance with safety requirements. Such a move could cause Metro to lose part of its federal funding.
Could the DPR contracting mess been avoided? Well, yes, Fenty could have not gone around the Council. However, Michael Neibauer at the Examiner takes a look at how the D.C. Council's actions last year may have pushed Fenty further. A year ago, Fenty wanted Allen Lew, the DCPS construction/facilities chief to manage DPR capital projects. Just as now, the Council was not pleased with this idea, and passed legislation preventing Lew from working on projects outside of DCPS. This is interesting, though still the question remains as to why Fenty didn't want to improve DPR's ability to handle these projects. Instead, Fenty wanted then-DPR Director Clark Ray to focus on programming... and would later replace him with Ximena Hartsock. Hartsock also had no experience with capital projects and would instead focus on programming.
Police searching for shooter in Georgia Avenue robbery and murder. Rufina Hernandez of Hyattsville was shot and killed in a robbery of the La Casa de Morata liquor store in the 5400 block of Georgia Avenue Saturday night. Police think the suspects may live in the neighborhood. They are described as two men in their 30's or 40's.
Deer stumbles into lion den at the National Zoo. And no, this isn't some sort of political metaphor. A deer from Rock Creek Park managed to make its way into the lion exhibit at the zoo, where it was seriously injured. It was able to make an escape, but zoo workers had to euthanize it due to serious wounds. Yes, there is video of it. No, I haven't watched it and don't plan to.
Officer-involved shootings may be the result of PCP use. 2009 has seen an increase in officer-involved shootings in the District, and MPD Chief Cathy Lanier believes it may be due to increased PCP use. In 8 out of the 12 shootings involving MPD this year, PCP was involved. In 2008, there were eight MPD-involved shootings.
Coming up later this morning: A look at Leo Alexander's campaign for D.C. Mayor.