News Bullets, bitter cold Friday;

There has been a lot of news lately about Metro. This week the transit system has seen many bad days, resulting in crush-level crowds along the Red and Orange lines. Most of these problems have been caused by trains having to go out-of-service. The excessive crowding is also a preview of what could happen if Metro goes ahead with some very painful service cuts this year. With regard to the budget difficulties, the WMATA board held a meeting and discussed the prospects of service cuts and fare increases. David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington has a round-up of the discussion and the resulting controversy. I'm going to spend some time this weekend reading up on this, as well as working on the next part of the Price of Safety series. The next portion of that project will discuss the history of management shakeups and Metro, and how well Metro has responded to NTSB and TOC concerns about safety and organizational structure. Never fear, I'm still on this beat, though delayed a bit--the first week back at the office after a holiday is often quite busy.

Just a big mess at DC Fire and EMS. Back in 2006, New York Times reporter David E. Rosenbaum was attacked near his Chevy Chase home. He suffered critical head injuries, but the EMT responding to the case decided Rosenbaum was merely intoxicated. The EMT decided to transport Rosenbaum to Howard University Hospital rather than Sibley Hospital (the closest) because she had personal business to take care of afterward, and Howard was closer to her home. DC F&EMS management screwed up and didn't fire her within 90 days of the incident, and now the DC Court of Appeals has ruled her termination was unlawful. Wonderful. Rosenbaum later died of his injuries, though it is believed he may have survived had he gotten immediate and proper medical attention. Seems like the EMT will now have her job back, with back pay, and be out on the streets again running calls. I'm all for labor rights and honoring contracts, but come on. The investigation of the incident took longer than the 90 days allotted. City Desk has a good summary of what happened.

So what about Gilbert Arenas? Haven't touched this story all week, mostly because the dude's a jackass. MPD Chief Cathy Lanier says the investigation is still ongoing, and urges patience. Mayor Fenty also chimed in, with this gem of a comment:
"Do I think he should ever play again in Washington?...I dunno whether or not. I guess it's a little bit too early to say. I think a lot of what people will think about this incident is, is he truly remorseful? Does he want to change? Does he want to make sure it doesn't happen again? I think that's always one of the biggest tests and standards for whether someone should be allowed to do something again. People deserve second chances, but they've really got to want them and desire them. It's too early to know all that."
Yes, we know, people generally do deserve second chances. However, they also can't be complete idiots. He openly admits that he broke the law as well as NBA regulations. As much as some people may disagree with firearms laws in the District, they are still the law. Also, Arenas is absolutely not a responsible gun owner. You don't bring firearms to show off, and you don't bring firearms to your locker room to "keep them away from your kids." You buy a gun safe and you keep them in the safe, in your home, in the state where it's legal to have them. Throw the book at him and ban him from the NBA. He's an idiot. He's not remorseful except for the fact that he won't be getting his big paychecks. I don't see any gray area at all. Open and shut case. Hopefully the grand jury hearing the case will indict him, and he will face charges for carrying a pistol without a license. Celebrities do not deserve to get a pass. If I brought guns to my office and showed them off, someone would call 911, and the SWAT team would show up, and I'd be arrested and would be thrown in jail. Should be no different for Arenas.

Man charged with posing as a Secret Service agent. Federal charges have been filed against 46-year-old Frederick James Nickerson for presenting bogus Secret Service identification in an attempt to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He got past building security with the fake credentials, but someone recognized him as being on a list of people banned from the building. It's unclear why he was doing this, but it is a bit disturbing that he got past security with bogus creds. I'd venture to guess, however, that the people working the metal detectors and security desks at many federal buildings do not have a reference guide that shows examples of legitimate identification credentials.

It's going to stay cold. The snow is mostly gone, but the bitter cold and wind is here to stay. The city has managed to come up with more funds for road treatments, but please remember that homeless services are still in trouble. It's very cold out there, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. If you see a homeless person in need on the street or for shelter referrals, outreach and transportation services to homeless persons in the D.C. area - Please call the Shelter Hotline 1-800-535-7252 or 202-399-7093.


  1. Keep it up Fenty. I'm just sad that Peebles is out of the game now, but it's a long road an I'm looking forward to much intrigue ahead.

    God that man is a right off the short bus.

    "I think a lot of what people will think about this incident is, is he truly remorseful? Does he want to change?"

    Does anyone really think that? Does anyone REALLY CARE?

    As you said, he broke a goddamn law and the rules and he should be treated by the police like anyone else who broke the law, and by the NBA like anyone else who broke the rules.

    Remorse is to make yourself feel better. Punishment is to prevent other people from doing the same thing. Personally, I couldn't care less how he feels about his own lack of judgment, I just want it to never happen again.

  2. OK but it's still legal to tell women at the bar that you're with the Secret Service, right? That's still OK, right?

    (Jaime, that's wonderful commentating. Perhaps some of the readers here will visit your local D.C.-themed blog for a great read.)