A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Barry Tries to Kill the Streetcar

The Washington Post has a story about Marion Barry's attempt to slow, or halt all future plans for an H Street streetcar line. As the article points out, this is probably just a negotiation tactic on his part, and also possibly a swipe at his not so good buddy David Catania who is a VP at one of the companies getting the streetcar contract.. Mary Cheh, who heads the Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation, responded with annoyance, and pointed out that Barry's maneuver would likely not only delay the project, but also increase costs.

Greater Greater Washington points out that the H Street streetcar line was first proposed 15 years ago...under Barry.


Blogger RPW said...

While I'm not happy about Barry dragging his feet and trying to kill the project, has the contract Catania's firm been fully vetted?

Given all the....issues surrounding the council, I'd hope extra attention be given when a large contract is given to a company a where a council member works as a senior employee.

Jun 19, 2012, 5:41:00 PM

Anonymous poo said...

why is this idiot crackhead still relevant?


it's embarassing.

Jun 19, 2012, 9:12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's cede Ward 8 from the District.

Jun 19, 2012, 10:17:00 PM

Anonymous Jaqen H'ghar said...

Anonymous 10:17:00 PM,

I second the motion

Jun 19, 2012, 11:26:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with RPW. I want this project finished more than most, but Catania is frigging VICE PRES of the firm selected to finish the line?! How is that remotely okay?

Jun 20, 2012, 12:21:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also agree with RPW. Regarding Cheh's comment (in post), the streetcar project has already been delayed and expenses have mounted. This was an ill-conceived project and isn't necessary along its current location. The money should be going instead to fixing the problem in DC schools or providing better transportation options east of the river.

Jun 20, 2012, 7:53:00 AM

Anonymous 4th and G said...

@ 7:53:00 AM

The biggest problem east of the river is Barry.

Jun 20, 2012, 8:38:00 AM

Anonymous AspiringRapper said...

nothing like a southern hustlin pimp to impede progress on every level. Do ya thang, barry - we ain't goin nowhere! word is bond.

Jun 20, 2012, 9:01:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@10:17:00 PM

I have a dream.

Jun 20, 2012, 9:31:00 AM

Anonymous Dolemite said...

I agree. No amount of diverted streetcar funding will ever rid this town of Barry.

Jun 20, 2012, 10:05:00 AM

Anonymous traveller said...

I used to think X2 was adequate to get to Atlas District and used to scoff at people who complained about what a pain it is to get to H-street until one day when I waited 50 minutes for the X2 to show up at Chinatown. It changed my entire perspective as to how inadequate public transport is to get to H-street businesses.

Jun 20, 2012, 10:21:00 AM

Anonymous E Street said...

For all of Barry's personal problems, I don't believe he has used his office for monetary gain. If this were a different project in another part of town and a firm headed by Barry got a $50 million no-bid contract, those who are attacking him here would howl. This contract needs more scrutiny.
And while I might personally benefit from the streetcar as I own a house three blocks away, it seems hard to justify the expense in light of other needs in the city.

Jun 20, 2012, 10:30:00 AM

Anonymous Dave B said...

I've never had much problem with the X buses until the past couple months. The construction they are doing at 3rd and H NW kills traffic in the morning. And I think eastbound in the afternoon, they changed the light timing near the 395 tunnel entrance. The light at third stays green kinda long enough, but there is a back up at the next light that needs to clear out. Only like 4 cars get through the green light.

I probably havent used in at least a month.

It would be nice if there was a stop at the top of the bridge so that when you got there and saw the mess, you could just get out and go into Union Station.

Back on topic, Marion Barry is a turd

Jun 20, 2012, 10:31:00 AM

Anonymous Dave B said...

I'm pretty sure the streetcar expense is a whole different pot of money than what can be used to fix other problems in the city. I think it is paid for by bonds specifically for this or other investment projects. People will lend you money to build things to broaden your tax base so they get repaid. Not so much to improve other day to day city services

Jun 20, 2012, 10:35:00 AM

Anonymous MJ said...

For all of Barry's personal problems, I don't believe he has used his office for monetary gain. If this were a different project in another part of town and a firm headed by Barry got a $50 million no-bid contract, those who are attacking him here would howl.

You're absolutely right, and if I thought that Barry was raising serious objections to Catania's relationship to this project because he thought that it appeared ethically questionable I might get behind him, even though he's about the last person to be pointing out others' eye-motes. But from his past track record and the nature of his comments regarding this project (and his prior backing of the streetcar) it overwhelmingly feels like he's looking for some quid pro quo.

As far as not personally enriching himself, that is true; he didn't directly profit from his tenure as mayor either, he just fiddled around in the Mayflower while DC burned.

Jun 20, 2012, 11:42:00 AM

Anonymous oboe said...

while I might personally benefit from the streetcar as I own a house three blocks away, it seems hard to justify the expense in light of other needs in the city.

The problem with this line of thinking is that you end up with a city that no one with any options wants to live in. Municipal swimming pools? Get rid of them until no one is ever homeless again. Yards Park? Waste of money until we completely eliminate poverty. A DMV that functions, and where you don't have to wait for 8 hours? A luxury we can't afford until every DC child graduates from high school and then goes on to graduate from college.

It's a great way to drive everyone who has any choice out of the city, and perpetuate concentrated poverty in DC forever.

Jun 20, 2012, 11:46:00 AM

Anonymous Dave B said...

Its probably tough for Barry to profit from his office after being sent to jail for crack. You aren't going to get many job offers to be the VP of a company and have the opportunity to conflict your interests after such an incident. He is just a small time criminal scraping by. Giving contracts to girlfriends, not paying taxes, suing metro. If he had opportunities for bigger crimes he would have participated

Jun 20, 2012, 11:53:00 AM

Anonymous oboe said...

@dave b,

I think it's a question of competence more than anything else. He's been such a train-wreck for so long, it's hard to imagine him getting his act together enough to enrich himself. Though he certainly managed to enrich a lot of his girlfriends, cronies, and political patrons throughout the years.

For a full accounting, I'd recommend "Dream City" which should be required reading for every DC resident.

Jun 20, 2012, 12:06:00 PM

Blogger Alan Page said...

Is it true that this is a no-bid contract? To a company where a councilmember is a high ranking executive? That's atrocious! I support the streetcar, but this Council constantly falls below the standard of "avoiding the appearance of impropriety". This is so sad. There was no other company that could have completed the streetcar line other than one with a councilmember as a high ranking exec?

Jun 20, 2012, 12:55:00 PM

Anonymous Derek said...

This is a bit off topic, but....

H Street Self-Storage (624 H St. NE) will auction 2

Jun 20, 2012, 2:39:00 PM

Anonymous MJ said...

Is it true that this is a no-bid contract?

I'm fairly certain it isn't a no-bid, but I can't find anything definitive either way. Additionally, in the past Catania has recused himself from any council decisions that involve his non-council job.

I still think it has an unpleasant smell to it, but it isn't a case of "Catania votes to award no-bid contract to his company" which would be a White Plains-level stench. My guess is that if Catania had done either of those things, Barry would be hammering him on that instead of the "we can't afford it now" angle.

Jun 20, 2012, 2:49:00 PM

Blogger Robby Mann-Thompson said...

To the No-bid question, a solciaiton should be able to be obtained if it was competed. Should be on DDOT's or OCP's website, or you can request it.

There is the apperence of a conflict of interest. I believe the best apprach be for it to be reviewed by an outside source (IG or GAO). There is little faith in the Council right now, and this doesn't pass the smell test, yet it may be 100% okay.

You all need to get over the Barry crack issue. He's asked some very good questions and raised some valid points. He has baggage, but here there are outstanding questions. In my mind Mr. Cantania needs to go beyond recusing himself. He needs to either resign his private post, or the Council.

Jun 20, 2012, 4:34:00 PM

Anonymous E St. said...

From the Post article ... it says nothing about lowest qualified bid:
Transportation officials said they selected Dean-Facchina for the H Street work because it has experience in the District and can both design and build the project. Dean Facchina is a joint venture between M.C. Dean, Inc. and the Facchina Construction Company, Inc.

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At large), one of Barry’s chief rivals on the council, is a vice president at M.C. Dean.

Jun 20, 2012, 4:56:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This contract was issued by the executive branch, not the Council, which passively reviews contracts over $1 million.

Catania should recuse himself if it ever comes up for a vote, but the suggestion that he resign is absurd.

Jun 20, 2012, 5:20:00 PM

Blogger Derek said...

I tried to quickly post this off-topic subject earlier:

H Street Self-Storage (624 H St. NE) will auction 23 defaulted units + abandoned merchandise on Saturday at noon.


To be on topic, will this no-bid-contract be part of the investigation into Gray and be the downfall of him?

Jun 20, 2012, 7:47:00 PM

Anonymous E St. said...

I don't think it's absurd at all to say that if your company wants to get paid millions of dollars by the city, you don't need to be on city council. IN fact, many places have laws to such effect.

Jun 21, 2012, 7:16:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is simply absurd that our residents voted back into office this philandering, drug pushing felon.

Jun 21, 2012, 9:09:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a friend who slept with David Catania. He said he's got a small dick

Jun 21, 2012, 9:29:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot of Barry bashing and defensiveness. Crack notwithstanding, there are some very legitimate questions about the project, the contract, about the Car Barn, and about overall budget priorities. As I’ve said before the city had no business controlling this project. WMATA was set up for a reason and executes these types of capital project’s well. But, here we all. A delay won’t kill anyone and it will give some the opportunity to address some concerns, namely the placement of the car barn.

Jun 21, 2012, 6:22:00 PM

Anonymous oboe said...

There's nothing wrong with the placement of the car barn. There are a couple of folks who live a block or two away who are irrationally freaked out about it, but that's going to happen with anything you put anywhere.

And the idea that WMATA is some kind of efficient model of an organization is *ahem* a controversial one to say the least.

Jun 22, 2012, 4:37:00 PM

Blogger Robby Mann-Thompson said...

There is a lot wrong with the location, and the people there were not engaged properly. And no WMATA isn't perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better than DDOT.

It needs to go along Anacostia Ave NE off North of Benning. It's industrial and is perfect for an industrial facility.

Jun 22, 2012, 7:19:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This contract should definitely be looked into. Since becoming VP of MC Dean, the city has awarded the company with 3 major contracts. Streetlighting, traffic signals and EIQ. Worth an excess of 300 million. This should wake up some citizens.

Sep 19, 2012, 11:43:00 PM


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