DMV Daily: Save the Squirrels!

D.C. bill would protect wildlife home infiltrators

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Edwina Hamstra

    Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh is not trying to save the rats.

    Her Wildlife Protection Act will come before the Council today. It would, as WTOP reports, “require people who trap wild animals that get into your house -- like squirrels or possums -- to follow basic humanitarian guidelines.” While initial reports said the bill would also protect D.C.’s many rats and mice, that is not the case. (As my household’s designated rodent dispatcher, I was happy to hear this.)

    The bill requires professional “wildlife control operators” -- trappers and exterminators and the like -- to “make every reasonable effort to preserve family units using humane eviction and/or displacement and reunion strategies.” It would also ban the use of glue and leg hold traps, as well as snares and devices that crush animals’ bodies in any way.

    "Humane" Extermination of Pests Proposed in D.C.

    [DC] "Humane" Extermination of Pests Proposed in D.C.
    The D.C. Council gave preliminary approval to a new law that would require exterminating companies to use "humane" means to trap and get rid of wild animals, like raccoons and squirrels, that get inside people's homes.

    DCentric’s Anna John says that while she “rescued a puppy from the Humane Society” and would find it “tough to root for” Michael Vick, when rodents invaded her home last year, she “was barely concerned with preserving their familial units. Maybe I’m selective about the mammals I love? Guilty as charged.”

    The Washington Post says several of Cheh’s Council colleagues also “appear skeptical” about the bill, and DCist similarly reports “government observers around the District” are “bristling” over the legislation. Cheh also plans to introduce a bill today that would extend the school day by at least half an hour. That’s not very humanitarian, is it?

    UPDATE: The council gave tentative approval to the bill, The Post's D.C. Wire reported. The final vote will be in two weeks.

    Elsewhere in the DMV:

    * Michelle Rhee got some softball practice in an interview with Jo-Ann Armao of the Washington Post’s editorial board. The D.C. schools chief took questions on her legacy and on whether she would like to stay in the District. On this latter question, Rhee filibustered a bit: “What I do know is that I want school reform in the city to continue as aggressively as it possibly can. I can see a scenario in which that happens with me and I can see a scenario in which that happens without me. I think for me the question is really, how do we set this up whether I’m here or not in a way where the good work that we’ve done over the past three years can continue?”

    Add Iowa to the list of Rhee suitors. Former governor Terry Branstad, a conservative Republican who is likely to win back his old job next month, said at an event in Cedar Rapids that Rhee would be a good pick to lead the state education department. According to MSNBC, Rhee was the only person Branstad mentioned by name in his speech. He didn’t even mention his opponent.

    In other Rhee-lated news, the Post says D.C. public school enrollment “increased this fall after nearly four decades of losses,” and also says Rhee couldn’t get in to “own movie Sunday afternoon -- because it was sold out!” Rhee and her daughters tried to get tickets for the 2:30 showing of “Waiting for Superman” at the E Street Cinema, but had to come back at 4:15.

    * Following a recommendation by “Mayor” Vincent Gray, Mayor Adrian Fenty ordered a freeze on hiring, pay raises, and promotions for District employees. The Washington Examiner’s Freeman Klopott says the order “takes a big chunk out of the $175 million budget gap,” with possible savings of $100 million. Fenty is taking one for the team with a move that will be unpopular among those impacted, and Gray “said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of layoffs.” Whether those would come under the actual Gray Administration or the current Fenty/Gray Administration remains to be seen.

    Meanwhile, Washington City Paper’s Benjamin Freed investigates the “Write In Fenty” campaign. While supporters have been vague about who is funding the effort, and its expensive citywide poll, many of the pro-Fenty activists seem to be grassroots supporters who had volunteered for his re-election campaign.

    * Southeast blogger JDLand picks up the news that WalletPop “has posted what it apparently thinks is a legitimate study of the ‘25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods’ in the country,” with L Street SE ranked ninth. Besides the fact that that’s a street, not a neighborhood, JDLand notes that the area hasn’t had a murder in more than five years “and has had a grand total of seven assaults with a deadly weapon this year.” But “somehow this ‘exclusive data developed by Dr. Andrew Schiller’s team at NeighborhoodScout.com’ is predicting that there will be 240 violent crimes in the neighborhood each year.” Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, always to the point, tweeted, “Dr. Andrew Schiller's team at NeighborhoodScout.com r idiots.”

    * The Post’s Mike DeBonis reports that testing of an Internet-based voting system by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics was halted after hackers infiltrated the system. DeBonis writes that “after casting a vote, according to test observers, the Web site played ‘Hail to the Victors’ -- the University of Michigan fight song.”

    * The Examiner reports that Gov. Bob McDonnell’s government reform commission gave its formal backing to the governor’s plan “to privatize the state-run liquor stores, though the governor’s plans to call a special General Assembly session to take up the plan remains uncertain.”

    * Rep. Jim Moran hasn’t faced a tough re-election fight in years, but ARLnow wonders if the guilty plea by former lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti, whose now-defunct PMA Group and its employees “funneled at least $150,000 into Moran’s campaign coffers from 1998-2008,” could hurt Moran in what’s already shaping up to be a bad year for Democrats. Moran faces Republican Patrick Murray, an Iraq war veteran.

    * The Frederick News-Post reports that Bob Ehrlich likes farmers. State regulators, not so much.

    * The campaign of Statehood-Green D.C. Council candidate David Schwartzman is denouncing At-Large incumbent David Catania’s E-conomy Transformation Acts, saying that they have cost the city revenue over the past decade.

    * Likely At-Large D.C. Council candidate Leo Alexander says he supports the legalization of marijuana, and that “the District government should regulate and tax it just like alcohol.”

    * All sorts of streets in downtown D.C. will be closed for parts of next week for filming of “Transformers 3: The One Without Megan Fox.” It will be annoying, but at least it’s for the sake of art -- or, in this case, what’s sure to be an unwatchable popcorn flick. DCist has details on the impacted areas.

    * We Love D.C. reports that the federal General Services Administration, Office of Personnel Management, and Transportation Department “announced a partnership with Bikeshare to provide access to over 1,000 bicycles across the city for their employees to use as part of a wellness initiative.”

    * Good Hope Anacostia blogger Alex Baca watches the hard-to-find D.C. documentary “Chocolate City,” and details what it gets right and wrong.

    * ANC 8C03 candidate Larry Pretlow II, the challenger in D.C.’s highest-profile advisory neighborhood commissioner race this year, has released a campaign song on his website.

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC