The District Digest: Red Line tragedy

On Monday at about 5 p.m. two Red Line trains crashed into each other near the Fort Totten station, resulting in the deadliest crash in Metro’s 33 year history.  Nine people died, including Jeanice McMillan, the operator of one of the trains, Ana Fernandez, a mother of six, and Retired Major General David Wherely, Jr. who led the D.C. National Guard and his wife Ann.  Although investigations are ongoing, it’s looking like the accident was probably caused by a malfunction of the computerized control system.

D.C.’s Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi announced that his office is projecting a $340 million budget shortfall over the next two years due to the recession.  In light of the dire news, Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) discretely ordered 40 government agencies—including the police department—to cut more than $35 million from their budgets.  It probably doesn’t help that the city can’t find thousands of dollars it collected in fines from misdemeanor cases..

On Thursday, June 18th, a gunman opened fire outside the Columbia Heights Metro station, shooting and injuring two.  This week it was revealed that the gunman was actually working as an intern for a D.C. Councilmember, Jim Graham (D—Ward 1).  Graham himself took the young man, Devyn Black, to the police station to turn himself in.

After the jump: taxi fare increases, how Twitter can help you get fired from your D.C. government job and more!

Mayor Fenty also told the D.C. Taxicab Commission, which has been pushing for higher fares ever since the zone system was abandoned in favor of meters, that they could raise fares by 5 percent (about an extra 7.5 cents per mile), but that they can’t implement any new fees.

Two years after it was destroyed by a fire, Eastern Market officially re-opened!

At the Discovery Channel’s SilverDocs documentary film festival, one of the most hyped films was “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry,” an examination of the self-proclaimed “Mayor for Life” (Don’t worry if you missed it—City Paper gave it a pretty poor review).  The subject of the documentary showed up for its premier and was greeted by protesters shouting, “Shame! Shame!

The D.C. Department of Employment Services fired a contractor who was working with kids in the summer jobs program after finding some less-than-professional Twitter activity.  Charming tweets included “In america’s ghetto anacostia… If I get scared i will just yell chinese carry out! They will not shoot me” and “hank goodness my boss is making things easy, he told me to pretend to do work so he can mark me down for hours.”

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