District Digest: Demolition and Discontent

Vox continues the District Digest; a helpful guide to news from the D.C. area. 

ME-PROTESTMarion Barry: Federal Probe into Gray Campaign Should be Wrapped up

Marion Barry, the D.C. Council Member representing Ward 8, said the Federal prosecutor’s investigation into Mayor Vincent Gray’s election is “holding the city hostage.” He says that these prosecutors “have a history of prolonging investigations ‘to put the squeeze on the people’ but fall short of indictments,” according to the Washington Post.

Barry used his own past as mayor as an example. He said that federal officials spent more than a year investigating whether he benefited from a home renovation before deciding that he did nothing illegal. He says it should not have taken as long as he gave them all the receipts that proved he paid for the work.

“D.C. Agency Fails Elderly and Disabled Adults”

The District agency Adult Protective Services, which is responsible for the investigation of abuse of elderly adults, rarely called police to intervene in cases, including physical abuse or misappropriation of money by a caretaker.

The APS said it avoided police help because some clients are unreliable witnesses, as they have mental illnesses, and others are afraid of being placed in nursing homes due to the arrest or removal of their caretakers. Many also don’t want to report family members to the police.

The Department of Human Services, which oversees APS, says it is not aware of anyone who has been harmed further because of lack of contact with police. This agency is vowing to change its policies after the report’s release.

r620-e5ba3ec7bc683bd8a2189fc774bc018fDemolition of Shopping Center in Ward 8 Begins

Demolition began Wednesday on the Skyland Shopping Center, to be replaced by a Walmart in Ward 8 after years of court battles and protests from property-owners.

The District used eminent domain, the power of the state to seize private property without the owner’s consent but with due compensation to obtain the property, to obtain the 18 acres.

Mayor Gray, who took turns with Marrion Barry and other officials at operating the equipment, says the demolition will be completed by mid-2013, at which point the land will be turned over to the developer.

Photos from Dayna Smith (Washington Post) and  Graeme Jennings (Examiner) 

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