Catania, parent of slain teen push troubled-youth legislation

March 31, 2011 - 05:57 PM
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A year ago this week, the District was rocked by a massacre that shook even longtime residents accustomed to street violence. The hail of bullets coming from a passing car, along South Capitol Street, claimed four lives. The suspects in the case are expected to go on trial next year.

Several of the suspects had had prior contact with DC’s system for rehabilitating wayward youth, which has long been criticized for being overwhelmed by its caseload and for failing to provide adequate supervision. Now, DC Councilman David Catania and Nardyne Jefferies, the mother of one of the teens killed last March, are working together to improve the system. Catania’s bill, the “South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act of 2011”, seeks to identify off-course youth and get them into programs that may help them.

Today on “NewsTalk,” Catania (I-At Large) said the city’s current system amounts to “a patchwork of nothing.” Ms. Jefferies also talked about the need for parents to be active in the lives of their children. The link to the show is here:

In the third segment we discuss the city’s current political controversies. Of the accusations leveled by Sulaimon Brown against Mayor Gray and his campaign team, Catania said, “If true, they're criminal. … Mr. Brown has already admitted to violating our campaign finance law. He's already admitted to taking part in what amounts to a bribery scheme and an undue influence scheme. … What remains to be seen is whether the … others are guilty.”

Catania said the allegations involving nepotism among top Gray aides “has placed a cloud on our government. And candidly we have too many members of our government, whether it be members of the council or the mayor, who either themselves or through their agents, are engaged in activity that diminishes confidence and respect for government. And the time has come for there to be a full and fair accounting.”

Tomorrow the mayor releases his FY 2012 budget proposal. He and Council chairman Kwame Brown have already signaled they would not support a broad increase in taxes to close the city’s budget gap. On NewsTalk, Catania noted tartly that controversies around Gray’s hiring and Brown’s spending have put them in a bind when it comes to taxes. “Certainly neither of our top elected officials are in a position to call for tax increases at this point given what has come out,” Catania said. “Because (the scandals) do speak to the notion that this government has not tightened its belt.”

Friday at 10am: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and the DC Divas football team

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