Monday, April 13, 2009

The Little Engine that Couldn't

A Sosua local sings the blues after learning that a free DC fire engine and ambulance will not be coming to the "most beautiful beach in the Dominican Republic."

I have not posted in a while, but I've been following the fire engine fiasco, which you've no doubt heard about by now.

The basic run down: the DC government donated a fire truck and ambulance worth nearly $400k to Peaceaholics, an organization accustomed to receiving million dollar earmarks to purportedly negotiate gang truces when MPD throws in the towel.

Peaceaholics was apparently just an intermediary to transfer the little engine that couldn't work for the DC taxpayers anymore to a "poor" resort town in the Dominican Republic, which, of course, necessitated at least one publicly funded trip of a DC fire official to check it out.

Of course, as the details emerged, the town actually wasn't that poor and the equipment wasn't actually quite so worthless. Sunlight has a way of changing stories.

Authorized by an obscure line in the DC Register, The Examiner's Mike Neibauer
caught it with a good eye and exposed the deal, and the duo was "recalled."

It's the political equivalent of attempting to stop a stupid email after hitting send, which only draws greater attention... and never works.

Rather than continuing to pretend everything is A-Ok, Mayor Adrian Fenty, Attorney General Peter Nickles, the Office of Procurement, Peaceaholics, and the fire department should fess up, immediately provide full transparency on who was involved and why, and address it appropriately. There are no take backs or do overs.

Barbara Hollingsworth nailed it in her column today. In case you have not been following the story, here is the play-by-play of Examiner coverage:

Odd deal sends D.C. fire truck, ambulance to Dominican town
, 3/27/09
Cheh demands explanation of firetruck, ambulance donation, 3/27/09
Donated firetruck, ambulance recalled to D.C., sources say, 3/31/09
Fire official went to Caribbean to donate truck, 4/1/09
Fire chief says he was ‘clueless’ about donation, 4/1/09
Firetruck donation to Dominican town will get independent review, 4/3/09
D.C. Council opens own probe into donations to Caribbean, 4/10/09

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