It’s “Your Turn” to share your views about the stories Washingtonians are talking about ––from a rollback on federal health care subsidies to the name change of a Virginia high school named after a Confederate general.
The Secret Service director resigns after tough questions and harsh comments from Congress on security breaches at the White House. New local laws take effect this week, offering paid family leave to D.C. government employees and making it a primary offense to talk on a hand-held cell phone while driving in Maryland. And undaunted demonstrators in Hong Kong send a message to Beijing. Join the discussion about these topics in the news and others you’d like to raise.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt is Your Turn. You can call now, 800-433-8850, send email to email@example.com. Send us a tweet @kojoshow or go to our website kojoshow.org where you set the agenda for the rest of the broadcast by deciding what it is you want to comment on, sharing your opinion with us. I'll just make a few suggestions.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAfter 18 months on the job, the director of the Secret Service resigned yesterday brought down by a fence jumper at the White House and a string of security breaches that led to a lack of confidence in her leadership. Julia Pierson, a 30-year veteran of the Secret Service was supposed to shape up the agency but the breaches just kept coming. An Iraq War vet jumped the White House fence, ran through the unlocked front door deep into the residence. A shooting three years ago left bullet holes in the windows and balcony of the White House that weren't discovered for four days.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIA security contractor with an assault record and a gun rode an elevator with the president just last month in Atlanta. What changes would make the agency more effective in your view? How can the next director boost performance and morale at the Secret Service, 800-433-8850? It is Your Turn. The chief executive of Hong Kong says he is not resigning, but is directing a government official to meet with student protestors, that announcement coming shortly before the midnight deadline.
MR. KOJO NNAMDISome protestors had set for his ouster. That deadline came and went an hour ago Hong Kong time. Protestors are outside government buildings in the city. They say they want a democratic election for the city's top leader. China's community party says residents can vote for Hong Kong's chief executive but the party must first screen the candidates. The question now is whether protestors can find an exit strategy that lets them claim victory or whether the protests will escalate. How do you think the protests reflect on China's communist party and on Hong Kong? Who do you think will blink first?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt's Your Turn, 800-433-8850. You can also go to our website kojoshow.org. Let's start, David -- or Steve in Silver Spring. It's your turn. Steve, are you there? Steve in Silver Spring, you're on the air. This is your last -- it's your last -- oh, we'll come back to Steve in a little while. In the meantime let's go to David in Ashburn, Va. David, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DAVIDYes. My question had originally been for Chief Lanier.
NNAMDIBut go ahead.
DAVIDThe court ruling on the concealed handgun permit case said that it had to provide for nonresidents to be able to carry a concealed handgun in the District of Columbia. The registration process as existed prior to the court ruling and in what the D.C. Council has released so far still does not provide a mechanism for nonresidents to either, A, register their firearm or, B, obtain a concealed handgun permit. I think this is going to prove to be extremely problematic for the District of Columbia unless they choose the path of recognizing permits issued in other localities, for example, Virginia where we have a shall issue standard as opposed to the may issue discretionary subject to abuse standard that D.C. is proposing.
NNAMDIBut from what I have read, the legislation that the council is considering or that the council is going to be passing will have a provision for nonresidents of the city who have concealed carry permits from other jurisdictions. I just don't know exactly what the regulatory process is going to be and that is how many hoops those people will have to jump through in order to be able to carry the concealed weapon in the District of Columbia.
DAVIDWell, as the system had been set up, you had to come in and actually give your gun over to the metropolitan police. You had to come in and be fingerprinted and photographed at police headquarters. I mean, there's a whole list of issues that are utterly impractical for nonresidents, particularly people who don't live in either D.C., Maryland or -- excuse me, in Maryland, Virginia or even West Virginia where the travel distances would be so long as to make this prohibitive.
DAVIDI think that the district needs to look very carefully at how they're going to handle this question and be a little more forthcoming with how they're going to address the issue of nonresidents.
NNAMDIThere seems to be already a sentiment that whatever the district issues that some people will find it so restrictive that it is likely to be challenged in court again. Is that what you're thinking?
DAVIDWell, I'm actually thinking that D.C. is currently on a path that may see the court reject what they're doing right now and go back to where we were for that magical three-day period when there was concealed carry for residents and nonresidents in the District of Columbia.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, David. We move on now to Elizabeth in Bethesda, Md. Elizabeth, it is your turn.
ELIZABETHThank you, Kojo. I love your show. And I would like to make a comment, and after this gun business I feel a little, I don't know...
NNAMDINo, it's your turn to speak on any issue that you'd like to including the gun business as you call it.
ELIZABETHOkay. Well, anyway, thank you, thank you. Well, the gun business is something that I can't discuss. But what I would like to say is that supposedly in Stockholm they lowered the speed in the city, possibly in the old town or certain areas of the city, they lowered the speed for cars to 20 miles per hour. And that significantly reduced the incidents of pedestrians being hit by cars. And I'm wondering if the district and other cities would consider making the speed limits within the city limits very low, like 20 miles an hour. And in that way cars and pedestrians and bikers -- you know, cyclists might be able to get along better. That's my comment. Thank you.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call but you should know that one of the more effective ways apparently of slowing traffic in the district already has been the speed cameras. If they are in fact a accompanied by a lowering of the speed limit, who know what might happen. But the subject of speed cameras that drivers disdain that snap pictures of cars exceeding the speed limit, those electronic enforces seem to be working. D.C. has issued far fewer speed tickets this year than last year in part because more drivers are obeying the law.
NNAMDISo the streets are safer but guess what, the district's budget is taking a hit. Revenue from speed cameras and red light cameras in the fiscal year that ended this week are far short of projections. So for those people who say the whole idea of the speed cameras was to raise money for the district, well, you may have been both right and wrong. On the one hand, people are obeying the speed limit a lot more. On the other hand, the budget seems to be suffering as a result.
NNAMDIHave you adjusted your driving habits based on speed camera locations? Are you surprised that revenue from speed cameras has dropped dramatically in D.C.? Give us a call, 800-433-8850. Thank you very much for your call, Elizabeth. We move on now to Robert in Washington, D.C. Robert, it's your turn.
ROBERTKojo, how are you?
NNAMDII am well.
ROBERTI want to talk about bicyclists and pedestrians and stuff like that.
ROBERTWay back in 1949 when I started elementary school, I remember that in my home country West Africa, a bicycle must have a bell or a horn and must also have a license. I'm not asking is it difficult (unintelligible) government put in licenses, they will make some money. Not only that. Any bicycles you have a horn or a bell. They are driving down -- according to (word?) if somebody is 150 pounds driving a bicycle at about 30 miles an hour, if it hits a pedestrian, that's (unintelligible). And now...
NNAMDIWell, wait a minute. Let me tell you how times have changed. I too grew up in a country where a bicycle had to have a license. You paid for it. It was attached to the part of your -- the spindle of your front wheel. And police officers could see it. But that was a culture in which most people rode bicycles for reasons of either going to school or going to work. We are not yet such a culture. We might be becoming such a culture, but we are living in a culture in which a lot of people ride bicycles, especially children, simply for the fun of it.
NNAMDII suspect that if you were to require people to have licenses for riding their bicycles for which they would have to pass some kind of test, not going to fly.
ROBERTNo, no, no, no, no. Kojo, let's leave the question of the bicycle alone. What about the bell or the horn, okay? I have seen an accident, a woman, just to compare, I wanted to throw it out, opened the door and the man crashed into the bicycle -- into the door. People are riding bicycles at very high speeds negotiating left and right without any consideration.
ROBERTA vehicle is 2,600 pounds. And when you see a 50, 60-year old woman walking when a car driver is already in the middle of the crosswalk, that doesn't make no sense. My thing is that...
NNAMDIBut how about -- you mentioned somebody who opened the door of a car and a bicycle ran into it and you suggested that that was because the bicycle was going too fast. How about the driver not looking in the side view mirror to make sure that a bicycle was not coming before opening the door?
ROBERTOkay. Kojo, when was the last time you walked five blocks in the District of Columbia without being inside the car? When was the last time?
ROBERTUh-huh, or ten...
NNAMDIMaybe last week.
ROBERTDo you see how people ride bicycle in this city? People should have a horn or a bell to warn people. And that's another thing...
NNAMDIA lot of bicycles do, in fact, have bells. And a few of them do have horns and...
ROBERTWe are talking about probably five percent of all of them. You understand what I'm saying? But it is accepted a car by any name, by any color, by any width is a killing machine at the rate of ten miles an hour. I was on B Street and 14. This man was about 60 years old. I was already halfway and he came out from the crosswalk without any consideration of anything. I mean, people (unintelligible) who told me on (unintelligible)
NNAMDIWell, but wait a minute. One of the discussions we had earlier in the broadcast is that if you're the one with the killing machine, you seem to be suggesting that you don't need to be as aware of people as they should be aware of you. Shouldn't you also be aware?
ROBERTThat's not the issue, Kojo. I believe -- I've been in this country for 43 years. I get here in 1972.
ROBERTAfter today, if I'm walking across any lane, I walk very fast because I know I'm going back to Africa and I'm not going to put my life in danger. People are texting on six lanes. People are walking…
NNAMDISo you're saying that -- you're saying that pedestrians and bicyclists, alike, in D.C. are way too careless and that they should be more attentive to cars. I'd like to hear what other people have to say about that, Robert. But right now we have to take a short break. So thank you very much for your call. 800-433-8850. It's your turn to weigh-in on those traffic issues or anything else on your mind. You can also go to our website, kojoshow.org, send us a tweet @kojoshow, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It's your turn. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's your turn. But first this. The New York Times said yesterday it will cut 100 newsroom positions, first by offering buyouts and then through layoffs if need be. The paper's leaders say they need to cut costs to preserve long-term profitability. The Times isn't the only paper trimming staff. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today have both cut dozens of positions in recent months. But not The Washington Post. Under the new ownership of Jeff Bezos, The Post hired 50 people in the first half of this year. It says it will continue to expand.
NNAMDIThat's particularly notable maybe because Post reporter Carol Leonnig is the one who has broken several stories recently about the Secret Services blunders that led to yesterday's resignation of the agency director. How important do you think are well-trained journalists at well-staffed newspapers in the Internet age? It's your turn. Give us a call at 800-433-8850. If the lines are busy, shoot us an email to email@example.com. How do you think layoffs at major newspapers will affect news consumption? You can also go to our website, kojoshow.org, and join the conversation there. Now, for Carla in Washington, D.C. Carla, it is your turn.
CARLAHey. I just wanted to offer a comment about speed cameras. We have one in front of our house and I love it. See, when they first put it in, it was like a disco party outside and there was a strobe light going off all the time. And then people slowed down. And I think it's great.
NNAMDIYou love the speed cameras?
CARLAI do love the speed camera.
NNAMDIWell, the evidence seems to indicate that, yes, they are in fact working to have people reduce their levels of speed. So thank you very much for your call. I think Kathy in Arlington, Va., also wants to address this issue. Kathy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
KATHYWell, hi. Thank you. So I live in Arlington, but I actually frequently find myself in Montgomery County where there are speed cameras. And something I've noticed just anecdotally is that a lot of the cameras seem to be at the bottom of hills, which just due to physics, your car...
KATHYSomewhat, sort of. So when you go downhill, you know physics makes your car go faster. And not only that, in these areas where the speed is 25 or 35, I try to set my car to cruise control, but when I go downhill, it doesn't necessarily always work because of that extra momentum. And I haven't gotten a ticket, thankfully, but I'm always so annoyed that they decide to put the cameras downhill, when they could put it just a few hundred yards away when you're going uphill. And it's just, you know, frustrating. Because I support speed cameras in theory, but...
NNAMDIKathy, allow me to explain something.
NNAMDIYou just said that when you're going uphill, your car goes slower.
NNAMDIWhen you're going downhill, your car tends to speed up. They want you not to speed up. They want you to pay attention to when your car is speeding up and slow down. That's why they put the speed cameras at the bottom of the hill, so that you'd pay attention, not when you're going up the hill, but when you're coming down the hill, when it is more likely that you'll be speeding.
KATHYThat's definitely a fair point. But even when I'm using cruise control to try to make sure I'm staying at the speed limit, it's such an insignificant increase that it's just natural...
NNAMDIWell, I suspect there would prefer that you not use cruise control, but keep your foot on the pedal and watch the speedometer.
NNAMDII think that's what they're trying to get you to do. But thank you very much for your call and your observation, Kathy. We got this email from Beth in Washington, D.C., who writes, "When I hear all these Secret Service troubles, I'm reminded that in March 1981 President Ronald was shot. He was shot. It was not fence jumping, not prostitution, not a wrong guy in an elevator. Yet, the criticism of the Secret Service at that time was mild to non-existent. Do you think it is possible that the current scandal is a bit overblown, especially given all the recent budget cuts?" Well, that's Beth's opinion. What do you think? 800-433-8850. You can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NNAMDIWe got a tweet from Darr who says, "Body cameras on police officers are not the answer. Better community policing and interaction with the community are the answers." Darr, I have never heard a Police Chief anyplace in America who did not actually agree with your opinion. They all say that they're interested in community policing, better community policing. They all say that they're interested in good interaction with the community. The proof of the pudding, however, as always, is in the eating, whether or not that actually, in fact, happens. But it is your turn, so give us a call, 800-433-8850. Here's Al in Silver Spring, Md. Al, it is your turn.
ALThank you, Kojo.
ALI wanted to make a comment regarding the pedestrian and the motorcycles in D.C. Recently, I started driving part time for Uber.
ALAnd I've been experimenting the (word?) in crossing the street. And a couple of days ago, I had a young lady off of Florida and 7th Street, who was crossing while it was green for cars. I stopped in the middle of the road...
NNAMDIWas she walking or riding?
ALWalking. Walking. And I stopped the car to tell her that it was green for cars and she's supposed to wait until it's green for her to cross. And she took the car and banged the door and telling me that she had the right of way. I should just wait for her to cross the street, even if it's green for me. So -- and I've been seeing the bikes and I almost had someone run into my door, just doing the same thing as a client was coming out the car. The guy in the bicycle did not stop and ran the stop sign and almost came into the door as the passenger was coming out of the car.
NNAMDIIn the first incident in which the pedestrian walked on what I presume was a red light, correct?
ALYes, for her. It was green for us going (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIAnd it was -- it was green for you. And you -- you took the time to tell her that she should not be walking on green and you said she banged on your car?
ALAnd she slammed on the car, telling me that she had the right of way, even if it's green for the cars, she's the pedestrian and I need to stop.
NNAMDIWell, I am fascinated by that, because that is a form of road rage that I have seen performed. My greater interest in -- how did you respond when she banged on your car?
ALI just drove away because I was in the middle of the street and I was not going to start a confrontation. And I don't know if -- she looked like she was with some friends who were laughing. So I don't know if she was drunk or what (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIWell, it's good for you. Because I have seen the same thing happen and I have seen the driver emerge from the car to challenge the person who banged on, in this case, his car, and say, "How dare you be banging on my car when I was just speaking to you?" And that was pretty close to a physical confrontation. So your restraint in this case is admirable. But, yes, people do break the law from time to time. Whether they happen to be riding, driving or walking. But thank you very much for your call.
ALThank you for taking my call.
NNAMDIOn to Mazar in Vienna, Va. Mazar, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MAZARYes, sir. How are you Mr. Nnamdi?
NNAMDII'm doing well, Mazar.
MAZARWhen I was younger, do you remember Blue Plains?
NNAMDIYes, I remember Blue Plains.
MAZARWe used to go there when I was a teenager to -- they used to have police auctions over there for cars.
MAZARThere was a sign on the door where the cops were sitting inside. I wanted to ask Chief Lanier, but she's gone.
NNAMDINo, go ahead.
MAZARThere was a sign on the door, I'll never forget it -- I'll never forget it as long as I live. There was a gun -- there was a picture of a gun, and it says, do you want to know what life after death is? Cross this line.
NNAMDIA picture of a gun.
MAZARA picture of a gun and the writing was something similar to that.
MAZARDo you know -- do you want to know life after death? Cross this line. Something to that effect. I was going to ask her if that -- if that -- is that, I mean -- do you know what I mean?
NNAMDIWhat was the line demarking? I was -- I never actually went out there to any of the auctions. But there used to be auctions out there by the police department?
MAZARYes, at Blue Plain. I think the...
NNAMDICar auctions. And what was on the other side of the line?
MAZARWell, they were sitting inside. You would have to pay $50 to get into the auction. And they were collecting the money, $50. There were four cops in there.
MAZARAnd you would give them $50. They'd give you a ticket. If you didn't buy a car, you give your ticket back and they give you your money back.
MAZARAnd right there on the -- as they were sitting inside their little box -- it was just a little box. It looks like a little shed. And right outside the shed, on a glass -- not on a door, but on a glass, where anybody can see it, was that particular sign. I just thought that was so -- now that I think about it -- and I haven't forgot about it.
NNAMDIDid you feel threatened by it?
NNAMDIDid you feel threatened by that sign?
MAZARI'm thinking at that time maybe, because I was young and didn't even think about it. But that did -- the picture and I can still see it even today. I think that's -- that just goes to show you what kind of attitude they had. I think Marion Barry was the mayor at that time.
NNAMDIWell, I think there's been a cultural shift in how institutions of government and law enforcement agencies communicate with citizens these days, in which you won't find that kind of threatening language used anymore. My question for you, though, is, did you try crossing the line?
NNAMDII suspect that you didn't. But, no, I doubt whether you'd be seeing that sign today, Mazar. But thank you very much for your call. You, too, can give us a call. It's your turn. 800-433-8850. Recent events in the news, anything else on your mind? The baseball post-season begins at 5:30 today, when the Baltimore Orioles host the Detroit Tigers in the first game of their playoff series. Tomorrow at 3:00, the Washington Nationals host the San Francisco Giants for game one of that series, with both local teams heading into the post-season, hopes are high that they'll ultimately meet in the World Series -- or as some of us are already hoping to call it -- the Beltway Series, the Parkway Series.
NNAMDIDo you have tickets to a playoff game? 800-433-8850. What does the post-season performance of the Os and the Nats mean for our region, in your view? Let's go now to Tatum in Washington, D.C. Tatum, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
TATUMYes, thanks for taking my call.
TATUMI wanted to comment about the body camera issue.
TATUMI just do not think that it gets to the bottom of the situation. I think that there are examples and situations where it's going to be very helpful, right?
TATUMSo if you're going through Virginia and you're being profiled and the police pull you over, then great that they have to have that on, right?
TATUMBut it doesn't get to the bottom of the real issues, like places like at Ferguson, where there's that constant police profiling, because it just continues to pit the general public against the police. And I think that it -- it naturally can have a worsening effect, because now the police are on defensive. Like, okay, everything I do is, you know, I'm going to be watched kind of thing. So all you're going to have is a lot of black and brown people on camera. It doesn't take care of the relations…
NNAMDIYeah, but if those -- if there are a lot of black and brown people on camera, does it not reduce the likelihood that those people will be abused and have their rights violated?
TATUMThat is true. But it doesn't get to the heart of the issue, that they're still being profiled. That they still have to, you know, live a lot more cautiously than everybody else. Like, I was just listening to "The Diane Rehm Show," where, you know, there's a scientist, he gets on, he says, "Yeah, I was experimenting with shrooms when I was in college," and blah-blah-blah. And, you know, and I couldn't help but thinking like, well, if that were me, I probably wouldn't have graduated college and I'd probably be in jail.
NNAMDIWhat do you think would lead to less profiling of people of color by law enforcement agencies? Better training?
TATUMWell, better training, more involvement in the communities. Like, I live in Ward 4. I don't know the face of one police officer.
NNAMDIWell, that's very strange. Because, you know, Cathy Lanier started her police career by walking a beat on Ward 4 along Georgia Avenue. And she said she knew literally hundreds of the residents of the beat that she walked for years in that area. You say you have never seen anybody walking a beat there.
TATUMThe only time I see police officers here is when there's a problem. And then that's too late. Because if you already have a relationship with them beforehand, when things to happen, when things go awry, you know a face to talk to. You -- they even kind of get a sense of, okay, I know that this person would probably know. Or, you know, I know where I can get information from. But I -- I don't...
NNAMDISo you're saying, better community policing is what you would advocate?
NNAMDIImproved -- okay. Tatum, thank you very much for your call. We're running out of time. But we do have time for Tom in Rockville, Md. Tom, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
TOMHi, Kojo. I was just calling up because I heard the comment earlier about comparing the Ronald Reagan shooting to what's going on with the Secret Service right now. And the only comment I wanted to make was that, when Reagan got shot, he was out on the street, where you can't cover every single inch. And the problem they're having right now is that the Secret Service not stopping people from getting into probably one of the most secured areas in the country, where they have everything set up with layers of protection. So I don't consider those as being the same kind of issue altogether at all.
NNAMDICan't compare them, in your view, or what happened in an elevator with what happened on the street. You make a good point, Tom. Thank you very much for your call.
NNAMDII'm afraid that's about all the time we have, except to -- a couple of emails. We got one from Jenny who says, "As a pedestrian who often has my kids in a stroller in the Foggy Bottom area, I've noticed that many cyclists have a complete disregard for traffic lights. Often many will blow by and do not stop as I'm trying to cross the intersection with my daughter. I have the green light, they have red. They don't stop." I'm afraid that's all the time we have. But we do have our Mayoral debate this evening from 7:00 to 9:00. We'll be coming to you from NPR headquarters on North Capitol Street in the so-called NoMa District. It'll be live, so stay tuned, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
NNAMDI"The Kojo Nnamdi Show," is produced by Michael Martinez, Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, Tayla Burney, Kathy Goldgeier, Elizabeth Weinstein, and Andrew Katz-Moses. Brendan Sweeney is the managing producer. Our engineer, Doug Bell. Natalie Yuravlivker is on the phones. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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