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Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia

Federation News

Volume 3, Issue 6, March 1998

An Agenda for the New City "Manager": What do you want Camille Cates Barnett to know?
Major voter rights developments for District: Protections for challenged ballots considered
Questions abound for mammoth Convention Center: Is it just the economics, stupid?
CBRFs: New threats to integrity of District zoning code
Federation Notices and Activities
Associations achieving success on transfer stations
President's Message
Officers and Board
Internet Resources: Log on to information you can use
The unelected in seats of power: Who will comprise the Control Board at the end of 1998?
Key Contact Information
Federation Meetings

Changed Date

Federation Assembly Meeting
Friday, March 20

6:30 p.m. – Business Meeting
7:00 p.m. – Program

Speaker: Camille Cates Barnett
Chief Management Officer

An informal wine-and-cheese reception will follow our program; your guests are welcome.

The Charles Sumner School
17th and M Streets, NW

What do you want Camille Cates Barnett to know?

The latest permutation in the District's governance is the appointment of a single individual to manage the operations of the major departments delivering service to citizens. It is into the hands of Camille Cates Barnett that those responsibilities have been placed. This month's assembly meeting offers Federation members an opportunity to hear from her what her initial assessments of the government and its workers are capable of, what they can be motivated to do, and what reforms are necessary.It is also a chance for Federation members to tell her what, from their perspective, is NOT working in the District. Community leaders' involvement with key players in those District departments will give Barnett information she needs if reforms are, in fact, going to be accomplished.

Among the issues ripe for discussion are the balances that must be achieved between development and habitability, between businesses and residents, between tourists end taxpayers. And then there is the broad question of policy toward nonprofit institutions.

Barnett's background shows she has had to deal with the big picture and with the nitty-gritty. Ten years in Dallas saw her rise through ranks to become Deputy City Manager, and later five years as City Manager of Austin, where she was CEO for a city roughly the size of Washington, with a $1 billion budget and 10,000 employees, operating 22 departments that included a hospital and a municipal airport.

(The District, of course, has four times the budget and three times the work force.)

But Barnett has also consulted for better governance in Russia and Croatia, in El Salvador and in Gaza and the west Bank.

Certainly these are "big picture" assignments in truly troubled places. Such experience has never been cited as necessary to manage the District. But it probably can't hurt.

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Major voter rights developments for District:
Protections for challenged ballots considered

At the Board of Elections – The District's Board of Elections and Ethics has recently begun cross-checking its registration data with surrounding jurisdictions. For Prince Georges County, the BOEE found nearly 3,000 persons retaining the right to vote in both places. Similar cross-checking is going on in Montgomery County and in Virginia.

This demonstration that the confusion of election-day polling District's voter rolls are open to fraud, that "Ward Nine" is more than a wry commentary, makes the effort that the Federation and some of its member organizations have undertaken still more important.

In the courts – The election lawsuit that sprang out of 1996 ANC elections is – at last – before the Court of Appeals for argument. The interim decision of the special master would only make the "Ward Nine" problem worse. Judge Steffen Graae ruled out the ability to challenge ineligible voters on the basis of telephone directories or drivers' licenses. It is hoped that the Court of Appeals or the Federal District Court will find to the contrary.

In the Council – Council is considering legislation that would finally establish a process for hearings on challenged voters that would occur away from the confusion of election-day polling places.

The legislation is sponsored by Kathy Patterson and is co-sponsored by members Ambrose, Catania, Evans and Schwartz. It would give poll watchers the right to provide evidence that a person is not qualified to vote – and to challenge the Board's decision directly in Superior Court.

Several Federation Board members testified at hearings held by the Government Operations Committee, supported by testimony from the American Civil Liberties Union; they made recommendations for strengthening or correcting the draft legislation.

Among the changes recommended was the right of candidates and poll watchers to review the thousands of "administratively challenged" ballots that are decided by the Board in closed session.

These most irregular of votes, it is argued, need to be subjected to the scrutiny of candidates and representatives of the public.

In addition, testimony advocated that voters must attest to the fact that they actuary reside in the ANC district in which they seek to vote.

And most testimony supported some form of identification of voters when they seek ballots.

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Questions abound for mammoth Convention Center:
Is it just the economics, stupid?

In the months since the Federation's November presentation on the Convention Center, answers to key questions that were asked that night are still not in hand.

The Committee of 100 on the Federal City, a colleague organization, has sponsored detailed studies of the Mt. Vernon Square proposed site, but returns to the conclusion that this location appears to bring costs to a level that is hundreds of millions of dollars more expensive than the possible alternative behind Union Station. And those millions of additional dollars will produce a site with no parking at all, and no space for expansion.

Advocates of the Mt. Vernon site point to support from some immediate neighborhood residents and organizations, but they seem to ignore the fact that every small business in the District will have to pay for the additional costs – and few will benefit from additional trade generated by the Center. Additionally, every dollar – from whatever source – is a dollar that cannot go for other District priorities: better schools, safer streets, improved regulatory enforcement, more competitive tax rates.

Moreover, the Shaw Coalition, sited in the immediate vicinity, leads the opposition to the Mt. Vernon Square location because of the belief that the new facility and the traffic it generates will destroy their community.

This is the largest construction project ever proposed for the District. It is imperative that basic information about costs and revenues be made available to everyone before commitments are made that cannot be reversed.

Washington Convention Center Authority general Manager Lewis Dawley – who promised answers last November – still has not provided them. Dawley, who is paid $175,000 a year (plus an Eddie Bauer model 1997 Ford Explorer) has been unable to produce the information.

Economic Development chair Charlene Drew Jarvis has promised the Shaw Coalition answers to a specific list of questions, information that should be available to all citizens under Freedom of Information provisions.

Her committee must move legislation for approval by the Council and Control Board that will permit the further development of the convention center and the mechanisms for its funding.

MEETING: Monday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Parish, Church Street and 18th NW. Sponsored by Dupont Circle ANC to discuss Convention Center. All welcome.

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CBRFs: New threats to integrity of District zoning code

Little noticed in the shadow of looming, immediate land use questions. (convention centers, trash facilities, and the like), a consent agreement between the District government and the U. S. Department of Justice has the potential to undermine the fabric of regulation and case law that sets land use policy for the District of Columbia.

CBRFs are community-based residential facilities. They normally are known as the group homes or neighborhood institutions that meet the needs of the disabled, youths in need of detention, half-way houses, and shelters.

Most communities have acknowledged that reasonable burden should be shared among communities, with no particular neighborhood being inundated with many such facilities, lest the family- residential character no longer be supported.

The consent agreement would establish matter of right development authority to anyone seeking to operate such a facility in an R-4 residential community (and higher zoning) – and would allow the developer the further privilege of ''confidential'' treatment of the application.

This would bar public knowledge of any information about the project that the developer wished to keep from them. Decisions would be made by DCRA's Zoning Administrator, and it is unclear whether any appellate rights exist.

There are no standards for evaluating impact on neighboring properties, no standards for density of institutional use, no provision for public input at all. Unclear is the standing of present historic preservation codes, regulatory limitations, and adopted moratoriums.

Another question is whether the city administrator had to power to mandate the "blanket waiver of all facially neutral zoning policies and rules, regardless of facts."

R-4 zoning allows for row houses and flats; the only more restrictive zones are one-family houses and row dwellings. And it is unclear whether the "reasonable accommodation" standard could be extended to those residential categories as well. The communities that are most immediately concerned with this waiver of the zoning code are Capital Hill and 16th Street Heights, but it is a question that should concern all neighborhoods.

MEETING: The Zoning Commission will hold a hearing on CBRFs on Thursday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m., 441 Fourth Street NW, second floor.

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Federation Notices and Activities

The first change in Federation Assembly meeting date in two years was necessary to accommodate the calendar of Camille Cates Barnett. It seemed important to visit with her, and we opted for flexibility. Please take advantage of the session and enjoy the informal reception afterward.


At the business meeting on March 20 we will consider the adjourned question from our January meeting: whether the officers of the Federation should be limited to two one-year terms of service.

It is proposed that the Constitution be amended to allow for three such one-year terms, an issue that should be decided before our May nominating meeting. Please consult your association leadership, if needed, and come prepared to vote on this question.


We are very hopeful that Franklin Raines, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, will be our banquet speaker next month. In addition to his very significant overall governmental responsibilities, he has been the principal player in negotiating White House policy with regard to the District.

His would be a particularly important message about how the White House sees its relationship to the District in this critical election year and for the balance of this Administration.


A very meaningful part of every annual banquet is the presentation of awards to organizations (and even individuals) who have made significant contributions to the welfare of the citizens of Washington, D. C.

These can be new organizations with great promise, or long established entities working against the odds. Those that utilize resources prudently, that show high ethical standards, that motivate others to better achievement are all worthy of special recognition.

Please contact one of the Board members with your nominations as quickly as possible so that the Board may consider them.

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Associations achieving success on transfer stations

Trash-talking in sports events is decried by many, but when it comes to talking real trash, some of our member organizations are doing really good things for the District and its people.

Until recently, there were no prohibitions against private trash haulers bringing the refuse from our neighboring states to poorly run facilities in the District Not only did this trash create odors and vermin and blowing trash around nearby houses and businesses, but the heavy trucks that bounced through the District's streets only added to the burden of Public Works maintenance.

The League of 8000, in which Hillcrest, Penn Branch, and Dupont Circle associations are keenly active, led the way in testimony before the National Capital Planning Commission and before City Council that led to new regulations and to temporary legislation that puts a moratorium on further trash facilities and establishes standards for existing ones. The District, including the new management of ficer, have pledged that the District-operated facilities are also brought up to a standard that protects the health and welfare of its neighbors – and of the District's people as a whole.

Kudos to the League and to its leaders, hard work on a tough topic.

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President's Message

Elections matter. Those two words cannot be said often enough. And because they matter, the way in which each individual voter approaches the ballot matters. Once in the not-too-distant past the biggest threat to democracy's elections was the disenfranchisement of people because of their color, their economic status, or other unconstitutional barriers.

Today – at least in the District – it may well be that the pendulum has swung so far that the principal threat comes from persons who are not bona fide voters but who seek access to the ballot and thus dilute the votes of legal residents. That assertion was subscribed to by none other than the representative of the American Civil Liberties Union al City Council hearings on March 2.

This dilution of valid votes is every bit as unconstitutional as outright denial of access to the ballot. Pressure must be kept on the Board of Elections and on the Council to assure that every avenue of illegal ballot access be blocked, with the same fervor that the right of access for legitimate residents is protected. Given the significance of this year's local elections, the administrative reviews and government oversight cannot come too soon.

On to another front – Camille Barnett, the District's de facto City Manager, comes to Washington with a huge management challenge laid before her, and with political complexities that few others have been asked to assume. What's more, she is being asked to achieve success under the glare of a national press corps that seems fixated on prolonging the image of Washington, D. C., as a national scandal, a profligate and undisciplined city, incapable of educating its young or protecting its fragile elderly.

We wish her well. We will offer the hand of assistance to make sane policies and program work, and to reform those that don't. And we will work, as well, to help her understand just what a richly talented populace the District has.

We hope the dialog that begins next Friday will be a long and involved one of benefit to all.

Barbara Zartman

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Officers and Board

Patrick Allen, Citizens Association of Georgetown, 337-8760
Gracie Baten, Shepherd Park Citizens Association, 882-6162
John Batham, West End Citizens Association, 628-3527
Allen Beach, Chevy Chase Citizens Association, 362-2239
John Brown, Southwest Community Council, 479-4658
Larry Chatman,
16th Street Heights, 291-7381
Dino Drudi, Michigan Park, 526-0891
Kay Eckles, Residential Action Coalition, 265-5961
Guy Gwynne, Burleith Citizens Association, 338-5164
William Scheirer, Kalorama Citizens Association, 232-8827
M. R. Peggy Snyder, Chancery Court, 338-1972
Miles Steele III, Hillcrest Citizens Association, 582-7832
Alice Stewart, Palisades Citizens Association, 364-1505
Al Wheeler, Oldest Inhabitants of DC, 337-00340
Barbara Zartman, Cloisters in Georgetown, 337-6505

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Internet Resources
Log on to information you can use

Many of you expressed interest in more internet information that can be of help to you in your neighborhood activities, and this third installment focuses on more generalized websites or those that provide comprehensive reviews of basic information.

Some of the "business" sites offer very useful demographic information that can be helpful in analyzing community issues and in framing arguments about public policy decisions.

Credit for most of the site information – and the list of books that are also very useful references is to Barbara J. Saffir of The Washington Post. All websites begin with: http://www.

Helpful Sites for Government Information The Great American Web Site previews information available at sites; links users directly to the sites. This is WINGS, the Postal Service's Web Interactive Network of Government Service. It searches by agency name or service. The Government Information Locator Service searches agency sites by fields. This is not "local government," but the Library of Congress. In addition to this repository of and links to federal information, it links to wonderful resources such as the papers of the country's founder many researchable treasures. ["Thomas," for those who are on a first name basis with the LOC, is the name given to the website because Thomas Jefferson was the source of the Library's core collection following the burning of the capital.] Internic allows you to search government websites; it links to other search engines and the three branches of federal government. Called U. S. Business Advisor, this is a searchable database designed by the University of Massachusetts Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval. This was created by the University of Michigan to allow searches and links to government and private sources by subject. Fed-Agency/fedwebloc.html Villanova University's Center for Information Law and Policy created this site for listing and searching government servers.

Reference Books:

"Washington Online: How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet," Bruce Maxwell, Congressional Quarterly

"The Federal Internet Source," Tracy McLoone, National Journal

"The Great American Web Book: A Citizen's Guide to the Treasures of the U. S. Government on the World Wide Web, Raphael Sagalyn and the staff of Inside Information, Random House.

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The unelected in seats of power –
Who will comprise the Control Board at the end of 1998?

The expected changes in membership of the powerful Control Board were recently chronicled by Washington Post editorial page writer Colbert King. The terms of all five members are up this year.

King's lineup suggests at least four current members will not be returning; his list of prospects for replacement members includes Scott Bolden, our February speaker and the new head of the D. C. Chamber of Commerce ... Gladys Mack, deputy at the United Planning Organization, vice chair of the Metro Board, and Marion Barry's first budget director ...

More: Knighton Stanley, pastor of the Peoples Congregational Church ... Bernard Anderson, assistant secretary of labor and former chair of the Philadelphia financial control board ... Pauline Schneider, bond counsel (for the District, among many others), spoke to the Federation last year as cochair of the D. C. Agenda project of the Federal City Council ... Julius Hobson Jr., AMA lobbyist and former school board member.

Mentioned as well by King are: John Payton, Kendall Wilson, John Ray, James Hudson, Dorothy Brizill, John Risher, Jerry Moore Jr., Michelle Bernard, and Francine Trachtenberg.

King welcomes thoughts and recommendations at 334-6000 or by email to And he recommends calling Eleanor Holmes Norton (225-8050) or Franklin Raines (395-4840).

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Mayor 727-2980
Chief Financial Officer 727-2476
Zoning/BZA 727-6311
HPRB 727-7360
City Council 724-8080
Committee agendas 724-8554
Legislative services 724-8050
All are at 441 Fourth Street NW, One Judiciary Square
ABC, 727-7375, 1614 H Street, NW
DPW, 939-8000, 2000 14th Street, NW
Control Board, 504-3400, One Thomas Circle
School Board, 724-4222, 415 12th Street, NW
Fine Arts, 504-2200, 441 F Street, NW
NCPC, 482-7200, 801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Room Phone Fax Principal Staff Aide
Chair Linda W. Cropp (at large) 704 724-8032 724-8085 William Rumsey, Jr.
Sandy Allen (Ward 8) 712 724-8045 724-8055 Ron Dennis
Sharon Ambrose (Ward 6) 718 724-8072 724-8054 Vicky Wilcher
Harold Brazil (at large) 701 724-8174 724-8156 Mary Rudolf
Kevin P. Chavous (Ward 7) 705 724-8068 724-8097 William Wright
David Catania (at large) 720 724-7772 724-8087
Jack Evans (Ward 2) 703 724-8058 724-8023 John Ralls
Charlene Drew Jarvis (Ward 4) 708 724-8052 724-8120 Audrey Duff
Hilda H.M. Mason (at large) 702 724-8064 724-8099 V. Nadine Daniel
Kathleen Patterson (Ward 3) 709 724-8062 724-8118 JoAnne Ginsberg
Carol Schwartz (at large) 706 724-8105 724-8071 Joan Lankowski
Frank Smith, Jr. (Ward 1) 710 724-8179 724-8109 Ann H. Hargrove
Harry Thomas Sr. (Ward 5) 707 724-8028 724-8076 Diane Romo

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Federation Meetings

The meetings of the Federation Assembly for the program year 1997-1998 are shown below. They will all be at 7 p.m. at the Sumner School:

May 14
June 11

In April, we will return to the Officers Club at Fort McNair for our annual banquet. Save the dates of April 9 and 10 (depending on speaker's schedule).

In addition, your Executive Board will meet each month to consider Federation business, and should you have issues you would like presented for consideration by the Federation, it would be most helpful if you contacted a Board member in time for consideration at a Board meeting.

Board Meetings

March 24
April 28
May 20
June 23.

All Board meetings are at 1642 Thirty-fifth Street NW; they begin at 7 p.m.

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Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)