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Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia

Federation News

Volume 3, Issue 8, May 1998

New Beginnings for DC Police?
Charles H. Ramsey
CBRF’s: Zoning Commission mulling impact, new rules
Not yet in sight: Decisions on the student-voting lawsuit
Boondoggle? White Elephant? The Convention Center
1998 Federation Award Honorees
Officers and Board
President’s message
“Preservation Summit” set for June 4
Internet resources
More major change for downtown
Key contact information
Last Federation meeting before summer
Making our votes count!

Federation Assembly Meeting

Thursday, May 14

7:00 p.m. - Business Meeting
7:30 p.m. - Program

Speaker: Chief Charles Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department

Bring your questions and concerns about police operations city-wide, and about concerns in your own neighborhood. Invite members of your local police advisory committees as well.

The Charles Sumner School
17th and M Streets NW

Police Chief Ramsey to Address Federation

For all the problems that have plagued the District's police force in the recent past, this spring may be recalled as the time when the tides changed At least if all traditional measures for reform can be believed

Significant resources have been made available to meet critical needs, political interference — from all quarters —  is being limited Competent investigators are seeking to get to the bottom of illegal practices of personnel

And a new police chief of demonstrated accomplishment has been hired, with the package of skills for reform, training,, community policing, and technological support systems that has been lacking in departmental operations.

Moreover, the new chief has been told that he should surround himself with the talented leadership he needs to be successful.

While the new chief says he is no “miracle worker,” this entire alignment of the constellations may just be enough to start to combat the problems of poor morale and of substandard performance by significant parts of MPD.

Some things should be manageable: for instance, the Metropolitan Police Department has not escaped the District’s systemic difficulty with numbers. As recent news accounts indicate, the MPD cannot account for the $15 million in Federal grant monies allocated to shore up critical equipment failures.

Intended for the purchase of computers, cruisers, bulletproof vests and the like, much of the money sat in bank accounts rather than providing relief to of ficers and staff who were forced to buy their own supplies — and to sit in crumbling, decaying facilities.

Maybe little miracles?

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Charles H. Ramsey: The biography behind the name

The District's new Police Chief brings nearly thirty years of police experience, one third of them in command-level positions.

As Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Ramsey created and guided implementation of the successful community policing strategy.

He also developed nationally recognized training programs for both police and community members.

He restructured the training function to better support the new policing model, revamping training, expanding in-service training, creating in-service training and continuing education opportunity. He also spearheaded the development of a simple and accurate crime mapping system for police officers in the field, leading to the creation of the Information Collection for Automatic Mapping system — ICAM — which received the top award of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Chief Ramsey holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Science degree from Lewis University in Illinois.

He has received professional awards from the Police Executive Research Forum (Its highest annual award for leadership in the field of policing), the Korean National Police (for efforts to improve Korean/African American relations), and Chicago departmental awards too numerous to cite.

He has offered to transfer his Chicago allegiances to the District — with the exception of the Chicago Bulls. Abe Pollin, are you there?

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CBRF's: Zoning Commission mulling impact, new rules

On May 6, the Zoning Commission closed the record on Zoning Case 97-15, the proposal to allow matter-of-right development of community-based residential facilities in most or all of the residential neighborhoods of Washington.

The Federation and representatives of member groups testified against the proposed changes, seeking instead clearly nondiscriminatory standards that allow reasonable accommodation of the handicapped while avoiding clustering of group homes, illegal operation of group homes, and clearer standards for defining handicaps.

The Commission was asked to reopen the record and secure more information about the comparative standards being employed in surrounding jurisdictions, in order to know more about the potential impact on District neighborhoods.

The District already houses nearly 700 known and licensed group homes, predominantly in middle and lower-income neighborhoods Legal analysis of the proposal before the Commission indicates that the Office of Planning proposal goes beyond what is required under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Moreover, Congress is currently considering legislation to clarify the intent of those acts, and to reaffirm citizens' First Amendment rights to discuss land-use questions that affect protected classes of people.

The National League of Cities is actively seeking these changes to the standards currently being promulgated by the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development., because their mayors see the potential undermining of city neighborhoods that are just restabilizing.

Even the American Planning Association, which supports siting group homes in all residential districts, believes that policies must prevent clustering such homes and overburdening the other residents of affected neighborhoods

APA points out that such clustering defeats the purpose of community living and denies residents of group homes the very "community living' that is sought for their benefit.

All parties agree on the need to find caring, compassionate, and respectful ways to accommodate disabled persons and others in need of congregate riving arrangements.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper recently published a series of feature articles profiling the untoward and destructive impact of well-intentioned operation of group homes for youth in California (see Internet resources.)

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Not yet in sight: Decisions on the student-voting lawsuit

With just four months until the primary elections, and six until the general election in this critical campaign year, the District Court of Appeals has yet to reach closure on the issues before it in the student-voting case. In fact, key issues of fact may yet be referred back to the Special Master, who took five months to issue an advisory opinion on a limited portion of the record.

While the court deliberates, City Council is considering legislation that would correct some of the irregularities brought to light during the litigation: curing the District's lack of procedures to challenge “special ballot voters” — those whose registration status is somehow irregular. (The revised legislation was unavailable at the time of writing.)

The court also indicated that while the current voter registration form might pass muster for regularity, it could/should to be clarified to assure that only residents of the District are allowed to vote in local elections.

The undisputed fact is that thousands of voters are listed on the registers of both the District and surrounding counties: 3,000 in Prince Georges County, 2300 in Montgomery. Virginia's numbers will take a little longer. The assistance of the U. S. Attorney has been sought to enforce the integrity of these voters' claims.

Council's current draft of corrective legislation needs careful scrutiny and then prompt passage or it will be of little protection to voters — or candidates — this fall.

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Boondoggle? White Elephant? The Convention Center nears critical juncture

The City Council is set to vote on June 16 on the funding for a Convention Center at the Mt. Vernon Square site.

It is expected that the impartial General Accounting Office analysis comparing the costs at Mt. Vernon compared to the Union Station site should be in hand before then. The Federation has called for such an objective assessment before irreversible decisions were made.

GAO auditors have met at length with members of the Committee of 100 who have done analyses of elements the Committee believes price Mt. Vernon out of range for District taxpayers.

Recently Councilman Frank Smith, Chairman of the Council's Finance and Revenue Committee, has announced his intention to keep cost overruns from burdening the District's general tax base, by removing the “blank check” provision currently proposed for financing the Center.

Smith proposes to have the hospitality industry bear the costs since it is the segment of the District economy that will benefit most from the new facility. Smith proposes that, if the current hotel and restaurant taxes are inadequate to pay back bonds on the project, the hotel sales tax would be increased Smith would also shorten the term of the bonds from 40 years to 34 in order to reduce interest costs.

Smith will hold public hearings as soon as the “guaranteed maximum price” for the Center has been established.

The Shaw Coalition, which opposes the Mt. Vernon Square site, now functions on a citywide basis to raise concerns about costs and environmental difficulties connected to that location. Contact with Beth Solomon at 789-7864 will provide their materials and other information.

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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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1998 Federation Award Honorees

During this year's Annual Banquet, the federation presented awards to individuals and organizations whose work has made the District a better place me awardees, as the reasons cited by the Board in making the awards, are shown below:

National Building Museum

In recognition for its many contributions to the cultural life and education of the residents of Washington, D. C., and as an exemplar for Federal institutions that seek to be engaged with the people of the Federal City.

Corporation Counsel of Washington, D.C.

To recognize the work of the Corporation Counsel’s office, as exemplified by the work of Paul Klein in handling the District’s pursuit of the Georgetown/Dominion Energy Cogenerator matter, and the work of Luis Rumbaut in handling the Papa John’s zoning case, in supporting the rights of citizens to fair protection before the courts and administrative agencies.

Colbert I. King

In recognition of his unfailing commitment to the citizens of Washington, D. C., his advocacy for their right to equality before the law, his affinity for what is good in the people of the District, and his challenge to officials and residents alike to work for our city’s betterment.

League of 8000

For the citywide coalition of citizens formed to fight cuts in the District's public works budget and its success in the passage of legislation to recriminalize illegal dumping, with an inspectors force to implement the legislation, and for the more recent leadership on the siting of solid-waste transfer stations, all of which makes District neighborhoods safer places in which to live and do business.

The Reverend Franklin G. Senger

In recognition of Pastor Senger's tireless work in many venues to improve the lives of the people of southeast Washington, as President of the Hillcrest Community Civic Association, as President of the East of the River Meals on Wheels, as Trustee of the Greater Southeast Community Healthcare System, as part of the Naylor Dupont Coalition of Civic Associations and the Skyland Area Revitalization Task Force — all while serving as the full-time Pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter.

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President’s Message — Barbara Zartman

Our annual banquet was a wonderful evening that brought together a ballroom full of people who care about this city that is our home, who work to make it better, and who welcomed the chance to say thank-you to some whose efforts are exceptional.

I don't think it was anything we said, but our speaker, OMB Director Franklin Raines, announced within days that he was leaving the White House. He will continue to have a huge role in the District's development from his position at the head of Fannie Mae. His remarks were a very useful insight into the White House thinking about where the District stands. Our honorees were delightful, funny, informative — and anxious to work more closely with the Federation “family.”

There is much work to be done. The more alliances we develop, the more associations pin in our efforts, the more likely we are to succeed at fixing what’s wrong and strengthening what is right in the District. Before the summer season, consider whether colleagues in other citizens' associations should be invited to pin in our efforts. You can get to me the presidents’ names of any potential members.

Additionally, please me have the name and address of your association’s current president, so that we can share it with the commercial publishers of the Washington Directory, which is the only broad, published list of organizations in the District. But it is very incomplete, and we should make sure at least our member groups are properly identified

And last, Some of our members are considering changes to their bylaws. If any member group would care to share their bylaws as examples of how they might be organized, please send them to the address on the back page of this newsletter.

Many thanks for all the collaborative efforts.

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“Preservation Summit” set for June 4 — Coalition of groups seek greater enforcement

Acknowledging that a lack of enforcement of historic preservation ordinances has resulted in a loss of valued parts of the District’s heritage, a coalition of groups from across the city has pined to call a working summit to draft a plan of action.

The Coalition for Greater Preservation Enforcement asks all those individuals and organizations that share a concern for the deterioration of historic communities or buildings to take part in the session, which will run from 8:30 am. to 2 p.m. at the Charles Sumner School. The action plan will be the produce of workshops that will offer:

The action plan would form the basis of a multi-year effort by the Coalition and District government. Members of the Coalition include Federation members the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association, Citizens Association of Georgetown, Dupont Circle Citizens Association, Residential Action Coalition, and ten other community organizations as well as the D.C. Preservation League, the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, and the D.C Heritage Tourism Coalition.

Grants allow the program to be free to all who wish to attend (and who register!). Morning coffee and lunch will be provided for attendees.

Contact the Preservation League: 737-1519 (phone) or 737-1823 (fax); they want your name, organization, address, phone, and fax.

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Internet Resources

Several websites have been identified that provide extensive materials on either issues of concern to the Federation and its members or of general interest to citizen organizations. They all being with http.//www. This is the website of the American Planning Association and its professional counterpart, the American Institute of Certified Planners. It provides access to policy positions taken by APA, to recent publications, to conferences, and to other materials that could be of value to citizen-planners. This is the website for the American Library Association. Not surprisingly this website is the cyberspace equivalent of a helpful librarian at a very large library. They hyperlink with many other resource sites, and they offer reviews of websites that are useful, interesting, and safe for teenagers and even younger children. [There is even a capacity to respond to specific information inquiries, but not overnight lest it be too useful on homework assignments.] This website is for the Sacramento Bee newspapers. It is included because it provides access to their series of group homes. Use the pull-down menu in the upper left-hand corner to select "Projects" and then select "Children at Risk." There are a dozen articles and a summary piece.

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More major change for downtown?

Perhaps it is a sign of belief in the District’s future. Perhaps a sign of the impact of financial incentives proposed by the White House and redesigned by Congress. Perhaps the $50 million “seed money”' anticipated for economic stimulation in the latest Federal proposal.

Whatever the cause, several public, private, and pint development proposals have been added to the agenda, principally in the downtown core.

Before final costs have even been determined for the Convention center, the D. C. Sports Commission has proposed an in-town baseball stadium for a site bounded by 4th Street, New York Avenue, 6th Street, and Massachusetts Avenue, NW. The site is Just northeast of the MCI Center, a block east of the proposed new Convention Center site, and diagonally across from a large PUD planned for the air rights above 1395 and adjacent land (the developer was said to be Conrad Monts).

The Commission is an independent city agency that manages RFK Stadium, and it indicates it has spent $300,000 on site evaluations and feasibility studies for the new baseball stadium.

Separately, Bethesda developer Ronald Cohen has proposed building a new D.C. government center in exchange for the right to develop the city-owned property at 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, where the Department of Employment Services are currently housed (included would be 500 C Street).

Cohen is quoted in the Washington Business Journal as saying he wishes to stimulate a competitive alternative to the city’s offering the site to MCI for its corporate headquarters, intended to entice company to stay downtown and moving 1,000 employees from Northern Virginia to D.C.

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Key Contact Information

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 Linda Bumbalo
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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Last Federation meeting before summer

The last Assembly meeting of this program year will be on Thursday, June 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Sumner School.

Our annual elections for Board and officers will occur during that meeting, to precede our monthly speaker's presentation.

We will be considering a change in the day of the month on which we hold our program meeting in the coming program year. Please let one of the Board members know if there are conflicts that would keep you from being able to attend, so that we may set a day that works best for most delegates.

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Because this year's District elections are so important for the future of our community, the Federation has pined with the League of Women Voters and other community organizations to be part of the Make Your Vote Count effort.

Community groups are jointly sponsoring candidate forums; the first of which will be jointly hosted by Capital Hill Restoration Society and the League of 8000 on May 27 at 7 30 p.m. at St. Peter's Church, 2nd and C Streets SE. Contact Marie Drissell at 483-6530.

In preparation for candidate forums on July 21 (Mayoral candidates) and July 28 (at-large candidates), the Coalition wants your input on issues or concerns you want candidates to respond to. Get your thoughts to the Coalition before July 9.

Contact MOVC at League of Women Voters Education Fund, 2025 Eye Street NW (#917), Washington 20006.

E-mail to

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