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September 5, 1996

Vote for Ed Barron

Dear Neighbors:

The upcoming District elections leave me unenthusiastic. My standards are admittedly high. I'll vote for the first person who promises to bribes every Barry loyalist to leave the government and the city. Imagine plane after plane of Barry henchmen on one-way flights to Macarena land. Seriously, unless these folks are rousted from their sinecures, I don't see how the city will rebound.

If one of the candidates wants to endorse this platform, I'll be happy to note that in the next issue of dc.story.

In the meantime, you will all be called upon again to vote for a shadow representative. Mind you, one of reps is so enamored of statehood that he lives in Illinois. (Jesse, come home.) In general, I hate to spoil a ballot. But it's also cool to use the voting booth to send a signal.

So here's my suggestion when it's time to punch the card for shadow representative: Write-in Ed Barron. I came up with the idea and Ed gave me the OK.

"Hi Jeff, Yes, I'm game. A little humor from the local gadflies can't hurt. When the time came to vote for a "shadow" senator I wrote in my vote for Lamont Cranston. I doubt that anyone in the Board of Elections Office knew who he was. My views on Statehood for D.C. are well known and parallel yours so I'm up for a bit of mischief in that contest. Sign me up."

And if Ed wins, we can celebrate in his driveway.


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Jeffrey Itell


Phil on Taxes

You might sound more like a Democrat if you set your sights on the part of the DC income tax that taxes away the federal Earned Income Credit.

Really, there are so many management and leadership problems in DC, that spending your time on changing several tax rate structures is both a waste of energy and a failure to provide some new, creative thinking about how we get out of our mess.

Carl Bergman


An Empty Suit

On the only occasion I had to meet and talk to Harold Brazil, I was not impressed by him. He looks great, talks great, but suffers from the same malady that affects all the Council members - They don't really want to make anything good happen in the District. I read where Harold pulled a disappearing act when it came time to vote on some meaningful legislation recently, only to reappear after the vote. Sounds to me like Harold has other aspirations than being on the Council. Each and all of the Council members have their own agendas, they don't work together as a team. And, consequently, they have been very ineffective at a time when they were needed by the city to be at their peak of efficiency and effectiveness. In all the years I've lived here I can't remember the Council being very effective. Too bad. They have the constituency to really run the city if they ever got off their duffs.

P.S. The parking by AU Law School students during the first week of school shows a dramatic decrease in the number of cars parked along Mass. Ave. and in the interior streets of AU Park. The AU bus is loaded in both directions and the numbers of students walking back and forth has increased. The plan implemented by AU Law School security seems to be working.

Ed T. Barron


Capozzi responds to Clarke letter requesting Brazil withdrawal from at-large council race.

John Capozzi responded today to a letter, released to the press, from DC City Council Chairman Dave Clarke to Ward 6 councilmember Harold Brazil requesting that Brazil withdraw from the at-large council race.

In the letter, Chairman Clarke observed that Brazil's election to an at-large council position would cost city tax- payers over $60,000 for a special election to fill Brazil's current Ward 6 seat. Clarke noted Brazil's admission that he is considering running for mayor in 1998. He pointed out that, if Brazil won an at-large position this year and then was elected mayor in 1998, city taxpayers would have to pay another $300,000 for a special election to fill the at-large seat Brazil would vacate to become mayor, or a total of $360,000 for two special elections. "In this time of deficit and job-cut- ting," Clarke wrote, Brazil's course of action "is inappropri- ate."

After seeing the Clarke letter, Capozzi observed that Bra- zil has two years left on his current council term. "Voting for me gives the city the new leadership we desperately need and we also get to keep Harold Brazil on the council," said Capozzi. "The city gets two council members for the price of one."


David Sobelsohn of southwest DC adds the following:

I'm supporting John Capozzi in the September 10 primary for an at-large city-council seat. Here's why:

1. John Capozzi has integrity & dedication. Of all the candidates, only Capozzi has voluntarily limited campaign contributions to $100 per person. Some current councilmembers, like Harold Brazil--who's also running for the at-large seat-- hold outside jobs that keep them from city business and even from voting on key issues. Capozzi will make the council his full-time job.

2. John Capozzi has worked for 20 years to protect our environment, as an EPA employee & with groups like Clean Water Action & the League of Conservation Voters. When the Sierra Club endorsed Capozzi they called him "one of the most pro- environment leaders we've ever seen in DC."

3. John Capozzii strongly supports civil rights. Capozzi earned top marks from the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance. The president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club--which endorsed Capozzi--called him our "best hope for progress on issues of concern to lesbians and gays."

4. The other major candidates have been in city government for years. Capozzi brings a fresh approach, especially on top priorities like public safety and the city budget. Already, Capozzi has identified untapped resources available to the city--from taxing huge profit-making companies like FNMA to canceling wasteful boondoggles like the Barney Circle Freeway Project. He mentors young men at risk, and helped found his neighborhood Orange Hat Police Patrol: he knows what it takes to prevent crime.

5. Capozzi can win! Capozzi is a proven citywide vote-getter. In 1994, Capozzi was elected DC's US "Shadow" Representative to Congress. He received more than 100,000 votes citywide--more than Mayor Barry and far more than the winner will likely get in this year's city council race.

The city council race next Tuesday is DC's most important election this year. If you care about civil rights, if you care about our environment, if you want to see change in city government, vote for John Capozzi on September 10.

David Sobelsohn, Press Secretary, Capozzi for City Council


An Impediment to School System Reform

Replacing Franklin Smith with a proactive, capable administrator and replacing the School Board with a team of key school system employees and outside volunteers are only two of the steps that must be taken if the school system in D.C. is to be rebuilt.

There is one more major impediment to a high quality educational system in the District--the Teachers' Union. The Teachers' Union in D.C., just as the unions in school systems nationwide, has dramatically impeded the improvement of the educational processes.

One of the major differences between private schools (and in particular, parochial schools) is the lack of teachers unions. They are not needed in private schools. Teachers in these schools are motivated, empowered and use all their skills to make the right things happen in the classrooms. Parochial school teachers are not highly paid and also receive few, if any, benefits. They are not constrained by union pressures from performing extra duties without extra pay. They are not encouraged to dumb down in the class room so that all students get a mediocre education.

Before moving to Washington I spent five years as an elected volunteer to the community School Board. This was a wealthy school district with average per pupil expenditures in the range of 22 to 23 THOUSAND DOLLARS per year (in 1985). And yet this school district was hampered in their educational programs by union rules and pressures. Teachers that excelled and went the extra mile in providing good educational programs were very quietly told to cool it and hunker down.

In contrast, my wife has taught (for the last twenty-three years) in four different parochial schools. She has been able to develop award winning programs and been unconstrained by unions in schools where the peer pressure is to excel, not to hunker down. She has been royally rewarded in terms of self-satisfaction (never earning more than $27000 per year) and without, for the most part, any real benefits.

The Teacher's Union must be decertified so that capable teachers can do what they do best - Teach - not bend to the rules. Let merit determine how teachers are paid not just how many extra credits they can get taking fluff courses each Summer for extra pay. In my old community of Port Jefferson, NY, teachers were paid for every extra duty they performed. I'm convinced that they applied for extra pay to wash their hands after visiting the loo. The result - average salaries in the $75000 range for teachers with about 15 to 20 years service. And for this the community was not getting much bang for its buck.

The happiest day of my life was when I lost the third election in my run for the School Board (after winning the first two elections by two-to-one margins). The difference in the third election was a strong (and well financed) public campaign conducted by the Teachers' Union to assure that I would not be reelected. Had I been reelected the District Principal (later indicted for fraud) would have been ousted. I was the swing vote on the Board.The District Principal and Teachers' Union shared the same bed in a very cozy relationship. It was delightful not to spend ten hours per week (in addition to working at my real forty hour per week job) working for the school system. I had many rewarding experiences as a Board Member and one of them was to present high school graduation certificates to all of my children (four) while a member the School Board. There is no place for unions in the school system. They impede the educational process.

Ed T. Barron


Motor Vehicles

On Capitol Hill we are seeing a whole new way to increase DC revenue. Here's how it works. Motor vehicles sends tag renewal notices about six weeks before your tags expire. You send in your check promptly and the City cashes it (almost) immediately. Now the good part; they _don't_ send you the tags. Then, the day your old tags expire, they _ticket_ you $100 for not having current tags!

I'm sure the bureaucratic answer is that there is not enough money to pay people to do the processing. Guess the $75 registration fee has already been spent. Besides, if they actually delivered the tags, they couldn't get the additional $100 fine.

But of course, there is no conspiracy or conscious plan to do this; that would take a degree of competence unheard of in DC government. Sadly the only thing that works is the check cashing and ticketing - the rest would put a third-world country to shame.

It gets harder to remember why we should be supporting the City when us simple taxpayers keep getting the wrong end of the stick.

Dick Gill



I live in the Dupont neighborhood of DC. Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed that when the ticket-writers leave for home at 6:30pm each day, the police take over. They are also writing tickets on Saturday and Sunday nights when the ticket-writers don't work at all but parking illegally is at its peak. I have never seen so many officers writing tickets for parking violations before.

I do invite this practice because I understand the safety issues involved. For instance, it is quite common to find vehicles parked directly in front the stop sign right in front of my building. If the (illegally) parked vehicle is tall (a utility vehicle for instance), drivers cannot see the sign and sometimes run it. However, I am very suspicious of the city's motives in the increased ticket writing. Can anyone shed light on this? Does anyone know why officers are writing so many tickets? Is it happening in other congested neighborhoods (Adams Morgan, Georgetown, etc.)?

Brian Reeves


Fess Up

Stephanie Faul noted that she received a "come clean" letter from the D.C. Government concerning their Real Property Homestead Audit Program, which I guess offers amnesty to those who have wrongfully availed themselves of the Homestead Exemption. For the record, I also received the letter.

Phil Greene



[Please respond directly to the person asking the questions. Jeff]

I was involved in an accident Friday evening in Adams Morgan. I big Chevy Cheyenne hit my Honda Civic and totaled the door, at least. Does anyone know the name and telephone number of a good body shop mechanic - anywhere?

Virginia Johnson


Can anybody recommend a good place in town for contact lenses?

Rick Rosenthal


We're holding an auction to benefit the only national college scholarship fund for youth in foster care. Entertainment will be provided by "The Amendments" (a rock and roll band made up of five U.S. Congressmen). Political and sports memorabilia, as well as trips, dinners, and entertainment will be auctioned to benefit the scholarship fund. The event will be held on Thursday, Sept. 19th from 7-10 p.m. at the New Zealand Embassy on 37 Observatory Circle NW DC . Tickets are $50 (tax deductible), and any donations will be gladly accepted. Ticket price also includes food, beer, wine and soft drinks. Call Jim Foti on 301 495-1591 X207 for tickets, or contact the OFA directly on 703 716-4122.

Jim Foti


Come meet other people interested in environmental issues and share ideas for the new year. Join Shomrei Adamah at a "happy hour/get together" with kosher snacks at Luna Books: 1633 P Street, NW (Dupont Circle Metro); Wednesday, September 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Shomrei Adamah is an organization that focuses on integrating Judaism and environmental issues through social and educational events."

Naomi Edelson


Home PC Computer Assistance. I'll help you choose and buy the best model for the lowest price, get your computer up and running, teach you the ins and outs of Windows 95 and applications, show you how to maintain your system, build special applications for you, and get you up and running on the internet. $60/hour. 202.244.4163.

Jeffrey Itell

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