Whats all this noise about Chief Financial Officer Tony Williams promising/threatening to quit if next years financial audit doesnt show a squeaky clean operation? To refresh (or merely fresh) your memories, this years financial audit showedamong other thingsthat cash is still being lifted by employees and that the city cant collect many of its taxes. (Yes, its tax roulette in Dodge City.) That finding echoes the Brookings study which criticizes the citys tax structure.
The audit wasnt all bleak. Lots of improvements have been made. When was the last time you heard of a vendor not being paid on time? That was all we heard about last year. The problems cited have existed since home rule. So why is Williams willing to fall on his sword over them? (He also volunteered his staffs sinecures as well.)
All I have are a few guesses. First, I think Williams is sincere. If the problems are solved, hes outta here. But Williams is also playing a shrewd hand. Hes going to need extraordinary support to meet the goals of a clean auditand hes got to out-politic the mayor, who sees a half-empty glass of water and pronounces it filled to the brim.
Many (not all) of the remaining problems are caused by folks and systems under the mayors jurisdiction. Williams has the finance people. But if the budget folks give phony numbers or the contract people continue to play games, Williams has no authority over those folks. Hes got a to create a climate that forces the Mayor to make those parts of the city come to grips with the financial crisis. Williams has fired incapable staff and placed his own apparachiks in key spots to get his end of the job done. But as Williams lamented (and I loosely paraphrase), "The Mayor hasnt found one person who cant do his/her job?"
Williams built up substantial political capital in the city by being competent, frank, and self-deprecating. Hes playing well throughout the city. Now hes trying to raise the barthe performance standards by which government officials ought to be held accountable. But with an election coming up, Barrys incentives to deliver good government are even slimmer than normal.
If Barry doesnt play ball, Williams cant succeed in 1998. And if Williams doesnt succeed, the District remains sunk. The squeeze play is on. The stakes are raised. Williams move is ever so sublime. The subtle clash is great drama. But will it lead to better governance?
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Crime in the District
While the Adams Morgan neighborhood grapples with rape and homicide, we in Shaw face a threat from armed juveniles that has received no media attention and seemingly scant notice from the police. We are faced with yet another situation in which a bad thing happens and then the citys bumbling ineffectual response makes life not only ugly, but dangerous.
In the last two months, a group of approximately 8 juveniles have committed an estimated 15 armed robberies. Last week, they stabbed someone during the course of the robbery, right in front of his home. At least some of these kids have been arrested and released, only to return to the street and rob again. The problem lies with the police, who have apparently neglected to connect the dots and build cases by following up and working with victims, as well as with the Corporation Counsel, which handles juvenile cases. Their policy requires that the complainant (i.e., the victim) appear in the prosecutors office the morning following the crime and assert charges, then appear during the juveniles trial. How many people do you suppose are courageous enough to do this? Many decline. This serves the citys purposes, as there are insufficient facilities to hold juvenile offenders. Oak Hill is the only option and its overcrowded. Members of community organizations are meeting with MPD, the US Attorneys Office, and the Corporation Counsel to determine what can be done. A roadblock for us is that, since these are juveniles, everything is confidential, so little information is available to us. All suggestions are welcome.
Andrea Carlson BintaGay@aol.com
6th Grade Dance????? If the Janney PTA is plugging dances for 6th graders, Im not so sure why they would be upset about those same kids going to Deal.
No More Recycling?
On Sunday nite, like all the residents in our neck of the Hill, we put out our recycling for Mondays pickup. On Tuesday morning it was still there. A call to the DC Recycling office in the Waste Management Div. and we were told that DC is no longer recycling - that I must have missed the headline in the Post on Sunday. I was told that the recycling would be collected as trash unless we could take it all to a recycling center, an address for which was not forthcoming. By the time I called, the Post was soaked with the rest of the recycling - who saw the post in the Post and knows more?
Trash collection that same day didnt pick up the recycling. I fear we will be left on Thursday with bags and bags of stuff that no one will take.
A side note to this post: our boxes of paper were opened and gone through again this past Sunday nite or early Monday morning. The last time this happened (early Jan.) it seems a credit card slip that inadvertently got into the box was taken and $4000 in charges made by a juvenile in the District. Nordstrom finally caught him w/ the help of the Arlington Police, at the Pentagon City Store. He had made phone charges and gone to pick up the merchandise with no questions asked in $3000+ of the stores .. most of which were at Nordstroms in the area. Not having recycling boxes probably. wont stop someone - we see trash bags open all the time. Suggestions for safety, other than a shredder?
Safeway is dead, that is true. But I have heard the Magruders story for almost a year and have asked at the Chevy Chase Magruders .They said they didnt think so now. The Cleveland Park space is awfully small and smaller than the Chevy Chase store which is not much of a market. Moreover, this hardly looks like competition to me. Safeway folds. A serious Magruders would put Brookville out of business soon. Looks like that leaves us a mini-Magruders, a Giant and a 7-11. Thats competition?
To Better Serve You
Congressional abuse of the city continues to take its toll:
In the wake of a 50% cut in its budget, UDC has dropped all athletics and reduced by half its contribution to employee retirement accounts.
UDCalso plans to put radio station WDCU up for sale. Some eight potential buyers have expressed interest including Black Entertainment Television and George Washington University. Which is not surprising given that the city is planning to dump an irreplaceable public FM channel for a fire sale price of $6 million just to help with one years budget. At this point, the university hasnt even obtained the service of a commercial station broker, which raises questions of how serious it is about getting the best price.
A not so clear Hamlet
Roger Ebert in his review of the movie Hamlet states that the 70mm print "has a visual clarity that is breathtaking." With those words ringing in my ears I was in for quite a disappointment at the Avalon, where the image was slightly out of focus. (For those who might question my eyes, I found the "Exit" sign near the bottom of the screen to be clear as a bell.)
I would have complained, but I was in the center of a row with 5 or 6 people on each side of me.
It seems to me that projector operators used to do a final focus check just before the main feature was to run. I dont see that happen anymore. And more and more I find movies slightly off focus. While this is irritating in general, it is a real shame for the first movie shot in 70mm since 1992.
City and suburbs
Michael Bindner wonders if suburban flight is a good sign, meaning that people are doing better economically, rather than just fleeing the city. The assumption there is that the city is for poor people and the suburbs are for those who can afford better. Buy into that assumption and you should assume that the natural state of the city is semi-ruin.
I dont believe that. Even with all of DCs problems, life here is infinitely more appealing than the idea of living near my job in Virginia. Obviously a lot of people dont agree, and thats bad news for DC. A good sign would be seeing successful Washingtonians trading up to bigger and nicer homes in DC, not heading for the suburbs as soon as they can.
Handicapped hang tags and licenses.
Persons who are handicapped temporarily or permanently certainly appreciate the DC policy of *not putting money in a meter for up to 2 hours. For some handicapped people, it obviously is a great burden just to get *to the meter. However, I do want to observe that not all handicapped persons go about in wheelchairs. Someone could well need a handicapped *license plate and not be reliant on wheelchairs.
I live on Capitol Hill and also in Boulder, Colorado, where more courtesy is extended to people with the right to park in handicapped spaces. In Boulder, persons parking in handicapped spots without a hang tag or license often have their offending cars photographed by trained volunteers assisting the city police. The photos are developed and the owner of the offending car gets a ticket. Second offense, higher priced ticket. It is a system that serves most people pretty well.
The basic idea behind giving disabled people free parking is that often they are not working and that paying the meters is a hardship for them. Most jurisdictions also allow people displaying a hang tag to stay at a meter twice as long as is normally allowed, again under the idea that getting down and moving the vehicle is a hardship. An example would be 1 hour non resident parking zones, where a Non resident HP vehicle would be allowed to stay for 2 hours, or a 30 Minute meter where a HP vehicle can stay 60 minutes.
the simple answer is to modify the statute so that a vehicle using HP tags can only stay at the meter for no more then 4 hours and then must depart the area (Say 6 block minimum).
this policy would allow handicapped people to shop or visit the doctor without additional burdens, but would limit abusive activities. Now as for working people with handicaps? Well they can obviously afford to pay the meters.
another item would be to allow parking wardens to collect tag numbers of HP vehicles in commercial areas and send these to the MVA of DC, MD and VA. If you are able to work, and regular attendance in a commercial area is certainly a sign that one is working, would initiate a simple HP review by the MVA.
Personally i cant stand people abusing HP privileges and would like to see stricter enforcement. I know one guy who has HP tags on his car for his son, who died 5 years ago. I tried calling MVA and they had no interest in the matter. Some government we get.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha that idea of putting a cop "where such vehicles [those with handicap signs] congregate" really made me laugh. It was a joke, nest-ce pas? The last thing the DC police dept could afford with its budget and manpower is monitoring crippled drivers. What does rile me is that handicapped drivers park for free whats that about? Is there something wrong with their fingers that they cant dip into pocket or purse for change? Heres what would be fair: Make sure the meters for handicapped parking take enough coins for a full 2 hours (as was pointed out, meters are for short-term parking, whether the driver is able-bodied or crippled). This would still allow handicapped people short-term access to the special parking places, and it would ensure them a bit more time on meters (in case they have to really hobble back to the car), but make them pay all the same (and get ticketed, too).
I am taking a group (4) of students to DC in April for a weekend class at the leadership institute. I need hotel and restaurant suggestions, as well as addresses and phone #s Anyone have any inexpensive favorites?
Kathleen Gwin firstname.lastname@example.org
The community oriented world beat ensemble Franko Jazz will play for no cover charge this Friday, February 07, 1997 at 9:30p at the South African Cafe (202-332-0493) at 1817 Columbia Rd., NW in Adams Morgan. The food at the South African Cafe is very good. Please email us or call us at 202-483-6836.
Sven Abow email@example.com
Upcoming Musical Special Events
River Road Presbyterian Church, 4420 River Road, NW (45th and River) is sponsoring two special musical events in February:
Saturday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. - A concert presented by singers Sara Murphy and Ellen Myers with pianist Alison dAmato in their recital of sacred arias and duets. The performance features works by Purcell, Bach, Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Vaughn Williams.
Sunday, Feb. 16, at 11 a.m. - During worship on Feb. 16, the first Sunday in Lent, the River Road choir and a group of instrumentalists will present portions of Mendelssohns "Elijah." Come enjoy the biblical drama of the confrontation between Gods prophet/holy man Elijah and the evil priests of Baal.
Free but donation requested.
Suzanne Kramer firstname.lastname@example.org
Valentines Day Special
Give your Sweetheart the best gift ever - a wonderful massage for BOTH of you at 15% off. The soothing atmosphere of BodyWise BodyWorks is conveniently located at 3701 Connecticut Avenue. February 14th, 15th Reservations Please. Call Jenn at 202-966-6113.
Jenn Weed email@example.com
Home Maintenance Services
Delbe Home Services is a one-stop resource for all of your home needs. We have been taking care of maintenance problems for over 25 years right here in your neighborhood. Call us for any problems at (301) 652-7201 or visit our web page at http://www.delbe.com for more information.
David Burka firstname.lastname@example.org
Home PC Computer Assistance
Ill 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 Story@intr.net
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