Lotta Motto Issue
This issue continues the discussion of city services, or lack of them, and of the
upcoming general election. Can we get any comments on the third (fourth, and fifth) party
and independent candidates in any of the races, or on Republicans aside from Schwartz?
Does anyone have any strong feelings about any of them? In the Mayors race, which is
undoubtedly the most hotly contested race, can anyone submit any examples, beyond
contentions, of how and whether Anthony Williams was an effective CFO, or Carol Schwartz
an effective Councilmember?
The no-prize motto contest is going very well. For those of you just tuning in, here is
our story so far: I asked for submissions for a fitting city slogan or motto, something
that could be printed on our flag. I suggested "No good deed goes unpunished."
In the past few days, readers have come up with some upstanding alternative suggestions.
In fact, this is doing so well that Id like to keep it going. If you have more
suggestions for the District of Columbias motto, please send them in. In the
meantime, here are what we have so far, in order of reception:
"Corruptus in Extremis" Shaun Snyder, firstname.lastname@example.org
"District of Columbia the Other Washington, DC" Jeffrey Itell, Story@intr.net
"We dont get no respect" Clare Feinson, email@example.com
"Congress always liked your state better" Clare Feinson, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Frankly my dear, Congress doesnt give a damn" Clare Feinson, email@example.com
"Youre in the wrong line" Seth Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org
"We cant help you" Seth Morris, email@example.com
And William B. Menczer, William.Menczer@fta.dot.gov
improved on slogans from other American cities for our use:
Inspired by San Francisco, "The city by the stain"
Inspired by Chicago, "The city that doesnt work"
Inspired by DC, "A Congressional City"
Inspired by NY, "The Big Pothole"
Inspired by Philadelphia, "City of unfulfilled love"
Inspired by Atlanta, "The Costume Jewel of the Mid-Atlantic"
Charlie Wellander also had a serious suggestion, which is reported separately below.
I agree that the District needs a "state motto" to represent its state (even
if its not one, and doesnt have that other kind of representation). We need
something that looks to the need to fix whats broken (if we *can* mend a city),
while also encapsulating an important aspect of many years of "DCstories." So I
propose "MEND A CITY" as our motto. (For the right aesthetic effect on our flag,
proper spacing of the words is very important; otherwise our motto "just lies
"No Good Deed goes Unpunished" is vintage Dorothy Parker! Shame on you! Just
because Gill quoted it unattributed doesnt mean you have to!
[Lee: I still think its Brendan Gills original quote, although he did edit
the Viking Portable edition of Dorothy Parker. You look it up; Ill look it up; and
Ill show you mine if you show me yours. Gary Imhoff]
Squeaky Wheels Grease, or a New Wheel?
John Whiteside, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading Phil Greenes comments about name dropping to get the city to do its job,
I thought it was a good time to point out that it shouldnt work that way, and in
many places it doesnt. In 1996, I received a notice of an unpaid parking ticket in
Georgetown. The tag number matched that of a pickup truck that Id traded in two
months before the ticket was issued. The vehicle description was a brown Buick not
my gray Mazda pickup. I appealed by mail, pointing out that it wasnt possible that
this ticket was issued to my vehicle, and included copies of all paperwork related to
trading in the vehicle and canceling the registration the appeal was rejected
without explanation. It took the involvement of my city councilors office and
about a year to get the obvious mistake corrected. (Clearly the ticket writer got
the tag number wrong anyone could figure that out in about twelve seconds.)
I prepared for a repeat of this when I got a (legit) ticket in front of my local post
office in Arlington. The ticket writer got the date wrong (writing 8/3 instead of 9/3) and
I expected to be hit with a late payment fee and have to appeal. Surprise! In my mail
appears a letter from the Arlington County Police, telling me that there was an error on
the ticket, but that it was a valid ticket, and I had 30 days from the corrected date of
9/3 to pay it. Which I did. End of story. No appeal. No frustrated call to county board
members. No name dropping.
When the government functions properly, your legislators dont need to devote so
much time to helping you deal with the bureaucracy. They can, instead, do their jobs. When
a candidate talks about how theyve helped constituents deal with District government
ineptitude, ask yourself and them why theyre making an end run around
it, instead of fixing it. You should demand nothing less.
Awhile back DPW announced that recycling would begin again in October. Well, that month
has now arrived but still no further news about the programs start date. Has anyone
heard anything since the hoopla surrounding the announcement 2-3 months ago?
What goes with Nebraska Avenue between Connecticut and Nevada? The road and sewer work
there seems unending. (Maybe its another Ken Starr project.) Does anyone know if the
end of that obstacle course is anywhere in sight?
Schwartz and Williams, Leadership and Management
David S. Reed, email@example.com
I dont gainsay Jeff Itell (the bard of Cleveland Park) lightly, but his note on
Carol Schwartz vs. Tony Williams misses some points. First, although Tony Williams scored
some management accomplishments as Chief Financial Officer, it wasnt such a
remarkable performance considering the almost absolute power the Control Board handed him.
Almost every States budget improved during the time Williams was CFO, as the bull
market drove up tax revenue. In fact, considering the incredible waste of money during
Williams tenure, on consultant studies that didnt lead to any improvements in
city agencies, its not clear that he was all that successful as a financial manager.
Second, no matter how high your opinion of Tony Williams as a manager, we are electing
a Mayor not a manager and the jobs are different. A manager implements the
policies of his higher-ups, such as the Control Board, using the power they give him. But
a Mayor must create and maintain power by building consensus and support. Why was Mayor
Barry nearly omnipotent until bankruptcy brought the Control Board, while Mayor Kelly was
nearly powerless? Because the Mayor of DC must be a political leader to be effective.
Carol Schwartz has shown her ability as a political leader. She overcame prejudice of race
and party to win almost half the votes in the last Mayoral election. She has been as
effective as any Councilmember, despite being the only Republican on the Council for most
of the time; a less apt political leader would have been marginalized to irrelevancy.
To get better management in the city, we need a Mayor who is more than a manager. Carol
Schwartz knows DC, from the voters to the politicos, and she can make things happen as
Mayor. Tony Williams might develop that ability if he stays in DC politics for a decade or
Integrity, loyalty, AND performance = leadership
Mark Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey wrote that he is voting for accomplishment over "commitment," and
mainly cited Barrys poor record to explain his support for Mr. Williams (who,
ironically, is supported by Barry). But, if one is voting for integrity, commitment, AND
performance, one should vote for Mrs. Schwartz.
Mr. Williams was brought in by those governing to fill a very important professional
management job, and by many measures his performance was outstanding. Now he wants to
govern the city too. MAYBE he would be effective at governing-but he is short of
experience in that area. In addition, he chose not to bother to vote in our elections,
suggesting a lack of commitment to local self-government and a lack of civic
responsibility. Just when IS a vote important? I know his people, dreaming of change,
worked hard and sparked the imaginations of many citizens. And I like some of his ideas,
including his concept of setting up a DC Democracy Trust. And, since, through the
democratic process, our citizens "adopted" him in the Democratic Primary
(slamming hometown Democrats), I dont think we should beat the carpetbagger drum,
but should welcome him to the city.
But Im one Democrat who is not going to vote party, race, or gender. Ill
use my vote to reward the candidate who has the most governing experience, who has been
toiling in these dysfunctional fields as an outsider (how much more outside can you get in
DC than to be Republican?), and who has a strong performance record. As Mayor, Schwartz
will work with the current authorities to hire more people with managerial qualifications
like Anthony Williams to implement the reforms that will put DC on the right track in
education, economics, and service while ALSO protecting our slow-but steady-progress
toward achieving full republican guarantees to local self-government and representation in
the national legislature enjoyed by other citizens. Barry may have betrayed us (maybe we
should have learned more about him... and went to the polls...), but Carol Schwartz
didnt .She has integrity and she is loyal. She will increase public involvement-she
knows the people, the issues, and can forge consensus. I dont see why some of those
who endorsed and voted for her previously should abandon her now. If anyone wants more
info from Carol Schwartz, send an e-mail to Carolmayor@aol.com or drop by her campaign
office in Shaw. Lets discuss the issues, may the best candidate win, and then
lets all pull together thats democracy.
Im sure the kids love their feline freedom, but I wouldnt let them roam
anywhere in DC. Rats are everywhere (as is the poison that never seems to get to them,
just innocent pets) and the feral cat population is undoubtedly carrying something deadly
to their cousins. Id keep them inside or build a screened-in kitty playhouse.
His name is James, and a client of mine once hired him for a fundraising event. He was
a hit, and at very reasonable cost. I guess the trick is finding him and confirming the
gig, since Ive seen him in various neighborhoods around DC.
About That Chain Link Fence
Gloria White, GMarieW@aol.com
In response to Mr. Hunters question about the improved condition of the field at
UDC on Van Ness and the fence, UDC has an agreement with Maret School, an independent
school in upper NW, to allow them use of this field. Maret is responsible for maintenance
and upkeep (the explanation for the improved condition, etc.). Maret, and other
independent schools, have similar arrangements at other DC fields as many of these schools
do not have space for their own fields at the schools. Sorry to disappoint, but the city
didnt do the work. I dont know the explanation for the fence unless it is
simply to protect the grass.
Resignation and Succession
Robert Means, email@example.com
While I agree with your correspondents assessment of the likelihood of
Clintons resignation, he has many of the details wrong. The 22nd Amendment reads:
"No person shall be elected to the office of President more than twice, and no
person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two
years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the
office of the President more than once. . . ."
In concrete terms, this means that Gore would in no case be precluded from running for
the presidency in 2000. However, should Gore succeed to the presidency before 12:00 noon
on January 20, 1999 (i.e. the halfway point of Clintons second term, as fixed by the
20th Amendment), and subsequently be elected in 2000, he would be constitutionally
ineligible to be reelected in 2004 (or ever). Its a mistake to credit the founding
fathers with foresight in this case. The 22nd Amendment was passed by a Republican
Congress in 1947 as a way of getting posthumous revenge on FDR for beating them in four
elections. Ironically, the first three presidents on whom it impacted were all Republicans
Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.
[Similar observations were also sent by Jonathan Abram, firstname.lastname@example.org ; Peter Luger, email@example.com ; and Pat
Bahn, firstname.lastname@example.org .]
On October 6th, the DC Council will begin consideration of a bill to consolidate the
September and May elections held in presidential election years into one June date. [The
bill is PR 12-725, available online at http://www.dcwatch.com/council/12-725.htm
.] The intention of its proponents is to include the relatively low turnout primary
election for the city council with the higher turnout election for political party
offices, including delegates to the national conventions. Proponents concede that this
creates the undesirable result of an extended lame duck period for defeated candidates
(councilmembers rejected in a June primary would still have one-eight of their term to
serve). However, many unanswered questions remain as to if this proposal will really boost
turnout. In a letter to the Council, the Ward Three Democratic Committee raised the
1) As the bill has not reviewed by the DC Democratic or Republican parties, it is
possible they will find it unworkable and choose to select their national convention
delegates by caucus or convention. If the parties elect this option, the city will end up
with a council primary in June but with no improvement in voter participation as the
"draw" of presidential delegate selection will not be a factor. 2) The May
primary is held on the same date as the Maryland presidential preference primary, bringing
national campaigns into the Washington media market. Moving the DC primary to a date other
than Marylands will result in less attention from the national campaigns and
therefore not produce the higher turnout proponents expect. 3) The presidential delegate
selection process draws a high turnout, suggesting significant voter interest in this
process. Voters recognize this is their best chance to influence national politics given
our lack of voting representation in Congress and the fact the presidential General
Election has never been competitive in DC. With one third of the delegates to the
Democratic National Convention selected after the primary but before the National
Partys deadline of June 24, this brief 17 day window may not be sufficient to
complete the process and therefore could jeopardize the seating of one third of the DC
delegation. 4) Why not move the primary for Delegate to the US House of Representatives
from May to September in order to increase interest in the September primary? 5) Bill
12-282 would result in only a $63,000 annual savings to the DC government. Previously the
Board of Elections and Ethics suggested that far greater savings could be achieved by
making minor changes in the delegate selection process. Why have the Board and the Council
not pursued a discussion on this matter? 6) As the only mainland state party with an
African-American majority, presidential candidates have traditionally given DC attention
greater than its delegation size would warrant because it presents an opportunity to test
out campaign themes and policy proposals with African-American voters. Holding our primary
at the very conclusion of the primary season will mitigate this factor.
CLASSIFIEDS EVENTS, CLASSES, AND DREAMS
Sidewalk Sale, Sunday, October 4
Ann Carper, email@example.com
DC Strokes rowing club is sponsoring a sidewalk sale Sunday, October 4, from 9 a.m. to
3 p.m. at JRs Bar and Grill at 17th and Church Streets NW. Lots of good stuff:
furniture, clothing, books, CDs and tapes, etc. For more information, contact Ann Carper,
Work With DCs Top Young Designers
Mike Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org
How are we preparing todays youth to take an active role in shaping the future of
DC? The National Building Museums CityVision program offers students from five DC
public schools the chance to promote positive change in their neighborhoods. CityVision
uses the principles and products of design to teach young people visual literacy, local
history, creative thinking, teamwork, and advocacy. Students participating in the program
work with professional designers, artists, and engineers to assess their own
neighborhoods, identify a problem, and design a solution.
The fall 1998 session of the CityVision program begins on Tuesday, October 20, 1998.
The National Building Museum is seeking professionals and college students in the areas of
design, art, engineering, and construction to volunteer for this award-winning project. To
receive a written packet of information, including a volunteer application and curriculum
outline, contact Mike Hill, Outreach Programs Coordinator, at: National Building Museum,
401 F St., NW, Washington, DC 20001, 202-272-2448 (voice), 202-272-2564 (fax), email@example.com www.nbm.org
Louis Lieb, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone interested in dream interpretation? Get together with a small group once a month
(first meeting Oct. 18, 6 PM in Takoma, DC) to share and discuss our dreams. Email Lou at
email@example.com for more details.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
House Cleaner Wanted
Andrea Carlson, BintaGay@aol.com
Help with Housework Can anyone recommend someone who might be willing to clean
my smallish house near Logan Circle once every two weeks (on Wednesdays, preferably)? Will
pay the going rate. Please call 202-797-1009 or email.
Looking for Apartment
A. Keck, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. woman looking for studio or one-bedroom apartment in NW DC. (esp. Dupont/Mt.
Pleasant/Adams Morgan area). My Mt. Pleasant home is being sold. Have many references for
myself and for my well-trained small dog. Contact email@example.com or call 202-326-7041.
Seeking Temporary Apartment
Amy Goldman, Khudozhnik@aol.com
Family of three (Mom, Dad and 2 year old) seeking temporary housing while remodeling is
done on our current residence. We live in AU Park, and would prefer to stay close to home,
either in NW, Bethesda or Chevy Chase. We would like a temporary, furnished rental for
three months, beginning in Oct., but are flexible on dates. Also willing to house-sit.
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