Joberg and Us
Don't be discouraged by the negative thoughts below about our little
no-prize motto contest. The next motto for the District of Columbia needs your vote.
DC The Last Colony and Taxed Without Representation are
running nearly even, and every vote counts. Please vote by sending a blank E-mail to email@example.com with your choice for the motto
either DC The Last Colony or Taxed Without
Representation in the subject line. All votes have to be sent before midnight
I am surprised by how little interest themail's readers have shown in the
better functioning of their City Council the heart of local democracy. Let me
follow up on what Beth Solomon suggested in 11/25 issue. The Council should at least strip
from those who ran for mayor (and lost) their seniority rights, and make new slate
assignments based on potential capabilities and cooperation with Mayor Williams.
To stimulate debate (or at least flick the lights), let me suggest the
following assignments, committee first: Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Mendelson;
Economic Development Jarvis (same); Education Patterson; Finance &
Revenue Catania; Government Operations Orange; Human Services Allen;
Judiciary Brazil; Local/Regional/Federal Ambrose; Public Works Evans;
and a new committee to give full voice to the neighborhood activists: Neighborhood Voice
Schwartz. Any takers?
I wanted to briefly commend Beth Solomon's New Council Chairs
posting. The Council really should be rearranged. For example, take one look at Georgia
Avenue in Ward 4 and see the urban decay. You'll know why so many people wonder why the
Council places its trust in that Ward's Council person Charlene Drew Jarvis. As the past
chair of the Economic Development Committee her record is overall quite poor. She really
isn't interested, being too occupied with her other outside jobs. Kevin Chavous would do a
fabulous job in her place.
Right now there are several potential Ward 4 candidates considering their
options. Hope they run.
I applaud Ed Barron's rhetoric about the D.C. schools make them
world class, a ┼model, etc. But having been a parent of a D.C. student
for 14 years now, I'm bothered that we continually seem to be re-inventing the rhetorical
wheel we're always going to get better in the future, maybe.
Getting to current events, before she became superintendent, Ms. Ackerman
had the reputation of trying to improve things from the bottom up but not particularly
liking advanced placement classes. Superficially, she seems to be pursuing that course
a relentless campaign to improve poor performers' test scores, but not any huge
effort to attract top performers those who otherwise would go, and are going, to
private schools. On the latter point, Wilson High School long has tried to attract
superior students via an international studies program, but the director's position for
that was eliminated this year. I admit my observations are anecdotal; who out there has a
better fix on D.C.'s efforts to woo top students in the short term?
It's the Economy (and Economic Factors)!
Larry Seftor, Larry_Seftor@csi.com
Ed Barron claims that the greatest disincentives for people and businesses
to move to the city are crime and public education. I beg to differ! While both are
important (and certainly represent Ed's interests, as demonstrated in his writings), they
do not outweigh the twin factors of high taxes and low services. Our local tax burden is
extremely high, and exceeds that of our neighbors. Long time residents would be well
educated by picking up a Virginia tax form in January and calculating the saving that they
would see if they lived just over the border. (I used to live and own a house in Virginia,
and I know.)
Then consider the level of services we receive. I personally have been
trapped in DC by snowfalls while co-workers who live a semi-rural existence in Virginia
have been plowed. I know that we are shortchanged because from my snowbound house in DC I
have a perfect vantage point to see the Maryland roads across the border which are
cleared. Consider also the businesses downtown that have hired, at private expense,
workers to patrol the streets, maintaining the business districts that the city neglects.
Despite Ed's call for special funds, there is plenty of money in DC (look at the per pupil
expenditure in the schools). The problem is malfeasance, incompetence, and waste, pure and
I read the plan for DC economic resurgence. One of the most notable items
may be the research done by Steven Fuller. Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason
University studied trends in federal procurement for our strategic plan, and his findings
were very surprising. He documented that the $22 billion in annual federal procurement has
helped fuel the private sector in metropolitan Washington, generating nearly 200,000 jobs
in businesses throughout the region, especially northern Virginia. Businesses listing an
address in Washington, DC receive about $4 billion of these federal purchasing dollars,
but Dr. Fuller, discovered through detailed case study investigation that 88 percent of
this money actually pays for work performed in the suburbs. By his calculation, federal
procurement only supports 3,000 private jobs in the city, and two thirds of those are held
by people living in Maryland or Virginia.
Privatize Vehicle Inspections
Alan Abrams, firstname.lastname@example.org
This sounds to me like a no brainer, but I'll risk proposing it anyway
privatize the motor vehicle inspection process, like MD & VA. Does this not
conform to the objectives of the Economic Resurgence Plan: growing
business and jobs in the private sector...; as well as improving the delivery of
services in order to attract and retain residents...
Mike 15 min. bike ride to work Hill, email@example.com
Jeffrey Itell details a host of truly serious emergencies that could occur
in the aftermath of a major traffic snarl, such as closing the Wilson Bridge. All of which
are great scenarios, but public safety officers are charged with dealing with emergencies
as they arise. If we expect the police to take every possible outcome of their actions
into account, they would never move decisively. To me, this issue is not primarily about
police preparedness; Chief Ramsey may not have made the best management choices, but he
made the jumper the first priority. Hopefully, we will never have enough jumpers on our
bridges to become well versed in this sort of crisis management.
Another big issue is what we do about our local commute. Ideally, we would
live in an place where commuters would have multiple alternate routes in the event of an
emergency. Right now, it seems that using the Beltway may actually decrease your options.
There are at least two limiting factors; natural barriers like the Potomac, and
(hopefully) a desire to preserve open space. I don't know what the answer is, but I did
have an opportunity to participate in the City of Alexandria's recent community summit on
the environment and quality of life. A broad cross-section of residents identified
existing traffic on Route 1, and possible expansion of the Wilson Bridge, as major threats
to the historic character of their town and to open space.
Think about this: at rush hour, the volume of cars moving through the
heart of Old Town is probably as great as that on New York Avenue or Connecticut Avenue,
but without the DC street grid, and the buffer of miles of enclosing neighborhoods. Most
of these cars are people cutting through on their way to DC and Northern VA.
We all have a stake in preserving places like Old Town, whether we live there or not. If
we make all regional transportation choices based on how quickly and easily we can
get there, eventually there will be very little there to get to.
Lee Perkins writes, An overwhelming majority of call-ins voted that
the train should have just run the dog down and gone on its way. To the suburbanites I
referred to earlier, DC residents are in the same category.
Yeah, Lee, that's it, all of us in Virginia want to see DC residents run
down and killed. Never mind that most of my neighbors in Arlington work and/or play in the
city, spend money there, have friends and family who live in DC, have lived in DC and may
live there again, and clearly recognize that DC is a great place and a major reason that
other communities within the Beltway are also great places to live and work. Lee's figured
it out; deep down we all want DC gone and Washingtonians dead.
I'm following in Ed Barron's tracks; I've read the last few issues of
themail from San Francisco, a city that's refreshingly free of DC's victim complex...
despite the fact that San Franciscans have to put up with a city that's generally dirtier,
more expensive, and more crowded than Washington. I think some readers would be lost in a
city that worked well; what would they have to complain about?
DC May Have a Long Way to Go, But We Should
Celebrate Our Progress
Mark David Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org
I spent the past 3 weeks traveling in South Africa. I interviewed many
people from all walks of life, visited cities, farms, townships, and wonders of nature.
What a wonderful country and people. 11 official languages! Like DC, SA has a history in
which race has left a legacy a majority black country with multiple cultures in
which powerful whites did not trust the black majority to rule until activists pressed the
case. Like DC, some leaders in the new SA race bait to increase their constituency,
including to my shock President Mandela. Like DC, the city of Johannesburg
has flight to the safe suburbs. People are
now dividing up by class. Unlike DC, many, especially whites, talk about friends who have
fled, and wonder where they can move next where it will be safer or where they will be
allowed in to start over. Many can't afford to leave their home. Like DC, they live in a
constitutional democracy founded on the rule of law. Unlike DC, they cannot count on
police response. Some police fear being murdered for doing their job. Others work with the
lawbreakers. Like DC, they have enormous natural and human resources. They are a top
biodiversity country. However, there are millions of illiterate, unemployed people living
in shacks with tin roofs held down by rocks, so proximate to one another there is one
giant sea of poverty that baffles the most optimistic observer. And their perspectives
about what is happening seems to be far apart. There is little experience in civics and
democracy, and some wonder why they aren't being told. Many are just waiting to see what
happens. Things have moved so rapidly, people are stunned.
The liberation of black/colored people in SA nearly 5 years ago without a
bloody civil war was nothing less than a miracle. As I stood on Signal Hill looking toward
Robben Island where political prisoners were held and many committed suicide,
I couldn't hold the tears. Today, SA has the most progressive Constitution in the world.
The landscape is so beautiful it would be hard for anyone to leave such a home. But
violence is taking a toll and I hope they are able to avoid what happened here in the
early 1980s sitting back as the drug and crime lords ravage the city. Already,
vigilantes are murdering drug lords, and answer to no one. Immigrants from other countries
are creating much tension and anger. The city of Johannesburg is falling apart as its
leaders write strategic visions, blame the past, and sit by as businesses flee to the
suburbs and to London. Anne Paton, the widow of SA's famous anti-apartheid novelist Alan
Paton (he wrote Cry, The Beloved Country), has decided to immigrate to London
after being hijacked, mugged, and throttled. Among her friends, 9 people they know have
been murdered. She says she is glad her husband is not there to see what has happened.
Doctors at the Chris Hani Baragwanatha on the border of Soweto, the largest in the world,
are mugged and robbed daily and threaten to move elsewhere. I have never seen so much
barbed wire. I saw a bound corpse on the highway which my father swerved to avoid running
over. SA can be described as a place of hope and fear. I would expect to see a lot of
creativity coming out of SA over the next years, because there are more questions than
answers right now. Nobody seems to know what is going on everyone hopes things will
improve, that it won't go the way of some neighboring countries. The floodgates are wide,
but the new SA is not yet a story with a fairy tale ending. I don't know what to expect in
DC, but after looking from a distance, I feel I can say our problems are manageable.
Despite setbacks, we shouldn't forget to celebrate what we have accomplished since our
partial liberation in 1974. An involved citizenry is so important as we move
full throttle ahead.
Ideas for Mayor's Transition Team on Public
Anne Drissel, email@example.com
I'm one of several Mt. Pleasant residents on the Anthony Williams' Mayor's
Transition Committee. My sister, Marie Drissel, is chairing the Transition Committee for
Public Works and Public Safety and the Environment. These departments and functions
include everything from Police to Streets, Motor Vehicles, Trash, Roadside Trees, Buses,
Anacostia River, air quality, etc., etc., etc., (If you're not sure of the functions in
these departments, you might check their listings in the government section of the phone
book. It's very interesting reading!) We'd like brief suggestions on most
important issues and ideas especially solutions that would improve
these departments. Also suggested priorities for action during Mayor Williams' first
months in office. We have VERY LIMITED time to complete our report final copy due
by December 20. Email me or fax to me at 232-6518. I'll bring your comments to the
committee meetings. Thanks!
PS I took copious notes when Chief Ramsay was speaking to the Mt. Pleasant
Forum and I'll convey these points to the committee.
Taxation Without Representation
Mark Sibert, firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember how Ms. Norton has been working to having DC residents not pay
federal taxes as long as they didn't get the votes on the Hill. If I remember correctly,
wasn't there a couple of Congress people who were willing to go along with that proposal?
What has happened with it and what would be the sacrifices to the D.C. government's
authority and the resident's needs? Will being able to keep a few dollars be the better
option over having a say as to what will happen to your community? One of the best saying
about politics is follow the money. DC residents will save, on average, about
$1300 a person, (a sum of 1300 * 500,000 residents = $650,000,000) Will that be enough to
give up political strength? voice? freedom? respect with and participation from other
states? Are we to sell-out so easily?
Taxation Without Representation, The
Last Colony: Both Are True
Dianne Rhodes, email@example.com
There are some basic difference between the unincorporated territories,
like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. Residents
of the territories cannot vote for President. However, the price they pay is that they do
not pay Federal taxes. Lately, this doesn't seem like such a bad deal. Guam receives large
transfer payments from the general revenues of the US Federal treasury; under a provision
of a special law of Congress they receive federal income taxes paid by military and
civilian federal employees stationed in Guam. Guam residents pay taxes mirroring US
federal tax which is returned by the US back to the Guam treasury.
The other big difference is that there are bills before Congress to create
a process leading to full self government for Puerto Rico. HR 856 was passed by the House
on March 4, 1998 by a vote of 209 to 208. There are also bills before Congress to give
further autonomy to Guam and the Virgin Islands, HR 100, HR 2370, and S. 210. Puerto Rico
held a plebiscite in 1993; the results were evenly divided. Of nearly 2 million votes,
826,326 voted for commonwealth (48.6%), 788,296 for statehood (46.3%), 75,620 for
independence (4.4%), and 1% of the ballots were blank.
Taxation Without Representation, The Last
Colony: Neither Is True
Stan Wellborn, firstname.lastname@example.org
At the risk of being a curmudgeon and not seeing the fun in anything, I'd
like to cast a pox on both the mottos. They just don't ring true, and they aren't that new
DC the Last Colony is not only not factually incorrect
(we're really not a colony in the historical sense) but it also harkens back to a tired
old slogan that we heard in the 1960s and 70s before home rule became a
reality. And it seems to me that other places, like Puerto Rico and American Samoa, for
example, have a much better claim to that motto.
Taxed without Representation. Well yes and no. We do
have a representative not that her vote counts but she does
represent our interests on Capitol Hill. And while I'm frequently angered at
the treatment of DC by the feds, the simple fact is that the U.S. Constitution defines
DC's relationship to the nation very specifically and until an amendment changing
our status is passed by Congress and two thirds of the states that simply ain't
going to change.
No Vote on the Motto
Patrick Shaughness, email@example.com
My vote on the motto is that we don't count the votes. Although I'm not
happy with Congressional interference on the medical marijuana referendum, this seems to
me the best way to handle your motto contest. I understand you're just trying to have some
fun but where does all this leave us? Governance of the District is not the model of
representative democracy, everybody admits that. I want to focus on what I can change now,
not on this sterile, tired, dead end and feel good debate on home rule,
taxation without representation and so forth; or on some broad brush cynicism on how
dysfunctional government is here. If Tony Williams is entitled to a honeymoon, as I think
he is, then part of that is to focus on what we can change. The motto contest takes me
away from that.
Still trying to figure out what Celebrate the Experience
Franko Jazz at Chief Ike's
Sven Abow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Just a reminder that Franko Jazz will play this Thursday, December 3rd at
Chief Ike's Mambo Room on Columbia Rd. in Adams Morgan. The crossing street is Ontario.
The show starts at 9:30 PM. Also:
This Friday you can go to Lima,
Cause Franko Jazz won't play at Nema,
But December 11 we'll take you to heaven,
We'll play there for coffee and crema.
Looking for somewhere to live? Know of anyone who
Heidi Summers, email@example.com
My friend Katie is looking for a roommate. If you know of anyone, please
write me and I'll forward the messages to her. Thanks! Here's her ad: Starting December 1,
I am living in a group house in Clarendon with 2 other 23-year old women. We need another
roommate! Our house is .5 miles from the Clarendon Metro. The house was just renovated and
looks great new hardwood floors, new carpet, new paint, new dishwasher, etc. The
room would probably be on the first floor and would share a bathroom with one other
person. The rent is $500/month +1/4 utilities. We are 3 fun, non-smoking women. We would
prefer a female house mate, but a nice male would be OK too.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
1516 P Street, NW, Friday to Sunday, 10-4pm, 12/4 -12/6. Eclectic
collection: items from around the world Oriental items, paintings, postmaster desk,
Mission chair and bookcase, lithographs (Miro and Dali), mahogany corner cabinet,
Victorian cylinder music box, tables and chairs, Oriental rugs, silver, crystal,
Emmaljunga baby stroller, Ridgeway Willow china, jewelry, lots of men's clothing (40
reg.), women's clothes (sizes 4-8) YSL, Ungaro, raccoon and fox coats, Chanel
purses, office furniture (including Knoll). Park in rear.
Bali Bliss Happy Hour and Shopping Extravaganza
Patty Friedman, 202-232-3449, firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday Shopping Happy Hour, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 5:3010 pm, at Asian
Grill and Noodles, 1160 20th Street, NW between L & M Streets. Half-priced drinks,
hors d'oeuvres and Balinese music. Shop for your holiday gifts. Prices reduced on certain
items 30-50% !!! Many gifts under $20.00. Stocking stuffers under $10.00. Cash and checks
accepted for purchases. Metro Red line: Dupont Circle-South or Farragut North-L Street.
CLASSIFIEDS DONATIONS WANTED
Unusual Win-Win Opportunity Available
Len Sullivan, email@example.com
Help us fix our capital city, and pay less federal tax at the same time.
Fully tax deductible contributions will be gratefully accepted during our annual fund
drive now underway. Checks should be made out to NARPAC, Inc. and mailed to 2 Wisconsin
Circle, Suite 700, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. We will protect the anonymity of lurkers.
Needed: Part-Time Nanny
Andrea Carlson, BintaGay@aol.com
Looking for a nanny for my 19-month-old girl, approximately 25 hours per
week (can negotiate schedule). If you know someone who you can recommend without
reservation, please let me know!
Prepare Your Yard for the Holidays
Philip Walker, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
Let Pete help you get your home in shape for the holidays. Outdoor holiday
lighting installation; interior plants/decorations/Christmas trees. Expert garden
maintenance; pruning; leaf/debris removal; mulching. Still not too late for bulbs,
perennials, shrubs, and trees. Also start planning now for Spring projects. Many satisfied
themail subscribers as clients.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's Loose Lips column, appearing this Friday:
U.S. Attorney's Local Myopia: When Korean-American liquor store owner Chang Pak knocked an
African-American teen unconscious during a robbery of his Georgia Avenue NW store in
August, U.S. Attorney Wilma Lewis pursued Pak with all the fervor of Kenneth Starr
tracking down witnesses to President Clinton's oral sexploits. U.S. Attorney watchers say
that if Pak had been defrauding the District government -- instead of creating headlines
in a racially charged incident he might never have seen the inside of a courtroom.
Read the entire Loose Lips column this Friday at: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/lips/lips.html
From washingtoncitypaper.com's City Lights page, here are a few early
warnings for upcoming events:
Friday, Dec. 4, through Dec.13: Seven Samurai. Widely influential and
formally dazzling, as well as simply one of the best action flicks ever made. At the
American Film Institute Theater, Kennedy Center. $6.50.
Monday, Dec. 7: Deaf Humor in the 19th Century. Voice and sign language
interpreters will be present to provide the full effect of punchlines, such as the one for
this Swedish deaf joke: I switched off the light. At 7 p.m. at Arlington
County Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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