Unilateral Truce Declared
It's over. No more comments on niggardly. We've said anything
that needs to be said on any side of the issue, haven't we? For the past few weeks, we
haven't had much neighborhood news, of the kind that doesn't show up in the city
newspapers or on television news. What's going on in your block, or around the corner? How
is your PSA performing? What do you think of the Appleseed or State Conference of State
Legislatures reports on the City Council? (I apologize they're not up on the
DCWatch site yet; give me a couple days and check back on the default page http://www.dcwatch.com .)
No Surprises Here
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
A local think tank, studying the operations of the City Council has
concluded that the Council is a disorganized, poorly managed panel... The only
real surprise here is that they chose the word disorganized implying that one
time the Council was organized. Well, not in the twelve years that I have lived here has
the Council been anything close to organized. And that is too bad, because the
Council could well have been the governing body instead of the Control Board established
by Congress when Barry was being stripped of his powers. The recent couple of years with
almost all of the Council members running for Mayor is clearly indicative that they are
all individuals and not working together as a team.
Where is the Mission Statement for the Council? What are their viable,
time oriented, measurable goals? These are the things that differentiate the rabble from a
working team. The Council could be a dynamite effective steering and oversight team for
this city if it was reinvented to work together as a team to accomplish a set of goals
that they created. But you can bet your boots that there are some on the Council right now
laying plans for the mayoral election in the year 2002 after they have dragged their own
boots for another four years.
Danger: Competence in D.C. Government
Kathy Patterson, KPattDC3@aol.com
Please let me disabuse readers of the notion that Ken Kimbrough is a
Barry holdover as Ed Barron writes. This is the Office of Property Management
director whacked (in the face not the arm, but what would the MPD know?) Thursday night at
441 Fourth Street by Williams aide Norman Dong. Kimbrough was recruited by Camille Barnett
in October, with the concurrence of the Control Board and me as relevant Council committee
chair; was confirmed by the Council, and has logged something like 90 days on the job. In
that time he's gotten us to the place where we pay rent on time and is providing other
agency directors with professional property management services. He's a well respected
professional, the likes of which we have a hard time recruiting here in the D.C.
government. He's very much part of solutions and has been urged by me to stay on the job
despite the recent abuse he has taken.
The recent move of the Washington Post's print shop created a lot
of hubbub in themail over regional cooperation re: job market, luring businesses, etc. All
this talk reminded me of a scenario in the place of my youth, the Pacific Northwest.
Several years ago the container shipper, Sea-Land, chose to move its PNW operations from
the port of Seattle to Tacoma, 30 miles to the south. Wouldn't you know that the folks at
the port of Seattle began to clamor for the folks at the port of Tacoma to fight for
business together on a regional basis. The Seattle folks were
obviously miffed at little Tacoma, with one of the world's deepest natural harbors, for
snagging Sea-Land and hundreds of jobs. Never mind that Tacoma would provide faster access
to railroads for Sea-Land's containers. It was a smart business move for Sea-Land and
Tacoma got a break, one that was long coming, for Seattle, for generations, had always
taken the plums and left hapless Tacoma with the dregs.
Which brings me to our region of DC, NVA and MD. Last night I
found myself listening to a commercial on the car radio for the National Capital Boat
Show. No, not the one at the Convention Center. This is the upstart in Chantilly. The
commercial took some vague potshots at the show in DC, but the ultimate low blow was the
reference to our safe suburban location (in Chantilly). What a way to attract
patrons, eh? And they will. The moral to these two tales is this: there is no such thing
as regional cooperation. Area politicians will cater to those who can vote for and agin'
'em. Businesses will locate to the area that offers the best incentives, and that usually
involves dollars. And so it went with The Washington Post which, it should be
noted, is not and never has been The Washington Region Post, despite its regional
Police Left Flat
Steph Watch those lug nuts Faul, email@example.com
The issue of ill-equipped police was brought home to my quiet neighborhood
a few days ago: An elderly woman across the street reported a burglary (probably imaginary
she apparently said that lace doilies and some china were stolen, and there was no
sign of forced entry). A very nice policewoman showed up to handle the situation but as
she was leaving noticed her tire was flat. Her car had a spare, but no jack or lug wrench.
I offered her my car's jack (and an umbrella it was raining), but she said no
thanks and called another car. Which came, but which also did not have a jack so they had
to call a third car. I left the house before it came and don't know what happened after
that. This is, in a word, pathetic. Every car, especially one that must answer in an
emergency, should be equipped to replace a tire. The incident gave me a clue as to just
how bad things have gotten, and just how far we have to go.
Multi-Syllabic Locutions Seldom
Michelle Treistman, firstname.lastname@example.org
I find it interesting that in nearly every response to the David Howard
incident, the commentary is that an educated person would have understood the word. In
fact, the companion attitude is often obnoxious and elitist and a short step away
from an us and them scenario. (WE know what niggardly means, and shouldn't be blamed for
using a word that may sound like a racial epithet because THEY don't know what it means.)
Come on, niggardly is not exactly a quotidian word.
The blame for the fiasco that resulted for DC reestablishing itself
as something of a joke should not be placed on those who don't understand, nor
should it be assigned to people with extensive vocabularies. The blame fits squarely on
the shoulders of people who aren't willing to correct a misunderstanding when it occurs.
People who would rather fan flames then douse them. People who, unfortunately, can be
found on both sides of most disagreements. I believe Mr. Howard apologized immediately
when he realized there had been a misunderstanding. Not only should that have been enough,
that should have been the end of it. I will not say that anyone needs to become less
sensitive. Nor do I agree that people should monitor their language for certain words.
What I am saying, is that some people commentators and Administration staff alike
need to grow up.
White Folks Don't Get It
Steve Donkin, email@example.com
As ridiculous as the whole niggardly fiasco has been, the
contortions some white folks seem willing to go through in their analysis of it
dredging up old arguments that racialist bigotry is a figment of the black imagination and
such seem at least as ridiculous. Yes, it was stupid and ignorant of Mr. Brown to
react the way he did to Mr. Howard's remark. It was equally stupid and insensitive of Mr.
Howard to use that word in such a setting in the first place, however much we can justify
the technical correctness of his vocabulary. And Mr. Williams' handling of the situation
was pretty stupid too.
That said, let us indeed put this whole stupid incident behind us! But in
doing so, please spare us the platitudes about how black people need to be a little less
touchy concerning issues of color and connotations involving color. I'm tired of hearing
the white contention that if black folks would stop harping on color, we could achieve
that mythical color-blind society we all desire, and everything would be fine.
That illusion, if it can ever be attained (and I doubt it can), is still a long way off,
as a simple comparison of comments and issues raised by the contributors to these pages
and comments and issues raised by call-in listeners to, say, WOL radio will show. White
privilege is a reality, as is the corresponding disenfranchisment of blacks. Most black
folks know this; most white folks seem oblivious to it. This gulf between whites and
blacks will thus continue to exist until white NOT black people acknowledge
the enhanced status offered by their skin color in our society, and take the initiative to
remedy the situation. A good start would be not acting so damn snide (is it really so
funny when others are affronted by our actions and we can't understand why?); a good
second step would be to turn off the computer and get out in the community a little more.
In Response to Vance Garnett
Minna Morse, Minna123@aol.com
First of all, it's Julian BOND, not Bonds. Second though I agree
with your general position on the use of the word niggardly, I am offended by your
suggestion that only someone of less intelligence might misconstrue the term
niggardly as being derived from the term nigger. (Third before you start making
assumptions: I'm white.)
Niggardly is not an often used word; it doesn't mean that someone is of
lesser intelligence just because they have not come in contact with it. Anyone who is
ignorant of that word might have had the same response. That doesn't mean we should bend
to the fears of folks who are ignorant of that word. But it doesn't mean we should unduly
malign them either. David Howard was certainly not making a racial slur when he used the
word niggardly, but his colleagues weren't absolutely cracked (or
feeble-minded) to think that he'd chosen a word related to nigger. Whatever
rumors came out of that exchange certainly got out of hand (and whoever elaborated upon
the story was certainly wrong to do so), but as a result, Howard probably did the noble
thing in resigning. It was up to WILLIAMS to reject the resignation and explain that
niggardly is a proper English word that bears no relationship to the term nigger.
I honestly believe that it was Williams' fearful response his
inability to put the matter in perspective, and not bend to the PC Police in this instance
that has raised such ire (even on the part of Mr. Bond), NOT the simple fact that
someone unfamiliar with the word niggardly (though not necessarily less
intelligent because of it) misunderstood Mr. Howard's intent.
I cannot remember who might have asked about this, but the following group
seems to want used computer, video, and other equipment: Multinational Monitor, Box 19405,
Washington, D.C. 20036; 202-387-8030; FAX: 202-234-5176; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Or at least it said so
in the latest issue of Fellowship magazine.
Hyde Elementary School Auction
Bill Starrels, email@example.com
The Hyde Elementary School is a small public school located in Georgetown.
Hyde is holding its annual auction on Saturday March 20th from 6 to 9 PM at St. John's
Church located on O street, between Wisconsin Ave. and 32nd Street. If you
have any items or services you would like to donate to the auction please call Liz
Starrels at 202-338-1547 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
. All donations are tax deductible. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the PTA.
Do you have a story you'd like to tell via the video form? Independent DC
video producer can bring your video dreams to life at reasonable rates. Has produced
videos for several DC nonprofit organizations including For Love of Children, United
Methodist Church, and the Latin American Youth Center. Free initial consultation. Contact
Mustapha Amego: (202) 290-0008 (voice mail pager) for a speedy reply.
Looking for a room to rent 2 nights a week (usually Monday and Tuesday). I
will be in at 9:00 pm or later and out by 7:00 am.
CLASSIFIEDS MONITOR WANTED
ISO a CGA Monitor: Make an Old PC Happy
Carl Bergman, email@example.com
I have an old but loved Leading Edge Model M (first LE made) that runs at
a blazing 4.6 MHz. Its so steady and reliable, my kids named it Cal. Its my
business answering machine. Recently, its third or, maybe, fourth monitor gave up. If
anyone has an old CGA, monitor gathering dust, Id be interested in picking it up, or
whatever. 202-291-8212 to leave a message or say hi to the old timer.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
Off Schedule, On Message: When Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General
Manager Richard White and aide Herb Leonard showed up at the 11th floor of One Judiciary
Square on Jan. 25, they were prepared for a scheduled meeting with Mayor Anthony A.
Williams. The two Metro execs had come to strategize on a plan to upgrade subway service
along New York Avenue, one of the prime axes in the mayor's gateway
Ever courteous, the mayoral staff gave White and Leonard plenty of time to hone their
pitch to Williams. While the mayor conducted his business, the Metro guys sat on ice
outside his office, in a reprise of the daily scene in the court of Mayor-for-Life Marion
S. Barry Jr.
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:
Tuesday, Feb. 16: Donald E. Westlake, at the National Museum of American History's
Carmichael Auditorium, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW. $13.
Thursday, Feb. 18: Suzanne Vega reads, or sings, from The Passionate Eye: The
Collected Writings of Suzanne Vega, at 7 p.m. at Olsson's, 1200 F St. NW. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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