Dear Spring Revelers:
There are some heavy subjects in this issue of themail. On the other hand,
magnolias are blooming, the forsythia is out, shad roe is in season, and Magruders is
selling asparagus for 99 cents a pound. What, me worry?
Making Things Happen in D.C.
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mayor is learning that there is a lot of outrage and resistance to his
good ideas. That is very predictable when those who are impacted by change are not made
part of the proposed changes. The mayor has asked everyone to step outside the
box to become objective as they analyze proposed changes. The problem lies in the
method, not the message. The mayor is trying very hard to make things happen from the top.
That won't work. Things happen because the folks at the bottom, what I call the little
people, are the ones (and the only ones) who can make things happen. There are plenty of
smart folks working in the district government. But, lo these many years (it just seems
like centuries), all the make things happen people have been told, by a bloated
bureaucracy, what to do, when and how to do it. Nobody knows how to do a job and to do it
well any better than those who are doing it. These little people have no motivation to do
it their way because they are not really stakeholders on a team. And, let me clear up a
misunderstanding, genuine motivation comes from within, from the heart and mind, not from
external sources. The make-things-happen folks need to feel that they are in control of
their jobs, that they have a piece of the action, that their ideas will be listened to.
How do we get there from here you may ask? Here's my three step plan, Mr. Mayor:
The first step is for the mayor to create (with the help of his top
advisors) a Mission Statement that is unique to the District Government, based on his
Vision for Washington. The next step is to have the brightest minds in the D.C. Government
(at all levels) to create a set of top level, viable, measurable, time oriented supporting
goals that will enable the mission to be accomplished. The third step (and this is crunch
time) is to evolve the traditional hierarchical bureaucracy into a series of functional
teams comprised of the stakeholders for the process that team is responsible for. Let
these teams make things happen. This evolution will take some time and probably should be
started one agency/department at a time. Tomorrow would be an ideal time to start. Until
the little people are involved in the decision making and have a say in how their jobs
should be done, then there will be no motivation. You can't make things happen in DC from
Let the Mayor Propose; Then Let the People Dispose
Stan Wellborn, email@example.com
Are we now in for great and lengthy hand wringing over our new mayor's
impudence in announcing a policy proposal moving UDC to Anacostia, or bringing
baseball to DC before vetting it in advance? If that happens, every ANC, Council
member, Congressional committee, civic organization, labor union, public employee cabal,
advocacy group, Boy and Girl Scout troop, and gadfly in the District will want to weigh in
on every proclamation Hizzoner makes before he makes it.
Government by fiat? Back room secrecy? Give me a break. My guess is that
Williams has probably met in more public appearances with DC citizens in his first few
months than Marion Barry did in his last four years. I am all for sunshine in government,
but to assume that every mayoral announcement has to be run through a sieve of constituent
/ activists before being made public is a guarantee that every special interest in the
city will put its own spin on proposals before they are even aired. Far better is to let
the mayor and his staff put forth his policy agenda when they feel an idea is ripe
rather than floating trial balloons to test public reactions before acting. Certainly our
elected City Council, the Control Board, Congress, and the media including DCWatch
will have plenty of time to poke holes in the Williams Administration policy agenda
through the normal public hearing and review process. In my view, too many worthwhile
policies have been derailed before they ever got a fair hearing because they tried to
anticipate public reaction and then got diluted in the consensus building
Tony is a big boy. We elected him to take leadership positions based on
his best judgment. Not every idea he suggests will be meritorious, but we should not
demand that he test-drive every proposal. Give him the latitude to take a stand. We'll
have lots of chances to knock him down if his ideas are no good.
People are quick to criticize the apparent lack of citizen
input to Mayor Anthony Williams' proposed budget. I suggest this budget did not emerge
from a vacuum. Many, many citizens of this city participated in a fast paced, yet
surprisingly in-depth look at nearly every city operated agency and function as part of
the Transition Planning Process. Many innovative ideas emerged through in person
interviews with city agency heads and staff members and through reviews of thousands of
pages of budgets, agency goals and objectives, and various progress reports and issue
papers identified by numerous task forces and special committees. The highlights of these
Transition Committee reports were presented to several hundred people who attended a
public meeting at the DC Convention Center. Participants were invited to present comments,
critiques and ideas to the various committees. These comments were incorporated into the
verbal and written committee reports and summaries.
This information, coupled with Mr. Williams prior knowledge of DC Finances
as CFO, formed the basis for the budget Mr. Williams proposed. Those of us who encouraged
Mr. Williams to run as Mayor made it clear that we wanted major change in this city.
Restructuring the budget and proposing unusual, unexpected and even daring ideas to
revitalize the city is exactly what we expect him to do.
In defense of Tony Williams' NOT consulting with everybody and their
brother in his efforts to turn DC around. Consensus is good. Consensus is nice. Consensus
takes forever when dealing with multiple factions with deeply entrenched agendas.
From a public relations angle, Williams needed to take office and begin
making real, substantive changes immediately. Otherwise, everyone would complain that he
was a do-nothing, status quo posterer. Making immediate, substantive changes precludes
gaining consensus on everything. I say, let the man do his job.
UDC or Anacostia Tech?
Thomas C. Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org, from Washington Business Journals
editorial page, March 19-25, 1999
... We have reservations, however, about Williams proposal to
sell and redevelop the University of the District of Columbias Van Ness campus. Yes,
the city would reap a windfall from the sale of the valuable campus on upper Connecticut
Avenue NW. And yes, relocating UDC to Anacostia would stimulate development there. But if
the long-term goal is to boost UDCs standing and make it an attractive option for
students from all parts of the District, moving it to Anacostia sabotages that goal. UDC
needs a loftier goal than becoming a Strayer College competitor or Anacostia Vo-Tech.
Better by far to leverage UDCs prime location and let it bloom where it is.
The District could offer the excess space on UDCs campus to
high-tech companies and research institutes, making UDC an incubator, similar to
Virginias Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon. The District could offer
long-term leases and incentives to companies who relocate to UDCs campus, creating
internships for UDC students and research grant opportunities for UDCs faculty. If
successful, UDC might someday need a branch campus in a revitalized Anacostia,
Three Days Detention
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Reggie Moss, Principal of Deal Jr. High, is in danger of being fired for
his entrepreneurial efforts to raise funds for his school's activities. If it is clear
that the money raised was, indeed used for legitimate school expenses, then let's just put
a note in Reggie's permanent record and give him three days detention. We need more
entrepreneurial efforts and examples of go-getting by more of our principals to show our
students what resourcefulness is all about.
Apartment Management Complaints
Annie McCormick, firstname.lastname@example.org
Does anyone have any ideas/leads regarding complaints on apartment
management in the District? I am currently renting an apartment from Dreyfuss Brothers
Management. In the four years I have rented my unit, they have done nothing
regarding my complaints about the people next door to me who have people coming in and out
of their apartment at all hours of the day and night and make such noise that it's like
living next to a frat house. The management claims that two people are allowed
to live in a one bedroom unit, and yet there are always more than 3 people there (and
their friends). The management claims that there are two names on the lease,
and that means that only two people live there. Calls to Landlord/Tenant in the District
have proved fruitless no one would help me, wouldn't refer me to anyone who could,
no one had any answers, one even told me that they were only concerned with landlords, not
tenants. One told me to sue Dreyfuss brothers under the grounds that they are denying me
the right to enjoy my unit in reasonable peace. Calls to Dreyfuss in Bethesda get reverted
back down to my building's management who have done nothing. I don't think
it's fair for one person to live in an efficiency and pay through the nose, and yet a
bunch of guys can live in a one bedroom and make such constant noise and have friends over
at all hours of the day and night and nothing is done. A month ago, I called the police
after being woken up at 7:30 am Sunday morning with them loudly arguing. The police never
showed up. Is there a law in the District that clearly states how many people can live in
a one bedroom apartment? Is there any division or any service, any department I can go to
that can actually give me accurate information on what is acceptable in the District for
noise levels and occupancy? Is there any recourse I have except for moving, which I find
unfair? I have been waking up at 5:00 am to door slamming. I can't use my own balcony
because of the noise. Help! I'm at my wits end!
Citywide Coalition for Substance Abuse Coalition
Rob Fleming, email@example.com
One of the barriers to getting better regulation of alcohol sales and use
in DC is that the neighborhoods, many of whom have similar problems, go up against an
alcohol industry that is much better organized, with much clearer goals, and with paid
representatives. As neighborhoods go up against them one by one, arguing against this bar
or that convenience store, they are not very successful. Realizing this, neighborhoods
across the city formed the DC Alcohol Control Coalition to present a united front to the
ABC Board and the Council. We were successful in getting some significant changes in the
process to make it, and the people sitting on the ABC Board, more neighborhood friendly.
Then the two principal founders went on to other things and the Coalition,
without a formal organization to keep it going, folded. Some of those gains have been
lost, others remain to be won. It's time to dust off the old DC Alcohol Control Coalition,
give it a few upgrades, and get back in action. The Council Committee that oversees the
ABC Board will be holding hearings next month, and we need to present them with a set of
recommendations to get the Control back in ABC. There are two related issues that an
upgraded DC Substance Abuse Control Coalition should address: neighborhood drug markets
and increased treatment opportunities. Many neighborhoods are troubled by drug sales on
the street or in abandoned buildings. In addition to encouraging police action, there are
a number of things citizens can do to close down crack houses and drive-in markets.
Neighborhoods need some coaching and teamwork to do that, just as they need coaching and
teamwork to get better alcohol regulation. The other potential agenda item is increasing
treatment opportunities. The Great Experiment of Prohibition proved that you can have only
limited success in controlling supply of drugs (and alcohol is a controlled substance) if
you do not control demand. The city's budget was balanced, in part, by cutting treatment
and prevention services. This was easy to do because addicts don't have a real strong
lobby. But neighborhoods are also abused by drugs, and need to speak up for all means that
can limit those impacts.
As a first step, I am inviting ABC activists, and others, to an organizing
meeting at the Mount Pleasant Library on Tuesday, March 30, from 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm to
talk about a formal organization, an agenda, and a response to the Council hearings.
Anyone concerned about these issues and seeking allies is welcome to attend.
Mark Eckenwiler asked how to find out how to navigate through the building
permit, zoning, and historic review process to add a deck on top of his garage. For
starters, he can begin on the web at the DCRA site ( http://www.dcra.org
). It has a lot of very useful information on how to get a permit, the review process
before the DC Historic Preservation Review Board, etc. I would also suggest that he
contact his ANC and the Capital Hill Restoration Society for info, guidance, and their
approval of his plans. The earlier he begins talking to folks the better his application
will be and the faster the approval process.
More on my pothole report ... Called 3/17 repeating various calls and
messages left since 3/2. Told They picked up the ticket... Came back afternoon
of 3/18 to find potholes patched.
Baseball at RFK? Been There; Done That.
Beth-Ann F. Gentile, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forget about RFK Stadium for baseball. The stadium was terrible for the
Senators and will not be any better for a new team. RFK just does not lend itself to
baseball. It is not a coincidence that the new baseball fields, like Camden Yards,
resemble the old Griffith Stadium. It was right downtown (on the site of Howard Univ.
Hospital, I think), the seats were close to the action, and it had an intimate,
neighborhood feeling. Twenty thousand people at Griffith Stadium looked like a crowd.
Twenty thousand at RFK looks like the city doesn't support the team that's what
happened to the Senators.
Sara Cormeny writes that Anacostia is on the southwest side of the
Anacostia River, and RFK Stadium is on the east side. I may have a fuzzy knowledge
of DC geography, but I can read a map. According to my DC & PG County maps, the
Anacostia River comes from the northeast, in PG County, where it originates in various
tributaries including Sligo Creek & even one called the Northeast Branch.
The river continues from northeast to southwest, where in SW DC it flows into the Potomac
River. RFK actually is on the west bank, or west side, of the river, about halfway upriver
at neither the river's west or east end and the neighborhood called
Anacostia is actually on the east, or one could call it the south or even
southeast, bank of the river, near its mouth.
Good Service from a Pharmacy
Joan Eisenstodt, email@example.com
So much is written and spoken (on news programs) about the sloppy work of
pharmacies. I write in praise of a great independent one Foer's on Capitol Hill
for their accuracy, their attention to customers, the delivery service. The
pharmacist even called me, after a prescription delivery, to check to ensure I understood
how to take the medication. They deserve praise and business for being what a pharmacy
should be: conscientious.
Society of Young Jewish Professionals, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Society of Young Jewish Professionals, sponsors of the MATZO BALL, the
nation's number one holiday party on Christmas Eve, presents the Hamen's Hoedown. Sunday
March 28th, the Hamen's Hoedown at the Shark Club. Located at 44915 St. Elmo Ave.,
Bethesda, MD. Doors open at 8 pm. For directions call 301-718-4030. The party will feature
dancing, hors d'oeuvres, pool. Lots of Jewish singles, and for ages 21-49. Cost is $10
before 10 pm and $15 after 10 pm, so get there early! Any questions or comments contact us
at email@example.com Or call us at 202-452-5541. Please visit our web page at http://www.syjp.com
I have an extra ticket for the Kennedy Center's production of Fool
Moon, with Bill Irwin, David Shiner, & the Red Clay Ramblers. Arch Campbell
called this comedy wonderful and the most fun. The Post
called it hysterically funny you laugh so hard you can barely breathe!
And Bob Mondello called it pure pleasure. The performance is at 2:30 p.m.,
Thursday, March 25. Tickets ordinarily go for $42 or $48, but I'll sell mine for $15 or
whatever I can get. Call (202) 484-8303 24 hours/day.
Catholic Historical Society of Washington Spring
Meeting Reschedules for Sunday, April 18.
Christopher J. Pohlhaus, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 1968 Riots and its Effects on an Inner-City Catholic Parish in
Washington, DC by Rev. Raymond B. Kemp, STL. Sunday, April 18, 1999 at 4:00 p.m.,
St. Ann's Church, Tenley Circle, 4400 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. The Catholic Historical
Society of Washington was founded in 1976 in order to preserve and promote awareness of
Catholic history in the Archdiocese of Washington, which includes the city of Washington,
DC, and five Maryland counties (Montgomery, Prince George's, Charles, Calvert, and St.
Mary's Counties). The society sponsors four lectures each year, a quarterly newsletter,
and occasional tours of historic Catholic sites. Annual dues are $20 and may be sent to
the Catholic Historical Society of
Washington, 924 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.
Black Manx cat. Male. Adorable, playful as a kitten, and needing more
attention and activity than he gets with a single person on the ninth floor. Originally
lived with two women and a rabbit. Call Bruce (202) 234-1250.
CLASSIFIEDS ARTS, CRAFTS, AND DRUMMERS
The Tenth Annual Glover Park Day will be held Saturday, June 5 from 11 to
5 on the grounds of the Guy Mason Rec Center at Wisconsin and Calvert. Each year we have
about 30 or so talented crafters/artists from the local area. We have many who return year
after year because they like our festival so much. But we're also always looking for new
and interesting art. Besides local crafts, the festival showcases our award winning
neighborhood restaurants, 2 to 3 great local bands, prize drawings, kids activities,
community service booths, and about 1500 or so neighbors. If you're interested in
exhibiting and selling your art/craft, please contact me.
Chad Eric Hickerson, Chadster@aol.com
The upcoming Spring production of The Foundry Players is the musical
version of Schoolhouse Rock Live! and are still in need of a drummer. The
position is volunteer and you will have a great time, we promise! And you never know, you
might even get hooked on theater! Performances are May 7-23 but help will be needed
throughout the rehearsal process. Call 202-332-3454 for more information. The Players are
located at 16th and P Streets, NW, at the Foundry United Methodist Church. We are DC's
oldest running community theater, having been putting on shows for 53 years.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
The Sports Commission's Can of Corn: Last year, the D.C. Sports and Entertainment
Commission spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire a consultant to scout locations
for a new D.C. baseball stadium. The company, HNTB of Kansas City, proposed eight sites
including a plot near the Anacostia Metro station, Buzzard Point, and RFK Stadium,
an arena built to accommodate a baseball diamond.
HNTB, however, chose an undeveloped area north of Massachusetts Avenue between 3rd and 5th
Streets NW as its preferred site. This slice of Shaw, said the consultants,
had everything the bigwigs of modern baseball seek in a new park: proximity to downtown, a
fallow plot of land promising virtually no residential or commercial displacement, and
ready access to public transportation. The consultant didn't mention that the site also
abuts that most endangered of species: a poor community that happens to live on
prime real estate.
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:
Monday, March 29: The Comedian Harmonists, 1 p.m. at the D.C. Jewish Community Center,
16th & Q Sts. NW. $7.50.
Tuesday, March 30: An Evening with Mr. Ossie Davis: His Thoughts on Mr. Benjamin
Banneker 6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Institution, 16th & P Sts. NW. $25.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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