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April 4, 1999

Moving Anacostia to DC

Dear Patient Readers:

In the last issue of themail, I made a joke about Mayor Williams' suggestions to move UDC and the Ellington School to Anacostia, saying that his next announcements were going to be that he would move the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Department and then the District Building to Anacostia. The next day, Mayor Williams topped me neatly by announcing his plan to move the Washington Monument to Anacostia. It definitely was April Fools Day. But jokes aside, what is wrong with these ideas?

The major problem with them is not just that neither UDC nor the Ellington School is a particularly good engine for economic development; nor that both institutions have close ties to their present neighborhoods; nor even that the Mayor sprung these ideas on the city, on the UDC and Ellington communities, and on his own subordinates and associates without consultation or warning. The major problem is that through these plans the Mayor is pitting the neighborhoods of the city against each other, setting them up to fight for institutions that currently exist. He is not talking about creating new economic development projects for Anacostia — he's not slating the baseball stadium, or anything that major developers are really interested in, for Anacostia. He's talking about taking city owned and run institutions from the neighborhoods in which they are already rooted and moving them in order to aid another neighborhood.

And the neighborhoods are fighting, and fighting dirty. In the UDC case, the rhetoric on both sides — from supporters of UDC on Connecticut Avenue and from Anacostia's supporters of the Mayor's proposal, almost all of whom are black on both sides — is fiery and filled with accusations that their opponents are racists, either for wanting to move a majority black institution out of a relatively wealthy, relatively white neighborhood, or for implying that Anacostia isn't as desirable a neighborhood as Connecticut Avenue. It isn't pretty, and it isn't going to get any prettier.

Gary Imhoff


Moving UDC to Anacostia
Angela W. Cox,

I'd like to make a few comments and note some observations related to Mayor William's proposal to move UDC to Anacostia. Once again the squeaky wheel theory has proven true — if you yell loud enough and long enough, you'll get noticed. And I applaud the folks in Anacostia for doing so. I hope, however, the Mayor's office isn't counting on the student of UDC to live up to the “stereotype” of the University. The students are focused, organized and ready to fight this battle with the Mayor and anyone else supporting the move. Bottom line — the Mayor must follow through with the investments in UDC he campaigned on, and a move was not one of them.

Despite the rotten attitude the city and its citizens have about the University, the fact remains that there are dedicated professors whose loyalty to the school and love for the students have kept them there and kept them fighting. Though many seem to forget, the students at UDC have dreams and aspirations just like students at any other University in the area. They deserve to be supported by our Mayor (other elected officials and DC Citizens) and they deserve respect! The fact that this move is being considered at all, much less that it was announced during mid-term exams, is certainly not supportive, nor is it respectful. If this is a battle the Williams team wants to fight, I assure you the students at UDC will fight them all the way; and I urge others to do so as well.


A Brooklyn Tech in D.C.
Ed T. Barron,

“dcbiker” says that taking kids who graduate from our elementary schools and putting them into a Technical High School in D.C. will not solve the city's horrible school situation. That is true. A technical school will, however, provide a viable educational opportunity for a large number of students in the city who will never get that otherwise.

Brooklyn Tech is still a very potent educational institution in New York. They now have only four thousand students versus the six thousand in the days of yesteryear. This is due to the maintenance of high standards. The current enrollment is made up of more than fifty percent minorities; a large percentage of these are female students (compared with zero females in the fifties). Almost all of these students come from the NY City public schools, which are not substantially better than the D.C. schools. A very high percentage of Brooklyn Tech grads go on to real colleges and universities and Brooklyn Tech grads are sought by many of the major corporations in the U.S. To wait for the D.C. public schools to shape up would be criminal if we have other options that will provide a decent educational opportunity of those who will make good use of it.


Tree Removal
Joan Eisenstodt,

I've left 2 messages at the “Tree Removal Office” at the DC Dept. of Public Works — no call back and a huge tree we believe, with the next storm, is likely to damage cars and houses on our street on Capitol Hill. Anyone on the list with a “better way” to get the District to call or help?


Church and State, Politics and Taxes
Nick Keenan, Shaw,

Under federal law, churches that claim exemption from taxation may not engage in partisan political activity. Historically this prohibition has been honored entirely in the breach, but in 1995 the IRS for the first time ever stripped a church of its non-profit status for participating in a political campaign. On Tuesday a federal judge ruled that the IRS had acted lawfully, saying that churches have a choice — enjoy tax-exempt status, or engage in partisan politics. One or the other, but not both. Details can be found at

The IRS has announced that they are going to begin challenging churches that are politically active, and they are investigating a Baltimore church that assisted the Clinton campaign in 1996. Such a policy could have a dramatic effect on the politics of DC, where churches wield a great deal of political power, and also own a great deal of tax-exempt property. The spectacular changes we have seen in the political landscape of the city over the past year could be just the tip of the iceberg if major players are forced to make a tough choice about staying in the political arena.


The District’s Native Roots
Anne Drissel, Mt. Pleasant,

I was delighted to see Mark Richards ( ) details on the District's Native (American) Roots. My roots go back only 150 years in DC and then wander off to Ireland, Flanders and Germany! You may be interested to know that for the past seven years, a group of DC residents and folks from around the country have organized a two-day Prayer Vigil on the Washington Monument grounds on the last weekend in September to bring Native Wisdom keepers from tribal cultures throughout the U.S. and elsewhere in the world to pray for the Earth. We've added other spiritual traditions in recent years. We're making a special effort this year to locate members of tribal groups from this region to join us. A special part of the ceremonies each year, has been a special period of prayer for the leaders and residents of the city of Washington to bring healing, wisdom and restoration to the city. I like to believe it has helped....


Even in New York
Ed T. Barron,

Can it be possible, the city of New York issuing vouchers allowing its citizens to have more control of their children's education? That's just what Mayor Guilliani has proposed. After years of vacillating on this type of program he is now pushing his own voucher program. His plan would provide vouchers for 6000 children in 32 of the city's districts. The usual suspects, the Teachers Federation, and the school Chancellor, Rudy Crew, have come out strongly against the proposal. And this anti voucher sentiment at a time when only 10% of the minority black students are proficient in reading (sound familiar?). It is timely to break the union bastions but it will take a warrior like approach to breach the opposition. This is the first proposal by a major city mayor in the Northeast and it is most refreshing. Previous voucher programs have been charitably funded in both New York and in D.C. and have been wildly popular. Every voucher success gives hope to those parents who want to have some control of their children's education.


Realtor Recommendation Wanted
David LaPoint,

I looking to buy a condo in the Dupont/West End/Foggy Bottom areas. But I'm unhappy with my current realtor, and now I'm in the market for recommendations. Any suggestions?


Interview with B. Stanley, DC Arts Center
Phil Shapiro,

To help DC residents learn more about the DC Arts Center, in Adams Morgan, I've put up on the web a 7 minute RealVideo interview with B. Stanley, the artistic director of the DC Arts Center (DCAC). DCAC is one of those hidden treasures in the city. I hadn't heard about DCAC until recently, but now I'm a big fan of the center. If you love theater and the visual arts, DCAC is a must visit. (Video produced by Tony Watkins,


Albanian Relief
Andrea Sexton,

Does anyone know who is collecting clothing for Albanian relief? Let's get organized.



National Press Club Book Events
Laura Falacienski,

The National Press Club is pleased to announce the following Book Raps: 1. Amitai Etzioni discussion and signing, The Limits to Privacy, Thursday, April 8, 1999, 6-7:30 p.m. 2. Kathleen Norris discussion and signing, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Monday, May 10, 1999, 6-7:30 p.m. 3. Richard Kirkland discussion and signing, Tales of a War Pilot, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 6-7:30 p.m. 4. Richard Tafel discussion and signing, Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual, Monday, June 14, 1999, 6-7:30 p.m. Book Raps are free and open to everyone.

Author Dinners: 1. Al Franken, dinner, discussion, and signing, Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Al Franken Presidency, Tuesday, April 13, 1999, 5:45-8 p.m., $15 NPC members, $25 non-members. 2. Helen Thomas dinner, discussion and signing, Front Row at the White House, Tuesday, May 25, 1999, $15 NPC members, $25 non-members. The National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045. Please RSVP by phone: for author dinners (202) 662-7501; for Book Raps (202) 662-7523.


Ellington at Corcoran
Robert Revere,

On Tuesday, April 6, St. Louis storyteller BOBBY NORFOLK performs “Love You Madly: The Life and Music of Duke Ellington.” The show traces Ellington's youth in Washington through his glory days in Harlem to his status as an acclaimed international icon. Bobby, a one-time actor and stand-up comic, punctuates the show with Ellington favorites such as “It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got that Swing,” and “The A Train.” The performance takes place at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street, NW, at 7:30. Tickets cost $12 for Corcoran members, $16 for non-members, and $6 for students. For tickets or information call 202-639-1770.


ANC 1A Meeting on Proposals for 14th Street Development
Elizabeth McIntire,

ANC 1A ( Columbia Heights ) will be having a Town Meeting with presentations by the four developers who submitted proposals to the Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA) for the city-owned parcels around the Columbia Heights Metro Station: Forest City Enterprises (all four parcels, from Monroe to Irving St, East and West sides of 14th St); Grid Properties (Parcel 27, the former site of Post Office, Woolworths, Peoples); Giant/Horning (Tivoli site); and Saul Centers (also Parcel 27, several lots of which they own). It will be on Saturday, April 10 at Lincoln Multicultural Middle School, 16th and Irving Streets, NW, from 10 am until 3 pm.


Photography Exhibit/Artists' Reception
Michael K. Wilkinson,

DC photographer Michael K. Wilkinson invites you to the artist's reception for a new show at the Clarendon Grill in Arlington. Michael's photographs capture many of the details that surround us, but which we seldom stop to appreciate. They are characterized by bold and bright colors, and very simple composition. This show features Michael's animated photographs in the largest format he has ever shown: most prints are 16x20 or 24x36, with suitably oversized frames. If you know Michael's work, it will be very enjoyable to see them enlarged to this scale. All pieces are cibachrome prints made from slides, which render highly saturated colors and a deep, lustry finish.

The Clarendon Grill is a post-modern restaurant and bar with an excellent menu and beer list. The restaurant features soaring ceilings with an industrial/construction theme to the decor. (Mike's pictures, particularly in large format, work great in the space.) The reception will feature live latin jazz by Cuarteto Ache, a silent auction, and also works on paper by artist Trevett Allen. Wednesday, April 7, 1999, starting at 7:30 pm, 1101 North Highland Street, at Clarendon Blvd., one block from the Clarendon stop on the orange line. Contact: 703-524-7455 for more info or



Volunteer Private Investigator Wanted
Mishelle Miller,

I'm a volunteer attorney with a homeless client who is trying to find her grown children (both in their 30's). I know the birth date and birth place of each child but not either's Social Security number. I'd like some advice in how to proceed; at least one child is homeless.


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