Mangoes and Figs
I picked figs from our tree today, and Dorothy made a mango and fig
chutney for the chicken. Go talk among yourselves about the city's problems. As the sage,
Alfred E. Neumann, has been known to say, "What, me worry?" I'm going back to
Those Pesky Parents
Lucy Mallan; LucyMa@his.com
You don't have to be a very deep thinker to notice an inconsistency
between complaining about non-involved parents and also about parents who want to have a
voice in their kids' education. Cluelessness about what to do with parents is only one
element in the stew our schools are in, but let's look at it.
One thought would be to have in each school a parent ombudsman whose job
is to channel communications from parents or from the HSA and report back. A Dr. Gridlock
of the school. That is only a start, of course. What is really needed is a change in the
climate of suspicion and contempt toward parents who are, in the right climate, a terrific
DC Teachers Certification and All That Jazz
Judith Rosenfeld, firstname.lastname@example.org
There seems to be agreement among themail readers that certification does
not a good teacher make, nor lack of certification a bad one, so let's get creative and
look to a successful system that selects highly qualified albeit uncertified candidates
for its teaching tasks: the Teaching Assistants program in force at colleges and
universities throughout the country.
How about a little symbiosis? Masters and Ph.D. candidates are chosen as
Teaching Assistants for their scholarship, their promise, and their ability to deal with
students. If they're good enough to teach college courses, why don't we enlist them to
teach high school? With so many colleges to draw from, the District is uniquely well
situated for a program that draws on a proven selection process. Since there are usually
more applicants for TA-ships than are granted, and since most colleges limit the number a
student may apply for over the years, the District may well be able to attract a good
number of qualified people working in disciplines that jibe with our high school
curriculum requirements. True, these are not Education majors. Well, excuse me, but who
cares? They're academics. They need money. They could certainly cite the experience on
their CVs when they apply for college teaching positions down the road. The District can
certainly talk to colleges about this, offering to reimburse TAs for their time, with a
hefty bonus for completion of a year of teaching. Reactions?
Generating a World Class Public School System
Len Sullivan, email@example.com
Oversight of the DCPS needs a major overhaul. Restructuring the school
system should take into account four broad issues: 1) future urban schools (at all levels)
will be very different than those designed and staffed in the '60s, and
serve a variety of community functions other than basic education (from child day care to
adult night classes); 2) DCPS policy and management should be coordinated with other
municipal functions (viz., public housing, police, welfare) because the impediments to
educating DC's kids and drop-outs go well beyond the school system's
purview; 3) DCPS should avail itself of strong cooperative technical assistance from
beyond DC's borders: it is, after all, surrounded by some of America's finest, fastest
growing, and most efficient school systems within the metro area; 4) really tough
choices are seldom made by local voters and local unions: DCPS needs the equivalent of a
top-notch, court-appointed receiver (viz., David Gilmore at DCHA) for day-to-day
supervision, and decisive support from a tough virtual state school board.
NARPAC recommends a very small (3-4 person) non-political, very
autocratic, executive committee, appointed from a considerably larger, composite 17-member
advisory school board comprising 8 elected members and 9 Council approved appointees. The
latter should include, say, 1 federal, 1 local college level, and 2 regional educators;
and 4 members from DC agencies such as police, health and economic development. Both
committee and board should be led (driven?) by one world class, uncompromising,
(ex-receiver?) public school miracle worker. These numbers and allocations are notional
but the underlying issues are fundamental. Details will be on NARPAC's web site next
More on Garrison Elementary School
Glenn Melcher, firstname.lastname@example.org
To set the record straight, the church which has an illegal use agreement
to use the Garrison Elementary School ball field for a parking lot is Metropolitan Baptist
Church. Jessica Vallette is right, however, that the church pays a measly sum $5000
a year (less than $100 a week to park 350+ cars) to render the playing field unfit for any
other purpose but parking. The situation recently became even more outrageous. With the
help of Councilman Jim Graham, the Friends of Garrison Elementary School recently arranged
for alternative parking in the District's Reeves Center Building parking garage for
Metropolitan Baptist Church. The church signed a lease for 353 parking spaces.
Problem solved you say? Not a chance with this greedy church. They have
applied for a new use agreement for the coming school year for the Garrison field. The
reason: according to Rev. Hicks, the additional parking at the Reeves Center is
supplemental, and not intended to replace the closer parking at Garrison. Rev. Hicks would
not retract his request for parking for the next school year, even after being informed
that school's benefactor, David Hudgens, was willing to regrade and seed the field at his
own expense, if he could be assured that no further parking would occur on the field.
Needless to say, he has been stymied in his efforts to do good for the children of our
community. The decision on the application for the use agreement rests in the hands of
DCPS head Arlene Ackerman. If you want to help, please call her office and express your
opposition to her entering into yet another illegal use agreement which denies our
children the right to a field on which to play.
Another Response to Garrison School Question
Andrea Carlson, BintaGay@aol.com
The problem with the Garrison School Playground isn't so much about the
church, or their parishioners, as it is about Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. She
routinely makes decisions that are illegal, unethical, and even immoral if it suits her
interests. Her handling of the playground lease is just one of many such examples. Unless
someone, whether it's the elected school board, an emergency board of trustees, some new
group of experts, or Alice Rivlin, begins to hold Ms. Ackerman accountable, we can expect
to suffer from school management decisions made on the basis of politically expediency,
cronyism, or personal vindictiveness for a long time to come, particularly if the Control
Board opts to award her with the handsome severance package, hefty salary increase,
generous bonus and long-term contract extension she has requested. Ms. Ackerman claims
DCPS puts children first? One look at the Garrison field exposes the ugly truth about
where children stand in Ms. Ackerman's priorities.
The Hypothetical State of Greater Columbia
John Whiteside, email@example.com
Ed Barron points out (correctly) that if the District of Columbia can't
govern itself, it's unlikely that making it a state would help. But the population of the
theoretical state that encompasses the whole area has, for the most part, shown itself
able to govern itself. Here in Arlington we have responsive local government, an involved
community, low taxes, good schools, great services in a jurisdiction that in many
ways is more diverse than DC. Most of the communities around DC are similarly well
governed. The majority of greater Washingtonians don't live in the District,
and have never voted for Marion Barry!
Ed also identifies one of the areas where we do very badly around here,
and which would benefit from such a setup: transportation planning. I know it will never
happen but it's an appealing thought.
Yes, That Statehood Theme, Again and Always
Aaron Lloyd, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Barron is wrong. We earned the right to genuine
representation the day we were born. The area that is D.C. was within the original 13
states that declared that all men are created equal, not became equal through efficient
government and proven ability to fill a pothole. Our founding documents state that
consent of the governed is necessary and the Constitution guarantees us
equal protection under the law, and not just when we are sure to elect
candidates that will please Ed Barron.
The small exclusive Legislation section of the Constitution
that Congress uses to justify denying us in D.C. all the other rights of the Constitution
will fall in time, as slavery and poll taxes did. The Constitution only recognizes two
categories of persons: citizens of states that have all the rights enumerated
in that document, and everyone else. If you are in a territory, a district, a
commonwealth, protectorate, or home rule fantasy land, Congress can
rationalize that you don't have those rights. That is why that Statehood theme
is always going to come up, Ed, because I and other D.C. residents are not going to accept
anything less than full citizenship.
A Plan Worth Trying
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
The District is trying hard to get illegal guns off the street and that is
a great way of preventing major crimes. The recent Buy Back program of guns in
D.C., successfully removed some illegal 500 guns from the city (purportedly a mere drop in
the bucket). Our neighbors to the South, in the city of Richmond, have successfully
implemented an innovative program to combat gun crime called Project Exile
over the last year. This program requires that any person committing any crime, who has in
his/her possession an illegal firearm, that person will do five years (or more for repeat
offenders) in a federal penitentiary. There are no appeals, parole, or plea bargains. It's
a minimum of five years of hard time end of story.
The results of implementing this program, according to the current issue
of Time Magazine, is that murders were down from 140 in 1997 to 36 in the first
six months of 1999. Many of the hardened repeat offense criminals are no longer packing
their firearms when they go a-criminalizing. The risk of doing five years of hard time is
really working and is highly publicized in Richmond (including billboard advertisements).
This is a program that should be tried here in D.C. if we really want to reduce the major
crime rate and to get the really bad guys with illegal guns off the street.
I just got this, and thought that other readers of themail might find it
The Metropolitan Police Department will begin enforcing the District
of Columbia's curfew law beginning after Labor Day. It is important for you, your family
and your neighbors to know what the law says, how it will be enforced and what programs
exist for young people seeking alternatives to hanging out on the street.
The MPDC has published a Fact Sheet on DC's curfew law. It can be
viewed on-line at the Police Department's Web page: http://www.mpdc.org
(follow the path for Safety Tips). Hard copies of this Fact Sheet are also
available by calling the Department's Corporate Communications Office at
Put the Cops Where the Crime Is!
Nick Keenan, NBK@gsionline.com
I live in Shaw, which is kind of place that people think about when they
say the cops should go where the crime is. While the police presence has increased
dramatically in the past two years, there is a feeling among most residents that our area
does not get its fair share of policing, and that the more affluent parts of the city are
overpoliced and reading about police blitzes in neighborhoods like
Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle doesn't help that perception.
With the advent of the Crime Reports web site ( http://www.crimereports.com ) it is now possible to
get (somewhat) hard numbers to back up your hunches, and there I went prepared to find
evidence of inequity of the highest order. I came away a little surprised. Here are the
total reported crimes, by PSA, for the month of July: PSA 308, Dupont Circle: 42; PSA 304,
Adams Morgan: 30; PSA 311, Shaw West: 21; PSA 312, Shaw East: 17. Gee, I hate to admit it,
but maybe the cops really are going to where the crime is or at least to where it's
[Crimereports is a commercial web site that aims to be a central location
for police departments' crime reports nationwide. It is based in Arlington, and DC and
Arlington are two of the earliest departments to post to the site. The information on this
site is individual listings and descriptions of all reported Part I crimes the old
police blotter not just compiled statistics. My problem with DC crime
reports is that the Department always releases statistics only for Part I crimes, which
are the few most serious and violent crimes. It has always been impossible, no matter how
many times people ask the MPD and how many times it agrees, to get statistics from them
for Part II crimes, and these Part II crimes seriously affect the quality of life on our
streets. Gary Imhoff]
In reference to the question about RFK and the filming of the movie on the
Redskins: I believe DC United has five home games during the month of August, more than
one per week, which would make filming a football movie at RFK a little difficult, since
the field is configured for soccer. I don't think the RFK field even has goal posts set up
anymore, so I don't think you can blame the Sports Commission for screwing up anything
this time. They're much smarter to make DC United their only tenant happy
than to inconvenience the team and its loyal fans to make a few bucks off a lame Redskins
I appreciate the fact that WTOP's Jim Farley took the time to answer a
recent question about traffic and parking reports. I just wanted to add another comment to
his suggestion box as he continues to build WTOP's local news programming.
The traffic reports we hear on WTOP and other radio and television outlets
seem designed EXCLUSIVELY for people who commute from the suburbs to the city. It is
extremely rare that we, as DC residents, hear any traffic reporting that affects OUR
commutes. Personally, I would be very interested to hear the latest details about city
roadwork, accidents, blockages, and the like, rather than an ad nauseum commentary about
the Beltway and its various tributaries. An accident on Massachusetts Avenue affects me
(and many drivers) far more than the latest backup in far away places like
Newington and Powder Mill Road. Mr. Farley, is there any way that
a traffic report can be produced that's more relevant to the District? I realize that you
probably receive your reports by contract with Metro Networks, but do you, as a station
executive, have any influence on what they compile? After all, 550,000 of us still live
within city lines!
In reference to David Hunter's question about the Lions I heard
that they were being rehabilitated by a sculptor and his students. Can anyone
prove/disprove this statement? I thought I saw some kind of special on cable one day
they looked like they were having fun working with them.
Ann Loikow, Cleveland Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Hunter asked whatever happened to the beautiful lions for the Taft
bridge going over Connecticut. DPW has been working hard to get them back on the Taft
Bridge. Because the concrete they were made of had so badly deteriorated, DPW hired a
sculptor who is replicating them. Much of the lion's faces had eroded away, so a lot of
research had to be done to figure out exactly what they originally looked like. The Northwest
Current had a long article on the lions not too long ago.
Home Occupations and Zoning
Connie Ridgway, email@example.com
The guy operating a business with two employees out of the home may or may
not be violating zoning regulations. You can obtain a valid home occupation permit and
have an employee (I don't know about two). The level of activity is what constitutes
whether it's in line with a residential area it's something like, you can't have
more than eight people per hour going in and out of your home.
Larry Seftor wrote about the burgeoning number of home offices in
Friendship Heights. Section 203 of the District's Zoning Regulations (Title 11 of the DC
Municipal Regulations or DCMR) specifically regulates home occupations. You can get a copy
of the complete Zoning Regulations from the Office of Documents (727-5090). Among other
things, a Home Occupation Permit is required for a home business to be permitted in a
residentially zoned area.
Ann Loikow, Cleveland Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
Claiborne Porter asked about the progress of the American University law
professor who is helping D.C. obtain a voting senator or senators? Jamie Raskin of AU's
Law School inspired one of the two lawsuits pending before the US District Court for DC. A
three judge panel heard the two related cases on April 19, but the decision on the two
cases has not yet been issued. More information on the status of the lawsuits can be found
at http://dccitizensfordemocracy.org .
Gelato means ice-cream. Nothing more, Nothing less. It's like calling a
sandwich a "panino." It's the same thing! Italian ice-cream is different from
American ice-cream, though. The cream based ice-creams are creamier: my guess is they use
the full-fat cream to make the ice-cream, not low-fat or skimmed, etc. The watery
ice-creams, like American sherbet, are more dense. Probably because the water is different
there. Italians tend not to mix up flavors as Americans do; i.e., you would not find
something like butter pecan with rum raisins, or cookies and cream with praline, etc. You
would have simple flavors like raspberry, blueberry, banana, Malaga, vanilla, cream,
chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut, walnut, blackberry, chocolate. Nothing with chunks,
sprinkles, M&Ms, etc. The flavors are fresh, bold and simple!
For a pretty good ice-cream/gelato, try Gifford's in Bethesda, behind
Madelaine's restaurant on Woodmont Avenue, behind the Safeway. The difference between
American and Italian sandwiches though, is vast!
Analog DMX: It Is All Over But the Billing
Larry Seftor, Larry_Seftor@compuserve.com
For a number of years I have subscribed to analog DMX (30 channels of
commercial free music) from District Cablevision. District Cablevision decided to
terminate analog DMX, apparently providing similar service through their digital service.
I was actually notified of the termination of the service by letter, and the DMX service
stopped on time, on August 9. However, no one seemed to have told the billing service for
District Cablevision. So they continue to merrily charge me for a service that is no
longer offered. I called District Cablevision's billing, and instead of hearing I'll
be glad to take care of that for you I spent 15 minutes arguing that they would have
to correct my bill since they no longer provided the service. I eventually prevailed, but
a customer service based business should not make customers fight to correct a vendor
mistake. (As a Post Script, I was asked for my Social Security Number at the start of the
call. I refused to give this information and eventually the call was allowed to proceed
anyway. District Cablevision has my telephone number, my account number, my name, and my
address. They don't need my Social Security Number and they should not be soliciting this
information. Forewarned is forearmed. Don't give it out.)
BAM, Sprint, or ?
E. James Lieberman, email@example.com
I use a cell phone rarely. First year with Bell Atlantic Mobile is ending.
Aside from Rock Creek Towers issue (I oppose), what good alternative services should I
consider to BAM?
Vernors Ginger Ale?
Joan Eisenstodt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Have called a few grocery chains to see if anyone in the DC area carries
Vernor's. It's the ginger ale of choice for Midwesterners! Would appreciate
any leads. (Internet search didn't yield much.)
Seeking a Refrigerator Recycler
Jon Katz, email@example.com
When I looked up refrigerator recyclers in the yellow pages, I
came up empty handed. Anyway, I have a dorm-sized refrigerator (a double-cube size) with a
busted freon unit. I have to get rid of it, but don't want it sitting in a landfill
forever and a day. Any suggestions beyond my calling some recycling businesses? Perhaps
one of you collects used refrigerators for a hobby? Thanks.
New NIJL Class at the DCJCC
Amanda Chorowski, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Institute for Jewish Leadership cordially invites you to join
us for a new class designed for those interested or involved in public policy: Torah
perspectives on leadership and policy, taught by Rabbi Lei Shemtov, Director of American
Friends of Lubavitch, September 9, October 7, and November 11, 6:30 pm, at the DCJCC.
Rabbi Shemtov will focus on the roots of leadership in Judaism and the
application of our leadership roles to contemporary social action. Members: $10 / Non
Members: $12 (For the series.) Attendance is limited. Contact Amanda (202) 518-9400 x271
or email@example.com by September 2 for pre-paid registration. NIJL participants receive
priority registration. A kosher meal will be available for $10 from the DCJCC own Center
City Cafe. Please indicate if you are interested when you register.
Mount Pleasant Arts Festival Needs Artists
Rebecca Shannon, ShannonRL@aol.com
We've got funding, we've got dance and music, and now we need arts and
crafts persons to participate in the Mount Pleasant Arts Festival on October 3 from 1:00
pm to 6:00 pm. Only $10 for a 10 x 10 foot space. For an application, call 745-5808.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Busy consultant seeks flexible experienced part-time administrative
assistant to help her keep her head above water, and the paper from overflowing her
Cleveland Park office. Systems are in good order, but filing is desperately needed, and
help in organizing materials for busy fall. Fall work will include reviewing materials,
assisting with data base, and handling correspondence. Please respond to Margaret A.
Siegel, (202) 244-4636, fax: (202) 244-9566, firstname.lastname@example.org
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
HERE WE GO AGAIN: Since signing on in May as a municipal bonds consultant for the New
York-based investment banking firm M.R. Beal & Co., Mayor-for-Life Marion S. Barry Jr.
has no doubt had to get acquainted with the lonely reality of the corporate drone.
Reporters aren't always following you around, you have no civic goodies to offer, and
pundits aren't hanging on your every move.
Hunger for the old sort of attention last week apparently inspired Hizzoner or a
pal who can hardly be discouraged by anything the former mayor has said since to
plant gossip about a Barry return to electoral politics as a candidate for one of the two
at-large D.C. Council seats open next year. At last Thursday's memorial service for former
Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, the Barry at-large rumors were moving
faster than the hand fans used by sweaty mourners to cool their faces.
Read the entire Loose Lips column here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/lips/lips.html
From washingtoncitypaper.com's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early
warnings for upcoming events:
FRIDAY: Private eye Ed Pankau presents a seminar, "Hide It All and Disappear," 6
p.m. at First Class, 1726 20th St. NW. $39.
SATURDAY: Telegraph Melts, 33.3, Threnody Ensemble, 6 p.m. at DCCD, 2423 18th St. NW.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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