The Paycheck Is in themail
Lois Kirkpatrick, below, takes exception to my diatribe in the last issue
of themail. Public officials, she believes, are underpaid. So, what do you think? Let me
put the question in three parts: in the District of Columbia, are our elected officials,
our top managers, and our line employees paid enough? (Or too much for the actual work
they do?) And how should we measure enough?
A New School Board
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
The current School Board has demonstrated, quite clearly, that it is
unable to lead the District's schools out of the morass they are mired in. There is no
consensus and each of the Board Members operates as a lone wolf representing their own
turf. Several proposals to restructure the School Board are under consideration. So, I
will offer my own proposal.
My proposal is that ALL the School Board members be elected At-Large.
This, in my opinion, will eliminate much of the territoriality we currently have. A Board
with eight or nine members would be about the right size with a Board Leader elected by
the members of the Board. This method of restructuring the Board would likely lead to a
pretty sizable number of candidates running for one of the eight or nine seats. We would
likely find that many talented persons would run for a spot on the Board. Having a large
number of candidates to choose from would certainly increase the chances for electing a
Board that would be constructive and productive, unlike the current form of electing Board
members from each Ward.
DC FBI Tales
Mark Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Simmons of the Washington Times again reported on 8/23/99
that UDC is under FBI investigation. Tom Sherwood noted (Notebook, Northwest Current,
8/18/99) that both The Times and The Post reported this, but evidence of
this assertion doesn't appear to have yet emerged. I'm waiting for the video.
Speaking of FBI tales, Jay Leno on The Tonight Show (8-23-99), joking
about George Bush, Jr., and a host of other elected officials who seem to have put their
noses where the law doesn't approve, noted that nobody thought Marion Barry, Jr., would
become a trendsetter. Leno also described the difference between being a black elected
official compared to a white one: one gets his head slammed by the FBI, the other gets his
Party's nomination! In February 1990, after the media had played over and over the
FBI-supplied video tape from the Barry bust in January, the Times Mirror conducted
a national poll and found 40% of Americans could accurately identify Marion Jr. in
an open-ended question as the Mayor of D.C. I guess we can expect George Jr.'s name
recognition to go up. Any idea how he'd treat locals should he move into 1600 Pennsylvania
Ave.? (I doubt he could do less for DC than Bill Clinton has done.)
The sometimes fanciful, sometimes surly, attempts to devise schemes to
transform DC into a state seem hopelessly outdated and misguided. If the objective is to
get full citizenship and representation in the Congress, there are
surely better ways to do it. Why not put that effort into earning less oversight and
getting a vote in a neighboring jurisdiction?
The focus of US domestic economic power and political influence is
steadily shifting from the venerable state houses to the increasingly autonomous metro
areas. DC's future lies not in having its own mental hospitals, unemployment offices,
insurance regulators, air national guard unit, and state flower, but in becoming the
indispensable central core of the US national capital metro area.
Teamed up with the wealth, skills, and dynamism of all those who prosper
within the gravitational field of America's capital, DC could draw the support of a
Congressional caucus of as many as 4-8 senators, and 8-12 representatives, if needed. Why
pine to become an undernourished bush league state for reasons of ideology
when for the asking, DC could lead the team of the top-ranking major league metro area
for reasons of prosperity?
I am sorry, Mr. Matthes, if I confused you on my last posting. I assumed
that you would understand, as you apparently consider yourself constitutionally
knowledgeable, that in referring to the exclusive Legislation section that
deals with the District I was in fact referring to Sub-section 17, of Section 8, of
Article I. Which is, in fact, around 75 words long, small compared to the rest of the
section and quite small as a part of the whole body of the constitution. Surely you didn't
think I wanted to interfere with Congress' ability to establish Post Offices and
post Roads? And surely you didn't think I was referring to Article I as a whole,
which has 10 sections with over fifty subsections?
Mr. Matthes seems to have plenty of scorn for activists and
those wasting their time on lawsuits. I make no great claim for my own
accomplishments in advancing democracy, but I wonder what herculean efforts Mr. Matthes
has put forth to gain equality for us colonial subjects in the District that he can sneer
at the efforts of others. Then again, I suspect he doesn't really want equality. You say
DC citizens (if we can be called citizens without the rights of such) ought to have full
home rule and votes, but what exactly is full home rule? Are you talking about
a new and improved version of separate and unequal? Until you can say STATEHOOD, you are
not talking equality, and all the constitutional lessons I can give you will fall on deaf
In response to Mr. Matthes' latest tirade on DC Voting Rights: The
Y2K Question: Mr. Matthes' strong opinions do not make up for ignorance of the
facts. He condemns the two law suits pending in the District Court, but one of them most
certainly does not implicate the issues he attacks. The case referred to frequently as
Twenty Citizens of the District of Columbia [Adams] v. Clinton poses questions
which specifically PRECLUDE any possibility that the Court can seize power to amend
the Constitution or assume powers reserved to Congress.
The Twenty Citizens' case only asks the Court to do what the federal
courts have been doing for almost half a century, with great regularity, which is to
restrain the agents of a government from violating the rights of people subject to the
power of that government. The same thing has been done over and over and over, without any
credible reading that the effect was to amend the Constitution or assume
powers reserved to Congress. The same thing was done in Baker v. Carr, Reynolds v. Sims,
Brown v. Board of Education, and an almost countless number of other cases. Don't depend
on misleading abstractions; read the actual court documents yourself at http://www.dccitizensfordemocracy.org
Gary Imhoff sounded off about DC government employee salaries. As a
government employee myself, it irritates me when people act like we should work for free.
The fact is, most private industry employees make more than government employees doing the
same work. But a much more important issue is this: why do the people who teach your
children, put out your fires, police your cities, manage your waste, repair your roads,
and assist your disabled and elderly be paid less than, say, plumbers and Web site
If you judged job importance by salary, you'd think that rock guitarists
were more important than the U.S. President. You'd think a star hockey player affected
more people's lives than the head of DOE. You'd think a teenage sitcom queen was more
important than the head of DOJ. People complain about poor government service, but then
don't want government servants to get paid as if the job matters.
[Actually, I wrote about the inflation of salaries at the top of DC
government, about the growing number of people in DC government who will be making more
than the President. But if we're talking about salaries for average government workers,
they're also not bad. To me, the proper comparison for a government line worker's pay is
not with rock stars and sports stars, but with an average middle class income. The median
family income in DC is about $32,000. That's family, not individual income, so it includes
a lot of two income families. It's solidly middle-class for a whole family, and teachers,
police officers, and firemen are within striking distance of that the very first year
they're on the job. I'm not throwing any relief benefits for them. Gary Imhoff]
I'm afraid I'm completely confused about Patrick Shaughness' concern about
the DC Does It ad campaign. What exactly is he objecting to? Is it simply because of
semantics (that is, the hanging question), or that we're discussing it at all? If a girl
is sexually active, the best way of preventing sexually transmitted diseases is either
through abstinence or the use of condoms. Just in case, in my mind, implies
all sorts of things: just in case she has unplanned sex (how many of us really plan it?),
just in case her partner is infected, just in case ... lots of things. A number of studies
have shown that the more teens (boys and girls) are comfortable talking about abstinence
and condoms, the more likely they are to use either of these methods. (I'd be happy to
provide references, but I would specifically refer you to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, http://www.agi-usa.org ).
At the very least, given the rate of STD transmission among teens,
particularly Black teens, doesn't Keesha deserve to know about condoms?
Build It, But Will They Come?
Ken Nellis, email@example.com
In the August 15 edition, Ed T. Barron wrote, That's the real
problem with building or widening the roads. Build it and they will come. . . . I
wonder how valid an argument that is. As I see it, the they could either be
(a) folks unhappy with congestion in their current routes so that they come to
the wider, faster roads. Or they could be (b) new folks attracted to the area with its
new, efficient road system. The (a) scenario exists because the current
situation is endemic to the entire region. If only a few roads were congested and they
were widened to meet the standards of other roads in the region, it would benefit the
current riders; other folks wouldn't come to the newer, faster road if their current
routes were satisfactory. The (b) scenario wouldn't exist if local governments
had the leadership to control development. So, in a normal world, the argument shouldn't
hold. But here, where all routes are congested and there is no control on development,
indeed, build it and they will come!
I just wanted to respond to a recent question about what's going on at
Arizona and Nebraska Avenues, NW. The police presence that you've been seeing results from
many near accidents that have occurred at the intersection of the two arteries. As a
resident of Arizona Avenue, I don't even want to tell you how many times cars (most with
Virginia plates) run the stop sign, or buzz by pedestrians at a cool 50 mph. I, for one,
am glad to see that the MPD are cracking down on people who treat stop signs as
yield signs. Just because it's an important commuter route doesn't mean that
people should be able to ignore the street regulations and threaten neighborhood
residents! I have been sitting in the longer traffic jams that have resulted from the
police presence, and all I can say is that this is the first traffic tie-up that I've ever
been extremely thankful for!
AT&T Seeks Councils Consent to Buy
Remainder of DC Cablevision
Richard Stone Rothblum, firstname.lastname@example.org
I just got back from an ANC meeting and heard presentations from lawyers
for GTE and District Cablevision. I am concerned that the Internet service provided by
District Cablevision will require the use of @Home to the exclusion of all other Internet
Service Providers (ISP's). I gather that the main motivation for forcing DC Cablevision
subscribers to use @Home as the primary ISP (you can always subscribe to another ISP,
provided you access the preferred ISP via @Home) is that the advertising revenue that
AT&T will reap by controlling the gateway will be outside the revenue considered when
the Public Service Commission (or whoever) sets the rates that DC Cablevision will be
allowed to charge customers. It seems to me that allowing competition for ISP's is a good
way to protect the public, despite the contention of AT&T that there is already
adequate competition, and that additional regulatory burden would be placed on the
District to regulate ISP competition over the cable network. I would certainly not be
happy to be locked in to a single ISP. Would the Public Service Commission set the rates
that @Home would be allowed to charge? Will they consider the advertising revenue that a
captive audience will bring?
[AT&T loves competition, and advertises about how great competition
is, when they want to reenter the local telephone market in competition with the Baby
Bells, but they'll grab a monopoly whenever they get a chance. So far, the FCC supports
them against local jurisdictions that want to open up cable Internet to competition among
service providers. This is probably the major open issue that the DC Office of Cable
Television is considering right now with respect to AT&T's purchase of District
Cablevision. Any other opinions? Gary Imhoff]
M. Tac Tacelosky, Dupont Circle, email@example.com
I echo Peter Luger's complaints about Sprint PCS, and begin chanting
Lies! Lies! when Sprint's TV ads air.
The coverage is abysmal. Even driving between here and Philadelphia there
are frequent areas where service isn't available. As Peter mentions, service is poor in
Dewey Beach, it's also non-existent in the West Virginia ski areas. Away from metropolitan
centers, there's not even a hint of sporadic service while traveling in Wyoming and
Lake Tahoe, I never once was able to make a phone call. Can anyone recommend a service for
DC residents who like to travel to local beaches and ski areas?
I joined the Fig Club from Harry and David and got three
different months' worth of figs fresh and lovely and remarkably not expensive.
There is also a vendor (Debbie, outside the door to Market Lunch) at Eastern Market on
Saturdays who has them when they are in season but they sell quickly so go
Do You Have a Bad Nanny Story?
Peggy Robin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone had a really bad nanny experience? Have you had a nanny walk out on
you, or leave your kids in a dangerous situation, or do something even worse? A national
talk show would like to hear from you, and maybe fly you out to California to talk about
what you've learned about finding safe childcare. I'm the author of The Safe Nanny
Handbook, and I'm going to be a guest on the show, which tapes in L.A. on Aug. 31.
The producers would also like to have on a few parent-employers who have some
precautionary stories to tell about past nannies. If you're interested, E-mail me as soon
as possible, so that I can put the producers in touch with you in time to make flight
arrangements. All travel expenses will be paid by the show.
Tasting Society International September/October
1999 Calendar of Wine Events
Charlie Adler, email@example.com
September events: 1) Sept. 18th (Saturday), Adams Morgan Day Wine
Around: Food and Wine Walking Tour, 1-5 PM, Rain or Shine! $45.00 in advance, tax
and tip inclusive, $55.00 day of (depending on availability). Wine Around: a
walking tour of Adams Morgan's finest restaurants combined with a food and wine pairing in
each restaurant. Sample various delicacies matched with a multitude of international wines
at Felix, I Matti, Cities, Columbia Station and more restaurants! Every restaurant will
have a meat and a vegetarian dish to taste with wine. Partial proceeds to benefit Friends
of Adams Morgan. 2) Sept. 21st (Tuesday), Wine Basics 101, Radisson Barcelo
Hotel, 2121 P St., 7-9 PM, $39 per person. Our most popular tasting! We'll cover the
basics: how to match wine and food, how to purchase and order wine, and what to look for
in different grape varieties. You don't need to be an expert to enjoy great wine! 3) Sept.
22nd (Wednesday), Discover the Rising Stars: Wine and Food Pairing Event,
sponsored by Fresh Fields/Whole Foods Market of Georgetown, Galleria at Lafayette Centre,
1155 21st St., NW, 7-9 PM, $45 in advance, $55 at the door (if available). Tasting Society
International and Fresh Fields of Georgetown present our Fall wine and food pairing event.
Enjoy wines matched with Fresh Field's gourmet delicacies all within the beautiful atrium
of the Galleria at Lafayette Centre. 4) Sept. 29th (Wednesday), Wines of Europe
101, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $39 per person. Europe produces a wide array of
excellent wines from its diverse geography. Although France and Italy have consistently
produced outstanding wines, Spain, Germany, Greece and other European countries are
catching up in quality and value. 5) Sept. 30th (Thursday), Celebration of the Wines
of Burgundy, France, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $50 per person. A serious
tasting of the Cotes de Nuit's and Cotes de Beaune's finest current releases. This region
is the epitome of fine wine. We'll showcase the wonderful complexity and flavors that are
derived from this region's terroir.
October events: 6) Oct. 5th (Tuesday), Wine 102: Tasting Like A
Pro, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $39 per person. You understand the wine basics,
but you want to impress your friends, business associates, or other acquaintances with
your wine knowledge (this is great for that next job interview!). We'll show you in under
2 hours how you can taste like the pros and impress anyone with your new found knowledge.
7) Oct. 7th (Thursday), France vs. California Showdown: The New Releases,
Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $50 per person. Who says that France makes better wine
than California does? Join Ann Berta, Washingtonian Magazine wine columnist, as
we compare and taste some of the world's finest wines. Just to make this event even more
interesting (and objective) all bottles will be covered. These double-blind tastings are
always fun and showcase what's really important in a wine: great taste and aroma. 8) Oct.
19th (Tuesday), Wine Basics 101, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $39 per
person. 9) Oct. 21st (Thursday), Wines of South America: Argentina and Chile,
Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $40 per person. Experience the pleasures of South
America's greatest wine region. Reservations: RSVP at (202)333-5588, email: firstname.lastname@example.org , or https://labyrinth.dgsys.com/clients/tastedc.com/order.cgi
Saturday at Tony and Joes
Sven Abow, email@example.com
This Saturday, August 28th, I'll be playing the jazz brushes together with
a pianist at Tony & Joe's seafood restaurant at the Georgetown water front. We'll play
from 7-11 pm. No cover charge, the food is great.
Time and Location Change for National Day of
Jon Katz, Vice President for Programs, Philippine-American Bar Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note the new time and location for the Press Conference &
Memorial Vigil for Joseph Ileto who was gunned down soon after the August 10
shootings at the Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles. I just learned of the update:
Thursday, August 26, 11:00 A.M. Press Conference, National Press Club, Murrow Room, 14th
& F Street NW, 12 noon. Memorial Vigil Freedom Plaza, 14th & Pennsylvania Ave.,
NW. Speakers: Leaders from the Asian, African, Latino, Jewish-American, labor, and Gay
communities. Contact: Jon Melegrito, NaFFAA, (202) 986-9330, email@example.com
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE AND WANTED
Weight bench and weight holding rack. Some miscellaneous weights. $150 or
best offer. 202-244-3023.
Deborah C. Fort, Tenleytown, firstname.lastname@example.org
I need to buy a used printer (black and white only is fine), which will
print documents created on WordPefect 5.1 for DOS and within Windows 3.11. Can anyone
Used Office Furniture/Equipment Donations Wanted
Fran Dixon, email@example.com
As part of our back-to-school preparations, Walker-Jones Elementary School
is redecorating our Parent Resource Center. We looking for the following items, used, in
good condition. Need these items by Saturday. We'll pick up: couch, conference table and
chairs, iMac or other late-model Mac/printer, computer desk, rug, toys for infants and
I'm looking for a place to live and a space for my recording studio. The
two don't need to be in the same house. Group houses, summer/guest/warehouses are ok, any
other creative approach is welcome, too. The rent can be as high as $500. Lots of forest
and a running stream nearby are a plus but any other location is also fine.
Harold Goldstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
For end user Internet Training and low-mid size web development projects,
you cannot beat the cost and quality of the Goldray Consulting Group. See our online folio
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