The Past Is Present
As I work on themail, in the background my computer is downloading old radio shows in
the MP3 format. Right now, I'm getting episodes of Lux Radio Theater and
Fibber McGee and Molly from the 1940's. After they are downloaded, I'll load
them into my Diamond Rio MP3 player and listen to them when I travel on the Metro from the
new subway stop that opened in Columbia Heights yesterday. All of this modern technology
computers, the Internet, digital encoding, solid state technology is being
put into service to preserve, spread, and replay the treasures and the trivia of the past.
Mark Richards' recurring posts on DC history in themail always serve to remind me that
we are far from the first generation to face exactly the same problems and dilemmas, and
that we certainly aren't any smarter, cleverer, better, or braver than the generations
that dealt with these problems before us. Our history is important to us, and in the
District of Columbia we are also the custodians of a good part of our nation's history. At
the Metro opening ceremony yesterday, at least two hundred fifty demonstrators were out
protesting not the Metro, but the Redevelopment Land Agency, which the week before
had awarded the Tivoli Theater to developers (Giant Foods and Horning Brothers) who want
to demolish ninety percent of that grand historic theater, saving only its facade. (They
were protesting the rest of the RLA decision, too, but more on that later.) Some people
don't understand the value of history, and think that progress means discarding the past,
that economic development means bulldozing the best of our past. Oh well, I have about
twenty episodes of the Mercury Theater stockpiled that I haven't listened to
Thanks to all of you who kindly sent your congratulations on the District
Politics article about DCWatch last Thursday, and on the recognition that the web
site received from Campaigns & Elections. Dorothy and I appreciate it.
A Dream, Bureaucracy, Agitation, and a Flag
Mark Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
In their own little ways, DC citizens have always been dreaming about and agitating for
equal rights. In 1917, while working for a printing firm on a flag book for the 48 states,
Charles A. R. Dunn noticed there was no flag for his DC home. In 1921 he sketched a design
using George Washington's coat of arms, with three red stars above two red stripes on a
white field. At that time, the Voteless League was set up by former womens suffrage
campaigners they became the Voteless League of Women Voters of DC. By 1924, there
was considerable agitation for a DC flag. The Evening Star printed
Dunn's drawings. The Fine Arts Commission weighed in, saying a DC flag must emphasize that
DC is the seat of the central government of all states. Dr. William Tindall of
the DC government pointed out that the three stars could be said to represent the three
federal branches. The issue, unresolved, died down. But the drive for rights did not.
Theodore W. Noyes, in a nationwide WMAL radio address in March 1929, asked Will not
every red-blooded American who hears me tonight respond hopefully and vigorously to the
District's appear for political equality? How long, O Americans, must we of Washington be
compelled to say and to sing: 'My county, 'tis of thee Not land of liberty, For District
folks; Where rights for which the fathers died Are now denied and crucified, Mock'd at as
A 1930s drive for Congressional voting rights and home rule led to a flurry of articles
and comics. The DC commissioners were called a national laughing stock, and
the DC government an ineffective Adventure in Autocracy. In 1933, young
African-American college grads from the U Street community organized the New Negro
Alliance, demanding that businesses hire some people they served. They picketed businesses
and were arrested. It took until 1938 for African-American lawyers to establish the legal
right to picket by the Supreme Court. Also in 1938, a Citizens Conference of 271
local organizations financed a plebiscite with two questions [D]o you want to
vote for President and for members of Congress from the District of Columbia?, and do you
want to vote for officials of your own city government in the District? The District
Suffrage League set up voting places in 38 public schools, and on April 29th dressed up
like Paul Revere and paraded in the streets to publicize the event. 95,538 people voted on
April 30th, most supporting both measures. In June 1938, a Flag Commission was created by
Act of Congress to advise the Commission of Fine Arts. A contest was announced. The
Heraldic Division of the War Department laid down rules. Dunn submitted his design. The
Flag Commission couldn't decided between two designs, so they submitted both to the
Commission on Fine Arts. In October, a joint meeting of the two Commissions chose Dunn's
design. Along with the US flag, DC could now fly their flag along with the other 48. They
gained an early symbol, but still no vote in their schools, in their local government, nor
in Congress. In 1961, Dunn said I think it is a good flag, and I am glad that an
early dream of mine came true.
Thirteenth Street, NW
Clyde E. Howard, Jr., email@example.com
On September 18th, the Green Line opened [at Columbia Heights and Georgia Avenue]. What
is not open is 13th Street, N.W. 13th Street, N.W. will continue to have rush hour
restrictions from 7 am until 9:30 am and from 4 pm until 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday,
except for holidays and weekends.
How can you maximize the Green Line if you continue to offer the commuter an
alternative to the subway? For fifty years the residents bordering 13th Street, N.W., have
suffered the indignity of heavy traffic, pollution, trash and other matters. How do we
push for a change for 13th Street so the neighborhoods will have peace and quiet for once
after all these years? The rush hour bus service will cease on 13th Street as of the 18th,
and all bus signs are scheduled to be removed by the 20th. But, no reference is made
concerning the removal of rush hour restrictions. Let's see if we can make a difference.
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
In June it was announced that the Mayor has signed an agreement to raise $25 M for a
Metrorail stop in the New York Avenue Corridor. That's mighty coincidental, since a study
team evaluating sites for a new baseball stadium is seriously considering that location
for a new baseball stadium for the District. It looks awfully suspicious that the
selection of a location for a new stadium coincides with the location of that New York
Ave. Metrorail station. Has the decision on a stadium location already been made? Are we
being railroaded (no pun intended) into that location for a stadium? A coincidence? Nah.
I'm relieved that Superior Court Judge Wertheim has temporarily banned church parking
on D.C. school property at Garrison Elementary School, but it is another D.C. travesty
that the problem exists at all. Public property should never be used to subsidize
religious activities, regardless of any perceived value to the community of
the church. The fact here is that the Metropolitan Baptist church was politically powerful
and school superintendent Ackerman caved in to the pressure that the church exerted. The
separation of church and state mandated by our Constitution appeared to be in a state of
suspension in the District, until Judge Wertheim acted. If the leaders of our schools
don't understand such basic tenets of our society such as the separation of church and
state, how can they teach our students? The tragedy here is not a little trampled grass,
the tragedy again is a complete lack of judgment by D.C. officials.
(P.S. Speaking of rights, bravo to Art Spitzer for the success of the ACLU in getting
the results of the marijuana vote released!)
Washington Post Campaign-Funding Info
Nancy Fiedler, NFiedler@aol.com
The Washington Post's on-line edition has what could be the best research tool
available to activists wishing to track the local big-money interests. This is the Special
Report on the 1998 Mayoral Race Campaign Funding aptly called Follow the
Money. It can be searched by candidate or by contributor, and can narrow the search
to specify amounts of donation; business; or individual, etc.
The catch is: the site is basically disfunctional. Only the first page of any search
result can be accessed, for instance. Does anyone have any ideas on how The Post
could be prodded to repair the site?
Ed Barron criticizes the provisional certification requirements for
teachers. My question: how does the provisional certification work? Is union membership
required? A friend in Massachusetts just got his provisional certification to teach
science there. The requirements were a solid college background in the subject, and an
exam that he one of the brightest and most well-read people I know described
as very challenging.
No union membership required, no training in education required -- but he has to go get
it for the certification to become complete. Meanwhile he can teach. It sounds like a good
system. What's DC's? Maybe the problem isn't the concept, but the execution.
Lack of Productivity Among DC Workers?
Harold Goldstein, email@example.com
The mayor says too little management, some here say too much management. First, lack of
productivity means the workers ain't doing their job, so don't sugar coat it. In general,
their lack of productivity is usually based on incompetence and/or unwillingness to do the
job, as has been the case here as long as I remember.
The solution is simple: tell them what's expected and, if it doesn't happen, you warn
them and tell them again and, if it doesn't happen, you fire or demote them. More
managers, ha! And many of you folks thought this Mayor would be the second coming. Right,
the second coming of one Mayor Kelly.
Ed Barron's dismissal of management out of hand is a bit short-sighted. Yes, there are
lots of mediocre managers out there. Yes, they can be disaster for a city department of
any other organization. No, the answer is not having more and more front-line employees.
If you've ever watched a good manager transform an organization, you recognize that
good management talent can mean the difference between a large group of well-meaning but
ineffective workers, and something that actually works. I've seen that transformation take
place in the business world; I also think back to visits to DC's DMV as a great example of
a lot of well-meaning employees who were never going succeed without changes in an
organization that a good manager can implement. The solution isn't fewer managers, or more
managers, it's better managers.
Brian Reeves identified one of the quirks of DC's car registration process. We noticed
another when registering our cars this year: owners must submit not only a photocopy of
their insurance card but also one of their driver's license. I recall the insurance
requirement from past years, but not the need to verify licenses. Since the same DC
government agency that issues licenses also registers vehicles, why can't they simply
confirm the status of licenses electronically, or is this another example of two computer
systems unable to talk to each other? When paper forms are being eliminated in so many
facets of our lives, our local government is moving in the opposite direction! On the
bright side, our notification came well in advance of the expiration date, and the
turnaround time on the mail-in registration was less than two weeks.
Adventures with Inspection
Harold Goldstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Went to get my 1986 Van inspected this summer. It failed a few minor things, and
emissions. Fixed the minor things and had emissions worked on; still failed but getting
closer. Had some more emissions work done, but now the time had stretched, so it had to be
fully inspected, came even closer on the emissions but failed a few different items. For
example, they said it was illegal to have a fishbowl mirror on the drivers side
after twenty years driving around with it, it's illegal!
OK, that's trivial, but let's go with emissions. The law says that if you make a good
faith effort, meaning spending $450, you get a waiver on that. I called, and they said
yes, just bring us the receipts. So I do. First, they say, it has to be spent on parts
not labor. They volunteer to show me the law, which doesn't mention parts. Then
they say that it has to be done by a certified emissions technician, or something like
that and, yes the law says that.
So, I'm steaming, does this now mean that I have to go (if my garage can't produce a
certificate) and get $500 more done! Another example of trying to help the consumer. The
van runs well, it's just a bit over the emissions level. I satisfied the intent of the
law. And meanwhile, my garage takes three days to do anything, but that's another story.
(Anyone care to recommend a good mechanic in upper NW DC?) Has anyone had experience with
something like this and know a solution?
Adams Morgan Day a Beautiful Success
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
This year's Adams Morgan Day Festival was a sight to behold. Top marks to the
organizers of the event. It was a beautiful sight seeing that many people get together for
a joyous, peaceful, clean celebration. Kudos, too, to the community organizations who
worked hard to support the event. Photos at http://stories.simplenet.com/adamsmorganday1999
Host Family Wanted
Faith Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
I work as librarian at Malcolm X Elementary School in Anacostia and am always looking
for people to help. From time to time, I have the offer of a high school graduate taking
an interim 2 1/2 months, to help. Such students need a place to stay, and would be willing
to pay a small sum toward board and/or would be willing to help with sitting or with
projects part of the time in the host family.
LOCATION: Metro to Congress Heights is not finished yet. Some place in NW (Lafayette
E.S. area), along my route on Connecticut Avenue, or on the Hill, or in SE near the school
would be best. If anyone is interested, please call Faith Williams at 202-362-0189 or
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
Evelyn Mittman Wrin, email@example.com
Notices about DPW's collection of household hazardous waste are in the current issues
of The Northwest Current and The InTowner, although there is no notice
in today's District Weekly section of The Washington Post. For
readers of themail who have not seen a notice, here's the information:
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Saturday, September 25, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm,
at Carter Barron Amphitheater Parking Lot, 16th and Kennedy Sts. NW. The telephone number
given for more information is the DC Citywide Call Center at 727-1000. Household hazardous
waste listed in the notice includes, among other things, old paints, solvents, pesticides,
motor oil, and batteries.
Mount Pleasant Arts Festival
R.L. Shannon, ShannonRL@aol.com
Don't forget the Mount Pleasant Arts Festival, Sunday, October 3 from 1:00 to 6:00 pm.
Music, dance, artists, craftspersons, all at Lamont Park, Mount Pleasant and Lamont
Streets, N.W. Artists and craftspersons who are interesting in vending can still request
an application by calling (202) 745-5808. Only $10 for a 10 x 10 foot space. This event is
sponsored in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and Ward 1
Councilmember Jim Graham.
Constitution Week in DC
Malcolm L. Wiseman, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 20th: DC New Abolitionists Society Christopher Byron Niles offers a
radical perspective of the US Constitution on the East Steps of the US Capitol Building,
Tuesday, September 21st: DC League of Women Voters DCLWV President: Liz Martin (intro
includes Constitution Week) Guest Speaker: Mayor Anthony Williams (providing health care
for all) Opening fall luncheon, at Pier Seven Restaurant, 650 Water Street, SW, 11:30 am
-- 20 for members, $25 for nonmembers.
Wednesday, September 22nd: Stand Up! for Democracy in DC Coalition Candlelight vigil in
Lincoln Park, East Capitol & 11th/13th Streets, 7 pm.Thursday, September 23rd: DC
Statehood Green Party Records their field trip to the US Senate asking some tough
questions of the staff, Dirksen Senate Office Building, First & C Streets, NE, 5:30
Sunday, September 26th: Stand Up! for Democracy in DC Coalition Celebrates their First
Annual Democracy Picnic with fellow freedom fighters in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park, near
the stage by the Joan of Arc Statue featuring food and entertainment 12-6
This schedule of events was brought to you by the Stand Up! for Democracy in DC
Coalition. Meetings: National Council of Negro Women, 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, every
2nd and 4th Tuesday 6:30 pm. All are welcome! Telephone/facsimile: (202) 232-2500.
Hope you can join us sometime real soon!
Hearst Elementary School Open House
Anne Herr, HerrAnne@aol.com
Attention all parents considering school options for 2000-2001: Although the
Out-of-Boundary enrollment period for DC Public Schools does not begin this year until
January 28, it's never too early to start gathering information. Hearst Elementary School,
at 37th and Tilden Streets NW, is having an Open House Thursday morning, September 23,
from 9:00-12:00. Come meet our NEW principal and learn about our exemplary early childhood
program serving 185 children in grades PreK-3rd grade. Hearst offers high academic
achievement in a warm and nurturing environment. For more information call the school at
282-0106 or call Anne Herr at 328-9703.
Break the Fast at the DCJCC!
Amanda Chorowski, email@example.com
Where can you find hundreds of hungry Jews and plenty of food? At the J! Join your
friends from congregations all over the city for traditional Break the Fast specialties!
Bagels and lox, kugel, salads and more! Monday, September 20 at 8:00 pm. Members: $16.50,
non-members: $22.00. Call (202) 518-9400 x362 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to register. Include your name, address, phone number, whether a member, and Visa or
Shakespeare for the Modern Mind
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
If you love theater, check out Bottom's Dream, a new adaptation of A
Midsummer's Night Dream by DC-area director Tom Mallan. Playing at The Rossyln
Spectrum Theater from Oct. 8 to Oct. 16. Details at: http://www.his.com/~pshapiro/bottomsdream.html
CLASSIFIEDS -- FREE
NEC Silentwriter 95 laser printer, 30" x 60" folding table, and metal folding
chair, all in good condition, free to someone who will come to our office in Friendship
Heights and pick up the lot at our convenience. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and suggest a
time during business hours.
Foster Cats from the DC Animal Shelter Need Homes
Heidi Ridgley, HRidgley@Defender.Defenders.org
Adams Morgan foster mom is always searching for life-long companions for lovable cats
up for adoption. If the New York Avenue shelter is inconvenient for you or you just can't
bear the emotional trauma of such a setting, come visit some of the cats in my
"half-way house." As soon as I place one, I take another home from the shelter.
Call 265-1069 or E-mail me at email@example.com
for current descriptions. You can also visit the shelter's website at http://www.washhumane.org for current photos of cats
and dogs in foster care and at the shelter.
Key West Condo for Rent Christmas to New Years
Anne Drissel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate New Year's Eve on Duval Street. Luxury waterfront condo ( http://www.galleonresort.com ) two blocks from
Duval. 2BR/2b; Sleeps 6. BR #2 lockout w/kitchenette. Pool; beach; dock. Available noon
December 25 through noon January 1, 2000. Rent $625/night; 5 day minimum. 50% deposit;
full payment due by Nov 15. Call 202-232-6517.
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