Back to Schools
Dear Fellow Students:
We keep learning, if we're lucky. The problem is that the lessons remain
the same, and their disappointing themes become tedious the more they are repeated. In DC
politics, lesson one is that everything will be reduced to race sooner or later. At
Garrison Elementary School, neighborhood advocates of the students wanted to reclaim the
school's baseball field for the students' use. The problem was, the school system thought
that it needed to placate Metropolitan Baptist Church and its politically powerful
preacher, H. Beecher Hicks, and keep leasing the ball field to the Church as a parking
lot. For the DC school system, the suburban adults who wanted to park were a higher
priority than DC school children. When it became obvious that the Church and the school
system didn't have a legal leg to stand on, and that they were going to lose a lawsuit
filed on behalf of the students, the Rev. Hicks preached an ugly and vicious sermon, full
of hateful lies. The sermon was excerpted in Monday's issue of The Washington Times,
for those with the stomach to consult it. Hicks tried to create and exacerbate racial
division, accusing anyone who would dare to speak out for the students of Garrison (nearly
all of whom are black or Hispanic) of racism.
In Columbia Heights, at nearly the same time, rabble-rousers and long time
Barry allies like Robert Moore, head of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights,
and Lawrence Guyot have tried to make a racial issue out of the choice among potential
developers for the Redevelopment Land Agency sites. They have promoted the black
developers, Dutch owned conglomerate Giant Foods and white Joe Horning, and accused their
opponents of racism for supporting a vastly superior development plan.
These cheap appeals to racial animosity aren't the problem somebody
is always going take the lowest road. What is disappointing is that responsible
people in Washington don't repudiate the people who use these disreputable tactics, but
instead continue to speak of them respectfully. Where is the politician who will speak out
against racism when the racists are black? Where is Mayor Williams' denunciation of Rev.
Hicks' sermon? Where are Jack Evans' and Jim Graham's renunciations of these tactics when
they are used in debates in their wards? Where is Eleanor Holmes Norton's press release
scolding them? (She issues a press release on everything else under the sun.) Where is the
Washington Post's editorial? The Post had volumes to say about a tiny
and eventually nonexistent Klan demonstration in DC, but remains silent in the face of
homegrown racial divisiveness.
Lesson two: we're on our own.
D.C. Schools Mismanagement
Ralph Blessing, Shepherd Park, email@example.com
Here we go again! Parents United's most recent newsletter reported that
Arlene Ackerman's office was considering a change of the out-of-boundary registration date
from October 1 to January 28. As we are considering out-of-boundary registration for our
daughter, and since October 1 is right around the corner, my wife launched an effort to
determine whether the date had, in fact, been changed. The principal at our local
elementary school knew no more than what we'd already heard, and repeated calls to Wilson,
the school where we'd need to register, were never answered. When a fellow parent's calls
to Alice Deal yielded a different set of dates, my wife decided to call downtown for the
"official" word. After a lengthy hold, she was told that, yes, the date was
being changed. She asked when there would be official notification given the proximity of
October 1, the apparent lack of information at the affected schools, and the fact that few
parents received the Parents United newsletter. The response was that the new date appears
in the 1999-2000 DC School Calendar which, of course, has not yet been distributed.
Finally, my wife asked what the rationale was for the change in view of the fact that
earlier is generally better when it comes to planning (late January/early February may be
too late to apply to some alternate schools should one's out-of-boundary plans not pan
out), not to mention the fact that lining up outside, as is the norm for out-of-boundary
registration, on a late January morning is not likely to be very user-friendly. The person
at the other end was not able to come up with an explanation for the change, which left us
to wonder if this is not Ms. Ackerman's way of subtly discouraging parents from even
considering sending their kids to out-of-boundary schools.
Inclusion at Janney School
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
The inclusion (mainstreaming) of students (formerly in the Special
Education programs of the DCPS) in regular classrooms of the Janney School is causing
significant problems for the teachers in this highly regarded elementary school. Inclusion
is an effort to reduce the costs of Special Education which now eat up about a third of
the total school budget while providing services to only about ten percent of the
District's students. This process, now administered by the former Janney School Principal,
has created some very poor environments in the classrooms at Janney. These new students
are creating disruptions in the classrooms that require much of the teachers' time and
energy. In the meantime the rest of the students are losing out.
Janney has earned a reputation as a fine elementary school because it has
very competent and dedicated teachers and great support from the parents of students who
attend Janney. It is most unfair to burden these dedicated teachers with problem students
who cannot control their behavior and really do belong in an environment where they can
get the closer attention by trained specialists in Special Education. If inclusion is to
be a major thrust of the DCPS then they must provide the schools where inclusion is used
with an ample trained support staff to work with the teachers in the classrooms so that
the proper learning environment can be maintained.
The utility cuts in the many streets in DC are awful. The temporary
repairs make matters worst because of the ruts and pot holes. Isn't there a law on the
books that requires all who make utility cuts in the streets to permanently pave the
street? It seems that DPW is not enforcing the law in a timely manner. Downtown streets
are beginning to look like and feel like Tobacco Road.
Theres Something Happenin Here; What It
Is Aint Exactly Clear
Willie Schatz, email@example.com
Ah, our beloved DMV; can't live with it, can't live without it. Much to my
surprise, Friday 10 September was NOT a day that will in infamy. Expecting the worst
like blowing the entire morning I took the Red Line to the usually Haunted
House at 300 Indiana Avenue. I'd lost my license, my registration was going to expire the
next day yes, I'd gotten the mail renewal in plenty of time, but didn't have the
economic wherewithal to take advantage of same and I didn't want to push the
envelope any further.
So I get there at 0800. There's a huge line and the doors aren't open.
That's all she wrote, says I; I'm here for the duration. But NOOOO! The doors open, the
line moves at Warp Factor Seven, I go to one of FOUR count 'em, four
information desks, at which an incredibly courteous public servant gives me the right
forms and a little ticket with my assigned service window and MY ESTIMATED WAITING TIME!
Now I'm thinking I'm in the wrong solar system. Not only that, a (very disembodied, but
nonetheless helpful) voice announces "now serving...." The same information is
displayed on an overhead screen, which also showing the latest news! I get my new license,
renew my registration and my RPP even though I'd forgotten to fill in my inspection
number and didn't have proof of insurance, for which I was absolved when my insurance
faxed same and I'm his(her)story in about 90 minutes. What a difference from my
last visit! Moral: at least this slice of the DC government worked this time. Too bad such
an event still is the rare exception rather than the rule. But, one small step for
Vehicle Inspections and Bad Nannies
Russell Cramer, Ruslcramer@aol.com
The solution, Mr. Goldstein, to the treatment you received from the
vehicle inspectors, is for us to inspect them for any possible collusion (for kickbacks)
or pressure from the association of garages/mechanics/or spare parts (if there are such
associations). They are a surly, rude bunch who seem to fail vehicles at whim. Just the
other day my neighbor's car was failed for a bad muffler, but when he took it to be
replaced the garage said there was nothing wrong with it, and gave him a letter to that
effect which he produced to the supervisor in charge who was forced to then give
him his valid sticker.
For the lady who wanted bad nanny stories: I have lots of them
in my Ward (3) involving people who exploit the poor, uneducated and vulnerable from
Banana Republics south of the border.
Last Friday, I encountered problems with two nonfunctioning parking
meters, one on 8th street SE and one on Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park after
putting money in, the meters still registered there was no time left. Got a ticket at the
second meter and have appealed the decision by writing to the Bureau of Adjudication,
since I had put money in the meter and didn't check to see if the money had registered.
Anyone having similar problems? Are the new meters already breaking down in such great
numbers that several of them have a sticker with a telephone number to report a broken
[After Eric Lipton's story in the Post revealed that DPW and
Lockheed Martin were aware that many of the parking meters didn't give credit for coins
with minuscule flaws, all the meters were supposed to have been "recalibrated."
What is your experience with the meters? Are they better, or are they still robbing us?
It's not only that the design life [of Metro] is 50 years, vs. 100 years,
it's that a transit system for the 21st century was built with technology from the 19th
century! Imagine suggesting that you purchase a horse and buggy to replace the car. Well,
when the technology used in our Metro was first applied, in NYC among other places, people
used horses and buggies.
Even worse, there were no other technological alternatives considered
during planning. And the cost; they knew that the original $2 billion estimate was a crock
but that it wouldn't be approved at a higher level. Once approved, they knew, it became
the standard cost over-run process just increase the budget. The subway system here
in DC is a big real estate boondoggle. It was terribly ill conceived. It adequately serves
very few; those with good access to the system from home and who work near it (i.e., the
work trip downtown). A system like that could never be expected to make a significant
change in a region's modal choice.
And it didn't; auto traffic actually grew as a direct result of the new
jobs generated around Metro stations. And most of the Metro ridership was stolen
from prior bus ridership. And the people who owned land around the Metro stations made
lots and lots of money. No public transportation system in the US can successfully compete
against the auto unless it provides a trip that takes less time. Period. The planners knew
that; they just had their hands tied.
New Business at Connecticut and McKinley, NW?
Gregory Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forgive me if this has been covered already, but does anyone know what
business is going in at the NW corner of Connecticut and McKinley Avenues, NW (the former
Boston Chicken location)? Thanks.
Apartment Cleaning Recommendation Wanted and Given
Annie McCormick, email@example.com
Does anyone have a recommendation of someone who cleans apartments? I am
looking for someone about 1X a month and can afford $50. I do have a friend of mine who
cleans apartments who is very good (Jim Davis, 202/265-6733), but he does not clean
apartments of friends.
Spend a Night at the Stacks: Thursday, September 23, 7 p.m., Herndon
Fortnightly Library, 768 Center St. A 60th anniversary celebration and fund-raiser for the
Fairfax County Public Library. Features novelist Sharyn McCrumb, Washington Post
reporter Juan Williams, and Alan Cheuse, author and book commentator for National Public
Radio's All Things Considered. Also musical entertainment and silent auction.
$60. Reservations: (703) 324-8300.
Since I have heard so much about school property lately, I'm including the
notice of the next meeting of the Maryland Native Plant Society. If you want to carpool
from Capitol Hill, let me know!
Grounds for Play, Grounds for Learning: Children's Gardens and Schoolyard
Habitat, Tuesday, September 28, 1999, 7:30 p.m., Hyattsville Municipal Building, 4310
Gallatin St. From the beltway or East-West Highway, go south on Rt. 1. Turn right onto
Gallatin St. (just across from Franklin's Hardware). The municipal building will be on
your right, one block west of Rt. 1. [see a map]. Meet in the multipurpose room on the
Elmina Hilsenrath is author of a chapter on Native Plant Landscaping
in the Maryland Department of Education Manual Conserving and Enhancing the Natural
Environment: A Guide for Planning, Design, Construction, and Maintenance on New and
Existing School Grounds. She has spoken and written on many topics related to
environmental restoration, including reforestation, sustainable landscapes for highways,
and schoolyard gardens and habitat areas.
Library Book Sale
Martha Saccocio, MarthaNS2@aol.com
The Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Branch of the DC Library will hold
its semi-annual book sale on Saturday, September 25 from 12-4 pm (Members of the Friends
will be admitted at 11:00 am for a one-hour preview sale). We have thousands of books at
bargain basement prices. The Library is located at Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street,
NW, across from the Tenley-AU Metro Stop.
1999 Latin American Film Festival
Luiz Coimbra, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cultural Foundation of the Americas has the pleasure to announce the
1999 Latin American Film Festival, September 14 - 26. All films will be shown at the
American Film Institute (AFI), in the Kennedy Center. We are going to have movies from
Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Guatemala, USA, Chile, Costa Rica,
Canada, Spain, Peru, Portugal, Ecuador, Paraguay and Argentina. Also there will be special
appearances, interviews, and debates by actors, directors and producers. All of them will
be available on the festival's web site, http://www.oas.org/filmfestival.
For any additional information and for a review of the schedule of activities check our
Educational Theater Company Classes
Stan Kang, email@example.com
Educational Theater Company (ETC) fall classes for young people, taught by
local theater professionals. Shakespeare and improvisation classes offered in both
Arlington and DC (ages 8-18). Classes start October 12, call for a brochure today! (703)
841-0277, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction to American Wines
Michael Karlan, email@example.com
Who says the best wines comes from Europe? Or South America? America is
not just known for its hot-dogs and apple pie. We also have some of the finest vineyards
in the world! Do you want your chance to be a real patriot and learn about American wines?
Learn to distinguish between regional vineyards, as we present you the opportunity to
sample wines from a range of different states. A reception follows the wine tasting.
Tuesday, September 28, 7:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. Andrew Dowe will be on hand to teach everyone
the art of drinking and enjoying fine wines. He will also explain to us the distinction
between the different American wines. Andrew Dowe has served as the wine distributor for
Sam and Harry's, the general manager of Vidalia, and the Director of Operations for Wine
Source. He is an extremely dynamic speaker, and we are proud to offer his services to you.
Phoenix Park Hotel, located at 520 North Capitol Street, N.W. (Across from Capitol City
Brewing Company and one block from Union Station). $35 in advance. For reservation, please
call (202) 686-6085, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
or check out our web site at http://www.dcyoungpro.com
ANC 3C will meet on Monday, September 27, 8:00 p.m. (Meeting will follow
Police Service Area (PSA) 204 Meeting which begins at 7:30 p.m.) Second District Police
Station, 3220 Idaho Avenue, NW (Community Room). Agenda includes deregulation of
electrical industry (Pepco), public forum on Giant Development, and Council hearing on NCS
bonds. ANC Office: 2737 Devonshire Place, NW, (202) 232-2232, FAX: 232-0667.
CLASSIFIEDS OFFICE SPACE
In Search of Office Space
Michael Buckley, email@example.com
In search of 200-500 sq. feet of office space in downtown DC.
Sublease Near Silver Spring Metro
Jon Katz, firstname.lastname@example.org
1400 Spring St. Sublease one windowed office near Georgia Avenue with
beautiful tree lined view of Woodside Park. Near Metro and District Court. Conference room
to share, and secretarial space available. 24-hour access for tenants; lobby remains
unlocked (with heating/air conditioning) through 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Month-to-month
lease possible. As low as $500 per month. Call Jon Katz, Marks & Katz, Attorney at
Law, (301) 495-4300.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
WHITEY'S ON THE LOOSE! Mayor-for-Life Marion S. Barry Jr. often said that in the District,
any issue can take on a racial dimension. Hizzoner's observation, from back in the '80s,
predated the eastward march of gentrifiers through D.C.'s inner city and came long
before the ongoing turf wars in Shaw and Columbia Heights. But subsequent demographic
changes have alterered his truism not at all.
In Shaw, there was a time when the dispute involving the Metropolitan Baptist Church and
the Garrison Elementary School field was simply a matter of weighing the interests of
local children against those of a venerable D.C. congregation.
But at last Sunday's service, Metropolitan Pastor Dr. H. Beecher Hicks stepped up to his
see-through pulpit and held forth on what he saw as the real conflict at hand: Race.
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: Singer-songwriter Mike Elosh, at 8 p.m. at St. Elmo's Coffee Pub, 2300 Mount
Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Free.
THURSDAY: Lewis Black, Thursday and Sunday and 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, to
Oct. 3, at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $12-$15.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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