You probably didn't realize it, and wouldn't believe it if I didn't tell
you myself, but I have made mistakes in the past. Even in the recent past, such as the
last issue of themail. When people write about an issue that they have a vested interest
in, I encourage them to reveal their connection. When they don't, and I know about the
connection, I note it myself. But I jumped to a conclusion an inaccurate conclusion
in the last issue. There, Bob King (in Winners and Whiners) praised
Mayor Williams highly, and I noted that Bob King was recently Mayor Williams's Ward Five
coordinator. The trouble is, there are two Bob Kings (imagine the odds against two people
having a name that rare), and themail's correspondent isn't the Mayor's coordinator. I
apologize to both Kings for the confusion.
Aside from Bob King, who E-mailed me to alert me to my mistake, I was
called by Marie Drissel, who recently resigned as the Director of the Office of Boards and
Commissions. Marie suggested that I just assumed that anybody who supported the Mayor had
to be on the payroll. Well, that certainly wouldn't be unusual in DC politics, and I
certainly am enough of a cynic to. . . , well, Marie could just be right. And in general,
though not specifically in this situation, so could I.
Mark Richards, a frequent contributor to themail, has allowed DCWatch to
publish a paper he and his sister wrote on how guidebooks to the District cover our
political situation and history. I recommend it to those interested at http://www.dcwatch.com/richards/000126.htm.
I was amused by your January 28th Paper Trail. In that column, you stated
that Marcus Garvey Charter School President Mary Anigbo's assault on Washington Times
reporter Susan Ferrechio three years ago constituted one of the biggest stories of
the year. Alas, that was not your attitude three years ago. At the time of the
assault on Ferrechio you smeared the Washington Times for even reporting it. You
accused them of flame-thrower tactics. And you lauded the Washington Post
for its initial decision not to cover the story and, later, for minimizing its coverage.
Four questions come to mind in response to your column. First, three years
ago you said that the Anigbo-Ferrechio affair was not important and it should not receive
coverage. This week you say that it was a major story. Are you willing to admit that you
were wrong and that you and the Post erred in not covering more fully and in a more timely
fashion? Second, three years ago, you said the story should be not covered or covered only
briefly in the interest of maintaining what you or Mark Plotkin or Tom Sherwood
called racial harmony in this city. In retrospect, won't you admit now that
you really wanted other papers as well as your own to censor themselves? And don't you now
agree that in taking this position you violated your creed as a journalist to report the
news honestly? Third, you applauded the notion of damping down racial tensions. Don't you
think that you were advocating a double standard that turned a blind eye to black thuggery
and corruption? Is it not a possible corollary that you would have acted very differently
if a black reporter had been assaulted by a white school principal? Might even you,
current praiser of reporter Ferrechio, have been leading the lynch mob against that white
principal? Fourth, do you still maintain a double standard when it comes to covering black
people, in the interests of racial harmony of course?
This kind of political correctness has only the appearance of
open-mindedness. It's really anti black AND anti-white all at once. We need more honest
reporting on race in our city there is so little. I look forward to your reply.
Has the Mayor Lost Contact with His Mother Ship?
Philip Blair, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
I know I am not alone in feeling that the Mayor is acting deeply, deeply
weird with regard to DC Public Schools governance. At the Neighborhood Action event last
Saturday at UDC, he barely mentioned his plan to take control of DCPS. It was the Dog That
Didn't Bark. He certainly didn't want to be booed by his own pep rally. (At my table
Brooklanders mostly we were unanimously in favor of the elected Board of
Education.) A rational person might have thought that he was cutting his losses and
He sure didn't want to take the chance of using his magic computerized
instant-voting set-up to find out what people at this event thought about his proposal.
Yesterday, Council discovered (again) that they can't figure out what he is going to to
either. What he says on Monday bears no relation to what he does on Tuesday. I, for one,
am scared by this erratic behavior.
More of the Same
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
In nine months the voters of D.C. will decide whether the School Board
will be an elected board of nine members or a board of five members appointed by the
Mayor. That's not a great selection of choices. If the voters, as I suspect they will,
vote for a nine person elected board, we will likely have more of the same that we have
right now. That's a politically oriented board that is territorial in nature with all
members looking out for only their Ward and their own political survival. On the other
hand, we would have a Board appointed by Mayor Williams and it would likely be a pretty
good Board. The problem I have with a Mayoral appointed Board is that some day, maybe
sooner than later, we will have another mayor like Barry who would appoint a squadron of
his bimbos to the Board.
So, we have a Hobson's choice the way the two proposals now stand. Neither
is acceptable to me for the reasons above. My proposed solution is to have an elected
Board of seven members. All members would be elected "at-large" thus defusing
the territorial and survival issues. This kind of an election would draw out many
qualified candidates, those truly interested in DCPS reform. Then, those seven elected
persons would choose their own Board President, who would serve as president as long as
the majority of the other Board members wanted him as their President. Over a period of
time it is likely that several of the Board members would have a stint at being President.
If we really want reform of the District Schools then we need a better selection of
options than the two that are currently proposed for voter choice in November.
It's sad that Metropolitan Baptist Church is leaving DC. It's contributed
a lot to its community over the years. But as I watched the parking controversy unfold, I
quickly ran out of patience with those who found it acceptable to turn a playground into a
parking lot. Everyone else traveling into DC from the rest of the metro area faces the
reality of limited parking. So we take Metro, we carpool, we take cabs, we hunt for a
legal spot, we walk a few blocks. Why does all this change when church is involved?
Just try to drive past many DC churches on Sunday morning. You'll find
double and triple parked cars, and drivers trying to squeeze though the limited remaining
space. I hate to think what could happen if emergency vehicles needed to get through. it's
unsafe, and it's illegal. I don't think it's unfair to expect churchgoers to obey the law.
And there's nothing terribly righteous about endangering, or even just inconveniencing,
your neighbors because you don't want to walk a few blocks.
On Monday Morning, January 31st, my cable was out and a call to DC Cable
finds a message of a system wide failure impacting zip codes 20003, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9,
10, etc. The question: how many people lost cable and how long will we be without
it? The bigger question: will we be able to deduct the costs of the lost days of service
without the typical fight? I guess we should just be happy it waited until the Super Bowl
ended to cut out.
Alternatives to Bell Atlantic
Ralph Blessing, firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that Bell Atlantic has erected its steel monstrosity in Rock Creek
Park, I am determined to find another local phone carrier. Aside from what I've seen as
part of a cable package (e.g., Starpower), I know of no other local carriers. Does anyone
out there have any suggestions?
[Local and long district telephone services from Starpower is available to
everyone in DC, even if the company hasn't run its cables down your street yet. They're
leasing Bell Atlantic lines and selling the service at a discount, and switching people to
their proprietary lines whenever they are installed. To my knowledge, the many other
telephone service companies gearing up to provide service are going to serve commercial
businesses in the downtown area primarily. Anyone know anything different? Gary
Sender's name and address removed by request, December 2003
My friend [name removed at the request of the individual] was walking with Guillermo Silveira near 43rd Place
Friday night about 10 pm when they were mugged by two men. One of them had a gun.
[My friend] said they are very well coordinated and extremely strong. They told them to not scream and
to give them their wallets. [My friend] had some trouble getting hers out of her pocket. She
said the way the man held her was very precise. Also, when he pushed her into the snow, he
did it with a martial arts flare. The police said these two men have been mugging people
in Georgetown and Tenley Park for the last two weeks. They prefer to work on fairly
They are two African American men, in their 30's, 5' 5" to 5' 7',
dark complexion, husky, muscular builds. They wear dark clothes, not decorations or
identifying marks, and matching knit caps pulled over their eyebrows. The police are
actively searching for them.
Nope, It Wasnt Plowed
Joan Eisenstodt email@example.com
When I arrived back in DC on Sun. a.m. before the new snow/ice storm,
found our street (5th S.E.) musta had a teeny bit of plowing, 'cause the snow was a bit
higher around the cars but not much. Clearly there was no other treatment: the mounds of
ice and snow in the road made it a difficult trip for the cab.
Today is Monday, Jan. 31. Our trash is scheduled to be picked up every
Wednesday from the alley behind our house. No pickup was made the last two Wednesdays. A
box in Friday's (or possibly Thursday's) Metro section of The Washington Post
gave special directions to those with alley pickups. For us, it said, we would have street
pickups that Friday. So, we dutifully wheeled our supercan around to the front where it
has sat, since, untouched and full. In two days it will be another Wednesday. Where should
we put our supercan?
Bill Starrels, Georgetown
It would be hard for the snow removal to do anything but improve in
Washington. As a resident of Georgetown, the city did a great job with M Street and
Wisconsin Avenues, and not much else. Perhaps the Mayor's office should look at
contracting with neighborhood snow plow operators and have them run their trucks through
the side streets. The hot line number for snow operations is 202-727-6161. The people who
answer the phone are nice and will put your street on a list. What happens with the
so-called list after your call is anyone's guess. Thankfully the snow and ice will
Now that they have the streets under semi-control, they should get the
janitors and building engineers of DC-owned and inhabited buildings with the program. A
good place to start is the DC data center at 3919 Benning Road, NE. The building has a
slanting sidewalk in front of it and a steep sidewalk down to the parking in back of the
building. Needless to say, neither was shoveled.
As we say in my native land, FUHGEDDABOUT whose street was plowed (that's
my 1800 block of California -- once, but that beats nunce during the first storm)
and whose was not (that's my block during the second hit). If this town really is a rising
star, why did its schools open two hours late Tuesday? And why did my yoga instructor tell
our Monday night class that she used her four-wheel drive ONLY after crossing the Potomac
in our nation's capital during her 90-minute trek from Strasbourg? And a garbage truck?
Been so long I can't remember when. As for recycling, my stuff will recycle itself before
it's picked up. Meanwhile, did it snow in Montgomery County? Coulda fooled me bigtime.
Democracy Is Alive and Normal in DC
Malcolm Wiseman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Then I'd have to ask NARPAC, normal compared to what? We in DC
get to start at abnormal, and never get to leave it. Mr. Sullivan's choice of terms is
right-on, though the nudges are more like imposed policies and
suspensions. What sort of democratic processes are there for people who are
controlled by overseers?
Something limited and peculiar, I'll bet. Probably the kind of democracy
that gets re-negotiated and mutates every fours years with the oversight
DC's democracy is certainly a lot less cumbersome.
Especially for those who would withhold it from us. There's hardly any waiting period for
providers of the Congressional crap to which we're regularly treated. Marching to
the same drummer doesn't sound all that great.
DCPS Graduates Are Alive and Normal in College
Tracy Hadden, Tracy_Hadden@brown.edu
Ouch. Wow, I spent 12 years participating in a national
disgrace. Mr. Sullivan, I can think of a few DCPS graduates who would be pretty
offended by your suggestion that we be recalled, like those playpens that kill little
kids. And I can think of a few more that would be pretty angry to hear that you think
we're second-rate adults. Your point is well taken about the need for reform,
the abysmal standards, the embarrassing test scores, the violence, the lack of progress,
social promotion, misspent funds, and on and on. We know. Yay, NARPAC. But please don't
throw insults. Maybe the education I got from DCPS doesn't look so hot next to the stories
I hear in college about private schools or even Montgomery County. But I had some great
teachers who prepared me for college so I would not need to be recalled. I
know I'm the exception, rather than the rule. I know you probably didn't mean to insult me
or deny me. I feel your frustration, concern, and urgency. But I want everyone who read
your post to know that I exist. I am a product of DCPS. And I read themail. Please
Land use planning East of the Anacostia is really very rudimentary. The
contrasts in household income, property values, and employment opportunities around the
city are still growing. Arguments over the school board still don't recognize that DCPS
performance scores are in large measure neighborhood performance scores which can't
be fixed by the board or the superintendent. Ever been to the Department of Education's
web site for Special Ed programs? Ever looked at the changing immigration patterns in the
US and DC? All this and more awaits you on NARPAC's February update at
http://www.narpac.org. Never closed due to snow.
In his post, Democracy for Elian Gonzalez?, Malcolm Wiseman
makes some valid points about congressional, mostly Republican, posturing. But he's wrong
to suggest that Congress is about to strip this child of his Cuban
nationality. Even if by nationality he means citizenship,
the U.S. can't, under international law, unilaterally take away anyone's citizenship in
another country. It depends on the laws of the other country. I once knew of a
Brazilian-American who'd moved to the U.S. as a young woman and raised a family here.
Years later, when her American-born son was 18, she took him on his first trip to her
homeland. Brazil promptly arrested her son and began proceedings to induct him into the
armed forces. Under Brazilian law, his birthplace didn't matter. He had a Brazilian
mother, so was a Brazilian citizen, and thus subject to the Brazilian military draft.
Elian will remain a Cuban citizen unless and until Cuban law decrees otherwise.
Even for someone, like me, who thinks U.S. policy towards Cuba is
basically wrongheaded, Elian Gonzalez's case is very troubling and extremely complex.
After more than two months, why hasn't Elian's father traveled to Miami to see his son? Do
U.S. government representatives in Cuba have the expertise to discern his father's real
relationship with Elian, and especially whether he's in any measure an abusive parent? In
a land where saying the wrong thing can get you shot, should we trust what Elian's father,
while in Cuba, says he wants for his son? But is there any way, short of having Elian's
entire Cuban family travel to another country, to learn his father's real wishes for his
son? Why did the person hosting the Miami meeting between Elian and his grandmothers,
after the meeting, change her mind and decide that Elian should stay here? If we look at
this situation free of all the politics and emotion, as a case of a mother who took a son
away from a father about whom we know very little and who has reason to dissemble about
what he wants for his son, it's not such an easy case to decide.
DCPL Black History Month Programs
Diane Mohr, DianMohr@aol.com
The District of Columbia Public Library is having a number of notable
programs this month, with the kickoff events on Wednesday February 2 at the Martin Luther
King Memorial Library. On Thursday February 3, retired Congressman Ron Dellums will
discuss his autobiography Lying Down with Lions at 6 pm. On Thursday, February
10, at 6:00 p.m., Prof. Derrick Bell, author of Gospel Choirs, will celebrate the
100th anniversary of the song Lift Every Voice and Sing with a local church
choir lead by musical director Kenneth Lewis. And on February 24, and 6:00 pm the Rev.
Jesse Jackson and his son Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., will discuss their new book It's
About the Money! All of these programs are free and open to the public. Contact
Public Information Officer Debra Truhart at 727-1184 for more information.
National Building Museum Lecture and U Street Tour
Sara Cormeny, email@example.com
Lecture: Paul R. Williams, Architect Extraordinaire, Tuesday 2/15/00, 6:30
- 8 p.m., National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station. Paul
R. Williams, the first African-American member and fellow of the American Institute of
Architects, was one of America's most prolific architects from the 1920s to the 1970s. He
designed hundreds of buildings in Los Angeles, as well as mansions for Frank Sinatra,
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and Lon Chaney. Karen E. Hudson, Williams' granddaughter and
director of his archives, will discuss his numerous southern California commissions as
well as other homes, banks, churches, and country clubs he created in Paris, New York,
Memphis, and Washington, D.C. After her presentation, she will sign copies of her book Paul
R. Williams, Architect: A Legacy Of Style (Rizzoli). Presented in celebration of
Black History Month. $8 Museum members; $12 nonmembers. Registration required.
Tour: U Street/Shaw, Past and Present, Saturday 2/19/00, 10 a.m. - 12
noon. This tour, which celebrates Black History Month, highlights buildings and
institutions built by and for African Americans. After convening at the African American
Civil War Memorial , the tour will proceed to several sites along U Street, Washington's
Black Broadway, including the Lincoln Theater, Thurgood Marshall Center, and
the Reeves Center. Cosponsored by MANNA Community Development Corporation. $5 Museum
members and full-time students; $8 nonmembers; $13 for families of one adult and up to
three children. Registrations must be pre-paid and received by February 15. For more
information contact Mike Hill, Outreach Programs Coordinator, National Building Museum,
ANC 3E Meeting on Ft. Bayard Park
Tad DiBiase, ANC 3E03, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friends of Ft. Bayard Park (the park is located at the intersection of
Western Avenue and River Road, NW) are presenting preliminary ideas for park improvements,
discussing where in the timetable they are, and soliciting input or comments from the
community at the ANC 3E meeting on February 10th at 7:30. The meeting is held at St.
Mary's Armenian Church at 42nd and Fessenden, NW.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE AND FREE
1992 Jetta GL Sedan, only 83,500 miles. Good condition: 5-Speed, AM/FM
Cassette Bensi Box Pullout Radio, Moonroof, AC, Cruise Control, Tilt Steering Wheel,
Velour/Cloth Seat. Many new parts. Black, grey interior. Valued at $5,780 by Edmunds.com
for sale for $4,500. Tel: 757-622-5993 or email@example.com.
Nikon 35 mm camera with 50 mm and 70 - 210 mm Nikon lenses. New shutter.
Price: $300.00 or best offer it'll probably be your best offer. Please respond by
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free to a good home: porcelain wash basin and toilet, the latter of the
3-gallon variety no longer available in stores.
CLASSIFIEDS SERVICES WANTED
If you have an interest in geneology and aren't afraid of tape recorders,
I'm blind and am looking for someone to read through a small pile of information on my
family. I want to record and then transfer it to the computer. I'm in the DuPont Circle
area and will pay $10/hr. I think there's about 2 or 3 hours of work. E-mail or call
Short Term Quarters Needed
Judie Guy, email@example.com
Very responsible, middle-aged married couple, both government managers,
looking to house sit or rent small quarters in DC or close in burbs for three months
beginning in March while their own home in Kalorama is renovated. Call 202-483-4661 or
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
LONG-TERM CONTRACT: Last spring, as word reached Constance Newman that D.C. public schools
were once again having trouble procuring basics like textbooks and computers not to
mention facing another threat of delayed openings over bungled boiler and roof repairs
the control board vice chair called a couple of meetings to plow through the mess.
If the schools don't open on time, heads will roll, and it will be the heads of some
of the people in this room, Newman declared.
One of the participants at the control board meetings, though, didn't have to worry about
Newman's ax: Lawrence S. Herman, the partner at accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick who
manages most of the firm's business with the D.C. government. Herman's place at the table
explains in part how KPMG has inked more than 50 D.C. government contracts, worth an
estimated $60 million, since the 1995 onset of the control board era.
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:
SATURDAY, Feb. 5: Hypnotherapist John T. Cox and self-described romance coach
Leslie Karsner present a flirting and romance workshop, 9 a.m. at the Tysons Corner
Marriott, 8028 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. $99.
MONDAY, Feb. 7: Joe Queenan reads from his new books, My Goodness: A Cynic's
Short-Lived Search for Sainthood and Confessions of a Cineplex Heckler,
at 7 p.m. at Olsson's Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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