Tomorrow Is Another Day
Dear Subjects of Experimentation:
Tomorrow, Thursday, the City Council will meet in legislative session.
Councilmembers are under tremendous pressure to replace their last bad bill on school
governance reform, the bill that put up to a vote two alternative schemes to change the
Board of Education, with an even worse bill. This bill, if approved by the citizens, would
create a kind of Frankenstein Board, stitched together in a mid scientist's laboratory
from parts of an elected board and parts of an appointed board. No rationale has been
presented for this untried and unwieldy experiment. Nobody not Alice Rivlin and
Eleanor Holmes Norton, who are pushing for it, and not the Mayor and the Councilmembers
who are being pushed into it has any argument for how or why this platypus of a
Board would make any improvement in Washington's schools. Both the Mayor and the majority
of Councilmembers emphatically rejected it and argued against it little more than a week
In fact, nobody is even talking anymore about what would be good for the
schools and the students. Those aren't the aims anymore. Political compromise is the only
aim. If the Council does succumb to the pressure, and does pass a substitute bill that
would replace the democratically elected board with the hybrid arrangement, it will be
interesting during the election period to see what arguments anyone invents to support it.
Has Anyone Read This Book?
Mark Richards, email@example.com
I'd like to hear opinions about it: The Color of School Reform: Race,
Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education by Jeffrey R. Henig, et al.
Henig is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Washington Area
Studies at GWU. The description on Amazon.com: "Why is it so difficult to design and
implement fundamental educational reform in large city schools in spite of broad popular
support for change? How does the politics of race complicate the challenge of building and
sustaining coalitions for improving urban schools? . . . . Here a group of political
scientists examine education reform in Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.
The authors show that black administrative control of big-city school systems has not
translated into broad improvements in the quality of public education. . . . In each city
examined, reform efforts often arise but collapse, partly because leaders are unable to
craft effective political coalitions that would commit community resources to a concrete
policy agenda. What undermines the leadership, according to the authors, is the complex
role of race in each city. First, public authority does not guarantee access to private
resources, usually still controlled by white economic elites. Second, local authorities
must interact with external actors, at the state and national levels, who remain
predominantly white. Finally, issues of race divide the African American community itself
and often place limits on what leaders can and cannot do. . . ."
Change in DC Water Purification Process?
Lonna Shafritz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Can anyone elaborate on the information I received that the city has
recently (February) begun using chloramine instead of chlorine in the
city water supply. Chloramine is supposedly much stronger (rumored to destroy charcoal
filters) and longer lasting, the latter being the
justification for the city's change chlorine evaporates after 24 hours, so needs to
keep being added. Does anyone know about the effects of chloramine on people? (I was
informed of this change in chemicals when I mentioned to someone that I had a bizarre rash
that I could not trace to anything. Has anyone else had similar problems in the past week
or so? It's nice to think there might be an explanation, but it's a bit hard to avoid
showers, drinking etc., for the foreseeable future.)
Lost Urban Village?
Randy Wells, Wells@ShawDC.com
I am closely following the redevelopment of the old Stapleton Airport.
Mine is not a passing interest: my parents live in Colorado, and I was born there. Also,
Denver selected Forest City as the development partner for this entire 4,700 acre site.
Denver has now pledged $674 million of sales and property taxes from the proposed
development over the next 25 years to build roads, utilities, parks and schools. The
Denver Post has written an article: http://www.denverpost.com/news/news0216b.htm
Why cannot we seem to get our act together too? I do not usually engage in
nostalgia regarding development proposals. But in Columbia Heights, Shaw, Downtown, and
elsewhere, we need the vision of an Urban Village: a place where people can walk to
work and gather with their neighbors over coffee at a town square. I still hope that
we can see quality, integrated development right here in Washington, DC.
Good Government = Confident Citizens = Higher
Mark Richards, Woodley Park, email@example.com
The Post (2/13/00) reported that a new poll they commissioned
shows a big jump in citizen confidence -- 69% reported things in DC are generally going in
the right direction, WAY up from 11% in 1993 and 20% in 1997. And 77% approve (36%
strongly) of the way Mayor Williams is handling his job. (For comparison, 46% Americans
say the U.S. is going in right direction, 37% approve of way Congress is handling its
job.) Not bad for a guy who had a 22% approval rating in 1998 (70% had no opinion). To
emphasize how DRAMATIC the improvement in citizen confidence has been (I didn't see this
reported): For the first time in just over 15 years (yes, read fifteen), DC citizens said
DC's quality of life is getting better not just staying the same or getting worse.
In Dec. 1984, 49% said getting better, 28% staying the same, and 17% getting worse. By
Jan. 1992, only 5% said better, 28% same, and most (66%) said getting worse. By May 1997,
things seemed to have bottomed out 11% said better, 41% said staying the same, but
still 47% said getting worse. Now, (Feb. 2000), 52% say DC's quality of life is getting
better, 38% same, 7% worse. These numbers are political capital for Williams on the Hill
what should he use it for? Here's a future danger: rising expectations can lead
people to eventually give lower ratings, even as services improve (they EXPECTED more).
Currently, more citizens think things are getting better in DC as a whole (52%) than in
their own neighborhood (37%). Compare that to 1993 people said things were getting
worse in DC as a whole (55%), but staying the same in their own area (51%). Here's another
change -- support for DC becoming a separate state" is up to 58% favor (36%
oppose, 6 no opinion), the highest recorded. This is up from a low of 45% in 1995. In
addition, when citizens were asked who has the most power in DC govt. these days, 56% said
Congress (16% CB, 13% Mayor, 10% Council). When asked who SHOULD have the most power in DC
govt., 51% said Mayor (17% Council, 12% both Mayor and Council, 9% Congress, 4 CB). It
seems that when DC citizen confidence is up because things seem to be working better, a
higher proportion are supportive of DC self determination. We have yet to see if
improvements at home have a positive impact on the way Congress treats DC.
For those who dislike or distrust the numbers, here's a personal
experience: Late last summer after the huge old sick Elm on the street in front of my
office didn't make it through the hot summer I filed a dead tree report using the DPW web
site. This Monday, a Barton's Tree Service truck (MD tags) with an extension arm for a guy
holding a chain saw (talented), and 4 men with a big tree grinder and 2 trucks for mulch
(that thing chews up logs like toothpicks) arrived and cut it down to a tiny stump within
an hour. The area was marked no parking with a yellow band, but somebody from VA parked
there anyway. The guys said this was the 4th time they'd been back because people ignore
the no parking sign, so, we checked around the neighborhood and after nobody claimed the
car, the crew worked around it with great skill. Just as they got the top half down and
ground up, another truck appeared to lift and haul the trunk away. They did a great job,
left our yard intact (even blew and swept the saw dust), and I felt good. If my telephone
rings and it's a pollster, I'd give the Williams government a high rating.
Take This Snow and Shove(l) It
Willie Schatz, firstname.lastname@example.org
The people who don't shovel their sidewalks are the same people who don't
shovel their dogs' deposits. They're the same people who park in the alleged
No-Parking, Tow Away Zone (a MUCH greater offense to the American language
than military intelligence and military music) spaces during rush
hour on EACH side of Connecticut Avenue and on Harvard Street going east. They're the same
District Cablevision people who could care less if you're paying major-league money for
bush-league service (when you get any). They're the same D.C. government
workers for whom constituent services is a foreign language.
They're the same bureaucrats who want to tell us we're not taking care of our dog unless
we build it a house to their exact specs (as happened to me at the D.C. Animal Control
office, which did me the hugest possible favor by sheltering my Golden Retriever when she
got out of my garage and an equally monstrous disservice by putting me through a Star
Chamber-cross examination before deciding I actually could care for the dog on which I
just had spent $1,200 to treat her Class II mass cell tumor). And they're the same guys
who are about to further emasculate our pitiful voting rights because electing
the school board will exacerbate our volatile class and race conflicts. Name the last
nay, the first election that has not done precisely that. Then again, maybe
this year will be the exception. Our presidential candidates never would stoop
so low ... would they?
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
A while back I was the victim of a dog walking neighbor who casually
walked his dog onto my front lawn each day and stood idly by while his dog dropped a
package on my grass and then walked on without so much as a howdy doo. I confronted this
person immediately after his dog had taken liberty and he merely walked away and never
came back for the remains. After calling the police and getting absolutely no help, I
decided that I would return the presents to the owner of the dog. It was time for frontier
justice. The scooped up presents made a rather untidy package which I left scattered right
on the front door mat of the offending dog's owner. I have not had a problem with that
dog, or his owner, since.
A friend sent this joke from Denver, which suggests to me that DMV's have
lousy reputations in other places too.
After spending 3-1/2 hours enduring the long lines, surly clerks and
insane regulations at the Department of Motor Vehicles, I stopped at a toy store to pick
up a gift for my son. I brought my selection a baseball bat to the cash
register. Cash or charge? the clerk asked.
Cash, I snapped. Then apologizing for my rudeness, I
explained, I've spent the afternoon at the motor vehicle bureau.
Shall I gift wrap the bat? the clerk asked sweetly, or
are you going directly back there?
My fiance is allergic. Beautiful, sometimes affectionate, sometimes moody,
calico available for adoption. Wanda is healthy and middle-aged cat. She is as trainable
as a cat can be. Ideally would move where she could spend time indoors and out.
(Currently, she is an indoor cat only). My wedding is set for the end of May, and so is
Wanda's divorce. Email Robert_Marvin@Yahoo.com
Sanyo Beta VCR 4400 Up for Grabs
Can anyone suggest where this machine might be useful? A high school
workshop perhaps, for the students to take apart? It comes with instruction booklet and
fourteen tapes which could be recorded over. I haven't used it in years but it might well
Books Needed for Book Sale
Martha Saccocio, MarthaNS2@aol.com
The Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Branch of the DC Library will hold
their semiannual book sale on Saturday, April 1 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. We are currently
seeking donations of all types of books. Donations can be dropped off at the library;
there is a bin next to the circulation desk. The library is open M-W-F-S from 10:00
am-5:30 pm, and T-Th from 10:00 am-9:00 pm. If you have a large number of books you wish
to donate and have no way to get them to the library, send me an e-mail, and I will
arrange pick up.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Anyone interested in a pick of the litter, beautiful Groenendael puppy
9 weeks? Call for details. Price $500. 333-0262.
Maryland Shore B&B Gift Certificate
R.A. Bird Anderson, Birdanderson@hotmail.com
We are moving from the area and have a $300 gift certificate to The Wild
Duck Inn on Tilghman Island (not really an island) just 11 miles from the famed town of
St. Michaels, on the Chesapeake Bay. Expires end of March and we are not going to be able
to enjoy it. Silly to waste it. Would be glad to pass it on at a 25% discount to any
interested takers ($225). The Inn costs roughly $150 per night. Six rooms,
breathtaking water views, home cooking, etc.
Frederick N. Bohrer, firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Bedroom condo or co-op with den/office space sought, in Cleveland Park,
Adams-Morgan and environs. For college professor in humanities with need for contemplative
(quiet) atmosphere. Recommendations for mortgage agents or banks also gratefully accepted.
Fred, 364-4926 or email@example.com.
New start-up or non-profit? 950 square feet available in the Adams Morgan
area. If interested, Call Jim at 939-0665 evenings.
Short-Term Housing Wanted
Edith Lanum, Tn8us@aol.com
Capitol Hill couple and their 14 year old daughter are looking for a place
to stay between March 10 - May 15, 2000, before moving to their tenant occupied home.
References furnished upon request. Can you help us?
I noticed a 3 bedroom row house in the 500 block of G St. NE for rent
today. It was completely renovated in 1978 and will be getting new carpeting, new paint
and many other new features available mid to late March. It has W/D, CAC,
fireplace, garage, large kitchen, large bedrooms, etc. I live half a block away and want
to find some very community minded new neighbors to compliment the ones we already have on
that block and in the neighborhood. We need people who are willing to work on the
redevelopment of H Street and ready to pitch in otherwise. Approximate rent range is
$1800. The English basement downstairs is also available. Approximate rent is $825. Call
the Kirbys at 202-298-6044 to view it.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Fellow Gore Family members: the campaign is underway to gather signatures
to get our guy, Al Gore, on the ballot here for the May 2nd primary. If you are a
registered DC Democrat and can help, please call Tina Flournoy at 338-4861 or E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apartment Cleaner Sought
Jon Katz, email@example.com
Seeking someone to clean my one bedroom apartment about once every two
months. I'm near Tenleytown. Trustworthiness and dependability are essential. Any
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
IT'S THE CRITIC WHO COUNTS...D.C. government agency directors these days must be envious
of D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey. And it's not that bushy mustache that they're after.
Nor do they necessarily crave Ramsey's cozy relations with Mayor Anthony A. Williams or
even the results of a recent Washington Post poll reporting that residents
believe city streets are far safer than a few years ago.
They just want his critics.
No big-city top cop can spend two years on the job without making some enemies. And that
goes double for the head of the Metropolitan Police Department, arguably the worst urban
police department in the country when Ramsey took over in June 1998. Ramsey, however, has
managed to select just the right kind of detractors the G. Gordon Liddy kind.
Loudmouths, that is, who draw attention to their own shortcomings nearly every time they
attack public officials.
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:
TO MARCH 18: Hamburg Days, photos by Astrid Kirchherr and paintings and
drawings by Klaus Voormann, on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, to Saturday,
March 18, at Govinda Gallery, 1227 34th St. NW. Free.
FRIDAY: David Brancaccio discusses Squandering Aimlessly: My Adventures in the
American Marketplace at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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