Phony, Fudged, Fictional, and Fraudulent
The headline, of course, refers to the Mayor's FY2001 budget. Today's
Council hearing showed that the numbers just don't add up and that the Administration
can't explain or defend them. David Catania, joined by Kathy Patterson and Jack Evans,
asked sharp questions and got weak answers or no answers at all from the Administration's
financial experts. For a few years, when Tony Williams and essentially the same financial
team prepared budgets under Mayor Barry, we got figures that were reliable, honest, and
believable, so we know that they know how to do it right. The only reasonable conclusion
is that they have chosen not to do it right this time around. Our brief respite of
financial responsibility is over. We're back to Never-Never Land.
One footnote. Kathy Patterson asked Chief of Staff Abdusalam Omer at
today's Government Operations Committee hearing about how Christopher Lynn came to be
named to head the Taxicab Commission. Omer defended the process, said that it worked well,
and said that he was sorry that he [Lynn] would not be joining the Williams
administration. Now it's official, and the Williams administration no longer has
deniability. It knows all about Christopher Lynn, and says that Lynn passes their tests
and meets their standards for a high level appointment. If you want to see what those
standards are, go back to http://www.dcwatch.com/dorothy/dot000313.htm
and read again what this Administration considers to be an attractive resume.
This is an update on my neighborhood. On the afternoon of Friday, March
10, at 1:30 p.m., there was another gun battle. It began at the SE corner of 7th and H.
Two rival drug dealers raced raced southward on foot down 7th Street towards G St., firing
automatic weapons at each other. About halfway between G and H, near an alley, one of
them, a young man named Travon Oliver, was hit numerous times in the neck, arm, and other
parts of his body, and died of his wounds. The shooter sauntered away but then a police
officer arrived from nearby Riggs Bank on H Street and pursued him down 7th. Friends of
the murderer who were in the crowd that had accumulated yelled, The police are
coming. Run. They propelled him down the alley and blocked the police pursuit. The
shooter removed his mask, dropped his Tech-9, and disappeared.
Mr. Oliver is dead, so this means that D.C. homicide detectives will
investigate his murder. The crime occurred in 1D1, but that doesn't mean they'll get the
case. A lot of their homicides have somehow found their way onto the plates of the 5th
District homicide detectives. If that happens, the odds are nearly 10-1 the killer will
not be brought to justice. Cops tell me that the homicide closure rate in the 5th District
is currently 13%. Judging from Jim Myers' article in this month's Atlantic Monthly
on the nearly all-unsolved 30 murders in his neighborhood near the Safeway at 14th and C
SE PSA 109 the closure rate isn't much better in the 1st District. At least
the murder closure rate isn't 0%, as it is in the 4th District. Justice will almost
certainly not prevail, since there are 1700 unsolved murders in the District, 700 of them
Why make a big deal about the murder of another lousy drug dealer? Because
these gun battles don't occur in a vacuum. This one occurred on H Street, which is packed
with people at that hour. Miraculously in this instance no innocent bystanders were caught
in the crossfire. That isn't always the case. Besides, I am peculiar enough to resent
pitched gun battles a few blocks from my house. On Wednesday night, three days ago, just
as our PSA 510 meeting came to an end, our cops had to rush off to 7th, where a gunshot
victim was lying on the ground after a gun battle. While the cops were investigating that
shoot-out, there was another gun battle at 8th and Florida, and they had to rush over
there. There seems to be no strategy, no plan at any level in the MPD to fight crime. They
simply react. In the meantime, the bodies pile up, and we cower in our homes in fear.
[Jim Myers' article, Notes on the Murders of Thirty of My
Neighbors, is available on-line at http://www.theatlantic.com/cgi-bin/o/issues/2000/03/myers.htm
. Gary Imhoff]
The sad fact of the matter is that from 38 to 50 percent of the voter
rolls would have been removed in any other state. Only in DC is not voting considered
political speech, so that it does not lead to automatic removal. In most other
jurisdictions, 38 to 50% of DC voters would have been removed from the rolls, which is in
line with our 38% population loss in the past few decades. The sad fact of the matter is,
this refusal to remove people in undemocratic, as it makes both initiatives and recalls
harder to accomplish, which serves the established interests quite well. It is passed time
to seriously prune the rolls. (Let's storm the barricades of the Bastille, who's with me?)
Keep Klingle Road Natural
Jon Desenberg, email@example.com
The beauty of Klingle Road under Connecticut Avenue NW is awesome. In the
few short years since traffic stopped, nature has reclaimed the concrete and the cool
shaded area is a haven for bikers, walkers, runners, birds, and animals (not rats like the
rest of the city). The stream has and will continue to overflow onto the road regularly,
which is why the city closed it. Why then, is the city holding a meeting Wednesday from
2-8 pm at the Visitor Center in the Zoo to consider re-opening it? Big Mistake. Do we need
one more short stretch of road or a unique and beautiful natural space? Who used to use
Klingle that wants it re-opened and why? Porter is just a couple blocks away and seems to
do the job just fine.
Is it possible that DPW could be managed in a worse way? First we have
seen them try to fine the recycling contractor for not being able to negotiate the
impassable alleys, right after DPW themselves scooped up all the recyclables and threw
them away in the garbage, a fact yet to be documented in other media. Now we are
apparently planning to wire the whole city many times over. Does this mean the newly
concreted streets Nebraska Avenue, Park Road, Woodley Road, etc., are to be drilled
through and patched? When other utilities like gas deregulate, new pipes are not
installed. Why do we need separate cable lines just for Primestar?
As far as digging for DSL goes, why and how did we jump on this bandwagon?
Wireless internet access is becoming easier and easier. In ten or twenty years DSL may be
obsolete. The fact that there is no incentive for companies to dig concurrently is an
absolute atrocity. The attitude of the Department's spokesperson, Ms. Grant, is appalling.
Who is she, and why is she there? Okay, now that I've vented, how do we get access to
these so-called inspectors DPW has, or the database of where the digging is, or the
schedule of upcoming digs. The last time I tried calling someone in charge of anything at
DPW, the guy's voice mail said he was out for the week at jury duty. I later found out he
was in fact out to lunch. And by the way, I don't have to drive anywhere. I work at home.
Ed Barron wrote recently to complain that DC streetlight repair is no
better these days than under the ancien regime. I beg to differ, based on my
experience in the Stanton Park neighborhood of Capitol Hill. Lately, the folks who answer
269-0855 (the routine maintenance contractor) have made requested repairs within 4 days or
so. (There was a time some weeks ago when it took a week or two, but they seem to have
cleared their backlog.) I've found the reps responsive and helpful; moreover, they have an
honest-to-God computer tracking system that shows all activity (complaint; repair crew
dispatch; nature of repair made; etc.) for a specified location.
As for Ed's lament that a crew came to his local light pole but failed to
fix it, here's a possible explanation: it may be something the contractor isn't supposed
to fix. When the repair is more complex than replacing the photocell or bulb, the report
is forwarded to DPW, which must issue a work order to Pepco. While the added paperwork
does cause a delay, I can tell you that these jobs are getting done: a pole in my alley
that needed a whole new fixture is now working, and just today I received a return call(!)
from DPW to let me know that another problem pole (first reported by me on 2/16; has no
current) is scheduled for Pepco repair this week. I've gotten excellent service from the
relevant DPW office, headed by Mr. Jama Abdi (671-0581). Don't get me wrong there's
still lots of room for improvement at the pothole/trash/snowplowing level of municipal
service. That said, I give Mayor Williams credit for the very tangible results I'm seeing.
DMV, Better or Worse?
Jason Ziedenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org
For two-and-a-half years, I've avoided the DMV like the plague. I actually
lied when I moved here, and said, I don't have a drivers license, and got an ID card
(keeping my Canadian drivers license). Served me well enough, as I just rented cars, and
lied. Now, someone wants to give me a car, and I have to go into the DMV to get my license
But now, people tell me the wait is worse then ever before! Someone in my
office just came from there and said, you can't breathe, there is no ventilation,
and it smells like bad breath. She waited five hours just to get her license
renewed. I can you imagine what they will do to a Canadian, on a work visa, with a license
from Ontario? There must be some organizational theory argument which explains why it
would take five hours to get one's license. How could it possibly be worse? Will it ever
get better? Is there any hope?
Livin Large on the Federal Trough
Danilo Pelletiere email@example.com
In the last themail, it was insinuated that because I am a student and an
employee of George Mason University, a Virginia public university in Fairfax, VA, my
comments on the District of Columbia's economy and population were somehow off base or
contradicted by my own actions I'd claimed in the previous posting that the suburbs
were nearly as dependent on federal contracts as the District, and that great capitals the
world over profit from the presence of the national government. I also included some other
points about the importance of the District regionally. My purpose was to counter the spin
by most media that the cities (and this city in particular) are dependent on the federal
dole, while the suburbs represent the private sector pure.
Without the federal government federal highway funds, federal
grants, federal contracts, and above all defense contractors, Fairfax would not be
Fairfax. Period. In this regard, I am a case in point, rather than a contradiction. I am
paid by federal contracts in Fairfax, by a school of public policy that at least a few
years ago was second only to Harvard in the number of federal research dollars it
received. I'm sure these are often won with the help of Virginia law makers. But at the
end of the day, I and an increasing number of my fellow students and professors return to
the District where we spend that money on homes, rent, groceries etc. Once again, it's too
soon to call reverse commuting a stable trend, but it is a growing phenomenon.
The District is down, but it's not out.
The Washington Post: Filling, But Not
Larry Seftor, Larry_Seftor@compuserve.com
I have read the Washington Post for as long as I have been in
Washington -- about 25 years. In recent years I have found the paper less satisfying,
although the word count seems to remain high. For those who have the same sense and wonder
why, take a look at this week's New Yorker. There is an article about the Post
that clarified for me what the Post is about these days.
In response to Larry Seftor's comments regarding the difficulty in
speaking out on racial issues ... I share his concerns. Larry, you're absolutely right in
pointing out that anyone who dares say something truly honest about race will often be
shouted down, or worse. There's almost, dare I say it, a lynch mob atmosphere that dubs
people "racist" without ever asking questions about what they meant by a
statement or delving into the actual issues in play. I don't blame you for keeping your
mouth shut. If you speak up and someone doesn't like it, they'll call you a racist, demand
you be fired from your job and never once ask for a clarification or try to understand
your point of view. If we want to have a truly honest conversation about race, we better
understand that painful ideas and opinions are part of that discussion, and we ought to
make it safer for them to be expressed.
Regarding Party Insults
Steve Leraris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's face it the Democrats of Washington, DC are and have been taken for
granted by the DNC and Democrats in Congress. We didn't get voting representation when the
Dems were in power, we didn't get it after 8 years of Clinton/Gore, and we won't get it
after Gore becomes president. There'll be no walk out at the convention because they'll go
along to get along. We'll either win the year old (4/19/99) lawsuit or maybe the NAACP
will do a boycott of. . . ?
For the first time in the five years that I have been subscribing to the
satellite TV service, I had a reception problem. At first I thought it might be due to the
eruptions on the sun. The lack of clarity in the picture was in contrast to the very sharp
picture I had been receiving for several years. It took a couple of calls to the customer
service folks but they managed to correct the problem from their end (did they send
someone up there to kick the satellite?). I now have a crystal clear picture again and can
cancel that eye exam appointment.
Whose Interests Does the Judiciary Committee Serve?
Jim McCleod, email@example.com
I did not understand Councilmember Brazil recently pointing out his
blatant use of the Judiciary Committee for commercial interests. In his Mar. 14, 2000,
Weekly Update e-mail, states: [P]erhaps you might have noticed Councilmember Brazil
in a promotional piece for the [Fox 5's] investigative news team. Council
committee hearings are the only way in town for people to participate [in D.C.'s
legislative process]. This is a quote from the National Conference of State
Legislatures Committee January 1999 report on the D.C. Council. A month later the DC
Appleseed Center issued its own report on the Council, and among other things recommended,
Establish[ing] a comprehensive citizen outreach strategy that not only improves
methods for providing notice of hearings, but includes additional ways of increasing
public awareness of, and involvement in, Council activities.
With this relatively recent public assessment of the Council, I was
surprised to read in the Post [Lax Laws Make D.C. Haven For Marijuana,
Council Told, Jan. 14, 2000] that a bill was being discussed at a Judiciary
Committee hearing to consider making marijuana distribution a felony and that the only
persons present appeared to be a Post reporter, Chairman Brazil, U.S. Attorney
Lewis, and two officers from the Metropolitan Police department. One reason for my
surprise is that I remember testifying a couple of years ago on almost identical proposed
legislation and seeing many other persons in opposition testifying.
Apparently only a select group received notice of this January 13th
hearing on Bill 13-240, which was introduced in May 1999 by Mr. Brazil. There was no
public notice of this hearing either in the Council calendar or the D.C. Register
(although I am told some in the press were notified). Five years ago, Mr. Brazil authored
legislation reducing citizen involvement in the criminal justice system by eliminating
jury trials for most misdemeanors. I guess he is now streamlining another
branch of government. He may be right that it is easier to reach verdicts and pass
legislation when citizens don't slow up the process, but the chair of our judiciary
committee should hold the opinions of citizens in higher regard they can still vote
(unless the legislation when through without public notice, taking that right away too).
On March 7, 2000, Councilmembers Mendelson, Allen and Chavous introduced the
Misdemeanor Jury Trial Act of 2000, Bill 13-634. It's a step in the right
direction. Let's hope Mr. Brazil will allow this bill to be considered in his committee
(even though neither Fox 5 nor the Post have suggested he do so) and that the Council does
something to address NCSL and Appleseed Center's valid criticism and recommended solutions
the Council has had more than a year to consider.
I agree with Thomas Smith's posting about the futility and stupidity of
the so-called Drug War. An organization called Common Sense for Drug Policy has a great
web site for those who are interested in working to change drug policy it's http://www.csdp.org.
The Friends of Cleveland Park Library had a very successful spring book
sale, and we thank all our friends and neighbors who bought or donated books (often both).
Now, however, we must ask that no more books be donated for a while. The Cleveland Park
Library will be closed during April for asbestos abatement, and therefore cannot take in
any donations. And for the rest of March, our volunteer sorters will be busy boxing up the
books we presently have on the shelves, in preparation for the asbestos work. We simply
cannot deal with more books at this time. We will be open for business donations
in May. See you then!
The Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Branch of the D.C. Public Library
will host its semi-annual book sale on Saturday, April 1 from 12 4 pm. The library
is located at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street, NW, across from
the Tenleytown-AU metro stop.
Spring Auction and Dinner at Temple Micah
Sid Booth, SidBooth1@aol.com
I'd like to invite you to the delectable, delightful and (substantially)
tax deductible Temple Micah Purim/Spring Auction on Saturday, March 18. The festive event
includes a seated dinner, dessert and wine; a silent auction where bids are submitted on
cards, and a (sometimes) wild and entertaining live auction. All these techniques are to
allow bids on a wide variety of goods and services, including: sporting, concert, and
theater tickets; home cooked or restaurant lunches, brunches, and dinners; escape
weekends, use of summer and winter vacation houses; gift certificates for book stores,
department stores and restaurants; paintings, glassware, sculpture, prints, and other
collectibles; personal, legal, medical, culinary and vocational services, and cooking,
baking, yoga, art, computer, or language lessons.
Tickets to the auction and dinner are $25 and can be purchased at the door
2829 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., between Fulton and Garfield Streets. Contact 342-9175.
Tasting Society International
Charlie Adler, firstname.lastname@example.org
March and April wine events: 1) March 14th (Tuesday), New Restaurant
Series Fairmont Bar & Dining, 4936 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda, MD, public
parking across the street, Metro: Bethesda (Red Line), 7-9 PM, $45, in advance, tax and
tip inclusive. Join Executive Chef Leungo Lippe (formerly of Lenox Room in NYC, and Marco
Pierre White in London) at Bob McKay's new exciting restaurant in Bethesda. We'll taste a
variety of fare (vegetarians welcome!) off the new menu, all paired with 8 wines. This
event will be limited to the first 75 people who purchase advance tickets. 2) March 27th
(Monday), The Sonoma County Wine Experience Tour to Benefit Share Our
Strength, Park Hyatt, 1201 24th St., N.W., 6:30-9 PM, $45 in advance. Taste over 100
stellar wines from Sonoma's finest wineries and benefit Share Our Strength's fight to stop
hunger. This is part of SOS's national tour bringing the great wines of Sonoma, California
across the country. Stonestreet, La Crema, Nelson Estate, Rancho Zabaco, Schug Carneros
Estate, and Pedroncelli are just a few of the stellar wineries in this showcase event. 3)
March 30th (Thursday), Spring Wine Tasting Extravaganza! Radisson Barcelo
Hotel, 2121 P St., NW, Valet Parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-9 PM, $35 per
person. Taste over 80 French Wines and purchase them at the real wholesale prices. Say
Au revoir! to paying too much for a great selection of French wines and
champagne! Wines Provided by William-Harrison Imports Portfolio. 4) April 4th (Tuesday),
Thai Gourmet Food and Wine, Bangkok Bistro, 3251 Prospect St., NW, (Between
33rd St., and Wisconsin Ave.), parking available next door or valet, 7-9 PM, $45, in
advance, tax and tip inclusive. Taste traditional and New Wave Thai cuisine paired with 8
different wines (vegetarians welcome!). This event will be limited to the first 75 people
who purchase advance tickets. 5) April 18th (Tuesday), French Country Wines,
Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $40 per person. Taste the best of France's countryside! 6)
April 20th (Thursday), Great Wines of Italy, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM,
$40 per person. Join Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian Magazine, as we taste a
fantastic selection of Italy's great wines. 7) April 27th (Thursday), Wine Basics
101, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $39 per person. Our most attended event!
Reservations: click on https://labyrinth.dgsys.com/clients/tastedc.com/order.cgi.
Rental Apartment Wanted
Laura and Francis Siaya, email@example.com
Just a notice to see if anyone knows of a nice 2 bedroom that will up for
rent soon. My husband and I (along with our cats) are trying to find a nice place in a
safe neighborhood. If anyone has any suggestions we would appreciate hearing from you.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Executive/Personal Asst. needed immediately for media personality. Manage
a two-person smoke-free office, provide research/editorial/PR assistance, handle personal
schedule, run errands (must have drivers license) and more. MUST be computer, web,
office and media savvy, a self-starter, and interested in politics/entertainment
essential. Unique, full-time opportunity for one with a flexible schedule and sense of
humor. E-mail detailed cover letter, resume, and 3 references to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artists and Entertainers Sought for Glover Park Day
Judie Guy, email@example.com
Looking for artists and entertainers for Glover Park Day -- Saturday, June
3, 11 to 5 on the grounds of Guy Mason Rec. Center at Wisconsin and Calvert. This is our
11th annual neighborhood festival, and it's very popular and well attended. Every year we
feature food from our award winning restaurants, arts and crafts by local artists, diverse
local musicians/other entertainers, children's activities, prize drawings, etc. While we
always have returning artists and musicians, we're always looking to add new ones as well.
Fee for space for artists/crafters is very reasonable. Pay for entertainers negotiable.
E-mail if interested.
This is to let you know that the March 2000 on-line edition has been
up-loaded and may be accessed at http://www.intowner.com.
Included are all community news stories, editorials (including prior months' archived),
restaurant reviews (prior months' also archived), and the text from the ever-popular
Scenes from the Past feature. Also included are all current classified ads.
The next issue will publish on April 14. To read the lead stories, be sure to click the
link on the home page to the following headlines:
1400 Block P Street on a Roll; Properties Being Acquired, Projects to
Hilton Expansion Plan D.O.A. with Neighborhood; Company May Reconsider
The Phillips to Expand; Museum's Director Tells of Plans for Community Outreach
Dorothy Bedford Hopley ("Miss Dottie") Celebrates 100; Neighbors & Friends
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
ACKERMAN'S SHADOW SUPERINTENDENT: D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is a
firm believer in the District's unique separation of powers doctrine. Under the city's
home rule charter, Ackerman isn't accountable to the mayor and is barely answerable to the
D.C. Council, though it determines each spring how much money the schools get. The
superintendent's only boss, in fact, is the out-to-lunch D.C. financial control board,
which seized control of the schools in November 1996.
D.C.'s official flow chart provides Ackerman a written excuse for blowing off kid-oriented
events held by Mayor Anthony A. Williams. For example, when the mayor on Jan. 5 announced
his plan to recast the elected Board of Education, Ackerman stayed away. Nor did she make
the scene at the March 6 State of the District Address, at which Williams outlined his
bold education plan and which the mayor held on Ackerman's own turf at Ballou High
School. She also bagged out on the mayor's Monday afternoon budget briefing but did send
her deputy, Elois Brooks. (Aides say the superintendent has been out of town recently to
tend to her ill father.)
In the year to come, however, Ackerman must add another duty to her position description:
warding off an increasingly meddlesome mayor.
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 April 9: Michael A. Lang: A Nice Clean Room -- Pool Hall Portraits >From 1950s
Baltimore, on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday
and Sunday, to Sunday, April 9, at the Touchstone Gallery, 406 7th St. NW. Free.
Saturday, March 18: Cathy Ponton King & Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, 7 p.m. at
the State Theater, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. $13.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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