Sneak Attack Election
Those dirty, rotten, underhanded politicians excuse me for being
redundant are at it again, trying to sneak a pernicious plan past the voters by
scheduling an almost secret special election. What am I talking about? Well, when last we
visited the Board of Education, the City Council and the Mayor had agreed upon a plot to
cripple it and doom it to failure by dividing it into two factions, one part elected by
the citizens and the other part appointed by the Mayor. This has two advantages for the
Mayor and Council. First, the members of the school board would be permanently at
loggerheads with each other, and unable to govern the schools effectively. Second, nobody
could be held accountable for the schools' failures, since the two factions of the school
board would blame each other. The elected members would blame the Mayor's appointees for
obstructionism and vice versa, and the Mayor and the Council could claim that they were
unable to make anything happen under this structure. Neither the Mayor nor the Council has
yet come up with even the flimsiest rationale for how their plan would improve the public
schools or the education given to our children in the classrooms, and the only reason they
have given for supporting it is that it is a compromise.
The problem for the City Council and the Mayor is that the voters have to
approve of this silly structural change, and the citizens of this city would never pass it
in any fair election. The only way to weasel this ridiculous idea past the voters would be
to schedule an election in which nobody would vote, and that is exactly what they have
done. On Tuesday, the Board of Elections knuckled under before pressure from
Councilmembers Cropp and Chavous and Mayor Williams, and approved a special election on
the Board of Education scheme. This special election will be held sometime in late June or
early July the date hasn't even been set yet and it will be the fourth
citywide election to be held in a six-month period. The presidential primary election will
be held on May 2, the DC primary election on September 12, the general election on
November 7, and now this fourth special election will be squeezed in between the two
primaries. Publicity about the special election will be almost non-existent (you haven't
read anything about it in the Post or Times, or seen anything about it
on television news, have you?), and the voter turnout is sure to be the lowest in the
city's history. If the politicians can keep enough citizens away from the polls, they have
a good chance of getting their cockeyed connivance passed. The cost to taxpayers for the
extra election will be between $350,000 and $400,000, so we'll be paying the bill for
being snookered. But in the years to come our school children will be bearing the greater
Ablaze in Color
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Washington has to be the most beautiful city in the world in
the spring. All the flowering trees are in bloom, the tulips are up, and the azaleas are
just about popped here in NW D.C. The whole area is ablaze with color. Not to be outdone
by the new landscaping around the AU Law School Building, there is a whole new landscaping
job done on the grassy median overlooking the Super Fresh parking lot on 48th Street,
behind the Spring Valley Shopping Center. The newly landscaped plot has an abundance of
tulips around each of the trees and also a garden of pansies near the entrance ramp.
Coupled with the tons of tulips planted in front of the Exxon Station at the entrance to
the Spring Valley Shopping Center, the area is a veritable arboretum. Who could move from
Dear Mr. Mayor: Thank you for extending your moratorium on street cutting.
And thank you for attending to the temporary patching of the tech cuts that have not yet
been patched. I'm wondering, though, if it isn't asking too much to have the cutters
repatch some of the temporary patches that have come unpatched. I can give you a couple of
really neat examples. The northbound lanes of Connecticut Avenue from McKinley Street to
Chevy Chase Circle were temporarily patched not so long ago. They were so temporarily
patched that the patch is all but gone now. And the potholes growing under the former
patch have blossomed with the rest of the spring flowers, if you can relate potholes to
flowers. Speaking of McKinley, the south side of the 3700 block remains a travesty even
after recent patching. It's so bad that I and others still find it a smoother ride driving
in the wrong lane (when there is no oncoming traffic, of course) than navigating through
the rapidly disintegrating temporary patches. I'm sure that others could point out more
egregious examples of disappearing patches, but I thought I could give you a heads up on
what could follow from them.
By the way, Mr. Mayor, does the city subcontract with the same pavers that
the cutters use? I hope not, because they do a terrible job. But if you do, could you
please send me some information on how to bid for some of that work? I know nothing about
that business, but if there're big bucks in shoddy work then I'm willing to invest a few
bucks in equipment for a substantial share of the profits. Thanks for your time.
Bad News for Kennedy Playground?
Randy Wells, randy@ShawDC.com
Until as recently as February, we understood that a Request for Proposals
(RFP) for construction of a new Kennedy Playground Recreation Center (7th and P Streets,
NW) this year was nearly complete to select an excellent architecture and
construction firm to build the center. All play equipment was even removed from the
Playground as recently as this past Fall (with no warning to us, by the way), both for
safety reasons and in anticipation of groundbreaking on the new center.
We have just been informed that entire RFP was botched, and must be
reissued. It seems that the work is unlikely to begin until 2001 or later. That is
unacceptable. Friends of Kennedy Playground (FOKP) has been patiently working with the
Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and other city officials for over five years to
totally renovate Kennedy Playground. Two years ago, a series of community design meetings
produced plans for a new recreation center and playground. Both Mayor Williams (and before
him Mayor Barry) and Councilmember Evans have vocally supported the project.
The level of frustration throughout the community is extremely high. We
must find a way to guarantee that the Kennedy Playground Recreation Center goes forward
this year; install age-appropriate play equipment on Kennedy Playground within the next
month, as an interim measure until work on the permanent grounds and equipment can begin;
and develop a plan to expeditiously replace the ball courts that will be eliminated by the
construction of the new rec center.
DC Students Need a Champion
Nerissa Phillips, email@example.com
In days long ago knights rode in on mighty steeds to save those in
distress. Today the children of the District of Columbia Public Schools need a
knight/champion to save them from the tyrants who deny them a good education. The children
of the District of Columbia need an attorney who will file a $100 billion lawsuit against
this city and the Congress of the United States for failing to provide the children with a
good education. While I do not have the legal knowledge to present the merits of the case,
I am certain that the legal issues are many starting with issues of leadership. Are
there any knights/champions out there?
Main Points at Press Briefing
Mark Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
Democracy First, DC Vote, and Stand Up for Democracy in DC held a press
briefing on August 12 in which I presented three U.S. public opinion studies conducted by
telephone between August-November 1999 as the Three-Judge Panel deliberated on the two
lawsuits. The data was collected by three separate professional interviewing firms. Here
are the main points I made at the briefing:
1. A large proportion of Americans are unaware of D.C.'s problem: 55% of
college graduates registered to vote are unaware that D.C. doesn't have equal
constitutional rights, such as the right to vote in the Senate and the House. 46% think
D.C. already has the vote in the Senate and the House. 2. There is overwhelming agreement
among Americans on the principle of equality for D.C.: D.C. should have equal voting
rights in the Senate and the House 72% of U.S. public, 69% of college graduates
registered to vote, and 82% progressive state and local elected officials. This crosses
party lines: 81% Democrats, 71% Independents, and 61% Republicans. 3. Americans are open
to solutions: An Equal Constitutional Rights Amendment was most appealing to all groups.
They were more divided along ideological lines on statehood and retrocession, but there is
a base of support for both to build on. U.S. adults who support equal voting rights were
asked about remedies: 82% supported an equal constitutional rights amendment, 57%
supported statehood, and 59% supported merging D.C. into Maryland. All groups supported an
equal constitutional rights amendment, across party: 82% U.S. adults, 88% college
graduates registered to vote, and 71% progressive state and local elected officials.
Progressives liked statehood (65%) more than merging D.C. with Maryland (35%), while
college graduates registered to vote like merging with Maryland (63%) more than statehood
This polling data is a baseline to build on. Washington Post polls show
that 58% of D.C. residents support statehood (February 2000), and a Wirthlin Group poll
for the Federal City Council in 1994 showed 19% support for giving D.C. land back to
Maryland (retrocession). The main area of division on statehood in D.C. is along racial
lines 63% African American favor, 45% Caucasian favor. Here is my opinion: public
opinion is only one piece of information to consider there are legal, political,
and other issues to think about. D.C. citizens need to continue to build a foundation of
consensus and teamwork, and to work together. Without that, D.C. is unlikely to succeed in
accomplishing their goal to have the same rights as citizens who live in states.
Traffic Cameras and Timed Lights
Steph Wearing her professional hat today Faul, email@example.com
Speed-enforcing cameras have been used for decades in Europe, but have
consistently met opposition in this country. However, red-light enforcement cameras have a
60 to 70 percent approval rating here. The obvious reason is that people know they speed,
but think they don't run red lights. Red-light running is also seen as being more
dangerous than speeding. Paranoia over setting the speed cameras to a ridiculously narrow
margin is just that; a narrow margin is easily challenged in court and causes more trouble
than it's worth.
As to the lights at Dupont Circle being correctly timed
they are correct for cars, not for pedestrians. Pedestrians must cross one
lane of traffic and then stand exposed on a traffic island for several minutes before they
get a light to cross the second lane. They dash across simply to make the crossing in one
stage and to avoid standing on the island as cars whiz by within inches. In my opinion
Dupont Circle needs a new traffic engineering study to make it more pedestrian-friendly
and to smooth out some of the merges, which are also badly timed.
A note on cameras: in Europe, as in this country, the owner of the car
receives a ticket and a photo of the infraction. Back in the 1980s I met a Swiss judge who
said that at first the cameras sent a photo of the front of the car showing the driver and
any passengers. When too many such photos ended up as evidence in divorce court, they
changed to sending just the license plate.
Red Light Cameras Whats the Law?
Lorie Leavy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Under the District's traffic camera program, what exactly constitutes a
ticketable infraction? Is it entering an intersection on a yellow light? On a red one?
Failing to clear the intersection by the time the light turns red? What about left-turners
who enter the intersection on a green light but wait until the red to complete their
turns? And do the same criteria apply throughout the metropolitan area?
For once an Ed Barron suggestion that I agree with! His proposal that the
DC inspection station be privatized sounds very sensible to me. With privatized red light
cameras and a somewhat similar arrangement with our new parking meters, the inspection
station seems like an appropriate next step. It'd be interesting to know if there are any
city or state inspection stations elsewhere in the country that are privatized and, if so,
how it's working out.
Does anyone know of a listing of free health clinics in the DC area?
Someone told me the Washington Post regularly carried such a list on Thursdays.
But neither last Thursday's issue nor last Tuesday's Health section carried
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Many folks have never been to the Building Museum (right at the Judiciary
Square Metro stop). This an architectural wonder that frequently has some dynamite
exhibits. The latest one (March 29-Sept 17th) is a photo and model exhibit of the history
of the White House. Outstanding photos and scale models (one of them 60 feet long). The
large model is open at the rear and shows all the main rooms of the White House with
miniature furniture. The exhibit traces the changes made to the White House since it was
built and includes photos of the main rooms as they were decorated and redecorated over
the years by the incoming presidents. This is a no-miss exhibit at a very under-attended
Adios Mr. Itell, and a Thank You, Too
Tom Berry, firstname.lastname@example.org
So, Jeffrey Itell is leaving this burgh for one called Pitt. He may leave,
but he won't be forgotten and he surely isn't leaving without a big thank you from this
correspondent. He created a workable format for many folks (who would otherwise stifle
their thoughts) to vent, praise, argue, incite, enlighten, entertain and produce a bit of
influence along the way. One could ramble on with gushy comments, but let's just say that
what was started in 1994 continues strongly, and a simple thank you is due to the one who
allowed us all this new freedom to communicate. Adios and all the best, Jeff.
NBC Nightly News Confuses Fleecers and Fleecees
Len Sullivan, email@example.com
Tom Brokaw thinks DC residents are fleecing US taxpayers. Mayor Williams
tries to implement his vision for DC. The US Conference of Mayors wants to link cities and
their suburbs. The Mayor and both Control Board chairs doff their hats to John Hill.
NARPAC thinks DC's stock is overpriced based on first quarter 2000 earnings: too many
politicians and no statesmen in a top-heavy management structure with no common vision of
the city's destiny. Details are available in the April update of the NARPAC web site at http://www.narpac.org. Tune in, not out.
Tasting Society Intl. April Calendar of Wine and
Charlie Adler, wine@TASTEDC.COM
1) April 13th, Thursday, Evening at the Embassy of the Czech
Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom, NW (between Connecticut Avenue and Beach Drive,
just off Tilden St.), parking available. 7:00-9 PM reception and tasting, $40 in advance.
2) April 18th, Tuesday, French Country Wines, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121 P
St., NW, valet parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-9 PM, $40 per person. Taste the
best of France's countryside! 3) 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. 4) April
27th, Thursday, Wine Basics 101, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 PM, $39 per
person. Our most attended event! Reservations: http://www.tastedc.com
or call 333-5588.
DJK and The D.C. Society of Young Professionals will sponsor Graduate
Night on Tuesday, April 18, at Tequilla Grill, 1990 K St. NW, from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00
p.m. Graduate Night will give all D.C. area graduate students and law students the
opportunity to network with D.C. area professionals while partying the night away. The
event will feature live music by Jonasay, an outstanding band that recently opened for
Hootie and the Blowfish. While enjoying the music, the students will have the opportunity
to network with representatives from some of D.C.'s most prestigious organizations, such
as Voice of America. DJK is a small public relations agency formed by American University
masters students, Daga Mrozek, Jenny Lepiesza, and Krisha Chachra, as a class project. The
D.C. Society of Young Professionals is a social and networking group in the greater D.C.
Hypnosis Demonstration at MLK
Wayson Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org
On May 3, at noon, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library's Philosophy
Department will sponsor an hypnosis workshop. Many people think hypnosis is staged tricks;
I will show you its genuine power. Volunteers are not paid! Wayson Lee, trained by the
director of The Hypnosis Institute of NY, is also available for private sessions. Identify
yourself as a themail subscriber and get 50% off your first session.
CLASSIFIEDS FREE TO GOOD HOME
Im Looking for a Good Home
Stacey Kornegay, email@example.com
Hello, my name is Maxwell Alexander and my mommy asked me to write this,
because this is very hard for her to do. I am a 2 1/2 year old, neutered American
short-haired cat and I need a new home. Mommy is expecting her first human baby, and had
to move to a larger place. The new place does not accept animals, so I have been staying
with my aunt. I am 10 pounds, black and white in color, and I am up-to-date on all of my
shots. My last vet appointment was in February 2000. Of course, Mommy will provide all of
this information to my next owner, along with my toys, feeders, litter box, etc. If you
are looking for a cat or know of someone who will provide a good home for me, please give
my mommy a call on 544-2753. Her name is Stacey Kornegay and she is really anxious to find
me a good, safe
home. Thank you for your kindness. Maxwell.
We've got about 50 Ball preserve jars, one-pound size, in good condition,
that we'll be glad to give to anyone who will pick them up. If interested, please call
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Bilingual Spanish-English legal assistant for busy trial law firm near
Silver Spring Metro. Minimum 1 year legal experience required. Salary starting at high
20's. Fax resume to Jon Katz, Marks & Katz, LLC, 301-495-8815. For more information,
We're looking for caring, compulsive adults to rent our furnished Glover
Park townhouse from July 1 until July or August 2001, while we are away on sabbatical.
Three bedrooms, 2 studies, 3 full baths. Modern kitchen, 2 decks, off-street parking, A/C,
country antiques, original woodwork, piano, many other amenities. No smoking, no pets, no
groups. $2300 month plus utilities. Call 333-7795 or 333-6951 or E-mail SL43@umail.umd.edu or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Columbia Heights English Basement
Caroline Polk, email@example.com
Large one-bedroom plus den English basement for rent starting June 1,
maybe sooner. Good closet space, use of garden. +ACQ-600 per month, plus utilities
(all-electric apartment). 3 blocks to Columbia Heights Metro. Small pets ok. If you or
someone you know is interested, just let me know.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
NEVER-EVERSON: Anyone who attended Mayor Anthony A. Williams' March 6 State of the
District address learned that the mayor has at least one die-hard supporter in D.C. To
most of the pro-Williams crowd, the speech was a flat mishmash of programmatic details.
But whenever the mayor reached his version of a rhetorical flourish, a cry boomed from the
stands at the Ballou Senior High School gymnasium:
No one except longtime Ward 4 politico Norm Neverson gets that excited about this 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:
FRIDAY: Gary Braasch: Polar Thaw--Global Warming in the Arctic and Antarctic, on view from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, to Friday, June 30, at the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, 1200 New York Ave. NW. Free.
SATURDAY: The Keyboard Meets Modern Technology, at the Ripley Center, in Room 3111, 1100
Jefferson Drive SW, and the National Museum of American History's Carmichael Auditorium,
14th and Constitution Avenue NW.
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
Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML
and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to email@example.com
with unsubscribe in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available
All postings should also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, and should be about life,
government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings
must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short one
or two brief paragraphs would be ideal so that as many messages as possible can be
put into each mailing.