Give It Up, Tony
Dear Mr. Mayor:
We understand, secondhand of course, that you're furiously angry. But your
anger at us is misdirected. You announced that you were going to run your campaign to pass
the School Governance Charter Amendment by using taxpayer funds, government workers
campaigning during their work hours, government facilities, and government supplies. In
fact, you did all of that at the campaign kickoff rally on June 8. The next day, we filed
a complaint with the Office of Campaign Finance and the Board of Elections and Ethics (http://www.dcwatch.com/election2000/charter3.htm).
What you did was wrong, and you should admit it and swear that you will
not do it again. Instead, you have insisted that what you did was right, that you will
continue to do it, and that you have a lawyer's opinion justifying running a political
campaign using government resources (http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor/000525.htm).
The lawyer's opinion is a joke, and everybody knows it it says that the citizens
voting aren't the electorate in an election, but the legislative body deciding a
legislative issue, and that therefore you aren't campaigning for voters, but lobbying the
legislature. As Tom Sherwood said on the District Politics Hour on Friday,
The only thing missing was Jay Leno's laugh line. Nobody buys it, and you
should admit that it is a transparent fiction.
There are two kinds of lawyers, the kind who will tell you how to act
within the law and the kind who will give you a rationale for evading the law. If you
wanted to know what you could do legally, you would have sought an opinion from the Office
of Campaign Finance or the Board of Elections in the first place; instead you shopped for
a lawyer who would tell you that there was a slippery way to do what you wanted to do,
even if it was against the law. Mr. Mayor, stop now, rethink your strategy, and go back to
running your campaign with massive donations from Virginia and Maryland businessmen, the
way you planned to do in the first place.
Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill
Mark Eckenwiler, email@example.com
Upon perusing the full text of the Charter Amendment up for a vote on 6/27
(available at http://dcboee.org/htmldocs/measu3lt.htm
I noticed that in addition to restructuring the Board, it would allow the City Council to
create a state education agency. Has this been completely ignored by the local media, or
was I simply lulled by the volume of discussion of the Board restructuring proposal? More
to the point, why exactly do I want another agency responsible for a piece of the DCPS
puzzle? As someone with a long-standing objection to DC's abnormally high
bureaucrat/teacher ratio, I'm not sure I understand how this creation and delegation of
authority is supposed to improve things. Can somebody enlighten me?
A Hobsons Choice
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Who was Hobson, anyway? I guess he was faced with a difficult choice
selecting one or the other of two unpleasant decisions. Well, that's what we are facing
here in the proposals for the next School Board. We either choose a hybrid, nine member
Board with members appointed by the Mayor, other members elected by more than one ward and
one at large member. Damned if we do and damned if we don't.
My own choice is neither of these but rather an elected nine member Board
comprised of members who were all elected at-large. I believe that this
configuration would ensure the election of the highest qualified Board members to
represent the kids in the District, and it would add cooperation and communication in
place of the current competition (ward turf battles).
After some long thought on this subject (and after five years as a school
board member in my past life) I have concluded that it is time for a change. It is time to
swallow hard, bite my tongue (and perhaps a bullet), to vote for the hybrid Board
proposal. We cannot go back to the 11 member Board without its disintegrating into the
chaos that is evident on the current elected Board. I can only hope that there will be a
spirit of oneness with the hybrid Board and that they will proactively begin the real
reformation of the DCPS. It is time for a change.
With Uncharacteristic Brevity
Ms. Dorothy Persiflage, email@example.com
Concerning local drug stores, Ms. Persiflage has consistently had ghastly
experiences at the Rite Aid at 13th and U Streets, N.W. Her one experience with Tschiffely
Pharmacy on 19th Street was the opposite. A tout ta' Do
And Yet Another Bad Experience at 3400 Wisconsin
Judie Guy, firstname.lastname@example.org
The night before needing to get a prescription filled, I read the warning
in themail about the CVS pharmacy service at 3400 Wisconsin. Foolishly I went ahead and
had my doctor call my prescription in there anyway (it's the closest, blah, blah). Granted
that 7 to 9 p.m. is probably their busiest time, as folks stop by after work, but they are
completely unequipped to handle that traffic near as I can tell. There was always a seven
person line. I waited 30 to 40 minutes for a prescription that was called in 10 hours
earlier. Obviously they started from scratch when I arrived. In the meantime I watched as
they 1) gave someone the wrong medication (not even close); 2) told someone else (a former
city councilman I might add) that the prescription he had called in the day before was
on order and wouldn't be ready till late next day. He was nicer than I and
wondered only why they hadn't let him know this was the case. I left without even getting
insurance reimbursement since it became obvious that that transaction would take another
half hour. We'll need to call your insurance company. Why? The numbers
don't match (whatever that meant I wasn't about to hang around still longer to find
out). I too am vowing never again and plan to use Safeway or the independents. I
understand 3400 will close once the CVS opens near Wisconsin and Hall Place (even closer
to me). However, my hopes aren't high that service will improve with a new location.
Three Cheers for the Little Guy!
Jan Morton, email@example.com
When CVS performed its hostile takeover of the MacArthur Theater a few
years ago, the community backed, with a vengeance, the little MacArthur Drugs just a
couple of doors down the street. They're good! The nicest people, good service, well
stocked, well informed, good schedule of open hours and free delivery. Nice example of the
little guy refusing to be sucked up by the humongous (in every way) big guy.
Grubbs Pharmacy on Capitol Hill
Ron Eberhardt, RGE1022@aol.com
It sounds as though many of us have had it literally with
many of the chain pharmacies such as the almost always deplorable CVS. So, if you live or
work on Capitol Hill or nearby, I strongly recommend Grubb's Pharmacy on East Capitol and
4th Streets, S. E. (543-4400). I have traded at this independent neighborhood pharmacy for
almost 20 years though I no longer live on the Hill. Grubb's once had a soda bar
but has now modernized its space, grown significantly, and in an age of poor
counter service even provides delivery! Telephoned prescriptions may be picked up
efficiently. There are a sufficient number of competent on-duty pharmacists and the staff
is generally helpful and friendly.
I'm so glad to find out that this issue affects other residents throughout
DC. Please contact your councilmember about this. There should be an exception so that
even if you live on a street without residential parking, you can get a permit to park
throughout your ward. Let's band together and get this changed.
[Denise Wiktor graciously E-mailed me the sections of the Municipal
Regulations (DCMR 18-2411 and 18-2412) that cover residential parking permits. Most of the
language covers how specific blocks are designated as residential parking areas and how
the permits work. There are only three paragraphs that apply to our question as to whether
residential parking permits are limited only to people who live on restricted parking
blocks. They are DCMR 18-2412.11, 12, and 13: 2412.11 After the Director designates
a block for residential permit parking, the Director shall distribute applications for
residential permit parking stickers to the residents of that block. 2412.12 An application
for a residential permit parking sticker shall contain the name of the owner or operator
of the motor vehicle, the vehicle's body make, body style, serial or VIN number,
identification tag number, and, when appropriate, the vehicle's reciprocity number.
2412.13 The motor vehicle registration and related documentation may, in the discretion of
the Director, be required to be presented when filing an application in order to verify
the application. As I read these sections, they require the DMV to distribute
applications to the residents of a block that is newly designated for residential permit
parking, but they don't restrict residential permits to residents of restricted blocks.
So, unless I'm missing something, I'm back to my original position DMV's policy
isn't supported by the Code or Regulations. Gary Imhoff]
Caution to Minors: themail May Be Dangerous to Your
Len Sullivan, firstname.lastname@example.org
On the off chance that there are some kids out there smart enough to read,
but dumb enough to read the compulsive venting of us (we?) windbags in themail, here is
some different advice about K-12 public education, at the risk of riling Senior
Contributor Ed Barron (6/7/00). The majority of DC's kids don't stand a chance of making a
decent living tomorrow doing what they most like doing today. Most of us make
(made) a living plying trades that others are willing to pay for, not those we most want
to sell. Developing those trades surely requires first learning some standard and
eminently testable skills like reading, writing, math, and nowadays
science. After that, take wing if you wish. If you don't believe me, ask DC's chronically
underprivileged and underemployed or perhaps even the special ed bus drivers.
Instead of seeking out the teachers avidly teaching what they like best to
teach, consider seeking out those teaching what you need to know with a
demonstrable, tested, track record in your needs, not theirs. And before you seek out a
private or parochial school awash in educational freedoms, remember that the good ones get
their students (and their endowments) by maintaining a track record of rigorously
preparing kids to earn Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores high enough for acceptance
into the nation's best colleges. Some of us believe Arlene Ackerman was on the right
academic track for an urban school system struggling to prepare underprivileged kids for a
productive future in the American lifestyle. Reading, writing, math, and science are not
electives for them. Testing is the accepted method for monitoring success in teaching and
in learning those rudimentary skills and in preparing kids for jobs. It is done
nationwide and worldwide, and it is worrisome that DC kids rank way below the American
norm, and Americans are no longer at the top of the international scale.
Jackhammers Are Gone
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Peace at last. The jackhammers rattling the cages near the AU Law School
at the corner of Massachusetts Ave. and 48th Street are silent. The demolition phase of
the area in front of the building is completed and restorations are underway. This is a
pretty major renovation which will include a decorative fountain in the center of the open
area, all new landscaping, and seating for some students between classes (those committed
smokers in the student body of would-be litigants). Construction is scheduled for
completion by mid-August.
I stand by my remarks that opening Klingle Road will merely make it easier
for suburban commuters to get to work at the Ronald Reagan building, at the expense of our
quality of life (shmoes was a joke, lighten up!). As came out in the hearings
yesterday, Reno, Connecticut, 34th Street, Porter, etc., are jammed with cars; if the road
is opened we'll have another street jammed with cars, because the amount of cars in the
metro area is continuing to increase, and we will only encourage more driving instead of
more mass transit. We need green space. Enough is enough. There are currently five streets
that cross Rock Creek Park: Military Trail, Blagden, Tilden/Park, Porter, and Calvert.
Opening Klingle does not add a way across the park the road runs into Porter and
both streets enter onto the same bridge to get to Adams Mill. Currently we have five busy
streets and one park; open the road and we will have six busy streets and no park.
Ms. Wiktor writes that she cannot get to the Cathedral from Mt. Pleasant,
because she is prevented from getting there, and now must go all the way to
Virginia to buy herbs. This is a rather incredible statement. Please try Tilden, Calvert,
or Porter, and you will get to the Cathedral in minutes. Better yet, try the #92 McLean
Gardens/Anacostia bus, which leaves from Adams Morgan pretty often, or the bus across
Porter, H2 I think. Or get on a bike and ride up Klingle, enjoying the scenery on the way.
What is more disturbing is the statement that our community (Ward 3), by wanting the road
closed, is insular. On the contrary we want Klingle Valley to be made
part of Rock Creek Park so that more people can enjoy it. The area is not very inviting
right now (but still heavily used) because of the broken pavement and garbage. If we make
into a part of Rock Creek Park, the area will be maintained at no expense to DC and easily
accessed from both ends Woodley and Rock Creek Park. There would be signs directing
people, perhaps picnic areas, and the area would also show up on maps as a part of the
Park. The more the merrier. In addition, I advocate entries to the Park from Connecticut
Avenue near Cleveland Park, so you don't have to jump over any stone walls, as is the case
now. Far from being insular, the neighborhood wants more access to the area,
not less. We just want you to walk or bike through it, not drive.
Vehicle Inspection Kudos
Henry B Thomas, HThomas@erols.com
Having just returned from the Half Street inspection station, I feel
obliged to share my welcome experience. I arrived at 9:48 on this Thursday morning, and
was out within ten minutes. The staff members I had contact with were polite and helpful.
In all, a signal improvement. (Of course, it helped that my car passed.)
If it is the consensus of themail subscribers that Chief Ramsey is not
professionally qualified to comment on gun control policy, but that DC Council politicos
are professionally qualified to dictate the precise fraction of uniformed police to be on
the street at all times, then DC's license plate slogan should read Alice in
Does anyone have any idea what is happening with the Roosevelt building at
16th and W Streets? In the past few weeks, as I walk by the front of the building and wait
for the downtown bus, I have noticed a white security small truck and a sport
car (green car, plates RIP DRE). They just sit there and play their music loud and talk.
There are usually three people there. I think security is a great idea, especially because
since the building has been vacant there have been fires and vandalism which have caused
someone to erect a fence all around the building. But what are these people really doing
there? They are not there in the evening at 5 pm when I get home, and they are not there
at night. How can I get a day gig where I can just sit there chatting and listening to
music, and get paid for it? I could get a lot of reading done.
I've had so many email requests for the new issue of Street Stories on
Police Chief Charles Ramsey that I've created a web site. I've never created a web site
before, so it is kind of clunky. Interested parties should visit the web site: its address
DC Voting Rights Meeting
Richard Steacy and Esther Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Washington Ethical Society, Neighbors, Inc., and DC Vote cordially
invite you and your friends to a reception and discussion about how you can help to get DC
citizens full representation in Congress. Jamin B. Raskin, co-council in a federal lawsuit
to obtain such voting rights, will be a speaker. Tuesday, June 13 at 7:15 pm, at The
Washington Ethical Society, 7750 16th Street, NW (at Kalmia Rd., NW).
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
I am moving to San Francisco in July and would like to sell some furniture
before I leave DC. If you are interested, please contact Scott Hummel at 543-1804 (e) or
687-3573 (d). The Big List (all prices negotiable): 8" queen futon/tri-fold frame
(great bed). $90; 8" queen futon/bi-fold frame (great couch), $75; oak coffee table
from Crate & Barrel, $90; pine kitchen table with drawers from Ikea
(30"x30"), $90; two dressers (both with 3 drawers), $40 each; jute rug (6'x9'),
$30; maple end table, $20; 13" color tv GREAT picture, $25; microwave oven, $25;
Uniden cordless phone, $15; set of 4 pine TV tables, $30.
Two bedroom apartment needed for two graduate students by August 1 in
Glover Park or Burleith area. Please call Sally at 544-0022.
ISO Savvy Reel-to-Reel Techie
Sid Booth, SidBooth1@aol.com
A friend's favorite reel-to-reel tape deck, a Revox 77A model, has gone
weird and needs repair. It fast forwards and rewinds, but won't advance the tape in play
mode. This is a quality, if venerable (28 years) machine, so we're seeking someone who
knows what he's doing and will make a house call to my blind/elderly friend at his
apartment on Connecticut Avenue. Please call me with suggestions at 483-5409 or write to SidBooth1@aol.com.
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