Dear Fellow Objects of Contempt:
In the school charter amendment election, it's the powers-that-be against parents and
citizens, and the powers are pulling out all the stops. Mayor Williams certainly isn't
letting any ethical considerations stand in his way; his aim is obviously to win this
election at any cost. He started by scheming to schedule the vote as a separate special
election, between two summer primary elections, in order to keep voter turnout as low as
possible. Then he began using taxpayer funds to run his campaign. On Friday, the Office of
Campaign Finance called him on that and ordered him to stop (see http://www.dcwatch.com/election2000/charter6.htm).
He's already demonstrated his contempt for that legal order today, churches
throughout the District distributed campaign flyers for the charter amendment that were
distributed to them by the Mayor's Office of Religious Affairs, with a request printed on
the stationary of the Executive Office of the District that they support the amendment (http://www.dcwatch.com/election2000/charter7.htm).
Mayor Williams also contrived to set up a secret campaign fund of at least $80,000, to be
administered by DC Agenda a creation and agent of the Federal City Council
that the public was never supposed to learn about and that was never supposed to be
reported to the Office of Campaign Finance. When that fund was revealed, it was disbanded,
or so we have been told. We haven't yet found out where that money will pop up next.
Advocates of dividing the school board into elected and appointed factions claim that
they will be accountable, more accountable than representatives who are
elected by the people. So far, they have only demonstrated that they are recklessly
contemptuous of the election process and of us, the electorate. The Current
newspapers asked me to write a piece stating why I personally oppose the charter
amendment; if you want to see it, it's at http://www.dcwatch.com/gary/gri0006.htm.
Hobsons Choice Continued
Michael Bindner, email@example.com
The school board referendum may indeed be Hobson's choice for a different reason than
you think. Given the grass roots mobilization capabilities of the various parent groups,
the referendum is likely to fail. However, given the attitude of Congress toward our
rights, I fully expect that the likely defeat of Matter #3 will be overturned by Congress,
with Alice Rivlin and Eleanor Holmes Norton cheering from the wings (although Eleanor may
act all indignant and organize a march against it, if this happens however, this
matter would not have gotten this far without her support). The challenge is, what will
District citizens do if this happens? Will they finally take to the streets themselves or
will they roll over again, accepting Congressional tyranny without so much as a whimper?
We are about to see.
Of course, if the Adams v. Clinton lawsuit for full self-determination prevails in the
Supreme Court the question will be moot, as the citizens of the District will vote for
either unification with another state or statehood in that instance (and will likely
support statehood). The 1982 Constitution (the only one which has been ratified by D.C.
voters) provides for a 9 member elected school board with 8 ward members and one at-large.
The referendum does not change this provision (and a referendum would be required to do
A final comment about Mr. Rudolph's list of news articles: it is interesting to note
that the last three citations come during the reign of the current APPOINTED regime, which
has in fact done a worse job than the elected board, opening the schools three weeks late
and never quite carrying through with the school violence prevention and local school
restructuring measures that the prior regime had laid out and was about to implement when
power was snatched away by Congress. (Yes, you read right, the Control Board regime did
not cause reform they stopped it in its tracks).
David Meadows, Eastern Market, Shad0421@aol.com
Does anyone know what the salaries of the lame hybrid School board will be? In the text
of the school governance referendum, it says that all school board members
will be paid, leaving vague space to insert the dollar amount. Does this mean that they
all will receive the same rate of pay, will this rate reflect the current rate of the
board now? Why do I think that the elected members will be paid much less than the well
qualified appointed ones? Hopefully we will all vote NO and get to solving the real
problems of DCPS.
Thank you for exposing the cynical plot of The Federal City Council (FCC) to deprive
District voters of their voice in the future reform of the D.C. Public School System! All
of this idle talk of self-determination and home rule is such a joke when the very people
whom we have elected to represent us and who complain the most about our lack of democracy
are subverting our right to a free and fair election. Why don't they believe enough in
their own position to convince the voters that it is the right choice? Why are the
architects of the referendum running so fast from it that they (Mayor and City Council)
will not appear before the voters and defend it? It should not take a disinformation
campaign paid for by the moneyed special interests of this City (FCC) to counter the gut
reaction of the voters. Why is there one message for the west side of town
Accountability and another message for the east side Vote
YES for better schools? Is Accountability a code word for something that
folks on the east side cannot grasp?
I agree with The Common Denominator: This special election with a
$370,000 price tag is about a power grab, pure and simple. This isn't about
educating the children. This referendum is not about creating a 'hybrid' school board of
partially elected and partially appointed members. This referendum is about what happens
to the DC Board of Education and our public schools four years from now. It will not fix
long-standing dysfunction and threatens to exacerbate the current problems. Even the
people supporting this proposal acknowledge there is no clear evidence that making this
change will fix anything. DC voters should remain in direct charge of the basic structure
of local government, including who makes policy for the public schools. (http://www.thecommondenominator.com/editorials.html)
The choice is clear, a no vote simply means a rejection of this referendum. If
rejected, there is nothing to prevent us from going back to the drawing board to come up
with a solution that the public supports. There is enough blame to go around for the
dismal state of the D.C. Public School System, but attributing all of the blame to the
elected school board(s) for the neglect and under-funding of the past, when the Control
Board Trustees have done little over the past three years to fix the system, is
disingenuous. Clearly, it is going to take all of our efforts, working together, to turn
the DCPS around. It will never happen by further polarizing the electorate with a covertly
financed campaign to steal an election. This is more than just about school governance. If
they (our elected politicians driven by the Federal City Council) can get away with this,
then they can get away with anything! What's next? The downtown baseball stadium? A
resurrection of the Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC) that was shelved last year?
More trash-transfer stations? GIVE US A BREAK!
Reasons to vote No on the referendum on June 27: Vote No because it is an assault on
your voting rights. Vote No because a referendum should be used to implement change for
the better, not just change. Vote No because you think what we need to improve the
educational opportunities for children is more citizen involvement, not less. Vote No
because after four years the council could change the governance structure to whatever it
wants without another opportunity for the citizens to vote. Vote No because you do not
like being told to vote yes or else, the threat we've heard anonymous elected officials
repeat to explain their support for an awkward structure. Vote No because you like the
idea that the people who set policy for the public schools are directly accountable to the
public. Vote No because it is a plan endorsed by the Control Board the same people
who brought you General Becton, increased budgets, and minimal improvements. Vote No
because you don't want to institutionalize factionalism, which will happen if we have a
mix of appointed and elected members. Vote No because you think Mayor Williams should
concentrate on fixing the support services for families that allow their children to go to
school ready to learn and not distract himself with taking over the schools. Vote No
because you know this idea is a creature of DC Agenda and other moneyed interests in the
city and is not citizen driven. Vote No because supply your own reason.
Gerald Woody, PTA president Spingarn, in care of firstname.lastname@example.org
[The following letter was severely shortened in today's Washington Post] As
the father of three children who have attended DC public schools I consider this
referendum an insult. While the power brokers argue about who decides what the basic needs
of my children continue to go unmet. I resent the time I'm being required to devote to the
defeat of this legislation. If governance is such an important part of what is wrong with
our schools, why was the all-appointed Board of Trustees such a failure? The council
itself could not find a governance structure that the majority of them felt comfortable
with but under a perceived threat from Congress they cooked up the "hybrid"
board. Before you take away my power to vote, you had better have a pretty strong argument
that I will see a real improvement for my children. How will having the people setting
policy in the schools be people who have not managed to get a majority of the vote help me
help my children? In the dysfunctional system which has been DCPS, my school board member
was often the only one who bothered to get my questions answered and my concerns
addressed. What people without children in the schools saw as micromanaging,
parents saw as help when we needed it.
The school board has not worked well in the past. In many cases it isn't the school
board's fault. The Office of Communication and of Parent Involvement need to become more
clued in to what parent's concerns are, and they must share information with the public.
We need to elect more members like Tom Kelly, William Lockridge, and Gail Dixon. Board
members who have an ability to talk to and listen to their communities. I see my children
benefiting from increased public awareness of the problems in the schools and from the
willingness of the Mayor to coordinate the support services our families need. I see my
children benefiting from the citywide coalition that has come into being around the goal
of defeating the referendum. I see my children benefiting from my being treated like a
thinking player in the task of raising my children. Giving the mayor more power isn't
going to help my children.
Random Thoughts on School Board Vote
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
I'm glad that DC citizens are not considering an all-appointed school board. And I
would like DC to be counted among the vast majority of school boards in the country that
are elected by citizens AND that have the resources and provide excellent educational
opportunities to students. I visited Philadelphia last week their Board of
Education is searching for a Superintendent David W. Hornbeck resigned after 6
years. (Currently, Baltimore, Denver, and Memphis are searching for Superintendents. New
York and Los Angeles last month selected non-educators for the post a corporate
lawyer and a former Colorado Governor.) In 1965, according to The Philadelphia
Inquirer (6-11-00), Philadelphians voted for a 9-member mayoral-appointed board
(recommended by a nominating panel) to break the political stranglehold on the
school board and school superintendent appointments. They disposed of the
House of Lords board that was appointed by Common Pleas Court judges who took
orders from party heads. Since then, five Superintendents have been unable to reverse the
downward spiral of a school system plagued by white and middle-class flight,
poverty, racial divisions, union strife, political fights, and steady decreases in the tax
base, public support and funding. Philadelphians are now asking if
superintendents no matter how qualified are predestined to fail.
Hornbeck came in with a 10-point blueprint for reform. He implemented performance measures
(SAT-9), full-day kindergarten. When he tried to widely reassign staff at low-achieving
schools, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers sued and won. Despite disagreements,
progress was measurable. But he ran into a major problem: money to implement his plan.
Philadelphia and the school district filed a federal lawsuit claiming the state's
school-funding formula was legally unjustifiable and racially discriminatory.
Hornbeck threatened to close schools early in 1999 for lack of funds, and the PA General
Assembly responded by passing legislation to take over the district if he did so. The
relationship between Hornbeck and Governor Ridge grew tense. To alleviate the budget
crisis, Governor Ridge agreed to lend funds to the school district so it won't have to
borrow. In exchange, Mayor Street agreed to drop the city's lawsuit for a year. Hornbeck
Philadelphia (and Portland, and other cities) show that the issues DC is trying to
solve are not unique. Finance is a big issue. And officials and citizens screw up now and
then whether elected or appointed. But DC's political circumstances are unique.
Because Congress and their agents have held or misinterpreted their exclusive power over
the District for 200 years, they are chiefly responsible for delaying DC's ability to
develop a functional local democracy. Local elites played a role, too, as history shows
they have frequently been willing to minimize local self-government and put their faith in
experts. DC citizens have done what they could within the situation they were placed --
having responsibilities without equal rights and resources. DC's elected school board has
historic ties to DC's effort to attain self-government. The federal government took away
DC's right to self-governance in 1871, and made it permanent between 1874-1973.
Supposedly, they did so because of the large debt Presidential appointee Governor
Alexander Boss Shepherd created in fixing DC's post-Civil War infrastructure.
Everyone knew it was a race issue, and was till the end. DC paid off the debt in 1916. In
1918, a Citizens' Joint Committee for an Elective School Board was established. In 1968,
DC was granted the right to the current elected school board the first institution
in which citizens had a formal vote since 1871. The new ward system established the
infrastructure needed for elections. While some thought an elected school board campaign
would divert DC from Home Rule, by 1973 Congress granted DC's current limited home rule
charter. The thought of voting away what took so long to win is shocking to many. Today,
DC is thinking about whether to vote yes or no to a proposed
compromise between the Council and the Mayor in which the board would be somewhat smaller
(this could help), a majority would remain elected (from 4 districts), and a minority
would be appointed (opening the door to shared leadership of people unlikely to run in
elections and maybe more division). One reason many democracy advocates oppose this
change is that the Control Board apparently foisted it on DC citizens from the top. I
expect if DC had political equality, the discussion would be different. I'm not
conceptually opposed to a mixed governing board. But I am still undecided. The main
question I have for those who say I should vote no, and for elected school
board members, is What can the school board do differently so that the problems of
the past three decades won't be repeated? No answer is by default a don't
know, and that worries me. I've listened to debates, read opinions, and I still
don't know the answer. I'm torn on this one. Since Congress still holds power, it is
doubtful that DC will regain their elected school board even if they vote no.
I don't have children, but my tax dollars support the schools. I strongly support a PUBLIC
school system in which all children, regardless of parents' incomes, have equal access to
quality places of learning. I don't want to see this institution dismantled. DC needs to
bring stability to its school governing system. Having two imposed appointed boards and an
impotent elected one looks like a piecemeal management plan for a creating a disaster
zone, not fixing one and it isn't DC's fault when Congress makes it a national
partisan tug-of-war zone. How either decision would help or hurt DC's goal to achieve true
local self-government is another question. The fact that a majority elected/minority
appointed board proposal would be revisited after four years adds a level of confidence to
the proposal (assuming our Council will watch closely and evaluate seriously without
getting too attached to admit if it has failed performance measures and vigilant
citizens would help). The incentive that the Mayor and the Council will have to try to
make it work adds confidence. But will the new superintendent, the new school board, the
appointed charter board, the Mayor, and the Council find innovative ways to work together
as a team to involve parents in helping to define and answer the critical
questions and priorities?
Right now, the words democracy and responsibility are as
important as ever. (At least our vote will be counted.) But which plan is likely to rally
the factions and interests and bring stability to a volatile situation? In this political
environment, can either? Either way, the rainbow is not in sight.
The Board of Elections and Ethics (727-2525) has two methods for absentee voting for
the June special election. Monday through Saturday from 8:30-4:45 you can go in person and
vote, or you can request an absentee ballot be sent to you. That request must be received
at least seven days in advance of the election. The fax number is 347-2625. Due to the
shortness of time before the election, they are recommending that you come in person.
Hardware Store in NW D.C.
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
An individual who is distressed about losing tax revenue to surrounding areas and
hates to drive so far to a hardware store has placed an ad in this week's Northwest
Current asking for responses to three questions, as follows: 1. Do you prefer a
hardware store or other type of retail at Hechinger's site? 2. How frequently
do you go to Montgomery or PG counties or Northern, VA, to buy hardware items? 3.
How important is historic preservation of the Hechinger's building if a hardware
retailer wants to lease it?
The author of this ad requests responses via e-mail to email@example.com by 30
June. A very high response level to these questions might help persuade a good hardware
operation to lease some or all of the space at the old Hechinger's.
District of Columbia Forecast
David Sobelsohn, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like retrocession, you'll love this: email@example.com
sends out daily weather forecasts to its subscribers. For forecasts of the weather in DC,
the subject line reads: zone Forecast for District of Columbia,
MD. Does Triumph PC know something we don't know? Here's an explanation from David
Maggin of Triumph PC: I apologize for the 'inaccuracy' of our zone forecast header
info. However, this information comes from NOAA and we merely repackage it for our
subscribers. And, for whatever it's worth, DC's not the only inaccuracy in their
I am responding to Eddie Becker's question asking whether anyone else has encountered
examples of the police not wanting to take reports of crime. This happens a lot here on
Capitol Hill. Nearly everyone I know has a horror story about this happening to them or
somebody they know. I remember a guy telling a story at a public meeting about being
robbed and assaulted in front of his house and the police didn't want to take a report.
I've heard stories about cars being broken into where the cops didn't want to take a
report. The same with home burglaries. Many of the officers do everything they can to
persuade you not to file a report. They quite simply don't want to fill out the paperwork.
Some of us feel that there is also pressure on the officers from their captains and
commanders not to take reports to keep crime statistics down.
I've also heard stories about crime scenes where a house was broken into and the owner
asked the cops to dust for fingerprints. The cops laughed at the notion! And when citizens
ask the police what the chances are of catching the criminal who robbed them, stole their
car or burgled their house, the cops tell them off the record that there's practically no
chance at all.
Crime Down If It Is Not Reported
David Pansegrouw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Becker cites a recent experience about the police being unwilling to file a report
that rings familiar with me! About two years ago I was attacked and received cuts to the
head that required eight or ten stitches. The police who came did not give me a report
number when asked for one and told me that a detective would contact me. I still haven't
heard from any detective. A sure way to make crime statistics go down is to not record it
even though the crime has been reported.
I had a similar experience with a better conclusion with a stolen vehicle a few years
ago. My mother's vehicle was stolen. Within a half hour of the theft we called to report
it. The person on the phone said a detective would be come in a few hours and refused to
take any info. After about a half hour of steaming I called the police back and insisted
that a stolen vehicle report be taken over the phone. So happens that at about the same
time the thieves were being pulled over in Arlington for a traffic violation. They found
the registration and told the officer that the vehicle belonged to their aunt. The officer
did a check on the registration and found nothing. Upon further questioning of the
thieves, the officer found something else (I think an expired driver's license) that
caused him to check the registration again, about 15/20 minutes after his first check. Lo
and behold, it came up stolen! If I had not insisted on the stolen vehicle report being
taken over the phone the two gentleman would never have been charged with auto theft (they
were convicted too).
The posting from Eddie Becker on the DC Police response to residential burglaries
brought back very painful memories to me. Two years ago, while my family was on vacation
at the Outer Banks, our home on Capitol Hill was systematically looted over a period of
several days. The fella took everything VCRs, computers, TVs, stereo, VHS tapes,
microwave, my Eddie Bauer winter coat, my son's sword from ROTC at St. John's College High
School, CDs, CD-ROMs, jewelry. Neighbors eventually noticed and called the cops who showed
up with sirens blaring. The crook escaped to the alley empty-handed. The cops shoved our
refrigerator against the back door and left a business card. They never showed up to take
a report and never returned our calls. A few days later, one uniformed cop showed up and
told us to check out the pawnshops on H Street if we wanted to recover anything. Our
insurance agent finally told us to send the cops a list of what was lost by certified mail
and that would qualify as a police report for the purpose of filing an insurance claim.
Since that time, I've been skeptical about reports of lower crime in DC. Everything fellow
correspondent Bruce Suderow has told us about the performance of the cops in Fifth
District MPD is sadly true.
It wasn't always like this. When we moved to our house 25 years ago, a couple of kids
broke into the house. A neighbor also called the police who quietly slipped into the alley
and caught the kids red-handed with loot in hand. My husband later testified at a grand
jury and these two got jail time for their break-in.
Ron Eberhardt asks, How many grandmothers and children must be murdered in the
District before its liberal population will arrive at the conclusion that the barbarians
who commit these heinous crimes must meet the finality of the death penalty? Well,
if anyone could find an example of a place in the US where instituting the death penalty
actually reduced crime, that might make a difference. But while some of our most dangerous
cities are in states with the death penalty (think Texas, Louisiana) while safer cities
are in states without one (think Massachusetts), we might as well ask how many people must
die before we require murderers to wear ugly plaids in prison.
Crime and Punishment vs. Crime and Prevention
Wendy A F Green, email@example.com
Ron Eberhardt wrote, How many grandmothers and children must be murdered in the
District before its liberal population will arrive at the conclusion that the barbarians
who commit these heinous crimes must meet the finality of the death penalty? My
answer, You're asking the wrong question. Barbarism is not cured by further
barbarism. Capital punishment does not cure any societal ills. It doesn't lower the murder
rate. It doesn't reduce crime. From a policy perspective, it is never carried out in a
just manner the statistics showing the racial distribution of people on death row
Even if we could guarantee that only people who were actually guilty of death penalty
crimes were executed, it would not sway the convictions of the liberal
population who refuse to become murderers themselves. Mr. Eberhardt also wrote,
I'm also wondering if there is merit for the Mayor and Council to jointly consider
legislation that would differentiate the punishment for violent crimes committed in places
where society rightly believes itself safe from violence?
Again, the question misses the mark. Society should be safe from violence not
just at your church or your school or the zoo, but on your street corner, on your porch,
in your back yard, walking at night. Cherry-picking certain locales as 'safe zones' will
do nothing if people don't respect the laws, increased punishments won't suddenly
engender respect. Instead of focusing on ways to punish criminals, let us band together
and focus on ways to keep our fellow citizens from turning to crime, and to honestly
attempt to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes. Those people who can not or will
not be rehabilitated should be kept apart from society, not slaughtered by society.
Parking Enforcement Harassment
Richard Urban, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am having an interesting problem with parking enforcement. There is an alcove off the
main ally behind my garage. It is shared by several neighbors. One neighbor claims that I
am blocking entry to his rear gate when I pull my van up to my own garage. He has called
the police, who told him that I am not blocking his gate (which I am not). He has also
contacted parking enforcement.
I have so far received seven tickets. I challenged the first three tickets for in
alley and blocking driveway and they were dismissed in the traffic
court. Also, another vehicle in the same alcove that had been sitting there for months did
not receive tickets. However, I continued to receive tickets. One morning, while loading
my van, I went inside for literally one minute and found a ticket on the windshield when I
came back out. The time written on the ticket was 30 minutes before the actual time. The
parking enforcement person had been driving around, waiting for me to go inside so he
could place a ticket on my vehicle. To me, this is harassment plain and simple. I wrote a
letter to Gwen Mitchell, the director of Parking Enforcement, at the suggestion of the
hearing examiner, and received a temporary reprieve. However, I received a call just
Thursday from George Carr at Parking Enforcement telling me that they had determined that
I am in the alley, and they will ticket and tow my van beginning Monday. I have two main
issues here: 1) How can an individual (my neighbor who I have attempted to discuss the
issue with) influence public personnel to harass someone (me). 2) How can Parking
Enforcement determine that I am illegally parked, when the traffic court has determined
that I am not? Don't Government agencies have to follow the rule of law as determined by a
Any insight anyone has into these issues will be appreciated, and also any suggestions
about seeking legal help.
Residential Parking Permit
Andrew Aurbach, email@example.com
I remember the days before residential parking, when finding a parking spot remotely
close to our Woodley Park home was a 50-50 proposition. When the then new policy was
instituted, it was for limited hours, and only Monday through Friday. Of course, living in
Woodley Park, Zoo parking was the biggest issue, and the Metro had barely opened. Needless
to say, parking was eased during the week, but the weekends were a difficult as ever.
I too will probably get criticized for this, but I would argue that the residential
parking program should be expanded to more closely mirror other cities which have
tighter zones. For example, why should Georgetown residents be able to park in
Dupont Circle for the day? Why should Woodley Park residents be able to park in Friendship
Heights all day? I submit that the zones should be tightened to more closely reflect the
proximity of car to neighborhood. Until this happens, intra-city commuter parking will
continue to occur. As it is now, it is still somewhat difficult to get a parking place
close to business and residences clustered in high density areas such as Georgetown,
Dupont, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, etc., for the residents who live in those areas.
Look at the failed proposals by Georgetown residents for permanent "residents
only" parking on their streets!
There are a few comments about residential parking permits that fail to make sense to
me. If the purpose of the permit is to make parking on one's own block available to
residents of that block, why is the permit for a zone that is fairly wide geographically?
Why is the permit not good for only your own block? Why is it OK for permit holders to
park in other areas of their zone, but residents of the zone who are kept from having a
permit are not?
In the area that I live in, the southeastern corner of Columbia Heights (the corner
stone of the local church at the corner of Fairmont and 13th Streets NW calls it Columbia
Plain) the fallacy of the policy that limits parking permit holders to residents of blocks
with parking restrictions is obvious. Residents of 13th Street are not allowed parking
permits, but the parking allocated to them is controlled by rush hour restrictions, so
forget parking for the day. To park on Euclid or Fairmont requires a permit. As there are
a few large apartment buildings on 13th, residents of 13th are forced to park on side
streets if they do not want to move their vehicles by 7:00 am. On my block (permits
required) daytime parking is easy but evening/night parking is not, as the block has many
cars parked on it that belong to residents of 13th Street. There is no way that one side
of 13th can accommodate all the people who live there that leave for work after 7:00 am
when rush hour restrictions start. This policy creates second class citizens in DC
regarding parking. Some people can park up to three days in their neighborhood without
moving their vehicles, while others have to move up to twice a day. Parking permits should
be available to all residents of a zone.
Dr. Gridlock Maligning Civic Associations
Isabel M. Furlong, President, Cleveland Park Citizens Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Dr. Gridlock: I must make a strenuous objection to an assertion in your column of
June 15, 2000 on the Klingle Road issue in which you state: I have come to learn
that people who purport to represent civic associations and other groups sometimes speak
only for themselves. Cleveland Park Citizens Association held an open, public
meeting on December 4, 1999 to discuss the issue of the future of Klingle Road. The
meeting and the topic were publicized in the Northwest Current, by mailed notice
to the entire membership, and by hundreds of flyers posted throughout the Association's
area of membership. The meeting, held on a Saturday morning at the Cleveland Park Library,
was attended by hundreds of interested citizens. There was lengthy, spirited discussion of
both sides of the issue. Representatives of DC Department of Public Works attended and
spoke. And a vote was taken. By a two/thirds majority the membership voted that Klingle
Road should remain closed to automobile traffic and open to all who wish to use it as a
park and recreation area.
Your insinuation that this civic association (there is only one Cleveland Park Citizens
Association) is not open and fair is intolerable, unfair, and untrue. Members of Cleveland
Park Citizens work tirelessly for the good of the community. We demand an apology for this
slighting remark which reflects on those who selflessly donate hours of public service.
Peg Blechman says she volunteers at Bancroft Elementary to teach knitting instruction.
And she asks for help in how to hire a teacher trained in the Waldorf methodology for the
next school year. This reminds me of a late dear old friend, Kathleen, who was in her 80s
and drove several times a week from her home in Tacoma, WA, across the Narrows Bridge to
Peninsula High School to teach knitting to boys (yes, boys). Kathleen was one of several
volunteers who taught special classes at Peninsula. She had a captivating personality and,
by and large, was quite successful with these teenagers.
Now, I don't know the Waldorf method from the old knit one, purl two that
my Mother used to chant, but there does seem to be a difference in instructional approach
between the left coast and the right coast. The right coast likes to hire someone to do
things for us. The left coast finds a host of true (read unpaid) volunteers and plods on
with its work. My suggestion to Ms. Belchman is to mine the immediate community for
retirees and others who would like to do something useful for these children and
simultaneously keep a dying art form alive. My guess is that the kids would feel better
learning from an old-timer and the volunteer would get a big kick out of being
a teacher for a few hours each week. There are more Peg Blechmans out there; they just
need to be found. Good luck.
I'm flying back from Providence to go to two days of the festival. I can't wait to see
DC celebrated instead of neglected. None of my friends at school except the ones from
Maryland and Virginia who went to school in DC knew anything about DC's situation. The
three points I always emphasize to them: 1) DC residents are U.S. citizens denied their
Constitutional right to representation in Congress because of a technicality involving
interpretations on what the founding fathers meant by state. This lack of
representation has a huge impact on the minds, hearts, and lives of DC residents. 2) DC
officials are never truly accountable for whatever problems the city has, because Congress
is the one with total final authority. 3) There is much more to DC than the federal
presence; DC is a rich and unique city to rival any other in the world.
The folk festival is going to have a lot of neat events, including the talks by Mark
Richards and Co. Personally, I'll be at the go-go event. 'Bout time DC was recognized as
the birthplace and hometown of such fine jams! Nothin' like a go-go on the Mall at 2 in
the afternoon to crack me up.
DC Wildlife Festival
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Early last Monday I encountered a medium sized raccoon standing on the corner watching
all the cars go by. He was at the corner of Windom and 46th Street, NW (apparently not
waiting for the bus, which is on Yuma, one block away). He did not run or hide but mere
hunkered down a bit as I passed at a distance of about ten feet (giving the critter a wide
berth). They must be getting a free lunch in the alleys of AU park or from the dumpsters
behind Super Fresh, et al, of the Spring Valley Shopping Center or the Sutton
Place/Chicken Out stores on the West side of Massachusetts Avenue. I strongly suggest
giving these wild critters a wide berth, because they do bite and can be a carrier of
Stein Club Makes Endorsements
Kurt Vorndran, Kvorn@nteu.org
The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club endorsed Ward 8 Councilmember Sandy Allen for re
election Monday night. Allen chairs the DC Council's Committee on Human Services which has
jurisdiction over much of DC's AIDS and HIV related programs. In that capacity, she
recently chaired a hearing on Bill 13-266, the Needlestick Prevention Act, at the request
of the Stein Democratic Club and others. The Stein Club has asked the Committee to report
out the bill. Also receiving Stein Democratic Club support was Ray Browne, a candidate for
the Statehood Shadow Representative seat. Incumbent Statehood Representative
Tom Bryant has not filed to run for re-election. Stein President Kurt Vorndran stated,
I have had the pleasure of working with Ray Browne for many years. He will be a
strong advocate for our community the principles of the Stein organization.
The Stein Democrats took no position on the upcoming referendum to restructure the DC
Board of Education. Club Members participated in a far ranging discussion that included
presentations for a YES vote by DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson and Mayoral Aide Carlene
Cheatham. Speaking for a NO vote were DC PTA Legislative Chair Larry Gray and Democratic
Alternate National Committeeman Phil Pannell. All four speakers are Stein Club members. At
its July 10th meeting, the Stein Democrats will vote on endorsements for the DC Council
seats in Wards 2, 4 and the At-Large seat. The Club had previously endorsed Al Gore for
President and Eleanor Holmes Norton for Delegate to Congress. The Stein Democratic Club is
DC's largest local gay/lesbian political organization and is an affiliate of the National
Stonewall Democratic Federation. For more information, visit http://www.gsdcwdc.org or
call Kurt at 667-0105.
Forum on School Board Referendum
Anne Loikow, firstname.lastname@example.org
A public forum will be held on Tuesday, June 20, from 4 - 5:30 pm at the
Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW (Albemarle Street/Tenleytown Metro).
Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Councilmember, Pro, and Larry Gray, Legislative Chair,
DC Congress of PTAs, Con. Co-sponsored by ANCs 3C, 3E, 3F, 3G; Hearst PTA;
Murch Home & School Association; Stoddert PTA; Iona Senior Services; Chevy Chase
Citizens Association; Cleveland Park Citizens Association; Forest Hills Citizens
Association; Friendship-Tenleytown Citizens Association; Ward 3 Democratic Committee. For
information, contact David J. Bardin (857-6089) or Jamie Butler (364-1989).
Mark Mathabane to Discuss His New Book
Patricia Pasqual, email@example.com
Author Mark Mathabane will make one of his first appearances in the Washington
Metropolitan area to read and discuss his new book, Miriams Song: A Memoir, as
the culminating speaker at the DC Center for the Book's Spring Author Series. Vertigo
Books is sponsoring the series that is free and open to the public. Simon & Schuster
has scheduled Miriams Song for release in June 2000. The program will held
at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21, 2000, at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library, 901
G Street, N.W.
Miriams Song is a powerful memoir of a young black woman coming of age
in South Africa amid the violence of apartheid. Mark Mathabane writes based on stories his
sister Miriam told him, and recreates her experience of growing up in South Africa. He is
also the best selling author of Kaffir Boy, his own story of growing up in
apartheid South Africa. The program will last about forty minutes with the author
introducing his work, reading selections from his work and answering questions from the
audience. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the program. The Martin
Luther King Memorial Library is close to the Metro Center and Gallery Place Metrorail
stations. Limited free underground parking is available. Enter from 10th Street and G
Place, N.W. For more information, call 727-1186.
School board member Gail Dixon and her fellow delegates to the Green Party presidential
convention in Denver will be joined by some two dozen progressive activists from the
District, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee on a 1,600-mile social
justice outreach tour next week. The D.C. to Denver 2000 Freedom Ride, uniting
communities for economic, environmental and social justice, will take the struggle
for D.C. statehood on the road, meeting with activists in Pittsburgh, East Liverpool,
Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Leavenworth, Topeka, and
Denver. Highlighting the unfinished business of the civil rights movement, we as citizens
of the Last Plantation will show our solidarity with the victims of environmental justice
in East Liverpool, unions on strike in Columbus, families of the victims of radiation
experiments in Cincinnati, Leonard Peltier in Leavenworth, and fellow Greens and democracy
activists in every major city between here and the Green convention.
The convention is June 23-25, and most of it will be carried live on C-SPAN, including
Gail Dixon's speech at 12:55 p.m. EDT June 25. The 2000 Freedom Ride leaves Monday
morning, June 19, from a rally at the Frederick Douglass Home in Anacostia, 8-9 a.m. (The
Ride will leave the Frederick Douglass site just before the Juneteenth march to the
Capitol leaves there, and Juneteenth organizer Ayo Handy Kendi a veteran of the
original Freedom Rides will dedicate and bless the Ride.) Other speakers at the
rally include Statehood Green candidates Tracey Joyner (for Council, Ward 8), Arturo
Griffiths (for Council, at large) and Martin Thomas (for shadow U.S. Representative). The
rally will be covered by CNN for a segment about the Freedom Ride that will air next
weekend as part of the network's convention coverage. Please join us!
The Frederick Douglass Home is at 15th & W Streets SE, off Good Hope Road. (And
donations to the Freedom Ride fund are still needed and appreciated, payable to the D.C.
Statehood Green Party with "Freedom Ride" on the memo line, c/o Phil Barlow,
Treasurer, 1852 Columbia Road NW 20009.) For more information, call 270-3379.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Brand new white Hotpoint gas stove with automatic ignition is twenty inches wide. This
stove is excellent for the kitchen of an efficiency or junior bedroom apartment, a
basement unit, or getaway property. Hardly used over two months' ownership. Must sell to
replace with larger one. Paid $350.00. Asking price $300 or best offer.
Beautiful 1965 190 c Mercedes Benz, 4-door, gray-white, with red interior, and in
excellent condition. Custom wood paneling and black carpet; fully restored in 1986. A
jewel of an antique automobile. Must see. $5000 or best offer. Call Tim Cooper at
244-9479, or E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Job Training/Placement Groups
Martha Ross, email@example.com
I'm going to have the opportunity next fall to rotate out of my current position with
the feds into a local organization for six months. (Right now I'm at the Department of
Health and Human Services, in a research office we're sponsoring research on the
effects of welfare reform.) I'd like to work for an organization doing job
training/placement (and probably offering other supportive services) for low-income
families. I know of a few groups in town, but I'm not real familiar with the local scene.
Does anyone have any recommendations? You can respond to me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I need to talk to a lawyer specializing in DC real property about a contract breach.
Does anybody know of a good one? Please E-mail me: email@example.com; or call Ann at
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and
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