Teach Your Children Well
It's all about the children, and what we teach them, say Mayor Williams,
Council Chairman Cropp, and Delegate Holmes-Norton. Here is the lesson that these three
want to teach our children: Democracy is just an option, one among many ways of
governing. When democracy doesn't work smoothly (and it will never work smoothly), abandon
it. When elected officials squabble and behave badly (and they will always squabble and
behave badly), replace them with appointed officials who will be more amenable and
compliant to the powerful. When the people don't choose good representatives
democratically [and who is in a better position to judge that than Mayor Williams, Council
Chairman Cropp, and Delegate Holmes-Norton?], eliminate the people from the decision
Democratically elected school boards work well almost everywhere
else in the United States. But we must teach our children that as citizens of the District
of Columbia they are incapable of making the democratic choices that other citizens make
as a routine part of their lives. We must teach our children that other, more capable and
wiser people who have proven their worth by becoming dot-com millionaires and by
underwriting a campaign to undermine the District's democracy are better suited to
make those choices for them.
On Tuesday, teach your children well and, if you are so inclined, teach
your leaders a lesson in democracy as well.
Another Reason to Vote No on the June
Helen Hagerty, Helenmhag@aol.com
I just read the article in the Post about delaying the tally of
school votes. Did anyone catch the fact that before the council's final vote, the
council added language saying that after four years, the council without another
referendum would decide whether to maintain the same school board structure or
When did citizens have an opportunity to comment? When were we going to
find out? How unbelievably sneaky of the council to try to slip this one by us. Parents
should be especially outraged that the council would attempt to be the sole deciders of
the school board structure. We would then have no say whatsoever in the structure of our
school board. What an outrage! We must vote NO on Tuesday.
Focus Should be on How to Improve our Schools
Jim McLeod, firstname.lastname@example.org
At the ANC-2A meeting June 21st, there was a representative of DC
Appleseed who talked about the School Board Referendum. His comment about the problem with
ward members of the school board being more focused on their own wards and not necessarily
what's best for the city as a whole, caused me to ask a couple of questions. One, when the
Appleseed group studied the City Council, did they find the same problem? Two, in their
review of the school board, did they go back and ask those who created it why they
structured it the way they did? (A couple of years ago, I discovered that a Professor of
mine from long ago, Peter Teachout, was one of the drafters of the legislation that
created the school board.)
His answer to my first question that their study on the Council was
focused on how they could improve the legislative process and didn't look at the question
of restructuring the composition of the Council, made me wonder (1) why they seemed to
first look at the structure of the currently powerless school board, and (2) underscored
that this referendum is not focused on how our schools can specifically be improved. And,
strangely, his answer to my second question was that, no, they didn't look at the
initiating legislation because they didn't see a flaw in how the school board was
Notes on the 6/21 School Board Meeting
Anthony Watts, email@example.com
A few notes: 1) This was the last official meeting of the Board before the
July/August recess. The SB bid farewell to Arlene Ackerman. Most members had more or less
positive things to say. However, unless I am sorely mistaken, Westy Byrd said nothing
about Ms. Ackerman one way or another; she simply abstained from speaking. Also, Gail
Dixon was absent for the duration of the meeting; her absence was not explained. 2) Wilma
Harvey officially announced that she would not seek reelection to the SB. 3) Ackerman
announced a long list of schools that met 4 of 6, 5 of 6, or 6 of 6 yearly academic goals
goals set, I assume, by the Superintendent's office. (She did not specify the
nature of those goals.) Interestingly, one school that did not make the list was Banneker
High, supposedly a flagship high school that many have said is the best public school (at
any grade level) in D.C. I would be interested if Banneker did not meet its goals because
they were set very high, given the past academic success of students there, or because
Banneker students are performing below past levels of success. 4) SB member Bonham
attempted to get the SB to write a letter supporting the efforts of a community group
operating in his ward. Several members indicated that Bonham was operating contrary to SB
procedure (i.e., the matter should have been placed before the proper SB committee). A few
members also said that they felt the info given about the group was incomplete. Bonham
downplayed the first criticism and denied the second. 5) Several speakers made impassioned
speeches to the effect that D.C. should adapt an Afro-centric curriculum (or at the very
least, a curriculum that went beyond mere multiculturalism, and into the realm
of very strong emphasis on African history and affairs). 6) At the end of the meeting, SB
member Lockridge gave an impassioned (some might say unnecessarily harsh) speech to the
cameras, to the effect that the upcoming referendum on SB structure was undemocratic and
something of an insult. 7) After the meeting, I received a copy of the SB Transition
Report (the report that the SB was mandated to complete as a condition of transferal of
full power back to the SB). I may post about this later, but this is a document that folks
should get a hold of as soon as they possibly can.
Any comments or corrections pertaining to this overview are welcome and
encouraged. On another note: does anyone know what disgraced former Super. Franklin Smith
is doing now? Despite massive moral, ethical, and legal problems with his tenure in D.C.
(see the 5-part series in the Post that was published some years ago), the man
was given a free pass to leave the city without so much as a slap on the wrist. Just
wondering if he's managed to mask his incompetence and pull in big bucks elsewhere.
[Gail Dixon was at the Green Party national convention; see Mark
Richards's posting below. Gary Imhoff]
I'll be voting Yes on Tuesday. The existing system has not
worked. At all. It's time to try something new. This is it. Let's try it. Maybe by
combining ward seats, candidates and members will be forced to reach out to a broader
constituency. My one regret is that Wards 8 & 3 aren't combined! Maybe by having
appointees appointed by an elected mayor and approved by an elected city council
some professional voices will be added to future debates and solutions instead of
mere emotion and politicking. Maybe having an elected board president will strengthen
voters' say in the board's leadership. Maybe none of this will happen, necessitating
another change four years from now. Nothing is or will be carved into stone. I would
rather see something new attempted than continue preserving a status quo that has not
worked. This new board will not be undemocratic. Different; but not undemocratic. Scare
tactics disguised as arguments, proclaiming a threat to representative government in DC if
the referendum passes, are inaccurate. If anything, board members will be subject to extra
vetting prior to taking their seats. The People will be represented. Perhaps better. We
the voters have to help take charge of our School Board. We can do that by voting on
Tuesday; voting Yes; and following the elections, appointments and performance
of our future board.
School Board Referendum
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Although the chances of me being selected for one of the
"appointed" (anointed?) spots on the hybrid School Board are somewhere between
slim and none, I will vote YES on this referendum next Tuesday. My reason is that it is
the lesser of two evils. I don't believe that voting down the referendum will do anything
except continue the chaos that exists in the policy making oversight of the DCPS by the
current elected School Board. I am willing to try most anything at least once and the
hybrid Board might just work out.
That good ole, messy, wonderfully human, democracy! Isn't it time to take
a look at the wasted human lives dribbling through the cracks while we play at partisan
politics? Thousands more kids each year are doomed to be mired for life in a dispirited
underclass while we twitter in the grandstands about license plate slogans. Looking for
live people to hit up for reparations for entrapment? Try DC's voters and non-voters in 30
years of local school board elections.
(What are reparations? That's what DC law firms now pay DC's freely
elected Council members to make up for their poor job performance.)
Frustration at Gap in After Hours Social Services
Sue Bell, BellSue@aol.com
Last night I learned that the services for homeless/mentally disturbed
people are extremely difficult to access if someone happens to need assistance after
regular working hours. And the police are not able or willing to provide any help or
suggestions. At about 6:30 a woman (let's call her Debbie) was walking down our street,
obviously in need of help. She was confused, hot, hungry, and thirsty. The immediate
problem was that Debbie needed to call her mother and, luckily, knew the number to reach
her. When it became apparent through their conversation that her mother was unable or
unwilling to help her, I talked to her mother and learned that Debbie had not taken her
medicine for schizophrenia and had left the shelter where she was staying. Her mother told
me that she wasn't supposed to allow Debbie to come home and provided me with Sister
Barbara's name thinking Sister Barbara could come pick her up or direct her to a place for
Sister Barbara was on her way out to minister to someone else and told me
that the woman had been staying at the Open Door Shelter. She told me to send Debbie back
there and she was hopeful that they would take her. On that, my neighbor and I were
reluctant to send her to a shelter without any confirmation that she would have a place to
sleep. The condensed version is that directory assistance had no street address or phone
number for an Open Door shelter but they did have a listing for what sounded like a
ministry with a similar name. But we only got a voice mail. Thinking of St. Columba's
outreach program, we called three numbers there only to get voice mails. We called St.
Luke's men's shelter in Glover Park but only got voice mails. We called the non-emergency
police number and was told they couldn't help, and they referred me to a Community
Service phone number at which there was only a voice mail.
The good news is that Debbie was capable of verifying the shelter address
where she had spent the previous night and believed that she could direct the cab driver
to the approximate address provided by Sister Barbara. We gave her some food, paid the cab
driver to take her to the shelter and said good-bye. The bad news is that if this had
happened to someone with more diminished mental capacity we would have been in trouble.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
Something Missing . . . Let's See. . . .
Jean Lawrence, JKelLaw@aol.com
After four long years baking away in Arizona, I snuck back into Washington
a week ago and hung out for a spell. It was during that ungodly humid weekend you
remember. People kept saying, Isn't Arizona pretty hot? You people could eat
our lunch! Secondly, my hotel, the Marriott Wardman Park (nee Sheraton) decided my room
would be $119 on the weekend, but leap to $240 for the weekdays! Very tourist-friendly,
people! I switched to the Day's Inn, which had awesome water pressure though was less
frou-frou. (I concluded that Washington doesn't work for me anymore without an apartment.)
So, overall, how did I find the joint? After a day or so walking around in Cleveland Park,
it dawned on me that something was missing . . . panhandlers! I wasn't annoyed once! What
did you do with them? Not that I am complaining. Overall score: My beloved Washington,
home for 35 years, about a 6. It was an epiphany to realize that AZ is home now.
Outrageous, irresponsible comments are nothing new from Rep. James Moran.
In case anyone has forgotten, just a year or so ago he publicly commented, in the context
of rush-hour traffic disruptions, that D.C. residents suffer no great inconvenience as
they can merely pop into their favorite local watering holes to wait out any delay,
whereas Rep. Moran's more highly evolved constituents have actual adult lives and
responsibilities such as picking up children from daycare or driving them to after-school
activities. As a result of that episode, I promised myself I would write a check to any
Democratic opponent he faced in the next election. I can't bring myself to do the same for
his Republican opponent, who rather sleazily attempted to make political and racial hay
out of Rep. Moran's recent perplexing run-in with one of his younger constituents.
Kudos to Statehood Greens
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
I am very proud of the Statehood Greens for their cross country Freedom
Ride and for informing other Green delegates at the Convention about D.C. issues (I
listened to the convention on C-Span). I look forward to seeing what delegates to the
other party conventions do. I find people to be shocked to find out that D.C. pays very
high amounts in both federal and District (equivalent to state) taxes, but
does not have a say in one and control over the other. This comes as a shock they
understand the problem without explanation.
DC Jail Agrees Not to Destroy Identification
E. James Lieberman, firstname.lastname@example.org
As reported in the City Paper (Annys Shin, Apr. 28 and June 8,
2000), DC Corrections (Odie Washington, Director) had a policy of destroying inmates'
property, including ID (social security card, driver's license, non-drivers' id., birth
certificate) if not picked up within fifteen days of incarceration. Many homeless
individuals had no one to do this, and no place to send them. Social agencies, notably
Volunteer Assistance Corps (VAC, at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church), had to devote time
and money to replacing these items when the inmates were released and looking for work
you cannot get a job without ID. Carol Lieberman, Director of VAC, first wrote Mr.
Washington in June 1999; he promised to review the policy but justified it on grounds of
storage space! Nothing more was heard; she wrote again in November. Things got moving with
an April meeting on halfway houses. Annys Shin wrote a fine article in the CP, and the
policy on inmate properly was changed, effective May 22, 2000. Carol is convinced that the
City Paper article made the difference. She had spoken with a Washington Post
reporter but only a generic sentence on the problem appeared, and no mention so far of the
Here's an example of how an awful DC policy got changed, thanks to the City
Ron Eberhardt writes, in response to several writers (including me) that
he's suggesting an approach to crime that has never worked, complains, So, instead
of debating the value of the death penalty, then lets just say that some of us believe
that if you callously take the life of another person that you lose your life. It makes
some of us feel better, ok? At minimum it reduces the amount of tax money spent to
re-catch, prosecute and jail these barbarians. That's exactly how I feel about red
light runners. So can we start executing them too?
If Mr. Eberhardt wants a serious discussion of the death penalty, he
should try getting it started by sharing some evidence that it would make DC safer, rather
than non sequiturs.
Death Penalty II
Ms. Dorothy Persiflage, email@example.com
Mr. Ron Eberhardt wrote three issues ago asking the excellent question,
How many more senseless murders must occur in the District before its liberal
thinking population rethinks the death penalty? As expected, two writers responded
espousing the same tired thoughts including no proof of reduction in crime, and that we
ought to get at the root of these problems in other words NO real solutions, lets
keep the status quo -- mayhem.
Ms. Persiflage deeply shares Mr. Eberhardt's frustration with the
District's ideological paralysis akin to a deer in the headlights in facing
the facts (see Mr. Lott's More Guns, Less Crime) and increasing evidence with
respect to the best way to deal with capital crimes, punishments, and guns. But she firmly
believes that Mr. Eberhardt at least deserves an answer to his question. By Ms. P's
reckoning it will require 100,000 senseless deaths, or about a third of the random
population, to get the community off the dime and to take effective action. On the other
hand, if the senseless deaths should turn out to be over-represented in the
liberal-thinking community itself, that number would of course drop.
Such crimes may drop when the District has an efficient death penalty, but
significantly so only with the expansion of Second Amendment rights to its citizens,
including lawful concealed carry. The obvious facts on this are there for anyone with
common sense and an open mind. Ms. P's view on and hopes for the future
proper course for this city was somewhat fortified several years ago when a true liberal
such as Carl Rowan ably defended his DC home against some skinny-dipping kids by shooting
one of them with the loaded handgun he kept handy for just such purposes. That suggested
to Ms. Persiflage that buried somewhere in even the most deeply non-Euclidean liberal and
politically correct mind set, there may actually lurk an ounce of common sense. At least
when their own self-defense is at stake. And therefore, Mr. Eberhardt, take courage, there
is cause for hope that one day such self-defense privileges will be extended to the rest
of us. A tout ta' Do
Ron Eberhardt writes that it makes him feel better to know
that murdering scum get put to death. Sure, and it would probably make him feel even
better if he knew that they'd be drawn and quartered, but as a society we hope to move
beyond barbarism. Do we really want punishments set to satisfy our lowest emotions? How
does that make us any different from the criminals' way of thinking? Eberhardt suggests
that some criminals may think twice about committing a murder out of fear of
the death penalty. Just the opposite seems to be the case: the death penalty contributes
to a general cheapening of life; the message the criminals get is that it's a
kill-or-be-killed world, and that the strong and powerful can kill with impunity. Risking
execution seems like a brave thing to some twisted minds. On the other hand, having to
spend the rest of your life confined to a little box seems like a horrible punishment. One
final point: if the state makes a mistake and prosecutes the wrong person for murder, we
can always correct the mistake by freeing the person. How many of you who live in D.C.
trust our government never to make a serious mistake?
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Corcoran Museum has a dynamite Norman Rockwell exhibit with a slew of
his paintings and all of the Saturday Evening Post covers that he illustrated
over a fifty-year period. The prolific Rockwell, more than any other American artist that
I have seen, captures the spirit, emotions and culture of Americana in this extensive
exhibit which is open until 24 September. For same day tickets it costs 8 bucks for
seniors during the week. There was hardly anyone there this past Friday morning when the
museum opened at 9:30 AM. The museum is open until 9 PM on Thursday evenings. Time of
entry tickets can be purchased ahead of the day you want to attend via the normal ticket
ordering places by phone (at an extra charge).
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
1996 Volkswagen GT VR6. Windsor blue black leather interior, 32.5K miles,
two alarm systems, stereo, sun roof, great shape. Must sell. $16,000. Call 237-1019.
Linda Clausen, LEC9@aol.com
Four-piece dark wood Drexel Esperanto bedroom set: high bureau, long
bureau, king size headboard and night table. Great space, heavy solid furniture. The knobs
will have to be changed as a couple are broken. That is why I am selling all for $250.
Dark solid wood Spanish style wine chest with closed bottom and spirals spaced across the
top so top is partially open. Hard to describe, but attractive piece of furniture and
storage, $300. Medium wood computer cabinet, storage for
computer and monitor with door to close them off, $130. Metal table and four chairs that
need sanding, painting and seat covering (easy), $75. E-mail Linda at PurpleTuna@aol.com.
Carpenter/General Contractor Needed
Josh Gibson, Adams Morgan, LEDCBID@aol.com
Adams Morgan business owner seeks talented carpenter/general contractor
for renovation work. Must be able to work independently with little supervision. Please
contact Josh Gibson at email@example.com with any
recommendations, which will then be passed on to the business owner (I'm posting on his
behalf as a favor.)
A Home Doctor Par Excellence
Deborah C. Fort, FortsKDC@cs.com
I would like to recommend carpenter and handyman Marcotulio Orellana and
his company The Home Doctor. (301) 942-7768. Cell phone. (240) 604-4742.
Marcos finished our restoration begun by a crooked contractor and half finished by his
nice subcontractors until they too walked off the job. Marcos and his staff comes with
twenty years of local recommendations; he gives fair, firm estimates free; his work is
done quickly and well.
Help Us Pick the Scariest Spots in D.C.
Jim Myers, HillEast@aol.com
We are a small promotional group hoping to break into big time adventure
tourism with tours that combine the thrill of danger with the allure of exotic locales
most tourists never get to see. Also, we note that Washington, D.C., still lacks a must
attraction for a world-class tourist destination: a good thrill ride.
For our upcoming adventure tour, D.C. Down & Deadly, we
plan a guided drive-by of the top drug markets and notorious crime scenes in Our Nation's
Capitol. We will send our buses far off the conventional tourist trail into hidden
Washington realities like: 1) Smell the fresh reefer/PCP smoke outside the Syphax,
James Creek and Greenleaf projects in Southwest! 2) Hear the bullets whiz by
in the lawless crack and heroin fiefdoms on Eastern Capitol Hill! 3) Witness
the wreckage of Orleans Street, where the young Rayful Edmond III got his start!
We also plan a special discount for police and D.C. officials, so they,
too, can learn about their city. But first, we need your help in picking the Ten
Scariest Spots in D.C. that our officials should visit. Forward nominations
or Ten Scariest lists to HillEast@aol.com.
Serious replies only, please. An official Ten Scariest Spots in D.C. list will
be announced in August.
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