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September 6, 2000

Silencing the Mayor

Dear Muzzlers:

The Board of Elections and Ethics voted today to uphold the Office of Campaign Finance's order against Mayor Williams. As you remember, Mayor Williams was using government employees, government resources, and taxpayer funds in his campaign for the School Governance Charter Amendment, and the OCF ordered him to stop it. Most people aren't aware of it, but the Mayor appealed that order to the Board of Elections, claiming that he has a First Amendment right to use taxpayer funds and government employees in election campaigns. The Mayor, represented by the Corporation Counsel, argues that if he isn't allowed to use the apparatus of government, he will effectively be “silenced.” It is likely that Mayor Williams will continue to appeal today's Board of Elections decision to the DC Court of Appeals.

All the laws, all the case law and court decisions, are against Mayor Williams's position. He doesn't have a leg to stand on, but he is determined to be a pioneer in the movement to undermine the safeguards against governmental corruption of elections. Of course, we all know that Mayor Barry and Mayor Kelly used their staffs in elections, but they had the good sense and good grace to pretend that they didn't. They were never this blatant. When they broke the campaign laws, at least they disguised it, and honored the laws by pretending that they obeyed them. At least they understood the laws, and knew what campaign ethics are all about. Mayor Williams has been cited by the OCF twice in one year for ethics violations, which makes him the all-time record-holder, and he still insists that he's done nothing wrong. He can prove that he has begun to understand campaign ethics by refusing to appeal the Board of Elections' ruling, and by disclaiming any intention to make the taxpayers pay for his future campaigns. Or he can dig a deeper hole for himself.

Gary Imhoff


List of Contributors to Jack Evans Campaign
Pete Ross,

Everybody talks about the $200,000+ political war chest that Councilmember Jack Evans has assembled for his re-election. Did you know: 1) Only $14,835.00 came from residents of Ward 2. If you remove the donations from known developers and real estate involved residents, the amount of donations is less than $10,000. 2) $59,685 came from commercial entities and PACs with Ward 2 addresses. 3) $20,145.00 has come from individuals who used commercial addresses (such as 1776 K Street, NW), which implies that these individuals live in Ward 9. 4) Assorted businesses located at 1615 M Street, NW gave 19 different donations of $500.00 each, for a total of $9,500! This is obscene. How many of these companies are just dummy corporations that were set up just to increase the amount of money given to Councilmember Evans's campaign? Does anyone have time to do the necessary research? 5) Following are some of the other addresses where multiple donations of $500.00 were given to his re-election campaign: 1001 K Street, NW, $2500; 1720 I Street NW, $2,000; 1815 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, $2,750; 1725 De Sales Street, NW, $2,500; 1900 K Street, NW, $2,000; 401 M Street, SW, $2,000; 6106 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda, $2,000; 6500 Rockspring Drive, Bethesda, $2,500. 6) Nine executives from IMS for $4,500. The addresses of these contributors span the whole country (CA, LA, NJ, PA, etc.). IMS is a division of Lockheed. 7) Thirty-two (32) employees from PEPCO.

Not one of these employees lives in Ward 2. The list of Special Interest Donors is shown on Thanks to Microsoft Excel, this list of special interest donors is broken down into 6 different lists. List #1 is divided into three sections: a) Individual donors who live in Ward 2, $14,835.00; b) Special interest donors who live in Ward 2 (PACs, real estate interests, law firms, bars, restaurateurs, etc), $59,685.00; c) Individual donors who have given commercial addresses in Ward 2 (these are most likely special interest people who do not live in Ward 2), $20,145.00; d) PAC's, corporations, and other individuals who do not live in Ward 2, $127,635.00. List #2 is an alphabetical list of the donors by Employer. List #3 is alphabetical by last name of Donor. Look to see if your name is on the list. If you live in Ward 2, it probably isn't. List #4 is by street addresses. Please note all of the separate $500.00 contributions from certain addresses. These are special interest contributions that are making a mockery of our campaign finance laws. List #5 is by zip code. List #6 is listed by size of the contribution. Please note the $15,000 contribution by Council Member Evans to his own campaign. It is actually a loan, which he paid back to himself with interest!


Some Good School Board Candidates
Mike Livingston,

Helen M. Hagerty wrote: “I read the list of School Board candidates in Saturday's Post Metro. As Mary Levy was quoted, it's not exactly a 'blue ribbon group.'”

Yes it is — Larry Gray, head of the D.C. Congress of PTAs, running for president of the board, was a co-chair (with Gail Dixon, Phil Blair, Jr., and Jerald Woody) of the “Just Vote No” campaign opposing the referendum. Dixon, the incumbent member at large who told a national C-SPAN audience about the referendum (“Our mayor is owned by Marriott and AOL”), is running for the Wards 5 and 6 seat; William Lockridge, the incumbent member running for the Wards 7 and 8 seat, also earned his stripes in defense of democratic school governance; and Thomas Smith, running for the Wards 1 and 2 seat, is an experienced activist who just sent his son off to college after 12 years in D.C. public schools. (As a Ward 4 voter, I can only wish for candidates of such caliber.)

Look, the mayor embezzled public money to campaign for the referendum, and the money he didn't embezzle came from big suburban corporations that now, in effect, own their own seats on the school board. Marriott's intentions are clear enough — Marriott Hospitality High School doesn't believe in books (thank you, Common Denominator); the new structure of the school board is the next step in the conversion of the public schools from an educational mission to a subsidized job training program. If we want to prevent that, we'd better elect five people who will dependably overrule the corporado appointees at every turn and deny the mayor a store-bought majority.


DC School Board Final Vote?
Liz Hoopes,

Maybe I've been too busy lately or haven't paid attention, but does anyone know if the absentee ballots for the New School Board initiative have been counted? Has there been a final tally? Have I been vacationing on another planet these past few months?

[The Board of Elections counted the absentee ballots on July 7, and the final results were practically unchanged. On the other hand, I don't know what your vacation plans were. — Gary Imhoff]


John Koskinen
Margaret Clark,

Loved your dopey X-Files spin on John Koskinen. Obviously, you are not a DCPS parent or fellow traveler. Mary Levy, who has perhaps crossed your radar, even if you are not DCPS connected, told me about this guy back in July. He definitely was working on the DCPS finances — looking at the payroll system and the bookkeeping and all other things pertaining to money — and Mary claimed, as I recall, that he was the greatest person to be foisted into DCPS's financial management (or lack thereof) that she had ever had occasion to come across. Mary was complaining at the time that Mr. K. had just finished up his relatively brief tenure with DCPS. She thought he was a really appealing person, low-key but smart, knowledgeable, no bull-shit, and potentially deadly to the forces of chaos and disorder. But, I would beg you to scoop every other news source and ask Mary directly for some background on what he did at DCPS. Except it might not produce any quotes remotely cynical or satisfyingly world weary. But then, I might have to pay greater attention to this newsletter if it produced real insight or news. I will pass this on to the Northwest Current, anyway.


Race and Population
Ted Gest,

Did anyone else find the Post's lead-story treatment of the new Census data a bit overdone? Yes, I know that race always seems to be a big issue in DC, but was there a huge symbolism in the latest data that justified its prominent play (even in a slow news month)? The increase in white population seemed to be so slight that making any grand conclusion (which the story didn't do) would be risky. Isn't it possible that this latest population shift had little to do with politics or government? Help me read between the lines.


Puerto Rico Rocks the Boat
Mark David Richards, Dupont East,

Surfing the web and Congressional records in search of “statehood” items, Puerto Rico comes up a lot. According to an article posted on the web site of the U.S. Council for Puerto Rico Statehood (USCPRS) ( “U.S. District Court Judge Jaime Pieras, Jr., challenged the notion that Puerto Ricans cannot vote for US president. Island residents, who serve in the US military and receive billions of dollars in federal aid, were made statutory US citizens in 1917, but cannot vote in presidential elections. Judge Pieras' decision repudiates the US government's argument that states, not individuals, vote for president and vice president through the Electoral College. Since Puerto Rico is a territory under the authority of the Congress, its residents cannot vote.” USCPRS points out that Puerto Rican citizenship is granted by Congress, not guaranteed in the Constitution, and is therefore insecure. They would like “constitutionally guaranteed citizenship.” The US DOJ said they're studying the ruling pending an appeal. Another U.S. District Judge, Salvador Casellas, ruled, “the federal death penalty was 'locally inapplicable' because Puerto Ricans had no voice or vote in drafting the federal laws that re-established and expanded that practice. Puerto Rico's Constitution, drafted in 1952, expressly prohibits capital punishment.” The article notes, “both decisions raise the issue of Puerto Rico's status within the Union of States and need to be addressed and resolved by the Congress of the United States.” I wonder if and how these cases relate to D.C.'s efforts and lawsuits. Is there a joint strategy between D.C. and Puerto Rican statehood advocates?


Taxation Without Representation
Ralph Blessing,

During mid-August, my family and I drove out to the Midwest for a couple weeks of vacation. While staying at a B&B in Wisconsin, a fellow guest asked if we were the folks from Washington, as they (from Iowa) had never seen DC tags before and had wondered whether they even existed, “Washington not being a state or anything.” We fessed up and went on to tell them about the proposed Taxation without Representation tags. Their response: we feel the same way about our representatives. Though we reminded them that at least they had the luxury of deciding who would not represent them well, that sampling of one, if typical, suggests that our new motto may be a hard sell. By the way, filling up here was by far the most expensive of our entire trip. Gas prices in parts of Ohio and Indiana were as
low as $1.25 a gallon, though in other places we paid close to $1.50. Why are we paying such a premium on fuel in the DC area?


Vehicle Registration
Bernard Arons,

Maybe this has been discussed and I just wasn't paying attention, since it wasn't an active issue in my life, but I just got my “Tag Renewal Notice” from DC DMV, which encourages me to renew online at Internet web site which, when attempted, redirects to another web site, which indicates that it doesn't exist. Has anyone been successful at renewing online? If it's no longer an option, why is it still on the mailings (or is that a foolish question)?


Infill Development
Rich Mintz,

John Nielsen asks about whether he should love or hate “infill” development, the filling in of empty or underused spaces in mature city grids with new development as an alternative to further sprawl. The answer, as usual, is “it depends.” Here in Atlanta, my new home, where the sprawl problem is among the worst in the nation, infill development is widespread in the city due to the commute problem, and plenty of it represents tasteful additions to the neighborhood. Post Properties, the developer of apartment communities, recently built a jewel of an intown apartment complex called Post Parkside next to Piedmont Park; it is universally acclaimed as a handsome, respectful addition to its dense urban setting. Closer to my part of town, in Grant Park and Ormewood Park (mostly bungalows built between 1890 and 1930 on small lots), there has been some respectable residential infill on former "trash land" at the fringes of the original street grid, as well as on the odd vacant lot surrounded by houses. But there are also some terrible insults. Just before our historic district legislation passed last year, someone put up a monstrous tacky Mansion two blocks from me, right up to the property lines, like a Craftsman bungalow interpreted by a space alien with no sense of proportion. The people who sold me my house (built in 1907) moved into another gigantic infill house (purple, no less) on the other side of the park, complete with silly turrets and trim that will probably wash away in the first heavy rain.

The biggest threat to your quality of life is probably not the fact of a house on that infill lot, but the nature of the landscaping that gets put in around it. By definition, the plantings will be immature, as opposed to the mature treescape that's probably there now. But, on the other hand, you get some new neighbors.


Infill, Good or Bad
Elizabeth Heyd,

Responding to John Nielsen's post about the probable infill development in Cleveland Park: I don't know the spot in question, but I imagine it's something like what folks off of Connecticut Avenue at Rock Creek are dealing with. (Is that indeed a separate scenario?) Infill development, as I understand it, is supposed to work to the benefit of established neighborhoods by building on brownfields or other areas which have already seen a bulldozer (former industrial sites or previously paved areas) in established neighborhoods. I would imagine that logic would dictate a developer choose for infill a site which has been abandoned or otherwise an eyesore. I would not describe infill as a forested or treed area which would require taking down the number of healthy and mature trees, which is what has happened on Connecticut Avenue at Rock Creek. It sickens me that healthy landscape in the more upscale neighborhoods of NW DC is being cleared in the name of smart growth, while neglected and abandoned buildings (especially those near Metro) are begging for reinvestment and attention. I've seen the term “smart growth” abused and misused, and now it looks like “infill” has been hijacked as well. As long as we continue to “clear out” mature trees and decimate natural habitat that make our neighborhoods attractive in the first place, we''ll demonstrate a lack of aesthetic and planning, and people will leave the city. Developers in DC need to invest in neighborhoods where community can be restored . . . that's infill.


New Tower at Tenley?
Rick Prescott,

Does anyone know what's up with the huge new tower being constructed next to “Vida Loca?” For some time now a construction site has been readied in front of the old Western Union building and now, almost overnight, the initial stages of a humongous new tower have appeared. It amazes me that something like this could be sprung on the neighborhood without hearing about it first in the Post, Northwest Current, this E-mail list, etc.


Regarding Junior’s Escape
Keith Jarrell,

I recently visited the National Zoo, and was astonished at the amount of empty areas. Animals were missing or just completely gone. Large areas where I remember recently seeing animals were totally empty. One particular one had picnic table stacked in the lot. I did phone and spoke with two people and have been assured that there were several reasons. I don't really take it to be creditable that animals are on loan to other zoos, or that study programs are going on in other locations and the National Zoo is participating by loaning animals. It's a zoo, and people should see animals when they visit. They have a multi-million dollar budget, and just like many other things, there isn't or hasn't been any oversight. Thus, it's poorly maintained and money has been spent incorrectly. I invite you to go there and see for yourself, and you too will be alarmed.


World War II Memorial
Ann Loikow,

This message was originally sent by Neil Feldman of Save Our Mall on September 5: “Late this afternoon the ACHP issued a copy of their recommendations (in the form of a letter) to the Secretary Of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt. As soon as I get a chance I will send out the entire text. This portion should give you a flavor: '. . . [T]he Council believes that the World War II Memorial, as now proposed, has serious and unresolved adverse effects on the preeminent historic character of the National Mall. We believe this is due in part to the National Park Service's (NPS) approach to the requirements of Section 106 and the limited nature of public involvement in the site and design selection process.'

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has just scheduled a Press Conference to be held at 11:00 am at the House Triangle, U. S. Capitol, East Side, for tomorrow (September 6, 2000). Dr. Judy Scott Feldman and Charles Cassell (Co-Chairs of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall) plus Corporal John Graves (Chairman of the WWII Veterans to Save the Mall) will also participate in the Press Conference. More details to follow — if we can get off the phone.

“Thanks to all of you who have made this possible! We still have a ways to go. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, 'This is not the end, but perhaps it is the end of the beginning.'”


Killing the Messenger
Mark Eckenwiler,

Alas, I fear David F. Power misunderstood my recent item on DPW street repair and the new regime under Dan Tangherlini. I agree with Mr. Power that in many salient respects, DPW has an atrocious track record over the past two years. And I share his disinclination to “fall down in gratitude before the DPW altar.” (Hence my uncomplimentary letter to the Post, printed on 8/26.) As I recall, what I suggested in my last posting is that Tangherlini is showing signs of accountability. Instead of kvetching about his predecessors, perhaps we can make positive suggestions to Tangherlini, who seems to welcome such citizen input.

In answer to Lucy Mallan's query, you can write to Dan T. at This and other useful info on contacting DC government offices can be had gratis by visiting my web site at


The State of the Union — for Kids, Welfarites, Renters and Racial Views
Len Sullivan,

Is the gap growing between better off and worse off kids? Are urban welfare caseloads dropping enough, and how does DC rank? What did the consultants' report to the Control Board propose on rent controls? Are Black and White views on governance as different as black and white? Did Alice Rivlin support the mayor's budget? Are DC's top officials ready to embrace accountability? These and other issues are summarized and commented on in the September update of the NARPAC web site at Other views welcome.



City Guild U Street Evening
Terry Cordaro,

On Thursday, September 21, join the City Guild, the Young Professionals arm of The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., for an evening of culture on historic U Street. At 6 p.m. there will be a tour and discussion at the African American Civil War Memorial. Afterwards the City Guild invites you to grab a no-host bite at the landmark Ben's Chili Bowl. The group will end with a visit to Decatur Blue -- an art space promoting local art and creativity. Meet at the Civil War Memorial at U Street and Vermont Avenue (Green Line Metro: U Street/Cardozo) at 6:00 p.m. The cost of the tour is $7, (does not include the price of food). Reservations required, please call 785-2068 x304.


DCPL Programs
Patricia Pasqual,

Announcing Martin Luther King Memorial Library Fall Author Series.
Thursday, September 14, 6:30 p.m., Washingtoniana Division, E. Ethelbert Miller, Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer.
Thursday, September 21, 6:30 p.m., Washingtoniana Division, Susan Shreve, Plum and Jaggers, and Porter Shreve, The Obituary Writer.
Monday, September 25, 12:00 p.m., MLK Library Main Lobby, Delores Thornton, Ida Mae series and Babe.
Monday, September 25, 6:30 p.m., MLK Library Main Lobby, Banned Book Week Program, Lerone Bennett Jr., Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream.
Tuesday, October 17, 6:30 p.m., MLK Library 2nd Floor West Lobby, James W. Loewen, Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong.
Wednesday, October 11, 6:30 p.m., MLK Library Main Lobby, Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. & Amy Alexander, Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African Americans.
Saturday, October 21, 1:00 p.m., MLK Library Main Lobby, Allen B. Ballard, Where I’m Bound.
Wednesday, October 25, 6:30 p.m., MLK Library 2nd Floor West Lobby, Morris Berman, The Twilight of American Culture.


Temple Micah Open House for Religious Services and School
Sidney E. Booth,

Temple Micah, an inclusive Reform congregation located on Wisconsin Avenue near Massachusetts in Northwest Washington, is offering three open houses in September to introduce our approach to Jewish worship and religious education. Samples of a "taste of Temple Micah" are offered as follows: Friday, September 8, 8:15 pm, worship with us at a Shabbat evening service, followed by refreshments. Sunday, September 17, noon-1 pm, visit our Religious School in action. Saturday, September 23, 10:15 a.m., join our Shabbat morning worship, refreshments following. High Holy Day Services: Rosh Hashanah, September 29-30; Yom Kippur, October 8-9. Temple Micah offers adult education, religious school, social action, and youth programs at 2829 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. Call 342-9175 or visit for details.


Latrobe Architecture Lecture
Matthew Gilmore,

The Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, the American Architectural Foundation and the Treasury Historical Association present a lecture by Antoinette J. Lee, National Park Service, “Architects to the Nation: The Rise and Decline of the Supervising Architect's Office.” Tuesday, September 19, 6:30 p.m. at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue, NW. The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing. $5 for Latrobe Chapter members and students, $8 for non-members. For more information, call 332-2446 during office hours. Continuing education credits will be available for AIA members.


Let’s Begin the March Home!
Nabil Mohamad,

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) urges you, your family and friends to join the Palestine Refugee Return March/Rally. Let's begin the march home! To demand an end to five decades of exile; to demand that Palestinian refugees return to their homes and lands; to mark the 18th Anniversary of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres. Saturday, September 16, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, Freedom Plaza, 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, along Pennsylvania Avenue to Lafayette Park, where the rally will begin at 12:00 p.m. Confirmed speakers include Palestinian Legislative Council member Abdul Jawad Saleh, human rights lawyer Allegra Pacheco, human rights activist Dr. Eyad Sarraj, Palestinian-American author Fawaz Turki, poets Suheir Hammad, Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Children's Alliance, and many others. Music and singing by Luci Murphy (DC) and Simon Shaheen (NY). For more information contact Right of Return Task Force, 244-2990,, or Palestine Right to Return Coalition,



Auditions for City at Peace, DC-Wide Performing Youth Group, September 14th
Lonna Shafritz,

Do you know any young people 13-19 years of age who would enjoy working on creating and performing a musical theatrical production to find resolutions for the conflicts they face in their lives? I've worked occasionally with the group over the past few years and have seen the difference in makes in many of the kids' lives. It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. Auditions for the After-school cast (meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 8 pm) will be held Thursday, September 14 at 5 pm at City at Peace, 1328 Florida Avenue, NW, on the second floor. For additional information, call 319-2200. (Also more info on the organization and its objectives at



Maple Mirror
Ron Lefrancois,

Maple mirror (honey stain) for sale. Mint condition, two-year-old wood-framed mirror by Nichols & Stone, Gardner, MA, measures 37 x 43.5 (glass is 31.5x38). Includes brackets for attaching to bureau or wall. Reasonable offer takes it away; retailed for $350+.



Hello, Van Ness
Dru Sefton,

Hi all, me again. Yes, it is that repeatedly annoying Dru Sefton, and, yes, I am still househunting, one year after moving to the D.C. area. And as you can imagine, it is indeed still a frightening experience. Whew. Anyhoooo, now I'm curious about the Van Ness area. Anyone out there who lives in Van Ness and likes it/doesn't like it/has any opinions at all about the neighborhood? As always, I welcome any and all replies!


Dave Nuttycombe,

From's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
GLOOMY TUESDAY: For the past couple of years, the District has fairly hummed with talk of an urban renaissance. Record home sales, new businesses, baby boomers settling in town. Whether or not you like the changes that have come along with D.C.'s boom, there's no denying that the city is at least a fresh hub of economic and social activity.
Municipal politics have also been touched by the boom. Long derided as an ineffectual batch of rubber-stampers, the D.C. Council in its last two sessions has emerged as a far stronger body than ever before. For the first time in a decade, Election Days in the District had begun to feature palatable candidates.
Until this year.
Read the entire Loose Lips column here:

From's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early warnings for upcoming events:
SUNDAY: Takoma Park Folk Festival. Gates open at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Takoma Park Municipal Center, Route 410 and Maple Avenue, Takoma Park. Free.
TUESDAY: Steve Hoglund lectures on “Myths and Legends of Washington, D.C.,” noon at the Heurich House, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. $5.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at


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