Perhaps the most important talent that any boss can have is the ability to
recognize, attract, hire, and keep good employees. In his first two years as Mayor, judged
by that standard, Tony Williams has been an abject failure. Here's a pencil and paper game
for Washingtonians. Write the names of all the outstanding administrators whom Williams
has appointed to head any departments and agencies. After you've given up, use the same
blank page to write the names of failed administrators whom he has defended and kept in
office long after their problems have become obvious to everyone else. After you've filled
the page, try to figure out what the problem is.
Nobody can make good hires consistently, without exception. But you can
check out resumes, and find out when someone has a bad reputation, or has invented job
titles or awards and honors. This administration doesn't do that, and instead defends the
people who submit phony resumes. You can set standards, hold your appointees to those
standards, and show publicly that those employees are accountable both to the
administration and to the public to meet those standards. And this administration
hasn't done that. Accountability was the mantra of this administration. It still is, if
your definition of mantra is an empty, meaningless slogan. If you
made a bad appointment, you made a mistake. If you knowingly keep a bad appointee in
office, then you don't know how to correct a mistake, and that's worse.
We Should Have a Readers Contest
John Olinger, North Lincoln Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
What pictures does Parks and Recreation Director Newman have of Anthony
Guess what the training that Newman spent all that money on in
Arizona could have been provided by the same company (NRPA see http://www.actionpark.org) at $300 a person in
Maryland. He could have trained 166 boondogglers (or whatever you called them) for that
$50,000 if he had bothered to worry about cost. Oh, but do we need that many playground
inspectors? Do we have that many playgrounds? Who would know, since Mr. Newman's own list
of the city's parks and playgrounds is inaccurate.
The First District 1 School Board Candidates Forum
Anthony Watts, email@example.com
I attended the first District One School Board Candidates Forum, held
about a week or so ago at the George Washington Hillel House Auditorium. Here are the Ward
1 School Board candidates, with (very) brief summaries of some of their comments: 1) Anne
Wilcox. She is a former school board member (1994-1998) who emphasized her previous
experience as a learning process. She is currently an attorney with the D.C. Superior
Court. She said that working well together should be a SB priority; she also
mentioned that she supports charter schools, but with limits. Also made a strong push for
the highest possible curriculum standards. 2) Lenwood Johnson. At-Large member
of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, Columbia Heights ANC Member. Mr. Johnson
emphasized building new schools and increasing teachers' salaries. 3) Mr. Harvey Jones. I
believe that Mr. Jones stated that he was, at some previous point in time, Chief Realtor
and Asset Management Head of DCPS. He definitely stated that he was a retired teacher. 4)
Thomas Smith. A D.C. native with three children either in or graduated from DCPS.
Emphasized his D.C. roots and working class background. He stated he would
combat the massive economic disinvestment from our schools with a
reinvestment of money for books, bathrooms... and the like. 5)
Julia Mikuta. Very interesting candidate in terms of her qualifications. She is a former
captain of the Georgetown women's basketball team who is now a science and math teacher in
D.C. She is Director of Curriculum at the DC SEED Charter School. Perhaps most
impressively, she is a former Rhodes Scholar who emphasized global education policy and
participated in the 1999 Congressional roundtable on recruiting and retaining science and
math teachers. 6) Linda Softli. Chair of the Adams Morgan ANC, who worked extensively in
the private sector at IBM. Ms. Softli emphasized that radical changes in the
school system must take place. One of those changes, she said, should be making many
schools into adult-education centers after regular school hours. 7) Malcolm Lovell. A
member of the D.C. Appleseed group that produced a lengthy report about possible school
board restructuring. Emphasized bringing a more conciliatory tone to the
A couple of notes: 1.) I was generally impressed with the overall
qualifications of the group as a whole. 2) The only person that I absolutely ruled out
after this forum was Thomas Smith. Why? He made two comments that I found to be highly
suspect. The first was that a major problem with the D.C. schools is economic
disinvestment. I am not at all sure of this. The fact is that per-pupil spending in
D.C. is over $10,000 per student, well above the national average (by several thousand
dollars, I think). It seems to me that the real problem is mismanagement of the funds
already in the system. Also, he actually attempted to downplay talk of a
crisis in DCPS. If I had to paraphrase his statement, it would be something
like this: There's all this talk of crisis here, and we have our problems; but also,
let's look at other places right around here. We just had a situation out in, where was
it, Montgomery County, where you had these schools cheating on their standardized
tests. (Again, I am paraphrasing.) I am afraid that as an observer at this forum, I
was amazed at this statement. The DCPS dropout rate is conservatively estimated at 40
percent. Throw in the students who graduate as functional illiterates, and we have a
school system that is utterly failing a clear majority of students say 60 percent
before we even get into policy details. That is by definition a crisis of a
magnitude that I do not believe any surrounding school district even approaches.
The next District 1 School Board Candidates Forum will be held October 19,
at the 3rd District Police Station, 1620 V Street, NW. The forum start time is 6:30 p.m.
Candidates for SB President will also be present. I strongly suggest that concerned
citizens from Wards 1 and 2 attend.
Last week when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower courts ruling
that DC residents do not have a constitutional right to a voting representative in
Congress, Ray Browne, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative (Shadow), said he
was disappointed because he believes that most fair-minded Americans would agree that the
residents of our city deserve the same rights as all other U.S. citizens. It is a position
that Ray has held for years, one that is the centerpiece of his campaign for U.S.
Representative (Shadow) for the District of Columbia, and is why I urge everyone to
support him in this race.
He said, in light of this decision, it is clear that we will now have to
turn to a political solution to remedy the situation. As our representative, Browne
believes that his job will be to coordinate all the forces in our city our
political leaders, the business community and labor to be on the same page and be
committed. Always the activist, Ray's plans are to rally the city in support of a vote in
Congress and to carry that message out to the rest of the country. Accomplishing all these
tasks will always be at the top of Ray's agenda until we gain a vote in Congress.
Ray is a native of the District of Columbia, growing up in the Trinidad
section of the city, and has a long and impressive record of success in both the private
and public sectors. He lives with his wife, Barbara, and their two children in Northwest
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Although this elected position is one of the lesser events in this year's
local elections, I have found a candidate that I will actually vote for. In one of the
last elections for this position I wrote in the name Lamont Cranston (I'm sure
that name will ring a bell with some of the actuarially unchallenged readers) since I did
not know anything about any of the candidates on the ballot. This year I do know the
Democratic candidate, Ray Browne. Although Ray is both a Democrat AND in favor of D.C.
Statehood, I will still vote for him based on his past record of service in local
politics, his personality, and his ability to communicate and work with people he will
have to influence in Congress.
Adams v. Clinton
George S. LaRoche, LaRoche@us.net
The Supreme Court issued a terse decision Monday morning
affirming the three-judge District Court which dismissed the claims made in
Adams v. Clinton last March. Unfortunately, since the District Court had limited its
analysis to the issues and arguments presented in Alexander v. Daley (then consolidated
with Adams), we cannot derive any lessons how the Supreme Court might have evaluated the
issues and arguments presented in Adams. In light of the question presented in Adams and
the nature of legal precedents, however, the Supreme Court's decision does protect
if not stand for the proposition that Congress can continue to segregate the people
of the District of Columbia from millions of people who reside in thousands of other
places where Congress has identical constitutional powers and treat District residents as
inferior, second-class citizens.
The precise question presented to the Supreme Court in Adams v. Clinton
was whether Appellants rights to the equal protection of the laws are violated
because Congress has not included them in existing apportionments of congressional
districts, while all other people over whom Congress holds or has held identical powers
under the Constitution are included in apportionments of congressional districts, and are
so in the same manner and on the same terms as all citizens of the United States are
included in such apportionments.
Congress has had the same power over millions of people all over the
United States as Congress has over the people of the District of Columbia. Two generations
ago, all those people were in the same boat as the people of the District of Columbia.
This means that (as presented to the Supreme Court) they were not included in
apportionments of congressional districts. They were segregated from the rest of the
people of the United States. Today, all those people are included in apportionments of
congressional districts for the several States; all those people are citizens of States.
Only the residents of the District of Columbia remain segregated from the rest of the
country, as well as segregated from all the other people over whom Congress holds or has
held the same powers under the Constitution.
All we asked in Adams v. Clinton is whether this passes constitutional
muster. If it does not, then Congress could remedy the problem either by granting the
rights of the residents of the District of Columbia or by withdrawing the rights of all
other, similarly situated people; i.e., either include the residents of the District in
apportionments of congressional districts in the same manner as all other, similarly
situated people, or exclude all other similarly situated people from apportionments (as
they once were excluded). The government did not submit a shred of evidence showing why
Congress must continue to segregate the people of the District from everyone else in the
country. Since the lower court only analyzed one of the two cases before it (Alexander),
the claims and questions presented in the other
(Adams) remain unanswered. This is more deeply troubling when it's noted that if the
courts had thought the claims and arguments presented in Adams were erroneous or faulty,
the courts certainly had the intelligence and skill to say why.
Thus, as was the case in the days of slavery and as was the case in the
days of peonage and segregation, the courts' silence in the face of pleas to consider
challenges to the status quo is more troubling than clear and direct statements why the
status quo must or may continue.
Strategy for Independence from Congress
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
I applaud Congressman Norton, the Mayor, and the full Council for putting
a strategy for DC voting rights and independence from Congress on the table today.
Leadership and unity are very important. My understanding is that, thanks to Article I and
the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, DC has no Constitutional guarantee to equal voting
rights in Congress, because Congressional representatives are only elected by the
People of the several STATES. My understanding is that there are three ways for DC
to change its status and gain voting rights in Congress retrocession to the State
of Maryland, become a state, or pass a Constitutional Amendment (Article V). Being in a
state or being a state would guarantee equality. An Amendment could be written so that DC
citizens would be treated the same as citizens living in other states (as proposed by
Timothy Cooper), or providing for more limited voting rights as some Republicans in
Congress have supported. Yet I believe the elected official proposal involves
Congresswoman Norton introducing twin bills in the next Congress, one of which assumes
Congress has the authority to grant DC the right to vote in the Senate and the House via
legislation. But can this theory pass Constitutional muster? I'm doubtful. And assuming
Congress does have the power to grant DC (and the Territories) equal voting rights in
Congress via legislation, this means they have the exact same power to take away our
rights for bad behavior, or having a wrong opinion on a vote (just
as they did with the vote in the Committee of the Whole). In any case, other aspects
outlined in the elected official strategy including renewed efforts to gain
budgetary and legislative autonomy, a commuter tax credit for DC, and the establishment of
a working group to develop strategies sound like good ones.
Here are some simple ideas: (1) build local consensus, trust, and teamwork
(the No. 1 issue this can't be a top-down or Decide-Announce-Defend approach), (2)
develop a clear and effective message strategy (tested among the audience to be targeted,
(3) inform the American public about our dilemma they support the principle of one
person one vote, (4) embarrass the U.S. government in the Court of International
Public Opinion, and (5) lay the groundwork for the time when the makeup of the
federal government is such that we can change our status to be equal to other citizens
living in states. At base, having a strong economy is the key to DC's autonomy. Without
that, even many DC citizens will fear change.
Thar She Blows
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, it's like a big coffee percolator rather than a gusher. The new
"fountain" at the AU Law School Building entrance is now on line and it is more
like a desktop water bubbler than a real fountain. The ambient noise from Massachusetts
Avenue during any normal awake hours is high enough to mask the soothing, soft bubbling
sounds that the water bubbler must be producing. I guess if I'm in need of some relaxing
sounds of water flowing I'll have to stay up way past my normal bedtime. I did toss in my
three shiny coins to honor the occasion, however.
Thanks for a Job Well Done
Andrew Tarpgaard, email@example.com
I'd like to acknowledge and thank two D.C. government employees for doing
their jobs well. This messages here almost always focus on what goes wrong, so I just want
to point out two cases of jobs well done. The two problems I had were with a couple of
street lights that were out and some trash that had been dumped on my street. Brenda
Kinney, who handled the street lights, and Investigator Chavous, who is with the
environmental crimes unit, acted quickly and efficiently to solve the problems once they
were aware of them. When I spoke to them on the phone they were professional and polite
and had the problem solved within days of becoming aware of the problem.
Having said that, it often takes too long to find the right individual in
the government who can solve a particular problem. We still need some improvement here,
but this problem is common in almost every large organization and is not unique to the
D.C. government. That doesn't take away from the fact that these folks did their jobs
well. Let's see if we can't find some more examples out there of jobs well done.
Krispy Kreme is one of the most brilliant food-service companies I've
encountered. They deliberately have a small number of stores. They never have enough
counterpeople to handle the volume when the light is on. The light is on regularly (every
few hours, 24 hours a day in some places). They have built buzz by delivering hot, fairly
expensive donuts to people who have no time to wait but who will wait when the donuts are
hot. It's amazing. The company, for you who play the market, is publicly traded. I have no
idea how it's doing and own no stock in it (more's the pity).
And is /dev/null something regular folks understand? I noticed it in
Austin Kelly's last post. I'm happy to see it myself, but I'm a geek. Is the concept part
of the vernacular now? If you don't know, /dev/null is the null device, used when you
don't want the results of a command to go anywhere useful. See http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=/dev/null.
Re: GW Hospital. I don't know why the BZA is all up in arms about
pedestrians in Foggy Bottom anyway. I work down that way and drive through the Circle
twice daily. I would say 99.999% of the people that walk around down there cross the
circle and streets when the lights are green and the don't walk signs CLEARLY say
DONT WALK. I don't know if it's just me or what, but each circle seems to be
different in terms of whether or not people and traffic yield and cross properly, and the
Foggy Bottom Circle is the worst in my opinion.
The Milieu of the CBSs the District
J.O. Crane, JoCranJ@netscape.net
A fictional representation such as the new TV show represents a particular
viewpoint set in a unique milieu provided by our humble auteurs. In regards to other
shows, The X Files has many episodes set in Washington, represented by Vancouver in the
first seasons and most recently by Los Angeles. Although The X Files does not comment on
local politics, many episodes show a much different geography. Scully's commute from
Annapolis is very quick. All the recent discussion about the new show makes me nostalgic
for the short lived Hawk, in which, for a few Saturday nights in 1989, Avery Brooks was
romping around DC with lots of registered firearms (again, a unique milieu) and smashing
cars on Columbia Road. Perhaps Craig T. Nelson can bring Hawk on as one of his consulting
detectives. He would be a nice contrast to the Ulster detective.
Another Point of View about The
Lawanda Randall, lrandall@ATT.com
What tourism impact have TV shows had on New York City's, Miami's and LA's
I'm looking for information about the empty red emergency/police call
boxes scattered throughout the city. I seem to remember that a group/or some folks were
interested in preserving these. Does anyone have contact information related to this?
This is to let you know that the October, 2000 on-line edition has been
up-loaded and may be accessed at http://www.intowner.com. Included are the community news
stories, crime reports, editorials (including prior months' archived), restaurant reviews
(prior months' also archived), and the text from the ever-popular Scenes from the
Past feature. Also included are all current classified ads. The next issue will
publish on November 10, and the web site will be updated within a few days following. To
read the lead stories, simply click the link on the home page to the following headlines:
Historic U Street Corridor Focus for New Rentals, Condos; Rehabbing of
Older Buildings. Sparking New Uses. Adams Morgan Group Uncovers Deal with DC
for 18th Street Garage. Dupont North Gets Boost; New Theater Lights Up Once Dreary Florida
Avenue. Court Orders R Street Buildings Cleaned-up; A Win for Neighbors.
Join the City Guild of Washington for a bike tour of the bridges of DC
this Saturday, October 21, 9 am until 12 pm. Hosted by Bike the Sites (http://www.bikethesites.com). Call Gary, 966-8662,
by 12 pm Thursday Oct. 19 to RSVP. Price is $35. Those without bicycles can get them as
part of the price for the ride, but cost is $35 regardless of whether participants have
bicycles. Books, water and helmet also included.
Creative Spaces, an artist's studio tour, will be held on Sunday
afternoon, October 29, from 1 to 4 p.m., with a reception to follow at the Chevy Chase
Arcade. Historic Chevy Chase D.C., Inc., will sponsor an up close and personal tour of ten
studios belonging to a variety of well-known artists, including sculptors, painters, and a
mix of others active in the creative arts. Artist's Studios in Chevy Chase, D.C.? In a
community thought to be home to lawyers and government workers? Here reside nationally and
internationally known artists who create a wide spectrum of work in an equally wide
variety of media.
This tour will give an unprecedented chance to visit a select group of
artists in their personal space to see where they create their art, and in some cases see
their personal art collections. These creative spaces are often hidden behind wonderful
gardens, or ensconced in historic homes. This tour will offer you a rare glimpse into the
artists and the private spaces where they create. Note: due to the fact that this is a
tour of working artists studios where tools, fragile objects or other items may be
present, this tour is not open to children under the age of 13. Tickets are $25 per
person, and will be available beginning at 11 am in front of the Chevy Chase Arcade, 5520
Connecticut Avenue, NW. As a prelude to the tour, a lecture will be given by select
participating artists on Thursday evening, October 26, at 7:30 at the Chevy Chase
Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW, located at the corner of McKinley Street and
Connecticut Avenue NW. For more information, contact Krystyna Edmondson, Historic Chevy
Chase D.C., Inc., 363-4311, fax 966-7879, E-mail KrysJackE@aol.com.
Eastern Market Fall Festival Activities This
On Friday, October 20, at 7:00 p.m., Boris Karloff's 1931 film,
Frankenstein, will be shown at Market 5 Gallery in Eastern Market's North
Hall. Refreshments: hot dogs, popcorn, bottled water, and juice, Cost: adults $5.00;
children $2.50. On Saturday, October 21, a Cajun Costume Ball with the Savoir Faire Cajun
Band will be held in Eastern Market's North Hall. Dance lessons from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m.;
the dance from 8:30 to 11:00 p.m. Refreshments: bottled water, juice, snacks. Cost:
$10.00. On Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22, Eastern Market History Tours will be
given. Meet at the Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corporation membership
table near the main entrance. Cost:: $5.00 for non-members; free to members. For further
information, call 544-7870.
A Guide to Human Consciousness
Don Montagna, Washington Ethical Society, WES@EthicalSociety.org
The philosophy of Ethical Culture provides a useful guide to the
capacities inherent in the human spirit that await our cultivation. Consider that even in
the best of lifetimes only a small percent of human potential is ever utilized. Since we
are all born without a how to manual, each person adopts a theory
about how life works; these assumptions influence us even more than external
circumstances. People can intentionally expand their how to manuals by
studying what is known about eliciting the best in the human spirit and thereby
themselves. Don Montagna, WES Senior Leader, will lead an exploration of insights from
philosophy and religion that might increase our knowledge of ourselves and our ability to
cultivate a good life. Sponsored by Washington Ethical Society. Tuesdays, October
24-December 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m.; 9 sessions $180. To register, contact LifeWorks at
882-6650 x21, http://www.EthicalSociety.org.
DC Emancipation Day Hearing
Malcolm L Wiseman, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
The DC Council is asking citizens to offer testimony on the proposed
legislation to make DC Emancipation Day an event annually celebrated on April 16th. The
hearings will take place at the council chamber on October 19 at 10 a.m. The event has
been organized and observed for the last several years to highlight our status as
the first freed, last free. On April 16, 1862, slavery was abolished in DC,
nine months prior to the official proclamation on January 1, 1863. Yet DC citizens still
suffer under an oppressive yoke, that of continued disenfranchisement and congressional
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Michael Stempel, email@example.com
We are looking for a sitter or nanny for 1-1 ½ days a week. It would be
an ideal situation for a nanny with spare hours now that school is in session, or someone
looking to share a nanny.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Moving, and the following items need new homes immediately: couch (sofa
bed, opens into queen-size bed), blue/green/peach/gray abstract pattern, clean, 80 wide x
35 tall x 32 deep, $90; microwave stand, white finish, two shelves with cabinet below, 42
tall x 25 wide x 15 deep, $25; bookcases, wooden, 3 upper shelves with 24" high
cabinet below, oak finish, 72 tall x 30 wide x 12 deep, $40 each (have 3); TV stand,
swivel top shelf, 25 inches high, $15; rowing machine, Exer-Mate 1050, 48" steel
frame, 30" wide, sliding seat, adjustable resistance, $20. Call 546-4176 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater Washington Metro Search Engine Still
T. Jr. Hardman, TJH Internet SP, email@example.com
Greetings to all. First, we're still serving our neighbors with http://earthops.org/Harvest/brokers/Washington_Metro,
the Greater Washington Metro Search Engine. Searching and indexing most District
Government sites, as well as many of the neighborhood association web sites, and assorted
opinion and review sites, including DCWatch. We've searched and indexed some 22830 objects
(pages, etc.) from 54 local-interest servers.
Also, for those of you who once had and still miss UNIX
shell accounts, we wish to announce Earthops.NET. All of the things you miss, such as a
variety of shells, cron jobs, background execution, and CGI-BIN are available again! We
don't offer dial-up, but if you can get to us by SSH (or telnet, for the brave or
foolhardy), you can get a premiere account at http://earthops.NET
Filling the Gap for those who need shell, but don't want exorbitant
fees. 24/7 via DSL at 384Kbps.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
PUNCH DRUNK: Last week, Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose found herself in the same
pickle as slumber-party planners at junior highs across this land. Ambrose, you see, had
scheduled a meeting of her Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to consider
legislation regulating D.C. liquor establishments.
Now, she just needed a few friends to show up for the event.
When the councilmember heard through back channels that a couple of key colleagues were
planning on blowing off the meeting, she canceled the party or, rather, she
withdrew the legislation from consideration. The attendance clash is certain to be only
the first of many large and small battles from cafeteria-seating snubs to
playground wedgies as the council weighs a massive, complicated overhaul of the
city's liquor laws.
Read the entire Loose Lips column here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/lips/lips.html.
From washingtoncitypaper.com's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early
warnings for upcoming events:
FRIDAY: Robert B. Parker reads and signs copies of his new book Perish This at
12:30 p.m. at Olsson's Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: Arlington A Cappella Festival. Friday features Da Vinci's Notebook
and Toxic Audio; Saturday, Oct. 21, features Minimum Wage and Naturally Seven. At 8 p.m.,
Rosslyn Spectrum Theater, 1611 N. Kent St., Arlington. $20.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
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with unsubscribe in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available
All postings should also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, and should be about life,
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must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short one
or two brief paragraphs would be ideal so that as many messages as possible can be
put into each mailing.