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November 5, 2000

Vote For or Against

Dear Citizens:

Most of the races in Tuesday's elections in DC are already decided. I'll give you one hundred to one odds on the top six offices on DC's ballot (President, Delegate, and four Councilmembers). But there are very open races for other positions, including the very important remaining elected positions on the Board of Education. If Charter Amendment #3 was intended to increase the politicization of the school board and to increase the influence of special interests and big-money donations in school board races, it has already succeeded. As for the top six races, cheer on the leaders or cast a protest vote.

Two editorial matters: several of you wrote to let me know that the anonymous police officer whose message appeared in the last issue of themail was Second District Commander Peter Newsham, and that, since he gives out his E-mail address at public meetings all the time, he undoubtedly wasn't trying to remain anonymous. {Ted DiBiase added, “I have known Newsham for years and found him to be very responsive and a very good officer/supervisor.”} Marc Battle wrote to complain about a misplaced period that I added in editing his last message. I try to make punctuation consistent throughout the mail, but occasionally I create confusion when I try to clarify. Battle wrote, “These kinds of things simply do not happen to white people — yet Black officers are guilty of their fair share of racial profiling.” Because of the capitalization of “Black,” I wrongly assumed there was a period missing after “yet,” and added it, which changed the meaning of the
sentence. Battle wrote and believes police abuse does not and will not happen to white people, and my period introduced the possibility that it could happen in the future.

Gary Imhoff


The Fox Guarding the Henhouse
Nick Keenan, Shaw,

On September 22, Carlynn Fuller made her first appearance before the DC Council as Acting Director of DCRA, and testified that her department was declaring a policy of “zero tolerance” toward nuisance properties. Ironically, Ms. Fuller is also a minister at Shiloh Baptist Church, which is well known to its neighbors in Shaw as an unapologetic hoarder and perpetuator of nuisance properties. Under Ms. Fuller, as under her predecessors, DCRA has treated Shiloh with what can only be called “extreme tolerance” and might less charitably be called “carte blanche.” One has to question the sensitivity if not the judgment of the Williams administration, which claims to have made neighborhood issues a priority, to promote someone to a position of authority in the agency responsible for enforcing the laws who is also in a position of authority in an organization which is breaking those same laws with impunity.


DC School Board and Power Politics
Madelyn Lane,

On June 27th, only 12 percent of registered DC voters narrowly supported (by 848 votes) the referendum which changed the structure of the D.C. Board of Education. The referendum itself was a compromise and was narrowly supported (7 to 6) by the Council after being imposed on them by the Control Board. The Mayor's proposal for a 5-member all appointed board was rejected outright by all members of the Council except Kathy Patterson. The compromise was intended to preserve for the electorate a clear voice in who controls the School Board while ridding the City of those terrible school board members of the past whose only concern was using the School Board for their own political ends -- so we were told over and over again by the Washington Post and other mainstream media.

After weeks of campaigning, forums and endorsements what is clear, if not the outcome, is that the Mayor is not satisfied with appointing just for members of the Hybrid Board, he must also control it. Thus, we have seen a well financed campaign for President of the Board bankrolled by business PAC's and excessive campaign contributions (over $100,000) for the Mayor's endorsed candidate — Peggy Cooper Cafritz. And, as if that is not enough, we see a District I candidate who has come from nowhere, also endorsed by the Mayor — Julie Mikuta — and bankrolled by the same PAC and business community. In many areas of Ward 1 and 2, thousands of Cafritz and Mikuta look-alike posters are virtually screaming from the lampposts and drowning out all other voices. Fortunately, this excessive display has not elevated to front-runner the Mayor's pick for President.

Now, we have a smear campaign circulating by some of Mrs. Cafritz's supporters, who were attempting to knock out the front runner. What are we to make of the politics of this race, and weren't we led to believe that reform of the old school board would end all of the bickering and take the politics out of the DCPS? Whose politics?


Martin Levine for School Board —Wards 3 and 4
Stephen Melman,

Martin Levine's experience with our schools includes graduating from Wards 4 and 3 public schools and mentoring students at Woodson High in Northeast DC. Additionally, he was a student teacher and a university professor in other cities). What really distinguishes him from the other candidates, however, is his long record of success in building a consensus among people from many different backgrounds to achieve common goals. He has demonstrated his bridge-building skill by actively reaching out to Ward 4 voters, who have welcomed him warmly. Martin Levine is also distinguished by his solid experience in helping to build institutions, including the Congressional Budget Office in its early years, and creating Fannie Mae's public mission activities.

James A. Johnson, Fannie Mae's former Chairman and CEO, “enthusiastically endorse[d]” Martin Levine, saying he “is a person of integrity, creativity and energy,” who will bring “a commitment to improving performance of all our schools, plus the ability to help make that happen by articulating a clear vision and uniting people around it.” (Letter dated October 9, 2000.) Kathy Smith, publisher of the COMMUNIT-E newsletter, endorsed him as an “impressive” person who will “work hard to raise expectations and push for changes in policies and the use of resources to make that happen.”

Based on his record, I'm convinced that Martin Levine would be a significant force for unifying school board members and creating major changes — not just incremental improvements — in our school system.


Support for Harvey Jones, District I School Board Race
Budd Lane,

Following are excerpts from a Dear Neighbor letter that I received from Ms. Kathleen Holt Wills of Kalorama, supporting Harvey Jones for the District I Board of Education. Ms. Wills is an advocate and activist on public education issues. Since I too support Harvey for many of the same reasons, I believe her letter deserves broader dissemination, so with her permission I am sharing it with readers of themail. Ms Wills writes, “I feel compelled to write this letter because, like many of you, I received Councilmember Jim Graham's letter urging me to vote for another candidate. I remember when elected officials refused to politicize school board races by endorsing candidates, and I find Jim's letter extremely troubling. . . . In interviews, a member of Williams’ staff asked candidates flat-out if they could 'support the mayor's broader agenda' for the school system, which he refused to explain. Harvey responded that he would not blindly support anyone's agenda. Later, in response to Harvey's questioning, mayoral chief-of-staff Abdusalam Omer characterized the mayor's 'broader agenda' as, first and primarily, 'we need to sell some buildings, tear some buildings down, replace buildings and do whatever is necessary.”

“As in other matters, the mayor's green eyeshade was showing. I was appointed by Dr. Wilma Harvey to serve on the Committee of 21, charged with making recommendations in the DCPS master facilities planning process. I — and my peers on the Committee — object strongly to the overemphasis on quickly closing lucrative real estate deals at the expense of effective long-range planning and important programmatic considerations. The mayor's recent RFP to sell off 11 school properties conflicts directly with and complicates the planning process.

“Harvey Jones shares our concerns. First and foremost, he is committed to taking responsible innovative, decisive actions to improve the quality of our schools. Because of his seasoned maturity and understanding of DCPS facilities and the planning process. I know he can be counted on to stand up to powerful political and economic interests which these days seem to have more friends than ever in high places (e.g., the premature, initial endorsements by city officials of the aborted Hilton expansion across the street from Adams school and approval of the grotesque communications tower in Tenleytown).

“Harvey is a teacher, proven manager and administrator with an impressive professional and intellectual interest in, and grasp of, education policy. . . . At candidates' forums, he has not responded with vague cliches or anecdotal references to what others may be doing elsewhere. I have heard him give thoughtful, insightful, specific responses to problems related to local school restructuring teams; teacher training; parental empowerment; parent and community involvement; curriculum enhancement; delivery of services to ESL families — of critical importance here in District One.”


Thomas Smith, Candidate in District Two
Thomas Smith,

First of all, I want Mr. Richard Layman and all others to know that I do not tailor my presentations or my responses to any audience. I ask for citizens' votes based on an analysis that I present with no reservations. I am not catering for anyone's vote. Now, about our problem here; it is abundantly clear that some massive reforms will have to be instituted. I don't disagree, but what I am saying is that we have to have a program of immediate relief to fix and buy things, and at the same time a real Inspector General type of committee or department to reform what we have. The dollar figure that is always quoted as our per student expenditure is true but not entirely truthful. As an example, one expense that is sky high is building maintenance. Why? Because, as anyone who has a old house knows, maintenance on old buildings and energy usage is just a killer! (I know. I have an old house). We are also saddled with some internal inefficiencies inherited from our previous political condition, i.e., pre-home rule. In short, yes management reform, perhaps some criminal prosecution and some rethinking of how we do things are needed, but my kid goes to class tomorrow morning. He needs a working bathroom NOW! These two activities are not mutually exclusive.


Does Anybody Care?
Ed T. Barron,

The recent revelation that the current School Board members have been abusing their travel expense accounts comes as no surprise. There is plenty of that stuff going on in the District Government, for two reasons: 1. everyone thinks that lots of folks are doing it, and 2. they will all likely get away with it. It would not be hard to set up a centralized travel organization within the District Administration. This could be modeled after any of several very successful corporate travel organizations. It is hard to believe that there is more travel by District employees than could be handled by a relatively small centralized travel group.

Most corporate travel groups form an alliance with a single, savvy travel agency and then reap the benefits of discounted travel. The travel group buys the tickets and makes all the travel arrangements for travelers. This minimizes any out-of pocket costs for employees who are also issued a credit card for any of their on the road expenses. The card is only to be used for those travel related expenses for the corporation and every entry on the credit card statement (a copy of which is issued to the corporation each month) must match an entry on the traveler's expense report. Reports are require to be filed within five days after return of travel, and the traveler is reimbursed for any credit card expenses before the bill comes due from the credit card agency. The centralized travel group also issues policies and procedures that need to be followed by all travelers.

Many corporations require that their employees travel on their own time, and, in exchange, allow the employees to keep the Frequent Flyer mileage that they accumulate. I'm still using my mileage from my 100K miles per year traveling in a former corporate life. I was lucky enough to accumulate miles on airlines that still exist and in those whose program miles don't expire before I do. Let's hope that the District starts caring about employee theft.


Reading, Reading, and Reading
Tom Berry,

I don't know if the following is hearsay, heresy or the gospel, but a DC public school parent recently informed me that all DC public school students are now required to read thirty books during the school year. This is in addition to regular school work, homework, extracurricular activities, and that all-important factor, sleep. Don't mistake me here, I'm all for promoting reading in an age when the attention span is measured by a noise factor and a Redskin game, but, come on, thirty books in nine months! This policy has been foisted on a collection of students already sorely lacking in reading ability. What a way to turn off a student to one of life's pleasing pastimes and educational experiences. Would someone please be kind and tell me that I'm misinformed?


Ray Browne
Patrick Pellerin,

As you go to the polls on Tuesday, a reminder that Ray Browne, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative (Shadow), deserves your vote. I've known Ray for the better part of fifteen years, and there is no one more dedicated to gaining voting representation for our City in the U.S. Congress. If you want someone with vast experience in this city, if you want someone who has taken on the hard issues, such as the Hurt Home in Georgetown, and if you want someone who will work hard to make the Shadow Representative's position an activist position for our rights, then you want Ray Browne.


Recycling Problem on the Hill
Joan Eisenstodt,

We're on 5th Street, S.E., and for the second week our block's recycling hasn't been picked up on recycling day. I called DPW on Monday, October 30, and was given a case number. On Tuesday, I called Sharon Ambrose's office and left a message. We were all concerned about kids out on Tuesday (Halloween) night and the mess at the curbs. The recycling was picked up on Wednesday (our usual day is Thursday), and I ran out to ask if they were again picking up on Thursday. I was told yes — and it's still there. I called DPW again and have a new case number. But I'm curious to know if this is a pattern on the Hill or all over the city.


Ralph Bunche Home
Diane A. Pecor,

A piece of information to share that has nothing to do with November 7! Yesterday afternoon, I found in my mailbox a copy of a petition to protest the conversion of the former home of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche at 1510 Jackson Street, NE, into a community-based residential facility. As you may (or may not) be aware, the 20017 and 20018 zip codes include over 100 non-profit, non-taxpaying properties, most of which are classified as “residential” in the land-use plans of the city. I exclude from this number the most obvious not-for-profit organizations: the churches and educational institutions. Some 58 percent of the land in Ward 5 is non-taxed and, of this non-taxed amount, 34 percent is used by non-profit organizations. This amounts to 912 acres, the largest number of any Ward in the city. (These are the city's own figures.) One reason why neighborhood improvements are so difficult to sustain is that these properties house individuals who are too stressed to engage in neighborhood life or who see their “community” as some other place altogether. The Dr. Bunche house is merely the latest version of this trend and, for the African American community, a particularly sad one. His home is every bit as much a shrine as that of the better known neighbor to the west.

If you are interested in circulating a petition protesting this action or wish otherwise to become involved, you can contact Mr. Andrew Thomas at 526-6044, Mr. Dave Cameron at 832-6496, or Ms. LaVernis Steen at 832-5817.


DC Police and Reality Television
Ron Eberhardt,

Reading all of themail about “Driving While Black” and the pre-air fuss about CBS's “The District” causes me to link the two together and offer this. “The District” may or may not survive on CBS as an entertainment venue. Regardless, anyone who knows the DC police force, and after 20 years of living here and attempting to make a difference and interacting with scores of cops from patrolman to commander, I can tell you that the television portrayal of our police force as a dysfunctional, unmotivated, racially divided, incompetent and sweat-the-small-stuff force is completely and frighteningly accurate. Though I am willing to concede that under the leadership of Mayor Williams and Chiefs Ramsey and Gainer, modest improvements have been made. Nonetheless, the department is occupied at every rank by at least a third of persons who should not be police officers anywhere. This group lacks one or more of the following basics of law enforcement: temperament, dedication, integrity and cognitive ability. Another 25% of the department are resolved to simply get by and retire — they cannot make a difference. That is more than half of the department ineffective. The remainder of the department possesses more then less of the basics but mostly cannot flourish because superiors and peers don't want to risk rocking the boat.

The very idea of arresting and jailing someone for relatively minor offenses such a failure to obey a police command fast enough in a crowd control situation (a lawyer arrested while walking at lunch unfortunately near Blair House during a State visit) or a paper infraction involving registration or simply accidentally leaving home without your driver's license is unacceptable and an outrageous use of police authority. Every police academy cadet ought to experience being searched, handcuffed, and placed in a locked cell. Police authority is awesome and should be used wisely and sparingly. Remember the horrible Post picture of the woman suspected of DWI handcuffed to a mailbox in Georgetown? How would those officers like it if were their mother or sister? I suspect no much at all. This department routinely turns its attention to the small stuff while allowing major crimes to flourish right before their and our eyes. Cops here are quick to tell you dozens of reasons why they cannot do their jobs when citizens complain about drug selling, street prostitution, robberies, thefts, and even assaults. Save one arena — crowd control and demonstration response — this department remains one of the worst performing police agencies in the U.S. Police ought to be taught that they are servants of the people and not lords over them. That “us and them” is “us,” the law abiding, tax paying, decent citizens joined with police against “them,” the criminal predators who roam our streets rather then “us,” the police, against “them” — everyone else. Finally, they ought to use their time, effort, and muscle to reproach real crime and leave the petty stuff to the meter maids. That is what most District residents really want. So, for all of you who bemoaned the premise of CBS's program before it even aired, pay close attention, because it accurately if not maddeningly portrays the real D.C. police force. As long as that remains the same, then police will routinely overreact and assert their authority in misguided ways towards all citizens regardless of race.


Police Misconduct
Bryce A. Suderow,

Here on Capitol Hill we've been burned a couple of times by police misconduct which occurred when we asked the police to do their job. The first time was several years ago, when Police Chief Larry Soulsby initiated the New York model of “zero tolerance policing.” Under this model the cops were supposed to arrest people for three things — urinating in public, drinking in public and scrawling graffiti. Of course, here on the Hill, the issue quickly became racially polarized. Archbishop Stallings of the all-black Imani Temple stated that the miscreants engaged in these acts would be black men and that it was racist to target them. He need not have worried. The cops from 1D1 thought zero tolerance policing meant enforcing traffic laws in a draconian fashion. They inevitably arrested women — most of them white — for driving with expired licences and tags, for drinking beer or wine on their porches, etc. They were either unwilling or incapable of introducing New-York-style zero tolerance policing.

Last year the cops formed the Summer Mobile Force. They were supposed to come into crime-ridden areas where drug dealers operated and lower the crime rate. Instead, they ticketed the cars of middle class Hill residents in mainly white areas. A year or two ago, citizens in SE D.C. demanded the cops either arrest or force to move specific drug dealers on specific corners. Instead, the cops wanted to initiate roadblocks and stop everybody's car. This would have punished middle class residents, white and black, and ignored the drug dealers. We have never been able to figure out whether the police engage in this behavior because they are trying to punish us for asking them to do some work, or whether they are so stupid that they genuinely can't enforce simple laws, and therefore get it wrong every time.


The Long Blue Line
James E. Taylor, Jr., The Park Skyland Community, S.E, Anacostia,

I have read many different assessments of police behavior in the city. The point of view I haven't heard discussed is the “code” within police departments to “protect” each others back against civilians. The level of camaraderie learned is very much like the basic training for the military. When they bring a group of recruits in from different religions, races, and geographical areas their job is to indoctrinate them into one frame of mind, the green, brown, blue of the service they are joining. The police academies work very much the same, they mold the diversity in recruits into the “Blue code” which mean more than often, color makes no difference when they exercise and/or abuse their authority. It doesn't make any difference as to whether the Chief is black or white or the majority of the force is black or white; the results will be the same. Police are police and all have instilled the code to protect their own, and they don't care the color. This city has been predominately minority for so long that the crime is mostly black on black. But for anyone to think they are safe from the same abuse is sadly mistaken. It happens to us all. Look at the PD organization, beyond the internal feeling of racism, cronyism, and other problems throughout society what they have in addition and very important is the “Blue Code.” I would guess this is why a police union would support the killing of Mr. Prince in PG. It is them against us when it comes down to being out in these dangerous streets and justifying behavior, black or white.


Black Tuesday
Larry Seftor,

This coming Tuesday is a celebration — a celebration of Democracy everywhere in the United States except in the District of Columbia. In DC it will be Black Tuesday again because, while everyone else takes part in the great national project of electing a new Congress, citizens of DC continue to be excluded. Faced with this stunning injustice, recently confirmed by the courts, all our “leadership” can think to do is to put a new slogan on our license plates. It would all be laughable if it weren't so appalling. I am certain that years hence history will look back on this era with wonder about how a group of citizens of the U.S. could be treated with such injustice, with barely a peep of protest. I would support anyone, including Marion Barry (!), who could rally 300,000 or 400,000 DC citizens to protest this injustice on the Mall on election day. Instead we have Norton and Williams, who lack the fire in the gut to do much of anything at all.


Withhold Presidential Election Results
Steve Leraris,

Why doesn't Mayor Williams withhold the results of the presidential election (not local) as a form of protest over our lack of voting representation? This could bring some national attention to our plight, even if we only withhold the results for 24/48 hours.


Hallelujah! DC Is Vindicated on Principle!
Mark David Richards, Dupont East,

After 164 years since last being able to vote in federal elections, the Democratic controlled Congress and Republican President Eisenhower approved the 23rd Amendment. If approved by three quarters of states, D.C. citizens would have the right to elect three presidential electors, limited to the smallest state regardless of population. The Star (June 17, 1960) ran an article under the headline “Hallelujah!,” opening with a poem: “No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door; But 'tis enough; 'twill serve.” The Star reminded that it had fought for this day for more than a century, and paid tribute to "the late Theodore W. Noyes, editor of The Star from 1808 to his death in 1946, who devoted so conspicuous a part of his useful life as a journalist to the cause whose delayed victory we now salute.” The last time the people who lived in the “Territory of Columbia” voted was November 1800 in their former states, Maryland and Virginia. Among District residents voting in Bladensburg, Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican candidate) won by a 10-point margin, and among those in Georgetown, Federalist President John Adams won by 14 points. Overall, the election was so close it was thrown to the House, which chose Jefferson. However, two weeks before his inauguration, the Federalists passed the Organic Act of February 27, 1801, assuming exclusive jurisdiction for Congress — without providing a way for D.C. to vote in federal elections.

On May 18, 1960, before the final 23rd Amendment bill was approved, The Star wrote an editorial about the limited voting rights bill: “Surely this 'doghouse status' assigned to the people of the National Capital ought to be stricken from the resolution on the floor. Meanwhile the effect of this unfortunate stripping of the national representation resolution is to throw greater emphasis on the home rule bill now awaiting release by means of a discharge petition. The people of the District are admittedly suffrage-hungry in both the local and national spheres. They cannot help noting now, however, that the home rule bill is far more satisfactory as a vehicle for restoring local suffrage than is the Judiciary Committee's resolution as a step toward granting national suffrage." After the Amendment was approved, The Star wrote, “There is not much sense in the limitation placed by the House version of the Amendment on the degree of participation in the Electoral College permitted the District of Columbia in relation to the States. We regret that the Amendment leaves untouched the question of voting representation for the people of the Capital in the Congress, which, under the Constitution, is exclusively responsible for their government. But we recognize that compromise is an inevitable part of the legislative process and few things are won without it; that compromise, in this case, was far preferable to another defeat in the long and earnest efforts by earnest men and women of this city, over many generations, in behalf of the principle now vindicated by act of Congress.”

In the midst of the Cold War, most of the nation — the Western, Midwestern, and Northeastern states — approved the Amendment, which was ratified in March 1961. Maryland voted for, Virginia against. In fact, segregationists led all Southern states, with the exception of Tennessee, to vote against. They said a “yes” vote would strengthen the NAACP. Arkansas was first to vote “no.” The leader of the opposition said giving D.C. electors is the first step to making D.C. a state. The North Carolina Representative who introduced the bill in that state argued, “We can protect ourselves . . . as the seat of the Free World, yet people across the seas can say America isn't practicing what it preaches by denying the right to vote to citizens of the Nation's Capital.” In 1964, District residents broke a U.S. historic voter turnout record for cities over 25,000 as 90 percent voted. D.C. began construction of an electoral apparatus, which laid the foundation for the election of a School Board in 1968 (creating the 8 Ward system), a non-voting Delegate to Congress in 1970, and a limited local legislative body in 1973. D.C. gained the non-voting Delegate and Home Rule under a Democratic-controlled Senate and House and Republican President Nixon. Today, as D.C. residents attach their new “Taxation without Representation” license plates on their cars, it seems they are as suffrage hungry as ever. And though D.C. citizens are still far from equal to those who live in states, this Tuesday proves some progress has been made. We should honor those who struggled to make it happen by voting.


Constitutional Quicksand Continued
Tim Cooper,

George LaRoche raises a substantive question about the possible legal implications for DC statehood by passage of any proposed Equal Constitutional Rights Amendment for DC residents. Arguing that the existence of the 23rd Amendment has previously been used by the Justice Department to question the constitutionality of DC statehood, Mr. LaRoche fears that yet another constitutional amendment would forever undermine any claim to a grant of statehood by Congress, and would at the very least be used as a political argument against it in any future statehood campaign.

While this important concern requires further debate, my own perspective is that Congress's legislative authority over the District is unassailable, given existing case law, which extends back 180 years. In Palmore v. U.S. (1973), the Supreme Court held that Congress may do with the District as it wishes, “so long as it does not contravene any provision of the Constitution of the United States.” This authority is likewise echoed in a train of other court rulings, beginning with Loughborough v. Blake (1820), Capital Traction Co. v. Hof (1899), Binns v. United States (1904), District of Columbia v. A.F.G.E. (1993), and ending with Mr. LaRoche's own case, Darby v. United States (1996). While the Justice Department may attempt to argue otherwise, a grant of DC statehood by Congress — which is empowered to admit new states into the union — would be fully consistent with those sweeping powers granted Congress by the Supreme Court (assuming they carve out a federal enclave).

Mr. LaRoche also argues that an Equal Constitutional Rights Amendment would be something short of absolute equality for DC residents. Of course, he is absolutely right. But then our current economic status falls far short of any political claim for full states' rights. Employing a nice analogy about the necessity for perfect equality for District residents, Mr. LaRoche compares the US Constitution with a mansion, maintaining correctly that DC residents deserve a room in that mansion, comparable to the ones already enjoyed by all other Americans. Currently, we live in the outhouse of American politics. Indeed, we are not even allowed on the front porch. If a constitutional amendment for equal rights — as difficult as it will be to achieve — brings us into the living room of Mr. LaRoche's grand architectural analogy, if not yet into our very own bedroom, without legally jeopardizing any future prospects for statehood at such time as the District finally creates a new sustainable economy capable of paying for all its state functions — as is clearly not the case today — then perhaps it should be considered as a practical yet principled means available — just shy of statehood — to close the long, dreary chapter of our politically tortured history and move the District toward total enfranchisement.


Lifetime Attachment to DC
Phil Shapiro,

Last year I moved from DC to Arlington, after having lived 17 years in the District. While I'm proud to be an Arlingtonian these days, I still feel very much emotionally connected to DC — especially to the amazing bunch of people who work so hard to build community in the city. While in DC I had the great fortune of meeting people like Steve Coleman, of Washington Parks and People; and Jeffrey Wilkes, an undiluted advocate for children, and Lucy Mallan, who has individually tutored about half the children in DC. So when a local magazine recently did a nice piece about some community work I'm doing in Arlington, I paused briefly before sending a message to themail. Then I realized, the river doesn't divide us, it unites us. For those who might be interested, the article appears on page 86 in IT Recruiter Magazine (free in yellow news boxes at subway stops around the area), and on the web at Kudos to DC-resident Deborah Durham-Vichr for writing this uplifting piece. In case anyone out there has educational software for elementary school kids that they would like to donate, my students could sure use whatever you're able to send. And I'm interested to hear from folks in DC working on similar projects. There's always strength in numbers.


Bancroft Knitting Program
Peg Blechman,

Thank you all so much for your responses to the request for contributions to the Bancroft Elementary School Knitting Program. All donations to the Bancroft Knitting Program can be sent to Potomac Craftsman Guild, Gayle Roehm, Treasurer, 8028 Fenway Road, Bethesda, MD 20817-4559, ATTN: Bancroft Knitting Program. Checks should be made out to Potomac Craftsman Guild. I will keep in themail readers posted about the Knitting Program once we get started.


Only the Voters Can Bring Changes to DC
Len Sullivan,

When was the last Congressional Commission on DC's Future convened? What did it say about Congress delegating greater authority to the DC Government and avoiding exercising its responsibilities in excessive detail? What did it say about establishing performance standards, demonstrating increased productivity, and comparing DC government operations with equivalent American “metro centers”? In a different area, is there new information on why poorer kids may have more troubles succeeding in school — and out? These topics and others are developed in the November update of the NARPAC web site at Concerned voters both inside and outside DC particularly welcome.


“Deserving Recipients” Web Site Set Up for DC-Area
Phil Shapiro,

With Thanksgiving and Christmas soon upon us, many of us spend time helping those in need. Often the only barrier between a need and its solution is the communication of that need. Truth is, we live in a society where there are thousands and thousands of kind-hearted persons who would gladly help if they knew a particular need existed. To help connect donors with recipients, I've set up a “Deserving Recipients” web site for the DC-area. This web site has a message board where anyone can describe the physical needs of any person, organization, or charity they know. The privacy of the recipient is maintained as it's the recipient's advocate that posts the message on the message board. So if you know of someone who desperately needs a fax machine, a computer, a bed, or a bookshelf — now you have a place to post a message about that need. People who are moving, or who are cleaning out their basement, or who feel that they need to be doing more to give back, can peruse the message board to see if they can help with any of the described needs. Messages that are over a month old will be deleted, although it's fine if someone wants to re-post a message about a particular need. Inappropriate messages will be deleted. Please follow the rules for the board. Important: You may not post a message about your own need. Find an advocate to do this for you. This message board is for the DC-area, broadly defined. Pittsburgh, however, is not within the DC-area.



SWEA Bazaar, Nov. 18
Eva Danielsson,

On Saturday, November 18, SWEA (Swedish Women's Educational Association International, Washington DC Chapter), holds its 11th annual bazaar from 11 am-3 pm. This is the biggest Swedish Christmas bazaar in the area, and traditional holiday gifts, textiles, crystal and glass, books, CDs and home-baked goods will be for sale. Win two round trip tickets to Stockholm in the raffle. Enjoy Swedish delicacies in the café. St. Columba's Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St., NW (one block west of Wisconsin Avenue and close to Tenleytown Metro station), (301) 897-5541. SWEA is a non-profit cultural organization whose purpose is to promote the Swedish culture and language. SWEA provides scholarships to speech and hearing impaired students at Gallaudet University and sponsors a variety of cultural events in the Washington area.


Love to Hate “The District” Party
Karen A. Szulgit,

The new TV show, that is! (If you haven't seen it already, watch CBS, Channel 9 at 10 pm on Saturday nights for a REAL treat!) You are invited to the weekly “Love to Hate 'The District'” gatherings at the bar and restaurant, Taverna, The Greek Islands, 305 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE (Capitol South Metro)! Overall, the show is terrible: arguably racist, propagating misinformation about DC, and generally uninteresting. (On a positive note, it does address the tip of the iceberg of our inequitable political reality: voting rights!)

At least two Washington Post reporters have panned the show, so far. Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us soon, since the show is not predicted to last very long on the air. I will be formally inviting the media to join us on Saturday, November 11th, as well. (One Metro section Post reporter has already called!) Hope to see you all Saturday night!



Investigator to Assist Criminal Defense Attorney
James McLeod,

Person interested in criminal justice field to work as investigator to assist attorney(s) representing indigent persons accused of crimes. $10/hour plus expenses. Having a car is desirable since work involves going to all parts of the city. Please E-mail inquiries and/or resume to



Computer Donations
Deborah Fort,

Does anyone know of places where one could donate old, working computer equipment? Please reply to


Peace Voter Guides
Gordon Clark,

People looking for Voter Guides on the Presidential election and a number of Congressional elections that describe the candidates positions on peace and disarmament issues, go to Enjoy!


Bourbon and Yoo Hoo
Ed T. Barron,

As incongruous as mixing bourbon with Yoo Hoo, the Arena Stage opened a new musical show on Friday night that combines Shakespeare with the music of Duke Ellington. The resulting cocktail is a delightful show, entitled “Play On.” Set in the 1940s in Harlem, this show has wonderful voices, dazzling costumes, lively dancers, and a bevy of great songs from Washington's own Duke Ellington. Although Shakespeare's “Twelfth Night” is the basis for the story, this is not your daddy's bard. One of the principal characters is a dead ringer (albeit about 6 inches taller) for our own Mayor Williams. Another show character could easily play Sharon Pratt Kelly. There was, fortunately, no sign of Barry on the stage. This is a dynamite show that should be a momma of a hit in D.C.


ISO Gutter Cleaning Services
Steve Levy,

I am seeking a qualified firm or individual to clean the gutters of a Kalorama Triangle townhouse (tall ladder required). Any suggestions?


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