No National News
As you know, themail shuns national news, much less international news. Except for the
very few times a year that their actions affect daily life in the District, what Clinton
did and what Bush may do just aren't important enough to be reported here. We're like the
old-fashioned small-town newspaper, in which the lead story on the front page is the high
school graduation ceremony or the opening of the new strip mall out on the highway -- the
things that are really important in our lives. So, as the attention of the rest of the
nation is focused on Washington's confirmation hearings and inaugural ceremonies, let's
get down to the real business. How are things going on your block? And what are those
silo-like things on North Capitol Street?
A lot of people I know in DC really moan and complain about constantly being called for
jury duty; I guess because of the size of our pool people get called about once every two
or three years. I got called for the first time, and like going to get my driver's
license, or getting a permit to build my fence, I was expecting an unpleasant experience.
Most of my interaction with the DC government tends to take on a rather negative
I am happy to report that jury duty is great, and people here should stop complaining
so much about it. I was really impressed with how the staff at Moultrie courthouse
undertakes the massive task of dividing hundreds of people daily into juries for civil and
criminal trials. The staff is very friendly and helpful, many even smile. The system seems
to be fairly efficient, and I did not spend a huge amount of time waiting. But even if you
do have to wait, the area to wait in is comfortable, with TV monitors showing CNN. They
also show you an informative and entertaining video with actors explaining what will
happen to you that day. I have served on juries in other states, and I must say that my
experience here was the best. Everyone was totally professional.
ABC Legislative Overhaul
Marika Torok, Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance, firstname.lastname@example.org
No one in themail has said much about the ABC legislative overhaul that was passed by
the City Council and now sitting in front of the Mayor. The Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood
Alliance has sent the following letter to the Mayor and the City Council members:
On behalf of the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance, I would like to express our
dismay and disappointment of the proposed ABC Bill. We urge you to veto it. We urge you to
reinstate the moratorium on strip clubs immediately. We believe that the city which has
made strides in improving the quality of life for its citizens will be taking several
giant and dangerous steps backwards by lifting the moratorium. We do not want to see strip
clubs opening in our neighborhoods of the city. Already you have Scores, allegedly linked
to organized crime, looking to open in our city. We do not need Scores or anything like
it. We do not need to add to crime we already have in our city. These establishments do
not bring a positive economic and social impact on our neighborhoods. You will bring our
city down after all we have tried to do to make it a viable place to live and work. You
will drive many people out of city once again to the suburbs.
We also urge you to put back the moratorium on sales of single containers of alcohol
into the ABC legislation. The residents in Mt. Pleasant have fought very hard to institute
a ban on the sales of singles. We have practically done so, with 6 out of 8 Class
"B" licensed establishments having agreed in writing not to sell singles. We are
still working to convince the other 2 establishments to also comply with the ban. Already
we have seen positive changes in our neighborhood. We have much less public drinking. We
strongly believe that a ban on single containers will greatly improve the quality of life
in all the communities of our city. Please come to Mt. Pleasant or talk to us to see how
this is already working here. If you truly want the city to improve its image and to
improve the quality of life for its residents, you will stand strong for these two
moratoriums. We will be greatly disappointed if you do otherwise.
The fact that the DC School System can be forced to make someone with a long list of
no-papered and non-prosecuted charges eligible for employment is of course quite
outrageous. However, it is another cheap shot at the school system. The proper focus of
outrage should be on the litigious environment that enables individuals to force such
eligibility. I don't know the details of this individual, or the department that issued
the letter. It appears to be a very carefully drafted letter, most likely by a lawyer or
someone with legal counsel, responding to a situation in which they are forced to
reinstate the individual despite their better judgment. Having written the letter, they
(or someone close to the decision) promptly leaked it. Outrage is appropriate, but not
against the civil servants in DCPS who had no legal choice under the laws and litigious
culture in which they must function. I would bet that behind this letter is a very angry
DCPS employee who knows very well that this is wrong, but had no choice before the law.
N.B., it is not clear that the individual was re-employed. This reads as a statement that
they are legally eligible to reapply, but no promises or commitment.
Statehood without State Functions: Montana, Washington, Dakotas
Timothy Cooper, Worldright@aol.com
On the continuing issue of statehood without state functions, Judy Austin of the Idaho
Historical Society also claims that in 1889 the year prior to the admission of
Idaho and Wyoming the vast western territories of Washington, Montana, and the
Dakotas were granted statehood, and that all of them were economically self-sufficient.
For example, Montanas Gov. Joseph K. Toole, when testifying before Congress in
support of Montanas statehood admission, boasted of the territorys economic
prowess, while listing a litany of complaints about territorial life under the thumb of
the federal government (reminiscent of DCs own laundry list of special grievances).
We are twenty-four years old, out of debt, of sound integrity, and good
citizens, he proclaimed. Like a child grown beyond the capacity of its
garments, our pride is wounded and we are restive under the promise of more suitable
habiliments. Detailing a battery of territorial accomplishments, the governor also
claimed that in 1888 Montana had 4,547 homestead entries comprised of over 678,000 acres;
that property assessments were valued at over $69,000,000, up from $24,000,000 in 1881
(This figure did not include valuation of mining properties, which at the time were
tax-exempt. ); that 17,000,000 acres of land were granted by the territory to the Northern
Pacific Railroad; that exports from minerals, livestock and farm products amounted to
$57,000,000; that the output of gold, silver and copper were valued at $40,000,000; that
over 2,000 miles of railroad had already been constructed, with more construction
anticipated; and that mail was delivered to 306 towns and cities throughout the territory.
In other words, Montana, like Idaho and Wyoming, Washington, and the Dakotas, was no
stepchild of the federal government.
Again, while the District considers the road ahead to statehood, it must also grapple
with the burden of retaining its state functions to make the transition from
quasi-territorial status to state.
Muddy Waters in D.C.
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
Last night, WAMU held a debate either on Taxation without Representation or
D.C. voting rights and statehood for an upcoming national segment on
Justice Talking. Margot Adler was a good host. The Mayor opened the debate and
did a good job making the case and giving a few examples of why D.C. needs equal political
rights he is becoming more articulate on this issue. And there was a good
introductory piece for context. After, Adam Kurland from Howard University (http://www.law.howard.edu/faculty/pages/akurland/)
debated Jamie Raskin from American University (http://www.wcl.american.edu/www.wcl.american.edu/pub/faculty/raskin/cv.html).
I found the debate confusing. I never entirely figured out what the specific question was,
or the answer (maybe it was just me). Maybe this will be addressed in the editing room. At
first I thought the question was whether D.C. should have equal Congressional voting
rights and/or statehood, but then it seemed to be about the legal theory of Alexander
vs. Daly whether Congress has the right to grant D.C. voting rights without
becoming a state or passing an Amendment. (There was no mention of Adams vs. Clinton.
And there was no mention of Tim Cooper's idea of passing an amendment that would include
republican forms of local self-government along with equal voting rights.)
Raskin suggested that D.C. citizens should be exempted from federal taxes if they are
not represented, to put pressure on Congress to do something. Kurland said he didn't see
anything wrong with that, but thought the issues were separate as a tax free zone
D.C. would simply attract those who don't want to pay federal taxes, and don't care about
being represented. Raskin said the lawsuit had lost and now the issue is political. He
suggested that the nation pass a voting rights amendment for ALL U.S. citizens (I assume
that includes D.C. and the Territories), but didn't explain the logic of how this will
help D.C. get equal voting rights in Congress and a republican form of local
self-government. Kurland seemed to think we should try to pass an amendment for D.C.
voting rights in the House only, and kept focusing on the point that D.C. has to make its
case for whatever it wants to the U.S. public. Raskin said that whatever case D.C. tries
to make, Kurland opposes it. In any case, this debate will not clarify the issue for most
Americans, and I guess I felt the event just muddied the waters even more. D.C. sure can't
sing on key, much less as a group. I feel confident that the fissures within the local
democracy movement will undermine D.C.'s ability to move beyond the status quo. That has
been a primary reason D.C. has failed for 200 years besides the fact that those
with power prefer the status quo. Where is it that D.C. people who care about this issue
come together across their separate ideologies, classes, and identities to
lay down their egos for five minutes, and develop common agreed upon principles, methods,
roles, and strategies? There is no such place. Maybe that idea is utopian. I guess
everyone is searching for answers. But I fear D.C. is not ready to go national with this
Reply to Larry Seftor
Captain James O. Crane, Fifth District MPDC, firstname.lastname@example.org
I appreciate your posting to themail. Throughout my career I tried to speak with jurors
after trials in order to understand their perceptions and improve what I brought into the
In reference to the test [for using a gun], it is commonly known as the
"paraffin" test. One reason it was discontinued was that a positive reaction
will be present for people who did not fire a gun but were around certain types of
equipment. I am disappointed that this was not explained to the jury, as a memorandum with
the pertinent legal decisions attached was distributed to our members including the
evidence technicians. It was also cc'd to the prosecutors under our Community Prosecution
relationship. The good news is that a new test is being developed in which a special tape
is wrapped around the suspect's hand, then analyzed for the percentage/chance of that
hand's firing a gun. It is not being used by MPDC yet. There are also 4th Amendment issues
concerning a procedure to a person's hand without their permission or a court order.
In regards to the testimony problems, I messed up in a homicide trial when an aerial
photo was put in front of me. The problem was that the prosecutor had talked about my
testimony but not mentioned the photo so I had no preparation and could not find a
reference point for the streets or homes involved in the case. In another case, a
co-worker on midnight shift was napping in a witness room and rushed to the witness stand.
She was so groggy that the defense made representation that she was a crack head. The
judge ordered her sergeant to give her the next night off so she could get some rest and
the next day's testimony was better. In cases like the one you mentioned, the prosecutor
will let a supervisor or our Court Liaison Division know if an officer needs more training
on testimony or trial prep.
I hope your next juror experience gives you a better perception of MPDC. Too many
people try to avoid jury duty, and it is a very important part of the process.
Dumping on the Mayor and his Scorecards
Len Sullivan, email@example.com
I am surprised by how quick some of themail's regulars have been to disparage the
mayor's efforts to hold his bureaucrats accountable for their performance. I for one think
the mayor is doing a very creditable job under very trying circumstances. Many of the
city's easier problems are well on the way to lasting solutions. At the same time, the
mayor has not turned his back on the far tougher problems of completely rebuilding a
deeply entrenched, largely dysfunctional, partially unionized, civil service protected,
racially defensive bureaucracy. Those who offer glib solutions have clearly never been on
the firing line to coin a phrase.
This basic quantitative process must evolve over the mayor's remaining six years in
three different ways. First, as the senior staff becomes more professional, the content of
the scorecards must become more sophisticated as well. Second, those whose scorecards show
the least progress must be obliged by the mayor to find other work. Third, the
hip-shooters in the gallery should learn how to grade scorecards: the mayor certainly does
not deserve a failing grade for "meeting or exceeding" 67 of his 98 goals. You
parents and ex-students should look at it this way: the goals surely were not just to
"pass" all 98 tests, but to get A s on them. Under this challenge, the mayor s
team earned 42 A+ s; 25 A s; 14 B s; 7 D s; and 10 F s. That averages out to between an A-
and a B+, and that grade feels about right to me. The nation's capital city is well on the
way to becoming a better place.
Driving to the Washington Hospital Center several times this weekend, I noticed a
strange sight near the intersection of North Capitol and Michigan Avenue: two rows of
short, brick, silo-like structures in a field. They looked abandoned. What are these
things? Are they still in use? My husband commented that they looked like a great setting
for a movie scene. A very, very, scary scene.
This is to let you know that the January, 2001 on-line edition has been uploaded 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
February 9, 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: Police Infiltrate Private Gathering of Inauguration Protesters in Adams Morgan;
JR's Expansion Bid Unexpectedly OK'd, ANC Election Results Seen as Factor;
Preservationists Honor Suzanne Ganschinietz for Long and Distinguished Public Service.
Wards 3 and 4 Democrats
Linda Finkel-Talvadkar, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ward Four and Ward Three Democratic Committees will meet on Tuesday, January 16, at
7:30 p.m., at the Peoples Congregation Church, 4704 13th Street, NW (Eight blocks
south of Military Road, NW). Mayor Anthony Williams will address the joint session, and
At-Large Councilmembers Harold Brazil and Phil Mendelson, Ward Four Councilmember Adrian
Fenty, and District Two School Board member Dwight Singleton will participate in a panel
discussion highlighting education, the environment and Rock Creek Park, telecommunications
towers, controlling neighborhood development, transportation, and redistricting.
Statements from Ward Three Councilmember Kathy Patterson and School Board President Peggy
Cooper Cafritz will be read. The meeting is open to the public.
Join the Call for Electoral Reform
Amy Quinn, email@example.com
The Progressive Challenge: An Action Agenda for Electoral Reform, Hart Senate Office
Building, room 902, January 19, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.. In the wake of a turbulent 2000
election season, Members of Congress, Civil Rights leaders, and grassroots organizations
will gather on Capitol Hill on January 19, to forge a long-term strategy for changing the
electoral system in the United States.
Featured speakers include the Rev. Walter Fauntroy of the Black Leadership Roundtable;
Lani Guinier of Harvard University; Ron Daniels of the Center for Constitutional Rights;
and co-convening members of Congress including Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT),
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA). The
forum is sponsored by: The Institute for Policy Studies Progressive Challenge
Network; The Center for Voting and Democracy; and the Nation Institute in conjunction with
some Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The Progressive Challenge, based at the Institute for Policy Studies, is a 270-member
coalition that has been organizing around a multi-issue Fairness Agenda for America since
its inception in 1997. The project works to strengthen ties between members of the
Congressional Progressive Caucus and grassroots organizations across the nation.
Antique Chair Repair
Sarah Eilers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Can anybody recommend someone careful and reliable to repair antique chairs? I have a
few chairs that need legs re-glued, as well as some minor upholstery work. Please E-mail
me at the above address.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
MICE, MEN, OR WHATEVER: The D.C. Council can't decide whether it wants to be Puddy Tat
or Mighty Mouse. In one case, it's toothless and succumbs to a naked canard while
pretending to protect the will of the people; in the other, it sports a red cape and
puffed chest and shouts, Damn the people!
This latest, and most distressing, instance of split personality is on display in the form
of two issues: nude dancing and term limits. Councilmembers should remember the last
elected official, the late Arkansas Rep. Wilbur Mills, to become entangled with nude
dancing more accurately, nude-dancer Fanne Foxe essentially term-limited
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
SUNDAY: Will Durst, Lewis Black, Jim Morris, and Al Gore's college pal Bob Somerby perform
at the Hotline Comedy Concert for Children's Hospital, at the Warner Theater, 13th & E
Sts. NW. $30.
MONDAY: George Soros will discuss his latest book, Open Society: Reforming Global
Capitalism, at 6:30 p.m. at the Library of Congress' Madison Building, Mumford Room,
101 Independence Ave. SE. Free
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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