It's President's Day, themail is long, and I'm taking a vacation to save space. Keep
Harrison Square Windows
Patricia Chittams, email@example.com
One would think that the neighborhood organizations that have recently sprung into
existence would have more issues than just windows with the Harrison project. These paper
houses built for the newly rich are not a reflection of the community. I have watched
these houses being built since the sticks were placed in the ground. I personally wouldn't
want a home built so poorly that a 5 foot 6, 130 pound female could punch a hole through
the walls connecting the houses. Was it PT Barnum that said a sucker was born every
What has the development company done to take care of the issues related to having
clear title to the property? What will happen with the increased need for parking within
the community? Will the neighborhood school (Children's Studio School) be closed to make
way for increased development (with the assistance and encouragement of the developers of
the Harrison Project and Metro's Development arm, Metropolis)? Does this increased
development also include the much rumored plans for chi chi poo poo stores at
the expense of century old homes located on V Street? Or does it really matter . . . these
homes only house the elderly and the drunks.
The entire flavor of the neighborhood is at stake. With the new upwardly mobile
neighbors, perhaps they may be interested in where they live. Maybe they won't turn their
homes over within five years and actually become part of the community. Perhaps they may
even know who the person is who lives next door to them. I have spoken with real estate
agents who have informed me that if you don't earn at least 100K per year, the idea of
purchasing a three-bedroom home within the District now is fading and will be out of the
question within five years. Sounds like San Francisco and the Silicon Valley doesn't it?
Personally, I think that is a sad and a loss to the city as a whole, and a bit more
important than windows.
It seemed that this posting [OPA's Mission, Lawrence Hemphill, firstname.lastname@example.org] must have been
created for humorous purposes for themail, but then, again, you usually don't do that kind
of thing. So, I thought I'd check to be sure. Was this for real? If so, I think I'll need
OK I'm impressed, the Director of the Office of Public Advocate wrote to themail. I
read Mr. Hemphill's posting very carefully and I only have one problem. I didn't
understand any of it. I reread it three times and still don't know what OPA is supposed to
do. Before this, I didn't even know that there was an OPA; now that I know that there is
one, can somebody tell me what they are supposed to do for an ordinary citizen like me. I
don't think that I want to ask what OPA's budget and staff is; before I ask how much it
costs I think I want to know what it does.
I was puzzled by one of the things that Naomi Monk said in her letter to today's
[February 14] issue of themail. She said, I wish others as I do join you [Gloria
Mobley, themail, February 11] in being a part of the solution rather than the
problem. Is she saying that people who are cheerleaders for the District are part of
the solution, but people who point out the flawed system are part of the problem? Please
An Open Letter to Mayor Williams
Helen Hagerty, email@example.com
Dear Mayor Williams: I would like to be optimistic about the delivery of services here
in DC, but when it comes to DPW, it's impossible to be optimistic. I am a parent of four
children who attend a DC public school. The school my children attend, Anthony Hyde ES, is
located in Georgetown on O St. The principal and parents have been trying for several
years to get school safety signs and a crosswalk on our street near our school.
Several years ago a student was hit by a car. Luckily, it was not serious. Hyde is
situated on a one way street with many different types of parking. The street has metered
parking, residential parking, parking for business deliveries, no parking 9-4 in front of
the school, and 15 minute parking only from 2-4 p.m. Not only are there no signs on the
block indicating a school, but there is NO parking enforcement on the block in front or
near the school. Occasionally, when we complain enough, a ticket writer might show up.
Once when we complained, two ticket writers appeared and issued tickets to parents waiting
in their cars! When parents come to pick up their kids at 3:15, it's a very dangerous
free-for-all. Cars and trucks park all day in front of the school and in the 15-minute
parking area designated for parents to pick up their kids.
Because of the high turn over rate at DPW, we are forced to deal with someone new every
September. The people at parking enforcement are unable to send a competent ticket writer
to our block. Their explanation is the shift doesn't start until 1:30 and this person
can't show up until after 3 p.m. The shortage of ticket writers is creating a very
dangerous situation at our school. I thought the Council had budgeted funds for 45
additional ticket writers. Why haven't they been hired?
One solution to Hyde's problem was to cut a small space in the sidewalk in front of the
school to create a designated pick up spot for a car pool. This was finally completed last
month, however, without proper signs and parking enforcement, it's a complete waste of
money. This safety issue has gone unresolved for far too long. Please hire the additional
parking enforcement personnel so that parents can safely pick up their children. We want
all of the proper school signs installed before spring, and the crosswalk bricked in by
the end of the year. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.
A Glimpse into the Next Mayoral Election
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to see just who will be lined up against Tony Williams in the next mayoral
election you need look no further than the array of Council members who strongly oppose
the mayor's proposal to turn over D.C. General's operations to a private firm. The next
primary election will very likely be a contentious race-based contest with the D.C.
General issue at the forefront. The posturing has already begun.
The Mayor and the Control Board have made exactly the right decision to privatize
health care for the needy in the city and it will be the degree of success of the health
care provider that will have a major impact on the 2002 mayoral election. You can be sure
that the Council members lined up in opposition to the Mayor will not make things easy for
that health care provider.
Have We Gone Taft?
Gregory Diaz, email@example.com
First, after having missed by mere inches being rear-ended on the north end of the Taft
Bridge this morning (typical fool behind rounds the curve at south end, floors it,
suddenly realizes traffic stops for light at Calvert, skids on wet pavement),
I renew my plea for speed cameras at this and other Daytona Speedway locations in the
District. This is so simple even the bow tie mayor, the D.C. Police, and the Traffic
Bureaucracy should be able to figure it out and still have enough padding left over for
the usual fiscal leakage. (Rock Creek Parkway could use the same the problem there
is just the usual federal lethargy and ineptness.) Grrrrrrrrrr.
Second, be happy that the water here is (at least apparently) not swimming with tiny
little transparent worms, as was discovered last month in Central Florida water. Thank the
stars we have bottled water.
Water Safety and Standards
Liz Heyd, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to Rick Otis's E-mail [DC's Drinking Water, themail, February 14], his
references don't make feel very safe. The federal drinking water standards for arsenic
(for one example) were 28 years old and at extremely unhealthy levels until EPA was sued
and forced to update them this year, and the Army Corps of Engineers is the most
dysfunctional agency around. As for calling EPA, maybe that'd be useful. I've thought of
having my tap water analyzed for contaminants that might warrant a filter stronger than my
If anyone's interested, here's a bit more on the topic: Several years ago and rather
surprisingly, the Army Corps (who is responsible for the treatment plant on McArthur
Blvd.) didn't keep the large sand bed filters up to snuff. This led to the problem Gary
Imhoff mentioned the presence of high levels of giardia in the finished (treated)
water. One would generally think the Army Corps would be good at keeping things in ship
shape. It's also possible that other new drinking water treatment requirements may have
increased the difficulty of properly filtering the water. There was a long discussion of
the cause when it occurred. Check back issues of the Post. Until the creation of the
Water/Sewer Authority, the DC government (the entity that owns the water distribution
system) didn't do much (if any) routine flushing of the pipes under the streets. This is
standard good practice and helps eliminate water that may not move much in dead-end
portions of the system and helps ensure all the water in the system has the proper amount
of residual chlorine (the traditional disinfectant) so that nasty things don't grow in the
pipes and dead ends. Failure to do this could worsen the problems caused by insufficient
filtration (as was the case above). I'm not sure whether this is being done properly now.
Filtration is generally not necessary for cities whose raw water supply comes from
wells. It's particularly important when the water source is a river. Potomac River water
is pretty clean when it comes to industrial and pesticide contaminants -- most of the
upstream watershed doesn't have much heavy industry. Contamination comes from farms and
other sources of run-off gunk. Many people are getting the impression that their public
drinking water quality is getting worse. Note, however, that over the past 15 years the
federal government has established a growing list of drinking water quality standards that
states must adopt. These standards include a requirement to inform the public of
violations -- including (I think) relatively minor ones. The result is that we now hear
about violations when we didn't before. Note that the standards are very conservative and
presume very long term exposures, so minor or short term violations for certain chemical
contaminants probably are not a big deal. Bacteria and the like are.
I think the treatment plant recently shifted from chlorine to another substance to
disinfect the water. This eliminated the chlorine smell but I think it created a problem
for people with fish tanks or other things that are sensitive to the replacement. The
water's smell during the spring comes from the high level of organic material (rotting
leaves, etc.) coming down the river during spring floods. I don't think its an indication
there is a health problem with the water. The sand-bed filters and other treatment actions
don't necessarily remove substances that cause smells and funny tastes. I think it can be
removed with a carbon filter on your tap. Large activated carbon filters in the treatment
plant would probably remove funny smells and tastes, but I understand they are expensive
and a worker safety problem.
The Real World-Emergency Preparedness and Water Quality
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
This is a weird question, but in the event of an emergency does the District (and FEMA)
have a plan? I've never heard of one or seen drills (probably a good thing?). Over the
past decade, D.C.'s federal buildings have been made more secure; and Pennsylvania Avenue
in front of the White House is closed. Every time the U.S. uses force in the world, I
wonder about DC's emergency preparedness. I lived in Georgetown when the former President
Bush led the attack on Iraq a decade ago. Eerie sirens at a junior high school went off.
They could be heard far away. A lot of people wanted to know what the sirens meant. We
heard that someone accidentally tripped the sirens. Another time, walking home from work,
there was a false alert of a "chemical" delivered in a package to a Jewish
organization, which resulted in men in white suits walking around a large cordoned-off
area while the material was tested. The District has an office of emergency response
(there is a section for that office on the mayor's web site that lists DC's main threats).
Every state has such an office. (I think this is a federal requirement, and they follow
FEMA regs, but not certain). Some parts of the country have elaborate evacuation plans
(Florida coasts, areas within ten miles of chemical and nuclear facilities, etc.). I've
heard stories of the traffic situation in D.C. at the time of the 1968 riots. Helicopter,
Good ole Potomac River water. I drink D.C.'s public water now and then, but usually
filter it I guess that makes it cleaner. A 1999 Drinking Water Quality Report on
WASA's website shows there is less of each of the contaminants WASA tests for (turbidity,
coliform bacteria, chlorine, trihalomethanes, antimony, barium, beryllium, chromium,
copper, lead, thallium, floride, nitrate, atrazine, simazine, alpha emitters, beta
emitters, strontium-90, tritium, sulfate, nickel, chloral hydrate, chloropicrin,
haloacetic acids, haloacetonitrates, haloketones) than is allowed by EPA standards, now
that the water is disinfected using chloramines rather than chlorine. I sent WASA's public
affairs office an E-mail, saying that often, when the water in DC emerges from the tap
unfiltered, it is very cloudy. Friends who work in restaurants have shown me that if you
add ice to the water, the cloudiness disappears. I asked WASA what the cloudiness is and
why it disappears when the temperature drops (or ice is added)? Haven't heard
Signs of the Times
Willie Schatz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yeah, yeah, a thousand times yeah for Paul Dionne giving the campaign signs the violent
and early deaths they deserve. My Adams Morgan 'hood still has far too many like
more than one Peggy Cooper Cafritz for President signs. Nary a city
worker has been sighted within 100 meters of any of the offending objects.
I've taken down my share, but I'm feeling like Sisyphus. And he was only pushing a rock,
not the District government.
Rude and Inconsiderate
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
And an illegal case of theft, too. Over the last three days, in various parts of NW
D.C., I have found three shopping carts some distance away from the stores named on those
carts. One Safeway cart, with a child seat, was about a half mile south on MacArthur
Boulevard. A Rodman's cart was at the bus stop on Massachusetts Avenue and 49th Street. A
CVS cart was on Mass. Ave. and Van Ness St. This is a disturbing sign of disregard for the
law and another sign of a "me first" attitude, damn the rest of you folks. I
look forward to the day when I can catch one of these folks in the act so that I can call
both the police and the store that owns that cart. Will start taking my digital camera and
a cell phone on my walks through NW, D.C., so that there will be no problem of identifying
the rude and inconsiderate culprits.
In last Wednesday's issue of themail, I reported on a DMV postcard advising me to check
its website for info about a DMV location in Georgetown. I also reported that, when I
followed this suggestion, I found that DMV's website had nothing about a new DMV location
in Georgetown. Thursday morning I received an E-mail from one Sherryl Hobbs-Newman. She
claimed to have some connection to the DC Department of Motor Vehicles, gave suggestions
about license renewal at the current DMV locations, and identified her E-mail address as
firstname.lastname@example.org. Replying to that E-mail address, I asked when DMV would likely have
information about a Georgetown location. I also suggested that, until DMV's web site
carries information about a Georgetown location, DMV should stop sending people postcards
advising that people check its website for information about a Georgetown location. Here's
the reply I got: This Message was undeliverable due to the following reason: The
following destination addresses were unknown (please check the addresses and re-mail the
message): email@example.com. Please reply to Postmaster@dc.gov if you feel this message to be in
error. Figuring that Ms. Hobbs-Newman wouldn't have sent me a message carrying a
false return E-mail address (that's what spammers do, right?), I replied to Postmaster@dc.gov. Here's the reply I got: This
Message was undeliverable due to the following reason: The user(s) account is temporarily
over quota. Please reply to Postmaster@dc.gov if
you feel this message to be in error. Dealing with DC government sometimes feels
like performing in a play written by Franz Kafka, or maybe Samuel Beckett. Which it is
depends, I guess, on your sense of humor.
Recorder of Deeds Building
Diane Lee Schultz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Padro wrote in the 11 February themail that the Recorder of Deeds Building at 515
D Street, NW, is one of Washington's most important African American Buildings. I think it
is more important than that single characterization. It is accessible and beautiful and a
pleasure to work in. Please support its survival.
Reading The Evening Star from Tuesday, December 16,
1856, in 2001
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
1856: Scientific men are now cudgeling their brains to discover the best method
whereby houses may be warmed by gas. 2001: Consumers are cudgeling their brains to
discover the best method whereby they can lower their household winter hearing gas bill.
1856: Carlyle says that each man carries under his hat a 'Private Theatre,'
whereon a greater drama than is ever performed on the mimic state, is acted, beginning and
ending in Eternity. 2001: Milan Kundera in 'Slowness' says there is a secret
bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting, and that in existential
mathematics, that experience takes the form of two basic questions: the degree of slowness
is directly proportional to the intensity of memory; the degree of speed is directly
proportional to the intensity of forgetting.
1856: Advertisement Pain is the forerunner of most diseases cure
the Pain and check the disease. 2001: Advertisement former Senator Dole tells
TV viewers how Pepsi makes him feel like a kid again.
1856: Theodore Parker preached on Thanksgiving day in Boston, on 'The Prospect
for Democratic Institutions in America,' from the text 'The harvest is past, the summer is
ended, and we are not saved!' 2001: Amen. Free DC!
Hail to DC's Democracy 7 (http://sinkers.org/dcsuperiordemoFeb0801/index.html).
Prime-Time for Taxation without Representation
Celia Du Bose, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the February 11th issue, Keith Jarrell called the official new D.C. license
plate, which sports the slogan Taxation Without Representation, a
ridiculous campaign being conducted by the mayor and others. Actually it has
been a very efficient and quite cost effective education campaign. We know from polling
done by Mark David Richards that people around the country when made aware of our
disenfranchisement believe that we should have the same rights that they have. Imagine the
cost of placing educational ads during the following national television shows: ABCs
coverage of Bushs inauguration with Peter Jennings, Meet the Press,
Politically Incorrect, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Were talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in free national media attention
and this is what the license plate campaign has done. But the message didnt
come through as a paid ad. It came through as a news story. It came through as a startling
bit of sociopolitical reality. It came through as the $64, 000 question, literally.
No one arguing for full voting rights for the District would disagree with
Jarrells argument that we enjoy many unique amenities, but few would trust Congress
to decide "how to best change the policy of our taxes." And District residents
arent simply up in arms over being taxed more than most Americans. We are upset
about paying the taxes AND having no voting representation at all in Congress. Mr. Jarrell
and others claim that we are more represented than most cities because of all the
congressional and presidential oversight. I can only imagine that he and others believe in
the social riders that are stuck on our Appropriations bills but there are plenty
of us who do not and bristle at the annual intrusion! No matter how one feels about the
medicinal use of marijuana, it was egregiously antidemocratic of Congress to deny DC
voters the ability to tally their votes on the medical marijuana ballot referendum and
then, once they were tallied, to refuse to implement the law.
While I do not agree with Jarrells sharp criticism of the Hills most ardent
District advocate, his strong feelings should encourage him to consider the great argument
he has made for demanding full enfranchisement for DC. Under the status quo, how many
other candidates are going to toss their hat into the ring and vie for a position as a
nonvoting congressional delegate?
Come help out for a couple hours or the day! Saturday, Feb. 24, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at
Savoy School, 2400 Shannon Pl., SE (just across from Anacostia Metro Station). Join
community activists from across the city to discuss trash transfer and waste management
issues in the city and create a citizens' plan for waste management. Expert speakers will
address issues of environmental justice, recycling, the private industry side of waste,
public health, and more. Handicap accessible, snacks will be served, free, and open to the
public. For questions or child care information, please call 610-3360.
Volunteers are needed for this event. Your help can make this event a success.
Logistics, note taking, registration, and other help needed. Participate in the summit
while you volunteer. To help out or for more information, please call 610-3360.
Peggy Cooper Cafritz at Chevy Chase Citizens Assn. Meeting
Evelyn Mittman Wrin, email@example.com
Peggy Cooper Cafritz, President of the D.C. Board of Education, will speak to Chevy
Chase Citizens Association next week. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday,
February 20, and will be held at the Chevy Chase Community Center, Connecticut Avenue and
McKinley Street, N.W. Open to all interested persons. For information, call 244-5744.
Cleveland Park Citizens Association Membership Meeting
Isabel Furlong, firstname.lastname@example.org
CPCA will meet on Saturday, March 3, at 10:15 a.m., at the Cleveland Park Library,
Connecticut Avenue between Macomb and Newark Streets, NW. The featured speaker will be
Councilmember-At-Large Harold Brazil, the new chairman of the DC Council's Economic
Development Committee. Air your views on government, development, and the city's future.
Piggyback PSA Meeting Second District Police update on local crime wave.
Reports and Updates include Starwood and the Mazza Buildings, Rosedale, NCS
Construction Liaison Committee, Commercial Overlay District, Campus Plan Roundtable, The
Tenley Tower Coalition. Robert Collins, the new Planning Coordinator for Ward 3, will
announce a Steering Committee for Future Planning. Join this committee and be part of the
My Community, My Children Guiding Group Meeting
Dona Jenkins, email@example.com
My Community, My Children, the District's child centered, family focused Foster Care
Reform Initiative, is designed to better screen children prior to their removal from their
homes, bring children back to their neighborhoods, involve foster families in
reunification efforts, become a neighborhood resource for families, build capacity in
communities where our foster care families live, involve everyone in the recruitment
effort, and establish new models of partnership for organizations, communities, foster and
On Wednesday, February 21, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., the Guiding Group for this initiative
will be meeting at People's Congregational Church, Fellowship Hall, 4707 13th Street, NW.
All are invited. For more information please call My Community, My Children, Child and
Family Services Agency, 442-6009.
Basic Transportation Needed
Jean Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking $2,000 car that still runs. Call 703-450--0641.
Ann Van Aken, email@example.com
Could someone please steer me in the right direction? I had an inappropriate response
from Quadrangle Management (the landlord) concerning a matter related to my former
tenancy, so I contacted the DCRA, Landlord/Tenant Division, to see how I would go about
filing a complaint. The Landlord/Tenant Division informed me that since I was no longer a
tenant, nothing could be done! What does the Landlord/Tenant Division of the D.C.
Regulatory Authority DO, anyway?
Does anybody know of an organization or person who takes donations of laser printers in
need of repair? If so, please contact Leslie Sapp, at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note that
there are TWO letter f's in my e-mail address) or 301-270-2114.
Does anyone know who enforces or polices construction sites? I live in Georgetown and
have a construction site very close to me that blocks traffic and causes a lot of
difficulty. If there is an agency that enforces the conditions of construction permits I'm
sure this site is in violation. Any help out there?
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and
Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML and plain text
versions of themail, use the subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to email@example.com
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, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way
or another. All postings 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.