Dear Fellow Peasants:
Sometimes the music just fits the lyrics perfectly, but the Williams administration has
an absolutely tin ear when it comes to judging how the song sounds. At the same time that
it is closing the city's only public hospital, the administration has arranged with Betty
Brown Casey for her to purchase the most expensive private residence in the city and
donate it as the official Mayoral palace. Fifty million dollars to purchase, decorate, and
maintain a walled and gated mansion in the most distant corner of Northwest Washington
a mansion so private and isolated that it isn't even visible from the public road.
All that is missing are the No Trespassing signs to keep Washingtonians out,
and they will soon go up. Fifty million dollars so that the mayors of this city can live
lives of luxury amidst opulence. And in splendid isolation from the city spread beneath
In other news, this week has also brought new evidence to confirm that Mayor Williams
knew exactly what he was doing when he asked the Inspector General to investigate the
administration's fundraising scandals. On Monday, several top-level members of the
Administration were called into the IG's office for interrogation about the fundraising
scheme. During their questioning the investigator told them that he had documents that
detailed an important part of the fundraising plan; he told them exactly where the
documents had come from and which individual had provided them. And Monday evening, Mayor
Williams, who hadn't spoken to that individual for months, personally called him and asked
him to shade his story to make sure that the trail wouldn't lead any higher than Deputy
Chief of Staff Mark Jones. The Inspector General can be so useful to an administration in
Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Betty Brown Casey's proposed gifts to the city are quite generous. The fifty megabucks
for trees in the city could go a long way in keeping Washington as beautiful as it should
be. The fifty megabucks for a mayoral mansion on Foxhall Road, however, is a horse of a
different color. Foxhall Road and upper Northwest D.C. is an inappropriate location for
Tony Williams or any other Mayor of Washington. Imagine the brouhaha that the residents of
Foxhall Road would raise if this proposal were followed up. Imagine the glee from the
Mayors in Waiting on the City Council. The fight against the new school on
Foxhall Road, only a stone's throw from where this proposed mansion would be located,
should make anyone wary of turning over one shovel full of earth anywhere near Foxhall
Road in the next lifetime. Should Tony Williams accept this offer he would move in some
time in 2002 (according to Ms Brown's timetable) and he would promptly have to move out
since that move would ensure that Tony Williams was not reelected Mayor in Nov. of 2002.
A far better alternative would be to spend less than $10 million to buy two or three
adjacent homes in Capitol Hill and to completely renovate these adjacent houses into a
single mini-mansion. Capitol Hill is a much more centrally located,
politically correct, and less controversial, location. The remaining 40 megabucks of the
$50 million offered for a new Mansion could be put to use elsewhere in the
city coffers to provide better services to residents. Better take a good look in that
horse's mouth Mr. Mayor, it just might have some teeth that could bite you in the butt.
State Democratic Committee
Arthur H. Jackson, Jr., Ward 8 Democratic State Committeeman, email@example.com
On Thursday March 1,2001 The D.C Democratic State Committee will consider several
actions, including opposing repeal of term limits and opposing seats on the state
committee for all City Democratic elected officials. However, I plan to publicly join
other activists in registering my disappointment in efforts to close D.C. General. I read
themail regularly, and would like to thank you for keeping the people informed.
Disappointed in the City Council
Kathy Chamberlain, firstname.lastname@example.org
The posturing and grandstanding by most of our City Council over the D.C. General
controversy makes me grateful we still have a control board. The Council has come down
with a case of amnesia at how this city arrived at the dire financial predicament of 5
years ago. In the tough decisions department, they've proven they can't hack it. How hard
was it to predict that the D.C. General was headed for a crisis? What did they do about
it? Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose hit the nail on the head This train
wreck has been coming for 15 years, and city officials have chosen not to deal with
it. Now with the intense community outcry about the hospital's future,
Councilmembers are diving for cover. They have nothing to lose by letting Mayor Williams
take the flack for the whole mess, especially those councilmembers who still hold out hope
for becoming mayor. While registering strong opposition to the plan set forth by the
control board, they know full well there is no other viable option. If we didn't have a
mayor with scruples (think back a few years ago), he too would be pointing the finger at
the control board for making the tough decision. Without the control board to force the
steering wheel away from the cliff, we'd be headed for financial disaster again. The lack
of leadership shown by most of our City Council is truly disappointing.
Abandoned Cars and the DPW. . .
Richard Layman, Northeast DC, email@example.com
. . . and a call for setting (and reporting to the public) benchmarks for various city
services. The person who wrote about reporting an abandoned car and still finding it on
the street a week later will come to learn that it takes four to seven weeks for the
District to remove an abandoned car. I don't know why it takes so long, but it does. You
can call the MPD and you can call your councilmember and you can call the DPW (and your
neighbors can too) but it still seems to take that long, based on my experience with two
abandoned cars over the past year in my Northeast DC neighborhood (with the second car, it
was fascinating to see various pieces stolen from it over the period -- from the license
plates to wheels).
Which leads me to another point. It's great that there is the 727-1000 call center and
that a citizen gets a tracking number for what they report. (Note: I have had
exceptionally good experiences with calling this number with regard to bulk track
pickups.) But there is something wrong when it takes so long to remove an abandoned car
off the street once it has been reported.
I am concerned that while the Mayor's office states that the information collected in
the call center process is used to develop budget and other priorities for the City, that
I don't hear any communication from the municipal government about setting benchmarks for
various city services. (Recently, the Washington Times ran an op-ed piece
criticizing the Mayor's self-grading reports because they focus on process
grades rather than more specific service benchmarks.) We need to set such benchmarks
for critical services such as removing abandoned cars, fixing broken water mains, etc.
And, they shouldn't be set at four to seven weeks for an abandoned car, or eight months
for a broken water main which is how long the actions seem to take at times in my
RE: Betty Brown Casey's offering of $50 million to plant trees in the District. James
Bryce, in an address around 1913 to the Committee of One Hundred on the Development of
Washington, D.C., reprinted in The Nation's Capital, wrote, I know of no
city in which the trees seem to be so much a part of the city as Washington. Nothing can
be more delightful than the views up and down the wider streets and avenues, especially
those that look toward the setting sun or catch some flow of the evening light. . . .
There are few finer streets in any city. . . . Nature has done so much, and you have,
yourselves, already done so much that you are called upon to do more. You have such a
chance offered to you here for building a superb capital that it would be almost an act of
ingratitude to Providence and to history and to the men who planted the city here if you
did not use the advantages that you here enjoy. A caption under a photograph of the
elm planted by George Washington on the grounds of the capitol reads, Washington
ranks about twentieth among the capitals of the earth in the number of its people, but
first among them in the number of its shade trees. The article is filled with black
and white photographs of "gothic arched" and "canopied" streets and
sidewalks lined with sycamore, oak, maples, elm, horse chestnuts, leading me to think that
at that time there were far more trees planted much closer together -- both in front yards
and in tree boxes. Bryce compared Washington to other capitals, and said Nature had done
nothing for most major capitals comparable to Washington. He pointed out, however, that
ancient cities London and Paris in particular had something Washington
wouldn't have for years: They [London and Paris] have still, in spite of the
destroying march of modern improvements, a certain number of picturesque buildings,
crooked old streets, stately churches, and spots hallowed by the names of famous men who
were born there or died there or did their work there. You are still in the early days of
your history and are only beginning to accumulate historic memories which in four or five
centuries will be rich and charged with meaning like those of European cities.
In Response to In Response to Nailing Trees
Ralph Blessing, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, Ms. Roach, but as Ms. Robin noted in her original posting, supporting DC General
and taking care of our trees are not mutually exclusive positions. It is possible to
support the continued existence of the hospital and, at the same time, oppose the methods
its proponents employ in getting their message to the public. As Ms. Robin, pointed out,
using our city's trees to do so is not an acceptable tactic. Not only is it illegal, it is
detrimental to the well-being of the trees. The environmental benefits that trees provide
makes this not just an aesthetic issue but also a public health issue. Maybe not as
tangible and measurable as a hospital, but an important consideration nonetheless.
Consequently, keeping posters off the trees would be the more consistent position for
those who claim to support DC General.
Care More About Trees
E. James Lieberman, email@example.com
I don't think we have to choose between trees and DC General. Getting the message out
means taking care not to alienate an important part of your support group. I'm glad to see
that the poster campaign has taken that to heart. But it is insulting to many of us to
suggest that we care more about trees than people just because we object to destructive
(and illegal) posting on trees.
Sorry, Ms. Roach, I totally side with Peggy Robin in this. A nail or other sharp object
staple, thumbtack opens a wound that renders the tree as vulnerable to
infection as a nail through your hide or mine would. In this city we have lost hundreds of
trees to Dutch Elm and other infectious diseases. It costs you no more in time and
materials to use tape or string instead of metal objects that cause penetrating injuries.
Tie the notice around the tree with string, or tape it. It is against the law to drive
metal into a tree, regardless of how exalted a do-gooder you are.
Too bad Ms. Roach (themail, February 25) feels that the message about the DC General
crises is more important than a tree, or for that matter, following regulations that frown
upon nailing/stapling things to public trees (regulations that limit many other important
messages too). Who is the arbiter of message importance that determines when a
message is unquestionably important enough to justify violation of a city ordinance?
While I will not argue with her whether a tree can provide emergency care and
health clinics for our schools, trees do contribute to our positive health in many
ways. For one, they help to filter our air, which is indeed in need of being cleaner (as
we seek an extension of time on Clean Air Act requirements for DC). Perhaps with some
cleaner air, fewer kids might have asthma resulting in less pressure on emergency care
services and school health clinics. A little further along, many trees provide a variety
of medical substances.
I am curious what the commitment to do better in placing posters made by
Ms. Roach's organization is how about a commitment to no stapling or nailing of
posters to trees? I think it is sad when people feel that contributing to destruction is
the only way to get their message out and when questioned about it, the answer is to put
down the questioner! Arrogance should not be part of the message.
President William Howard Taft on D.C.
Mark David Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1913 and 1915, The National Geographic Society of Washington, D.C., reprinted two
articles in what appears to be a hard cover book titled Washington, The Nation's
Capital, by former President William Howard Taft and James Bryce. The article by
President Taft indicates that he was very interested in the development of a national
capital. This articles offer an interesting glimpse into thinking at the turn of last
century. Taft wrote, In its history Washington city has had to live through the day
of small things. The plan of L'Enfant met the obstinacy and lack of the artistic sense of
certain legislators who closed the vista between the White House and the Capitol by
insisting on the erection of the Treasury across the line of Pennsylvania avenue. Then
later on, when Congress seemed determined to minimize everything national, it retroceded
to Virginia the part of the ten miles square on the south side of the Potomac River and
furnished substantial proof of its contracted view of Washington's future. This was quite
a departure from the broad, liberal attitude of Jefferson. It was a day of little
Americans, and whenever they are in control the National Capital always suffers.
The injury to Washington inflicted by the retrocession of the Virginia part of the
District was serious, and one of the questions that we ought to meet promptly is whether
we cannot retrieve some of the ground lost by that egregious blunder. Taft noted
that the State of Virginia had made it clear to him while President that they would never
willingly part with Alexandria city. He proposed retrieving other portions. The book
discusses the McMillan plan. Taft called L'Enfant by his proper name: Peter Charles
L'Enfant (historian Kenneth Bowling has shown that people started calling him Pierre long
after his death). There are many photos-one entitled The accepted design for the
George Washington Memorial Hall that was to be built on the site of the old
Pennsylvania Railroad Station which for many years marred the beauty of the Mall at
Sixth Street. (Was this not built, or what?)
Taft points out that In many quarters there seems to be an erroneous impression
that the United States government pays the entire expense of maintaining the Capital City,
and, further, that the people of Washington have their municipal government handed to them
on a silver platter. Such, however, is far from the truth. It [Washington,
D.C.] has never been a center for business or manufacture, because its raison d'ętre is
only to provide a seat for government activities and a home for public servants who carry
them on. It thus is singularly free in its opportunity to devote its energies to enhancing
its own stateliness and acquiring a dignity appropriate to the heart of our national
sovereignty. He explained the 50-50 Agreement, in effect at the time (federal
government paid 50% of municipal expenses from a few years after Home Rule was officially
terminated in 1878 until 1919), with two points, added costs imposed by the federal
government and Washington has but one industry, which is government, and that
industry but one product, which is politics. With no important wealth-producing industries
to swell the incomes of the people of the Capital, with every activity discouraged that
would detract from the beauty of the city, per capita ability to pay taxes is
correspondingly smaller in Washington that in most cities. Taft noted in passing
that "The fact that the residents of Washington, now grown to 350,000 in
number, are deprived of local self-government imposes a sacred obligation on Congress to
see to it that they do not suffer from such deprivation. Few would argue with the
statement that the federal government has developed an impressive area, known as the
National Capital Service Area (Mall). But, in 2001, it seems obvious that the District's
120 neighborhoods cannot alone be sustained by their proximity to the federal area. Taft's
point that District citizens had been discouraged from developing an economic base is
important. For most of the District's 200 years, with a few exceptions, the burdens
imposed upon the residents have been greater than Congress has been willing to fund or
District citizens were able to afford. The poorest suffer most, and many who are part of
the inner circles don't care (or this situation would have changed long ago). District
citizens have attempted to build a vibrant community without much assistance from the
federal government, relying on real estate speculation and tourism, but have been
frequently humiliated in their attempt. Bottom line: responsibilities without resources.
Without a strong economy, the District has remained a dependent of temporary and transient
federal leaders that had ultimate control of District's treasury.
Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-named BOOK.
BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no
batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can
Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere-even sitting in an armchair by the
fire-yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc
Here's how it works:
BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable
of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a
custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.
Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet,
doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects
for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply
use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into
your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.
BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though, like other devices, it can become
damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it becomes unusable if dropped too many times on a
hard surface. The browse feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet,
and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an index feature,
which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.
An optional Bookmark accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place
you left it in a previous session-even if the BOOK has been closed. Bookmarks fit
universal design standards; thus, a single Bookmark can be used in BOOKs by various
manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOK markers can be used in a single BOOK if the user
wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages
in the BOOK.
You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming
tools, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS).
Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new
entertainment wave. BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have
committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest. Look for a
flood of new titles soon.
[This message, forwarded by R.L. Widmann, is widely distributed on the web. If anyone
knows its author or origin, please write in so that I can give proper credit. Gary
David Sobelsohn, email@example.com asked. Does anyone know if Verizon will
soon be changing its bellatlantic.net domain to a domain including the name
'Verizon'? Well, since verizon.com (the phone company) and verizon.net
(the ISP) are both active with live web sites, I'd presume the answer to be
Reliable Cell Phone Service
Richard Urban, UrbanGrocery.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
I have AT&T wireless service, and I rarely have problems with connectivity.
Tenley Library Fundraiser
Martha Saccocio, MarthaNS2@aol.com
The Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Library are hosting a fundraiser at the recently
opened Chipotle Mexican Grill at 4301 Wisconsin Avenue (across from the firehouse).
Thursday, March 8, 5-8 p.m., $10 adults, $5 kids. Kids under 2 are free. Bring the whole
gang for burritos, drinks and live Mariachi music and help support programming at your
Events at the Washington Ethical Society
Karen Schofield-Leca, wes@EthicalSociety.org
Career futuring: how to make your next move, with Lynne Waymon, LifeWorks Adult
Education at Washington Ethical Society. In a transition? Afraid you might be laid off?
Wish you would be laid off? Want to get back to work after having been home for a while?
Feeling like there must be more to work than a paycheck? Whatever your goal, spend three
evenings with career management expert and author, Lynne Waymon. Whether you want to get
ready for a new career, negotiate new responsibilities with your current boss, improve and
update your resume, network to find opportunities, learn interviewing skills, or develop a
job-finding or career change strategy, we invite you to register for this course open to
members and friends. Thursdays, March 15-29, 7:30-9:30 p.m.; 3 sessions $60. To
register, call Washington Ethical Society, 882-6650 x21.
Songs for coming home: Celtic songs and stories in celebration of the season presented
by critically acclaimed singer and storyteller Jennifer Armstrong. Armstrong hails from
what many regard as Chicagos "first family of folk," where stories and
songs were her native language, and playing fiddle, banjo, bagpipe, dulcimer and guitar
are natural embellishments. She brings all these and more to her show, Songs for Coming
Home, weaving together personal experience with traditional songs and stories to create an
evening filled with tears and laughter. Her autobiographical one woman shows have been
enthusiastically received across the country, including the 1998 National Storytelling
Festival. Jennifer has eight recordings of music and storytelling and her poetry and
essays have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Friday, March 16,
8:00 p.m., $12, Washington Ethical Society, 7750 16th Street, NW, 882-6650.
Leprechauns and limericks with Jennifer Armstrong. Folks aged 3 and up, join us for a
fun-filled family show of Celtic songs and stories that celebrates the Irish in us all.
Irish fiddle, stories of the wee folk, poetry, shamrocks and limericks keep this program
rollicking along. Jennifer brings her love of folk tradition together with her passion for
original creative expression to her interactive programs. Playing fiddle, banjo, bagpipe,
dulcimer and guitar are natural embellishments to her stories and songs. Saturday, March
17, 10:30 a.m., $10 adults, $5 kids.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Seeking Some with Expertise Re DSL
Joan Eisenstodt, email@example.com
Trying to get DSL but finding some roadblocks. Desperately seeking someone who does
consulting in the area who can help me figure out what I need to do and then help me do
it. Obviously on a paid for service basis. E-mail me please at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do this or if you have a
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
CROSSING THE LINE: The District government has never met a disgraced professional it
didn't like. The latest to join the seemingly inexhaustible list is psychologist Joan
Roberts Field. Until 1998, Field had a private practice in Columbia, Md., in which she
counseled individuals struggling with sexual orientation or sexual conduct issues. But on
March 13, 1998, the Maryland State Board of Examiners of Psychologists suspended her
license for three years, with the last year stayed. After her suspension, Field was to be
placed on two years probation and could resume private practice, but only under certain
conditions, according to a consent order signed by Daniel Malone, chairman of the board, a
copy of which was obtained by LL.
Yet within two weeks after her suspension in Maryland, Field started working for the D.C.
Department of Corrections (DOC).
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
MONDAY: New York University Professor Richard Brown will discuss the 73rd Annual
Academy Awards at his Preview of the Academy Awards 2001 at 7 p.m. at
Corcoran Gallery of Art's Hammer Auditorium, 500 17th St. NW. $20.
TUESDAY: The Washington Arts Scene in the Sixties, a panel discussion
moderated by Corcoran College of Art and Design lecturer Andrew Hudson, at 7:30 p.m. at
the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW. $5.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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