The Exaltation of the Mayor
Mayor Anthony Williams deigned to meet with a few of his menial subjects today. He
finally condescended to meet with a delegation of ministers who object to his insistence
on closing DC General Hospital without any workable alternative plan in place. Wisely, he
took the precaution of lining the meeting room with armed police guards to protect himself
from the imminent threat to his person posed by the clergymen. (I swear I'm not making
this up. I'm not even exaggerating.) To date, the Mayor has not yet begun surrounding
Councilmembers with his Praetorian guard, but that can't be far away yesterday all
thirteen members of the Council, even the most obsequious court followers among them,
voted for a resolution opposing the closing of DC General because they hadn't been given
any information about the Mayor's alternative plan.
The Mayor insists that he will go full speed ahead damn the ministers, damn the
Councilmembers, damn the citizens. He has all the power he needs, and he will act alone,
without any explanation or explication. He is betting that he has enough unquestioning
disciples who trust his unsupported word; he is betting that the Council, the press, and
the people will forget about this issue in a few months; and most of all he is betting
that the failure of the plan will go unnoticed, the increase in deaths and near-deaths in
serious trauma situations will go unreported, and the ever-increasing costs of the Doctors
Community Health Corporation contract and the unfunded public HMO will slip by
It is becoming more and more obvious that the proposed Mayoral Casey Castle, the most
expensive and isolated private residence in the city, will not be sufficient by itself to
give full glory to the Mayor. The Council, ever ready to add to the perquisites and
privileges of elected office, will certainly not turn Casey Castle down. What unreasonable
person would ever expect a politician to pay his own living expenses, his own rent or
mortgage, like some commoner? In today's Washington Post, Councilmember Harold
Brazil is quoted as saying, I think it's entirely appropriate for the mayor to be
exalted to some extent. (I am still not making this up, no matter how much it reads
like a parody.) So much for outdated ideas of equality in a democracy; so much for a
reform Mayor. Most other Councilmembers are saying that no gift to the city can be turned
down, nothing free can be rejected. And, after all, once we have the Casey Castle, can
official residences for Councilmembers be far behind? What's the argument against them?
Well, if we're going to go ahead with this nonsense, let's go whole hog. The Castle
would be empty without the other accouterments of royalty. Therefore, today I am starting
a nonprofit fund to buy the city a Mayoral crown, scepter, and white ermine full cape, so
that we can fully celebrate the exaltation of the mayor. They shall be called the Casey
Crown, the Casey Scepter, and the Casey Cape, and shall be worn by the Mayor on all
official ceremonial occasions. Since they will be free to the city, I assume that the
Mayor and Councilmembers will be consistent and agree that the city must accept them. The
fund will be named For the Children, in honor of the now-defunct nonprofit run by the
Mayor's office to raise tax-exempt money to pay his party expenses. Please send your
pledges -- no cash yet, please to email@example.com.
I'll keep a running total. Pledges of any amount will be gratefully accepted, but if you
want to do any business with the city government in the future you had better give till it
Proposition 13 for DC Home Owners?
R. Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org
The prices of DC real-estate have risen at an unreasonable clip in the last three
years. Evans proposes to change the appraisal cycle from three years to one. Under the
existing three-year cycle the real-estate taxes are increased by 1/3 of the new appraisal
delta every year for the next three years. Under the Evans proposal DC residents would
face a huge increase all in the first year. DC has a surplus of over 400 million, but
Evans wants to gain approximately 250 million more over the next five years. Many people
will be crushed by the increase in taxes. In some cases they will be as large as their car
payment. This guy Evans does not understand why people are not happy about his proposal.
I asked his representative (Evans was too busy to talk to the little people) why we
need to do this. The representative said Virginia and Maryland does it so we should, too
(is that a logical argument?). I asked his representative why do we need more taxes with a
$400-million-plus surplus. The representative went on to explain that it is not
"really" a tax increase; we are just changing the appraisal period. I responded,
well let me get this straight: the DC coffers get R250 million more over the next five
years and the money comes out of the pockets of DC taxpayers, and it is not a tax
increase? She must have thought I received my education in the DC school system.
We need something similar to California's Proposition 13. It works this way: as long as
your 1-2 unit house is you primary residence then your taxes are frozen at that rate as
long as you live there. It does not apply to commercial/rental/business/non-owner occupied
buildings. When the properties are sold, then they are reappraise/taxed based on the
current value. Most people move every four to five years, so the DC government will gain
an ever-increasing amount of revenue while long-term residents will not be forced to give
up their houses.
The Democratic Agenda and D.C. General
Gloria White, GMarieW@aol.com
I always get a kick out of comments about the "Democratic Agenda" and the
District of Columbia. I haven't noticed that the Democratic Party has done much for the
District of Columbia. Yes, a few years ago the Democrats gave our delegate a vote in
Committee which the Republicans took back but that was really a small thing on the part of
the Democrats. The Republican Devil Gingrich and Rep. Tom Davis have shown D.C. a lot more
respect and did more for the District than most any Democratic Congress ever did. And, our
dear gone (but certainly not forgotten) President Clinton didn't put the D.C.
"Taxation without Representation" license tag on the Presidential limo until
days before he left office -- obviously as a tweak to Bush. Bush included Williams in the
Inaugural Parade and has already shown him (and thereby the District) more respect and
attention than Clinton ever did. So, I guess I'm more than a little suspect of how much
the Democrats and their agenda have done for D.C. By the way, I am a registered Democrat.
Colbert King's column in Saturday's Post was interesting. He points out that
historically D.C. General has always been badly run and its patients ill-served. I don't
claim to be terribly well informed about this, but shouldn't we be looking at trying to
get something better and not putting more good money after bad. Wouldn't the people served
by D.C. General be better off? I understand the reflex to resist change but sometimes
change can bring improvement.
Privatizing Health Care
Beth Solomon, email@example.com
A closer look at the Mayor's proposed solution to the D.C. General hospital crisis
reveals an interesting fact: the private contract does not cover essential services like
health care for D.C. inmates (including treatment for AIDS) and other costly categories
that the public system now covers. Guess who will end up paying for these? And at what
price when we have to contract out and/or quickly find other providers? This privatization
scheme looks like one that will (1) reduce services to the neediest, (2) enrich a few
questionable private contractors, and (3) expose D.C. taxpayers to enormous hidden costs
The closing of DC General is more complicated than the dialogue/discourse suggests.
This decision is a long time coming. In fact, it's a miracle that DC General has survived
for as long as it has. When you look at what has been happening with public hospitals
across the country, the closing of them began 20 years ago. I am only sorry that we didn't
learn from others' experiences. San Mateo County (in California), Philadelphia and
Baltimore, all have closed their public hospitals because of rising costs and the
difficulty in addressing the root cause that lead to the closings.
Since the mid-80's, Washington, DC has had too many beds. In an environment where the
health care industry has changed so dramatically, this has added to the crisis. To blame
one person now for a tempest that has been brewing for almost twenty years is
shortsighted. The dialogue about DC General should include how are hospitals in the City
going to work together to solve the issue of too many beds, for too few patients, at too
costly care. The dialogue should also deal with what the citizens and its government want
in terms of a quality of life as it relates to health care. We need to look at the core
issue of how to provide quality and accessible health care for all citizens of the
District of Columbia, regardless of income. In addition to looking at the excess number of
beds in the City and determining what is the quality of care that we want universally
available in our community, we should be talking about preventative care. At the Mayor's
State of the District Address, he made a point that still haunts me; are we saying that it
is OK for the disenfranchised to only be entitled to a first-class trauma center? With an
infant mortality rate rivaling many "third world" countries, with an HIV
infection rate increasing yearly, with diabetes and heart disease killing African
Americans disproportionate numbers, where's the prevention . . . things that can be
addressed before the patient reaches the emergency room.
I am concerned about the dedicated and committed DC General staff who have been
unfailing in working with a population that many of the area hospitals do not want to have
as patients. Those who are skilled will find jobs in the area. I am worried about those
who are the glue that hold DC General together, but do not have the transferable skills
needed to make a living wage. So far no one has talked about retraining those for whom it
will be more difficult to find other positions. I keep trying to think of how I can be
part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Wouldn't it serve all of our
interests if task force, consisting of citizens; health care experts; union
representatives; physicians hammered out a solution that addressed the financial issues;
determined how our City's universal health care was constructed; retrained those who are
most at risk for not being able to find positions at other hospitals; and shifted the
paradigm from trauma to prevention? Even better, instead of relying on the
"experts," listen to the community voices with constructive solutions -- that
protect our financial health and address quality of life issues in health care.
On Wednesday, February 28, I was biking on the sidewalk at the Madison Building, on the
east side of 1st Street, SE, between C and Independence, on my way to the public entrance.
An officer Thompson, badge number 1539 (I think DCPD, but I'm not 100% sure) forced me off
my bike, warning me that biking on sidewalks is a ticketable offense. If this
is true, has anyone ever heard of a ticket's being issued? If this is false, can someone
point to a specific city ordinance or regulation on the subject, and can anyone provide
suggestions on how to combat harassment by ignorant police officers? Could there be
different regulations applicable to different sidewalks in the district? Occasionally the
Capitol police have ordered me to dismount while biking on the east side of the Capitol.
But that happens so rarely I've always assumed those were special occasions requiring a
need for heightened security. It's actually amazing, wonderful, and a little scary how
close and how quickly a biker with a full backpack can get to the Capitol building.
After the LOC, around 4:30 p.m., I renewed my driver's license at 301 C St., NW.
Negatives: after 4 p.m. there are no express lanes for license renewal. Not only is this
not clear in the information the DMV sends out, but people who can't spare the time to
renew a license during regular business hours are exactly the folks who most need an
express lane (the DMV says its 301 C St. office is open until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays). Also,
the express lanes supposedly take only credit cards. However, every window on Wednesday
had a printed sign proclaiming that DMV can't take credit cards right now. Anyone know how
long this has been going on? Finally, despite a warning that I needed proof of my address
besides my old driver's license, no one asked me for that proof. Positive: the whole
operation, including the crying jag over how much older my new snapshot makes me look,
took less than an hour. Time for hair dye.
DMV Perks for Seniors
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Department of Motor Vehicles which, in my experiences, is the most efficient
department of the D.C. government, has perks for senior citizens which I will avail myself
of the next time around. The first perk is a special line at the Half Street inspection
facility in SE D.C. Just identify yourself as a senior and you will be routed to a special
line with limited or no waiting to get your car inspected. There may be special hours or
days for this line, so check out the D.C. government web page. The second perk is for
renewing your drivers license. Take your completed paperwork over to room 1033 where you
can renew your license away from the madding crowds in the main hall. Will be doing that
myself the next time I renew.
The West Wing: No Such Thing as Bad Publicity
Mike Livingston, email@example.com
Yes, as Ralph Blessing writes, the Committee for D.C. Statehood was
ridiculed by a character on The West Wing. But the larger point is: it was mentioned. The
phrase D.C. statehood aired on NBC prime time in a top-rated, Emmy-sweeping
show with a smart and liberal audience. It joins a long list of controversial issues that
never get mentioned on network news or pundit shows, and reach a mainstream audience only
thanks to Aaron Sorkin.
The vehicle parked in front of 3210 Q Street, N.W., was removed by the AJVD this
morning under property control number #01061007. AJVD received the complaint on March 1,
2001, posted the vehicle for removal on March 2, 2001, and the vehicle was removed today,
March 5, 2001. If you should have any other abandoned vehicle concerns please feel free to
According to Economic History Services (http://www.eh.net/hmit/),
the fine for molesting vegetation of $50 in 1900 would now cost $1,019.46. I don't know
what to do with this information, but it does make one think.
I guess it's official. Michael Kaiser, new president of the Kennedy Center, the other
day at the Press Club referred to the coming departure of the AFI from the
Kennedy Center. He expressed his desire to continue screening films at the Kennedy Center,
but indicated that when the Silver Spring facility opens the AFI will be gone from the
We've compiled a list of ten persistent myths that we think are going to impede
progress towards a really outstanding 21st Century capital city. How many of them do you
agree with? What do you think of the DC Council's report card on Period 13, and do you
agree with its ambitious agenda for Period 14 (2001-2002)? Is DC's welfare-to-work program
lagging behind the rest of the US? What kind of problems afflict most of DC's special ed
kids? What brings most businesses into DC our neighborhoods or the Feds? Where's
the next high-density Metro station development likely to be? What's new for serious DC
history buffs? Any of you belong to the ILSR? These and other fascinating issues enrich
the March update of the NARPAC web site at http://www.narpac.org. Feedback almost always
welcome. Get involved.
Meeting to Support the Term-Limits Initiative
Paul Dionne, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Council's Government Operations Committee will hold a hearing on Monday, March 12,
at 10:00 a.m., on Jack Evan's bill to overturn the citizen's initiative that imposed term
limits on elected officials. There will be meeting at US Term Limits this Saturday, March
10, at 10:30 a.m. to discuss talking points for the hearing. We will also review possible
questions Councilmembers might raise. The office is located at 10 G Street, NE, Suite 410
(near Union Station). RSVP to Stacy at email@example.com.
Those who do not support term limits but who still oppose Jack's legislation for other
reasons should attend this meeting, too. We need everyone! For more information, call
Street Trees: Let Em Live
Mary Vogel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stanton Park Neighborhood Association presents Street Trees: Let 'Em Live! Did you know
that the average life of a center-city tree is under fifteen years for recently-planted
trees? Lets not waste the generous $50 million dollar gift to restore our tree
canopy! Nationally recognized landscape architect James Urban of Annapolis will share his
years of research and experience on what makes a street tree thrive to a ripe old age.
Urban has published leading-edge articles on his research in Landscape Architecture,
The Journal of Arboriculture and other periodicals. His findings suggest that soil and
planting conditions, not pollution or poor maintenance, are the most significant problems
facing urban trees. He has pioneered interconnected rooting zones under sidewalks,
structural soils for urban plazas and root-path trenches.
Thursday, April 12, 7 - 9 p.m., Market 5 Gallery (Eastern Markets north end), 7th
and North Carolina Avenue, SE, Eastern Market Metro (Blue/Orange Line). (We had planned
this program well before the grant was announced, but why not attach to its coattails.)
Cleveland Park Library Book Sale
Jill Bogard, President, email@example.com
The Friends of the Cleveland Park Library will hold their Spring Book Sale on Saturday
and Sunday, March 31 and April 1, at the Cleveland Park Library, Connecticut Avenue and
Macomb Street, NW (one block south of Cleveland Park Metro red line). The hours are noon
to 4:00 p.m. each day. We have thousands of "previously owned" books, in many
categories, donated by our neighbors. They range from recent bestsellers to out-of-print
treasures. For most books, the prices are $1 for hardcovers, $.50 for paperbacks. For this
sale, paperback mysteries and romances will sell for $.10 each. We also have records,
cd's, tapes, and videos, as well as some sheet music. Sale proceeds go to benefit our
DC Public Library Events
Patricia Pasqual, firstname.lastname@example.org
The annual Morehouse College Glee Club Concert will be held at the Martin Luther King,
Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, in the main lobby on Friday, March 23, 12:00 p.m.
Free; no reservations are required. Groups are welcome. For more information, call
A book talk by A'Lelia Bundles on Madam C.J. Walker, will be presented by the D.C.
Center for the Book, Biography Division of the Martin Luther King Memorial Library, and
the Washington Independent Writers. Tuesday, March 20, at the MLKML Main Lobby, 6:30 p.m.
A'Lelia Perry Bundles newest work is a biography of her great-great grandmother: On
Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker. There will be a book signing
after the talk. Books will be available for purchase.
Washington Storytellers Theater
Robert Revere, email@example.com
From March 13 to March 17, Washington Storytellers Theater will present four days of
storytelling performances and solo theater events around the Washington area, for the
third annual International Storytelling Festival. The festival opens on March 13 at HR-57,
with an event featuring local performance artists and storytellers telling tales on the
theme By the Light of the Silvery Moon. This will be followed by solo
performances at District of Columbia Arts Center in Adams Morgan, the National Museum of
Women in the Arts, and the Embassy of Austria. The festival culminates on Saturday, March
17, with a full day of storytelling from six performers from around the world. For
information on individual performances, or tickets to any event, call Washington
Storytellers Theater at (301) 891-1129.
Inner Circle Repertory Theater, Inc. will debut its production of Greens by
Louise V. Gray on Sunday, April 1st at 7:30 p.m. at the NOAA Theater Space at 1301
East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD.
The World Premiere of Greens, directed by Wanda Whiteside will run through
Sunday, April 22nd with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday
matinees at 3:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $12.00 and are available now for purchase through
Box Office Tickets at 800-494-TIXS (8497) or http://www.boxofficetickets.com.
"Greens" will charm audiences with the heavenly hauntings of soul sisters,
Lessie and Aunt Lena, the very spry and feisty, dearly-departed matriarchs of the Lawson
Family. Also, along for the fun is their cousin Sarah and her ever-loving husband, Jesse;
all who try their best to impart their invaluable knowledge of the art of cookin' greens.
The earth bound Gloria, host of this year's family reunion, has decided she is going to
cook the greens. Everyone knows Gloria can't cook, bless her heart, but if she listens
closely and pays attention she may just learn a thing or two about those mean greens that
taste like they were made from somewhere out of this world. Enter the ancestors. It is a
play about strong family ties and ancestral traditions and how food feeds the spirit and
makes you feel good.
For more information on the Inner Circle Theater's, upcoming productions of Birth,
Rampart Street, Bench Talk, Room at the Table, Strange Fruit, and Chocolate Kisses contact
the company at 301-588-5118. Enjoy the show.
Discover a gem in Rock Creek Park. Walking tour led by area naturalists, local
residents, and transportation specialists. Come and learn more about this urban green
space and local efforts to protect it from pavement. Sponsored by the Sierra Club, Audubon
Naturalist Society, Klingle Valley Park Association, and
East-of-the-Park-to-Save-Klingle-Valley. Approximately three miles round trip. Meet at the
intersection of Harvard Street and Adams Mill Road, NW, just east of Rock Creek Park and
the Mt. Pleasant entrance to the Zoo. Metro Bus H2, H3, H4. Saturday, March 31, at 10 a.m.
Rain or Shine. Free. Contact 777-2641 x7287.
March 10, Writing Circle, 3-5 p.m., $20. The Music of Places This
session, for writers of all levels, offers exercises to trigger your aural imagination, as
well as time to write and read a piece built around the rhythms of sound and silence.
March 17, Crisis to Creativity: An Expressive Arts Approach. 2-5 p.m., $30.
This workshop uses collage and writing to teach you how to use your creativity to navigate
life's occasional choppy waters. March 24, Creative Recovery, 3-5 p.m., $20. Meeting
the Goddess Through Dance and Myth a lighthearted approach to the goddess
within. Bring your favorite large scarf or piece of material, or borrow one of ours.
Institute for Transformation Through the Arts is a nonprofit organization offering
arts-based programs to support the health and well-being of individuals, families, and
communities. All workshops are held at 1836 Kenyon Street in Mt. Pleasant. For more
information on ITA's programs and approach, visit www.artsforlife.com.
To sign up for a workshop or get directions, call us at 667-3766 or send an E-mail.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Brother MFC 5500 Multi-Function Center
Marcus Rosenbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a printer/copier/scanner/fax machine, which has a relatively small footprint,
so it doesn't take up much space on your desk. The printer is a laser printer and produces
crisp, clear black type. The copier works fine for simple things. The scanner, frankly,
isn't great. The fax, though, works flawlessly. The machine was serviced within the last
couple of months. It has a relatively new drum and new toner cartridge. I'm selling it
because I finally decided I needed a color printer. Asking just $175. You won't find a
laser printer much less a multifunction machine for less.
Silhouettes Product Test and Sale, March 9
Darrell Richardson, Darkflyers@aol.com
Silhouette's Essential Indulgences has created a balm, lotion, and eight unique
fragrances, as well as other home pampering products for your body. At Silhouette's we
feel such items must be experienced. Therefore, every second Friday Silhouette's will host
a product show for you to try what we have created. The first of which will be March 9
from 6 to 8 p.m. at 1332 Girard Street, NW. 277-2489 for more info.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
RIDING THE TIGER: We're going to vote you out of office that's a guarantee.
Recall! Recall! shouted the balding, middle-aged man with the booming voice, seated
two rows behind LL in the Lincoln Theater on Thursday, March 1. The guy heckled, booed,
and maintained a running commentary throughout Mayor Anthony A. Williams' State of the
District address. LL's eardrums were abused, and she was left with a headache that even
Excedrin Extra Strength could not relieve.
The heckler and other would-be D.C. General rescuers have been waging an all-out war
against Williams and the congressionally created control board over keeping the
century-old public hospital open even in its current mismanaged state. Politicos such as
Mayor-in-Wanting Kevin Chavous are hoping the issue will metastasize, eventually killing
Williams' political career by the time of the mayoral election next year. There were two
recall petitions against Williams circulating. But it's too soon to start buying lilies
and making funeral arrangements. Unless Williams commits some major atrocity, there will
be no humongous rebuke for him at the polls.
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
SATURDAY: The actual Erin Brockovich speaks at 9 a.m. at the McLean Hilton, 7920 Jones
Branch Drive, McLean. $140.
MONDAY: Actors from the Klingon Language Institute perform Shakespeare at 8 p.m. at
Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 3133 Dumbarton St. NW. $20.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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