Lost in the Ether
In the primitive days of personal computing, back in the dawning
years of the 1990's, I encountered the first software program in my
experience that featured on-line registration. This was not done over
the Internet, which had very limited use then, but through using the
modem to dial into an free long-distance telephone number. I filled in
the sequence of screens, sent the file, and received back the message,
“You have successfully registered your program. Isn't technology
wonderful, when it really works?”
For nearly the past month, as regular readers know, the DCWatch web
site has been plagued with publishing problems, and I have finally had
to switch web hosting services. This should, emphasis on the
“should,” resolve the problems in the future. The Internet address
of dcwatch.com has been changed to the new server, but the address
change will take a few more days to go into effect. In the meantime, you
can reach the full, live, real-time version of the DCWatch web site by
going to http://126.96.36.199, or
reach the archives of themail by going to http://188.8.131.52/themail,
and by the middle of this week the dcwatch.com URL should again point to
the correct address. Won't technology be really wonderful, when it works
Coalition of DC Democrats Boycott
Arthur H. Jackson, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
The Coalition of DC Democrats will boycott the honors presentation to
Mayor Williams. The announcement that the D.C. Democratic State
Committee will present its Chairman award to Mayor Anthony Williams has
resulted in a call for a boycott of the presentation of the award to
Anthony Williams for his support of the anti-poor plan to close D.C.
General Hospital. Presenting a award to Mayor Williams is an insult to
the people of Ward Eight and Southeast; his refusal to work with the
City Council on a health care plan that keeps DC General Hospital open,
will result in serious problems for our city's poor, middle-income and
I will not support any event that honors the most anti-Ward 8,
anti-poor and insensitive elected official in our city's history with an
award. In the next few weeks, we will announce a new political force in
our city to challenge city elected officials who either supported Mayor
William's plans to close the hospital or sat quietly by and did not
offer help to save the hospital.
After a number of discussions with Washingtonians about the Mayor's
proposed health care plan, and having read the DC Health Department web
site on the subject, I really can't understand why you and some others
are so rabidly going after hizzoner on this. Having coverage for more
people, making preventive care available in the neighborhood, continuing
to use DC General as a trauma center and moving chronic patients to
several private hospitals in DC sounds like integrating health care for
poor people into that of the general population . . . a good thing. Why
have a two-tier health care system?
Unless you and the City Council know something else you're not
telling us about the private care available, I think Alice Rivlin's
response to their stated concern is well-taken. I'm sure the city
administration did not present their plan in the most diplomatic and
informative way, but I don't think you or the Council, or any of your
correspondents have offered a better plan, one that offers a better
alternative to the current wasteful plan.
Is all this heat on behalf of DC General employees who fear losing
their jobs (not so likely with our current shortage of health care
professionals) . . . or is it to establish a platform for Ms. Brazill to
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
The Loose Lips column (written by Jonetta Rose Barras) in the 20
April edition of the Washington City Paper has an excellent
analysis of the motivation of City Council persons who want to trash the
Mayor's Health Care plan for D.C. residents who have no health
insurance. For those who cannot get the print version the article can be
found on the City Paper's web site at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com.
Community Improvement Districts
Dawn Dickerson, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a resident of Ward 5 and I have been bouncing this idea around
in my head and I would like some support from others in shaping this
idea so that I can present it to the ANC's, City Council, Mayor's Office
(all the people who're going to muck it up for me). Essentially, I'd
like to enact legislation to organize the ANC's into Community
Improvement Districts or CIDs.
What am I talking about? CIDs would operate like Business Improvement
Districts (BIDs), but instead neighborhoods or ANC's would facilitate
the activities. In essence, ANC's would have a budget of $1,000 per
household (with the expectations that neighbors would match it . . .
more on that later) to arrange for house painting in the spring, leaf
removal in the fall, snow removal in the winter, and landscaping
services in the summer. ANC's would hire a person from their district
(preferably retired with previous work experience in maintenance,
landscaping, etc.) to deliver services and train others in the
neighborhood (in the case of my neighborhood . . . the guys on the
corner) to work for the CIDs. How to fund this ? Since DHCD is no longer
going to fund the community development corporations, I figured that
ANC's could qualify for CDBG funds and then using a sliding fee scale we
could get homeowners to make a contribution to the program to match
those funds. (I know this portion of the idea needs some work . . .
that's why I'm asking for the help). Why do this? In ward 5,
specifically in my neighborhood, there are a lot of single female headed
households and elderly homeowners. These folks don't always have the
income or energy to maintain their property and subsequently property
value is effected. If this program is successful it will increase
property value, create jobs for folks in the community, restore faith in
the ANC's (give them something constructive to do at least), bring pride
back to the community (get the guys off the corner), improve the
reputation of the city, and keep me motivated to stay in the District.
What about neighborhoods where there is rental property and
businesses? The ANC's will work with DHCD to provide assistance to those
property owners and businesses. But the expectation is that their
properties should be maintained and through this program ANC's could
work with DHCD to enforce (rather speed up) notifications to “clean it
or lien it” in the case of abandoned properties. What about Ward 3?
The implication here is that those folks can afford to maintain their
own properties. Well creating a CID is simply voluntary, just like with
a BID. Maybe Ward 3 residents won't feel that they need it, but the
truth is that they've been operating in this capacity already. When they
pool resources to have snow removed from their streets, they are
functioning as a CID. Maybe they can formalize this relationship and get
some help from the city. So I'd like to know what others think? Where
are the holes in this? What have I not considered? and, how can we make
this work? I may be reached on 483-0755 if you need to talk about this
in more detail.
Superintendent Vance and a New Day for DCPS
Susan Gushue, email@example.com
Dr. Vance reads and answers his mail! I was very happy with the
response I got to my concerns about staff at Duke Ellington but I felt
great that my letter was answered at all. I've been raised in the “if
it's not in the Post the superintendent doesn't know it's
happening” era. If you are not familiar with the last twelve years of
DCPS administrators, it may be difficult for you to understand how
incredible this is — but, believe me, it's huge! If you even got a
response after going up the chain of command it would be dismissive.
Administrators put very little in writing. When they did put things in
writing they were only the vaguest of platitudes. As a parent activist
I've seen the system: force outstanding teachers out, close a fabulous
program (Woodridge Montessori) with no gains to any children, keep
children in school during dangerous remodeling, keep children in school
with no heat in their classrooms, keep seriously mentally ill principals
in place, all without a peep from administrators to whom others and I
wrote letters and made calls . Not only was my letter of April 8,
answered by April 21; the response actually said something. Dr. Vance is
a welcome and much needed change.
Update: Eleanor Holmes Norton Loses Race!
Mark Eckenwiler, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the competition to take down old campaign posters, incumbent
councilmember Harold Brazil has soundly thrashed Delegate Norton. As of
9 a.m. on 4/21 — one month to the day after I spoke to Norton's chief
of staff — her campaign signs remain on display at 7th Street and NY
Avenue, NW, while Brazil's sign from the same corner is now gone.
Jo Ann Smoak, email@example.com
To Ed Barron, North East is north of the city, adjacent to southeast.
The next time you venture out of Tenleytown, you might want to visit
other parts of this great city: perhaps the splendor and beauty of the
arboretum, or the fun and uniqueness of the outdoor market on the
stadium grounds. Shucks, you might even enjoy a soccer game or a concert
at RFK stadium, or spend some time at a historical golf course/driving
Historical, Not Hysterical
Ralston Cox. Strivers' Section Historic District, Dupont
In the last issue of themail, Ed Barron reports that he thinks that
the designation as historic of the building in Tenleytown most recently
occupied by Hechingers was a mistake, and goes on to say that the area
surrounding the Tenleytown station could be as exciting as a similar
area at Cleveland Park.
Where do you think Cleveland Park gets its cachet, Ed? Sure, the
location at the Metro stop helps — just like it will at Tenleytown —
but it's also the “hysterically preserved” buildings along that
strip of Connecticut Avenue and their reuse by caring and creative
architects and developers that gives it that something special that you
won't find being created by too many of today's developers. Home Depot
was trying to fit 25 tons of merchandise into a 10 ton space, and it
just couldn't work with their “model” store concept on that site. So
they've found a place in NE that works for them, and where they can
build acres of parking that wouldn't have been a good fit in Tenleytown
anyway. I'll be trekking over to the new store to do my shopping just as
soon as they open; while not as convenient for me as a Tenleytown store
would have been, it'll still be better than going to Virginia or
Maryland. And that nice building at Tenleytown will remain for someone
else to use creatively — in a way that will help Tenleytown keep some
of its own unique character and identity.
In response to your question, Ed, about “where is that” referring
to the site in NE DC, you'll find it at the Rhode Island Avenue station
on the very same Red Line where you'll find Tenleytown. Check it out.
Other Options for Hechingers Building
Doug Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd be wary of blindly razing the Hechingers Building because it's an
“ugly derelict” as suggested by Ed T. Barron. The term “ugly” is
subjective and I think it is not yet “derelict.” Back in the '60s
and '70s, the opinion of what was “ugly” included Victorian homes
and New York's Penn Station. The Victorian homes were knocked down in
favor of modern homes and New York has Madison Square Garden on the spot
of Penn Station. Now, the remaining Victorian homes are sought after and
New York is spending millions to remodel the nearby Post Office building
into a new Penn Station. While many consider the Hechingers building to
be an eyesore, it is representative of the era in which it was built and
we may be sorry that we tore it down.
A big step toward making it less of an eyesore would be to remove the
large Hechingers signs and enforce architecturally appropriate signage
for future tenants. Also, a creative architect and an open-minded
planning board could develop a plan that would allow expansion while
preserving the facade. The Spanish Embassy (http://www.spainembedu.org/images/embajada001.jpg)
is a great example of this.
As for being “derelict,” I think that Home Depot will regret
giving up this space. This building is still viable for a home store
(e.g. Home Depot, Strosniders) or a discount retailer (e.g. Target,
Kmart). Any of these companies would find a healthy market for their
products in this not-so-derelict building. While the convenience of this
for Tenleytown residents like myself are obvious, it would also be more
convenient for residents of Dupont, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, etc.,
because it is Metro accessible, it has parking and does not involve
driving on Rockville Pike in Maryland or Rt. 1 or Rt. 7 in Virginia.
The Cheapest Tour Bus In Town
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
As a confirmed advocate of mass transit, I take every opportunity to
use the Metro and Metro buses when I travel about the city. Of late
roomie and I have been taking the grandgals along with us on some of our
expeditions. This has led to taking some routes that are not our
regularly traveled routes. One that we recently took was the D6 that
takes a most circuitous route from Sibley Hospital all the way to the
D.C. Armory through some of the most interesting parts of Georgetown and
downtown D.C. For a buck ten, each way (only fifty cents for senior
citizens), one can wend their way through most of the city using a
This is a most economical way of touring the city. I'm surprised that
no entrepreneur has shown up to conduct a series of tours on weekends
with a guide to various parts of the city. This might even get some of
the tourists who arrive here in hordes during the holiday breaks to use
the Metrobus system. Most of those tourists seem to be able to find the
Metrorail but are unaware of the extensive (and safe) bus system that
goes to all parts of the city.
Gregory (Old Grouch) Diaz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Okay, maybe it's coincidence. But Kurt Vorndran's tale of his refund
delay and run-around from Verizon sounds very curiously like
confirmation of a pattern from this blighted progeny of Ma Bell. Heaven
forfend that some really smart and really greedy lawyer decide to round
these stories up and start a class action lawsuit. That would be
terrible and set a bad example for polite children who know you must eat
all your meat and peas before dessert.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Saturday, May 19, 11 a.m. Gather at Adams-Morgan Clinic (already shut
down) and march to Control Board Chairperson Alice Rivlin's house to
save DC General and to ensure well-funded health care for all of DC's
residents. Healthcare NOW Coalition; Metropolitan Washington Labor
Council, AFL-CIO; SEIU 1199; AFSCME 1032; AFSCME 2097; CIR/SEIU; AFGE
631; International Socialist Organization; Booker T. Hines, Sr.,
Foundation, and your group too! For more information, call Vanessa Dixon
While the news reports make it seem like the DC General sell-off is a
done deal, the fight is still going on. Just Wednesday night, 400 people
packed into Union Temple Baptist Church to save the hospital! We do
know, however, that this contract will throw money hand over fist into
private coffers: $83.3 million in the first year, not including various
administrative “fees” — this is almost double what DC General gets
right now — by year 9, they'll be getting $120 million, and on the
first page of the contract with Doctor's Community Healthcare, it says
flat out that they are not obliged to serve all who need health care —
as does DC General. So everything we've been saying has been proven true
— this is flat-out privatization to enrich a few health care CEOs at
the expense of the health and well-being of DC's neediest. This fight
isn't over! The City Council and Mayor won't agree on this plan; the
Council voted 13-0 to stop it. That means the Control Board can step in.
This is why the May 19th rally is so important, bringing together
employees, ministers and their congregations, labor and community
members to tell the Control Board to save DC General.
Ward 6 Democrats Meeting on Redistricting
Eric Rogers, email@example.com
All registered Ward 6 Democrats are urged to attend the most
important meeting of the year on Wednesday , May 2, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., at
Northeast Library, 7th Street and Maryland Avenue, NE. This meeting will
discuss the details of redistricting and how it will impact our
neighborhoods and community. We will also discuss the structure and
details for the June 2001 meeting where Ward 6 Democrats will for the
first time elect officers that will serve two-year terms instead of one.
Your attendance will clearly make a difference. If you have any
questions regarding the upcoming events, contact Eric Rogers, President
of Ward 6 Democrats, 575-4558, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Saturday, April 21, Washington Post headline reads
“'Wedding,' a Moving Marriage of Poetry and Theater” (see http://www.washingtonpost.com).
That's “Blood Wedding,” now playing at the Washington Shakespeare
Co., 601 S. Clark Street., Arlington (Pentagon City Metro). Some
excerpts: “succinct and pungent,” “keen-edged” and
“foreboding,” “mournful” yet “seductive”; the cast “allows
the language to glisten” — “you find yourself getting hooked on
the words,” which are “poetry, pure and simple.” To join
Footlights, the modern drama discussion group, at the May 6, Sunday, 2
p.m. matinee, call or E-mail Robin Larkin 301-897-9314 and email@example.com).
Discount tickets are only $14 and include a special post-show discussion
(regular price $20-25 and no post-show discussion).
Adoption Support Group
Linda Clausen, firstname.lastname@example.org
DC Metro Concerned United Birthparents invites adoptees, birth
parents and adoptive parents to a meeting on April 29, 2:00 p.m. at
Cedar Lane Unitarian Church. Please call 298-1011, or E-mail email@example.com
for further information. We have a monthly meeting and would be pleased
to answer any questions. Search help provided.
Yard Sale to Help Homeless Cats and Dogs
Pat Yates, PatEdCats@aol.com
To raise funds to support the adoption of companion animals from the
Washington Humane Society, several of us volunteers and foster parents
are having a yard sale on Sunday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All
proceeds will be used in the adoption program. The sale is on the porch
at 1631 Harvard Street, NW, just a few doors down from 16th and Mount
Pleasant Streets. To see some of the animals in the shelter and in
foster homes, check out http://www.washhumane.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — FREE
More Hanging File Folders to Give
Joan Eisenstodt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, I didn't save the names and E-mail addresses of those who
wanted the file folders, both hanging and other. I have more. Please
E-mail me if you are with a nonprofit and would like to pick these up.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Can anyone recommend a company that cleans the duct system of houses
with forced-air heating and air conditioning?
Divorce Support Group Recommendation?
Dru Sefton, email@example.com
A (male) friend is looking for a divorce support group in the D.C.
area, especially for the recently separated. Anybody know of any good
ones? Doesn't have to be for men only. He'd prefer non-religious but
would welcome all suggestions. I'll forward to him all replies.
Painter, Carpenter, Subcontractor
Karen Schofield-Leca, wes@EthicalSociety.org
In reply to two recent requests for a
painter/carpenter/subcontractor, I'm pleased to make a strong
recommendation for James Adams. Here at the Washington Ethical Society
this past summer, he and his very able crew did some rewiring, patching,
repairs, and painting, plus basic plumbing and installed a sink. He is a
delight to work with: prompt, courteous, clear, delivered what he
promised, and actually found ways to address a problem with a leak that
he could easily have glossed over. He even helped with unclogging a
drain on the roof. We are very pleased with the work and would happily
use his services again.
You can reach him at cellular 301-455-5556, office 301-853-9571.
Please tell him Karen sent you.
A Home Doctor Par Excellence
Deborah C. Fort, firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again, I'd like to recommend Marcos Orellana, carpenter, and
handyman and his company “The Home Doctor.” 301-942-7768. Cell phone
240-604-4742. E-mail email@example.com.
Marcos finished our restoration begun by a crooked contractor and half
finished by his nice subcontractors until they too walked off the job.
Marcos and his staff come with twenty years of local recommendations; he
gives fair, firm estimates free; his work is done quickly and well.
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