After the Control Board
There are two separate issues that I'd like to get your opinions
about. The first is what your experience was of the Control Board
period: what did the Control Board do, good and bad, that affected your
life in DC? Did it improve the government services that you received,
from the routine things like trash pickup and street paving to the
fundamental things like the public schools and police and fire service?
Did it improve the city's finances, or just have the luck to exist
during good financial times? Did it diminish democracy more than our own
elected officials have done on their own?
The second issue is what you think should come next. Do you think
that the government of DC would be improved with less oversight from the
federal government, or do you think that the DC government needs even
more oversight? Do you think DC is out of the financial woods?
Ding Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead! The
Mark Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thinking of the end of the Control Board as a symbolic body, that
little song ran through my head. DC has been through a lot since 1995,
and sometimes it does one good to make a toast to the end of a whole
historic period. Indeed, the Congress allowed the CB to shut itself
down. The Control Period was humiliating in that it represented both
local incompetence and powerlessness. Many of the people who were on the
Control Board are District leaders whose work I admire, but sitting on
the CB must have been a controversial decision. Despite the desire for
just getting on with things, I’d like to see some analysis of the CB’s
record, a performance evaluation. And, it would be interesting to read
forthright analyses by individual CB leaders about what DC did or should
have learned, and ideas for a new phase in which DC completely changes
the current structural arrangement to level this playing field, a
Post-Control Period. Congress owes something to those who served on the
CB, because they deflected a lot of anger and frustration some of us
felt at the erosion of Home Fool. Jabeen Bhatti of The Washington
Times wrote a good article about the end of the Control Board today:
“Officials hope independence is permanent,” http://www.washtimes.com/metro/20010930-89514040.htm
Thinking about the Post-Control Period, Colbert King explained some
interesting history related to how DC came to have the current badly
flawed arrangement, the Diggs-Natcher deal. He gave some good advice to
Congress that every DC elected official should be able to support:
“Congress should get out of the municipal government business, shut
down those redundant D.C. oversight panels, make the staff get real jobs
and put those federal tax dollars to some good use.” See “Democracy
for the District, Too,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43827-2001Sep29.html.
Now is the time for DC’s leaders to get on the same page and ask
Congress for a new structural arrangement that more effectively meets
both federal and DC needs and levels the playing field for DC so we can
build our economy. And, now is certainly the time for the Senate to
clean off the rest of the riders tagged onto DC’s bill, and to solve
the problem created by the Diggs-Natcher compromise 28 years ago. We
need Expanded Home Rule (elementary forms of democracy) on our way to
bigger and better things.
The State of the District’s (and the
Dorothy Brizill, email@example.com
In recent weeks, questions have been raised about the District's
health, or its state of emergency preparedness, as well as about Mayor
Williams's personal health. Quietly whispered questions about Mayor
Williams's health have escalated into openly stated concerns as he has
repeatedly missed or rescheduled meetings and events because of illness.
Three recent examples include the Mayor's last-minute cancellation of
his regularly scheduled “Ask the Mayor” radio interview on WTOP-FM
on July 26 because of what was called a migraine headache; his being at
home with an undisclosed illness on the morning of September 11, when
the terrorist attacks occurred; his inability to donate blood and his
lateness for a meeting with community and neighborhood newspapers on
September 20 because of another unspecified illness. Other recent
incidents are known, but it is not possible to determine the full impact
of the Mayor's health on his schedule because very little of his
schedule is ever made public. It does appear that he has been
debilitatingly sick at least one or two days a week for the past several
Worry about the Mayor's health is well founded, both because he is
not backed up by a competent and seasoned staff that can function well
in his absence and because the District has had a history of elected
leaders whose undisclosed health problems had severe impacts on city
government — John Wilson, Dave Clarke, and Marion Barry. The
president, vice president, and most governors release at least a summary
of their medical records. Some in the press, including those at the
neighborhood press meeting on September 20, are now requesting a more
complete disclosure from the Mayor. That request has been ignored so
far, but when legitimate questions are raised about the health of our
elected officials, DC residents and taxpayers have a right to know.
Questions also remain about the District's health. Duncan Spencer
writes about Washington's reaction to the terrorist crisis in his
current “Hillscape” column in The Hill newspaper (http://www.thehill.com/092601/hillscape.shtm):
“While New York struggled with a far worse crisis . . . New York also
triumphed. . . . Washington, on the other hand, lay passive.” Spencer
says, “When finally last Monday D.C. Mayor Tony Williams got around to
planting a few flags around the city, it was too late. The yellow tape
had taken over, binding Washington tight.”
First Reagan National Closure, Now Street
Ron Eberhardt, RGE1022@aol.com
It is indisputable that security nationwide is of the highest
importance. The events of September 11 illustrated for the nation that
even where adequate procedures were in place they were not followed.
Federal law enforcement and intelligence may have seriously failed us.
How we as a free and democratic-loving nation respond to protect our
citizens from further attack will define both the success of the
barbarous acts and our way of life into the foreseeable future.
Our leaders are saying the right things, i.e., return to our normal
lives, travel, spend money, etc. However, those words are at odds with
the actions of those charged with responding to the attack. Initially
closing Reagan National was prudent. More then two weeks have passed
since the attack. Those responsible should have by now implemented
reasonable security procedures to safely reopen the only airport in
America still closed. I worry that some think that Reagan National's
closure will go the way of the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue. That is,
wait long enough and it will become permanent. Moment by moment,
decision by decision we slowly lose our freedoms and our way of life.
Now, we learn that there are considerations to close Independence and
Constitution Avenues near the US Capitol. A completely nonsensical,
illogical, and wrong-headed response. It is not trite to say in doing
these things the terrorists win. They do! Israel is held out as an
example of a nation constantly under threat of terrorist attack.
Israelis live in constant fear, are surrounded by troops and heavily
armed police and subjected to massive surveillance and security stops.
That is not what the U. S. should become -- not ever. Traveling
extensively worldwide, I have seen for two decades throughout Europe and
Asia similar scenes -- airplanes being met by heavily armed militia as a
matter of normal course. We must not allow this incident or future
threats to guide us to such a place in history. America, must remain the
shining beacon of hope, freedom, and democracy. To act otherwise will
make meaningless the sacrifice of so many over the history of our
country to not only preserve these basic values of life for our land but
to rescue from tyranny and maniacal murders others throughout the world.
Let us lead by example, govern by reasonableness, and live free!
Latest Embarrassment, DC vs. Montgomery County
Phil Carney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Talked with a retired friend who has just completed a temporary
“fill in” job helping an international nonprofit to schedule
appointments for foreign professionals to meet with and learn from their
American counterparts. For example, a foreign police officer working
with juveniles wanted to meet with the equivalent officers in MPD. But
this is DC. After repeated attempts and no response from MPD or from any
of the other DC agencies contacted, my friend contacted Montgomery
County. County officials were responsive, cooperative, professional, and
did meet with and help their foreign counterparts.
The DC government says, “Improvements are being made,” but from
my perspective, I don’t see improvements. The above is just one more
embarrassment for us DC residents and you can add it to my list of what
I don’t see being done in an acceptable and professional manner.
DC’s Hospitality and Tourism Industry after
Joan Eisenstodt, email@example.com
One of the hats I wear professionally is as moderator for a
hospitality/meetings industry listserv (www.mim.com.) Many of the
"Listers" in the DC area have met twice in the last two weeks
to talk about the impact of the 9/11 terrorist events on our industry,
and in particular in our community.
As everyone on themail has, I am sure, read, the terrorist acts of
9/11, closing of DCA, companies' policies to not allow travel to DC, and
the resulting cancellation of meetings have resulted in massive layoffs
in the hotels and in other related industries. Our industry is working
to revive the local economy and to encourage our clients to continue to
hold DC meetings. We are fighting a battle since many Fed. Government
agencies have canceled meetings and are not allowing travel to DC from
The devastation on many will be felt in a very short time. On behalf
of our industry, I encourage you to attend meetings, hold meetings, and
support our local hospitality economy.
Not Fancy, But Near Opening
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
The grand opening of City Bagel in the former Sutton Place location
on Massachusetts Avenue and 49th Street, NW, may soon be at hand. It's
not very fancy inside but it seats more than 70 patrons on small tables
and wooden chairs with another six upholstered arm chairs available.
There's even a small upright piano in the as-yet-unopened store. The
piano may be there for amateur entertainers to do their stuff.
Norton and Williams Are Shooting from the Hip
Mike Fasano, email@example.com
As the tragic events of September 11 have made clear, we are
incredibly vulnerable to terrorist hijacking of our commercial planes.
No one knows what terrorists might do next, but common sense tells us
that the District of Columbia and New York City will remain prime
targets. The ability of terrorists to repeat the events of the 11th will
depend on security at our airports and the proximity of our airports to
the prime targets. It is folly to think that in two weeks the FAA has
gotten airport security to where it needs to be. Thus we need to be
particularly mindful of the proximity of our airports to the likely
targets; and none could be more proximate than National Airport.
Notwithstanding the fact that two of the hijacked planes came from
Dulles Airport, I would have to think that it would be easier to hit DC
from an airport virtually at ground zero than from Dulles. But that
should be a question for the security experts to decide, not local
politicians. For Mayor Williams and Delegate Norton to call for the
reopening of National Airport at this time and without having all the
facts is in my view irresponsible and quite possibly stupid. The closing
of National Airport clearly has and will have an impact on our local
economy. But there are bigger issues at stake here. As a resident of the
District, I would prefer to see National closed until it is 100 percent
clear that the FAA has gotten its act together.
Being from Kansas, I am used to having sirens sound when a tornado
warning has been issued or a funnel sighted. Is that a policy here? Do
we have alert sirens in the District? Do they ever test them? What about
during an eminent attack? We also had civil alert sirens in my town that
sounded different than the tornado sirens that meant an attack was
coming. In light of the past few weeks, it would be reassuring to have a
warning system that would not involve having a radio or TV on.
Re: Special Education by Patricia Chittams
Diane Lee Schulz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately, Patricia's problems with the bus system and
transportation of special education students was a battle I fought for
the past four years to no avail. The only reason I am no longer fighting
it is that my son has graduated and is off at college. Each year we
began by trying to use the bus. I would make calls to the parent center,
to the bus dispatch office, and to the superintendent of the year. Then
I would give up and drive my son to school. We did get bus tokens and
Metro cards for his return home but from the Lab School to our house in
Mount Pleasant was an hour and half ordeal with a bus, Metro, and bus
ride. Finally, he was old enough and coordinated enough to drive
himself. For any of the driving, I was never reimbursed, despite filling
out numerous applications and forms. We were denied the transportation
allotment last year because I had already withdrawn my son from the bus
route before I applied and was told because I was driving him already, I
wouldn't save the District any money!
After reading an article about the special ed transportation cost
overrun, I figured that if I sent my son to in a taxi everyday round
trip, that it would be cheaper than what they were spending on the
unreliable bus system. I still think that might be a viable solution.
The children would get to school on time and it would support the local
economy while saving the school district money. This problem has been
dragging on for way too long, and I don't know how to make it better as
long as we have the same old people in charge at the school district.
Even law suits have not made progress. The only saving grace is that I
am out of it at last but I do “feel your pain” and join you in
condemning the District's special education busing program.
Unmarked Cars and Cameras, Too
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
In response to the posting that police in D.C. could not use hidden
police cars to monitor speeders, one need only to drive across Western
Avenue and exceed the 25 MPH limit by more than five miles per hour.
They will soon find a speeding ticket in the mail with a photo of the
back end of their automobile (with a blow up of the license plate). The
pictures are taken by unmarked cars legally parked on the south side of
Western Avenue between Westmoreland Circle and Connecticut Avenue.
You have the option to contest the ticket if you were not driving,
but you have to get the person driving the car to acknowledge that they
were driving. In any event, the ticket must be returned with cash or
check and also be notarized by the person driving the car. You can also
claim that your car was stolen and appear in traffic court with proof
that the vehicle was stolen. So much for the illegality of unmarked or
hidden police cars.
Clarification of “Shame on Park Police”
Ron Eberhardt, RGE1022@aol.com
Given the response to what I wrote about the U. S. Park Police
running a radar trap near the Kennedy Center the Sunday following the
attack, I believe a clarifying point is necessary. I was NOT stopped nor
ticketed. I simply strongly disagree with the priority of ticket writing
over protection of people and monuments and the lack of police
understanding about the emotions most of us are/were experiencing.
On a totally different matter, I absolutely concur with Taylor Simons
that the 25-MPH speed limit in that area is absurd -- as speed limits
are often without rhyme or reason on many District streets and highways.
Given the police preoccupation with speeding tickets, now using cameras,
one could almost assert some intention on placing unreasonably low speed
limits, only to be easily violated, generating mega bucks for
Lockheed-Martin and the D. C. Government. But, that is another story for
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Fair Budget Coalition Meeting Time Correction
Susie Cambria, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fair Budget Coalition meeting on October 3 is in the morning,
from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m., not in the evening as stated in the 9/26 edition
of themail. The meeting will be held on the 6th floor at 1800
Massachusetts Avenue, NW (Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless). The
agenda is: 1) Developing the FBC agenda for FY 2003, 2) update on the FY
2002 budget, and 3) other updates. All are welcome and encouraged to
attend. Questions? Call Patty Mullahy Fugere, 872-8958.
Music is a common medium for addressing the beauty, promise, and
peace of creation. The upcoming Foundry United Methodist Church's
“Concert for Life” offers a way to acknowledge those who educate,
prevent and care for people living with HIV/AIDS. This year's concert
— “Songs of Sweetness and Strength: Music of Peace“ —
acknowledges and honors those who work on HIV/AIDS education/prevention,
and who care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Each year, Foundry United
Methodist Church renews its dedication in finding solutions and
providing support. Our contributions and dedication have steadily
increased over the past eight years. Join us this year as we are
inspired by music of sweetness and strength.
This year's concert benefits Metro TeenAIDS, Children's National
Medical Center: Project CHAMP, Whitman Walker Clinic: Max Robinson
Center, African AIDS Commission of the United Methodist Church
(Baltimore-Washington Conference), Bethesda Orphanage House of Soweto,
The 9th Annual Concert for Life will be held on Friday, October 5, at
8:00 p.m., with the concert reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Concert
is held at the Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th Street, NW.
For more information, (including information on free parking) please
contact the Church at email@example.com
or 332-4010, ext. 606.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
My front steps are coming apart. Can anyone suggest a reliable
company/person that can repair a brick stairway and sidewalk?
Traffic Signal Problems
Faith Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do I get in touch with about a street light problem? There are
two light poles on the NW corner of Connecticut and McKinley, and one
has somehow become turned so that it is misleading. It seems to me like
an accident waiting to happen.
[I recommended calling 672-2610. Does anyone have a better number?
— Gary Imhoff]
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