In Washington, is there a public celebration of Christmas, or of
“the holiday season,” as it is called today on the assumption that
the mere mention of a Christian holiday will offend non-Christians, that
doesn't function mainly as another occasion for politicians to make
speeches? Is there a newspaper or magazine article about it that is
anything more than an excuse for some smart-aleck writer to show off? At
least I know when to shut my trap.
And, it seems, so do you. Herewith, the shortest issue of themail all
In response to Ed T. Barron's mail on why he won't vote for Tony
Williams next year, I offer two things that desperately need attention:
the “privatized” police impoundment lots that are set up to
encourage car theft; and the “appearance” of continued
corruption at the motor vehicle stations. If the Mayor would deal with
these, he would get my vote.
These are actually easy fixes because they are both so blatant. The
impoundment lot policy of allowing lots to charge $400 for each car
brought in is several times higher than surrounding jurisdictions' fees
for initial placement. “Bounty” is the only word to describe
the practice. Then, add to that the lack of a tracking system for the
cars or the police who refer them, and you get corruption all the way
around. Now I hear that efforts to redevelop industrial parcels near
several metro stations may be hampered because the profit involved in
the lots has driven the cost of that type of property way up. It's a
really bad policy and it needs to be changed!
On the motor vehicle issue, it may only be an appearance, but given
that it has been a problem on a regular basis for the last fifteen
years, it is worth regular monitoring. Taxi drivers have been
complaining a lot about it for the last year, and it would be nice to
think our Mayor would stay on top of it. It certainly doesn't do the
city's image any good for so much smoke to surround this basic city
service. So that is my short wish list for the District for the New
Year. I would be curious what the top ten list would be from your
It is not my intent to drag out the debate about Klingle Road that
has now shifted venue to the City Council, but Ann Loikow wrote a well
reasoned and eloquent reply to my previous correspondence that
completely misunderstood what I was saying. She wants to have a park
instead of a road, and I can understand that (I would like to have
Porter Street as a Porter Valley Park), but I was not asking for a magic
cure to our traffic problems, but for fairness and equity. The fact is
that while traffic volumes have increased throughout the entire City,
including Cleveland/Woodley Park, Klingle Road being closed has
aggravated problems for the Porter part of the Porter/Klingle Road
system. Porter is being asked to do the work of both streets and now
handles more traffic per lane than Connecticut or Wisconsin or other
streets designed for major traffic. The City is acting responsibly to
address problems with speeding by calming the traffic toward the legal
speed limit. Traffic volume is a much more difficult and expensive
problem that is only made worse by closing streets. My point is that it
is simply not fair to shift the volume from one street (Klingle in this
case) to streets so that a few residents can enhance the quality of
their life and their property values at the expense of others.
Things I Almost Missed in 2001
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
Following are some items related to DC that I didn't notice until
this week. Article from The Daily Tarheel, November 5,
Not Equal: DC Needs a Voice,” by Michael Carlton: “Tomorrow
you will have the opportunity to influence local leadership or fall
asleep in your Laz-E-Boy watching Nick-at-Nite, ambivalent to who will
take the reigns of power before morning. Isn't it great to have such a
range of freedom? Personally, I vote. Sure, apathy might gain me an
extra hour of sleep, but by not voting I would forfeit my right to bitch
and complain about elected officials. But what about citizens denied the
voting rights most Americans take for granted? It's one thing not to
vote because you got distracted after spilling the bong water; it's
another to be denied the full extent of this right by the government. So
who are these second-class citizens facing Uncle Sam's erect middle
finger? The citizens of the District of Columbia.” Author supports
retrocession; see full article http://www.dailytarheel.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2001/11/05/3be69dc64e2c0.
Article: “Eliminate federal taxes for DC residents,” by
Jonah Goldberg: “Most people outside the Beltway don't realize that
their nation's capital is in a constant state of rage that it isn't,
well, a state. . . . Out in America, normal people care about DC
statehood about as much as they care whether Prague adopts draconian
pooper-scooper laws. Well, not exactly. Polls have shown that a majority
of Americans do favor some form of DC statehood, anything from giving DC
full representation in Congress to a formal constitutional amendment
creating the 51st state. . . . Conservatives who care about the plight
of DC's disenfranchisement -- we meet every odd year in a phone booth
— have long supported something called 'retrocession'. . . . But
there's another option, which I've long supported, that's gaining
ground. Last month Sen. Joe Lieberman and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes
Norton proposed legislation to make the District of Columbia residents
exempt from federal taxes. . . . Lieberman is stealing good conservative
rhetoric when he hammers home that taxation and representation are two
sides of the democratic coin. So, what better way for conservatives to
put our money where our mouth is than to change the license plates to
'Representation Without Taxation'?” http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jonahgoldberg/jg20010420.shtml.
Sign a new petition for “Equal Voting Rights for Our National
Capital” to President Bush in support of a Constitutional
amendment, by Thomas A. Foreman: http://www.petitiononline.com/anderson/petition.html.
Read “The Plight Of Our Nation's Capital,” an overview by Duke
University Freshman Elliot Nacke, a native of Washington, DC, http://enacke.hypermart.net/index.htm.
And, here's one from the School of Media and Public Affairs at GWU,
announcing a poll of DC registered voters in April 2000 showing 21
percent of DC residents favored and 68% opposed the District becoming
part of Maryland for the purpose of Congressional elections, and 55
percent favored and 34 percent opposed DC becoming a separate state.
Seventy-two percent, however didn't think it is likely that Congress
will grant statehood to the District. See press release: DC Voters
Pessimistic about Prospects for Statehood http://www.gwu.edu/~smpa/survey.htm.
Anthony Williams is proposing a ridiculous but nevertheless happening
of donkeys and elephants all over DC's public spaces, taking up public
areas with political propaganda. Groups of people are angry. I am
waiting for the silliness to fade. But in the case of the H Street
Bridge, that hasn't happened: the figures are permanent, the damage is
done. Instead of a bridge which does what it is supposed to do, limn
over the breach and give us a look at the below, we get the
self-centered space shutting out the city-space below.
If Anthony Williams' new model takes place, we will be drowning in
public displays of private slogans. It all connects in my head: the
public spaces of this town should be left to themselves. They will grow,
change and be themselves, I hope, even as they are altered by the wishes
of the people, somehow or other. Isn't it clear that wonderful things
are being obliterated by greedy junk? Once upon a time this bad old city
had a lot of beauty going for it. I am tired.
DC Street Name Origin
Jerry A. McCoy, Washingtoniana Division, firstname.lastname@example.org
Might anyone know the origin of the Washington, DC, street name “Waclark Place, SE”? Could it be a corruption of
Clark” who could perhaps be “William Andrews Clark”
(1839-1925), U.S. Senator from Montana from 1901 until 1907?
Paying for Gas Previously Used
Joan Eisenstodt, email@example.com
A colleague in Virginia sent the following to me. Anyone have more
info about this? How it can be done? When it will be done? Any class
action lawsuits in the works?
“I saw it on the 10:00 Fox News. Apparently, the gas company
pumped a different and more expensive form of gas through the system,
but the individual home meters couldn't distinguish between the
'regular' gas and the 'high test,' so more money is owed by the
homeowner at about $16.50 per month. Apparently, VA law allows a company
to go back five years to recoup costs (MD and DC only three
Taxis: Zones Versus Meters
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
In thirteen years we have only taken cabs twice, to and from National
Airport. And those two rides were only because the Metro has very
limited hours for early or late fliers. Cab drivers have been reported
to charge six dollars for a ride from one place to another while an
unscrupulous counterpart can take the same route to the same place and
demand $12. The zones are almost as confusing as the federal tax code.
Meters are the best solution.
The unscrupulous cab drivers will get their extra loot by taking
passengers, unfamiliar with the small city of Washington, on a grand
tour, making the city seem quite large and complex to travel in. The
city of Washington is, indeed, more complex than Manhattan since
Washington has all those dreaded avenues which were dropped, like pickup
sticks, onto a very functional grid of numbered and named streets. The
result is a chaotic nightmare of traffic circles and complex
intersections. Let's try the meters.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
The DC Society of Young Professionals invites you to celebrate New
Year's Eve at the remarkable Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
(located at 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW). This event was picked by
washingtonpost.com as its recommended pick for New Year's Eve. This
event features premium food, premium open bars, the very popular band
Diamond Alley, deejays, a midnight balloon drop, mock casino gambling,
and hundreds of young professionals. This event runs from 9:30 p.m.
until 2:00 a.m. This event is only $99 per person. Optional hotel rooms
are available for $99 per room, including breakfast the next day. For
more information, or to learn more about us, please visit http://www.dcyoungpro.com,
call 202-686-6085, or E-mail email@example.com.
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