themail.gif (3487 bytes)

April 21, 2002

You’re So Cynical

Dear Cynics:

For the past two issues of themail, I've urged you to write about why DC is such a great city that Maxim's April Fools joke of announcing that it's the best city in the world would be plausible. Nobody has taken up the challenge — nobody has written about our world-champion museums and art, world-class theaters and music, beautiful monuments and vistas, great restaurants. Nobody has written about the quality of life available to everyone who lives here, regardless of neighborhood or income. You're so cynical.

The only House of Representatives committee with the jurisdiction to investigate Mayor Tony Williams' illegal fundraising is the House Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, chaired by Republican Congresswoman Connie Morella. On Thursday, Democratic Mayor Tony Williams cohosted and attended a fundraiser for Congresswoman Morella's reelection committee. Congresswoman Morella has decided not to hold a hearing on the Mayor's fundraising scandals. You're so cynical you probably think there's a connection. Two weeks ago, President Bush took Mayor Williams on a trip with him to Tennessee and introduced him as “my good friend.” You're so cynical you probably think that the Bush-appointed US Attorney, Roscoe Howard, isn't going to pursue fundraising cases involving the Mayor very aggressively.

Federal City Council chairman Terry Golden has announced that he is searching for a candidate to run against Peggy Cooper Cafritz, the chair of the new and unimproved appointed/elected schizophrenic school board. Mayor Williams has said he will be neutral in the race. You're so cynical that you probably believe that Golden's announcement is a signal that Williams is dumping Cafritz.

I have a whole list of these things, but it's getting so easy to write them that it's almost no fun anymore. The Post, the Times, and now Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton have called for somebody -- not quite, but almost, anybody — to run against Mayor Williams. A credible challenger may not win the race against the Mayor's $1.2 million war chest. But making the Mayor face up to a serious contest and have to answer on a range of issues could only be a good thing. As my mother used to say when she brought chicken soup to minister to the childhood colds that made me miserable, “It couldn't hurt.”

Gary Imhoff 


An Act of Civil Disobedience
Tom Briggs, 

For those of you that haven't heard of my current plight, I just wanted to let you know some of the details. In July of 2000, I became a candidate for Ward 2 city council. I was informed in September that I was in violation of the Hatch Act by running in a partisan election (an election where people run associated with political parties). Prior to this, I was under the assumption that teachers were exempt from this law. I was then informed that all teachers are exempt from this law, with the exception of Washington, DC, teachers. All other teachers in the fifty states have an exemption that allows them to run in elections. When I found this out, I decided to fight this unjust law. My primary reason for this decision was the example I believed I must make for my 125 students.

Again the US Government was restricting the rights of DC citizens by a federal law in which DC has no vote. On Monday, April 15th, I was given a letter that declared my termination to become effective on April 23rd and that I would be placed on administrative leave at the close of business on Monday. The DC public schools' Board of Education met on Wednesday and drafted a resolution stating opposition to my termination. There will be a rally of support sponsored by the DC Statehood Green party on Monday, April 22nd, at 3:30 p.m., at 1300 New Jersey Avenue, NW (the intersection of New Jersey, O, and 3rd Streets, NW, at a park in front of Dunbar Senior High School).

I would appreciate it if any of you may be able to support my position on this issue. Teaching at Dunbar is not just a job for me, it is my life. I feel that I am making a difference with these children and at the very least I would like to finish the year with them. I would like to ask you all to attend the rally. This is extremely important to my future and possibly the future of DC. If we all make an effort, we can draw attention to the issue of DC's lack of democratic society and protect the real victims of this situation, the children in Shaw that I teach. Channel 7 news will be there, and so will the Post, Times, Education Week, American Teacher Association, members of the school Board, leaders in the Washington Teachers Union, and possibly members of the DC Council, and even Eleanor Holmes Norton. The rally coincides with the end of the school day, which facilitates the participation of many students and parents of Dunbar Senior High School, as well as the faculty and staff of Dunbar, and hopefully many of you.


UN Statement by Timothy Cooper and Video Clip of the Tax Rally
Mark Richards, Dupont East, 

On April 16, Timothy Cooper addressed the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva to call upon the U.S. to comply with the recommendations made by The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS). On October 17, 2001, the IACHR found the U.S. in violation of human rights related to a charge brought before that body by the Statehood Solidarity Committee in 1993. The Statehood Solidarity Committee charged the U.S. with violations of human rights because of the denial of equal political participation in the nation's legislature and the right to equality before the law for DC citizens. The U.S. had ninety days to adopt the recommendations before the recommendations are made public. The IACHR will release their decision and recommendations at the end of April. [Timothy Cooper's statement is posted at] 

See a video clip [of the April 15 tax day rally for Washington voting rights] from Camera Works at


Expensive Cab Ride
Irina Livezeanu, 

I was running late today and indulged myself in a very short cab ride, figuring it could only be one zone. I wonder whether it can be true that a taxi cab ride for three or four blocks on M Street from the Dupont area toward Foggy Bottom can cost $6.90. I felt completely taken in today.


Making and Breaking Appointments
Dorothy Brizill, 

Despite, or perhaps because of the controversial performance of the DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission in its rush to grant Mike Tyson a boxing license, Mayor Williams has renominated two of the three commission members to another term. Arnold W. McKnight is being reappointed as Chairman, and Michael A. Brown as a member of the commission. With regard to the Tyson license, the Commission initially attempted to meet and vote in secret; then interviewed Tyson in a secret session and refused to release any information on the Tyson interview and medical and psychological evaluations; and finally held a staged, non-deliberative “kangaroo court” public hearing to validate its actions.

As Sewell Chan reported in the Washington Post on April 11, the five-member Board of the Office of Employee Appeals has not been able to meet since last October because it lacks a quorum. As a result, a backlog of cases, some of which are several years old, has developed. On March 27, Mayor Williams nominated two new members to the Commission, Horace Kreitzman and Brian Lederer. Both are Ward 3 residents, and both are doing double duty with the DC Taxicab Commission. Kreitzman is the Deputy Executive Director of the DC Democratic State Committee, and in February Mayor Williams appointed him to the DC Taxicab Commission to promote Williams' plan to install meters in cabs. And Lederer was hired a few months ago as a contract employee of the Taxicab Commission to serve as its legal counsel and hearing officer. Is the circle of Williams' loyalists so small that they have to serve on multiple boards?

At his weekly press briefing last Wednesday, Mayor Williams also appeared to break an appointment. He reiterated his intent to respond to the Council's request for additional information regarding the Inspector General's report on the fundraising activities of the Executive Office of the Mayor. But he indicated that he was not certain that he would appear at the scheduled hearing of the City Council's Government Operations Committee on May 1 at 10:00 a.m. He said he was not certain of the “time, date, or setting,” at which he would respond to Councilmember's questions, raising doubts about whether he would keep the May 1st appointment, or even whether he were backing out of a commitment to appear at any public hearing.


Money for Morella
Michael Bindner, 

Giving Connie Morella money might be a good strategic move, although I question those who claim she is good for the District. (Any representative from Montgomery County will resist commuter taxes, since its high income residents would be among the biggest payers of any such tax, which would leave the county and the state in a precarious budgetary position.) Connie's seat is in serious jeopardy due to redistricting. Her best hope of keeping her seat is to support including the District in Maryland's congressional representation. Because DC's population would leave Maryland with no additional seats, it would be balkanized congressionally. The Republicans and Democrats in Ward 3 are her kind of people, and would most likely be in her District, with Al Wynn getting the part of Tacoma Park she does not want (as well as Wards 4 and 5). Steny Hoyer would get Anacostia and Wards 2 and 6 would be up for grabs, with Norton running against either Hoyer or Wynn. This is why Norton would rather have a vote in the Committee of the Whole or another try at a voting rights amendment than full representation through Maryland (since statehood does not look likely any time soon). Once Connie realizes that the best bet for keeping her seat in the long term (even if she squeaks through this time) is representation for DC, she will allow this matter to be seriously discussed (she has been its most ardent opponent).


Rep. Constance Morella
Mark Richards, 

A February 5-6 telephone survey of 350 likely voters surveyed districtwide (general election trial heats), by American Viewpoint for the National Republican Congressional Committee, published in the April 22 edition of The Polling Report,, found that in a race between Connie Morella and Mark Shriver, 50 percent said they would support Morella, 29 percent Shriver, and 21 percent undecided. In a separate question, in a race between Connie Morella and Chris Van Hollen Jr., 57 percent said they would support Morella, 23 percent Van Hollen, and 20 percent undecided. I have not seen other or more recent data.


DC Democrats Must Attend Their May 2nd Meeting
John Goldstein, 

The DC Democratic State Committee will meet in a public session on Thursday, May 2, at 7:00 p.m., at the Martin L. King, Jr., Library. If you are a city Democrat, please attend. The committee will consider a resolution withholding any support from Mayor Anthony Williams for his endorsement of and fundraising for a Republican member of Congress. The Committee will vote on endorsing candidates for Mayor and Council. We must remind this committee Mayor Williams closed DC General Hospital and is part of a citywide effort to push poor and low income people out of our city. Join senior citizens, labor union and small business association leaders as we ask the Democrats to send a message to “Tony the Traitor” Williams.


Marion Barry
Leslie Miles, 

Briefly, I did read the New Republic piece lamenting Marion Barry's decision not to run after all. It struck me that the writer did not realize that Barry was not in a head to head race with anyone, and that he could easily have gotten enough support to come out ahead of Phil Mendelson. I also suspect that the writer has not seen Barry lately. He has lost a lot of weight and looks like he is ill; it would have been a sad thing to watch him campaign. I am no Barry fan — I am relieved that he is not running — but I thought that article missed the mark (not the first time for TNR when it comes to local politics).


Optimists and City Services
Randy Bovbjerg, 

Our alley in upper NW is cleaned every spring, sometimes in fall, too. Other comments: leaf pick-up much improved in the last few years. Garbage pick-up is excellent; they have very rarely missed a day and never a week during my twenty-two years in DC (Capitol Hill, Shepherd Park, two locations in Chevy Chase DC). Large-item haul-away (refrigerator, sofa) seems much better than in 'burbs. Potholes much more likely to be filled in past couple of years than at any prior time. Motor Vehicle lines for licenses much improved, but for inspections actually worse in recent years. Private citizens' driving habits, especially among speeding border-crossing commuters, appear far worse, and there's no enforcement, as always. Pollen especially bad this spring; clearly too much hot air in town.

On the whole, reasons for optimism.


Alley Sweeping Monthly
Malcolm L Wiseman, Jr., 

It [alley sweeping] happens in my Petworth alley about once a month or so.


Alley Cleaning? How Can We Sign Up?
Heather Scott, 

Wow! I was overcome with excitement when I read about Kirsten's report of a heavy duty street cleaner sweeping up the alleys. Since moving to the Capitol Hill area, it has saddened me how little regard some have for our community alleys. It is downright disgusting how dirty they get. I have used the Mayor's Call Center to report illegal dumping almost monthly with only some success. I have heard our Mayor talk about cleaning up the city, and would think that alley cleaning and rat abatement would be top on the list. What is really going on on this issue? I have heard the rhetoric, but want to know what actual services or plans are underway,



East of the River Earth Day Forum
Julie Eisenhardt, 

Monday, Earth Day, April 22, at 7 p.m., at Union Temple Baptist Church, 1225 W Street, SE. Come hear a panel of speakers including Rev. Willie Wilson of Union Temple, Sierra Club President Jennifer Ferenstein, Anacostia Riverkeeper Damon Whitehead, and local activists Eugene Dewitt Kinlow and George Gurley talk about how health, environment, and quality of life are linked and how race and class play a role in the quality of your environment. Take part in the panel discussion or come just to listen. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 610-3360.


Free Prostate Cancer Screening
Ralph Blessing, 

The Drive Against Prostate Cancer mobile vehicle will make an appearance at the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue (DeSales Street side) on May 8 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The vehicle, the nation's only mobile prostate cancer screening program, will offer free screenings by licensed urologists and phlebotomists (both the PSA and a physical exam), free men's health materials, and educational literature stressing the importance of early detection. Representatives from the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC), the largest grassroots 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding a cure for prostate cancer, will be available to discuss this important national screening program. Contact Jason B. McCray at 463-9455 for more information.


Reminder — Murch Elementary School Book Sale
Sue Bell, 

Murch Elementary School is holding its second annual book fair at Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Saturday and Sunday, April 27th and 28th. Politics and Prose will donate 20 percent of money received from all book fair purchases to Murch Elementary School. All proceeds will go to pay for salaries of the five teaching assistants, extending the hours of the nurse to full time, and to cover supplies for the Spanish programs. Murch is a DC public school, located on Reno Road and Davenport Street in Tenleytown.

Shop for Mother's Day and Father's Day presents, gifts for grads, and get a head start on your summer reading list. Politics and Prose is an independent bookseller with a great selection of books, CDs, cards, gift wrap and magazines. Shop Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Politics and Prose is located at 5105 Connecticut Avenue, between Nebraska Avenue and Fessenden Street, NW. Parking is available at the store. Use one of the coupons at the register or simply tell the cashier that you want your purchases at Politics and Prose to benefit Murch Elementary School.


Stand Up for Democracy Open House
Wayne Turner, 

Special presentation: “Race, Money, Equality and the Struggle to Free DC!” Stand Up for Democracy in DC will host a special Open House on Tuesday, April 23, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the National Council of Negro Women, 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Navy Memorial/Archives Metro). Food and refreshments will be provided, and admission is free.

This month's featured guests are: Rebecca Kingsley, independent filmmaker, who will show excerpts from “The Last Colony,” a documentary film currently in production that outlines the history of DC's unique relationship with the federal government. (To learn more about this exciting project, or to make a tax deductible donation, visit Acie Byrd, Jr., founder of the Atomic Veterans Association, is a political scientist who has a long history organizing on issues including DC statehood, nuclear freeze. and anti-death penalty struggles. Lawrence Guyot, ANC commissioner and frequent Fox News panelist, who works to rid DC of racism and who is very involved in economic development and the retention of housing for low income residents. All are welcome. Please visit our web site,, or call 232-2500 for more information.



Rehoboth Beach House
Dagmar R. Henney, 

We seek a group of professional Washingtonians to rent a house in a delightful, quiet area of Rehoboth Beach. It is near ocean, shops, and restaurants, and you can walk everywhere. The house itself has central air conditioning, washer, dryer, sun deck, and ample parking. Please E-mail or call 301-270-2531.


Housing Wanted
Parisa Norouzi, 

Affordable, bright, one bedroom or larger housing needed for two grassroots organizers/campaigners plus one cat. Very responsible tenants, dedicated to the environment, social justice, and veganism. Starting June first, Metro accessible. Contact Parisa.



Macintosh House Calls
Phil Shapiro, 

Do you know of someone who could use help getting the most from their Macintosh computer? Friendly Mac house calls from Mac professional with over ten year's experience. Can assist with training, troubleshooting and upgrades. $50/hour. Phil,, 703-812-9547.


themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available at

All postings should also be submitted to, and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can be put into each mailing.

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)