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June 5, 2002

Home Sweet Home

Dear Homebodies:

We don't live in our home anymore. We know that because the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs tells us so. Their story is that they received an anonymous telephone tip (most probably from a developer who wants to buy the place) that our house is vacant and abandoned, and so DCRA put it on the official list of vacant and abandoned properties. DCRA did no checking of government records, and didn't even send a letter or make a telephone call to us, before placing our house on the list. Now, they say, it is not their responsibility to prove that our house is vacant; it is our responsibility to appear in person and to prove to them, to their satisfaction, that we live here, as we have for the past twenty years. We're hearing reports from several parts of town, but especially from the hot low-income house markets of Cardozo-Shaw and Columbia Heights, that DCRA is listing many occupied houses as abandoned, which is the first step toward seizing the properties. We're also hearing reports, so far unproven but very credible, that the city is targeting some properties at the behest of politically favored developers who want to get title to them through the "Home Again Initiative." (To see the city's own description of this program, go to 

Yesterday, the City Council approved of the first stage of the Home Again Initiative. It passed emergency legislation proposed by Mayor Williams and introduced by Councilmember Harold Brazil ( that authorized the city to dispose of 98 properties it claims are abandoned. Brazil didn't hold any public hearings or seek any citizens input prior to the vote. Instead, the Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on a permanent version of the bill next week, on June 12.

Speaking of corrupt neighborhood development, the Williams Administration's preferred use of development money is still to waste it on corrupt Community Development Corporations. The latest example is a $1 million grant to the H Street Community Development Corporation that Councilmember Sharon Ambrose correctly described: “This is the same old, same old waste, in my view, of the Department of Housing and Community Development throwing money to the CDCs.” (Yolanda Woodlee gave a fuller description of the grant in yesterday's Washington Post:, and Richard Layman and Kevin Palmer have written testimony that details many of the problems with the project, Yesterday, the City Council voted to approve of this grant, and to continue to throw money into this city's corrupt CDC system.

Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill 


Child Care Voucher Freeze
Sasha Clayton, sclayton@FLOCDC.ORG 

The district has now run out of money for new vouchers to subsidize child care for low-income parents who are working or in school/training (vouchers for TANF recipients, and a few other special groups comes from a different pot of money). Those of us in the social service field have long been frustrated by all the hoops that low-income families must jump through to get a voucher, but at least they have been available. Children are now put on a waiting list for approval for these vouchers until the beginning of the next fiscal year, in October. At that point, since these families' job/school situation and daycare needs change so rapidly, I'm sure that the rocky road to getting a voucher will be fraught with more speed bumps (additional proof of income, address, health certificate, etc.). This means at least a five-month wait, plus additional waiting until a spot opens up and they can get all the necessary paperwork (they expect 400-600 people on the waiting list by then). Until October, many, many families will be unable to continue their jobs, unable to continue school because they cannot pay for child care. Many others will need to use money for child care that they would normally put towards food, utilities, clothes, transportation, and other basic needs. Scarier still, some families will need to rely on untrustworthy caretakers for child care (e.g. elderly relatives, young children, etc.), setting up many dangerous situations this summer. A lack of child care has been identified as a serious impediment to parents attaining self-sufficiency and staying off welfare. In an era of Welfare Reform, this will probably force many people onto welfare and dependency, and will force those not eligible for welfare due to their immigration status into an even more desperate bind.


Traffic Light Follies
Vikki Kratz, 

A few weeks ago another reader and I wrote in to complain about cars that ignored the red turn arrow off 14th Avenue onto Massachusetts at the circle. Well, today I noticed as I crossed the street that a large blue tourist sign, with an arrow and the words “MCI Center” had been helpfully erected right in front of the traffic light! The tourist sign is now blocking the traffic light — it's not visible at all. Is this a temporary sign? And even if it is temporary, should it have been put in front of the traffic light? Does this new sign mean the traffic light is no longer valid? No one ever obeyed it anyway, so is this the city's way of saying, “Fuck you” to the pedestrians? Because between this new sign and the fact that half the “Walk/Don't Walk” signs in this city are no longer functioning, that's the message I'm getting.


Good Logic, Illegal Posters
Phil Carney, 

The last time I was removing illegal posters from DC public space, a young man yelled at me. “You can't take down those posters cause they are legal; we put up posters all the time and MPD has never said they are illegal. If they were illegal, MPD would have stopped us from putting them up.” Can't fault the man's logic. However there is a serious fault here. Media Maven Ramsey just spoke at a Dupont Circle Citizens Association meeting, but I skipped going and asking the obvious questions about MPD not dealing with quality of life issues, because I am sick and tired of listening to the same tired old BS excuses.


I’ll Get Back to You
Dorothy Brizill, 

For the past three years, many citizens, at least those who are not developers, members of the Federal City Council, or university presidents, have complained that Mayor Williams was inaccessible; that they couldn't get a meeting with him, and that he didn't return repeated telephone calls. The Mayor and his minions have heatedly denied these reports. But they couldn't deny two separate complaints of inaccessibility within the last week. At last week's Mayoral press briefing, two severely handicapped individuals came to confront the Mayor. They had been requesting a meeting with him since July 2000 — that's right, for nearly two years now — to discuss the problems that disabled people may have with the city's new voting machines. After he was put on the spot in a room full of journalists, Mayor Williams relented, and told them to have their people call his people to set something up.

The second occasion may have been even more embarrassing. At today's hearing on DC's FY2003 budget, the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on DC, Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, told Mayor Williams that, even though during his tenure on the Committee he been a friend to the District on a variety of issues, he had called the Mayor at least twelve times over the past thirty days, and still had not received a call back. So, neglected citizens, take heart. A member of Congress who sits on the District Subcommittee is no more important to the Mayor than you are.


DC Equality Amendment
Timothy Cooper, 

Salient questions have been raised concerning our [Timothy D. Cooper, Charles Wesley Harris, and Mark David Richards] proposed DC Equality Amendment, which, we believe, would guarantee DC residents equal rights for equal responsibilities under the US Constitution.

Accordingly, the authors of this proposal have written a comprehensive response in an effort to answer those questions. Due to space limitations in themail, we are publishing our response on the DCWatch web site. The address for the amendment text is, and our answers to questions are at We hope everyone committed to DC democracy issues will review our responses, and join in this discussion.


Jackson 2002 Campaign Announces the People’s Agenda
Al Hatcher, 

DC Democratic Party outsider Arthur H. Jackson, Jr., [a Democratic candidate for At-Large Councilmembers] has announced an Eight Point Agenda to fight homelessness, displacement of African American and Latino families, education funding, public safety, transition of ex-offenders, senior citizens and youth services. and opening opportunities for small, minority, women and veteran owned business.

Jackson has been an active leader to force the Democratic Party to return to protecting the people and away from its effort to move towards a conservative agenda. To join the Citizens to Draft Jackson 2002 contact Al Hatcher at 271-5522.


There’s No Reason Not to Restore Klingle Road
Marie Nelson, Cleveland Park, 

Last month the Council did the right thing as demonstrated by an overwhelming 10-3 vote to stop Mendelson and the Klingle Valley Few. In fact, Council Member Schwartz made it clear to Mr. Mendelson what a hypocrite he was in trying to strike the language, when he himself historically has demanded the same as what Ms. Schwartz introduced. The Klingle Road Feasibility study shows no environmental reasons not to repair our public road. The road sits below and beside the valley — with an abundance of apartment buildings above. Besides the run-off from these buildings, run-off is even greater in Klingle Valley now that Woodley Road is resurfaced. No one seemed to have an environmental problem with these buildings or the Woodley Road project.

In 1988, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the tiny Klingle stream along Klingle Road supported one of the more ecological balanced and natural aquatic faunal communities in the District. So please, spare me with these silly environmental and cost reasons. The Council has already stated the money is there. We aren't robbing Peter to pay Paul for any transportation repairs. As long as Klingle Road is a road on the Federal Highway System (which it is), it will receive federal relief. If the Klingle Valley Few really cared about the valley, they would have demanded that the Mayor clean up the raw sewage that continues to spill in the valley for the last ten years. Yet the Klingle Valley Few praise the Mayor and now DDOT Director Mr. Tangherlini who have yet to fix this problem.

And what of next summer's 10-month project when DDOT begins the scheduled abatement of 4,000 cubic square feet of lead-contaminated soil that has soaked into the soil and into the roots of trees and plants below the Klingle Bridge? They will have to dig down three feet deep along the side of the roadway. How will we save all the trees and plants from this project, let alone the ones that continue to absorb lead contamination? We don't hear from Klingle Valley Few about these environmentally harmful projects. Please spare me, Mr. Mendelson, Mr. Tangherlini, Mr. Mayor, and the Klingle Valley Few.


Who Would Use Klingle Valley Park
Gabe Fineman, 

I remain very confused over the arguments of those who want to keep Klingle Road in northwest Washington closed forever and turn it into a narrow, twisted park. The plan from the Mayor entails rebuilding the road but letting it be used only by the trucks of utility companies (water, sewer, gas, etc. lines are buried there) by using locked gates. The city's 90-foot-wide strip of land would thus be mainly a utility road. The frustration of drivers forced to use Porter Street (already far past its carrying capacity) is immense. However, a real question is who will use this 90-foot-wide “park.”

Lately I have been using the Malvin Hazen Park that is the next stream north of Klingle Road. It is less than 1/2 mile north of Klingle along Connecticut just past Porter valley and is much larger and much more pleasant than the proposed Klingle Park. It is underutilized, despite being maintained very well by the National Park Service and having great access from Connecticut and lots of parking along Tilden and Rodman. I rarely see anyone else there, although I do see signs of a homeless encampment. It defies reason to believe that a park in Klingle Valley would be used by more than those who used it when the road was open. Would the City pay for its upkeep? How would people get to it?


Keep Trucking
Bruce Snyder, 

Mr. Gilliand's posting reminds me of a nagging question I've had about driving in the park: “no trucks; no commercial vehicles.” Has this ever been enforced? Those monster Mall Assault Vehicles are, ahem, trucks. Even the smaller ones are trucks as are, of course, pickup trucks. I drive to work from Adams Morgan to Chevy Chase three or four times a week and there are LOTS of trucks.


The Office of Mayor
Lyla Winter, 

While seriously considering the upcoming election, perhaps we should pause to remember the words of wisdom and comfort provided by former Mayor Barry. Long ago, while attending the Super Bowl, in sunny California, the following message was sent to his constituents in DC, who were plunged into a world of wet, white snow, unable to leave their homes: "“The contagious people of Washington have stood firm against diversity during this long period of increment weather.” Spelling doesn't count — character does — evaluate your candidate.


The Race Card
Lea Adams, 

Ron Eberhardt isn't the only member of the “I Hate Barry” club; the city is full of people who have strong opinions about the former Mayor, most of whom have never met the man, were neither uplifted nor harmed by his terms, since they weren't around. For those of us who reached our own political maturity during Barry's administrations (especially the first term), it isn't so simple as the good-guy vs. bad-guy portrait R.E. tries to paint. Whatever M.B. is or was, he is neither an evil ogre nor a “street punk,” and most of the harm he has done has been of the self-destructive variety. But, accepting R.E.'s opinions about Barry as just opinions, I am really troubled by his harping on the playing of the race card. Although much of the slang used by many Americans — e.g., “24/7,” “whuzzup,” etc. — has roots in the Afro-American community, I never heard the phrase "race card" until it was used by a Euro-American commentator during the O.J. Simpson trial. In fact, I still have never heard a person of color use the phrase, which makes me wonder whose deck the race card came out of, and why is it so important. A country with a 300-year history of race-baiting, race-carding, race-this and race-that (only three other nations use the word “race” in their census, all of them colonized by Europeans) produces the kind of mania that clearly holds both Barry and Eberhardt in its nasty grip. Let's face it, the only other person named in R.E.'s critique of M.B. was Vernon Jordan. Of all the political players in the city, how is it that the only two Eberhardt mentions happen to be African American men? Who's zooming whom, Mr. Eberhardt? My advice to you is to GET OVER IT!



Spring Lawn Sale at McLean Gardens
Trudy Reeves, 

Saturday, June 8, (rain date, June 15), 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Porter Street, NW (two blocks west of Wisconsin Avenue, one block past the fountain). A large lawn sale where McLean Gardens’ residents set up tables on the open lawn area on Porter Street two blocks west of Wisconsin, one block past the fountain. Household articles, toys, some furniture pieces, clothes, etc. This year marks the 60th anniversary of McLean Gardens.


Small Business Homeland Security Expo 2000
Alex Roberts, 

On July 10, The Public Forum Institute is coordinating The Small Business Homeland Security Expo 2002 in Washington, DC. This is a gathering with Senators John F. Kerry (D-MA) and Christopher S. Bond (R-MO) to showcase small businesses and their homeland security products. The expo will provide an opportunity for small business owners to educate the US Congress and others on the products currently being developed and produced that will help efforts to protect our homeland. The Public Forum Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating the most advanced and effective means of fostering public discourse. For more information, please contact Jennifer Schroeder, Project Associate, at 467-2779 or E- mail at



Farm Fresh Produce from New Morning Farm
Jim Crawford, 

We've been bringing our homegrown, organic vegetables to Burleith and Glover Park every summer for thirty years. Since 1973, we have run our neighborhood farmer's market at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the park at 37th and Whitehaven Streets. We have appreciated your patronage all this time. Now conditions have changed, and we find we need to change as well. We are sorry to say that we can no longer come and set up our market in Burleith. However, we would like to continue to bring our produce directly to your neighborhood, as so many of you have asked. So we're inviting you to join us in an experiment. If you place an order on Tuesdays, we will fill it and meet you at our regular location at 7:30 p.m. that same evening.

There are two easy ways to order: 1) find us on the Internet at, see what we have for sale (you'll have first choice of the items) and click your order to us; or 2) just phone (814-448-0150) from 8 p.m. Monday to noon Tuesday. We'll tell you what we have and you can order it. We'll then meet you at the park at 37th and Whitehaven at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday with your order ready for pick up. Thanks for trying our new system! If you have questions about the arrangement, send them to us at



Standard and Quirky Performing Acts Sought
Lora Engdahl, 

The Eleven O'Clock Show, DC's late night on-stage talk/variety show, is seeking acts for its summer run. Accordionists, contortionists, comedians, origami makers, fire eaters — you name it. Please E-mail Lora Engdahl at Tentative auditions June 10 evening at the Warehouse Theater, 1021 7th Street, NW.



Young DC Man Needs Tutoring
Charlie Stevenson, 

I've received an appeal in behalf of a young man of fifteen who reads at a first grade level, after numerous attempts at remediation. He is still motivated, and my guide with him feels that “he would simply be better off doing intensive one-on-one tutoring . . . but again, we haven't found the right tutor.” I don't know specifically how he has been evaluated or taught, nor what his family's financial circumstances are. He lives in the Adams Morgan/Mt. Pleasant area, I believe, and would probably need work there. We're looking for good, probably inexpensive, resources for him. Any suggestions or volunteers?



Furnished Basement Room Available for the Summer
Paul Penniman, 

Room available in quiet group house on Davenport Street, just off Connecticut. Details at


Apartment for Rent
Carla White, 

Cleveland Park, one bedroom sunny apartment, behind Uptown Theater, near Metro, hardwood floors, new windows, lots of storage space, $1500/mo., includes heat and water. Please call 508-450-6127 or E-mail


Vegetarian Environmentalist Household
Mary Vogel, 

Room in vegetarian environmentalist household near Orange Line, $475 plus one-third utilities, shared house and yard work. Spacious bedroom with walk-in closet available immediately. Share 3 BR, 2.5 BA home only ten minutes to Capitol Hill in lush, green “Tree City.” Pleasant eight-tenths mile to Cheverly Metro (Orange Line). Screened porch, forested backyard, one block to large nature park. Lots of resource-saving amenities such as storm windows, inside shutters and low-e light bulbs. Current lease is up at the end of June 2002, and new housemate must be willing to sign on to the new lease, so no short term applicants. Prefer living lightly vegans active in environmental issues. We are two female professionals over thirty. Contact Mary via phone (preferred) at 301-772-9276 H; 301-883-5983 W, or via E-mail at


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