themail.gif (3487 bytes)

July 10, 2002

The Passing Parade

Dear Paraders:

The story is simply told, if you don't mince words: Mayor Anthony A. Williams's reelection campaign has committed election fraud, and has attempted to corrupt the election process, on the largest scale ever seen in the history of local elections. The petition signature sheets submitted by the Mayor's campaign to place him on the Democratic primary ballot contain thousands of forgeries. The Republican Party is preparing a challenge to the Mayor's petitions; DCWatch is preparing an independent challenge; and other groups are also considering doing their own challenges. The great majority of the Mayor's signatures and signature sheets are fraudulent, and it is questionable at this point whether the campaign collected even the bare minimum of two thousand valid signatures that it needs.

Now we know why few people ever saw signature gatherers for the Mayor's campaign, why, as Dorothy wrote in themail on June 19, the Mayor seemed to be a “stealth candidate”; the people preparing Mr. Williams's petitions never took to the streets. The Mayor's reaction, at this point, is familiar. Just as a few months ago Mayor Williams denied that he was responsible for or knowledgeable about the illegal fundraising that was done in his name and for his causes by high officials in his office, he now denies that he is responsible for or knowledgeable about his own election campaign. This is not a question of election-year pranks, or of minor misbehavior by a few lower-level campaign workers. These illegal petitions could not have been submitted without the approval of those running the Mayor's campaign, and if the Mayor is not in charge of his own campaign, who is?

Gary Imhoff 


Collecting Petition Signatures
Ed T. Barron,

Collecting signatures from qualified voters on petitions is not an easy task, based on my experiences. In my own school board member campaign. In a former life, it took a lot of man-hours to collect the 250 signatures I needed to get onto the ballot. Most recently, roomie and I spent more than 15 person hours in AU Park collecting just over 100 signatures on petitions for Kathy Patterson to help get her onto the ballot for Ward 3 Council person in the September Democratic Primary election. That works out to fewer than sever signatures per collector per hour. Collecting signatures in front of Super fresh on 48th Street, NW, proved to be pretty difficult. Fully 60 percent of weekend shoppers at that store are from Maryland. Another 30 percent are not registered Dems. That leaves only 10 percent of those coming to the store as potential signers.

Let's look at the Williams' mayoral campaign, which needed to collect 2000 valid Democratic voter signatures and aimed to collect 10,000 before the filing date on 3 July. Now there is a major flap about how valid many, or most, of those signatures are. Assuming the Mayor's campaign folks were working in a much more signature rich environment and could collect up to 14 signatures per hour per collector, that means that over 700 person collector hours would be required to get those 10,000 signatures. It is not clear how many folks were actually collecting those signatures, but 4000 signatures were collected by only two persons (who were paid $1 per signature). That would work out to about 300 hours worth of collecting effort. Not very likely, Ollie, Much more likely is the temptation to sit around the kitchen table and use the old voter roles to fill out the petitions (while quaffing a cool one). That sure beats pounding the pavement or standing in the bright sun in the parking lots of Super Fresh and Safeway. If it turns out that the Mayor has less than 2000 valid signatures he won't be on the ballot in the Primary and General elections. That means he'll be filling out his resume for a new job a lot earlier than he had planned. No worry, since his resume of real accomplishments while Mayor of DC won't take long to prepare. It will be no more than a half page long (double spaced). To flesh that resume out, Williams might enlist the support of Ronnie Few to put the truth, or otherwise, into its most favorable light.


Unbelievably Good Service from DC
Joe Davidson, 

I am the building chairman from Tifereth Israel Synagogue on upper 16th Street. The District government is completely rebuilding 16th Street in front of our building down to the foundation and utilities. It appeared that they were going to dig a ditch through some of the paved plaza in front of the building. I was concerned because the concrete in the plaza has a reddish tinge which is part of our color scheme. I did not want the ditch to be re-paved with a non-matching color concrete.

I went to the DOT web site and voiced my concerns on the feedback page ( I also cc-ed a copy to Adrian Fenty. Within fifteen minutes (not fifteen hours, not fifteen days!), I received a well-thought-out reply from Adrian, who cc-ed the reply to Muhammed Khalid, who is the program manager of the project. Within one hour I received a note from Muhammed giving me a number to set up a meeting with John Fleming, the Super. I called John and we met the next day in front of the building to discuss the problem. They are ready to color the concrete if necessary while warning that it is almost impossible to make a good match. We are working out the details. I also received a tracking number for the issue. Talk about service! This was not the 48 hours promised, but more like 48 minutes.


Don’t Let the Door Hit You
Dorothy Brizill, 

As Fire Chief Ronnie Few exits his position as DC's fire chief on July 31, a scathing report on his previous tenure as Augusta's fire chief has just been issued by a grand jury in Richmond County, Georgia. The 125-page report comes near the end of a two-and-a-half year investigation, and accuses Few of making illegal promotions, creating slush funds with public money, obstructing justice, and leaving the fire department in chaos. The Grand Jury report is available at


Near Northeast Needs More Police
Ricardo Chambers, 

I recently purchased property in the Capitol Hill community and I want to bring some attention to the problems that this community is facing. In just the past two months we have had several hit and runs. The victims were the innocent children of our community. The culprits are driving stolen cars, and after they hit the children they jump and run. Leaving the community leaders and parents running to the aid of the children. Sitting long hours at the hospital with the children. Being supportive at the time of a crisis. Yes, we are besieged by drug dealers, prostitutes, and car thieves, but our community is working to unite even at the most bitter moments.

Located in our community is the Narcotics Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department, yet seemingly we cannot get a handle on the drug trafficking. Shooting galleries are springing up more and more in the community, and it is having a devastating effect. How can drug trafficking persist right under the nose of the police department? Why can't they use the same determination to eliminate the drugs that they are using to find the killer of Chandra Levy? You can walk down the street and the dealers are passing the drugs to the buyers. We have people pulling up in Jaguars with Virginia and Maryland tags buying drugs. Heroin is on a rise and it has become an epidemic. Yes, the community is fighting from the grassroots with many neighborhood organizations, but we need help! We need police presence all the time, not just because the children have gotten hit and it's election time. When will we matter? I am tired of the drugs. I am tired of walking down the streets and they show total disregard for the children they are exposing to this horrible way of life. Just explain to me why the Narcotics Unit is sitting on a corner, and drugs are being sold next door to the Police Station. Several positive things are happening to the Capitol Hill extended community, such as an H Street Revitalization. What happened to the community, while the city is developing the corridor?

But how can we revitalize a community without weeding out the problem?


Unsolved Murders in DC
Ed T. Barron, 

Police Chief Ramsey thinks that “solving” or “closing” (a very loosey goosey criteria is used for this process) only a little more than 50 percent of the killings in DC each year is very acceptable. He's way off base. If there are 300 killings in DC each year and only 50 percent are solved/closed, then that means that 150 others remain unsolved and get stacked up with all the other past killings in DC. Over the next ten years that means we will have over 1500 more unsolved killings. Before long they'll have to build a Pentagon-sized building just to house the evidence and paperwork associated with past killings. We need a police chief who won't be satisfied with less than 95 percent success rate in closing and solving killings in DC.


DC Senior and Vehicle Inspection
Ed Kane, 

If the reader is a REAL “senior citizen,” i.e., 65 or over, unlike our friend Stew Reuter, I would strongly recommend that he/she utilize the senior citizen privilege for vehicle inspection. Doing so saved me a good two hours in line this morning, at the DMV Inspection Unit at Half Street, SW (the only DMV inspection unit currently open in the District, by the way).

When approaching the entrance to the facility on Half Street, show proof of your age (a license, for example) to one of the employees standing in front of the entrance, and then proceed down the extreme right-hand lane to the inspection building. I did this today, and found only one car ahead of me. Waiting cars lined up for four (4) blocks around the building. The inspection still took 35 minutes, but count your blessings!


Traffic Tickets
Bryce A. Suderow, 

This is in response to some comments in themail about parking tickets. A friend of mine got a parking ticket some months ago. When she appealed it, the cost was doubled. A few days ago, she got another ticket, this one for $100. She can ill afford to pay it. However, she told me she had learned her lesson: “Don't contest the ticket and pay the District its money.” What a sad state of affairs. Our government is our enemy and out to gouge us out of every cent it can.


Parking Tickets and DMV
Eric Scharf, Dupont Circle, 

I have been following the discussion about the DMV and parking tickets with interest; as well as the general DMV experience. I must say I went in April to the Georgetown office on a Saturday morning and renewed my license in under an 1 1/2 hours (I even talked the Georgetown Park folks into giving me a free parking garage sticker.) As a twenty-two-year resident of DC (in Dupont Circle for much of that) I have received my share of parking tickets and have regularly paid them off. Frankly, it irritates me that those who blithely ignored paying their tickets for years now want to get them revoked claiming that it must “be the computer's problem.” My sympathy level is very low, and I think that DMV should aggressively collect on any outstanding fines.

Believe me I have been there myself; four years ago they pulled up a fifteen-year-old speeding ticket from Maine (turns out I had paid the ticket, but late, and the good folks in my home state were still waiting for their late fee). This is about civic responsibility and not complaining about escaping what is owed to the city. Yes, mistakes get made, but it is your responsibility to fix them promptly and not wait until it becomes a problem.


Taxi Cab MO
Annie McCormick, 

On Saturday, July 6, around 1:30-2:00 p.m., I called Yellow Cab to pick me up from a friend's home at 7th and Ingraham, NW, and deliver me to 14th and N Streets, NW. At Georgia Avenue and Farragut Streets, cab #766 turned into a gas station, where we waited for over five minutes for our turn to get gas. When he got out to pump the gas, I called my friend on my cell phone to have him call the cab company. They, of course, said that is not standard operating procedure and that the driver should have filled up on gas before he picked a passenger up. I called the company again when I got to my destination and was told the same thing. A very nice operator, but couldn't do anything about it. So for about ten minutes I felt like a hostage, as there were no other cabs that I could see at Farragut and Georgia that I could flag and could not identify a bus stop. I fumed all the way to my destination, but was afraid to confront him as I had no other option of transportation. I felt like he took advantage of me because I am a woman and because I had no choice of other transportation. He also was not displaying his identification properly; he had it on his passenger side visor, but it was not prominent as required. Should the Taxicab Commission know about this, or would they care? I paid the fare of $10.50 with $11 and quickly exited the cab. He would have gotten at least a $5 tip if he hadn't stopped to get gas and wasted my time.


66 Percent Is Hardly No One
John Hanrahan, 

A Washington Post poll conducted in May of this year showed 66 percent of District residents polled as favoring statehood for the District of Columbia. This was up from 58 percent in 2000, and was the highest statehood has scored since the Post began polling on the issue in 1993. This is in marked contrast to Ed T. Barron's observation (themail, July 7), in regard to the DC Statehood Green Party's appearance at the Palisades Fourth of July parade, that, “No one at the parade wants DC to be a state.”

“No one” at the parade? Perhaps Mr. Barron tapped into some weird demographic, but I doubt it, since others at the parade heard the DC Statehood Green Party marchers get a good reception. Be that as it may, 66 percent is certainly a far cry from “no one,” and I just can't accept that Palisades parade-goers would be so out of step with the rest of the city (especially on a day when we were supposed to be celebrating, of all things, the colonists rising up against their oppressors). Emily Dickinson wrote:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! They'd advertise — you know.

Statehood supporters are hardly “no one” or “nobody.” And there is certainly more than a pair of us — a majority, in fact, just as there was back in the early 1980's when DC citizens actually got to vote on the issue.


Were We Watching the Same Parade?
Wendy Stengel, 

Ed T. Barron wrote that no one applauded for the DC Statehood folk at the Pallisades 4th of July Parade. Clearly, Mr. Barron was far from my vantage point early on in the parade route. When the DC Statehood folk marched past us, not only were we and our parade neighbors clapping wildly, we also joined the marchers in chanting. Of course, some of us were loud for other reasons. My husband got into a debate w/ a Kathy Patterson person after chanting “Term limits! Term limits! Term limits!” as their group passed (try telling someone you don't want a paper fan on a hot hot day . . . that also foments political debate. No, we are not Kathy Fans.)

And, in case anyone sitting near him wants to point out his less than stellar chanting, it is true that he chanted “No candy? No votes!” and “Votes for Candy!” when Brazil's entourage passed by. Who said politicians don't listen? Suddenly, he was being beaned by handfuls of Jolly Ranchers.


Palisades Parade
Martin Thomas, 

Maybe the 95 degree heat and high humidity got to Ed T. Barron, who wrote that the DC Statehood Green Party's contingent was not well received at the Palisades 4th of July parade. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Along the entire route, we were met with cheers and encouragement. The fact that we had fifteen volunteers who took their day off (no paid staff like many of the candidates' contingents) to march in the heat carrying a huge DC Statehood flag was great. The extremely positive reception we got from the Palisades was even better.


Palisades Parade
Jenefer Ellingston, 

Everyone, whether you were there or not, I second Martin Thomas' observation. I walked alongside Martin and Steve most of the way. Since I was distributing Statehood Green flyers I was often separated by short distance. Yes, we were waved to, cheered and generally hurrahed. Everyone took my flyer, and a good number reached out for one. I never pressed a flyer on anyone — they were pleased or even eager to accept it.


Fourth of July Vitriol
Thomas Smith, 

My dear Ed T. Barron, your vitriol inspired observations have provided quite a few moments of amusement in the past. Unfortunately your pungent critique of the DC Statehood Green flag at the 4 of July Palisades march has confirmed that your high level of vitriol has affected not only your brain but your vision and hearing too! Hopefully you have retained enough vision to read this rebuttal.

We were welcomed with applause and high-fives all along the route, along with chants of “Statehood Now!” from the audience. As you should have noticed, the flag was too large to carry vertically and being carried horizontally did not allow the message to be seen, so we allowed one side to touch the ground at an angle that would allow it to be seen and read. Unfortunately, the present Democratic administration, led by “that person,” Williams, has closed the only hospital in the area that was qualified to treat terminal cases of vitriol.


No Change to DC Flag: An Open Letter to Councilmembers
Rick Rosendall, 

Greetings on the two hundred and twenty-sixth anniversary of our nation's birth. I write in opposition to Bill 14-0647, the “District of Columbia Flag Redesign Act of 2002,” which was approved by a vote of 10-2 on first reading on July 2. While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, I cannot applaud your headlong rush to add the message “No Taxation Without Representation” to the District of Columbia flag. The symbol and emblem of our city should not be turned into a billboard — even for the most fundamental of messages about our disenfranchisement as Americans. I have talked to friends and neighbors who have rolled their eyes and said how appalled they are at the prospect of our leaders doing something so tacky with our flag. While I admire the advocacy efforts of our friends in DC Vote, I believe their enthusiasm is clouding their judgment in this case. As local historian Philip Ogilvie has said, our city's oldest symbol should be left alone and not marred and cheapened by being turned into an advertising banner.

Our city's license plates are seen more often than our flag, simply because automobile traffic is a routine part of most people's everyday lives. Thus, the “Taxation Without Representation” message (which oddly is missing the proper “No”) is already being transmitted more effectively by our license plates, which have traditionally included a motto. That inspiration was an excellent one, providing commuters and visitors to our city with a ubiquitous reminder of our second-class status without being boorish about it. Our flag's simple design of three stars and two bars, from George Washington's family coat of arms, needs no further adornment or enhancement. Please pause to reconsider this proposal before you proceed to deface our flag with an advertisement, however unexceptionable the message. Let us continue our fight for full representation in Congress (which incidentally is not enough, because it does not confer autonomy over our laws and budgets) without diminishing ourselves through tastelessness. And speaking of Democratic values, let us not be in such a rush to change our city's symbol without a greater opportunity for reflection and discussion. Thank you for your attention. Now on to the fight against antidemocratic Congressional riders to our appropriations bill.

Note to readers: In response to this E-mail, which I copied to friends, Deacon Maccubbin sent councilmembers a note suggesting that a battle streamer bearing the “No Taxation Without Representation” message be added above the flag and below the finial, rather than changing the flag itself. This fine suggestion would allow the message to be added in an eye-catching way while also respecting tradition.


Spam Cure
Bob Levine, 

My lady Kathy sent me a new program that goes a long way to foiling spam: I won't go into details because there is too good of an explanation at the web site. It allows you to choose what E-mail is downloaded from your ISP. It is a freeware program with a donation requested but not demanded. The program is not a demo nor does it expire. After using it for four days I don't get any more spam in my inbox. It is easy to use and install. If you have a problem with spam you should check it out.


Jury Duty Story
Paul Penniman, 

I really did my civic duty this time, even prouder than usual after reading about how many people ignore the jury duty summonses. I went down to Superior Court, I stood in a long line, and then I was informed that I had answered a summons addressed not to me, but rather to a man who lived in our house for exactly one month eight years ago. I informed the nice woman that this other gentleman was a Swedish citizen and could be removed from their database.


Juror List
Betty Ann Kane, 

To the reader who asked about the 500 plus juror notices that went to wrong addresses: the court that sent those notices was the federal US District Court for the District of Columbia, not the DC Superior Court. DC Superior Court does use driver lists, tax lists, voter lists, etc. Obviously the federal court is using some less reliable source.

[Since I've been on a federal grand jury for the past year, I checked this with the jury office. They assure me that the Superior and District courts select jurors from exactly the same rolls. The three major sources for those rolls are indeed the DMV, the Board of Elections, and the Office of Tax and Revenue. — Gary Imhoff]


Humor in themail
David Sobelsohn, dsobelsoatcapaccessdotorg

Did anyone else find humor in the recent posting by William O'Field, Public Information Officer, DC Board of Elections and Ethics? O'Field's posting had two parts. In one part, O'Field wrote, “I encourage all voters who have questions about their voter registration” to call the Board. In the other part, O'Field gave one example of what happens when someone does call the Board about his voter registration: Ed T. Barron called and was told he wasn't registered, even though he was actually registered and had been for years. O'Field gave no explanation for the error; he just admitted it was an error. Why would anyone reading O'Field's posting feel encouraged to call the DC Board of Elections?


Question About Silver Spring, MD Circa 1950-60s
Jerry A. McCoy, 

I am trying to obtain any recollections on a mural or murals that were located in the Silver Restaurant, which was located at 8250 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. The restaurant went out of business sometime in the 1970's. It was located on the west side of Georgia Avenue south of Bonifant Street, next door to the (then) Suburban Trust Bank, now Copy Connection. The site today is a combination parking lot and day care play ground. Several individuals recall seeing in this restaurant a mural depicting Jubal Early's Confederate raiders looting the Blair House (that of Francis Preston Blair's “Silver Spring” mansion or of his son, Montgomery Blair's "Falkland" mansion, it is not clear) and trying on women's garments that they “liberated.”

According to the 1960 “Polk's Silver Spring City Directory” the Silver was operated by one Ova D. Norman and his wife, Marion. They lived at 8420 Woodclif Court, Apt. #102, Silver Spring. My desire is to either find photographic evidence of this mural/murals, information on the artist and, the big fantasy, locate the mural(s) if they are extant! Any/all information/recollections would be welcomed!



DC We Read Event
Patricia Pasqual, 

Metropolitan Ebony Theater presents a free performance of Having Our Say: The Delany Sister's First 100 Years on July 17th at 6:30 p.m. at Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW. Nearest Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown. Cost: free.


Snow Sledding for Kids: Christmas in July
Phil Shapiro, 

Do you know any DC kids who would enjoy some snow sledding in July? Check out the fun free “45 tons of snow” event being run by the Big100 radio station on Saturday afternoon, July 20, in Reston, VA, In the “great minds think alike” category, a children's story I wrote recently with some friends, “The Ice Cube Club,” appears at For those of you who attend the event, don't you dare pelt me with that snowball!


Board of Education Roundtable on Special Education
Ronald Drake, 

The DC Board of Education is considering major amendments to the regulations that govern services for special education students (Chapter 30 of Title 5 of the DC Municipal Regulations). Anyone with a child who needs special education or who has an interest in services for special education students should be aware of these changes, a copy of which is available on the DCPS web site at The Board is holding a roundtable to discuss any concerns about these changes on Monday, July 15, at 10:00 a.m., at its 5th Floor Board Room, 825 North Capitol Street, NE, and public witnesses will be able to testify.


WRN Event Announcement
Aisling O'Connor, 

The Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities presents “Transportation for the Urban Village: Arlington County’s Success,” with Jim Hamre and Charlie Denney, Arlington County Department of Public Works. Introduction by Chris Zimmerman, Arlington County Board and WMATA Chair. Monday, July 15, 6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Building, 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA, closest Metro Station: Ballston.

Arlington County is often viewed as the pinnacle of transit-oriented development success. What can the other jurisdictions and neighborhoods in the region learn from its experience? Can new households, businesses, workers, and visitors be accommodated in reborn urban villages without overwhelming neighborhoods with traffic congestion? Arlington County transportation planners present their strategies for giving people increased mobility, businesses more customers and neighborhoods less traffic. Learn about Arlington’s transportation demand management (TDM) programs, the Ballston Pedestrian/Bicycle corridor, pedestrian greenway (“Walk Arlington”), and expanded community transit, linking residents to nearby Metro stations and business districts. This event is free of charge. RSVP (attendance only): Aisling O’Connor, WRN, 667–5445,;


Benefit Concert for DC Voting Rights
Ronald Nelson, 

Please join us for the first ever DC Democracy Fund voting rights benefit concert Friday night, July 12, at 9:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street, NW. This will be a great party for a great cause. Hear three outstanding DC bands: Los Hermanos Rodriguez, Cry Baby Cry, and The Maginot Line, as well as our emcee, DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. All proceeds from the concert will help elect Federal candidates that support full voting rights for the District of Columbia. The show is open to all ages, and the cost is only $8 per ticket at the door. The closest Metro stop is U Street/Cardoza. For more information, call me at 549-6127 or E-mail



Mower and Air Conditioner
Scott Roche, 

One red working push lawn mower and a large window box A/C unit. First to call 547-8341 and come pick them up can have them!


Science Magazines
E. James Lieberman, 

I have about fifty issues of Science from the past two years to give away. Back issues sell for $7 or more, so they are too valuable to throw away. Anyone interested?



Looking for Furnished Apartment
Marc Ostfield, 

I will be moving to DC to work at the State Department beginning in September and am looking to rent or sublet a furnished apartment for myself (one-bedroom or efficiency apartment) somewhere in the Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, or Kalorama areas in DC. I would like to begin the lease sometime in August or September 2002, and I am willing to consider a month-to-month, short-term, or one-year lease. I appreciate any leads or suggestions.


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)