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September 1, 2002

Election Countdown

Dear Prolific Contributors:

Must save space; long issue. You'll silence me permanently if messages keep multiplying. Good for you.

Gary Imhoff 


Ana Hitri, 

Please help! Many of my friends are fed up with Williams but they don't know any other candidates except Wilson and Faith. If those are the only choices, they will vote for Williams. Please circulate and publicize the other candidates who would run as write-ins.


Who for Mayor?
Joan Eisenstodt, 

Like John Whiteside and others, I need a reason to vote against Mr. Wilson. I travel lots and read local papers when I am away, and I think that we are, relative to other cities (I know . . . we're a District not a city) it's not that bad in DC relative to our Mayor and City Council. I am very uncomfortable with Mr. Wilson's religious affiliation and, as was mentioned in another post, wonder if he would state now that he would resign from his position as a minister to govern the city.

My discomfort with Mr. Wilson extends to a pluralistic city with people of other religions and no religions, an international city and one that needs someone who can appeal to Congress. Has Tony Williams lost some status? Sure. Would any mayor of DC, no matter how good, do the same, with Congress? I think so. Haven't really seen it any other way in the twenty-four years I've lived here.

Unless someone can really convince me otherwise, I am voting for Tony Williams and will be pleased with my vote, and not see it as a lesser of evils vote.


Thanks for the Laughs, Mayor
Mark David Richards, District of Columbia, 

DC has taken up the topic of race and class in its typically amorphous way. Today in The Washington Post,, Julian Bond, board chairman of the NAACP, wrote, “As a longtime and now nonpartisan observer of African American politics, I am constantly confused and irritated by the charge that Candidate A or B isn't 'black enough.'” Dr. Bond said, “Washington's voters will make up their minds based on their perceptions of the various candidates' platforms, promises and past performances. The degree of their 'blackness' isn't measurable — or relevant. There are no DNA tests for that.” On the Close to Home page,, Julianne Malveaux, chairwoman for the issues committee of mayoral candidate Rev. Wilson, threw light on fact that the discussion of race in this election is largely about poverty: “Race is an issue during political campaigns because race matters. In the District, and in the nation, significant racial economic and access gaps must be closed. Instead, they widened during the Williams administration,” she said. Dr. Malveaux did not explain how Reverend Wilson would improve the socioeconomic situation in DC or improve access.

Tony Williams has been the genesis of a lot of consternation since it was discovered that nobody was at the wheel of his petition train. But the system worked: Dorothy Brizill and others called attention to the problem, and the Board of Elections and Ethics did the right thing. The debacle has also been the genesis of humor. 1) In the Sunday Style section, Richard's Poor Almanac ran a comic of what certain people did this summer. Mayor Williams is standing on a Metro escalator, and the caption reads, “Tony W. — I kept having that dream where I'm trapped on a broken Metro escalator while constituents pass by and mock me. Also, I spent a week at Rediscover Your Roots Camp. It may have helped a little, but collard greens still give me a rash.” I laughed. I like collard greens. 2) A friend had a party in which she “launched” her own campaign for mayor. She gave a great campaign speech, passed out buttons, and collected multiple signatures from everyone. When I asked, she said she will vote for Tony Williams. She was disgusted by the petition fiasco and is concerned about the state of health care in DC. She thinks he can improve the system if he talks to the folks standing in lines at the health care centers. A Washington Post representative survey of DC residents in May 2002 found that a third of those who said they or their family had been treated at DC General now found it more difficult to get medical care.

I didn't vote for Anthony Williams in his first election, but I will vote for him this time. I'm not taking any chances with a “protest” vote. I believe Anthony Williams is the best qualified of the DC candidates to head a secular DC government with a $5 billion budget for which taxpayers are ultimately responsible. The economic forecast is not rosy, and much remains to accomplish. But in the May 2002 Washington Post poll, 41 percent of DC residents said they thought the quality of life in DC is getting better, 29 percent said staying the same, and 19 percent said getting worse. Just a few years ago in 1997, 47 percent said the quality of life in DC was getting worse. The last time 40 percent of DC residents said the quality of life in DC was getting better was in 1984 — almost two decades ago. Mayor Williams worked with our Council to effectively cast the shameful Control Board into the shadows. And, once he recovers from the jokes, I am hopeful he will become more outspoken in every national forum and show some real progress in expanding DC's political rights. Stay the course, keep measuring, and fine tune the details.


Wear My Ring Around Your Neck?
Janet Hess, 

Others have mentioned the glossy color brochure for Mayor Williams that features, on its cover, the mayor wearing an orange Home Depot apron. It's a picture inside the brochure that has me entranced, however. A picture of the mayor with his wife and daughter clearly shows all three of them wearing items that are circular and plasticy around their necks. These things look like mini hula hoops. Am I the only District voter who has absolutely no idea what these are and why Family Williams has donned them? I feel hopelessly clueless. Please, someone, explain.

[They're glow rings that were distributed at the event they were attending. — Gary Imhoff]


Re-Elect Ray Browne
Patrick Pellerin, 

Ray Browne, the Shadow Representative for DC, deserves to be reelected. When he ran two years ago he vowed to make the office more active — to gain support from around the country for voting representation for DC citizens in the US Congress. He has fulfilled that vow. Through his hard work, the city councils of Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore, and San Francisco have passed resolutions in support of our vote. In addition, the mayors of Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, and Atlanta have signed proclamations urging voting representation in Congress. And the governor of Hawaii proclaimed August “Voting Rights Month” for DC residents. All this translates into grassroots support that members of Congress can't deny. We have a long way to go, but Representative Browne has certainly taken the debate to a new level and deserves another term.


Pete Ross for Senator
Pete Ross, 

As I said at the Union Temple Baptist Church Sunday morning, voting rights in the Congress for DC citizens is the civil rights issue of this century for DC citizens, regardless of race or color. In 1980 DC voters created the offices of two US Senators and one US Representative, although elections for the offices were first held in 1990. The idea of the “shadow delegation” goes back to 1796 and has been used in seven territories' successful quests for statehood. The job of our “Shadow Delegation” is to inform Congress that we are qualified for statehood; to monitor the progress of efforts to that end, and to advise DC on related public policy matters.

Most DC citizens would agree we should have these voting rights, but have not recently attached a high priority to this. Most American citizens would also agree, but don't know we don't already have these rights. My priority would be to mobilize DC citizens to demand these rights, and the American public to demand that their Senators grant them. The next US Senator needs, not to claim credit for the work of other DC voting rights supporters, but to give them credit for their achievements. Since the Congress forbids DC from paying our Senator a salary or even reimbursement for expenses, it is important to focus any time and money that the Senator can raise on DC voting rights. This is the approach I will take if elected US Senator for DC. I ask for the support of all DC Democratic voters in the September 10 primary.


Strauss Claim to Fame
Y. Lola George, 

Recent postings in support of incumbent shadow United States Senator Paul Strauss have indicated that if no one knows much about his accomplishments, it is because he is a low-key workhorse too modest and humble to trumpet them. A recent candidates' forum at Takoma Baptist Church suggests the opposite. Strauss claims credit for the accomplishments of others.

Early in the meeting, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton mentioned that she had headed off a pro-voucher rider to a District of Columbia Appropriations Bill by calling Senator John McCain. Later, Strauss arrived and claimed to have done the same thing. When Pete Ross pointed out that he contradicted an earlier statement made by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Strauss left early without taking questions.


Campaign Signs
Christopher Lively, 

Paul Strauss took to the airwaves on August 21st to issue an apology for his campaign workers violating the Campaign Poster Clean City Pledge. Yet, between 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 30th, and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 31st, several blocks of Foxhall Road were turned into urban blight with no fewer than eight signs posted between Q Street and MacArthur Boulevard and no fewer than four signs posted between Q Street and Reservoir Road.

How about removing those that are over the limit of no more than three signs on one side of the street within one block, Mr. Strauss?


Paul Strauss’ Campaign Posters
Scott Polk, Foxhall Citizen, 

Foxhall Road was a beautiful scenic road on Friday evening when I was returning to my home. On Saturday morning, Foxhall Road was trashed with campaign signs for Paul Strauss. There were eight posters on the west side of Foxhall Road between MacArthur Boulevard and Q Street and four more posters between Q Street and Reservoir Road. This is clearly in violation of the three posters allowed per side of the block.

I remember watching Paul Strauss apologizing on TV on August 21 for violating the campaign poster regulations, which limit campaign posters to no more than three signs per block. I truly do not understand why his campaign organization continues to flout the rules after having been cited for violations.


Lars Hydle, 

Getting young people involved in politics is a good thing. But when you carry the title of US Senator for DC and you tell your young interns that you need volunteers to circulate your reelection petitions, can their response be wholly voluntary? How did they feel when they came here this summer to help the cause of voting rights for DC, but instead found themselves asked to gather signatures for his reelection campaign? We may never know, because Strauss' office declines to release the names of the interns for "privacy reasons." The Office of the Special Counsel's Hatch Act investigators can find out.

US Senators have to follow the Hatch Act strictly in that their offices cannot be used for campaigning, and their staff members who are also campaign volunteers have to maintain a bright line between the two activities. These principles apply, I think, even when unfortunately the US Senator for DC and his interns are not paid. These are the same Senators that our shadow Senator must try to convince to support DC voting rights and otherwise to support DC interests.

Strauss' manner can be intimidating. Two weeks ago he assigned someone to follow his challenger Pete Ross around. Last week another Strauss operative identified a Ross volunteer and followed her out of a forum to her car. On Friday night/Saturday morning, violating his Clean City campaign pledge, Strauss's people installed an excessive number of posters in the streets near his challenger's house.


Keeping Score
John Noble, 

It's too bad that people are keeping score of Tony Williams's failures in drawing sporting events to DC. I think we should look at this in a (shock) more positive light. The fact is DC submitted an excellent proposal and lost to two more glamorous cities that don't have burden of politics attached to them. If anything the Olympic bid DC submitted proved we can compete with cities like SF and NYC. God forbid we might attempt to share the stage with such formidable competition. In my opinion it was a giant step to shed the provincialism as well as NIMBYISM that plagues this town. John Olinger's piece is a perfect example of what we don't need more of in this city, the “us vs. them” approach. Let it go.

I pray for four more years of Tony Williams, and will do anything I can to help the cause. What are the other candidates' vision for DC anyway, besides keeping DC General open?


Want to Beat the Long Lines at the Polling Place?
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aol.dotcom 

There will likely be chaos at the polling places with horrendously long lines as folks try to write in their candidate's name in the Democratic primary election on September 10. Unfamiliarity with the write in process and the added time it takes to write in the name properly and connect the arrows will cause long delays in voting. Might even cause folks not to vote (big mistake, since a lot is at stake here). One solution to avoiding those long lines is for Democratic voters to stop, this week, at the Board of Elections Office and pick up an absentee ballot. Just fill it out properly and mail it back in.

These votes won't be counted until after the election, you say? No worry, mate. It will likely take the better part of two weeks, with Dorothy Brizill challenging every hanging consonant and vowel of the write-in votes, to count and validate all the write-in votes. Then, they will count the absentee ballots, which will likely be much easier and much more likely to be valid since they were filled out at home.

[Don't take one joke in this posting seriously; only Board of Elections employees will be counting the votes, and press reports that the Board was seeking vote-counting volunteers were inaccurate. — Gary Imhoff]


Good Riddance to USOC
Harold Foster, 

As a third-generation Washingtonian (I want Bush to put me on the Endangered Species list before Al Gore gets "reelected" in 2004), I am glad the USOC saw through all of Tony Williams and Martin O'Malley's Pharoahnic smoke and mirrors and did not forward the Washington, DC-Baltimore bid to the IOC as a possible venue for the 2012 Summer Games. Good grief. Have we really gone there and done this again? Are we (well, are some of us around here) really so far gone? Did anyone really think that there is some substantial benefit to this kind of one-shot flurry of public (as in “you-taxpayers-foot-the-bill” public) investment in civic infrastructure? Did anyone really think — after the bitterly disappointing experiences of Montreal (1976), Los Angeles (1984) and Atlanta (1996) — that this kind of “massive economic incidentalism” really substantially, never mind permanently, improves the economic fortunes of those here in DC who really need public-private help to improve their material standards of living? If you do, I have a slightly used bridge in Brooklyn, NY, I would love to show you some day.

When I was in Barcelona, Spain this summer, I found out the reason why that city bucked the tide of economic cripples produced by “successful” Olympic games. It turns out that the Barcelona municipal and Catalan provincial governments consciously underinvested in things such as moderate income housing, road and transit facilities and parks and recreational facilities once they won the Olympic bid. The public investment in the housing, recreational and transportation infrastructure needed for the Games, thus, actually became the municipal capital improvement program for Barcelona for the four years immediately before and just after the 1992 Summer Games. In contrast, Tony Williams went out of his way to emphasize that the massive public construction effort contemplated for the city if DC-Baltimore got the 2012 Games was, in effect, the icing on the capital investment cake here. Exactly the quicksand that sucked in every other Olympic host city except Barcelona at least as far back as Montreal.

Yeah, yeah, I know: most of it was to be privately funded. Or so Tony Williams and Eric Price claimed. A song sung repeatedly by every other Five-Ring Town before the cost overruns and private sector business failures start. Which always ends up triggering all the public bailouts that the USOC and IOC always require city governments to provide as insurance that the Games will actually come off on schedule. Anyone with a problem with what I am saying here should ask Athens how much economic benefit they expect to get out of hosting the 2004 Games. The bottom line (literally) here is: this wouldn't have been a case (so-called) of a “rising tide lifting all boats.” Had the DC Olympic bid won out, it would have triggered private sector “tsunami” that would have so massively marbled over and gentrified the core of this City that anyone even remotely close to middle, never mind moderate, income would have needed to pay an entrance fee just to go south of Cardozo High School. In any case, as an African-American, I am actually rooting for Capetown's revived bid for the 2012 Games, and I would have been just as staunch supporter of their bid even if DC-Baltimore had been selected by the USOC. Africa is long overdue for an international event of this nature. Besides, what better place for a 21st century Pharoahnic exercise than the Continent that gave the world the concept in the first place, right?

I suppose Tony Williams will have to find some other public institutions to euthanize — as he did the Board of Education and DC General — to fill the gap that the USOC has created in his economic plans for the City's future by their refusal to buy into his and the Board of Trade's Five Ring Shuffle. I mean these wealthy local business interests need all the help we taxpaying working stiffs can give them. But, then, come to think of it, what did Pharaoh do when that first pyramid collapsed? Maybe now we can focus on reconstructing RFK in time to get the Expos here for the 2003 baseball season.


AARP Voter Guide On-Line
Grier Mendel, 

AARP has posted nonpartisan voters guides for DC’s Wards 1, 3, 5, 6 and At-Large Council Seats on line at "Our 87,000 members turn out to vote," said AARP DC State Director Mimi Castaldi. "We're helping them make the most informed decisions by sharing candidates’ stands on issues they care about." Cautioning that AARP does not endorse or oppose candidates, Castaldi said the guides contain answers provided by the candidates on how to improve nursing home quality and protect homeowners from predatory lending practices. AARP members — and other interested voters — can log on to compare candidates’ positions to AARP’s own stands on these key issues. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people 50 and over.


No Voter Lists for ANC Candidates?
Dominic Sale, 

The DCBOEE did not give me a voter list for my ANC, as they are required to do. This places an unneeded burden on me, as one who is trying to distribute his petition, not to know if the signatures I'm receiving are valid, and it's all because someone failed to do his/her job. Having not gone through this process before, I have no idea how many signatures I need to get to compensate for the risk of not having enough valid ones, not to mention the fact that it makes me furious to know that my astronomical taxes are paying for services unrendered (not that DCBOEE is alone in DC in that respect). I have called the office to ask why this happened, and they just tell me that they haven't created ANC voter lists yet since redistricting. That is no excuse! To add insult to injury, they said I was more than welcome to go down there and check against the Ward One list. That equates to another wasted lunchtime for me since they apparently only hold bankers' hours.

Will someone from the DCBOEE please contact me when you finally get your act together? Instead of making me come down there and waste my time, why don't you just E-mail me the Ward One list, or at the very least let me check my list with you over the phone? This is scandalous, and someone needs to be held accountable. Get your act together and figure out who your customers are!


BZA Decision on GWU Revised Campus Plan Set for September 4
Jim McLeod, Foggy Bottom, 

In the August 4 issue of themail, I noted that in late September the Board of Zoning Adjustment would conduct a hearing on the George Washington University revised campus plan — but I had the date and purpose wrong. The BZA will meet September 4, at 9:30 a.m., to consider certification of GWU’s revised plan (after three other items on their agenda). The ANC and other parties have submitted written comments on the revised plan that should play a role in the BZA's decision. In a related document, on page 3 of GWU's brief to the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in GWU v. DC, et al, #02-7055 (oral argument scheduled for Oct. 24, 2002), the GWU seems to blame a “small group of embittered Foggy Bottom residents” as the source of the BZA campus plan conditions it does not like.

I invite you to read ANC 2A's recent, concise yet detailed review of GWU’s revised campus plan submitted to the BZA and reach your own conclusions about Foggy Bottom residents. I wouldn't call GWU's Administration embittered for purportedly looking out for its students' rights. They set a bad example for those same students, however, by so characterizing me and other Foggy Bottom residents who speak up in governmental forums to express our concerns about our neighborhood.


Inspection Station Strategy
James Treworgy, 

At the inspection station, the early bird does not get the worm. Don't be fooled into thinking if you go right when they open, you'll be first in line. That's what everyone thinks. Hence the long lines. Instead, try going on a Friday at 11:00 a.m. Even better, go on a Friday before a holiday weekend at 11:00 a.m., if possible. Since the sticker lasts for two years now, there's no reason not to find a good day and go a bit early. Any day at 11:00 a.m. is better than any day at 6:00 a.m. The theory is simple: go at times that are not convenient for most people. It's far better to go to work a little early and take a little time off in the middle of the day, than to try to go to DMV early and find yourself not getting to work until 11:00 anyway.

I've been employing this strategy for eleven years and many cars and I've rarely waited more than a half hour, whether Marion, Sharon or Tony was calling the shots.


They Feel Our Pain
Jim Farley, 

For the second day in a row, a major public official didn't make it to a live broadcast in DC because he was snarled in Washington's hideous traffic. Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan was due on WTOP's "Hands Across the Potomac" program at 10 a.m. Thursday along with Fairfax County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Kate Hanley. Duncan ended up gridlocked in the District and began the program on his cell phone. Hanley quipped, “This happened to Governor Warner yesterday. Am I the only public official who listens to traffic and weather together on the eights ?” “Hands Across the Potomac” is a series of special programs on WTOP Radio to bring together Maryland Virginia officials to discuss solving regional problems . . . like traffic congestion.

Wednesday, Virginia Governor Mark Warner was eleven minutes late for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program in WTOP's Northwest DC facilities (the “glass enclosed nerve center of the WTOP Radio Network.”). Warner, stuck in traffic, also began his program on his cell phone.


Public Phones at Dupont Circle Subway
Phil Shapiro, 

Within the past month the public phones inside Dupont Circle subway stop were removed, without explanation. The attendant at the station didn't have a clue why they were removed, either. Does anyone out there know anything about this? The outdoor pay-phones above the subway stop have also been removed. For those of us without cell phones, this is more than an inconvenience.


DCPS Investigation Report
Erich Martel, 

On Monday, August 26, DCPS Chief of Staff Dr. Steven Seleznow held a press conference in which he reported to the media the results of the DCPS investigation into the allegations of students improperly certified for graduation at Woodrow Wilson H.S. in Washington, DC. I am preparing a detailed response to the report. My initial response was reported in the Washington Post article by Justin Blum on August 27 and the NW Current article by Beth Cope on August 28. Both report that I was pleased that DCPS acknowledged the problem, is planning to examine random samples from the 2002 graduating class of all DCPS high schools, and is looking at the need to improve records management and security. I also welcome Dr. Seleznow's invitation to consider assisting with the task force that is being considered for the development of improved policies.

Both also report that I found the investigation very disappointing. The NW Current article examines in considerable detail the problems I found with the DCPS report. It also mentions some of the measures I propose to be put in place in order to establish the integrity of records. For the moment, I would encourage members to consider the promising aspects of the DCPS report as a first step towards this goal. I will follow this with a more detailed report of the shortcomings, which are serious enough to undermine meaningful correction of these problems. I have learned a good deal about the unnecessarily poor use of the database by DCPS.

The Education and Libraries Committee of the DC City Council has scheduled an oversight hearing on improper grade changes and students improperly certified for graduation in DCPS for September 20 at 11 a.m. (a change from 9/16, which is Yom Kippur). This new time will most likely be changed to an after-school time that would allow interested teachers to attend.


City Finances
Len Sullivan, 

Some DC voters may well go to the primary elections on September 10th with very unrealistic ideas of what is involved in managing the city's finances. Naive candidates express fanciful notions of where DC's government funds should be spent and even less realistic visions of where those funds come from. In most inner cities, getting the money is much tougher than spending it, and that dictates how the mayor must spend much of his time. Here are some jiffy facts:

In FY03, DC intends to spend $5,800M (that's $5.8 billion) in its operating budget. $2,465M will go just for human support services, and another $1,275M for all aspects of public education. At least 65 percent of the total will be directed towards those in poverty, or the consequences of that poverty. Perhaps $250M will go to protect tourists, commuters, the federal presence, and business properties. The rest, $5,550M, will be spent on DC residents. Where does it come from? Thirty percent of DC's operating budget, some $1700M, will come from federal grants. Another $450M will come from private sources, "intra-District transfers," etc. The remaining $3,650M must come from various DC-levied taxes. Residents, sharing some 9500 acres of scarce taxable DC land, will provide $2,300M, and businesses will yield $1,350M from 2100 commercially-zoned acres.

But here is the key issue. Federal payments aside, residents now consume $1,200M more in services than they pay in taxes, while businesses provide $1,200M more in tax revenues than they get back in services. Only a few, very rich, high density residential areas yield more than $0.1M positive net income per acre. In all, DC loses over $0.1M on each residential acre, and nets about $0.6M on each commercial acre (over $1.3M downtown). To spend more on communities, DC must raise more money from taxpaying businesses. Assuaging poverty requires attracting more businesses to DC, and that's where much top level city effort must focus. Don't knock it!


Inspection Station Experience
Willie Schatz, 

Do we have the power of the press working or what? It's wonderful to be associated with the real paper in town. [E-mail from Sheryl Hobbs Newman]: "Dear Mr. Schatz, I read your article in themail and I am happy to see that your expectations were unfounded. I trust that you will continue to utilize our services, especially our online renewal services, to make your experience with DMV pleasant and painless. Thanks for reporting fairly!"

So it wasn't the inspection station. But she's close, sorta. And what's an agency or two between best buddies? At least she's got the correct department.


Peirce Mill
John Heaton, johnheaton at yahoo dot com 

Regarding Ralston Cox's query in the August 28 edition of themail about the mill and barn in Rock Creek Park, "Peirce" is the correct spelling. According to the Friends of Peirce Mill, the mill was built by (and thus named for) one Isaac Peirce, "a first cousin to the Peirces who planted the original gardens at Longworth Gardens in Pennsylvania." A history of the mill can be found at the FPM website at


Police Story
Bryce A Suderow, 

This is in response to Ron Linton's comment that Jason Cherkis' story on the police was “gratuitous assertions based on random samples.” Well, yes, much of the article is based on random samples. But Cherkis also provided some very troubling statistics: “According to the FBI's 2000 statistics, the District ranked 28th out of 33 major cities for burglary closure rates (7.4 percent); it ranked 31st for robbery closure rates (10.6 percent); it ranked 29th for closure rates in rape cases (27.1 percent).”

Ramsey was appointed Chief of Police in April 1998. Shouldn't we have seen even minimal improvement in the MPD's performance by 2000? After all, he constantly claims that the force is improving.


Matthew Gilmore, 

To continue the thread, Marguerite Boudreau,, asked about DC neighborhoods. Mark David Richards,, replied (in part): “Most areas began as developments and are not official neighborhoods with boundaries. They are the names people use to describe where they live, so they are somewhat fluid and perceptual. People sometimes argue about the names and where one area begins and another ends,” which is a fairly elegant way of making the point I was privileged to make for numerous years in Washingtoniana — there are many definitions of neighborhood and none of them is used for collecting demographics.

The mayor's office came up with about 144 neighborhoods, Mark Richards' list is substantially similar. The Office of Tax and Revenue has defined assessment neighborhoods (check your tax bill) but those tend to be larger than most might consider their neighborhood. Demographics are collected on census tract, block group, block, and zcta (zip code tabular area) levels — smaller than neighborhoods — so one always has to do research, analysis, and summarizing of data. The DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer GIS group is working to build a public GIS application (due late this fall) which could help deliver some demographic data.

Mark is right that neighborhoods began as developments. The new issue of Washington History due out in November will list subdivisions created in Washington County portion of the District from 1854 to 1902, from the Office of the Surveyor records. It is part of the issue (guest edited by Pam Scott) devoted to local developments happening simultaneously with the McMillan Plan. Overall, who has defined/listed neighborhoods: Mayor's Neighborhood Action; Mark Richards; DC Office of Tax and Revenue; each citizen's or civic association (at least for their own membership area); the National Capital Planning Commission (in 1967); Geographic Names Information System (GNIS),; H-DC, We've given workshops on how to do neighborhood history at the Historical Society of Washington. DC. for several years now — more for history than current demographic study. However, the next one is not scheduled yet.

[The Office of Planning within the Mayor's Office also maintains a list of neighborhood boundaries and develops and prints citywide maps with these boundaries. — Gary Imhoff]


Red Lights
James Treworgy, 

Mr. Eckenwiler, what is good enough for you? If I am a blind follower of the NMA's writings, then so you are of the “Insurance Industry for Highway Safety” — surely not a bastion of impartiality. In actuality, I have tried to read everything I can find from every source, and come to my own conclusions. I could write a ten-page analysis of what has been done wrong with red-light implementations, but since nobody here would read it, I tried to as concisely as possible describe some of the basic problems with red-light cameras as implemented and the problems with a study that was cited heavily in the previous issue. My intention was to stimulate people to stop taking all the pro-camera propaganda at face value and think for themselves.

If you want more than a single example, there's plenty of good reading out there. There's the same article referenced in the last issue of themail that details the many problems with the Oxnard study. But, since Car and Driver wrote it, I'm sure you believe it's biased. Then, there's the article from the Weekly Standard that details many irregularities with the implementation of red light cameras in DC. But, since that's a conservative rag I'm sure you believe it's biased. Then, there's the other studies like the comprehensive Australian study (that involved over 6000 collisions in ten years, versus about 500 in two years in the Oxnard study) that actually indicate an increase in rear-end collisions. But, since it doesn't support your proposition, whereas the flawed Oxnard study does, I can understand your lack of interest in this study.

Well, objective information is hard to come by here, just like any controversial topic. But at least there are actual reporters who are dissecting the methodology of these studies, looking at the data about where cameras are installed, talking to DPW employees, and so on, and concluding that there are, in fact, problems with the intersections beyond just people running red lights, there are in fact irregularities with regard to yellow-light timings and how intersections are chosen for cameras, and there are in fact problems with the Oxnard study (like the fact that any collision outside “the box” wasn't included in their count of rear-enders). I've yet to see any rebuttal to any of the many, many problems brought to light by these reporters, except to dismiss the source as biased. Well, that's the pot calling the kettle black, and that's just not good enough.


Red Light Running Solution
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom 

If we really want to eliminate major “T-Bone” collisions caused by red light runners, we should eliminate the yellow and green lights and make every light a flashing red. This is in contrast to one of themail's writers that we eliminate the red light. By using only a flashing red light in all directions all motorists will have to stop and then go using the right-of-way rules for sailboats. Those on your starboard (right side) have the right-of-way when there is a tie coming into the intersection. With all cars coming to a full stop at the light the chances for any severe, high speed collisions are precluded.

Of course this would tie up all the intersections to a fare-thee-well, making it very difficult for those MD and VA non-taxpaying individuals who drive into the city each day to get out of the city at night and into the city in the morning. It might just work.


More on Red Light Cameras
Bill Adler, 

I was away while the thread on red light cameras started, so I hope it's not too late to contribute. One of the anti-red light camera posters said that a study showed that lengthening the yellow interval is the best way to reduce red light running; that an "increase in yellow time from 4.00 seconds to 5.50 seconds resulted in a 96% drop in citations." This sounds like the kind of nonsense that Washington is full of: People bury their noses in studies and simply fail to use their eyes and common sense. Stand at virtually any busy intersection in Washington, DC and you'll see car after car running the red long after the yellow has passed. Maybe lengthening the yellow light time reduces the number of citations, but citations aren't what's important — it's preventing injury and death that's the objective.

If you run a red light you should get a ticket. Period. Pedestrians shouldn't fear being hit by a red light runner, and responsible drivers shouldn't fear being broadsided by one. Too many drivers don't worry about causing an accident, but they do worry about getting a ticket. Red light cameras are an effective and just way of stopping a very dangerous practice. If anyone's interested, I've created a website about red light running in the DC area:


Red Light Cameras
Ralph Blessing, 

Let's see if I got this right: the longer the yellow lights, the fewer the red light runners? I guess if we made yellow lights a minute or two long, we'd totally eliminate red light running. And, of course, if speed limits were raised to, say, 100 mph, we could claim that we've eliminated speeding, too.

Let's be honest. Those ticketed by red light cameras are not the victims of some "gotcha" engineering conspiracy. Just spend a few minutes at any signaled intersection in DC and you'll conclude that anyone driving near the posted speed limit, which on most city streets is 25 or 30 mph, can easily stop on time when the light turns yellow. Most ticketed drivers, however, are speeding to begin with, then step on the gas in an effort to make it through the light. If anything, they're victims of their own conscious decision to flout the law.



DC Council and Mayoral Candidate Forums at UDC
Joe Libertelli, 

Please attend and please spread the word. The Congressional and District Council candidates forum will be on Wednesday, September 4, Building 46, at the University of the District of Columbia Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. Moderators: Dean Shelley Broderick, David A. Clark School of Law, and Cheryl Lewis-Hawkins, Channel 19. The Mayoral candidates forum will be on Thursday, September 5, Building 46, at the UDC Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. Moderators: Amy Goodman, Host “Democracy Now,” WPFW Pacifica 89.3 FM, and Ambrose Lane, Host of “We Ourselves,” WPFW Pacifica 89.3 FM. Independent candidates, ANC candidates, and Board of Education candidates are urged to join us for these important forums and bring their table material.

Directions: Van Ness/UDC Red Line Metro Station, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW. For more information, call Gail Dixon at 274-5510 or E-mail gsga_prez@hotmail, or call Darrell Williams, 248-9643.

[Thanks to Philip Blair, Jr.,, who also provided this information. — Gary Imhoff]


Meet the Real Democrat for Mayor
Al Hatcher, Press Aide, 

The People for Jackson for Mayor invite all D.C. voters to meet the candidate the Washington media don't want your to meet. He has more than thirty years experience in State County and Municipal Governments and has a visionay plan to end the pain and suffering caused by Mayor Tony Williams and his backer, the Washington Post.

Former D.C. State Committeeman Arthur H. Jackson, Jr., will make a major announcement at the UDC candidate's forum at the University of the District of Columbia, . 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, on Thursday, September 5, at 7 p.m. Bring your Throw Out Tony Williams and No More for Tony signs. We are asking supporters of other candidates for mayor to attend this event and send a message to Mayor Williams that the party's over and it's Action Jackson Time in DC.


“Exciting” — “The Maids” on Stage
Robin Larkin, 

Footlights, the Washington area's modern-drama discussion group, has reserved the entire Washington Shakespeare Company theater for a performance of Jean Genet's “The Maids.” In “The Maids,” two sisters, both maids, play a secret, sadistic game, each taking turns acting as an imperious employer and her resentful servant. During breaks from the game the sisters scheme to murder their mistress. The Washington Post called this production “exciting,” “funny,” and “gripping” (see We've got a group discount: tickets for only $13, including the only post-show discussion in the run of the play. Performances take place at the Clark Street Playhouse, 601 S. Clark Street, in Crystal City. It's an easy walk from either the Pentagon City or Crystal City Metros. We can provide directions or even transportation, if you need a lift. The theater turned people away during previews, and because of the Post rave performances will sell out during the rest of the run. Guarantee your seat by sending a check for $13 to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Court, Rockville, MD 20852 (301-897-9314 or For further information go to


Culture Clash Finds Culture Mix in DC
Mark David Richards, Dupont East, 

Arena Stage presents “Anthems: Culture Clash in the District,” by Richard Montoya, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright (Aug. 30-Oct. 13, 2002) at the Kreeger. Artistic Director Molly Smith writes in the program notes, “Washington, DC, is a unique city. More than jst our nation's capital, it is the residence — the hometown — for people from around the globe. Some see this cultural, economic, and racial blending as a rich and valuable part of our democracy; others see it as a threat. Culture Clash sees it as the inspiration for theater that poses question as it entertains.” “Anthems” opens with a talking Panda who explains that it is difficult to copulate in front of glaring tourists, and finally confesses he is gay. “Culture Clash in the District” is a series of conversations. Montoya proceeds to a conversation, between a writer and a Pentagon employee at LAX after the terrorists struck the United States on September 11, 2002. The Pentagon employee wants the writer to find an anthem for DC — an anthem that is continuous (does he mean no postmodern fragmentation?). Montoya finds a continuous patchwork quilt and many anthems. He introduces a DC cultural mix, highlighting the Arabic culture, with references to Lincoln, the Civil War, and the five dollar bill. Montoya captures many cultural aspects of DC in an entertaining, humorous, and sometimes surprising way, without ever noticing the “special” relationship between hometown DC and the nation, in which hometown DC isn't counted. The silence on that special issue captured the national viewpoint, I suppose. As we've discovered in themail, there is no DC anthem. There are many. And for me, that is the element that makes me most comfortable in DC. One particularly great moment was when Psalmayene 24 (made up of Psalmayene 24, Jali-D, and Waldo) performed “Fly.” I heard Psalmayene 24 perform in Adams Morgan last year. Their CD, “Independence,” is great. After September 11, I listened to “4 or Against Us” many times. What do others think about “Anthems?”


Documentaries in Dupont
Lora Engdahl, 

Special screening of two local documentaries (by local “Rosebud” award-winner Matt Spangler) at Visions in Dupont Circle, Tuesday, September 3 at 7 p.m. “Out of Obscurity” — about what's believed to be the nation's first civil rights sit-in (it happened right here in Alexandria in 1939), and “One Man's Home is a Castle” — about the only castle in Northern Virginia. Admission is $6.50. More info is at



Donate, Help, Buy!
Ann Hargrove, 

September 8 (Adams Morgan Day), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1827 Belmont Road, NW (Rain date, if necessary, the following Sunday.) All proceeds to go to the Kalorama Citizens Association for the purpose of assisting with a historic building survey. Contact Ann or Larry Hargrove at 332-6320 for information or to donate items for the sale. They will arrange pickup if needed.


Cadillac Grand Prix Pass and Tickets for Sale
Al Howard, 

Collectors of historical items, add these items to your collection, make offer now. We have the Official Pass and Ticket to the Washington D.C. Cadillac Grand Prix Pre-Race. E-mail us.


AOL Subscriber’s E-Mail Message Pager
Don Matters, 

Changing service providers. I have a AOL Mobile message pager for sale, make offer. Call 563-9193 Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., or E-mail me.



Fall Baseball
John Vocino, 

We're working on putting together fall ball teams and we're looking for DC players. Specifically, we're putting together a 16-18-year-old squad that will play eight games in the PG County league; one game every weekend (schedule to be determined). Last year, all games were held at Cosca Reg. Park at Clinton, MD. Games begin the weekend of September 14th. While the squad is open to all DC residents, we're especially looking for DC Public School athletes who want to develop their skills and love of the game.

So if you know of kids who'd be interested, have them contact either myself, Luis Cardona (cell or or Frazier O'Leary ( We're also looking for those interested in assisting some coaches -- fall ball is a good time for developing coaches as well as kids.

For your information, we're also putting together an Over 18 team that will play in the NABA wood bat league. The league plays a twelve-game fall schedule with weekend games in DC. For more info please contact either myself or Luis.


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