Dear Prolific Contributors:
Must save space; long issue. You'll silence me permanently if
messages keep multiplying. Good for you.
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, email@example.com
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
Thanks for the Laughs, Mayor
Mark David Richards, District of Columbia, firstname.lastname@example.org
DC has taken up the topic of race and class in its typically
amorphous way. Today in The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18543-2002Aug30.html,
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, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18554-2002Aug30.html,
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, email@example.com
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,
[They're glow rings that were distributed at the event they were
attending. — Gary Imhoff]
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.
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.
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.
Christopher Lively, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email@example.com
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.
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.
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
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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, email@example.com
AARP has posted nonpartisan voters guides for DC’s Wards 1, 3, 5, 6
and At-Large Council Seats on line at www.aarp.org/vg2002/dc. "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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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
Public Phones at Dupont Circle Subway
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
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.
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
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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 http://www.peircemill-friends.org/.
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
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.
To continue the thread, Marguerite Boudreau, email@example.com,
asked about DC neighborhoods. Mark David Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org,
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
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), http://geonames.usgs.gov/geonames/stategaz/index.html;
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
[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]
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.
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: www.redmeansstop.com.
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.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Council and Mayoral Candidate Forums at UDC
Joe Libertelli, email@example.com
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., Blair-Rowan@starpower.net,
who also provided this information. — Gary Imhoff]
Meet the Real Democrat for Mayor
Al Hatcher, Press Aide, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14102-2002Aug29.html).
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 email@example.com).
For further information go to http://www.footlightsdc.org.
Culture Clash Finds Culture Mix in DC
Mark David Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, loraE444@aol.com
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 http://www.visionsdc.com/dyno/filmdetail.asp?filmID=137.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
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
Cadillac Grand Prix Pass and Tickets for Sale
Al Howard, email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
CLASSIFIEDS — PLAYERS WANTED
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 email@example.com)
or Frazier O'Leary (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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