themail.gif (3487 bytes)

September 25, 2002

Closing Yellowstone

Dear Park Rangers:

Bureaucracies know how to confront and confound budget cutters. My favorite true story was that whenever the federal budget proposed a funding cut for the National Park Service, the Park Service would respond with its Old Faithful list of spending reductions. Reliably, right at the top of the list, year after year, would be two things: cutting the hours of service at the Washington Monument and closing Yellowstone Park for a few weeks during the summer. Whenever the bureaucracy gets to devise the plan, services to the public will be slashed savagely before anybody in the bureaucracy loses a job, and the most popular services will be the first to be cut. The DC Board of Education's press conference this week promised as much: cut us and the school system won't lose a single $100,000-plus-a-year mid-level manager -- but we will cut school hours, buy no new school books, close neighborhood schools, and throw some of the cutest kids into the streets.

I know that poring over tables of numbers is painful and boring, but before you buy the story that the DC government has been slimmed down and the upper and mid-level bureaucracy cut to the bone, look at the figures on DC government staffing and pay levels prepared by Natwar Gandhi, the Chief Financial Officer, at the request of Councilmember Kathy Patterson []. Then let me know if you don't agree that we can cut the budget and still keep Yellowstone open next summer.

Gary Imhoff 


Budget Debate
Kathy Patterson, 

As reported in the press, the Council has scheduled a public hearing Friday at 10 a.m. in Council chambers at the Wilson Building on the proposed spending reductions and tax increases to meet the District's $325 million budget gap for the fiscal year that begins October 1. There are two other issues I've put on the table for discussion with Council colleagues and Mayor Williams, both raised during our March hearings on overspending by Executive branch agencies: (1) the proliferation of mid- to upper-level managers in mayoral agencies, and (2) a similar proliferation of costly consulting contracts. Information I requested from the Chief Financial Officer in March showed that the seven large overspending agencies had, in just seven months, added 224 persons at the rank of DS 13 and above, or salaries ranging from $55,000 to over $100,000. That was a 24 percent growth in such positions at a cost of $15 million or more in pay and benefits. More recent payroll runs which I'm analyzing now substantiate the earlier numbers. How we address this “layering up” in the government is a challenge, and something I will focus on during the Friday hearing.

Data produced at my request by the Office of Contracting and Procurement indicates that the Williams Administration is spending well over $100 million this fiscal year in consultant fees across the government. In many instances work undertaken by consulting firms is important and can strengthen the government in the future, but in other cases it appears to be a duplication of current responsibilities of existing government employees. This, too, will be part of the Friday hearing. For my part I will continue to resist any increases in District income taxes. The surcharge proposed by Mayor Williams is modest, but takes us in the wrong direction in convincing current and prospective residents that the government is committed to reducing the overall tax burden at the same time we work to improve government services.


Surprise, Surprise
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom 

There are two things that really bother me about the budget shortfall announced just a few weeks before the new budget must be submitted to Congress. The first of these is the late notification that the District was almost $400 in the red. With all the computers supposedly tracking income and outgo, why did we not realize that the budget was in trouble at least six months ago, when steps could have been taken to get the deficit under control? Major corporations have quarterly reports to announce where they stand each quarter, and at least honest companies have a good feel for exactly whether they are in the black or in the red. Then they take the appropriate steps to avoid losses. It may be that our computers work but no one is watching the store.

The second thing that bothers me is that we will now do what is the tradition in DC when things get tight. Services that are badly needed will be cut. There are no long-term efforts to correct the real problems: too many people doing less and less. When services are cut, we will still be paying the salaries of the bloated payrolls in the District. People will just have to work less hard in tough times. The right way to get the District sound financially is to do away with this bloated bureaucracy and do more with fewer people. Getting rid of all the middle managers by changing the organization into a team-based structure would be a great start, as would be replacing these non-effective managers with real leaders. This is a real opportunity for Tony Williams to become a hero. He needs to reform most of the major departments in the city. It would be a prudent and bold move to evolve the most dysfunctional organizations into a team-based structure, at least on a pilot basis. Without that we are destined to see services cut or taxes raised. Both these approaches will either stop the inflow of tax paying people to the District or cause more disaffected and viable citizens to leave.


Closing the Deal on the Budget Deficit
Dorothy Brizill, 

The mayor and the council have been meeting this week to reach a consensus on how to close the $323 million budget deficit in order to move a revised FY 2003 budget to Congress by October 2. On Friday, the council will hold a public hearing on the budget proposals, and next Tuesday it will take a formal vote on the revised budget.

There have been some interesting developments already this week regarding the budget deficit. 1) DC Public Schools, not known for its fiscal or administrative ability, held a press conference on Tuesday. The message: don't cut DCPS's budget, but close the deficit by draining the “rainy day fund” and by imposing an “education tax,” a five-percent surcharge on the income tax that would be dedicated to DCPS. The surcharge would become an independent revenue stream for schools. 2) Kathy Patterson raised the issue of staffing and pay levels in the DC government as a major item in balancing the budget (see her posting above). 3) On Wednesday afternoon, the DC Board of Education canceled their long-planned major groundbreaking ceremony for the McKinley Tech-Ballou Senior High School that had been scheduled for the next day, Thursday — responding to Councilmember Kevin Chavous' recommendation that $1.8 million in funding for the McKinley project be eliminated. 4) It became clear that several departments and agencies overspent their budgets in FY 2002. For example, DCPS acknowledged a “structural deficit” (overspending) of $45 million for the year. The Department of Mental Health had a deficit of $30 million last year, and is overspending by millions again this year. Nobody controls overspending; the money is simply reprogrammed from other agencies that stayed within their budgets. The District of Columbia needs to enact its own Anti-Deficiency Act, mirroring the federal Anti-Deficiency Act, but with more teeth, holding administrators accountable for creating a deficit. In July, Councilmember Phil Mendelson introduced Bill No. 14-811, the “District Anti-Deficiency Act of 2002” [], which has some notable loopholes, but which is a good starting ground for gaining viable control of overspending. It should be a legislative priority of the Council this fall.


The Elusive Mr. Tangherlini
John Whiteside, johnwhiteside at earthlink dot net

A while back, I posted a tongue-in-cheek article to themail questioning whether Dan Tangherlini, director of the Department of Transportation, actually existed, since his department was not responding to requests or questions from citizens. I got a message from Mr. Tangherlini assuring me he does exist, and asking what my concerns were. We had a brief exchange of E-mail about that, and he assured me that his department would look into the suggestions.

Well, I have heard nothing since, and seen no changes. Crossing streets near Logan Circle is still a high-risk activity. Lights are mistimed. Trucks rumble up and down my small residential street, completely ignoring posted truck restrictions, and there's no enforcement. I guess in our city government, the squeaky wheel doesn't get the grease; it gets a nice statement on the importance of the grease.


Green Car Tax Relief
E. James Lieberman, 

A number of states, including Maryland, charge no tax on purchase of the new hybrid (gas/electric) cars from Toyota (Prius) and Honda (Insight; new Civic). The cars are a natural for the city, getting 52 mpg and with super low emissions. The Federal government also gives a $2,000 tax deduction on purchase of one of these cars. Has anyone proposed that DC encourage its residents to go this route by dropping the sales tax on these cars?

[So far, the only proposal in the City Council is the “Alternative Fuel Vehicle Act of 2001” [], sponsored by ten councilmembers. This bill would give a tax credit for cars that use alternative fuels solely and are not capable of operating on gasoline or diesel fuel; it would not apply to any of the more practical and widely available hybrid vehicles. — Gary Imhoff]


Check Your Tags
Lynne Heneson, 

Like Christina Samuels, I got a $100 ticket for an expired registration, and like her, I had not received a reminder notice as I have every year for the last twenty-something years of living in the District. When I called Councilwoman Patterson's office to complain, I was informed that sending a reminder notice was a “courtesy” on the part of the DMV, not an obligation. Of course — how silly of me to expect rudimentary service when the opportunity to collect a hefty fine is so available!


DMV = Damn My Visibility
Peter O'Toole, pjotoole at att dot net

Recently received replacement tags, and lo and behold the DMVs subtle new registration sticker. An absurd design, eliminating square inches of visibility on the driver's side. And isn't the majority of on-street parking with right wheels to the curb (I understand one-way streets have both), making it likely that ticket-writers would approach from that side? Proposal: put both registration and inspection stickers on diets and install them on the passenger's side. This will improve drivers' visibility and keep ticket-writers out of the street (yes — they are human).


Three Things
David Hunter, 

I saw this weekend that the City went from writing 13,000 speeding tickets last year to 380,000 this year. Wow. Where is all the extra money going? To pave our streets? Yeah, right.

On second thought, I have a friend in the paving business from out of town. The last time he was here he was stunned at the condition in which road crews left temporary patches on major streets. He said he would be fined $500 a day for some of the infractions. I have been complaining about the dangerous patch along Reno Road from Porter to Rodman for almost three years now. I took my friend, who is back in town this week, down that stretch to show him yesterday and . . . it was paved. I am completely in shock. Maybe some things do change. Hallelujah.

Went to renew my car last Thursday. On-line first. The site said if I didn't have a renewal form then I could use my VIN number and plate number. Filled out everything and was told that they couldn't process. No explanation but that I had to go downtown. O.K.. Got to headquarters around 2:00 and was out in nine minutes! No line, nothing. Nice. I think I got really lucky. I asked why I have not been getting renewal notices and was told that I was not in the system. They said that I now was and should be getting one next time. Woo hoo.


So, DC Is Cash Strapped
Ron Eberhardt, 

Once again the DC government is crying for money and doing everything from cutting education funding to raising income taxes. And, once again, most of us are highly doubtful whether DC spends its $5 billion annual budget effectively as it is. As a single example, I have located an on-street parking treasure trove that would generate almost $250,000 per year were it properly regulated. I speak of New Jersey Avenue, SE, from the 500 block at E Street in the shadow of the U. S. Capitol and the Blue/Orange Lines Metro to the 1100 block at M Street in the shadow of the Federal Center Southwest and the Green/Yellow lines Metro. On both sides of the street, in these six blocks, there are approximately 200 unregulated parking spaces that are used to the maximum every workday of the year by commuters for free.

According to the folks at the DC Parking Office, the cheapest hourly rate they have for meters that allow up to twelve hours of parking is $.25 for 30 minutes. Thus the user would have to fork over $4.50 for nine hours (walking/Metroing to and from work). There are about 257.5 workdays in the year. Each meter would generate $1,158.75 per year. The 200 spaces would yield $231,750 annually. This does not count Saturday or Sundays, which are typically light days for parking in these spaces. Even if it were doubled to $9.00 per day, it would remain a bargain over any commercial parking spaces -- if they were available. That of course would double the annual take to more then one-half million dollars annually for this single location! So, DC, how many other similar locations are there in this city? We just might be able to cut the proposed income tax rise a few bucks per citizen. DC residents are taxed enough. But, then again, when you're spending $5 billion dollars of the people's hard earned money, maybe a million here or there doesn't interest most DC government employees, the majority of whom live elsewhere anyhow!


Gay Rights Activists Also Oppose the Office of GLBT Affairs
Bob Summersgill, President, GLAA, 

I agree with Dorothy Brizill’s many budget cutting suggestions, but I would like to clarify one error in item 4 of “Balancing the Budget, Part 2” which states, “Eliminate the various mayor's offices that exist primarily to gather votes from special interest groups — the Office of Religious Affairs; Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs; Office of Veterans Affairs; Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs; and Office of Latino Affairs.” The Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs does not currently exist. Councilmember Jim Graham has introduced a bill to create it. A hearing on bill 14-0719 to create the office will be held on October 16. The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) strongly opposes this office as wasteful and detrimental to the gay community. GLAA is the oldest continually active gay and lesbian rights organization in the country.

The Office of GLBT Affairs would allow the Mayor to further isolate criticisms of his programs or policies and set an agenda for the community. Advocacy, Mr. Graham’s justification for the bill, must be directed from the community and not from the Mayor’s office. The bill fails to address a compelling need or present any benefit to the community. The similar offices of Latino and Asian affairs are justified by the existence of linguistic and other barriers in those communities that require special efforts to ensure access to government services. These factors are not present in the GLBT community except to the extent that we are members of those communities. GLAA will be working with the Council to defeat this bill.


Children and Youth Investment Trust
Eric Lashner, Candidate ANC 2E02, 

As for the suggestion that we defund the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., I think the idea is preposterous. I worked at a summer program in Sarsum Corda funded by CYITC and was a summer intern for the program. In our city where more black males are in jail than in college, it is vital that every single child has something educational and productive to do over the summer instead of walking the streets. I saw the great difference that this program made in children's lives and I feel that of all things it should be kept. CYITC's funding of summer programs came from a cut in DCPS summer programs.


Peoples Strike?
David Pansegrouw, 

I read two weeks ago in the Post [September 9, page B1], in an article about planned IMF protests for this Friday, a quote from Adam Eidinger, identified as the Statehood Party candidate for Shadow Representative. Mr. Eidinger indicated that he supported the shutdown of the city on Friday and was quoted to the effect that a couple of hours of delay for DC citizens is reasonable considering the actions of the IMF and World Bank. I am curious if the Statehood Party supports the shutdown of DC? I am paid by the hour and totally fail to see how losing a couple hours of work — my usual route to work is over the Roosevelt Bridge — is going to help anybody. Mr. Eidinger's ability to represent my interests is rather questionable to me.

And, by any chance, do any of the Statehood Party stalwarts amongst themail's readers have any explanation as to why the combined write-in votes for Williams and Wilson are equal to the votes for the party mayoral nominee in the Statehood primary? Makes me question Mr. Donkin's support in his own party.


Political Ads
Lyla Winter, 

I'd like to see all those politicians who were running for office in the primary with leaner pocketbooks. There are still large ads, hanging from lampposts and on telephone poles, cluttering up our neighborhoods, all over the city. A $50 a day fine for every day after an election, just might cause those who blatantly announce their qualifications in regard to honesty and good citizenship, to make sure their ads are removed. Has anyone ever been fined, even though a law is on the books?


Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right
Tom Berry, 

According to Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy, our fair city government's Web site ranks #8 out of the country's 70 largest cities. Brown students analyzed 1,567 web sites, or twenty-two sites for each metro area. Our government may lack in some areas but, by golly, its Web site is A #8. Top web site belongs to Minneapolis. The list's anchor is New Orleans. Oh yeah, the study also reports that 11 percent of sites charge user fees for certain services, 2 percent have commercial advertising, and another 2 percent have premium services that require payment for use. Tony, are you listening? You have an untapped source of revenue in your hands.


The Call Center
Diana Winthrop Gray, 

John Whiteside (“Documenting the Failures”) must not live in Ward 6. I love the city call center and so do my neighbors. It is fast and convenient. Since its inception, we have had terrific service on everything from abandoned vehicles, trash , street cleaning, fallen branch removals, and street lights. It must be the Ward 6 team, though we always had great service in my northeast quadrant of Ward 6 from the Public Works people since the Barry years. I am not a Williams fan but the center wins kudos from me.


DC Board of Elections and Ethics
Eric Lashner, Candidate ANC 2E02, 

As a candidate for ANC and a resident of DC, I've found it very frustrating that the DC Board of Elections and Ethics has yet to publish an updated voter roll reflecting the new ANC boundaries that were approved this summer. According to the DCBOEE's own literature the list should have been available on August 7. As of September 19, it still wasn't available. I have had good experiences with the DCBOEE with everything except its technology department. I can't figure out for the life of me what it is doing besides not being available. Every time I've called or visited the DCBOEE someone from technology “hasn't been in.”


Nondelivery of Mail on the Hill
Joan Eisenstodt, 

Like others who have posted, I am convinced something is very wrong. Outgoing mail (put in post boxes at 4th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, or in front of the post office in the 600 block of Pennsylvania) and incoming mail are not getting where they should. Magazines are running, in many cases, two weeks behind in getting to us. Business mail that I know was mailed to me has not been received. What can we do?



Rendezvous with Ralph Nader and DC Statehood Green Party Candidates
Parisa Norouzi, 

Saturday, September 28th, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Local 16 Restaurant, U Street at 16th Street, NW. Admission: $20 contribution for DC Statehood Green Party Candidates in the 2002 General Election. Organic food included, cash bar. Ralph Nader is Scheduled to speak at 8:15 p.m. Remarks by each of the candidates will precede Mr. Nader.

Candidates in attendance will include Steve Donkin, Mayor; Michele Tingling-Clemmons, Council-At-Large; Debby Hanrahan, Council Chair; Edward Chico Troy, Council Ward 1; Michael Jollon, Council Ward 3; Gail Dixon, Council Ward 5; Jenefer Ellingston, Council Ward 6; Joyce Robinson-Paul, US Senator; Adam Eidinger, US Representative. For more information,, To RSVP or for more information on the event, call 296-1301 or 232-1724.


Vernon Jordan to Speak at Lunch
Pat Bitondo, 

Vernon Jordan, Jr., will be the luncheon speaker at the Woman's National Democratic Club on October 25. Lunch is at 12:30, bar opens at 11:30. Cost is $16.50. The Club is located at 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, one block from the Dupont Circle Metro. To reserve, call Pat Fitzgerald at 232-7363. Proceeds from this lunch go to the Education Foundation that is actively involved in assisting Neval Thomas Elementary School. $6.50 of this lunch if tax deductible. Mr. Jordan will do some book signing after the lunch.


Community History Presentation
Richard Layman, 

Near Northeast Citizens Against Crime and Drugs, a community organization centered in the neighborhood north of the Capitol Hill Historic District in northeast Washington DC, invites community residents and merchants to a presentation on the findings of the Capitol Hill North/Near Northeast Cultural and Social History Study. The presentation will be held in the auditorium of the Capital Children’s Museum, 3rd and H Streets, NE, at 7 p.m., on Monday September 30th.

Intended to be the first phase of a multiyear effort, this year’s research focused on developing a broad historical overview of the neighborhood. The study area is bounded by the Union Station railroad yard on the west, Florida Avenue, NE, on the north, Maryland Avenue on the east, and F Street, NE, on the south. This area, part of L’Enfant’s original plan for the District of Columbia, is comprised of 66 squares and over 3,500 buildings. This area includes the historic H Street commercial corridor, which was a prominent shopping Mecca for African-Americans during the segregation era — home to department stores, the first Ourisman car dealership, sit-down restaurants, movie theaters, and a wide variety of other retail services. The project area includes historic schools and churches, thousands of late 19th and early 20th century houses, and the Uline Arena, which once featured professional sporting events, dances, lectures by prominent Americans such as Malcolm X, and concerts, including the first Beatles concert in the United States.

If you are interested in how and when the neighborhood and its commercial areas developed, then join us for a lecture and slide show by Nancy Schwartz, the project’s architectural historian. She will provide a fresh look at our history and architecture. What you learn may surprise you! Representatives from the DC Historic Preservation Office will also be on hand to answer general questions people may have about their work. The project was funded with the assistance of a matching grant from the US Department of Interior, National Park Service, through the State Historic Preservation Grant-in-Aid Program Office, Office of Planning, District of Columbia, under provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. To learn more about this study, the presentation, or to volunteer, please contact Richard Layman at 213-3971 or at Information is also posted at


AIDS Walk Washington
Andy Litsky, Southwest Washington, 

The 16th Annual AIDS Walk Washington will step off from Freedom Plaza on Saturday, October 5, at 9:30 a.m. But confusion with publicity surrounding Pallota-produced events may be contributing to lagging registration. AIDS Walk Washington is, and has always been, locally produced to benefit our region’s main source of HIV/AIDS services — Whitman-Walker Clinic. AIDS Walk Washington has less than ten days to reach its minimum fundraising target of $840,000 or Whitman-Walker Clinic HIV/AIDS programs and services may be in jeopardy. And the Clinic has already cut $2 million from its budget this year. With 1 in 20 adults in Washington estimated to be HIV-positive, the demand for services has never been greater. And in nearly thirty years, the Clinic has never turned anyone away because they couldn't afford to contribute to the cost of care.

The funds raised by the Walk are vital to providing Whitman-Walker’s comprehensive array of medical and social support services to thousands of clients living with HIV/AIDS through four regional health centers in Northwest, Anacostia, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland. The Clinic’s HIV/AIDS services include HIV primary medical, dental and ophthalmology services, mental health and addictions counseling, legal services, case management, and a food bank. Registration for AIDS Walk Washington is easy. You can register at or by calling 202-332-WALK. Online registration is $25, which will help defray the cost of the event, or will pay for the cost of an HIV test or supply a bag of groceries. Walkers can also register at the US Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, on October 3rd and 4th from 12:00-6:00 p.m. and on October 5 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.

So come walk on Saturday, October 5! Join Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Anthony Williams, members of the DC Council, and thousands of friends and neighbors to support the continued delivery of comprehensive HIV/AIDS health services to the neediest among us.



Quaker Bazaar
Tim Cline, Columbia Heights, 

Quaker Bazaar, Saturday, October 12, 10-4, Washington Quaker Meeting House (2111 Florida Avenue, NW, just west of Connecticut, near the Dupont Circle Metro), adult and children's clothing, toys, housewares, fine gifts, plants, electronics, computers, bake sale, lunch. All proceeds go to local charities. Contact: Friends Meeting of Washington, 483-3310.


Book Sale
Jill Bogard, 

The Friends of the Cleveland Park Library will hold their annual fall book sale on Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, at the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue at Macomb Street, NW (one block south of the Cleveland Park Metro red line). The hours are noon to 4:00 p.m. each day. We have thousands of previously owned books, in many subject categories, all donated by our neighbors. They range from recent bestsellers to out-of-print treasures, fiction and nonfiction. Most books are priced at $1.00 for hard covers, $.50 for paperbacks. For this sale, paperback mysteries, romances, and science fiction will sell for $.10 each. There are a large number of specially priced books — coffee table books, first editions, large format art books, etc. We also have records, CD's, tapes (music and books) and videos, as well as some sheet music. Sale proceeds go to benefit our branch library. For more information contact Nathalie Black at or 362-3599.


Bruce Snyder, 

A friend has a car for sale: 1991 Mazda 626, 87,000 miles, metallic blue, $1,800 or best offer. Message to Leonore at 237-4300.


Automotive Parts and Bed
Diana R. Winthrop, 

Mercedes muffler; includes brackets for 1985-1989 300 E series Mercedes Benz. Purchased for $144.00, never used. $100 or best offer.

Ikea full sized Stora Loft bed. Frame clear lacquered pine, includes ladder and instructions for assembly. Great if you need more space for shelves or desk. New $400, bought used though never used. $250. Contact Diana Gray, 399-6541.



Hope Manna
Phil Shapiro, 

A wonderful organization I've been helping in northeast DC, Hope Manna (Helping Others Prosper Economically), is on the lookout for donated business clothes and educational/business software for Windows computers. The organization is also on the lookout for a donated camcorder (newer or older). This organization gives a lot of support to the residents of the neighborhood it serves. You can see the director, Rev. Joyce M. Brooks, in a public service announcement at (You need QuickTime 6 to view this video. QuickTime is free from This video is relatively small (4 megabytes) and can be viewed by people with a dial-up connection, if you exercise some patience. Kudos to Rev. Brooks for the quantity and quality of work she does in service to others. She's a veritable tornado of goodwill and an inspiration to all who know her. Rev. Brook's E-mail address is:



Conference Aides Needed
Eryca Kasse, 

Volunteers needed for the Recognizing & Restoring Everyday Heroes Conference presented by the United States Postal Service for the employees of Brentwood. Saturday, October 12th and Sunday, October 13th. Designed to help renew the staff of Brentwood by providing techniques and skills for coping with the stress they encounter everyday – at work, at home and at play. Simultaneously, the conference will address the considerable loss and change the Brentwood employees have experienced in the past year in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Pre-conference tote bag stuffing party, Friday, October 4, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, United Way, 95 M Street, SW. Free lunch. Conference volunteer shifts available: Saturday, October 12, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, October 13, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Wyndham City Center, 1143 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Complimentary breakfast and lunch provided for volunteers. Metro/bus fare will be reimbursed for all volunteers.

Volunteers will staff the Registration Table for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. During the hours in between, you will sit in on conference workshops to hand out and collect workshop evaluation forms and ensure presenters have what they need. We would love if any volunteers would be available both days! But one day shifts are great too! There will also be a required one-hour volunteer orientation on Tuesday, October 8th, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., location to be announced. To volunteer, RSVP to Eryca Kasse, or 301-870-8574.



Part-Time Office Assistant
Cris Covelli, 

The ARRIBA Center for Independent Living, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit serving the needs of physically disabled persons, is recruiting a capable office assistant for a position that can potentially grow into full time. Flexible work schedule. Requirements: interpersonal skills, writing ability, sensitivity to needs of the disabled population, and, preferably, working knowledge of Spanish. Duties include assisting Executive Director in grant proposal writing and fund raising; office management and word processing. Available immediately. Salary competitive. Contact Dr. Cris Covelli, Executive Director, 667-3990.



Garage Wanted
Ann Van Aken, 

Does anyone have any leads on a moderately-priced garage for rent in the Woodley Park area, with accessibility to electricity?


Basement Efficiency for Rent
Pat Bitondo, 

Located in Glover Park townhouse, two blocks from Wisconsin Avenue. Furnished except for bed. Separate kitchen. Utilities included. Approximately 44'x20'. $750.00 per month, minimum six-month lease. Contact the E-mail above or telephone 337-2843.



Too Risky?
Paul Penniman, 

Last fall our hot water heater burst, flooding part of our basement. One month later, our toaster, obviously in a political protest, self-immolated while we were out at a movie. Total claims granted by the Fireman's Fund: $6000, most of which they willingly paid to a company called Servpro, which apparently is the Harvey Keitel of cleanup companies. Now, neither Fireman's Fund nor any other mainstream insurance company will give us a homeowner's policy. Not even USAA will, and they already cover us for the car. Apparently, if you make two claims over a three year period, you are now untouchable.

Has anyone else been recently forced to find other, unheard of companies, ones who previously only insured the uninsurable? Can we band together and sue/protest somehow?


Videotapes Can Be Recycled
Charlie Wellander, 

It's not easy to recycle videotapes, but it can be done. EcoMedia Recycling (917 East Katella Avenue, Anaheim, Ca 92805) specializes in recycling videotapes, and even recycles the cardboard tape boxes! If you only have a few, it looks like you have to pay the shipping, but if you have a bunch (coordinate with friends?), they have arranged with UPS for free shipping. Call them at EcoMedia Recycling Hotline, 800-359-4601, for the details. More at


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)