The Elections Aren’t Over
We're only had the primaries, but from what you've been writing to
themail, the issues have been settled. Is there any interest in the
general election? Is there any real contest? Now that the race is
between Williams and Schwartz (and Donkin, don't forget) rather than
between Williams and Wilson, is anyone interested in the mayoral race?
Will there be any surprise in the At-Large Councilmember race? Will any
longshots win, or should they? And don't forget that we still get to
vote for a school board member or two — is anyone interested in those
Nobody has written, this time around, about the World Bank/IMF
demonstrations, and the MPD's "preventative arrests" designed
to take demonstrators who had done nothing illegal off the streets? Does
anyone have any quarrel with the MPD's tactics, or are you as content
with them as our major press outlets and our elected officials are? Does
the unpopularity of the demonstrators justify the curtailment of their
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Just about this time in several of the last few years there have been
incidents of vandalism in Spring Valley/AU Park by American University
incoming freshman students. This year some males, who obviously believe
that vandalism is a normal rite of passage into college life, tore a
swath down Massachusetts Avenue from Westmoreland Circle to Van Ness
About ten days ago I awoke at about midnight to the sound of loud
male voices coming through my bedside window. Looking out that window, I
saw about four teen males carousing loudly down Mass. Ave. and turning
over the city trash cans on the SW side of that side of the street. It
was not until the next morning that I saw what else they had done.
Between Fordham Place and Van Ness Streets on the SW side of Mass. Ave.
there is a row of town houses, each with a mail box at the sidewalk. All
of the mail boxes, save two, had their posts torn out of the ground or
bent over to the ground. The two that were spared included one that was
inside a wrought iron fence and one mail box on a post that was made of
2 inch by 2 inch square steel a quarter of an inch thick embedded in a
three foot deep column of concrete. That mailbox belongs to a friend who
vowed that the vandals would not bend his post again. He was right. They
broke the weld on the mailbox and carried it away. I found the large
mailbox in the bushes at a home a half block down Mass. Ave. Going north
up Mass. Ave. there was a trail of emptied city trash barrels and bent
over traffic signs all the way up to Westmoreland Circle.
In my dreams I envision a posse of irate fed-up neighbors corralling
these miscreants, tar and feathering them, and carrying them on a rail
(probably that indestructible steel post) and then dumping them
unceremoniously at the entrance to American University. The only good
news is that these stupid chaps are very likely to be too stupid to last
more than a semester at AU. Unfortunately, AU, in their quest to bring
in more money to the school, will recruit and accept a whole new crop of
these bad guys next year and in succeeding years, and we will have more
Profiting from Public School Student
Mark Richards, email@example.com
Picking up on the punishment for profit theme, here is an idea being
floated in Paris, France, to deal with the problem of unjustified
absenteeism. Nearly two percent of Parisian public school students skip
school. The proposed solution: fine the parents 2,000 Euros (about 2,000
dollars). This approach isn't intended to raise money but rather to
encourage parents to take responsibility for their children. The idea
has met resistance from some educators because, they point out, this
could stigmatize families of the children who skip school, and it might
not even work. They prefer research into the root causes, mediation, and
prevention measures. A final decision has been delayed pending more
study and discussion.
PTA Help and School Supplies
Don Lief, firstname.lastname@example.org
Problems with basic supplies continue to plague DC classrooms. Some
schools' PTA's can come to the rescue, but this is not a citywide
resource, nor should it be, since it's the city's responsibility to step
up to the plate. The role of PTA's and similar organizations linked to a
particular school ought be to broader. Twenty-five years ago, I was
struck by the enormous success of the Lafayette School's fundraising,
largely by an annual fair. So I asked the superintendent of schools to
establish a few new positions as “circuit-riders” who would
regularly visit schools to inform parents groups, rudimentary as they
might be, about how to identify their own resources, to identify
priorities, and to organize to achieve them. Naturally, I was informed
that there was no room in the budget for such an initiative. But one can
infer downtown's fear that these “circuit-riders” would be captured
by the enemy, students' parents.
Some years later, a Post article reported that the national
PTA had undertaken a comparable effort. Beyond obtaining school
supplies, parents in many parts of the city need skills to represent
their kids in ways that will go beyond mere complaints. I hope this
doesn't come across as patronizing parents who are in despair. It simply
is a suggestion for one more tool to fix the broken machine.
One evening last week Anthony Williams met with people at a large law
firm downtown. At first blush, I thought this was good. Williams was
getting away from his office and getting out to meet the people he was
elected to serve. As it turns out, however, virtually none of the
lawyers in that meeting lived in DC. While you or I may not have
Williams ear, it turns out that these nonresidents figured a way to meet
the Mayor and influence his thinking. They all wrote checks. I was not
there, so I'm left to wonder: what were they buying and what was
Liquor Stores Open Till Midnight?
Ralph Blessing, email@example.com
Two years ago DC City Council voted to set the closing time for Class
A and B liquor stores uniformly to 10:00 p.m., a change that did not
actually go into effect until about nine months ago due to routine
rulemaking procedures. Now Councilmember Brazil has introduced
legislation, Bill 14-606, the “Reasonable Hours of Operation for ABC
Retailers Amendment Act of 2002,” that would extend the hours that
Class A licensed stores can sell hard liquor to 12 a.m. on Saturdays; it
would extend the hours that Class B licensed corner stores can sell beer
and wine until 12:00 a.m. from Monday through Saturday.
Given that the current law has been around for much too little time
to measure its benefits or lack thereof, it seems absurd that the
Council would already consider retracting it. Where I live, and in many
other parts of town, later closing times are seen as contributing to a
variety of problems, including public drunkenness and urination,
loitering, littering, street crime, drunk driving, etc. Unfortunately,
Brazil appears to have allies on the Council (e.g., Allen and Orange and
possibly others) who support the later closing time. If you are opposed
to Bill 14-606, please contact your ward's councilmember and voice your
opinion. The entire council can be contacted by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who would finance the purchase of a major league baseball team
and move that team to the Washington, DC, area are still tilting at
windmills. As long as those guys who share the same sleeping bag, Peter
Angelos (Orioles owner) and Bud Selig, (baseball commish), are alive,
there will never be a major league club in DC The rationale is that a
major league club would kill the attendance at Orioles baseball games in
Baltimore. Studies have shown that far less than 20 percent of attendees
at Orioles home games come from DC or VA. Nonetheless that, according to
Angelos, would cripple his income. That franchise drew over 2.6M fans
this past year for a team that finished tenth put of thirteen teams in
the American League and has one of the lowest payrolls of all major
league teams. That attendance is probably in the top three for
attendance for all the major league teams. Even if ten percent of the
fans left to see a minor league game, the Orioles would still put more
butts in the seats than most of the other major league teams. if they
ever fielded a decent team they'd put even more fannies in the seats.
Those who really want baseball in this area should refocus their aims
a bit lower and more realistically. It would make a great deal more
sense to bring a good minor league baseball team to this area. A minor
league team could play in a brand new ball park seating, perhaps, twelve
to fifteen thousand folks who would enjoy an affordable night out with
the family and see an exciting ball game in well under three hours.
Major League baseball games take an average of nearly an hour longer so
they can fit in all those commercials for the TV audience. I'd
personally like to see a Boston franchised minor league team, one that
would develop some great players to eventually whup the Oriole's asses
in Camden Yards. A brand new, and expandable, ball park should be built
with convenient access by Metrorail and Metrobus. We could name the team
the Washington Potomacs (or would that inflame some group that protests
against the use of Indian names?).
Are the New Inspection Stickers Just Cause?
Amy Bauer, email@example.com
I have always been under the impression that for a policeman or woman
to stop you on the road he or she had to either catch you in the act of
a road violation or have some other "probable or just cause."
(I use the term “probable or just cause” loosely, as I am not sure
of the actual term.) My point is this: in the past, any policeman or
woman in any town, in any state, could see with a quick glance that our
tags were current. Now, have we not given them the reason to stop us so
that they can “see the sticker in the window”? The guy from last
week was right! STUPID!
You’re On Red Light Camera!
John Whiteside, johnwhiteside at earthlink dot net
I am sure I'm not the only one who doesn't mind if the city makes
money off of enforcing the law. Personally, I'd rather see the
Marylanders and Virginians running red lights and speeding in my
neighborhood pay up than have my taxes increased. It's a tax on those
who ignore the law and the safety of others — sounds good to me. The
city gets revenue, lawbreakers get punished, and hopefully the offenses
become less frequent as people realize they'll be caught. I'm supposed
to be mad at the mayor for this?
I, for one, am definitely in favor of the speed cameras. Most drivers
pay no attention to the pedestrian safety. Stand at any busy
intersection and you will note one car speeding through a red light
every three minutes. Here in DC, it is a given that most cars speed
through yellow lights. Speed cameras may save the lives and safety of
I find Mr. Imhoff's points on the traffic cameras to be both astute
and frightening. Can someone look into what percentage of DC's annual
revenues are generated through fines and fees in proportion to other
major US cities? Mr. Williams seems to be quite content with this
revenue alchemy, which is why, at tax time, we all need to look at our
actual expenses we pay to run this government, not just what comes out
of our paychecks.
I agree with everything that Harold Goldstein wrote about the City
Council. It is time that the lot of them are held accountable. What has
“I cried for you” Carol Schwartz really done in the past thirty plus
years? Yep, I know that a) she is nice, b) she is good at the
I-told-you-so (at least thirty days after the event), c) collecting a
nice big city salary, d) and that she is not Tony Williams. What
legislation has she written? Quite frankly, I've seen her do nothing but
talk on the phone and give canned speeches during her own hearings. I
want a manager, not a hug. Exactly what will she do as mayor?
Our Perennial Shortfall
Jeffrey Kraskin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harold Goldstein states in “Our Perennial Shortfall,” “Where is
their oversight? If Patterson is aware of this bloating, then why
weren't she and the council stopping it before the shortfall got to
where it is? Get rid of the council en masse!”
Mr. Goldstein makes a very good point about the City Council, but he
needs to make his statements more carefully. Councilmember Patterson is
the only Councilmember who voted against the Mayor's budget. She stood
out among her colleagues. Her action may have angered the Mayor's staff
for not supporting the resulting faulty budget. A budget that has led
the city into this last minute budget realignment. Maybe if we had more
councilmembers like Councilmember Patterson, willing to take a stand on
behalf of citizens, we would not have so many problems.
Ignorance Must Be Bliss
Jason Juffras, email@example.com
Harold Goldstein's attack on the DC Council for the District's budget
deficit was appalling for its ignorance as well as his bizarre political
theory. Is this the same Council that just closed a $323 million
deficit, a mere three weeks after it was reported by city finance
officials, and has helped rack up five consecutive budget surpluses for
the District? Our government is fair game for criticism, but that
criticism should have at least some semblance of reality.
Councilmember Kathy Patterson has been one of the leaders in the
District's financial recovery, before the control board period, during
the control period, and after the control period. In 1999, when Mayor
Williams wanted to claim $32 million in budget savings from “managed
competition” so he could fund other programs, Kathy prevailed in
arguing that we couldn't claim savings until the program had shown
results. This was one of her long list of saves for the city, because
the District never launched a single managed competition program.
Goldstein's claim that “Mayors come and Mayors go . . . but the
Council is the constant” would be laughed out of any school of
political science. Hate to tell you, Mr. Goldstein, but Councilmembers
also come and go. Both the Mayor and the Council share credit, and
blame, for the city's finances.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
New York Avenue Corridor Transportation Study
Public Meeting, October 5
Hadiah Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT), along with the DC
Office of Planning, invites you to discuss transportation and land use
issues regarding the New York Avenue Corridor. The meeting will be on
October 5, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at R.H. Terrell Junior High School Auditorium,
1000 1st Street, NW (enter on Pierce Street), Metro bus routes 80, 96,
P6; parking on site. Learn about existing conditions in the study area,
explore ideas about inter-modal transportation centers (ITCs), and share
your vision for a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly, world-class entry
corridor to Washington, DC.
Later, visit the grand opening celebration of the NoMa (North of
Massachusetts Avenue) Community Outreach and Marketing Center. This
center will provide information about the new Metrorail Station, the ATF
Headquarters Building, NoMA projects, and the New York Avenue
Transportation Study. This event, also on October 5, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.,
with a special program at 2 p.m., at 77 P Street, NE (Florida and NY
Avenues). For more information, please visit http://www.publicspace.justicesustainability.com
or call Justice & Sustainability Associates at 610-0005.
Tenleytown History Day, October 5
Mary Alice Levine, email@example.com
Come help us celebrate Tenleytown History Day this Saturday, October
5, from 10:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the 4400 block of Grant Road, NW
(located 1 block south of Albemarle, between Wisconsin and Nebraska.)
Activities include a tour of Fort Reno Park, conducted by the National
Park Service (10:30 a.m.); an award ceremony honoring the historic
designation of Grant Road (noon); tours of the Grant Road Historic
District (12:15 and 3:30 p.m.); a tour of Eldbrooke Methodist Church
(circa 1840) and the old Methodist Cemetery (1:30 p.m.); and a tour of
Armesleigh Park, featuring The Rest (oldest house in Tenleytown) (2:30
p.m.). There will also be showings of vintage videotape from Wilson High
School. History displays will include old maps.
Several area churches established in the 19th Century are
participating. Food, beverages and children's activities will be
available. This is a pot luck event — please bring a dish of food.
Tenleytown (also known as Tennellytown and Tenalytown) sprang into
existence in the 1700s, and was well known for its taverns and
hospitality. It is the second oldest community (after Georgetown)
incorporated into the District of Columbia. It had a crucial role in
protecting Washington during the Civil War. Come learn more. The event
is sponsored by the Tenleytown Neighbors Association and the Tenleytown
Great Women Jazz Singers, Benning Library,
Dorothy Marschak, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Saturday, October 5, from 2-3 p.m., CHIME presents singer and
actress Cynthia Lin in a performance-demonstration of “Great Women
Jazz Singers” at Benning Library, 3935 Benning Road, NE, near
Minnesota Avenue. Lin will lead us on a tour of the distinctive female
singers in jazz history from Billie Holiday to young artists of today.
She will explain and demonstrate differences in style, range, technique
and interpretation. Cynthia has appeared with various theater groups
around town, and will next be seen in “South Pacific” at the Arena
Stage. She currently sings with jazz band Blue Moment, and has taught
piano and voice classes as a CHIME volunteer.
This program is the second offered by CHIME (Community Help In Music
Education) this year in its series of 22 free programs for all ages on
Saturday afternoons at 11 branch libraries. (Last week was “The
History of Gospel Music” at Watha T. Daniel library). The next one
will be October 12 at Mount Pleasant Library on “Traditional
Appalachian Folk Music and Tales” with dulcimer player Ralph Lee Smith
and banjo player Lea Coryell. These first three programs complete our
section on music with US roots. They will be followed by programs on
music with Hispanic, Asian, African and European roots, respectively.
The series brings out the connections between as well as the distinctive
characteristics of different kinds of music.
For more information about this and other programs in the series, or
about CHIME, visit CHIME’s web site at www.chime-dc.org,
E-mail email@example.com, or call
232-2731. We are a volunteer organization that relies on donations to
support its activities and would welcome your contribution.
Used Book Sale, Stoddert School, October 6
Edna Small, Erklein@aol.com
At the Stoddert School Fun Fair this Sunday, October 6, there will be
a coffee bar and a book sale for adults. Books priced to go: 50 cents
for most paperbacks, $1.00 for most hardbacks. Some treasures
special-priced. The public school is located at 40th and Calvert
Streets, NW. Fair and sale hours are noon to 4:00 p.m.
Candidates’ Forum, October 22
Joan Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance will sponsor a candidates'
forum for the At-Large City Council seats. The forum will be held on
Tuesday, October 22, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Mt. Pleasant Public
Library, 3160 16th Street, NW (16th and Lamont Streets). The moderator
will be Tom Sherwood, reporter for News Channel 4. The forum is an
opportunity for DC residents to ask questions and voice their concerns
to the candidates. For additional information contact Joan Gordon, email@example.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
My friend continues to have a car for sale, but at a new price: $1500
or best offer. Also new are its clutch, timing belt, and brakes. 1991
Mazda 626, 87,000 miles. When I briefly thought my car had been stolen
last week my second thought was “buy Leonore's.” Leave a message at
CLASSIFIEDS — WANTED
Seeking Betamax Recorder/Player
Ron Eberhardt, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am looking for a working Betamax recorder/player — although it
need not record anymore! Do you have such a dinosaur in your basement
waiting for a home? If so, send me an E-mail with your price and
description of the player.
CLASSIFIEDS — VOLUNTEERS
DC LEARNs Organizations Tackle Literacy in DC
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
Earlier this year I attended an event where Verizon and DC LEARNs
officially announced their partnership. Founded in 1996, DC LEARNs is
the coalition of literacy organizations in DC. Verizon is coming through
in a very big way to support literacy efforts in DC. At this event I
heard an inspiring speech from the president of the board of DC LEARNs,
Dr. Sharon Morgenthaler. For those who might be interested, you can read
the text of the speech at http://storymakers.net/morgenthalerspeech.html
and hear the audio recording of the speech at http://storymakers.net/dclearns3.ram.
Do you know someone who would like to be a literacy tutor/volunteer?
A great place to call is the Literacy Helpline, within the DC Public
Libraries. 202-727-2431. This same phone number can be used by literacy
learners to find an organization they can go to for assistance with
literacy and GED trainings. On another tack, do you know a DC-area
nonprofit organization that would like to have their audio or video put
up on the web? I set aside some time each month to do that kind of work
pro bono. (I also do that kind of work as part of my livelihood.)
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
I recently switched cell phone companies and have two old (two years
old) phones. I heard somewhere that there is a company who refurbishes
the phones and provides them to neighborhood watch groups. Can anyone
tell me where I can donate them and if the donation is tax deductible?
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