themail.gif (3487 bytes)

October 30, 2002

Ethically Challenged

Dear Challengers:

Yesterday, the Office of Campaign Finance issued its report and orders on the mayor's fundraising scandal. (The press release and summary of orders is available at; the text of the individual orders will be added by late Friday.) In response to this report Mayor Williams denied, as he has in the past, any knowledge of the fundraising or of how his political events were financed, and continued to claim that everything was legal. The OCF report is scathing, but the orders are toothless. Everybody skates free, warned seriously not to do it again, or at least not to get caught doing it again, and the mayor is commended for instituting ethics counseling after his staff broke all the ethics rules wholesale.

Yesterday also, it was revealed that the co-chair of the mayor's reelection campaign, Gwendolyn Hemphill, resigned two weeks ago. Hemphill testified in the Board of Elections hearing on the mayor's petition scandal that she and the mayor and everyone else involved in the campaign had no knowledge of the petitions, and indeed had never seen them. Hemphill had also been the special assistant to the president of the Washington Teacher's Union, and yesterday Bruce Johnson of WUSA-TV reported that the union is missing $800,000 in dues that it overcharged its members; Hemphill and the president and treasurer of the union have resigned. Today Mayor Williams also denied any knowledge of the union funds scandal, or of why Mrs. Hemphill had resigned from his campaign.

It's easy to make fun of the mayor for his willful ignorance of so much of what goes on around him, but the truth is that the mayor is far from alone. Mayor Williams has been at the center of more scandals and ethical lapses during his term than Mayor Barry was during any of his terms, but Williams has, as Barry had for so long, escaped any accountability. When Carol Schwartz began her campaign by accurately calling the mayor “ethically challenged,” she was widely derided by the politically knowledgeable for concentrating on an issue that was of practically no importance to voters. When the Washington Times and Washington Post wrote editorials endorsing the mayor, they thought so little of the ethical questions surrounding him that they ignored them. It's a tough call: most of the time we argue that Washingtonians deserve a better government, but at times like this it seems that we just get the government we deserve.

I got several messages from people who didn't receive the last issue of themail. I'm not sure what went wrong, except that the delivery of E-mail is far from perfect. If you don't receive an issue, please remember that you can always get the current and all past issues online at

Gary Imhoff


Vote for Carol
Paul Dionne, PDionne at speakeasy dot net

Ed Barron's comments about a change in administration personnel is a poor argument to base his vote on. First, Carol Schwartz has years of experience. She is probably the best positioned of all her Council colleagues to know who the good appointees are and who the bad ones are. Second, all the appointees serve at the pleasure of the mayor. They also know that the mayor can fire them at any time with little cause. They know what happens when the Office of the Mayor changes hands. These are all part of the job; if they desired job security they wouldn't have accepted an appointment in the first place. Furthermore, I can assure you that any "friends" a Mayor Schwartz would appoint would not only be fully qualified but also share her philosophy on issues such as corruption. They will also be people who have been in the trenches with her over the years and will have ample political experience and skill necessary to run our city effectively.

Mayor Williams has, on the other hand, made huge mistakes. The fundraising scandal, the petition scandal, the appointment of people who falsified their applications (and the lack of a process to verify those applications). Now our Financial Wizard has drug us back into an age of budget shortfalls and created a top-heavy government. Furthermore, he has made poor political decisions; do you think that a white Republican mayor would have had the audacity or political will to close DC General? There would have been blood in the streets.

You can bet that the eleven Democrats on the Council would not have let these scandals slide if Carol were mayor. While they are nice to her face, year after year they have endorsed her mayoral opponents because of their party affiliation. This seems silly in a city where Democrats outnumber the next party 11:1, but this year will undoubtedly be the same. They will endorse corruption, scandals, and inefficiency, but we shouldn't listen to them. We need Carol. We need her to ferret out corruption, we need a new perspective; and we need the fresh blood she will bring to the Office of the Mayor.


Undecided No More
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom

Carol Schwartz is an experienced proactive leader. Tony Williams is a reactive follower. Carol Schwartz is a politically savvy, make things happen person, Tony Williams is totally naive, politically. Carol Schwartz, because of her late entry into the mayoral race and minuscule campaign funds, will not likely win enough votes next Tuesday to win. But she will likely get a sizable total of votes. One of them will be mine.


Coalition Endorses Candidates
Laurie Collins,

The Coalition to Repair and Reopen Klingle Road endorses the following candidates in the upcoming General Election. Mayor, Carol Schwartz; Council Chair, Linda Cropp; At-Large Councilmembers, David Catania and Eugene Kinlow; Ward 1, Jim Graham; Ward 3, Eric Rojo; Ward 5, Vincent Orange; DC Delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton; Shadow Representative, Ray Browne.

We applaud these candidates for their devoted service to the citizens of the District of Columbia. Keep Klingle Road — keep communities connected! For more information, visit our web site at


Stein Club Endorsements
Kurt Vondran,

The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the political voice of DC's gay and lesbian community, has endorsed Eleanor Holmes Norton for Delegate to Congress, Linda Cropp for DC Council Chairman, Peggy Cooper Cafritz for President of the Board of Education, and Tommy Wells and William Lockridge for members of the Board of Education. It has also made the following endorsements for ANC:

1A05, Elizabeth McIntire; 1B01, Myla Moss; 1B08, Charles E. Glover; 1A10, Lenwood Johnson; 1B10, Kelvin P. Esters; 1C01, Alan Roth; 1C04, Michael Piacsek; 1C07, Josh Gibson; 1C08, Jeff Coudriet; 2B02, Vince Micone; 2B03, Jeffrey S. Hops; 2B04, Darren A. Bowie; 2B07, Irv Morgan; 2C01, Alexander M. Padro; 2C02, Randy Wells; 2E02, Eric Lashner; 2E06, Tom Birch; 2F01, Cary Silverman; 2F02, Jim Brandon; 2F06, Bob Hinterlong; 3B05, Christopher James Lively; 3C01, Allen Hahn; 3C02, Kurt Vondran; 3C03, Bob Martin; 3G04, Allen E. Beach; 4C03, Shawn Fenty; 4C04, Steve Leraris; 5A12, Robert Bob King; 5C01, James D. Berry, Jr.; 6A04, Nicholas Alberti; 6C05, Drury Tallant; 6C07, Bill Crews; 6D01, Edward J. Johnson; 6D04, Andy Litsky; 6D07, Robert Siegel; 7E04, Mary D. Jackson; 8A01, Diane Fleming; 8A04, Yavocata Young; 8B07, Jacque Patterson; 8C03, Mary Cuthbert; 8D02, O.V. Johnson; 8E06, Kenneth Johnson.


Why Vote Statehood Green?
Scott McLarty,

Here's one reason: candidate Debby Hanrahan, running for Council Chair, who wrote to themail recently about the latest taxpayer-funded giveaway to corporations that DC Council incumbents don't want us to know about. The Council, prompted by Catania, bestowed a multimillion-dollar love gift on AOBA (Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, one of DC's most powerful lobbies) when it exempted downtown property owners from paying groundwater discharge fees in compliance with the Water and Sewer Authority. Debby notes that this translates into a small increase in residential water bills.

Statehood Greens have raised some other prickly topics neither Council nor The Post wants to discuss: the Mayor's taxpayer-funded major league stadium plan (and lack of public input thereon); the need for a split-rate property tax penalizing owners of all those boarded-up buildings that have helped make rats, crime, and trash epidemic in DC; privatization of CareFirst and the resulting reduction of services and prescription drugs (but with giant bonuses for execs); the Mayor's sweetheart deals and land grab behind the destruction of DC General Hospital. Statehood Greens have introduced an alternate plan to cover the budget shortfall that would restore money for public school supplies, UDC, libraries, Interim Disability Assistance, and the Housing Production Trust Fund. Visit for details.

Media coverage of Statehood Green candidates, as usual, has been rare. The Post finally mentioned Council At-Large candidate Michele Tingling-Clemmons, a well-known children's advocate and former director of the Special Nutrition and Commodity Distribution Programs, for the first time in its pages (outside of primary election lists) on October 28. This is a pattern: when it reported on the protests and public meetings against Williams' privatization of DC General, the Post always found space to mention the LaRouchies, but never mentioned the many Statehood Greens who showed up, including Arturo Griffiths, who helped organize these events. On Election Day 2000, every Statehood Green candidate for local office achieved 10-20 percent, and did it with minimal media coverage. Those percentages are comparable to what Ross Perot got in 1992 with media saturation. (Let the comparison with Perot end there!) Fair coverage would probably put some Statehood Greens in office. Even if Statehood Greens don't win this year, they'll at least prove there's no consensus behind a Mayor whose cronyism surpasses Marion Barry or behind the major real estate, developer, hotel, and other lobbies that pull Council's strings. If anyone thinks Williams' first term was ethically challenged, wait till you see the second.


Vote DC Statehood Green
Debby Hanrahan, Candidate for Council Chairman,

It's time to make DC more than a one-party town. And the party best equipped to do that is the progressive, issue-oriented DC Statehood Green Party (DCSGP), not the moribund Republican Party (whose most-publicized issue in recent years has been the reopening of Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic). A true opposition party is especially vital to DC because Democratic Mayor Anthony Williams and most Democratic Council members are actually Republicrats, who seem to feel that what's good for the Federal City Council and the Board of Trade is good for all citizens (e.g., taxpayer subsidized downtown development schemes; $200 million in public funds and land for a baseball stadium for billionaire Fred Malek, etc.), and that all of the important decisions are best made without consulting the public in advance.

The DCSGP has more candidates (8) on the November 5 general election ballot than the nominal second-party Republicans (5). We urge you to vote for these excellent DCSGP candidates: Steve Donkin, mayor; Debby Hanrahan, council chair; Michele Tingling-Clemmons, at-large council; Edward Chico Troy, Ward 1 council; Gail Dixon, Ward 5 council; Jenefer Ellingston, Ward 6 council; Joyce Robinson-Paul, US Senator (Shadow), and Adam Eidinger, US Representative (Shadow).

The DCSGP supports statehood; reestablishment of DC General as a world-class public hospital; full funding for schools; public investment in jobs, not jails; fully utilizing the $30-million Low-Income Housing Trust Fund; strengthening rent control laws; curbing corporate welfare; protecting residential neighborhoods; and paying for needed programs through tax reform (including a commuter tax and payments in lieu of taxes for large tax-exempt organizations such as Fannie Mae and private universities). Remember, you Democratic voters looking for true alternative candidates, it was Mayor Williams who closed down DC General. It was the Mayor and Democratic Council that in late September decided (in advance of any public hearing) on cuts of tens of millions of dollars for schools, low-income housing, the disabled and other critical social programs without seriously exploring new revenue sources. Please vote for the candidates most in tune with you on the issues. Vote Statehood Green on November 5.

[A longer version of this submission can be found at — Gary Imhoff]


Arresting Developments on the Campaign Trail
Dorothy Brizill,

This weekend, as voters make their final assessments of the candidates in Tuesday's general election, they may want to corner at-large council candidate Eugene Kinlow (who advertises himself not as an Independent, but as an Independent-Democrat), on the questions of domestic violence and honesty. On August 4, 1997, Kinlow was arrested by District police officers for assaulting his wife, Tonya Kinlow. In a recent interview with journalist Jonetta Rose Barras for her E-mail publication The Barras Report, Kinlow downplayed the incident and denied that he had been arrested. However, the arrest report by the police states that, “after a verbal altercation” the 230-pound Kinlow “began pushing and choking” his wife, who suffered “minor lacerations on her neck.” The report indicates that Kinlow “was placed under arrest and transported to 7D for processing.” Kinlow was charged with “domestic violence.” Superior Court records indicate that the charges were dropped the following day, when the case was “no papered.” Kinlow did not return several calls that I made to obtain a response to this report.


Outsourcing DC Administrative Work
E. James Lieberman,

Physicians must renew health care licenses every two years. I've noticed that the paperwork has been handled by a Pennsylvania address in the past. This time it is Assessment Systems, Inc., in Landover, MD. I'm sure these out-of-town companies make a decent profit for their work, and wonder if it's another example of our own bureaucracy throwing money across state lines because we can't get our act together.


Absentee Ballots
Jonathan Tannenwald,

Many fellow registered DC voters here at Penn and I have not yet received absentee ballots for the upcoming Mayor's race. I called the DCBOEE and was told that my ballot was “processed” and “cleared” on 25 October, but I have not received anything yet, and mailed ballots must be postmarked by 5 November (Election Day) to be counted. To add insult to injury, I have friends here from Guam who got their ballots over three weeks ago. Is there any excuse for this? If I recall correctly, the first Mayoral debate was nearly a month ago...


Talking on the Big White Phone?
Mark Eckenwiler, eck at ingot dot org

The DC Water and Sewer Authority is installing new end-user meters citywide. While this show of civil efficiency is amazing in itself, what's really astonishing is item 16 in the agency's FAQ on the new meters:

16. Is this system monitoring my phone calls? No, this equipment does not monitor phone calls. (

The only reason I can come up with for this being in the FAQ is that, well, it's a question WASA has been asked frequently. Yikes.


Commemorative Quarter Dollar for DC
Bruce Monblatt,

I notice that Washington Times readers are very cynical about life in the District, but the possibility of a DC quarter should at least promote interest in what the real possibilities are. Living as I do in Rosslyn, I can only admire the stately spites of Georgetown and wish to see them preserved on the back of coinage. Of course, if the Washington Times readers want something dear to their hearts, they can have a depiction of 25,000 couples marrying in a mass wedding at RFK Stadium.


Re: Is There Really a Daily Paper in DC?
Richard Urban,

If you are fed up with the Post, give the Washington Times a try. They have good Metro coverage, and a less biased editorial viewpoint.


Water Bills
Shaun Pharr, Apartment and Office Building Association,

Thanks so much for finding a means of running my entire response on this matter in the last issue. I apologize for the verbosity, but there really was much that needed to be said; it's simply not something that can fairly be reduced to pithy, candidate-forum sound bites. I write this time because my earlier, lengthy diatribe should also have included some words in defense of the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA). I think it's beyond dispute that its board and the General Manager it hired, Jerry Johnson, inherited one hell of a mess in 1996-97; terms like “neglect,” “aging infrastructure” and “deferred maintenance” have mind-boggling implications when attached to such a large and critical regional utility. Anyone looking at the utility today — its' continuously improving management and basic services, capital program, long-term planning, healthy bond rating — has to find remarkable the turnaround that Mr. Johnson, his CFO Paul Bender, Chief Engineer Michael Marcotte and others have managed, to date.

When Johnson and Co. took over, they were, as I've put it before, in a “scorched earth hunt for revenues”; they had to be, given the conditions they inherited. They happened, too, to inherit one ill-advised, never-used bit of statutory authority which purported to have revenue potential. WASA's Board and its operating officers, given their fiduciary obligations, in all likelihood could not comfortably ignore the statute, and they did not do so. As business persons, AOBA members understood this. Our beef with WASA — on behalf of all affected DC property owners — was its failure to recognize that it had inherited a scheme which was highly suspect and impossible to administer on its face, about which it had no pride of authorship, and which had adverse housing, economic development and other consequences for one of its member jurisdictions. The better part of valor, we felt, was to work together on changing the law, so that we could all move on and work together in helping WASA become the quality utility that its customers deserve. That is precisely what AOBA and WASA have been striving to do since the groundwater matter was put to rest.



Education Committee Hearing, October 31, 2002
Erich Martel,

The City Council will hold an oversight hearing into altered student grades and students improperly certified for graduation at Wilson High School and other DC public high schools. Teachers, parents, and students who have knowledge of these practices may wish to testify before the Education Committee of the City Council at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 31, in room 412 of the John Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.


Qi Gong Class, November 17

Free Qi Gong class, Saturday, November 17, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. E-mail me for further details.


Swedish Yuletide Bazaar, November 23
Mark Gillespie,

The Swedish Yuletide Bazaar, an annual event arranged by the Washington DC Chapter of the Swedish Women's Educational Association, SWEA, will be held on Saturday, November 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at St. Colomba's Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle Street, NW, one block west of Wisconsin Avenue.

What do Swedes really do in those long, dark days of winter? Jo, they go to the Swedish Yuletide Bazaar! This traditional yuletide event will feature Swedish arts and crafts such as Swedish crystal, textiles, pottery, books, and much, much more. The Swedish Cafe will serve traditional sandwiches and cakes, as well as “glogg” a hot, spicy, Swedish winter drink. Home-baked goods and Swedish delicacies will be for sale, and of course there will be a raffle with a top prize of a round-trip ticket to Sweden courtesy of SAS! SWEA invites the public to come and enjoy this Yuletide event and learn about Sweden and Swedish culture and traditions. The Wife of the Swedish Ambassador, Mrs. Kerstin Eliasson, will cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. The event is free to the public.

As a nonprofit cultural organization, SWEA's goal is to promote Sweden and Swedish culture. The organization has 70 local chapters in 32 countries, with a total of over 8000 members around the world. The local chapter provides scholarships and sponsors a number of cultural events including a reception at the annual Jenny Lind at the Corcoran Gallery. For more information, call Mia Gillespie 703-624-6619,,



Chaise Longue
Lyla Winter,

Upholstered chaise longue (6' long x 2'10" wide). Taupe and cream fabric with large raised pattern -- very good condition. $300 or best offer.



Spanish-English Temp
Jon Katz, jon at markskatz dot com

Please spread the word that our law firm seeks a fully fluent Spanish-English temp on November 4-5 (Monday-Tuesday) for phone answering and light to medium secretarial work (depending on ability). Please send resume by fax or e-mail (in text form, not in attachment form) to Jon Katz, at Marks & Katz, LLC, Silver Spring, MD. Fax: 301-495-8815.



Volunteer with Get the Vote
Sam Farmer, Dupont Circle,

Join Get the Vote, the nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving equal congressional representation and full local self-government through a constitutional amendment, as we raise awareness and work the polls at the November elections. Information, training and pizza on Monday, November 4, 7:30 p.m.

The nation goes to the polls on Tuesday, November 5th, but those of us in the District of Columbia will not be voting for fully empowered members of Congress. Join us as we take a step closer to full enfranchisement. For more information contact:



Rummage Sales
Clare Feinson,

The National Children's Center Value Village Project collects clothing and household items (but not furniture) to sell in its thrift shop, to raise money for Children's Hospital. If you get on their list, they call every few months when they are going to be in the neighborhood, to let you know the date. You then leave the giveaways on your front porch, clearly marked for Value Village, and they come around and collect them, leaving you a receipt that you can use for a tax deduction. The next collection date in my neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant is November 5. To get on their list and find out the next collection date in your area, call them at 301-422-1212.


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)