Very Odds and Ends
Dear Dead End Kids:
This morning Dorothy asked me whether I wanted to suggest a question
for her to ask Mayor Williams at his press conference today. My response
was that we already knew the answers the Mayor would give, so that
instead of asking a question she should give the answer herself and have
the Mayor supply the question, like on Jeopardy. Here was the answer I
suggested: “I'm not responsible. I was completely unaware of
everything that my closest aides did for my benefit. My problem is just
that I trust people too much. I welcome this investigation to get to the
bottom of the scandal, and we're conducting an internal investigation to
find out how it could have happened. But I don't want to speak about
this issue, because it was in the past, and it is under
investigation.” The problem with my suggestion is that Mr. Williams
has thought that that was the right answer to practically every serious
question he has been asked for the past two years and, without Dorothy's
prompting, he gave it again today.
Joshua Kaplowitz's article about his year teaching at DC's Emery
Grade School characterizes the school, and DCPS in general, as a hell
hole. (“How I Joined Teach for America and Got Sued for $20
Million,” City Journal, Winter 2003, http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_1_how_i_joined.html).
City Journal is published by the Manhattan Institute, a
conservative organization, but Kaplowitz convincingly characterizes
himself as a political liberal. Does anyone want to support or
contradict Kaplowitz's assertions?
Colby King gets well-earned praise from former Washington City
Paper editor Jack Shafer in the Press Box column of the on-line
magazine Slate (“Riding With the King: The Best Washington Post Columnist
You've Never Heard Of,” http://slate.msn.com/id/2076555/).
Of course, themail's readers have heard about and read King for years,
but it's true that in the past few months his columns have been must
Petula Dvorak's deadpan account of Jim Graham's street brawl,
provoking a driver and then trying to protect himself by yelling, “I'm
a city council member! I'm a city council member!” (“Council Member
Has Confrontation with Driver,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57292-2003Jan14.html),
has provoked hilarity among Graham's staff members and former staff
members, as well as among his colleagues on the Council and WMATA Board,
who have been targets of his frequent profane temperamental outbursts in
the past. At least Graham refrained from following former councilmember
Doug Moore's example and biting his opponent, which may mean that this
incident will have a short shelf life.
As many of you know, I'm the guy who got mugged on December 10 near
the 7-11 at Wyoming and Columbia. I wanted to let you all know that I've
just launched SafeStreetsDC.com — a new web site and campaign to
collect and publish stories of the problems people have had with the
police, and to motivate people to contact the mayor, police chief and
city council to claim about the increasingly serious problem of a cadre
of the police force who refuse to do their job. (Note: I'm also using
the site to collect good stories of officers who have provided
exceptional service to the public, since it's only fair that we
acknowledge the good officers as well as the bad.)
Please check out the site at http://www.SafeStreetsDC.com
— it's pretty self-explanatory, includes daily news updates about
crime in our neighborhood, a flyer you can download and post in your
building, contact information for the mayor, chief of police and city
council, lots of links to newspaper stories, and a special “Adams
Morgan Graffiti Tour” that you won't want to miss (this is only the
first of our special sections that will be coming soon on neighborhood
quality-of-life problems that have been insufficiently addressed). You
can also use the site to join an E-mail list to which I'll send updates
probably once a week or so, so don't worry about getting inundated with
mail, you won't. And make sure you send this E-mail to all of your
friends — I think/hope that you'll find the site both informative and
Finally, I'm not just collecting stories about Adams Morgan/Kalorama
— I doubt these stories are unique to our small portion of the city.
All police horror stories from DC are most welcome. (And submissions in
Spanish are welcome as well). This site is my gift to the neighborhood,
and my way of saying thank you for the support all of you have given me
following my mugging. I want to make it useful for you, so if you have
suggestions for additional content, links to articles and resources, or
anything else I may have overlooked, please let me know!
More on Early Governing in DC
Mark David Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the early DC years, residents of Georgetown, Alexandria, and
Washington City each had their own mayor and council, but only
Washington City's mayor was a federal post. Robert Brent, appointed by
President Jefferson, received no salary the entire twelve years he was
mayor. Today, his name is recalled in “Brentwood.” There was ongoing
talk of establishing an overall territorial government for DC —
perhaps in addition to the local governments — but local disagreement
was as prevalent and confusing to members of Congress then as it is now.
A member of Congress wrote, in a letter to a friend printed in the Intelligencer
(March 11, 1803), “I am sorry for the dissatisfaction of some of your
neighbors because they did not get what they asked from congress.
Considerate men will reflect that congress had to legislate for the
whole United States as well as for the District of Columbia; that most
of the members were entirely ignorant of your local affairs, but above
all that there was seldom anything like unanimity among yourselves on
the subject of your wants.”
According to Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan (A History of the National
Capital, 1914), the first Washington City Council met at the US
Capitol, the second council met in a house on the east side of 12th
Street, south of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the fourth council moved to a
location built by the two Masonic lodges on the west side of 11th Street
just north of C Street, NW (Lot 1, Square 323). The council remained
there until 1820, when Washington's first City Hall was built (at the
current Judiciary Square).
Mayor Brent appointed Washington Boyd, the tax collector of the levy
court, as city treasurer. Boyd made it clear that those who hadn't paid
their taxes would not be able to vote in local elections. Bryan reported
that the rate of taxation, personal and real, was 25 cents on every 100
dollars of assessed value (about half of the real value). The Intelligencer
reported on May 25, 1803 that the total Washington City assessment was
$1,569,600, the tax due was $3,924, but only $1,431 was collected due to
“discrimination in favor of unimproved property.” Bryan reported the
city budget was under $2,000, but that figure doesn't match the
appropriations from the Acts of the Council, which I estimated at $3,929
(see budget at link below). Bryan also wrote, “The city council early
drifted into the habit of basing its appropriations upon what was due
rather than upon the actual collections. In fact, the city debt had its
beginning in the very first year of the existence of the corporation.”
The first corporation appropriated funds for the printing of 500 copies
of the ordinances passed by the first council, and continued the
practice until the mayoral period was abolished and replaced by federal
commissioner rule. I have a copy of the acts passed by the first five
Councils and transcribed a list of all the officers of the Corporation,
their addresses, and the First Municipal Budget of Washington City. The
information is posted at http://www.dcwatch.com/richards/0301.htm.
The EITC: Boost the Pay of Working Families
Ed Lazare, email@example.com
You can help boost the paychecks of low- and moderate-income workers
by distributing outreach information on the Earned Income Tax Credit and
other tax benefits. Families with children and earnings below $33,000
can get up to $4,140 from the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
— and an additional $1,035 from the District's EITC!
The DC EITC Campaign — a coalition of nonprofit, business, labor,
immigrant, and religious organizations — has prepared a variety of
EITC outreach materials that you can download or order. They are
available at http://www.dcfpi.org/eic2003.
The materials include fliers in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and
Vietnamese, as well as a list of sites where DC residents can go to get
free tax assistance. (The list will be updated through early February.)
In addition, residents who have questions about the EITC can call DC's
social services hotline at 463-6211. Tax filing season is already
underway, so we urge you to start now to spread the word about the EITC
through your office, social service agency, place of worship, or other
Possible Expansion of the Kennedy Center
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
I really enjoyed watching the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement
Awards over the Christmas holidays. After watching the ceremony the
thought occurred to me that with the planned expansion of the Kennedy
Center, perhaps these awards could also be expanded. For those of us who
have a slim chance of receiving a lifetime achievement award, wouldn't
it be fabulous to offer a more attainable award -- such as a Weekly
Achievement Award? There are some weeks when I'm able to get just a ton
of stuff done, and it would be nice to receive, you know, national
recognition for the effort. A Monthly Achievement Award is definitely
out of the question for me, as I could never sustain an effort for an
entire month, but with enough focus and concentration I could credibly
shoot for a Weekly Achievement Award.
Capital Wireless Integrated Network
Mark Richards, email@example.com
Here is something that might help in the event of a regional
emergency. CapWIN is “the first multi-state transportation and public
safety integrated wireless network in the United States,” designed to
facilitate communications across more than forty local, state, and
federal agencies. See: http://www.capwinproject.com/defined.html.
CapWIN Presentation: http://www.capwinproject.com/extras/reports/CapwinPresentation.pdf.
Herschel Browne, Kalorama Triangle, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack McKay writes in the last themail of the residential parking
permit system's four severe flaws. While I agree that all the things he
lists are indeed severe flaws, there are even worse problems with this
stupendously ill-conceived system. The biggest flaw is that the system
shuts down at night, which is when it's hardest to find a place to park
in residential neighborhoods. On any given evening, approximately 15
percent of the vehicles on the streets near my home have non-DC tags.
These may very well be owned by residents, but if they live in
Washington they should register their cars here.
The second huge problem is the utterly ridiculous size of the zones,
and the fact that they are coextensive with the DC council wards, which
means that they change every ten years. I live two doors east of
Connecticut in Kalorama triangle. The super-rich neighborhood to the
west of the avenue was moved from Ward 1 to Ward 2 as a result of the
2000 census, so now someone who lives in Georgetown or Shaw or downtown
can park over there all day, but I, who live a block away, can't. What
kind of sense does that make? Especially given the fact that nearly
everyone who lives in Kalorama Heights has off street parking for
multiple cars. Some of those mansions over there have room for six or
eight cars off street. Finally, there's the matter of enforcement. The
RPP restriction has gone almost totally unenforced in my neighborhood
for nearly three years. Every day, commuters from Maryland and Virginia
park their cars on my block and walk to Woodley Park Metro or to work,
and they are never ticketed. But let one of us poor slobs who live in
the triangle — unable to park because of all the commuters — give up
and park on the other side of the avenue, though . . . the rich folk
over there actually get some enforcement.
Someone mentioned the system in the South End of Boston, and I agree:
that's a much better way of doing things. By neighborhood, not council
ward. Twenty-four hours a day. A few spaces set aside for visitors.
Spam Filters and Censorship
Brian Vogel, email@example.com
John Whiteside writes, “I'm not sure why Gary calls them
'censorship filters.' If you understand the definition of censorship.”
Gary then replies, “We do disagree about censorship; it's not just
done by governments, but also by companies, organizations, and even
individuals who want to control what others are allowed to read.” I
would have to agree with John, in this situation. Please see http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship
for a succinct definition of censorship. In particular, the following is
salient: “In a less strict sense, censorship means any attempt,
whether by a government or any other group or individual, to prevent
people from obtaining or disseminating information or expressing certain
points of view. This would include, for example, a newspaper that
refuses to run an advertisement it considers inappropriate, or a lecture
hall that refuses to rent itself out to a particular speaker. This sense
of the term is often considered incorrect, in that it implies the
'censored' party has some right to use the property of the 'censoring'
When “censorship” is used to apply to anyone who wishes to
suppress any sort of information under any circumstance, it ceases to
have any real meaning at all. Tact and discretion are not censorship;
call blocking (by the line's owner) is not censorship; nor are spam
filters, however crude.
[Since the general definition of censorship is way off-topic, let's
take any further discussion of this to private E-mail. However, I can't
help replying. Some people want to restrict the definition of
“censorship” to governmental actions, and some want to restrict the
definition only to control of political speech, and not of speech on
other topics. A company or organization that controls what kinds of
E-mails its employees may receive and prevents them from receiving even
E-mail that they want and have subscribed to can argue that it
“owns” the E-mail addresses and computers and work premises, and
thus is not committing censorship, but it is wrong. In the limited field
of union organizing, the government recognizes and enforces employees'
rights to receive information in the workplace; I think that's the right
principle, even though the right to receive information is not otherwise
generally recognized. — Gary Imhoff]
Before we leave the subject of unions let's remember that the United
States is a union. Theoretically it is “of, by and for” the people.
How sad when the members allow it to become corrupted and governed by
thugs when its promised glory is of justice for all. Some unions do a
lot better than others, few are perfect. I hope to see the day that our
union of states lives up to its promise. Meanwhile I support any union
that truly promotes justice for all and remembers that the chain of
humanity is only as strong as it's weakest link. Let's bring new values
to Old Glory.
John Whiteside, johnwhiteside at earthlink dot net
Bryce Suderow calls two posts (one mine) defending unions “crap”
but misses the point on two counts: 1) The original comment was that
unions — all unions, everywhere — are inherently a bad idea, and
that's what I and others were responding to. 2) Organizational cultures
are often pretty intractable. If you've ever worked in a large
organization with no unions (I have) you know that changing a culture
that protects the unqualified employees is very difficult whether the
employees are organized or not. It's nice to have a bogeyman to blame
everything on, but it's neither realistic nor helpful.
[And now let's take general debate over the virtues and sins of
unions off list, also. But any news or comments about DC locals are
welcome. — Gary Imhoff]
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Chinese New Year with Cynthia Lin, January 18
Dorothy Marschak, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sing in the Chinese New Year with Cynthia Lin at Martin Luther King,
Jr., Library, 901 G Street, NW, on January 18, 12:00 p.m. In her
presentation, Sing In the Chinese New Year, Cynthia Lin will give a
brief explanation of the history and customs of Chinese New Year, and
teach and lead the audience through some of the traditional songs of the
holiday. Ms. Lin is a singer, actress and dancer, who is currently
appearing in Arena Stage’s production of “South Pacific.” She also
sings with rock band Sugarpill, and leads her own jazz group. The
nearest metro stop to the library is Gallery Place.
This program is one of a series of 22 Music Around the World programs
that CHIME (Community Help In Music Education) is presenting at 11 DC
Branch libraries this year. For a complete schedule and for more
information about these programs or CHIME, visit our website at www.chime-dc.org,
or contact us at email@example.com.
Our next program in the series is January 25 at Petworth Library on
Music of South Asia with sitarist Brian Silver.
Personal Digital Assistants, January 18
Barbara Conn, firstname.lastname@example.org
While on the go, do you need an easier way to keep in touch with
colleagues via instant messenger, e-mail, and the Web? Would you like an
alternative to lugging around a heavy laptop when making presentations?
Do you need to develop web sites for easy viewing on the wide variety of
PDAs now available? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions,
you won't want to miss this event! Those PDA Guys, Shawn Googins and Ray
Wiley, will be leading a seminar to help those with PalmOS or Pocket PC
PDAs become more organized and productive (and have fun) while on the
go. Gather your questions, friends, and colleagues and bring them to the
Saturday, January 18, 1:00 p.m. (check-in 12:50 p.m.), meeting of the
Capital PC User Group (CPCUG) Entrepreneurs and Consultants Special
Interest Group (SIG).
Meetings are free and are held each month, usually on the third
Saturday, at the Cleveland Park Library (Second Floor Large Meeting
Room) at 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW, a block and a half south of the
Cleveland Park Metrorail station, half a block south of the Cineplex
Odeon Uptown movie theater. For more information about the seminar, the
speakers, and CPCUG, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization, and
to register for the meeting, visit http://www.cpcug.org/user/entrepreneur/103meet.html.
Ward 2 Democrats, January 21
Budd Lane, Chair, Ward 2 Dems, email@example.com
The next meeting of the Ward 2 Dems will be Tuesday, January 21, Room
120 in the Wilson Building. All Ward 2 Democrats are invited to
Public Hearing on Halfway Houses, January 22
Frank J. Zampatori, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mayor's Community Corrections Facility Siting Advisory Commission
will be holding its second public hearing on January 22, from 5 to 8
p.m. in the Old City Council Chambers at 441 4th Street, NW (One
Judiciary Square, First Floor). The purpose of the hearing is to solicit
testimony from citizens in order to develop criteria for the location of
halfway houses in neighborhoods for the housing of pretrial and
ex-offenders in community-based residential facilities (halfway houses).
The DC community is faced with the return of 2,000-2,500 prisoners plus
the need to house an unknown number of pretrial detainees during each of
the next five years.
If you wish to testify, contact Lisa Feldman at 994-5245 or E-mail email@example.com
or you may submit your comments in writing no later than January 29 to
the above E-mail address or by regular mail to Lisa Feldman, CEMM, 2033
K St. NW, Suite 240, Washington, DC 20052.
Remembering Ralph Bunche, January 23
Pat Bitondo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Alan Geyer, Canon Ethicist at the Washington National Cathedral,
will speak about the life and work of Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize
winner and Under Secretary-General at the United Nations. Among other
extraordinary achievements, Dr. Bunche was the founding chairman of the
political science department at Howard University. Dr. Geyer is also a
political scientist and former Dag Hammarskjold Professor of Peace
Studies and Political Science at Colgate University. He is a marvelous
speaker and you are sure to enjoy and learn a lot from this program.
The event will be at the Woman' National Democratic Club, 1525 New
Hampshire Avenue, NW, on Thursday, January 23, 12:00 noon (lunch served
at 12:30 p.m.). The program is sponsored by the Woman's National
Democratic Club Educational Foundation, and tax deductible proceeds go
to Foundation for work in Washington Schools. Cost $19.50. For
reservations, call Pat Fitzgerald at 232-7363, Ext.3003 or E-mail email@example.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
20 - 5' and 6' sturdy folding tables plus 20 folding metal chairs
with cushions. “As new” condition. Price negotiable. Exchange to
benefit the Washington Action Group. Delivery is possible. E-mail or
CLASSIFIEDS — SPACES
Office Space Available
Lora Engdahl, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shared office in prime location in DuPont Circle has openings. Share
office for $300 or occupy entire office for $600 (web design firm
occupies room across the hall). DSL, kitchen, bath and shower on
premises. Call 986-4291 or E-mail LoraE444@aol.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — SERVICES
Need Help With Your Computer Needs At Home Or
In The Office?
Nick Chang, email@example.com
PC hardware/software installation and upgrades; maintenance,
troubleshooting and network support; Back-up and archive your files and
E-mail on CD-ROM; setup computer network for the small office; build
customized database in Access or other programs; Reasonable rates.
Excellent references. E-mail or call 237-0130.
CLASSIFIEDS — VOLUNTEERS
Volunteer for City Year for a Day, January 25
Alexander M. Padro, PadroANC2C@aol.com
City Year is a national nonprofit organization that unites a diverse
group of 17 to 24 year-old young people for a year of full-time,
rigorous community service, leadership development, and civic
engagement. As part of their activities, a “City Year for a Day”
event will be held at Shaw Junior High School on Saturday, January 25,
bringing together community members, corporate sponsors, and students to
paint murals and inspirational quotes and otherwise transform Shaw's
neighborhood junior high school.
Shaw Junior High School is located at 925 Rhode Island Avenue, NW. On
January 25, registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. Activities will start
at 10:00 a.m., and conclude with a 3:00 p.m. ceremony. Lunch will be
provided. You can spend an hour or two or the whole day, as your
schedule permits. For more information about the “City Year for a
Day” event at Shaw Junior High School, contact Mark Perkins at Mperkins03@cityyear.org
or 776-7780. More information on City Year is available at http://www.cityyear.org.
Volunteer Tutors and Mentors
Kim Montroll, Good Shepherd Ministries, firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer tutors and mentors are needed for motivated low-income
youth in Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. This is a once-a-week
commitment. Mentor a 7-12th grader: Tuesdays or Thursdays, 6:00-7:30
p.m.; tutor a 3rd-6th grader: Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30
p.m.; or tutor a k-2nd grader: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or
Thursdays, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Bring a friend or coworker. Your weekly
commitment will make a real difference. Contact: Kim Montroll,
Co-Director, Good Shepherd Ministries, 1630 Fuller Street, NW, #105,
Good Shepherd Ministries challenges, encourages and supports
motivated, low-income, inner-city k-12th graders in Adams Morgan and
Columbia Heights through structured after school programs, mentoring,
and educational advocacy.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Children’s Dentist Recommendation Wanted
Phil Greene, email@example.com
We're looking for a good, reasonably priced dentist for our kids, we
live in Upper Northwest. Any recommendations?
Randi R-Seitz, rrs2623atAOL
I wholeheartedly second Laurie E's recommendation of Dave Felton
He's rescued this damsel in computer distress many a time, with prompt,
efficient, good-natured service. We are a multiple Mac plus Palm plus
other miscellaneous electronics family, and he maintains all in good
health (including my nerves).
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