I missed the original announcement about the Open Park Project, even
though the Washington Times (http://www.washingtontimes.com/business/20040428-092510-9998r.htmc)
and The Hill (http://www.thehill.com/news/050604/internet.aspx)
carried stories about it. Here's what Kevin Werbach wrote about the
project on his blog site, Werblog (http://www.werblog.com):
“The Open Park Project is a nonprofit working to establish free public
WiFi ['wireless fidelity,' a high frequency local area network and can
provide access to the Internet] connectivity on the National Mall in
Washington, DC. I'm one of the cofounders, along with Washington telecom
lawyer Greg Staple and two others. On Wednesday [April 28], Open Park
launched its Website [http://www.openpark.net]
and its first location, on Capitol Hill. Hard to believe, but this is
the first public outdoor WiFi hotspot in Washington, DC. The area around
[the] Supreme Court, the Capitol Visitor Center, and the Library of
Congress is now 'lit.' Next stop: a wireless mesh from the Capitol to
the Lincoln Memorial. Not just for free connectivity, but ultimately
serving as a testbed for new wireless technologies and applications.
We've received a generous hardware donation from Tropos Networks and
plan to announce support from other companies and foundations soon. I'm
excited about this project both for the important symbolism and for the
real practical benefits of a WiFi zone in the heart of the Nation's
I first heard Kevin Werbach speak at the Broadband Summit 2004 last
month at the Reagan International Trade Center. Werbach is best known as
the leading proponent of “open bandwidth.? Werbach believes that the
shortage of airwaves — the bandwidth spectrum used for broadcasts and
narrowcasts of television, radio, CB radio, WiFi, etc. — is an
illusion. There is no shortage, he says, since receivers of all sorts
have become so much more sensitive and discriminating. Instead of
regulation's being necessary to allocate scarce bandwidth — which was
the argument initially used to license broadcast stations and create the
Federal Communications Commission ? the scarcity today is being
artificially created by regulation.
Whether or not you buy that idea, grab your Wi-Fi enabled notebook,
run down to the Mall, and access DCWatch and DCPSWatch from there.
The notices that we ANC Commissioners get from the DC Zoning
Commission seldom have any entertainment value. But this one, concerning
a revision of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations to provide
for Metropolitan Police facilities in neighborhoods, is unintentionally
amusing: “A new subsection 2117.16 is added to read as follows:
'2117.16. Required parking spaces for a Police Department General
Facility or Police Department Local Facility may be arranged so that all
spaces are not accessible at all times.”
Darn, isn't bureaucracy wonderful?
Private Lead Tests “Mishandled”
Larry Seftor, larry underscore seftor dot the767 at
zoemail dot net
This is an alert to those who used Pro-Lab for personally funded lead
tests and didn't see the Post on Saturday (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9465-2004May7.html).
It turns out that Pro-Lab subcontracted the work to Schneider Labs in
Richmond and they conducted the wrong test. I personally don't call the
erroneous results that were reported to me the result of mishandling, I
call it fraud. The bottom line, however, is that if you are feeling
smug, as I was, about Pro-Lab results, you need to start over.
World War II Memorial and DC World War
Mark David Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
I'm sure WWII veterans are happy to be honored with the new World War
II Memorial; that part is good. It recognizes the service of the
District of Columbia and the territories, and that too is good. But
overall, I agree with Marc Fisher's assessment of the WWII Memorial
[“A Memorial That Doesn't Measure Up,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64436-2004May3.html].
Also, the location seems inappropriate, and while there are places from
which to admire the Lincoln memorial from within the WWII memorial, the
central area on the side of the Lincoln memorial unnecessarily blocks
the vista. That is a shame.
I passed by the DC World War Memorial also and someone was setting up
for a wedding, placing chairs all around under the shade trees. The
National Park Service claims to steam clean the memorial each year.
Apparently it hasn't gotten around to that work yet this year. The
marble is still filthy and there are small trees growing from the dome.
I overheard one woman commenting to another, “And she's wearing a
My Last Posting on Speed Cameras and Speed
Natalie Hopkins, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is my last post on this topic. I want to respond to John
Whiteside and Gabe Fineman's comments. First, John [Whiteside, themail,
May 5], I know what you mean when you describe Houston's drivers as
courteous and surprisingly good at stopping at red lights. I moved to DC
from Houston in the early 90s and was shocked at the rampant red light
running and other moving violations in DC, which the police completely
ignored. Admittedly, my personal driving habits have suffered from being
in DC's traffic environment. Enjoy the traffic habits of your new home
and good luck!
Second, Gabe [Fineman, themail, May 5] on page 30 of the report you
referenced, it states that “Drivers report a greater likelihood to
have driven over the speed limit on arterial and non-interstate
multi-lane roads (83%) than on any other roadway type.” No matter what
people say about safety and speed, they still speed. My point was that
MacArthur is a multi-state road like Connecticut, Wisconsin,
Massachusetts, 16th Street, Canal Road, etc., and that type of road is
designed for efficiently and quickly moving traffic, thus encouraging
speeds more than 25 mph. To change that, Palisades citizens could ask
that DC narrow it down to one lane each way or install speed bumps or
put in other traffic calming devices like more red lights. Speed cameras
alone will not change this entrenched driving behavior. Finally, to put
everyone's mind at rest, you don't have to fear my speedy driving
because I live in Dupont Circle and usually walk and/or take mass
transit. Happy driving to all.
Accidents Kill, Not Speed
Harold Goldstein, email@example.com
[Gabe Fineman, themail, May 5, wrote:] “Fortunately, Ms. Hopkins is
in the minority. Surveys find that 92 percent of drivers think that the
current speed limits are appropriate or too high on city streets.” Mr.
Fineman points out that a study says that 92 percent of drivers think
that the current speed limits are appropriate or too high on city
streets. That is misleading. It seems they were responding to a general
question and felt that most speed limits were "about right." I
wager if they were asked specifically about the 25 mph limit the results
would be different and, in fact, in the study they say that 30 percent
feel that on multi-lane urban roads the limits are too low. Further that
study also indicated that most people consistently ignore those limits
and so go 7-8 mph faster.
My point is that unrealistic speed limits result in two levels of
drivers — those that obey limits no matter what and the majority that
drive about 10 mph faster. This is what causes most moving accidents —
speed and behavior differential. I am not necessarily suggesting that we
raise speed limits, but where these limits are unreal we cause dangerous
situations, such as on Connecticut Avenue north of Chevy Chase Circle,
where most drivers know are cops often hide and an artificial slow speed
is observed, and that is dangerous and the results show that.
Also the majority of accidents, those involving pedestrians as well,
occur at intersections and are usually not related to the speed limits
on the road. The study also suggests that most feel that non-speeding
unsafe behavior is more dangerous to them, and that is where enforcement
can have more benefit — tailgating, weaving, red light running,
passing stopped school buses, etc. Speeders are easy to catch; these
other behaviors require more work to stop. That does not seem to be a
priority, and so we have an unfortunate focus on speeding
[Re: John Whiteside, themail, May 5:] I'm glad it's over. If Houston
is your “new home town” after one weekend, you never really lived in
DC; you just owned property here, which you probably flipped for a hefty
profit. As for "the way DC lowers citizens expectations of what is
acceptable," try changing that to “the way Congress lowers
residents' expectations for what is possible,” and maybe you'll stop
spewing sour grapes and forgive us our imperfections.
I'm sorry you didn't stay long enough to appreciate the fine job our
Department of Public Works generally does, especially when you consider
that they repair and maintain streets for commuters from two other
jurisdictions and tourists from fifty, none of whom pays taxes to
support the effort. But then, it only took you a weekend to be “struck
by how consistently” people in Houston drive well. Did you really say
“voters have given the go-ahead” for public transportation expansion
down there? Well, dog my cats! Congress stops our go-aheads and runs
through our stops with impunity. Or weren't you in DC the last time they
trashed our budget and overruled our will?
As for that Metro you're hoping to take from Dulles to DC, we'll have
it watered, fed, and ready to ride by the time you lobby your new best
friends and Congressional representatives down in the Lone Star State to
vote for a fifty-first state! Now, run along and register so you can
enjoy the full citizenship rights we are still denied, and come back
when you're finished complaining, y'hear? We'll leave the lights on for
you. We take good care of our company. That's why y'all keep coming
Priorities and Sacrifice
Chuck Thies, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Imhoff's assertion that Jim Graham “caved in to pressure”
exerted by Chairman Cropp is a far cry from reality. As an advisor with
intimate knowledge of Councilmember Graham's thinking, I can say with
certainty that Jim's decision to forgo the contest against Harold Brazil
was based on concern for the community and the ability of this Council
to function effectively in addressing many unsettled matters.
I relentlessly urged Jim to run. We understood the risks, but I put
forward that any wounds would heal. The end justified the means; D.C.
would be better served with Jim Graham At-Large and hard feelings would
depart in the wake of Harold Brazil's return to private life.
Mr. Imhoff says politics can be “blood sport.” In this instance,
however, Jim Graham took the high road — a road far often less
traveled — sparing our community a potentially divisive campaign and
forsaking his own ambitions for the time being.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Tuesday, May 11, 6:30 p.m., Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, 3310
Connecticut Avenue, NW. Come see the film version of David Story’s
play, In Celebration, directed by Lindsay Anderson and starring
Alan Bates. Public contact: 282-3080.
Will Bruder at the National Building Museum,
Brie Hensold, email@example.com
Architect Will Bruder explores inventive forms and compositions while
responding thoughtfully to each project's physical context and the
client's needs. Principal of the Phoenix-based firm Will Bruder
Architects, he will discuss his award-winning work, including the
Riddell Residence in Wilson, Wyoming, the Phoenix Central Library, and
the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. At the National Building Museum, 401 F
Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line, May 12, Wednesday,
8:00-9:30 p.m. $12 Museum members; $17 nonmembers; $10 students. Prepaid
iChat AV Videoconferencing Software
Presentation, May 15
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in how you can be using videoconferencing with family,
friends, or work? The Washington Apple Pi's iLife special interest group
is sponsoring a free presentation on iChat AV software (for recent
Macintosh computers) on Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to noon at Mac
Business Solutions, in Gaithersburg. http://www.mbsdirect.com.
Tips and techniques for using this software will be shared. The door
prize will be a copy of the book: Visual Quickstart Guide to iChat AV,
by Jeff Carlson. This event is free, but advance registration is
required. (I'll be the person presenting, so RSVP's should be sent via
E-mail to me. Subject: iChat AV presentation.) This presentation will
also be showing and explaining how to capture and iChat AV
videoconference session to a QuickTime file -- for placement on the web
or distribution on CD's/DVD's. A QuickTime movie showing how to drive to
MBS from DC and lower Montgomery County can be seen at http://www.writersforliteracy.org/drivingtombs.mov
(best viewed with Netscape or Mozilla on Windows computers, or any web
browser on Macintosh computers.)
Glover Park Garage Sale for Cuba, May 22
Margaret Guroff, mguroff at aol dot com
Got any clutter that's too good to trash? On Saturday May 22, from 10
a.m. to 3 p.m., St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3655 Calvert Street,
NW, in Glover Park is having a charity garage sale. Lighten your load
(and fatten your wallet) by renting a $15 table and selling your stuff.
Too much trouble? Then how about donating your sellable stuff at the
church next Saturday, May 15, between 12:30 and 3 p.m.? We'll give you a
A team of twelve volunteers from the church is traveling to Matanzas,
Cuba, this August to do construction work. Each member will pay his own
travel expenses, but the team is also raising cash to carry there for
the poverty relief work of the Methodist Church in Cuba. One hundred
percent of table rental fees and proceeds from the sale of donated goods
will go to that cause. For more information or to rent a table, call
CLASSIFIEDS — HOUSING
Would you like to live in one of the best neighborhoods in D.C.? I
have bought a larger houseboat and now need to sell my forty-foot
Holiday Mansion Houseboat. Asking price is $40,000.00. It has many
amenities and is set up for living aboard and cruising the Potomac. Use
it as your primary home or your weekend getaway. The boat is located at
the Gangplank Marina on Water Street in SW, close to Metro, shops,
restaurants, the Mall, etc. Please E-mail me at email@example.com
if you are interested.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Joan Eisenstodt, firstname.lastname@example.org
In need of those who dye clothes professionally. In the District
preferred; in the suburbs OK. If you have experience (first hand or
because you've seen something done by the company) please E-mail me.
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