Character counts. Honesty counts. Integrity counts. In politicians,
good character, honesty, and integrity in their personal lives are good
indicators of how they will behave as stewards of our public business.
Two continuing disputes in this issue of themail, over former
Councilmember John Ray and current Councilmember Harold Brazil, bring up
this touchy issue. I know it is dangerous to discuss the topic. First,
let me repeat, as I do so often, that themail isn’t a forum about
national and international issues except as they have an impact on daily
life in the District of Columbia. Ever since the beginning of themail,
people have been sending messages about how much they dislike the
current president of the United States, whether that president has been
a Democrat or Republican, Clinton or Bush. (Funny enough, almost no one
ever writes about how much he or she likes the current president of the
United States.) And ever since the beginning of themail, I haven’t
printed those messages. So don’t read this as being about Clinton or
Bush, and don’t reply to it as if it is; it’s about DC’s city
government. But our recent history in national politics has intensified
a long-standing division between who value good character and personal
integrity and those who value adherence to political ideology, and who
dismiss as irrelevant the personal failings of politicians whose only
faithfulness is to the party platform.
My choice is clear. We put our trust in the people we elect to run
our government, and in politics, as in our personal lives, the wise
choice is to place our trust in people on the basis of the kind of
people they are and how they live their lives, not on the basis of their
I am just one voter that is totally outraged with the mayor and Cropp
on how the search for a new superintendent of schools is and has gone.
To think that we would rebuild the entire structure based on one
candidates wants and in the end didn't even want the job is ridiculous!
What poor management and thought.
Also, why is it that the city is only interested in hiring an
African-American? Why don't we search for the best possible educator,
not limiting the search to the color of their skin?
DC Officials Talk with MLB, Not DC Public
Ed Delaney, firstname.lastname@example.org
“A DC official involved in discussions with baseball said the two
sides have been exchanging information regularly since a May 6 meeting
in which Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) formally proposed a fully funded
ballpark near RFK Stadium and three other sites in the District
requiring rent payments of $5 million or less. The official declined to
say what information was requested but he believed the activity
suggested that baseball was moving toward a decision in late July or
early August. The Banneker site has attracted the most interest from
No DC Taxes for Baseball Web Site
Susie Cambria, email@example.com
For information about the impact on DC taxpayers of bring MLB to the
District, go to http://www.nodctaxesforbaseball.org.
If you agree with the position of the campaign, we encourage you to join
(send your name, organization -- if the organization is joining,
address, and E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or email@example.com). We
also encourage you to communicate with Mayor Williams and the City
Council. Go to the “What Can I Do?” tab.
The Senators and Cosa Nostra
Richard Mendel-Black, firstname.lastname@example.org
Readers of themail may be interested in reading a posting in the
blowback section of the Dymaxion Web, http://www.dymaxionweb.com,
entitled “The Senators and Cosa Nostra.” It's a take on the ironies
and extortion that have become known as the DC baseball follies of 2004.
Fire and Business Inspections
Kathryn B. Friedman, DC Fire & EMS, email@example.com
In response to Mr. Howard’s recent submission to themail [June 20],
I wanted to clarify the DC Fire and EMS Department’s (DCFEMS)
responsibilities for fire code inspections in the District. The
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has responsibility for
inspecting new construction for compliance with fire and building code,
prior to issuance of certificates of occupancy. DCFEMS Fire Prevention
Division is responsible for enforcement of applicable fire code in the
District. The Department conducts maintenance and complaint fire code
inspections of public buildings. Additionally, the Department performs
regular fire and code inspections of multifamily dwellings, health care
facilities, service stations, schools, hotels, and nightclubs. Other
enforcement responsibilities include plan review and inspection of
chemical storage units, and the inspection and escort of certain
transport vehicles through the District.
DC residents who wish to have a home survey inspection can request
one by calling 673-3331. Other questions related to fire code in the
District should be directed to the Fire Prevention Division at 727-1614.
Gregory Alden Betor, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Warren Gorlick, themail, June 30, asked] “[W]hen is the last time
that you had a guest who specifically came to DC just to visit the
Are Slots the Incarnation of Evil?
Harold Goldstein, email@example.com
I am really tired of all the moralistic verbiage being thrown around
over the slots proposal. What's the big deal about letting the people
vote? Isn't that the idea behind a democracy? As to the merits and
demerits of the idea, there are two sides to the story. It is not a form
of taxation, regressive or not. Taxation is not optional; use of the
slots are optional. Now don't bombard me with hate mail about not
understanding the psychology of slot usage and who is most affected.
Sorry, we tried prohibition of alcohol once and decided that the public
demand for its availability overrode its evils. The effect of this is
comparable to the effect of slots — worse even — and without the
While I am not interested in using slots, and since I do not live in
DC anymore, I have no position on the issue. If I were interested in
slots, I'd be angry about not being given the option of having my
voice/vote heard. In the interest of full disclosure, I am very
interested in slots in Maryland because I love harness racing and own
shares in several standard-bred horses, and having slots in Maryland
will revitalize this industry.
Ron Linton complains [themail, June 30] that the elected leadership
is silent on the issue of slots. I doubt that the pro-slots folk would
agree with that. I think the pro-slots folk heard loud and clear from
members of the council that they would get nowhere by relying on the
elected body to pass legislation opening the way for this type of
gambling. Hence the initiative. and, if the initiative does happen to
pass (which I think the good voters of this city won't allow), I
wouldn't be surprised if the council exercises its powers to overturn
it. On this issue, I think at least a majority of our elected officials
are on the right side.
As an aside, I might add that while I certainly don't agree with the
slots proposal being pushed by the clients of former councilmember John
Ray, I think Mr. Imhoff's tirade against Mr. Ray was unnecessary and
offensive. I'm fairly certain that when the time comes, neither Mr.
Ray's obituary or headstone will make reference to his counsel in this
John Ray, the Trash Thing
Stephanie Crowley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Your accurate but ascerbic summation of Mr. Ray's legacy left out one
component: the fact that he represents the owners of one of those
hazardous, noxious trash transfer sites, one in a residential area no
Brazil and Job for Mistress
Pat Yates, email@example.com
Keith Jarrell asked how people feel about Councilmember Brazil and
his staff working to get Brazil's mistress a good paying job in the
administration. In a word: disgusted. In another word: angry. During the
29 years that I worked for the DC government in competitive civil
service jobs, I saw this kind of thing happen over and over again,
during the administrations of Mayors Washington, Barry,
Pratt-Kelly-Dixon and then Barry again and during the tenures of many,
many Councilmembers. The persons for whom jobs were found included
cronies, relatives, lovers, and personal friends. Almost all were
unqualified for the jobs, and none of them had to compete. This was
particularly galling to us in the social services and health fields,
because we often weren't allowed to hire the staff that we really
I guess the fact is that people who can, do things that they
oughtn't, Or, as a much better writer once said, “Power tends to
corrupt....” What a terrible example this sets for the rest of us.
Disgusted and angry am I.
Call me old fashioned, but I think trying to turn after-hours bedtime
stories into political fodder is one of the most unattractive,
irrelevant, and wasteful habits practiced by journalists in the name of
profit maximization and the cattle who digest and spit up their muck in
the name of nothing better to do. What may be sold as hearty,
post-Watergate, all-bets-are-off-in-the-search-for-truth investigative
reporting is often just the subtle marketing of smut to a high-end
readership who have a sordid taste for other peoples' business but are
afraid to be seen on the Red Line reading the National Inquirer.
The Post's coverage of Harold Brazil's former aide getting a
better job isn't about misspent tax dollars or abuse of power; it's just
another tacky “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” story. It
appears that a second former Brazil staffer, “dropped a dime” on her
house mate because she was mad at the boss. Can you say Linda Tripp,
boys and girls?
Some of us think our leaders' alleged extramarital relationships
involve us. Whether it's FDR, Ike, JFK, Clinton in the White House, or
Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Dixon Kelly Pratt, John Wilson, or Tony
Williams in District Building, the fact is most affairs aren't even
about the marriage partners harmed by them and don't qualify as
newsworthy. Spouses are humiliated, careers ruined, and families often
devastated by public peeping tommery. Many good people won't run for
office and be subjected to the pressure of often unwarranted scrutiny
cloaked as solid investigative journalism.
I, for one, don't want to know what the men and women I invest with a
huge public responsibility do or where they turn for comforts not found
at home or the office. I don't want to be a moral arbiter for unreported
domestic disputes. Elected officials and their families have the same
right to privacy that we all cherish, and should be judged by what they
do after they have put their pants on, one mortal leg at a time, just
like the rest of us. Let's not confuse public interest, which is our
business, with prurient interest, which is nobody's dirty business but
CLASSIFIEDS -- EVENTS
Saturday, July 10, 2:00 p.m., Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library, 5625
Connecticut Avenue, NW. Author Louis Bayard will discuss his new novel, Mr.
Timothy, featuring the Dickens’ character Timothy Cratchit in a
Victorian thriller. Public contact: 282-0021.
Monday, July 12, 7:00 p.m., Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library, 5625
Connecticut Avenue, NW. Dr. Peter Kranz will show fossils, present
slides, read from his books, Dinosaurs in Maryland and I Can
Find a Dinosaur Myself. Public contact: 282-0021.
Tuesday, July 13, 7:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Main Lobby. Writers published in the new
edition of MINIMUS magazine will read from their works. Poetry
read by Mel Belin and Bernadette Geyer. Fiction read by Peter Brown.
Public contact: 727-1281.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
Moving, must sell a 43' live-a-board houseboat at Gangplank Marina;
Southwest Waterfront DC, $28,000. Washer/dryer, air conditioner/heat,
cuddy cabin, four closets, large top deck for entertaining and
spectacular views. Metro and shopping two blocks; secured marina and
parking included. See pictures at Craigslist.org under Real Estate and
General For Sale ads for Washington, DC; put this hyperlink in your
browser to view pictures: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/rfs/35438740.html.
I'm redecorating. Furniture available under $100 each: one 84"
good looking classic, comfortable, six-pillow sofa. Structurally in
great shape but needs re-covering. One large, very comfortable, classic
wing chair, dark stretcher legs, in structurally perfect condition.
Needs re-covering. One 70" contemporary style sofa, comfortable, in
good condition. Does not need recovering, if you can use dark mauve.
Computer cabinet; computer on top, printer on bottom, with doors. Over
$100 each: a few oriental rugs, 3x5 or 4 x 6; with rust color theme.
Spanish style wine chest, solid dark wood; can be used for various kinds
of storage. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Anyone's window ropes need repair? I have had many workmen lately who
have not done completed the job they proposed. However, one worker
completed the work as promised. This man fixes ropes in windows. He also
can make a new window to replace one with broken moldings which one is
not able to find for older DC home windows. If you have the need, write
to me at LCLAUS9@aol.com and I'll
be pleased to share my find.
Using Revolutionary Software on the Fourth of
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
For those who might be interested in seeing the film Fahrenheit 911,
it's now available over the Internet for downloading using BitTorrent
software, which is also available at no cost. (Michael Moore and Lions
Gate, the distributor, fully approve of the film being distributed and
viewed in this way.) If you search Google for the film name and
BitTorrent, you'll find places to download it using BitTorrent. Note
that it takes a while to download, even if you have a fast Internet
connection. I'm currently downloading the film to my iBook laptop and
it's going to take about 24 hours to fully transfer via my DSL
connection. If there are any Macintosh subscribers to themail interested
in getting the film from me, I can drive over and copy it onto your hard
drive in just a few minutes via "FireWire target mode." Any
Macintosh from 1999 onwards has a FireWire port. If you have a Macintosh
laptop (or iPod), you can help distribute the film around town. The file
size for the film is one gigabyte.
Interestingly, while I'm downloading this film I am concurrently
uploading it to twenty peers. BitTorrent software is revolutionary. It’s
being the Fourth of July, I reckon it's a fine idea to use revolutionary
software. Now I need to get back to reading a fine book, The Joy of
Linux. Independence is something you fight for not just once. The
struggle is ongoing.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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