I have two recommendations for your Labor Day weekend reading. In the
August-September issue of Reason magazine online, Charles Paul
Freund comments on the two cities of Washington, the federal city and
the city of local residents that we live in, and on the changes in our
joint cities chronicled in James Goode’s Capital Losses, http://www.reason.com/0408/cr.cf.invisible.shtml.
Dana Berliner’s op-ed article, “Home, Sweet Home,” in today’s
Washington Times, http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/20040904-104702-3620r.htm,
points out the importance for the future of our city of the Hathcock case
recently decided by the Michigan Supreme Court, and on its potential to
protect citizens from the alliance of greedy corporations and greedier
politicians who use eminent domain to seize the property of the
politically unprotected to give to their political favorites (see
themail, August 25). Berliner comments on Mayor Williams’s strong
support for eminent domain seizures as a linchpin of urban removal
plans: “Mr. Williams sees the opposition to eminent domain for private
parties as a conspiracy of property rights advocates. It is not.
Instead, it’s a movement of people who have put their sweat and their
dreams into their homes and businesses and don’t want to lose them so
that someone else can own a home or run a business on the very same
property. In the wake of the Michigan decision, textbooks will be
rewritten. Cities, including Washington DC, will be forced to reconsider
plans to seize homes and businesses because maybe someone else could
make more money there.”
I got my property tax bill due on September 15. Of course. the amount
to be paid is not consistent with the reduction I obtained with the
second appeal. Since I should, in fact, not only pay less but also get
the refund from the first bill paid in March while I was waiting to
present my case for the second appeal, two weeks ago I sent a letter
asking them to review my present bill, etc. Nothing happened.
Is this a joke? Do I have to pay more again and wait to get a second
Follow the Money
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom
The revelation that DC excess properties (like fire engines) are
being sold at incredibly low prices smells very bad. It is essential
that the properties that were sold that way be traced to see just who
bought them and then if they were resold. It is very likely that those
doing the selling have been profiting from these transactions.
This is just another example of the lack of oversight on processes
where the District’s money or property is involved. Inmates run the
asylum in DC.
Since I’ll be in Russia the day of the primary election in DC, I
sent in an application for an absentee ballot a few weeks ago. It
arrived here on Saturday, just in time for me to get my vote in for
Kwame Brown as the at-large councilperson. I think Brown is the only one
who can beat Harold out-to-lunch Brazil in the primary election on the
14th of September. Hope lots of folks will get out and vote in the
primary election and dump Harold.
Save DC Parks and Play Spaces
Susan Ousley and Alex Padro, Westminster935 att aye ohh
ell dott comm
In all the excitement about changing schools and economic
development, it is very easy to forget that children and other humans
need parks and play spaces where they live, work, and go to school. If
you are concerned about threats to those spaces, please E-mail us to
join our coalition. We’d like to include you in our tour of some
success stories and some threatened sites.
For Tom Heinemann in Ward 5 Democratic State
Jim Dougherty, firstname.lastname@example.org
As a Ward 6 resident, I’m following the ward race for Democratic
State Committee. There are currently five male candidates vying for two
slots on the state committee. I have met one of the candidates, SW
Neighborhood Assembly Representative Tom Heinemann, and in my judgment
he’s got what it takes to bring change and energy to the party
hierarchy — something it desperately needs.
Tom believes that the party once again must become energized around
the issues that people care about. He wants the party to take a stand on
issues that are important to the District and that reflect true
Democratic values. In this way the party can both energize the voters
and hold our elected leaders accountable to the party’s principles.
The issues that Tom cares about include 1) stepping up the fight for
statehood, 2) protecting our long term tenants in changing
neighborhoods, 3) increasing accountability within DCPS, 4) improving
the “corrections” aspect for both youth and adults in the criminal
justice system. He also cares about protecting our rivers and the
natural environment in DC. I’m going to vote for him on September
I had no idea it was this bad: http://tdcar.timesdispatch.com/Storm0831/storm0831.html.
Smokefree DC Issues Voter Guide to DC Council
Angela Bradbery, email@example.com
District residents have an opportunity to reelect a strong supporter
of smokefree workplaces (Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian Fenty) and replace
four Councilmembers who oppose such worker protections (At-Large
Councilmembers Harold Brazil and Carol Schwartz, Ward 7 Councilmember
Kevin Chavous, and Ward 8 Councilmember Sandy Allen) with people who
support them. According to Smokefree DC’s voter guide, issued this
week, candidates who support 100 percent smokefree workplaces are
running in almost every race. You can find the guide online at Smokefree
DC’s Web site, http://www.smokefreedc.org,
or by going straight to http://www.smokefreedc.org/materials/flyers/scorecard.pdf.
Two Interactions with the Media
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
This past week I had two interactions with the media with differing
outcomes. The first interaction was when Washington Post reporter
Mike Musgrove (an excellent reporter) asked me my reaction to the new
iMac announced by Apple in Paris. My response: “Mon dieux! Ooh, la la.
Ce n’est pas possible!” Mike answered me, “Too funny! My editor
probably won’t let me use it, though.” Second interaction: I sent
Dan Gillmor, author of the book We the Media, info about a
“citizen journalism” audio interview I recently conducted with a
fellow in Indianapolis using several no-cost and low-cost software
tools. Dan’s response: “Thanks. I’m including this on my blog” (http://wethemedia.oreilly.com).
I asked Mike Musgrove if he plans on setting up a blog soon. “I’m
seriously thinking of doing so,” he replied. Why? To become free of
stodgy editors, to engage in more authentic journalism, to rise to the
highest level of being a journalist, to be more inclusive, to listen
more than to spout, to dialogue more than lecture. (My words, not his.)
In a recent posting, Ed Lazere of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute says
that taxes in the District are regressive. What he refers to is a
national study that found that virtually all states in have a regressive
tax system, because of the weight given to regressive sales taxes in
comparison to progressive income taxes and property taxes. However, even
though sales taxes are always regressive, real property taxes in the
District are generally progressive, as even the DCFPI study shows.
(Exceptions to progressivity are those with low or temporarily low
incomes who, through unusual circumstances such as inheritance or
divorce, own high-value homes, and the extremely wealthy whose high home
values still pale in comparison to income.) Why is the tax generally
progressive? Because the lower-valued homes, generally owned by
moderate-income people have not increased as much in value and receive a
proportionally greater benefit from the $38,000 homestead exemption. In
contrast, the higher value homes, generally owned by higher-income
people, have tremendously increased in value, outpacing their incomes,
and they get virtually no meaningful benefit from the homestead
Ironically, by advocating for 20 percent annual increases of real
property taxes, DCFPI can expect only a worsening of the income gap, by
ensuring that the middle class gets squeezed out with property taxes
that far exceed their ability to pay. Who will be left? Two groups. The
very wealthy, who can afford the astronomical property tax, and the
poorest homeowners, who have relatively small property tax bills because
their home values did not increase and because of the multitude of
low-income property tax relief measures in the District. Welcome to the
income gap, courtesy of DCFPI.
Councilmembers on the Hustle
Nora Bawa, email@example.com
I would like to support K. Jarrell’s contention [themail, September
2] that city councilmembers should concern themselves with human service
projects rather than being constantly on the hustle for large projects
like sports teams, sports centers, and underused commercial
developments. Granted, it takes infrastructure to make money, and Lord
knows we need commercial tax money to take some of the burden off
homeowners, who take the largest hit in DC. But the kind of development
mostly proposed by our leadership is not the kind that engenders much in
the way of taxes or good jobs. Most of the favorites of our city
counselors are more in the way of vanity plates . . . high visibility,
low benefit to most citizens. Maybe development like the revitalization
of Silver Spring would be more in keeping with what our city needs.
Also . . . please continue to keep us informed about the candidate
forums available for citizens to vet their votes in the upcoming
I did not try to get Fort Myer Construction off the hook. As you
know, the DC Council voted 11 to 2 in favor of a fair and reasonable
debarment process for the Fort Myer Construction issues. You voted
against the process. Fort Meyer unknowingly purchased a company that
committed fraud. Once it came to their attention, they got rid of the
company. Moreover, the DC Contract Appeals Board ruled in Fort Meyer
Construction’s favor regarding debarment.
When I first informed the Council of the Levy incident, you urged me
to go after Levy and promised that you would vote with me. However, when
the time came for the vote, you stated that you were going to vote for
Levy because you were mad with me for embracing the Mayor’s proposal
for DCPS which included my proposal to train three and four year olds
for kindergarten as well as prepare our kids to make the transition from
third to fourth grade. The transition meant DCPS children are reading
independently and understand how to add, subtract, multiply and divide
upon entering the fourth grade.
Quite frankly, I expected you to stand up for me like you are doing
for David Catania against the Republican agenda.
The issue with the DC Register came about due to a potential lawsuit
and not because I supported VLT. In fact, all Councilmembers received a
package from John Ray regarding the DC Register issue. An independent
investigation determined that the publication of the DC Register by the
VLT proponents was discussed before the BOEE. The DC Office of the
Secretary provided labels and other assistance to get the Register
published. The VLT proponents paid $2,000 to get the Register copied.
When Dorothy Brizill made an inquiry, the Office of the Secretary
indicated that Ms. Gentry presented herself as a BOEE employee, thus
they provided assistance. A lawsuit was threaten because Ms. Gentry was
not BOEE employee nor did she present herself as a BOEE employee. Soon
after, the BOEE along with the DC Attorney General determined that the
VLT was a proper subject for an initiative. Thus, I requested that the
DC Register be issued. This prevented a lawsuit. My actions did not
relate to my neutral position on the VLT matter. Again, I take no
position on the VLT issue.
What is going on with me right now and what has gotten to me is the
irresponsible actions of Tom Henderson, Bill Howland and the "new
contractor’s operation" of the Fort Totten Waste Transfer Station
which is causing severe quality of life issues in Ward 5. If you had
been present at the North Michigan Park Civic Association Meeting last
night, you would understand what I’m talking about. The report from
Ronald Marshall, Acting Chief Disposal Division, Solid Waste Management
Administration dated August 24, 2004 confirmed what the residents of
Ward 5 are upset about. No human being should have to put up with big
rats running up and down their streets and odor so fowl that it takes
your breath away. We in Ward 5 are looking to you, to hold the
responsible parties accountable.
Carol Schwartz, Ward 5’s Advocate,
Councilmember, and Friend
Regina James, ANC 5B03, firstname.lastname@example.org
In his attack on Carol Schwartz in themail [September 2],
Councilmember Vincent Orange claimed that I was one of his supporters.
Carol has a solid track record in serving all the people of the District
of Columbia. She has been tested, tried, and proven. We, as a people,
have witnessed her highs and lows in public life and she has handled
them with style and grace. She has given this city her very best, and
has still more to give. Recently, Councilmember Schwartz took a strong
stand against the video lottery terminal (slot) machines, when she told
voters, "Don’t sign the petitions." Carol saw that gambling
proponents were trying to sell a lie to the people of the District of
Columbia. VLTs/slot machines are not true economic development; for
every dollar we receive, we would have spent ten times that much on the
socioeconomic costs alone. Carol lent her voice to our fight, and
prevented further violent crimes that would have destroyed our
Carol and the executive have been actively involved in trying to
bring relief to our residents on the W Street trash transfer station.
Councilmember Orange ran his political campaign on closing the trash
transfer station, and the executive branch made a promise to close it
down. The BFI operation may have left, although we still see its trucks
going there, but John Ray’s client sought the support of SMD 5B03 to
continue its operation. After we said no, the owner wrote a memorandum
of understanding that offered ANC5B $100,000 for its support. The
administration has taken a forceful position about closing the W Street
trash transfer station, and the matter is in the courts now. Moreover,
Carol inherited the waste transfer stations; she did not create this
problem, she was assigned the problem.
As for the lead problem, Carol literally spent sleepless nights
concerned about the residents and the people affected by the lead, doing
all she can to assist the citizenry in resolving the problem. Her
priority has been the vulnerable population: the children, the elderly,
and the folks with immune deficiencies. Tell me, what can Carol do if
people lie and try to cover up the truth? When she finds out, she
exposes the lie. Remember: Carol authored the strongest whistle blower
legislation in the nation. She wants the truth; she can handle the
truth. Finally, racism has no place in addressing the quality of life
issues for all the residents of the District of Columbia. It’s about
accountability, character, integrity, responsibility, and the truth.
This is the essence of a public servant, not spending time playing the
blame game, and these qualities exist in Councilmember Carol Schwartz.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
BETA Legislative Summit, September 7-11
Dorinda White, email@example.com
The Black Entertainment and Telecommunications Association (BETA)
will host the 2004 BETA Legislative Summit and Lobbying Day, September
7-11, in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual
Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Participants registered for
the September 7th Lobbying day will have the opportunity to openly
discuss proposed legislation with members of congress in support of BETA’s
mission. Lobbying day closes with final meetings with key members at the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
BETA’s Legislative Summit will conclude with the BETA Awards
Program and Annual Meeting. This event highlights BETA’s past
accomplishments, defines goals, objectives, and priorities for the
upcoming year, elects new Board members and recognizes the achievements
of congressional, business, and nonprofit leaders in advancing BETA’s
mission. Honorees include US Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Greg
Moore, Executive Director, NAACP National Voter Fund. The Awards Program
will take place on September 11 at the Renaissance Hotel, 999 9th
Street, NW, at 1:30 p.m. Visit http://www.betaonline.org
for additional information regarding the BETA organization and to
register for the Summit.
DC Public Library Events, September 8
Debra Truhart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, September 8, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Auditorium A-5. Attend the D.C.
Public Library’s public hearing on the Children’s Internet
Protection Act. The D.C. Public Library Board of Library Trustees
meeting will follow at 6 p.m. Public contact: 727-1101.
Wednesday, September 8, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library,
901 G Street, NW, Main Lobby. Representatives from District of Columbia
adult education programs will be on hand to discuss opportunities for
volunteers interested in helping adult learners. Opportunities vary from
tutoring once or twice a week to helping out with office duties. This
program is held on International Literacy Day, which is celebrated
annually on September 8. Call for times. Public contact: 727-1616.
September 8-18, Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Neighborhood
Library, 7420 Georgia Avenue, NW. Book display about the first young
woman selected as Miss America, Margaret Gorman of Washington, DC.
Gorman was crowned the first Miss America at the end of a two-day
pageant at Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 8, 1921. Public
Public Education Candidate Forum
Ed Dixon, email@example.com
The Ward 3 DCPS Parent Teacher and Home School Associations are
hosting an at-large candidate forum on public education. The event will
take place at Wilson Senior High School, 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW
(next to the Tenleytown Metro) on September 9 at 7:30 p.m. At-large
Councilmember incumbents Carol Schwartz and Harold Brazil have agreed to
attend, as well as rival candidates Kwame Brown, Sam Brooks, Don Folden,
Sr., Robert Pittman, and Laurnet Ross from the Democratic, Republican,
and Statehood/Green parties. All candidates will share their plans for
the future of public education in the District of Columbia. The event
will be moderated by Beth Cope of the Current Newspaper and the
League of Women Voters. For questions concerning the event, call
National Building Museum Events, September 9
Brie Hensold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, September 9, 7:00-8:30 p.m. In a lecture held at the Hotel
Monaco’s Paris Ballroom, Brigitte Shim of Shim + Sutcliffe Architects
will discuss their award-winning work, which seeks to address the
intersection between building and landscape, as well as between man and
nature. Based in Toronto, Ontario, the firm’s work includes the
Muskoka Boathouse and Weathering Steel House, both recent recipients of
the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Governor General’s
Medal in Architecture. $12 museum members; $17 nonmembers; $10 students.
Prepaid registration required. This lecture will take place at the Hotel
Monaco’s Paris Ballroom, 700 F Street, NW.
Barack Obama Fundraising Reception, September
Dorinda White, email@example.com
The hottest ticket in town during the 2004 Congressional Black Caucus
Annual Legislative Summit! A reception/fundraiser for the Democratic US
Senate candidate from Illinois, Barack Obama, will take place on Friday,
September 10, from 8-10 p.m., at Pearl Restaurant and Lounge, 901 9th
Street NW. Minimum contribution is $50, maximum $2,000. To contribute/rsvp,
please E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cleveland Park Citizens Association Meeting,
Ann Loikow, email@example.com
The Cleveland Park Citizens Association will meet on September 11, at
10:15 a.m., in the Cleveland Park Library (upstairs auditorium),
Connecticut Avenue and Newark Street, NW. What if your house is on fire?
What if you have a heart attack? What if Washington is hit by another
terrorist attack? What should you do? On September 11, a fateful
anniversary date, the people with the answers will talk to us about the
kinds of emergency scenarios we worry about but hope will never happen.
Speakers will include Chris Voss, Director for Planning, Training,
Exercise, and Mitigation, DC Emergency Management Agency; Clifford H.
Turen, newly appointed Medical Director, DC Fire and Emergency Medical
Services Department; and James B. Martin, Assistant Chief for
Operations, DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. As
always, there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions or raise
issues. (Please note: the upstairs auditorium can be accessed by
stairway or elevator.) For more information, call George Idelson,
On Adams Morgan Day, September 12, from 10-6, this annual yard sale,
sponsored by the Kalorama Citizens Association, will be held to raise
money for expenses incurred in zoning cases and for the historic
building survey now shortly to be underway in the Washington Heights
portion of Adams Morgan. The location is 1827 Belmont Road, NW, and
neighboring 823 Belmont Road. Donations for the sale are welcome. Sale
items will include furniture and antiques, dishes, china, silver items,
art, bric a brac, jewelry, small appliances, computer equipment, and
much, much more. Contact Ann Hargrove after Labor Day for information.
Eleanor Holmes Norton to Speak on HR-4269,
Ben Slade, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Nation’s Capital will be holding a luncheon on Monday,
September 27, at 12:00 p.m., at which congresswoman Eleanor Holmes
Norton will discuss her recently introduced bill, HR-4269. HR-4269
specifies $800 million annually to the District to compensate for the
fiscal impact of federal restrictions on our nation’s capital.
Significantly, HR-4269 includes regional Republican and Democratic
Members as cosponsors: Government Reform Committee Chair Tom Davis
(R-VA), Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Frank Wolf (R-VA), Democratic
Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Elijah
Cummings (D-MD), and Representatives Jim Moran (D-VA), Albert Wynn
(D-MD), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Congresswoman Norton will be
introduced by Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution
The luncheon presentation will be given at the Library of Congress,
Madison Building, Montpellier Room, 101 Independence Avenue, SE, near
First Street and near the Capitol South Metro station. See below for
details. The cost is $20.00 per person. Seating is limited! Must RSVP by
September 20. For details and information on how to register see http://www.OurNationsCapital.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — HELP WANTED
Jon Katz, jon at markskatz dot com
Full time, bilingual (Spanish) legal assistant in Silver Spring, MD.
Boost your career and pay with first-rate litigation firm. Show us you’ve
got what it takes and we’ll pay top money, benefits and more. Near
Metro. Fax: 301-495-8815. For more information, see http://www.markskatz.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Need Quality Painting and Window Refurbishing
David DeSeve, email@example.com
I am looking for recommendations for two types of contractors. First,
I need someone who can paint exterior windows, sills, doors, etc., of a
home in an historic district. Second, I need someone who can revitalize
(repair, rehang, reglaze if necessary) old windows. Please send
recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Jim Fletcher for Home Repair Needs
Debby and John Hanrahan, email@example.com
We want to heartily recommend home repair wizard Jim Fletcher for any
type of repair work around your house. Over the last few years, Jim and
his assistant have done for us a variety of projects including retiling
our bathroom, fixing ceiling fans, upgrading our electrical wiring, and
making major roof repairs and replacing dozens of bricks on a storage
building in our backyard. Just ask him if he can do your particular job,
and he more than likely can. He is meticulous in his work, cleans up the
work area thoroughly upon completion of a job, and shows up at the
appointed time and place, as promised. His company is Fletcher’s Tile,
and his phone number is 703-941-6857. Leave a message and he will get
back to you. If you have any questions regarding his work, please E-mail
us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the
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