Travel in themail, November 24, 2004
I know this is a bad time to badmouth excessive out-of-town
traveling; half of us at themail are probably out of town ourselves. But
Lori Montgomery’s and Yolanda’s Woodlee’s article in today’s Post
on Mayor Williams’s frequent absences from our city (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8666-2004Nov23.html)
brings prominence to a serious problem that the administration refuses
to acknowledge, but that is often mentioned in themail and even more
often whispered about by government bureaucrats who have to deal with it
and are frustrated by it.
Enjoy your own trips, and say hello to your bodyguards and your
entourages for me.
Mark Brunell, Dick White, and the Emperor with
Larry Seftor, larry underscore seftor .the757 at
Item 1: After half season in which his performance ranked near the
bottom of the league, Washington Redskin’s quarterback Mark Brunell
expressed surprise upon being benched. Item 2: Following years of
decline in the performance of the Metro system, culminating in one Metro
train crashing into another, the Metro board, including Jim Graham,
expressed confidence in manager Dick White, based on “his
reputation.“ I suggest that the Metro board take a page from Joe Gibb’s
book and react based on reality, rather than wishful thinking. Dick
White did not come lately to Metro; he oversaw a good part of Metro’s
decline. The Metro system has a solid design and a booming ridership.
All it needs now is a manager that brings more than a “reputation”
to the table. A candidate with a record of solid management performance
would be a good start.
Either New Orleans or France
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom
If you want to learn about World War II, and in particular about the
war in Europe and the D-Day landings, you won’t learn much at any of
the museums in our nation’s capitol. And as for the WWII Memorial,
that’s no real learning experience at all. It’s more a tribute to
the memorial designs that Mussolini had built in Italy.
The D-Day museum in New Orleans is excellent. An even better museum
for D-Day is the Caen Memorial in France. This latter site is a museum
that was built in 1999 and appears to be modeled, in the way people are
moved through time with the fine audiovisual and static exhibits, much
the way you are transported through time in the DC Holocaust Museum.
It seems a shame that the American History Museum in DC does not have
a wing dedicated to the only war that I can remember in the last century
that was a war that really needed to be fought, WWII.
Corrections: “Potemkin Village,” Paying
David Sobelsohn, dsobelso -at- capaccess -dot- org
In the November 17 issue of themail, Amy Hubbard defined a
“Potemkin village” as one of those “in the Soviet Union that were
dressed up on the outside for visitors but were in reality poor and
miserable.” Actually, the term originated in Imperial Russia, with
Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin (1739-91), who had elaborate fake
villages constructed for Catherine the Great’s tours of the Ukraine
and the Crimea. These weren’t just “poor and miserable.” They were
fake, like Hollywood movie sets, and inhabited solely by actors. Or so
claimed Potemkin’s critics in Catherine’s court.
In the November 21 issue of themail, Daniel Wedderburn claimed that,
when a corporate expense (e.g., a stadium skybox) is “tax
deductible,” “all taxpayers” bear the cost, and “not the
stockholders or the company.” Actually, “tax deductible” means
only that a taxpayer can deduct that expense from income, and therefore
avoid paying taxes on that portion of income. For example, mortgage
interest is tax deductible. But that doesn’t mean taxpayers pay the
full cost of your mortgage interest. It only means you don’t have to
pay taxes on the portion of your income you use to pay mortgage
interest. That makes the mortgage cheaper to you — and more expensive
for other taxpayers — than it otherwise would be if the government
could tax your mortgage interest. But you still must pay the mortgage
interest out of your own pocket. It’s not fully reimbursed by the
government. If you can’t pay it, your home gets repossessed. If you
didn’t have to pay mortgage interest, you could save the money or buy
something else. If mortgage interest or skyboxes really were fully
reimbursed — if taxpayers really paid for them in full — they would
qualify for a tax credit, not just a tax deduction. As it happens, such
a high percentage of American corporations pay no corporate income tax
anyway, that the tax deductibility of skyboxes probably doesn’t save
most corporate owners anything in taxes. So most corporate skyboxes at
our new stadium will probably be fully paid for by corporate
shareholders, and not at all by taxpayers. Except, of course, to the
extent that tax dollars build the stadium and its skyboxes in the first
place. Some of us think that’s already too much of a tax subsidy.
Who Pays for Skyboxes
Edward Cowan, Friendship Heights, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Imhoff [themail, November 17] and Daniel Wedderburn [November
21] are both right about who will pay for the skyboxes in a new
ballpark. Wedderburn points out that such expenses are tax deductible,
and so the taxpayers will pay. But no taxpayer is in a 100 percent tax
bracket, and so the deduction recovers only part of the cost, usually
less than 50 percent, leaving more than 50 percent to be absorbed by the
company, and presumably its shareholders.
But if the company is a partnership and not a corporation, the
partners (lawyers, perhaps) shoulder the remaining cost. Of course,
skybox tenants may reply that it brings its own customers to the game to
make them happy and get their business, and that there is a revenue
gain. Whether that is true, nobody on the outside knows — and perhaps
nobody on the inside as well.
What is clearly true is that the purchase of skyboxes (whether for
baseball, the Redskins, the Caps, etc.) is a pleasant way of
entertaining employees and their families — giving them nontaxable,
noncash income. But if some of those folks selling good seats at the
Scalp-Free Zone outside the left field stands at Camden Yards are
allowed by their employers to keep the proceeds, then the untaxed income
they get is cash.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC DMV Holiday Hours, November 24-25
Janis Hazel, email@example.com
All District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles service
locations will be closed Thursday, November 25, in observance of
Thanksgiving. On Friday, November 26, all DMV facilities will be open.
For DMV locations and normal hours of service, please visit http://www.dmv.dc.gov
or call the DMV call center at 727-5000.
No DC Taxes for Baseball Campaign Rally,
Ed Lazere, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please join the No DC Taxes for Baseball Campaign for a rally against
Mayor Williams’ $614 million stadium giveaway. The rally will be at
3:00 p.m. on Monday, November 29, on the front steps of the Wilson
Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. This is the day before the first
vote of the full council! This rally is extreme important. Five city
council members have come out against the mayor’s stadium deal —
which puts huge costs and risks on the city but gives the team owner all
income from the stadium. At least two other councilmembers, Jim Graham
and Linda Cropp, have expressed serious reservations about the costs of
bringing baseball to DC. In particular, Ms. Cropp has said she will not
support baseball "at any cost." The Council will hold their
first vote on Tuesday, November 30.
We have invited the council members who oppose the Mayor’s stadium
deal to speak at the rally, including newly elected council members who
will take office in January. These councilmember need to hear that you
support them and their efforts to oppose the stadium giveaway. Please
make every effort to attend the rally. It will not take much of your
time. It will be done around 4:00. We apologize for the late notice and
hope that it does prevent you from attending. Please spread the word.
Contact Ed Lazere (email@example.com)
or Chris Weiss (firstname.lastname@example.org) for
more information. Also, please log on to our web site and send
Councilmembers Cropp and Graham a special E-mail! Go to http://www.nodctaxesforbaseball.org
and click on the Take Action letter link!
Washington Storytellers Theater Season 04-05 presents a Holiday
Buffet and Sing-along: A Celebration For Every Appetite, at the City
Museum of Washington, DC, 801 K Street, NW, on Friday, December 3, 8:00
p.m. Ticket price $15 (senior, student, and group rates available).
Purchase at the door or in advance by calling 301-891-1129 or on-line at
Street or garage parking nearby (check web site for details); Metro: Red
(Chinatown), Green/Yellow (Mt. Vernon or Chinatown), Blue/Orange (Metro
A very special holiday sing-along will take place in the Grand Lobby
of the City Museum beginning at 7 p.m. before the holiday buffet
storytelling performance. Led by beloved local songwriter/musician Wendy
Lanxner, the sing-along will feature music from many cultures and
traditions and is free to the public. Indulge in free homemade cookies
and cider and help us ring in the holiday season.
WST is also pleased to announce a special donation drive to benefit
the Programs of Miriam’s Kitchen. Bring an item for the drive and be
entered in a raffle to win two free tickets to see renowned storyteller
Carmen Deedy. Most helpful donations include boxes of cereal, oatmeal,
razors, hats, gloves, men’s underwear, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
The Future of the National Mall, December 9
Judy S. Feldman, email@example.com
The National Mall Conservancy Initiative, a project of the National
Coalition to Save Our Mall, invites you to a reception and public forum
to celebrate the release of “The Future of the National Mall.” The
event will be held on Thursday, December 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at George
Washington University, The Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957
E Street, NW, Lidner Commons (Sixth Floor). On-site parking in
University garages is available. This event is open to the public and
free of charge.
The evening will open at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed at 6
p.m. by a 30-minute review of the report’s findings and plan of
action, and an open discussion about where we go from here. Participants
will be invited to join task forces launching some exciting new projects
and programs. The report is the culmination of the year’s effort that
began with the public forum on January 28 at GWU and was followed by
three workshops in May. Hundreds of citizens participated in the
discussions that inform the report. To download the report and learn
more, click here: http://www.themallconservancy.org.
Printed copies of the report will be available for $10.
Health Outreach Information Network Holiday
Bazaar, December 4
Jerome Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org
Now is the time to clean out the house and sell the oldies but
goodies. The clothes in the closet keep shrinking and shrinking until
they no longer fit our body size. We do have a tendency to hang on to
items waiting to get the years gone by figure again. Now is the time to
discard unwanted glassware, books and other household items packed in
boxes waiting for the appropriate time to rid ourselves of various
household items. Someone can use the items and you can use the space!
Meet and greet neighbors and friends and have fun bartering, selling,
and, yes, even giving away unwanted items.
The health fair holiday bazaar will be held on December 4, 9:00 a.m.
to 2:00 p.m., indoors at Waterside Mall, 401 M Street, SW. It is
sponsored by Health Outreach Information Network, a 501(c)(3) tax
deductible agency. HOIN is recognized by many health providers as an
effective outreach and service agency, organized by 33 cancer survivors.
HOIN’s mission is to encourage DC citizenry to get diagnosed and
treated, if needed, for cancer and other devastating diseases.
We are soliciting sponsors and vendors. Spaces are limited and going
fast. An 8’ by 8’ space rents for $25. Please call 863-3888 if you
would like to be listed as a sponsor or to reserve a selling space.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
Ross Elementary School Eighth Annual Xmas Tree
Dawn Dickerson, ddd668 at aol dot com
The eighth annual Christmas tree sale to benefit Ross Elementary
School will return to the patio of the Dupont Italian Kitchen, 10 a.m.-5
p.m. on Saturday, December 4; Sunday, December 5; Saturday, December 11;
and Sunday, December 12 (if trees are available). Free delivery of trees
and other Xmas accessories will also be available.
A few good hands are needed to help with the tree delivery on
Wednesday, December 1. Please call 483-0755 if you have a pair of work
gloves and about an hour of time on Wednesday, December 1 to help.
CLASSIFIEDS — HOUSING
Capitol Hill Apartment Wanted
Ted Knudson, email@example.com
Quiet fiftyish nonsmoking professional and adorable cocker spaniel
seeking a one bedroom apartment in Capitol Hill. Call Ted (day/evening)
703-519-7772 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — PETS
Two adult cats seek permanent home with nice person or family. Mr.
Boots and Matthew were homeless as a result of their owner’s
difficulties with the US Marshall. The cats are now living in a foster
home but seek a home with a wonderful person or family that will
appreciate all that these guys have to offer. For more information and
to see photos of these two felines go to: http://www.mrgeoffreys.com
or call their foster parents at 249-0041.
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