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January 5, 2005


Dear Trainers:

On the terrier E-mail list, people from Canada and the northern midwest, where hard winter has already arrived, have been writing about how to deal with their dogs’ backsliding on house training. This is almost an annual subject on the dog lists, and the backsliding is completely understandable. As winter comes on, as the weather becomes cold and blustery, the prospect of taking several daily walks to transact necessary business becomes less and less attractive. Some terriers seem to love the cold, and some particularly relish snow. But many others take the sensible position that when the temperature dips below freezing, it’s time to relax petty rules about where and when bodily functions can take place.

Backsliding, and the inability to conform with the learned rules of society, is not limited to dogs. The slot machine gambling pushers are back, trying to revive their rejected petitions, and they’re still trying to bend and break the rules ( This kind of misbehavior can be cute in dogs, at least it can be cute to dog lovers, but it’s not at all attractive among humans. In humans, it’s just fouling the house.

Gary Imhoff


A Reply to Specialist Isaac Lewis
Tom Matthes,

“The maximum is what my buddies and I are pledged to give. We believe that voting representation is not too much to ask in return. Although this would not be the full vote other Americans have and that Iraqis soon will have, I understand that this vote would be the maximum the House of Representatives can give at this time.” — Army Reserve Spec. Isaac Lewis, quoted in the Washington Post, on the call by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Anthony Williams, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for Speaker Dennis Hastert to reinstate Norton’s conditional floor vote during Committee of the Whole sessions.

When a brave soldier from DC complains that he is fighting for democracy in Iraq and asks in return for a DC vote in Congress, he deserves an answer. Here is mine. It starts with a question. Specialist Lewis says the Committee of the Whole vote is “the maximum” the House “can give at this time,” but what does that mean? The Constitution does not provide for limited votes for any members of Congress, nor does it allow any votes for House delegates that do not represent one of the fifty States. If House rules can be bent to allow DC a Committee of the Whole vote, why can’t they be used to give DC an unconditional floor vote immediately? Last year, Delegate Norton was backing the Tom Davis bill to give DC a full and permanent floor vote in return for a temporary additional seat for Utah — a deal Nancy Pelosi won’t accept. Does “the maximum the House of Representatives can give” mean what the Democrats will support “at this time?” That’s a political tactic disguised as a democratic principle. And if the speaker allows a DC floor vote, what is to stop the Democrats from giving future floor votes to US territories like Guam the next time they control the House? That’s what the Democrats did after the 1992 elections, giving themselves five extra votes (including DC’s) after the Republicans had just gained ten seats. If DC and the territories can get votes in Congress without a constitutional amendment, what is left of our written Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, that protects us from tyranny? How can any limits on federal powers be enforced after the first rule of Article I — that Congress consists only of senators and representatives from the States — is broken? Thomas Jefferson advised us that every generation has to defend its liberty. In the day of the Patriot Act, shouldn’t we be defending the written Constitution to “the maximum?” Isn’t that what Specialist Lewis is really fighting for? We hope Iraq will be a democracy when Specialist Lewis and his comrades come home for good, but if it isn’t, they will still be under oath to defend our Constitution and not someone else’s.

Members of Congress, like the Armed Forces, are under oath to defend the Constitution and its pledge to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” For almost a decade and a half, Delegate Norton has distracted her constituents from the true solution of a constitutional amendment for a DC vote in Congress. Instead, she advocated the Committee of the Whole “rules change;” then supported federal lawsuits for DC voting rights that, if successful, would have violated the constitutional separation of powers; and finally called for a full DC congressional vote by statute. Having completed that unconstitutional circle, she has returned to the Committee of the Whole scheme as “the maximum” the House “can give at this time” — directly contradicting her support for the Tom Davis bill last year. Who knows what she’ll say next week? Delegate Norton is not upholding her oath to support the Constitution. She is like a gatecrasher seeking to enter a party by any means, even if she has to climb in through a window. If she had stood still at the front door long enough, asking for a constitutional amendment, she probably would have been admitted years ago. As hard as it may be for DC’s brave soldiers to accept, those who deserve their respect and support are the members of Congress who steadfastly insisted for over a dozen years of such schemes that our written Constitution means what it says. What Abraham Lincoln called our “democracy in a republic” requires moral courage from our politicians as well as the physical courage of men like Isaac Lewis.


Why Isn’t Someone Organizing a Referendum on Baseball?
Art Spitzer, (in my personal capacity and unrelated to my employment)

In the December 20, 2004, themail, Lars Hydle writes, “It appears to me that according to the ‘Guide to the Initiative and Referendum Process’ published by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics [], the baseball deal would not be considered a proper subject for a referendum. The Guide says: ‘Under the law, an Initiative or Referendum may not appropriate funds, violate the Home Rule Charter, negate a Budget Act, or violate the Human Rights Act.’”

I respectfully disagree with his conclusion. It seems to me that the bill signed by the Mayor is neither an appropriation act nor a budget act. It’s an authorization act. The leading case on DC referenda is Convention Center Referendum Committee v. D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics, 441 A.2d 889 (DC Court of Appeals 1981), and as I read that case it says that a referendum here would be perfectly proper. As the court explained, “[T]he exception [precluding referenda that would appropriate funds or negate a Budget Act] does not bar initiatives that would authorize (but not fund) a new project, repeal authorization for a project (but not rescind its current funding), or prohibit future budget requests.” 441 A.2d at 893. Even if the Baseball Bill is, in part, an appropriation or budget act, the DC Code provisions on referenda allow the voters to demand a referendum on a portion of a bill passed by the Council. See DC Code Sec. 1-1001.16(a)(1). Thus, those major portions of the new law that are plainly not appropriations or budget measures (e.g., authorizing the issuance of bonds) could be taken to referendum even if some other portions of the bill could not be.

The law requires that a referendum petition signed by 5 percent of DC voters be submitted before the congressional review period expires. With all the opposition to the baseball bill in this town, I’d think getting that many signatures would be child’s play. What utterly mystifies me is why there’s not even talk about a referendum. The Post and even themail seems to think the stadium funding law is now a done deal. It’s not. But someone needs to get moving or it will be.


City Council Organization
Dorothy Brizill,

Some councilmembers still have to get E-mail addresses or name their key staff members, but the new city council room assignments and telephone numbers are online at; the committee lineups and addresses are at; and the key staff members are listed at


What I Learned Last Year
Bryce A. Suderow,

Chiefly I remember 2004 as year in which I learned what some our elected officials really stood for. The baseball deal made clear beyond any doubt the deep-seated dishonesty in Councilmembers Sharon Ambrose, Jack Evans, and Mayor Anthony Williams. They care about the rich, not us regular people.

What do other people remember 2004 for?


AU Construction Permit
Ed T. Barron,

Never got a phone response from American University regarding their construction at 4745 Massachusetts Avenue (directly across the street from the AU Law School Building). I did get an E-mail response this morning Wednesday, January 5) from the Assistant VP of Facilities at AU, stating that a permit was obtained on December 20 at a cost of $1930. There is, according to the E-mail, no requirement to post that permit in view from outside the property.

[All construction permits should be posted in full public view. Copies of the permits are filed available for public inspection at DCRA. You can get more information about construction permits from the DCRA’s public information officer, Gwen Davis, 442-8943, — Gary Imhoff]


Poverty in the District
Michael Bindner, michael at christianleft dot net

Not to minimize poverty, which is a real problem in some areas, I must point out that the Fannie Mae report [Ed Dixon, themail, January 2] is flawed because it does not throw out college students, who have low personal incomes but high levels of benefit from both parents and educational assistance. The sad fact of the matter is, much of Georgetown (including Burleith) is considered in “poverty” due to this, which leads to some astoundingly neighborhood unfriendly development schemes in places where they are not needed.


Tsunami Donations
Mary Liniger,

The American Red Cross has a 4-star rating with charity navigator (, and their administrative expenses are 5.2 percent (an acceptable amount). Direct Relief International, on the other hand, has an administrative expense of 0.4 percent (an even better ratio). They also have a very clear tsunami donation policy on their web site, which made me feel secure in sending them my donation.

As someone who was disappointed by the response of the American Red Cross to 9/11, I would hate to see people not give if they felt there was only one choice in giving. Regardless of what charity one selects for tsunami relief (or any other worthy cause), Charity Navigator is a great resource and interesting reading. (Full disclosure: I work with grants management for District government, so I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to finding nonprofit and charity statistics interesting.)



Bridges Public Charter School Information Sessions, January 6
Richard Gervase,

Bridges Public Charter School is a small, public, child-focused preschool for children with and without special needs. Opening in September 2005, Bridges PCS is an inclusive preschool and pre-kindergarten program that is free and open to all District of Columbia residents. Anticipated location in NW, between North Capitol and 16th Streets. Its program will feature small classroom size and well trained staff, individualized educational program for each student, and thematic and project-based curriculum.

Information sessions will be held on Thursday, January 6, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Southeast Library, 7th and D Streets, SE; Monday, January 10, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mt. Pleasant Library, 16th and Lamont Streets, NW; Saturday, January 22, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Capitol View Library, Central Avenue and 50th Street, SE; Monday, January 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Cleveland Park Library, Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Street NW; Saturday, February 5, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Petworth Library, Georgia Avenue and Upsher Street, NW.

On January 1, applications will be available for the 2005-2006 school year lottery. Applications are due by March 15. Applications received after March 15 will be put on a waiting list. Applications are available at the libraries listed above or, as of mid-January, on our web site, For more information, contact Bridges Public Charter School, PO Box 43541, Washington, DC 20010-3541; Olivia Smith, Director, 494-7885,


Anusara Yoga and Yoga Nidra Class, January 9
Colleen McNamara,

Professionals in the City is hosting an “Anusara Yoga and Yoga Nidra Class” on Sunday, January 9. Treat yourself to a refreshing and relaxing afternoon of yoga with certified yoga instructor Molly Lee. The first half of the class will be an energizing Anusara yoga practice including a variety of basic yoga. The second half of the class will be an incredibly relaxing Yoga Nidra practice. Yoga Nidra is an especially helpful practice if you have trouble sleeping and/or relaxing. No previous yoga experience is necessary for either portion of this class. Beginners are welcome. This class is from 1:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Willow Street Yoga Center at 8561 Fenton Street in Silver Spring, MD. The price is currently $20 if you purchase tickets by 5 p.m. Friday. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit, E-mail, or call 686-5990.


Cleveland Park Citizens Association, January 11
George Idelson,

The Cleveland Park Citizens Association will meet on Tuesday, January 11, 6:30 p.m., at the Cleveland Park Library, Connecticut Avenue and Newark Street, NW. The subject will be: “What Does Your Advisory Neighborhood Commission Do for You?” Advisory Neighborhood Commissions are the “town halls” of our community. If you have attended an ANC meeting, you know they cover a lot of ground. But that’s just the part you see. Behind the scenes are committee meetings, site visits, testimony before public bodies, and constituent service. The work is done without pay and perhaps without adequate thanks. A typical ANC agenda may include zoning changes, crime, parking and traffic issues, liquor licenses, street lights, emergency service, valet parking, private school development, sidewalks, public garages . . . you name it. The ANCs discuss and take positions on these issues with citizen input. The City Council and Administration are legally required to accord these positions “great weight.” This will be a rare opportunity to find out how community politics work.

Gottlieb Simon, Director, DC Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, will give his highly rated PowerPoint presentation on the ANCs’ history. Councilmember At-Large Phil Mendelson and Nancy MacWood, Chair, ANC3C. will join in a panel discussion on current issues, how the ANCs work and how to get your issues brought to the attention of your ANC. If you haven’t renewed your CPCA membership for the current ‘04-‘05 year, why not do so now?


National Building Museum Events, January 11-12
Brie Hensold,

Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.

Tuesday, January 11, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Architects Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA, design minimalist structures and spaces that celebrate the inherent beauty of materials and construction. This husband-and-wife design team will discuss their recent projects, which include the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, the Mattin Art Center at Johns Hopkins University, and The Neurosciences Research Institute in La Jolla, California. After their presentation, they will sign copies of their book Work/Life (Monacelli Press). This program complements the exhibition Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete, which they designed. $12 Museum members; $17 nonmembers; $10 students. Prepaid registration required.

Wednesday, January 12, 5:30-8:00 p.m. Outreach program: CityVision. CityVision is a twelve-session program that teaches DC middle school students how to initiate and promote change in their communities through the processes and products of design. To conclude the fall 2004 program, students from Ronald H. Brown Middle School, Browne Junior High School, and Stuart-Hobson Middle School in the District of Columbia will present their ideas for improving the Anacostia, Brookland, and H Street NE Corridor neighborhoods. Free. Registration required. Refreshments will be served. RSVP by Monday, January 10 to Stacie Lemmon at 272-2448, ext. 3556, or E-mail at


Cold Mountain Discussion, January 12
Debra Truhart,

Wednesday, January 12, 1:00 p.m., Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Neighborhood Library. Shepherd Park Wednesday Afternoon Book Club. This month the club will discuss Cold Mountain by Charles Frazer. Adults. Public contact: 541-6100.


Equitable Housing Strategy, January 12
Cheryl Cort,

Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities announces a forum: An Equitable Housing Strategy for DC and the Region, with Margery Turner, Director, Metropolitan Housing and Community Policy Center, Urban Institute. January 12, 6:00 p.m. refreshments, 6:30 p.m. Program. John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue,. NW, Room 412. In the evening, enter at the rear of the building, bring a photo ID. Closest Metro stations: Metro Center and Federal Triangle. The Wilson Building is located next to the Reagan Building, where parking is available.

Housing expert Margery Turner addresses how jobs and housing can work together for smart regional economic growth. Turner’s latest research, including An Equitable Housing Strategy for the District of Columbia and the third report for the Fannie Mae Foundation’s series Housing in the Nation’s Capital, addresses DC housing needs while linking them to trends in regional jobs and housing markets.

RSVP (attendance only):, 244-1105. This event is free of charge. Web site:


Southwest Neighborhood Heritage Trail, January 15
Laura Brower,

On January 15, Cultural Tourism DC and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly inaugurate River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail. The city’s fourth heritage trail consists of seventeen poster-sized illustrated signs that combine storytelling with historic images. It is located within walking distance of South Capitol Street, where the Nationals’ baseball stadium will be built.

Until the 1950’s, this neighborhood was Washington’s largest working-class waterfront neighborhood. Then nearly all of Southwest was razed to create an entirely new city in one of the nation’s first experiments in urban renewal. In the wake of new development on the Southwest waterfront, the Heritage Trail promotes awareness of the area’s historic significance and unique features. The first sign is located at the Waterfront/SEU Metro station plaza (Fourth and M streets, SW). The two-hour self-guided tour proceeds up Fourth Street and then follows the waterfront. The last trail signs guide visitors back toward Waterfront Mall, currently slated for demolition. Stops include some of Washington’s oldest houses on "Wheat Row" and Modernist architectural highlights, such as Waterside Towers and the Arena Stage building, which is undergoing a renovation and expansion. On the picturesque waterfront, visitors will see where US Colored Troops returned in triumph at the end of the Civil War. Trail booklets providing additional information will be available at local sites.

The event takes place at 10 a.m. aboard the Odyssey, a luxury cruising vessel docked on the Southwest waterfront at 600 Water Street, SW. Light refreshments will be served. The celebration is free and open to the public. Contact Laura Brower, 626-1142; cell 277-3804; E-mail


Medical Homes DC Town Hall Meeting, January 28
Swati Gosavi,

The District of Columbia Primary Care Association and the Executive Office of the Mayor are sponsoring a town hall meeting on Medical Homes DC on January 28, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, at the Kaiser Family Foundation, The Barbara Jordan Conference Hall, 1330 G Street, NW. Hear from Department of Health Director Gregg Pane and Alice Rivlin on how the priorities for Medical Homes will be set. What are the priorities? Now that Medical Homes is real, how will it be implemented? RSVP by fax to 638-4557, phone to 638-0252, Ext. 207 (Swati Gosavi), or E-mail to

Medical Homes Partners include: Office of the City Administrator, Department of Health, The Brookings Institution, RAND Corporation, Capital Link, and others.



Cheap Place
Bryce A. Suderow,

I need a cheap place to live in Washington, DC. It can be a room in a basement, in an attic, or over a garage.



Steve Glazerman,

I have free cast iron radiators for the first person who picks them up. They are heavy, but free if you can haul it away. E-mail me for the dimensions. I have given away two on this list, have one or two ready now, and will probably give away two more in the future as the renovation of my townhouse is completed. Call 277-8518 and ask for Steve.


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