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 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51641-2005Jan5.html?sub=AR).
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.
“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
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
Art Spitzer, firstname.lastname@example.org
(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 [http://www.dcwatch.com/election/initiati.htm],
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, email@example.com
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 http://www.dcwatch.com/council/address.htm;
the committee lineups and addresses are at http://www.dcwatch.com/council/commit.htm;
and the key staff members are listed at http://www.dcwatch.com/council/staff.htm.
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
What do other people remember 2004 for?
AU Construction Permit
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email@example.com.
— 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.
The American Red Cross has a 4-star rating with charity navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org),
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.)
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Bridges Public Charter School Information
Sessions, January 6
Richard Gervase, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, http://www.bridgespcs.org.
For more information, contact Bridges Public Charter School, PO Box
43541, Washington, DC 20010-3541; Olivia Smith, Director, 494-7885, Inclusionpreschool@yahoo.com.
Anusara Yoga and Yoga Nidra Class, January 9
Colleen McNamara, email@example.com
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 http://www.prosinthecity.com,
or call 686-5990.
Cleveland Park Citizens Association, January
George Idelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cold Mountain Discussion,
Debra Truhart, email@example.com
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.
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): firstname.lastname@example.org,
244-1105. This event is free of charge. Web site: http://www.washingtonregion.net
Southwest Neighborhood Heritage Trail, January
Laura Brower, LBrower@CulturalTourismDC.org
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 LBrower@CulturalTourismDC.org.
Medical Homes DC Town Hall Meeting, January 28
Swati Gosavi, email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medical Homes Partners include: Office of the City Administrator,
Department of Health, The Brookings Institution, RAND Corporation,
Capital Link, and others.
CLASSIFIEDS — HOUSING
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.
CLASSIFIEDS — FREE
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
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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