Dear Respected Readers:
Doug Neumann, below, strikes a theme that we’ve often discussed in
themail, the lack of respect for DC’s residents and citizens shown by
our government, public institutions, and public officials. I’d write
about that but, luckily, I can indulge my laziness and simply quote from
what Sam Smith wrote in his column yesterday. Read the whole thing at http://prorev.com/indexa.htm;
scroll down to Saturday, January 8, “Standing Room Only”:
“Washington’s subway system is considering removing some if not
most of the seats from its cars, thus converting its rolling stock into
high capacity freight cars for those it used to consider its customers.
In one concept there would be just 16 seats in a car for 225 passengers.
“While we have become accustomed to the disrespect of citizens by
the police, airport screeners and so forth, we are less aware of the
many ways in which government and large corporations increasingly
demonstrate contempt for those they are supposed to be serving. . . .
“In recent years, thanks in large part to the post-9/11 panic but
also to a general disintegration of local culture, respect has been
markedly disappearing from my home town of Washington. The cops have
gotten meaner and more brutal, the processes more pointlessly complex,
the interactions between strangers more sullen, the local politicians
less interested in what people say, the bureaucracy more burdensome, and
the weakest -- including the poor, the homeless and our children -- more
mistreated or ignored.
“It may seem trivial to add to such a list the proposed removal of
seats on the Metro. But it is precisely in such small ways that respect
or disrespect is demonstrated and announces its priority. . . . Our
officials -- certainly those in my town -- have become remarkably
indifferent to such concerns. One Metro board member actually said, ‘Part
of the goal is not just squeezing more people on the train, but making
the overall experience better.’ That makes no sense; it convinces no
one; but as long as you can get away with it, so what? . . .
“If you watch for it, you’ll come up with your own examples of
the increasing disrespect of the powerful towards the ordinary. You don’t
even have to be poor. You just have to be not in charge.”
In a related theme that themail readers have been very interested in,
and that is timely again with the addition of more traffic cameras, on
Thursday the New York Times published an article on the debate
over whether traffic cameras primarily promote safety or raise revenue: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/06/technology/circuits/06came.html?oref=login&8cir.
New St. Louis Cardinal’s Baseball Stadium
Ed Barron, EdTB@aol.com
My favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals will be getting a
brand new stadium next year. St. Louis is a largely minority populated
city with a relatively small minority fan base attending regular season
games. The team does, however, draw big crowds at their inner city
stadium. Here are some of the details of their new stadium. The new home
of the Cardinals will be owned by the team and privately financed using
a combination of private bonds, which the Cardinals are required to
repay, bank loans, cash from Cardinal owners and a long-term loan from
St. Louis County. Estimated costs for the ballpark and complex are
around $400 million. In August 2004, the Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch
agreed on a deal to keep the Busch Stadium name alive. When the
Cardinals open their new ballpark in 2006 it will be known as Busch
Construction of Busch Stadium II began in December 2003. Official
groundbreaking ceremonies took place on January 17, 2004. The ballpark
will be built adjacent to the current Busch Stadium and will be
completed in time for opening day 2006. Most of the ballpark should be
completed by that time. However, because of the location, part of the
ballpark is going to be built where Busch Stadium currently is.
Therefore part of the ballpark may not open in April 2006.
Once completed Busch Stadium II will be one of the best stadiums in
the country. The exterior of the ballpark will reminisce classic
ballparks, and will consist of brick, granite, and arched masonry
windows. Inside, the ballpark will have nearly 46,000 red seats. The
main grandstand will consist of four tiers and extend from the left
field foul pole to down and around home plate; and down the first base
side and around the right field foul pole. Additional seating will be
located beyond the outfield wall. The main scoreboard will be located
above the seating area in right-center field with an out of town
scoreboard to the right of the main scoreboard. From nearly anywhere in
the ballpark, fans will have magnificent views of downtown St. Louis,
and the Gateway Arch. The Cardinals plan to build a Ballpark Village
beyond center field of the new ballpark. This area will contain a
Cardinals Hall of Fame, an aquarium, restaurants, shops, offices,
residential units, and parking areas. Some of the buildings in this area
of the ballpark may have rooftop viewing, like at Wrigley Field in
Sounds like a great stadium. Pictures can be found on the following
Web site: http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/future/BuschStadium.htm.
And, just think, the taxpayers of St. Louis are not paying for this
[If Ed and the source for the financing information are right, there’s
another interesting point in this financing plan. In Missouri, St. Louis
is an independent city; St. Louis County, which is cited as the source
for a loan, is the suburban county to the west of the city. This would
be the equivalent of Montgomery County giving a loan to build a stadium
in DC. — Gary Imhoff]
Referendum on Baseball
Lars Hydle, email@example.com
Mr. Spitzer, a distinguished lawyer, may be right [themail, January
5] that a referendum on the baseball deal, carefully drawn, might be
considered by the Board of Elections and Ethics to be a proper subject
for a referendum. He cites the case on the first Convention Center in
1981, though if memory serves, ultimately no referendum was held on that
issue. I was thinking of a more recent case in which a DC Superior Court
judge ruled that the smokefree DC initiative was not a proper subject
for an initiative because it violated the prohibition against a budget
act because, according to various critics of the initiative, it might
have affected DC tax revenue. The judge’s decision is on the
SmokefreeDC website; the link is http://www.smokefreedc.org/rule58-memorandum-decision-sample.doc.
I believe Smokefree DC or its allies are appealing to the DC Court of
Appeals. My point is that this is a sweeping decision which, if upheld,
would make it hard for any referendum with any budgetary implications to
get off the ground.
The Board of Elections and Ethics ruling on the propriety of a
proposed initiative or referendum is a very early step in the process,
before signatures can be collected, so it requires the quick action of
only a small group. The more serious problem for referendum advocates is
that the signatures must be collected before the end of the
Congressional review period, thirty legislative days after the DC law
has been submitted to the Congress for review. In contrast, initiative
proponents have up to six months to gather signatures for an initiative.
During the history of the initiative and referendum on DC, many
initiatives but few referenda have made it onto the ballot.
I agree with Mr. Spitzer that if the opponents of the baseball deal
want to stop it, they should consider a referendum, and be quick about
Doug Neumann, firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most bizarre events (of many) on the local political scene
last year was the Council’s marathon public hearing on the Mayor’s
baseball scheme. Only rarely do elected officials treat their
constituents so openly with such contempt. May the voters remember this.
What I Learned Last Year
SH Henery, She741@aol.com
What I learned last year is that lead in the water meant absolutely
nothing to the powers that be. Blame was passed from the Army Corps of
Engineers to WASA officials, and any other person or entity that could
be conveniently blamed. The long-held secrecy of such a significant
health hazard reconfirmed my opinion of city many officials who are too
self-absorbed with personal agendas to care about the health and welfare
of residents. However, residents were eventually rewarded, with an
increase in their water bills.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Capital City Public Charter School Open House,
January 11, February 3
Sue Bell, Bellsue@aol.com
Capital City Public Charter School will hold two open houses for
prospective parents on Tuesday, January 11, and Thursday, February 3.
Both will be from 9-11 a.m. at the school (3047 15th Street, NW). See
the teachers and students in action and join the founding principal for
a brief Q & A session. The school is located in Columbia Heights, on
the corner of 15th and Irving Streets, NW, in the newly renovated former
Central Presbyterian Church.
Capital City is a small, award-winning public school of choice for
children Pre-K through eighth grade. The school uses an innovative
approach to learning based on two nationally recognized models for
education reform, Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) and
Responsive Classroom. ELOB emphasizes project-based instruction to help
students meet rigorous academic and character standards. The Responsive
Classroom model provides a consistent school-wide approach to classroom
management and focuses on respectful social interaction as an integral
part of children’s cognitive development. The school’s 236 students
come from nearly every zip code in the city and represent a broad range
of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds (Black, not Hispanic, 36
percent; White, not Hispanic, 31 percent; Hispanic 27 percent; other, 6
percent; low income (qualify for free or reduced-price lunch) 46
percent; limited or non-English proficiency, 16 percent; special
education students, 19 percent).
A charter school is a free public school that operates independently
of the local school system with funding determined by a per pupil
formula. The school is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization led by a board
of trustees that includes parents, educators, community leaders, and
financial and legal experts. The school has made significant, measurable
academic student achievement indicated by standardized test scores,
teacher evaluations, and portfolio assessments. Capital City is one of
nine charter schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child
Left Behind legislation as noted in the DC Public Charter School 2003-04
School Performance Reports.
National Building Museum Events, January 11-13
Brie Hensold, email@example.com
All 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.
Thursday, January 13, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Architect Rafael Viñoly will
discuss the astonishing public spaces he has created around the world,
including the Tokyo International Forum, the Kimmel Center for the
Performing Arts in Philadelphia, a proposed new plaza at the John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as his vision for the
World Trade Center site. Following the lecture, he will sign copies of
his book Viñoly (Princeton Architectural Press). This program
complements the exhibition OPEN: new designs for public space, which
will be open for a special preview. $15 Museum members; $25 nonmembers;
$10 students. Prepaid registration required.
Chevy Chase Day School and Preschool Fair,
Sarah Pokempner, email@example.com
The Chevy Chase Citizens Association is holding its second annual Day
Care and Preschool Fair on Tuesday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chevy
Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue, NW (at McKinley
Street). If you have a little one aged six or under, you won’t want to
miss this opportunity to learn more about preschools and day care
centers in our area. Now is the time to prepare for September ‘05
enrollment. You will hear representatives from each center present
information about their philosophies, schedules, age requirements, and
have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain materials. Refreshments
will be served.
CLASSIFIEDS — WANTED
Seeking a frame for a queen-size bed. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or call me, Ted Knutson, 547-1387 (home and office).
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