The Only Story
Dear Story Tellers:
It’s snowy, it’s cold, and schools are closing. On days like
this, local television and radio stations are reduced to this single
story, although newspapers can still fill their pages with wire service
stories of real news from warmer climates. For those of us living here,
brain freeze sets in, and we’re unable to think seriously, much less
act seriously enough to cause news to occur. That’s my excuse, at
least, for not fulminating in this issue of themail about some recent
misdeeds of city government.
I made the mistake of watching a couple episodes of Sergeant Preston
of the Yukon on DVD last night, but the similarity between the frozen
Yukon and Columbia Heights was so discouraging I couldn’t finish the
entire disk. In any case, many thanks to those of you who soldiered on
through the snow, the cold, the school closings, and the government
holidays to send your messages to themail. Please keep sharing.
Who’s Responsible for the Criminal Neglect?
Ed Dixon, Georgetown Reservoir, email@example.com
Back in November, before an inkling of this year’s DCPS budget
proposal had come out, an Education Compact retreat was held in
Warrenton. Some folks were suspicious of the closed door meeting, which
was put together by Fannie Mae, whose recently resigned CEO, Franklin
Raines, is also a director of the Washington Baseball Club. The result
of the meeting was that the parties involved would work together. But
towards what was unknown. One public schools advocate, Marc Borberly,
who has run the web site http://www.fixourschools.net,
refused to participate in the closed door meetings claiming it lacked
transparency and public access.
Now that DCPS has put out its budget, the city knows what the
attendees of those meetings agreed to: quietly continuing the status
quo. The proposed DCPS budget (http://www.k12.dc.us/dcps/home.html)
doesn’t keep up with the Consumer Price Index, not to mention the
drastic increases in the cost of housing or health care in the region.
There is no strategic planning to withdraw the city from the special
education quagmire it is in, which absorbs 30 percent of the public
school budget. Meanwhile, schools are in deplorable conditions. Teachers
have too many students and not enough resources. The buildings are
falling apart around the students. Programming is being cut back by
adminstrators who have been told to hold the line. Many students are
just moving along unprepared for the next year as they were for the year
Shortly after the Education Compact retreat, Superintendent Janey was
quoted in the Post claiming the state of the schools showed
“criminal neglect” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39839-2004Nov10.html).
Before going to that same retreat, Mayor Williams said to the city in
the Washington Times, “I will readily admit to everybody that
my record on that is questionable, and I’m being kind. . . . My record
on schools [is that] I was flaky” (http://washingtontimes.com/metro/20041104-102552-4908r.htm).
Now, two months later, the no-growth schools budget is in the Mayor’s
court, as he prepares to hold hearings and pass his rendition of it on
to the council. Accordingly, observers should not be surprised if the
Mayor and his allies choose “criminal neglect” over improving the
public schools. The school board president said in the Post a
couple weeks ago, “We were given a mark by the mayor. We were told it
would be basically a waste of our time to exceed the mark. . . . In the
past, we’ve been beaten up for exceeding the mark. . . .” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5678-2005Jan13.html).
While assisting an out-of-town genealogist, I contacted the
Washingtoniana Division of the Martin Luther King Library in search of a
yearbook for Armstrong High School. I learned that the Library has no
yearbooks for Armstrong, nor for Dunbar. They have a few of McKinley
Tech’s, but that’s all. I was really surprised that there weren’t
any yearbooks for any of these schools.
So here’s the plea. When spring cleaning arrives, please think of
the Washingtoniana Division and make a donation. They cannot grow
without donations. Without donations, amateur genealogists cannot locate
information about their families. Please contact Ms. Karen
Blackman-Mills, who is the Chief Librarian for the Washingtoniana
Division, at 727-1213 for more information.
Nothing Inappropriate about Brown’s Campaign
Jamie Kendrick, Service Employees International Union, firstname.lastname@example.org
As one of the major contributors to Kwame Brown’s campaign for city
council At-Large councilmember, I must say that we are stunned by the
recent reporting and reaction to his campaign expenses – not because
there is anything inappropriate about how Kwame’s funds were used, but
because a) we really don’t see what the news is, b) we don’t see
what difference it makes, and c) it was fairly common knowledge
throughout the campaign.
SEIU members, through their several local unions and through
individual contributions, contributed more than $4,000 to Kwame Brown’s
campaign. We expected nothing in return (other than to beat the pants
off Harold Brazil, who repeatedly stood in the way of social and
economic justice initiatives for working families.) We knew full well
that Kevin McGhaw, his campaign manager, and Che and Marshall Brown, his
family members/field coordinators, were working without any compensation
throughout the entire campaign, including many times not even
reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses like gas, meals, etc. We also
knew that if Kwame won the Primary, he would be able to raise additional
funds and reimburse Kevin, Che, and Marshall for some (a fraction,
really) of their time and value. Perhaps it is because we were so close
to Kwame during the campaign, but we fail to see the news. Next time,
the reporters ought to ask the contributors how they feel about the use
of their funds -- fairly common practice in reporting on campaign
The members of the Service Employees International Union in the
District of Columbia stand by Kwame Brown.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Public Library Events, January 27, 29
Debra Truhart, email@example.com
Thursday, January 27, 1:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 221. Something Novel Book Club. Read and
discuss The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Public contact:
Thursday, January 27, 6:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 307. Kickoff party for 100th anniversary
of the Washingtoniana Division at the D.C. Public Library. This event
will mark the start of a yearlong series of programs, exhibits and
publications celebrating one the most extensive collections of materials
about the District of Columbia. The collection includes items about the
District’s history, society, architecture, natural history, people,
politics, law and government. Two exhibits, Treasures of
Washingtoniana and Washingtoniana Then and Now: The First 100
Years, will be on view from January 10 through April 10 in the
Division. Public contact: 727-1213.
Saturday, January 29, 2:00 p.m., Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library,
5625 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Author and dancer Chan Park will discuss
his new book, Tango Zen: Walking Dance Meditation. Program
includes a demonstration and a book signing. Sponsored by Friends of the
Chevy Chase Branch Library. The D.C. Public Library is not responsible
for, nor does it endorse, health information given to participants
during the program. Public contact: 282-0021.
National Building Museum Events, January 29-30
Brie Hensold, firstname.lastname@example.org
All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW,
Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Saturday, January 29, 1:00-2:00 p.m. Government Girls of World War
II. This film, narrated by Cokie Roberts, tells the story of the young
women who flocked to Washington, DC, during the 1940s mobilization for
World War II. The film complements the exhibition Washington: Symbol and
City. Free. Registration not required.
Sunday, January 30, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Flying in the Great Hall.
Learn about model airplanes as members of the DC Maxecuters fly their
planes in the Museum’s Great Hall. Watch rubber band-powered free
flight model airplanes soar in a series of launches throughout the day.
Free. Drop-in program. Appropriate for all ages.
Sunday, January 30, 12:00-3:30 p.m. Breezy Bird Kite. Create a
kami-tsubame, meaning “paper sparrow.” This Japanese flying toy will
twist and turn when it flies through the air. Presented in conjunction
with Five Friends from Japan: Children in Japan Today. $3 per project.
Drop-in program. Appropriate for all ages.
CLASSIFIEDS — FREE
Nice light oak and white wood dining/kitchen table with four chairs,
outdoor mailbox with post, and ceiling fan fixture (no blades), all in
good condition. No charge, however you must pick up all items before
Saturday, January 29.
CLASSIFIEDS — PETS
Beautiful Calico Ready for Adoption
Pat Yates, PatEdCats@aol.com
Dolly, a recent resident at the DC Animal Shelter but now living in
my foster home, is a two-year-old, happy, sweet, affectionate lap cat.
Her previous owner gave Dolly to the shelter because she thought that
Dolly was sucking the breath from the owner’s new baby. Au contraire!
Dolly brings life, she doesn’t take it. This is a truly fine house
cat, made even cuter by a tail that was accidentally bobbed to
two-thirds length, soft, long fur with beautiful markings, and a slight
resemblance to Carol Channing.
Call 265-2855) or E-mail if you might like to come meet her. You can
see her picture, and the pictures of other wonderful cats and dogs ready
for adoption, on http://www.washhumane.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Repairs, Restoration, and Renovation
Romes Calhoun, email@example.com
There have been a number of times that inquiries have been made from
subscribers to the newsletter about good people found who are reliable
and provide quality work. I have found such a person who is currently
doing work on my house. His name is Dennis Mosley and can be reached at
703-527-9514 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His web site is http://mysite.verizon.net/resofb3e/.
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