There are many things to call to your attention this week, so I won’t
comment on any of them; make up your own comments. The rebel,
anti-corruption slate won the Washington Teachers Union election, and
the election marked the end of the American Federation of Teachers
supervision’ of the local union. Although the local papers haven’t
covered it yet, the AFT online newsletter has a brief article on it this
The Washington Examiner, the new free daily tabloid newspaper,
starts publishing on Tuesday. It will be available in street boxes, and
you will get free door-to-door delivery if you live in an expensive
enough neighborhood. Its web site, which will be at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com,
isn’t up yet, but Harry Jaffe has written the best story about their
business plan: http://www.washingtonian.com/inwashington/buzz/011105.html.
The DC Pulse, the new “urban arts and entertainment”
magazine, does have a web site: http://www.dcpulse.com.
A recent report on red light cameras by the Virginia Transportation
Research Council for the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Transportation
found decidedly mixed results: “Further the data show that the cameras
are correlated with a definite decrease in crashes that are directly
attributable to red light running, a definite increase in rear-end
crashes, a possible decrease in angle crashes, a net decrease in injury
crashes attributable to red light running, and an increase in total
injury crashes.” The abstract, at http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/05-r21.htm,
has a link to the full report.
Ex-Councilmember Kevin Chavous has become a Distinguished Fellow with
the Center for Education Reform, an organization that promotes charter
schools, and the Center announced last week that the Sonnenschein law
firm, where Chavous is a staff attorney, is creating its own charter
school, the Legacy Charter School, in Chicago: http://www.edreform.com/index.cfm?fuseAction=document&documentID=1962.
Return the Budget Surplus to the Homeowners
Matt Forman, Matthew.Forman2@verizon.net
As the Washington Post reported, the city has yet another
budget surplus (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39835-2005Jan26.html).
At the beginning of every year, the city’s Chief Financial Officer
claims that the sky is falling, but by the end of each year, he
announces a surplus. No doubt, a large part of the surplus was derived
from massive real property tax increases paid by residents over the past
few years. The article mentions that part of the surplus will fund
reductions in income tax — a paltry reduction from 9.3 percent to 9.0
percent, resulting in a savings of $150 for $50,000 of income, which
pales in comparison to the real estate tax burdens homeowners have had
to bear. In many cases, real estate taxes have doubled, resulting in an
increase in payments of hundreds to thousands of dollars per homeowner
per year. But since the income tax reduction applies to all incomes over
$30,000, this means that the surplus will be spread to non-homeowners
who shared no part of the increased property tax burden. The money
should be rightfully paid back to the people who paid it in the first
Tilting at Windmills
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom
Mayor Williams has announced a goal to eliminate homelessness in the
next decade. What a ridiculous and unachievable goal. To begin with,
homeless people will always be there unless all the mental hospitals are
reopened. To spend money and resources on this hopeless cause takes that
money and the resources away from more attainable goals, like improving
the schools and the educational processes. Stop tilting at windmills,
Tony, or buy my horse, Rosinante.
US Public Opinion About Equal Rights for DC
Mark David Richards, contact at markdavidrichards dot com
Just before the turn of the century in 1997 and 1999 (so long ago), I
conducted national opinion research to learn a little bit about
awareness and opinions on DC political rights. The research was
published at http://www.dcwatch.com/richards/000412.htm
in April 2000. Public Perspective magazine also published a
summary article at http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/pubper/authors/richards.pdf.
Now we have updated information. DC Vote commissioned the national
study of 1,000 US adults to update the trend questions and to expand on
what we learned before. We found that support for equal Congressional
voting rights has increased since 1999, to 82 percent today. For the
first time, we have a measure of awareness for all adults: 78 percent
think DC citizens already have the right to vote in the Senate and
House, and 4 percent are not sure. (Previously, I only had awareness
data among college graduate voters.) Today, 18 percent of US adults are
aware that DC does not have equal Congressional voting rights. Those who
have visited the District are more aware than others. We also found
support for DC budget autonomy and tested reasons for supporting DC
voting rights. To see the report, visit http://www.dcvote.org/pdfs/polls/polljan2005.pdf
Spencer S. Hsu wrote about the poll last week: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33746-2005Jan24.html.
For comparison, he provided historical data in his article. DC Vote held
a voting rights forum on Tuesday, which Tom Sherwood wrote about: http://www.dcvote.org/media/media.cfm?mediaID=923.
Tom Toles crafted an astute editorial cartoon on the topic, see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/opinion/tolestom/?name=Toles&date=20050126.
On Thursday, Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) joined D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes
Norton to introduce the No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2005: http://hsgac.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=894&Month=1&Year=2005&Affiliation=R.
WTOP covered the story, see: http://www.dcvote.org/media/media.cfm?mediaID=915.
The Deseret Morning News, http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600107571,00.html,
and The Puerto Rico Herald, http://www.puertorico-herald.org/issues2/2005/vol09n04/WashUpdate0904-en.shtml,
offered commentary. Noticias.info published the results here: http://www.noticias.info/asp/aspComunicados.asp?nid=46325&src=0.
Ilir Zherka of DC Vote wrote about Baghdadis and Washingtonians in The
The Globalist is conducting an unscientific readership poll on DC voting
rights on its web site: http://www.theglobalist.com/.
For other media coverage, see http://www.dcvote.org/media/coverage.cfm.
(The topic was not discussed on the DC Politics Hour.)
Interactivity at the Washington
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
The Washington Post is doing a fabulous job increasing the
interactivity it has with its readers. Here’s one example from the
religion section: "Do you believe there are religions other than
your own that offer a path to God? E-mail responses of 100 words or less
to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and telephone number."
Next up? Explain in haiku form your views both supporting and
opposing Social Security reform.
It is absolutely legal to procure a disabled parking space in front
of your house, and it is necessary if you live in a congested
neighborhood. I have seen such a space on Upton Street, NW, although to
my knowledge anyone with a disabled tag may use the space. Of course, it
is unlikely any disabled person other than the homeowner would want to.
The Usual Suspects Show Their Usual Backsides
Dorcas Dessaso, email@example.com
I made up my mind at the end of last year that I was not going to
read any more stories about the baseball fiasco, but I could not help
but laugh my ass off when I read about those poor suckers (oops, I mean
baseball fans) who had the nerve to believe they were going to get
“prime” seats in the upcoming games [themail, January 26]. Did they
forget where they were? This is the “butt-kissing capitol” of the
world! It’s all who you know and unless you know Mr. Tavares you don’t
count! HAHAHAHAHA . . . still laughing my ass off!
Matt Forman wrote [themail, January 26] that the DC Text Alert system
now operates like the boy who cried wolf, with constant inane messages
of the most mundane events. I respectfully disagree. While the alerts
may not have pertained to earth-shattering events, like a terrorist
attack, they are helpful. Since January 21, the four messages from DC
Text Alert have been: a winter storm warning (January 21), reporting on
the status of the snow emergency (January 22), a wind chill advisory
(January 24), and the minor power outage (1/25). Just presenting the
Sharlene Kranz, Office of Councilmember Kwame R. Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cecilio Morales wrote last week [themail, January 12] inquiring about
the bus shelter on Connecticut Avenue across from the Regency House
seniors building. According to Alex Eckmann at DDOT, the shelter at
Connecticut Avenue and Huntington Parkway has been replaced.
Local TV Stations and News
Harold Goldstein, email@example.com
Several complain about the quality of local news. Having Baltimore
local news for over a year now (since we live about 300 feet into Howard
County, Direcway considers us Baltimore oriented) makes me appreciate
how good the local news in DC actually is in comparison to most markets.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Public Library Events, February 1, 2, 3
Debra Truhart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, February 1, 4:00 p.m., Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park
Neighborhood Library, 7420 Georgia Avenue, NW. A Black History Month
program that will include a discussion and reflections on the life and
literary contributions of African American writer Langston Hughes. Young
adults. Public contact: 541-6100.
Wednesday, February 2, 12:00 p.m. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5. The Audiovisual Division of the
D.C. Public Library presents its sixteenth annual African American
history film festival that features documentaries on famous African
Americans. Richard Wright: Black Boy. 6 p.m.: Elijah Muhammad
and Marcus Garvey.
Wednesday, February 2, 1:00 p.m. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW., Second Floor East Lobby. Poetry Read Here!
DC Public Library staff will read their favorite poems. Public contact:
Thursday, February 3, 12:00 p.m. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5. Brown Bag Recital Series. Cellist
Vassily Popov and pianist Ralitza Patcheva perform music by Haydn,
Mozart and Rinaldo Hahn. Public contact: 727-1285.
Thursday, February 3, 2:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 221. The Piano Lesson, a play by
August Wilson, will be discussed. Public contact: 727-1281.
Thursday, February 3, 7:00 p.m. Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Library,
3160 16th Street, NW. Punto Vivo Series: Heart Like a Drum: Love in
African American Poetry, a poetry reading exploring the concept of
romantic love in African American poetry. Hosted by Melanie Riviera and
featuring three local writers. Includes open mic and refreshments.
Public contact: 671-0200.
National Building Museum Events, February 1,
3, 6, 12
Briana Hensold, email@example.com
All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW,
Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Tuesday, February 1, 6:30 p.m. The New York-based firm Gwathmey
Siegel Architects has combined opulence with an intellectually rigorous,
well-crafted modernism, sometimes described as "baroque
modernism." Charles Gwathmey, FAIA, who CO-founded the firm with
Robert Siegel, FAIA more than thirty years ago, will discuss some of his
firm’s award-winning work, including the Tangeman Student Center at
the University of Cincinnati, the James S. McDonnell Hall of Physics at
Princeton University, the renovation of and addition to New York’s
famed Guggenheim Museum, and other educational, cultural and private
projects. After the lecture, he will sign copies of the firm’s new
book Gwathmey Siegel: Apartments (Rizzoli). $12 Museum members; $17
nonmembers; $10 students. Prepaid registration required.
Thursday, February 3, 6:30 p.m. The colonial revival is one of the
most pervasive and persistent themes in American culture. Richard Guy
Wilson, University of Virginia professor of architectural history, will
discuss how Americans have defined themselves by creating an idealized
nationalistic expression in architecture, decorative arts, painting,
literature, and gardening. He will explore some of the myths and symbols
of the colonial revival -- the Pilgrims, the "New England"
village, the hearth, Mount Vernon, sturdy yeoman farmers, and spinning
women -- that have persisted across nearly two centuries of American
artistic production. After the lecture, he will sign copies of his book The
Colonial Revival House (Abrams). $10 Museum members and students;
$15 nonmembers. Registration required.
Sunday, February 6, 1:00 p.m. In this seldom seen film Antonio Gaudi
(1984, 72 min.), Japanese filmmaker Hiroshi Teshigahara takes viewers on
a grand tour of the Catalan architect’s enchanting and eccentric work.
With a minimum of narration, Teshigahara uses expressive camerawork and
evocative music to capture the whimsy and fantasy of Gaudi’s designs.
To introduce the film, Guido Francescato, professor of architecture,
University of Maryland, will discuss Gaudi and his influence on such
artists as Picasso, Miró, and Dali. $8 Museum members and students; $10
nonmembers. Registration required.
Sunday, February 6, 2:00 p.m. Visit the exhibition Five Friends from
Japan: Children in Japan Today and explore how culture, climate,
location, and natural resources affect the way people live. Afterwards,
build a model of a traditional Japanese house. $7 per house for Museum
members; $10 nonmembers. Ages 8 and up. Registration required.
Saturday, February 12, 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Special bus tour of the
restoration of James Madison’s Montpelier. Located in Orange County,
Virginia, the Montpelier mansion, home of James Madison, fourth
president of the United States, is undergoing a major, four-year
restoration that will return the structure to the size, form, and
furnishings that James and Dolley Madison knew in the 1820s. A major
part of the restoration involves removal of additions to the mansion by
owners after Madison’s death in 1836. In an exclusive tour, Alfredo
Maul, associate director of architectural research for The Montpelier
Foundation, will lead an extensive, behind-the-scenes tour explaining
the archaeological and architectural research underlying the
restoration. Tour participants will also see recreations of two Madison
rooms from Montpelier and other furniture and decorative arts on exhibit
at the education center. Open only to Museum members, $70. Fee includes
roundtrip bus transportation from the Museum, box lunch, and admission
fees. Prepaid registration required and must be received by February 4.
Limited space available. To become a member, visit http://www.nbm.org
or call 202 272-2448.
Public Hearing on a Cultural Hub in Greater
Shaw/U Street, February 22
Chris Bender, firstname.lastname@example.org
The District of Columbia Government’s Office of Planning and
Economic Development (DMPED) and the Office of Planning (OP) will
conduct a public hearing to receive comments on DUKE: Draft Development
Framework for a Cultural Destination District within Washington, DC’s
Greater Shaw / U Street. The hearing will take place on Tuesday,
February 22, at 6:00 p.m., at Florida Avenue Baptist Church, Fellowship
Hall, 623 Florida Ave., NW. Each individual or representative of an
organization who wishes to present testimony at the public hearing is
requested to furnish his or her name, address, telephone number, and
name of organization represented (if any) by calling 442-8964 no later
than 12 p.m., Thursday, February 17. All oral presentations will be
limited to five minutes. Written statements may be submitted for the
record until the conclusion of the public hearing.
DUKE addresses the redevelopment of key public-owned buildings and
land, including the Howard Theater and Grimke School on Vermont Avenue,
National Capital Revitalization Corporation’s Parcels 33 & 42,
Metro’s Shaw Parcels and private parcels in the 7th Street/Georgia
Avenue and U Street/Florida Avenue commercial corridors. DUKE will guide
will District agencies and commissions on the development of affordable
housing, local businesses, cultural facilities and programming,
transportation and traffic, zoning, and local resident participation.
While the plan calls for five to ten years of development, it plans
outline how to achieve progress sooner rather than later. Once public
comment ends, the District will submit DUKE to the Council for approval.
A copy of DUKE is available on the OP website at http://www.planning.dc.gov
under “Project Summaries.” Individuals may also request a copy of
DUKE by E-mailing or calling Kevin Brady, Staff Assistant at OP, at. email@example.com
or 442-8964. Forward written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
or via fax to 727-6703. Mail comments to Derrick Lanardo Woody, Project
Manager, Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development,
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317, 20004.
AARP 2005 Legislative Forum
Tony Copeland, email@example.com
Older District residents had a roller-coaster political year in 2004.
And we face new challenges in 2005. If you’d like to get a better
understanding of the issues facing older District residents in 2005, and
how the new Congress and Council will likely respond to the issues AARP
members care about, please join AARP DC for a legislative forum on
Friday, February 25, 12:00-3:00 p.m., at Chevy Chase Community Center,
5601 Connecticut Avenue, NW (corner of Connecticut and McKinley Street).
Free parking and a free box lunch will be provided.
Participants will include Mike Naylor, AARP Advocacy Director; Tom
Nelson, AARP Chief Operating Officer; Mimi Castaldi, AARP DC Director;
Romaine B. Thomas, AARP DC President; Mark Plotkin, WTOP political
commentator and analyst; and Bruce DePuyt, Host of “News Talk,” NewsChannel
8 To reserve a seat and box lunch, please call 1-877-926-8300 by
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
At our library on the Hill, we get occasional requests for tutors. We
have an organization in our files that offers tutors for adults; we’d
like to have a list of volunteers who tutor children. Failing that, a
list of tutors for pay would be helpful as well.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to
switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the
subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages
are available at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.
All postings should also be submitted to email@example.com,
and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of
Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to
be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief
paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can
be put into each mailing.