Dear Attentive Readers:
Biggest breaking story this week: Mark Segraves’ investigative
series on WTOP, which will continue throughout the next several days, on
contracting irregularities and favoritism linked to City Administrator
Robert Bobb and baseball contracts. The first story, with links that
will be updated to all the subsequent stories, is at http://stage-www.wtop.com/index.php?nid=25&sid=407182.
Councilmember David Catania has already requested that the DC Auditor
investigate the contracting: http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/sports050202.htm.
Councilmember Phil Mendelson has introduced a bill to require
political exploratory committees to report their contributions and
expenditures, just as though real money and real political influence
were involved. The bill isn’t numbered yet, but it’s available at http://www.dcwatch.com/council16/16-a.htm.
(The address will change when the bill is numbered, with the “a”
replaced by the number.) The Washington Post editorialized
yesterday that: “Unregulated cash and clean politics don’t mix. Any
law that allows political money to be raised under a promise of
anonymity should be stricken from the city’s books. . . . The public
deserves to know the source of every dollar that is given. And DC voters
should pay close attention to how council members vote on Mr. Mendelson’s
bill. A no vote is a yes vote for corruption.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52769-2005Jan31.html.)
The issue can’t be put more simply than that. The Post article
that outlined the exploratory committee issue was published Monday (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49997-2005Jan30.html).
Corrections: the URL address that I gave for the Washington
Examiner in the last issue of themail appears to be only for
corporate communications; newspaper content is slowly being added to http://www.dcexaminer.com,
which will be their web site. Kathy Sinzinger of The Common
Denominator wrote to point out that, even though no story about the
final results of the Washington Teachers Union election had appeared in
the printed newspapers, the Denominator had an online story about
it at http://www.thecommondenominator.com/012705_update1.html.
National Capitol Medical Center
Eric Rosenthal, Eric.email@example.com
The Ward Six Democrats sponsored a forum Monday night on the National
Capitol Medical Center, the Mayor’s proposal to build a new hospital
for Howard University on the site of DC General using upwards of $100
million of public funds. The Mayor was represented by Robert Bobb, the
City Administrator. Councilmembers David Catania and Kwame Brown spoke
at the forum, as did representatives from Howard, the DC Hospital
Association and the DC Primary Care Association.
Catania cited overcrowding in emergency rooms as evidence that we
need a new hospital. He offered no response to several speakers who
pointed out that overcrowding occurs because many patients go to
emergency rooms for medical problems that would be better handled in
primary care settings. Bobb talked about the new hospital as if it were
a fait accompli. While he insisted over and over that he is
working to build a new hospital only because the need is demonstrated by
“empirical evidence,” he failed to share any of his evidence with
The DC Hospital Association web site reports that on average 25
percent of acute care hospital beds are unfilled each day. Virtually all
morbidity and mortality in the District result from hypertension, heart
disease, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases that are best handled by
primary care facilities, not by emergency rooms and not by acute care
hospitals (and I say this as an emergency room doctor). If our elected
officials would focus on people’s health care needs, instead of their
own political health, no doubt they would come up with a better use of
$100 million than building another hospital in DC.
The latest word about the spacious and usually empty UDC pool is: the
pool will be open for about fifteen to twenty hours a week, but it will
cost the general public $60/month or $200/semester to join as a
community member. The woman at the "aquatics office" informed
me that the semester is defined as January to May. Considering the pool
was closed the entire month of January, and the lackadaisical management
there can never guarantee the pool will remain open when classes are not
in session (a week in March and the last two weeks in May), I started
laughing. She didn’t understand the humor.
Disabled Parking Spaces
James Treworgy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Penniman confirms [themail, January 30], though without
references, that the practice of setting aside street parking for
handicapped plates in residential neighborhoods is legal, and necessary.
Whether or not this is the case, I’d like to reiterate the original
question: What is the standard? Can anyone with handicapped plates get
one? Is this a good thing? There are a great many people in this city
with handicapped tags. I suspect most don’t realize they have this
tremendous, unused benefit waiting for them. Should the secret get out,
I am sure that at least a half-dozen spots, scattered up and down my
street, will shortly become unavailable to the general public.
Like any other kind of reserved on-street parking, this is a double
whammy. First, because the amount of space taken is greater than that
used by a typical car on-street when parking is unrestricted, and
second, because the spot will sit empty when it’s not being used by
its “owner.” Nobody else can use it. So when they’re on vacation,
or at work, or in Florida for the winter, nobody can use it. Mr.
Penniman says it’s necessary if you live in a congested neighborhood.
I would argue that in a congested neighborhood, the opposite is true —
the cost is too high for everyone else. Every reserved spot probably
takes away the equivalent two street spots from everyone else,
considering the extra size, the fixed position, and the nonuse of the
spot when the “owner” is absent.
I am sympathetic to the needs of handicapped folks. But when did
driving, and parking on street, in front of your own house in an urban
city setting, become a right? What next — will we issue a “right to
drive” so that all the handicapped folks who currently take the bus
instead of driving at all can join the road warriors? What if there are
eight people in a single apartment building who apply for such a spot
— will we set aside the entire street? Or does this only apply to
wealthier handicapped people who live in single-family houses?
Disabled Parking Spaces
Sharlene Kranz, email@example.com
DMV and DDOT rules do allow a disabled person to obtain a disabled
parking space. The permit number on the street sign erected by DDOT is
matched to the permit number on the person’s handicap tag issued by
DMV. The space is to be used only by the holder of the handicap tag, not
by anyone else, even a family member. To petition DDOT to erect such a
sign, the handicap tag holder must get the signatures of 56 percent of
his/her neighbors in agreement. The privilege goes with the person, not
the car. If any of your readers wish more information on this procedure,
please E-mail me directly.
Response to Ed Barron
Gina Kline, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to the posting by Ed T. Barron, "The Tilting of
Windows" [themail, January 30]: I think it is important for readers
to know that the elimination of homelessness in Washington, DC, within
the decade, is hardly a “ridiculous and unachievable goal” as Mr.
What makes the goal “ridiculous and unachievable” in our
wealthiest nation on earth is individuals who fail to embrace the facts
about homelessness and its origins. Mr. Barron alludes to the fact that
“homeless people will always be there unless the mental hospitals are
reopened.” This comment is shortsighted to say the least. Individuals
are homeless for a myriad of different reasons, one of which involves
problems caused by mental health related concerns. However, let’s be
clear. There are numerous individuals who work every single day without
mental health issues, earning a low wage that excludes them from ever
obtaining housing in this city of ever-inflated prices and a crisis-like
scarcity of affordable housing. These individuals sell concessions at
the MCI center, and work in the glossy hue of the newly renovated
downtown BID, but will never earn enough money to be truly counted as
residents of our city.
Mr. Barron suggests we focus our attention upon more “achievable
goals” like improving schools and “educational processes.”
However, I wonder if Mr. Barron knows any of the more than nine hundred
families that are precariously housed in shelter in the District that
often send kids to school who are hungry, have slept in an open room
with five other families, or who have stayed awake all night worried
about their safety? Perhaps ending homelessness in the District would,
in fact, bode well for our “educational processes.”
New City Politics Column
Andrew Lightman, Managing Editor, email@example.com
Check out “The Nose,” our new city politics column. Now that
Loose Lips is defunct, get your DC political fix in The Last Word
section of our three papers (The Hill Rag, East of the River, and
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS AND CLASSES
DC Public Library Events, February 7-8
Debra Truhart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, February 7, 6:30 p.m., Northeast Neighborhood Library, 330
7th Street, NE. Monthly book chats about mysteries. Call for book
titles. Public contact: 698-3320.
Tuesday, February 8, 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. Lumumba: Death of a Prophet.
Author to Discuss John Wilkes Booth, February
Jerry A. McCoy, email@example.com
Author Michael W. Kauffman will discuss “American Brutus: John
Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies” on February 10, at 6:30
p.m., at the DC Public Library’s Washingtoniana Division, Martin
Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC.
The event is free. Information 727-1213.
Free Umpire Training Clininc, February 12
Pat Bitondo, firstname.lastname@example.org
DC Babe Ruth announces that the Regional Umpire in Chief for the
National Babe Ruth League will conduct a Free Umpire Training Clinic on
Saturday, February 12. The clinic will be held at the Metropolitan
Police Boys and Girls’ Club #10, located at 2500 14th Street, NW, from
9:00 a.m-3:00 p.m. This clinic is free to individuals sixteen years and
High school students between sixteen and eighteen years old: you can
start a new career by becoming a Junior Umpire with DC Cal Ripken
Baseball and have spring-summer supplemental employment umpiring
baseball games for youths aged twelve years and under. A requirement is
that you must attend this clinic.
This clinic is open to all interested parties. For further
information or to confirm your attendance, contact Gerard Hall,
582-3909, E-mail email@example.com,
or visit the web site at http://www.eteamz.com/dcbaberuth
for more information.
Washington Storytellers Theater in association with The National
Capitol Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and The National
Family Caregivers Association is proud to present: Judith Black:
Retiring the Champ: Coaching Life’s Last Big Bout, at The City Museum
of Washington, DC, 801 K Street, NW, on Saturday, February 19, 8:00 p.m.
Ticket price $15 (senior, student and group discount rates available) at
the door or in advance by calling 545-6840, or on-line at http://www.washingtonstorytellers.org.
Street or garage parking nearby (check web site for details). Metro: Red
(Chinatown), Green/Yellow (Mt. Vernon / Chinatown), Blue/Orange (Metro
The delightful and moving story of Trina — known also as “the
little Pitt Bull” — and her battle with Alzheimer’s. The eldest
child of immigrants, teacher, and union organizer in the New York City
schools, Trina, at 83, was still throwing punches. With moments of
laughter and redemption, this is a story about coaching a feisty
prizewinner through her last big bout and her son and caretaker’s
journey from angry boy to soulful adult.
CLASSIFIEDS — VOLUNTEERS
Baseball Coaches Needed
Pat Bitondo, firstname.lastname@example.org
DC Cal Ripken Baseball desperately needs volunteer coaches for youths
aged twelve years and under. Anyone interested in coaching or assisting
coaches, please contact email@example.com
or telephone Pat Bitondo, 337-2843. Volunteering with youth activities
in DC are very rewarding.
CLASSIFIEDS — WANTED
My computer was stolen and I need a quick replacement.
CLASSIFIEDS — PETS
Two Persian Cats Need a Permanent Home
Tedd Appel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Persian cats seek a permanent home. Both are neutered and
up-to-date on all shots and ready to go to their new home. You can see
pictures of Matt and Mr. Boots and read their stories at http://www.mrgeoffreys.com.
This is not a “free to good home” ad but rather a foster placement
for the Washington Humane Society.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
We need to paint the exterior of our house and we will appreciate
suggestions regarding people who can do a good job
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