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April 6, 2005

Spring Day Wasted

Dear Springers:

Finally, we had a real spring day in Washington — warm temperature, a nice breeze, bright sun, and the cherry blossoms blooming. Life is good. Unless, of course, you spent the day indoors, reading proposed legislation before the city council.

Two bills, so new that they don’t have council numbers yet, have been badly misnamed. The mayor has submitted an “Omnibus Public Safety Act of 2005” ( The mayor’s office is promoting it as a “comprehensive anti-crime bill,” but it is really a grab-bag of minor initiatives — good, bad, very bad, and indifferent — that have little to do with public safety but have been on the Metropolitan Police Department’s and Attorney General’s wish lists. It increases penalties for a number of crimes, but its only crime prevention strategy is the controversial proposal to create Prostitution-Free Zones in which constitutional rights are basically suspended and the police can run everyone off of the streets. Most of its proposals are on the level of fighting domestic violence by making it a crime to disable a telephone that could be used to report domestic violence, or of discouraging car theft by juveniles by taking away their drivers’ licenses and by making it a crime to change VIN numbers. The bill was drafted by a small group including the mayor, MPD Chief Ramsey, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Ed Reiskin, Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti, and the US Attorney’s office — and community and council input and comment was neither sought nor wanted. The council will hold a hearing on the bill on May 31.

Vincent Orange displayed his sense of humor by ironically calling his bill the “Election Reform Amendment Act of 2005” ( The bill basically legalizes everything corrupt that the slots proponents did in their petition drive last year, smoothing the way for them to use the same tactics in their next drive. Orange, whose four-year council term coincides with the election schedule for the mayor and council chairman, also revealed his envy of the half of councilmembers who are elected in the off years by including a provision that would require officeholders who run for another office to resign their current offices if they lose the election.

One more thing worth reading, and wasting your beautiful spring day on, is the “Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: First Year Report on Participation,” conducted by the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, released yesterday (

Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill


Baseball Parking
Bryce A. Suderow,

It will probably surprise readers of themail that attendees of the baseball games at RFK Stadium are parking in an area where there’s a gang war raging. I am talking about the area northeast of the Safeway located at 15th and D Streets, SE. Since November of last 7 or 8 people have been shot. The most recent victim was killed last week.

I said it will probably surprise you because the Washington Post certainly hasn’t covered the gang war. As a stakeholder in creating the image of a safe new Washington, it isn’t in the Post’s interest to do so. I wonder if the Post would cover a shooting during a game. I guess I’ll wait and see.


DC World War Memorial Progress
Mark David Richards, Dupont East, mark at mark david richards dot com

I visited the DC World War Memorial,, and was really happy to see the National Park Service added signs telling some of the story of this District civic landmark and its contribution to fighting for the US democracy!

A “cherry picker” sits next to the Memorial, ready to pull out the little trees that will start to take root in the dome. Stop by for a visit on your visit to see the beautiful cherry blossoms. Happy spring!


DCPS and Peeing Uphill
Phil Carney,

Taking advantage of the quiet of DC Public Schools spring break last week, Debby Hanrahan and I repainted the front entrance of Ross Elementary School. While painting, I used the boys room and discovered that there are five new urinals. I barely was tall enough for the urinal. I am supposed to be the height of an average American man, although my legs are short. Of the five new urinals, three are adult height and only two are child height — in an elementary school.

If DCPS does not comprehend the height of children and cannot use simple common sense, can DCPS ever possibly cope successfully with serious and complex problems? Elementary school boys are not adults and need plumbing facilities appropriate to their height. Doh.


Speed Cameras
Regina-Carmen Page,

In regards to Ms. McKernan’s question [themail, April 3] about the "grace period" for violations issued via newly installed photo radar, I too have the same problem. I was issued a citation dated February 16 from the camera located in the 100 block of Michigan Avenue, NE. Upon learning through widespread media reports that the effective date of actual fines wasn’t until March 21, I requested mail adjudication. With my request, I included documentation that included the report posted on WJLA/ABC-7’s web site, and the same information posted on MPD’s web site. Subsequently, I received notice — in an envelope with MPD’s logo and return address —- that the initial $50 fine has doubled! I won’t even bother calling 727-1000, as it became clear long ago that it serves as a repository for serializing requests that are frequently ignored (i.e., residential parking).


Speed Camera Tickets
Victoria McKernan,

Thanks to Lucinda Babers at the DMV, who responded to my query in themail [April 3] about the grace period for the photo-tickets. She confirmed that real tickets were not supposed to have been issued until March 21, only warnings. However, once a ticket is written you are basically stuck with having to adjudicate it. So I’ve sent it in for mail adjudication along with her E-mail response, and we’ll see what happens. Anyone else who might need to do this can contact me and I’ll forward her E-mail.


Guitar Club Forming
Phil Shapiro,

I’ve been playing guitar for the past twenty-five years and love showing others how to play. The thought occurred to me that there would be a benefit to the community to have a no-dues “guitar club” where people meet once or twice a month to teach each other guitar in a small group setting. If you know anyone wanting to learn guitar here in the DC area, thanks for passing along my name and E-mail address. If I can find four or five people interested in this, we might get something rolling. I’d also like to hear from other skilled guitar players who would be interested in participating in such a club. You don’t have to be very good. Just good enough to show others how to play.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, you can watch me teaching guitar at and at This latter learning activity was spontaneous — unplanned. One of the youth was holding the video camera, hence the video is a bit shaky.


Floyd Agostinelli
Malcolm L Wiseman, Jr.,

[Re: posting in themail, April 3] Rev. Mr. Floyd Agostinelli was a staunch supporter of full democracy for DC and did not ever make any efforts to secure “voting rights” for its residents. He was a member of Stand Up for Democracy in DC Coalition and fought for DC statehood.



Can I Get a Ride to the Gallery Opening, April 9
Afrika Midnight Asha Abney,

Celebrating the Arts, at the Montessori Foundation, 901 North Pitt Street, Alexandria, April 9, 4-7 p.m. Free and open to the public. Afrika Midnight Asha Abney’s exhibiting two afrocentric mask pieces. For more information contact Kim Randle at

I have to arrive by 1:00 p.m., and Metro does not go to where the event is held. Can someone provide transportation for me and stay until the event ends?


National Crime Victims Week Opening Event, April 10
Stephanie Handel,

National Crime Victim’s Week begins Sunday April 10. The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing is cosponsoring with ROOT, Inc., and The Ozziddi Project an evening that remembers, honors, and brings light to crime victims and their families. Sunday, April 10, from 6-9 p.m., at Lincoln Theater. Community Resource Exhibit begins at 5 p.m.. The evening will be filled with song, dance, and spoken word and theatrical performances to promote victims rights and services in our society. This event is free and family friendly.

Tickets available through or at the Lincoln theater box office.


DC Vote Member Raffle for Opening Day Nationals Tickets, April 14
Shawn Rolland,

With only eight days left until the historic, inaugural opening day of the Washington Nationals, good, available tickets are as scarce as congressional voting rights for DC residents. On next Tuesday, April 13, DC Vote will randomly select one current or new DC Vote member to receive two great seats to the National’s opening day game. The inaugural opening day game will take place on Thursday, April 14 at 7:05 p.m. at RFK Stadium against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

To renew your membership or to become a new DC Vote member, visit or come by the DC Vote office at 1500 U Street, NW. Current DC Vote members are those who have donated $20 or more to DC Vote between January 1, 2005, and April 12, 2005. New members have until 11:59 p.m. on April 12 to make a donation to be eligible for the tickets. The winner is responsible for picking up the tickets from DC Vote.


DPW E-Cycling Events, April 23, May 14
Mary Myers,

This spring, DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ focus on the environment highlights the important issue of recycling obsolete electronics. As part of the District’s celebration of Earth Day, the DC Department of Public Works and the Clean City Office are partnering with federal agencies, George Washington University and the Dell Corporation to sponsor a special electronics-recycling event on Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Carter Barron Amphitheater on 16th and Kennedy Streets, NW. A second e-cycling event will be held in conjunction with DPW’s regular Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., also at Carter Barron.

Old computers and accessories, office equipment, TVs and other electronics comprise a rapidly growing segment of America’s waste stream. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, more than 3.2 million tons of electronic waste is laid to rest in landfills each year. Many types of electronics contain significant amounts of potentially hazardous materials such as arsenic, lead and mercury. In the US it is estimated that approximately 70 percent of the toxic metals in landfills comes from discarded electronics. Pollution and the potential for adverse health affects from improper disposal of electronics are becoming serious concerns. Additionally, almost all of the materials in electronics -- from plastics and glass to precious metals can be extracted and reused. E-cycling your end-of-life electronics keeps their harmful components out of landfills and supports the recovery and reuse of valuable materials. Residents may bring televisions and audio-video equipment, cell phones, home office equipment, computers, computer parts and computer components for end-of-life disposal or recycling. All computer monitors and TV screens must be intact — not cracked, punctured or shattered.


The Status of Land-Grant Universities in the New Millennium, April 15
Stephanie Brown,

The Honorable William C. Pryor Chapter of the Black Law Student’s Association of the David A. Clarke School of Law cordially invites the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Community to an all day symposium. Discussion will be centered around “The Status of Land-Grant Universities in Urban Areas: Access, Accountability, and Activism.”

Friday, April 15. Registration is from 8:15 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Program starts at 9:00 a.m. First panel discussion begins at 10:00 a.m. Campus of UDC, Building 38, Second Floor, Window Lounge. Metro Bus L2, Metro Rail/Red Line, Van Ness Metro Station. Street metered parking available; UDC garage parking $8.00/day.

There will be four panels: 1) What is an Urban Land Grant Institution? 2) How does UDC School of Law meet its mission and satisfy its role as an Urban Land Grant institution? 3) What is required from an institutional perspective to actualize the vision in light of the Urban Land Grant and HBCU status? 4) Specific examples of what we are currently doing and how those activities meet the expectation or how they must be aligned to fulfill the unique mission and purpose of UDC. Luncheon keynote speaker: Vernellia Randall, Professor of Law, University of Dayton School of Law.


UDC Foundation Gala, April 27
Michael Andrews,

The University of the District of Columbia Foundation has announced that top jazz performer David “Fathead” Newman will headline the entertainment for the Foundation’s Fourth Annual Gala, scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC The gala is the Foundation’s primary fundraising event, with proceeds going to support the University of the District of Columbia. Newman, a tenor saxophonist, was a twelve-year member of the late Ray Charles’ Band. His most recent release, “I Remember Brother Ray,” pays tribute to this relationship. It was during his time in the Ray Charles Band that Newman came to know a local jazz icon, the late Calvin Jones, who, in addition to being an accomplished musician, also headed the University’s Jazz Studies programs until his death last fall. To honor this professional relationship, Newman will pay tribute to the late trombonist during his performance.

This is the fourth year that the University of the District of Columbia Foundation has hosted its fundraising gala, which is not only as a celebration of the University, but as a way for the corporate and other private citizens of the District to show their support for the good work being done at the only public university in the nation’s capital. The purpose of the Foundation is to solicit funds for student scholarships, and to advance and benefit the programs and mission of the University of the District of Columbia. William J. Sim, the President of PEPCO, is serving as the Foundation’s Gala Chairman this year. Tickets are available for this evening that combines outstanding entertainment and food with a program that supports the citizens of the District of Columbia in a unique manner. Tickets are $250 and may be purchased by calling 342-1988.



Jesse Baltimore House
Mary Rowse,

The posting about the Jesse Baltimore house in the last issue of themail,, contained an incorrect web site address for more information about the house. The correct link is



NordicTrack Achiever Exercise Equipment
Ann Carper, rochester54 at

Whether, as NordicTrack’s web site envisions, you’re getting ready to rock climb in Yosemite, river raft on the Colorado, or simply get ready to fit into that new swimsuit, this approximately ten-year-old ski machine might be the ticket. Works fine, folds up nicely, and comes with an instructional video.


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