Dear Remaining Washingtonians:
On April 21, the Census Bureau released its latest state population
projections for 2030 (see the press release at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/004704.html
and the table of state projections in Excel format at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2005/stateproj7.xls).
The Bureau projects that in the next quarter century the District of
Columbia’s population will fall 24.2 percent, from its 2000 census
figure of 572,059 to just 433,414. As the term “projection” implies,
the Bureau just projects current population trends in births, deaths,
and immigration to and emigration from DC to arrive at this figure, but
it would be interesting to find out more about implications of these
trends. Does the Bureau foresee, as many of us do, a hollowing out of
the District’s population, losing the middle class in favor of just
the rich and the very poor, losing married couples in their middle years
in favor of just singles and the young and old? What does this mean for
the racial make-up of the city? A serious review of these questions
would be worthwhile.
But I am distracted from serious issues by the city’s official
response to the projection, given by Mayor Williams in his press release
here quoted in full: “Mayor Anthony A. Williams today disputed the US
Census Bureau's 2005-2030 population projections and suggested that
officials there had grossly undercounted DC's population: ‘Despite
7,000 new housing units built in the last four years, despite dropping
rental vacancy rates, fewer abandoned homes and an explosion of activity
by developers all over the city, the Census Bureau today projected that
the city will lose 138,000 people between now and 2030. That projection
is laughably wrong. It runs contrary to all of the city's best planning
projections, which continue to show a surge in growth that will swell
the city's population to 712,000 by 2030. I have great confidence in our
own projections, which have historically been more accurate than those
of the Census Bureau, and completely reject this poorly constructed
estimate. People who live in this area need only look out their windows
to see the significant increase in the city's population. My hope is
that with continued efforts to spread affordable housing to all corners
of the city, along with new commercial growth downtown and near a
revitalized Anacostia River, our city will maintain its healthy pace of
Mayor Williams’s response has inspired me to compose a series of
letters, three of which I shall share with you. “Dear Bank Manager: I
have reviewed my latest monthly account statement, and I find the
balance to be laughably low. My own income expectation, and the rapid,
almost exponential growth in bank deposits that I foresee, would
indicate that a much higher balance would be more accurate, and I demand
that you correct. . . .” “Dear Census Bureau: I note that you
project that my wife and I will age twenty-five years between now and
2030. This does not comport with my own expectations, which show that I
shall age no more than two or three years during that time period.
Indeed, my wife grows younger in my eyes each day, and I believe that a
more realistic figure is that she will grow two to three years younger
during the next quarter century. I expect that you will issue a
retraction. . . .” “Dear Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex,
Gender, and Reproduction. . . .”
Who Benefits from the DCIZ
Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Proposal
Marilyn Simon, MJSimon524 at yahoo.com
After a careful reading of the text amendment that the DC Campaign
for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (DCIZ) has sent to the Zoning
Commission, it is clear that this proposal benefits no one other than
the developers of luxury condominiums. The negative impact on many
neighborhoods is clear, since the DCIZ proposal will allow, without
Advisory Neighborhood Commission or further Zoning Commission review,
massive increases in height, density, and lot occupancy through much of
The proposal, through extremely generous increases in allowable
heights and densities, will lead to destabilization of some
neighborhoods by accommodating and accelerating development on a scale
that is incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood and far larger
than that neighborhood can support. Meanwhile, the proposal diverts
development from other neighborhoods that cannot support luxury
condominiums, neighborhoods that could benefit from stabilizing new
development, and discourages the rehabilitation of existing buildings
that cannot take advantage of the bonus heights and densities. Further,
the proposal does not provide any housing to households that cannot
afford to rent existing apartments. Proponents of this proposal are
seeking support from the ANCs. I hope that the ANCs will go beyond the
superficial presentations and consider the impact that the actual
proposal will have on the neighborhoods across the District.
The proposal provides extremely generous increases in the allowed
height and density of new development, far beyond that which was
contemplated when our neighborhoods were planned. For example, at the
Fannie Mae site on Wisconsin Avenue, the existing building is slightly
less than 400,000 square feet. With current zoning, a developer could
add over 1,080,000 additional square feet (1,080 large apartments),
while maintaining the existing office use. With the inclusionary zoning
proposal, the developer could add approximately 300,000 SF
(approximately 360 units) of bonus space, beyond the 1,080,000 SF of new
space currently allowed. This is 20 percent of the approximately 1.5
million SF currently allowed on the site. Since affordable housing is 12
percent of the units, but the units are smaller than the market-rate
units, less than one third of the bonus 300,000 SF would be used for
affordable housing, with the remaining increase in height and density
available for market-rate housing. The bonus market-rate housing, at
current prices, can sell for $120-140 million. The affordable housing
units, part of the bonus density, can be sold for prices above their
construction costs: half the 600 SF one-bedroom apartments selling for
approximately $195,000, and the other half selling for approximately
$110,000 (with a development cost less than of $78,000, based on the
costs of some luxury condominiums in OP’s latest pipeline report).
Since the text amendment specifies that this bonus is available as a
matter of right, no zoning approval would be required, and the relevant
ANC would not be given an opportunity to weigh in on its
appropriateness. In addition to the increase in density, the text
amendment allows an increase in the maximum height, from currently
allowed 65 feet to 78 feet, and an increase in the portion of the lot
which the building can cover, from the current limit of 80 percent to 96
percent of the site.
The proposal will accelerate the already rapid rate of development in
high income, stable, established neighborhoods by providing the most
valuable density and height bonuses in those neighborhoods. This rapid
rate of development and increase in allowable development will
destabilize some of those neighborhoods. The bonus height and density
allowed is most valuable in those neighborhoods where luxury
condominiums can be built and sold. With larger market-rate units, the
affordable units use a smaller percentage of the bonus floor area.
Further, the bonus market-rate units have a higher price per SF. With
the most valuable bonuses in stable neighborhoods, the DCIZ proposal
will divert development from other neighborhoods that can benefit from
Further, the proposal does not provide housing to households that
cannot afford existing rental units in the District. Half the units will
be sold or rented to households with "moderate incomes," i.e.,
incomes under $71,400 for a four-person household, or under $57,120 for
two-person household. At 30 percent of their income, a four-person
moderate-income household can pay $1,786 in rent. The other half of the
units will be sold or rented to households defined as having "low
incomes," with incomes below the lower income limit, which for 2005
is $44,650, who can pay approximately $1,116 a month in rent. According
to a recent Fannie Mae Foundation report, the median advertised rents in
the District were $900 for a studio, $1,150 for a one-bedroom, and
$1,750 for a two-bedroom unit, with half of the advertised apartments
renting for less than these amounts.
It is obvious, when you read the proposal carefully and do the math,
that the DCIZ text amendment does not benefit the District, harms many
neighborhoods and only provides extra profits for developers, while
removing ANCs and the Zoning Commission review from the process. The
proposal that is being considered is available at http://www.policylink.org/DCIZ/TextAmendment.pdf.
for Unaccountable Mayor
Ed Dixon, email@example.com
In response to Parents United's failing report card for Mayor
the editorial staff at the Washington Post made excuses. These
excuses are the same excuses that we hear the Washington Post
editorial staff groan over when they come out of the Board of Education
or DC Public Schools. The fact of the matter is that Mayor Williams
political allegiance is not to the school children in DCPS but to the
business community entrenched in the city, whose members are often not
residents of the city.
If the mayor's idea of taking over the school system was such a good
idea, as the Post editorial board has proposed, than perhaps the
idea of streamlining accountability should be taken one step further.
Frequently the Congress interferes with the mayor's decision, so should
we return all the control to Congress to help make government decisions
more efficient? I don't think the Post would get anywhere with
that argument, and they are not going to get anywhere by raising the
idea of eliminating the school board again (other than their usual ploy
to derail budgetary decision making on DCPS).
The Post's declaration that responsibility should be shared
between the various local authorities is true. But the Post's
idea of not singling out problems in the leadership leaves the citizenry
unempowered. The last council election was if nothing else a referendum
on the fate of the schools, with the dismissal of Councilmembers Kevin
Chavous and Harold Brazil. Both had heralded their promises and
“success” in public education. The city finally caught up with them
and put them out. Similarly, the removal of Dwight Singleton from the
school board came from a similar sentiment. It's time that the city
start looking at Mayor Williams as a problem for the badly managed
public school system and stop making excuses for him.
A preliminary count of parking tickets written in the Hill East and
Kingman Park neighborhoods during the first three Washington Nationals
baseball games at RFK indicates that more than 800 cars were ticketed --
or roughly 220 per game. But, as we now know, many and possibly most of
the cars were ticketed in error, because ticket writers did not know the
rules or ignored valid stickers in their haste to write tickets. Other
cars of residents with legitimate rights to park in the area were
ticketed because the owners had not yet heard of the new enforcement
rules or gotten the proper special event sticker.
The Washington Times has reported that traffic enforcement on
April 14 (Opening Day) alone cost the city $300,000. The massive
ticketing and towing campaign in the neighborhood has continued for
three more games and was in evidence last night, April 20. We have no
way of knowing how many of the 812 ticketed cars actually belonged to
fans going to the first three games. The possibility remains that most
of the ticketed cars belonged to Hill East residents who did not deserve
The count for the first weekend baseball series: Thursday, April 14,
opening day: 144 cars in the special event zone had no RFK Decal 1; 22
farther from RFK had no residential zone 6 permit (RPP), and 22 cars
were ticketed for other violations. Saturday, April 16: 163 cars had no
RFK decal; 91 had no Zone 6 RPP permit; 26 had other violations. Sunday,
April 17: 277 cars had no RFK decal; 45 had no Zone 6 RPP permit; 43
cars had other violations. Totals: 584 cars had no RFK decal; 137 had no
RPP permit; 91 had other violations. Also, approximately 36 cars were
towed during the first three games.
I’m delighted to report that the First Amendment Rights and Police
Practices Act of 2004 became law in the District of Columbia within the
past few days, having survived the period of congressional review that
is required for all laws enacted by the locally-elected legislature of
this taxed-but-unrepresented colony. Enacted after a two-year
investigation by the DC Council Judiciary Committee, under the strong
leadership of Kathy Patterson, this law provides significant additional
protection for the public exercise of free speech and free assembly in
situations where police have sometimes been unfriendly and courts have
sometimes been murky.
In some key provisions, the new law:
1. Declares that it is the official policy of the District of
Columbia that persons and groups have a First Amendment right to conduct
demonstrations “near the object of their protest so they may be seen
and heard.” The law requires the police to “recognize and
implement” this policy (Sections 103, 104(a), 107(a)). We hope this
will make it harder for the police to create the supersized buffer zones
that have begun to appear around events that generate protest.
2. Replaces the existing “permit system” with a “notice
system” under which demonstrators need not seek a permit to
demonstrate, but merely provide advance notice to the police department,
which may then impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions by
issuing an “approved plan” for the demonstration, after negotiations
if there’s disagreement about the details (Sections 104(b), 105, 106).
Requiring a police permit to demonstrate suggests to police,
demonstrators, and courts that Americans need the government’s
permission to exercise First Amendment rights. But they don’t, or
shouldn’t. We hope this change in nomenclature will result in a change
in attitude on the part of police, and also a better understanding of
their rights on the part of the people.
3. Provides that no notice at all is required for assemblies of fewer
than fifty persons that do not occupy the streets, and for marches or
parades of any size that plan to remain on sidewalks and obey traffic
lights (Section 105(d)). The major justification for “permits” is
the need for advance police planning. No planning is needed in
circumstances such as these.
4. Prohibits the police from dispersing or arresting demonstrators
solely for failing to give advance notice, even for demonstrations that
are not exempted from the notice requirement. Instead, the police must
accommodate such demonstrations if possible (Section 107(f)(1)). Some
have expressed concern that this provision will deny the police advance
notice of significant events — which we agree is useful — but we don’t
share that concern. Major demonstrations will want the benefits of
having an approved plan, including police protection and exclusive use
of a route or area. And the police know about significant demonstrations
through their own intelligence.
5. Prohibits imposing any restriction on an assembly based on the
content of the beliefs that will be expressed (of course that’s
settled law, but it’s nice to have it in the statute book), or based
on the “attire or appearance” of persons participating or expected
to participate (wearing black clothing doesn’t make you a vandal)
6. Prohibits imposing restrictions on First Amendment activities that
are not imposed on similar non-First Amendment activities (Section
7. Requires police officers to wear identifying badges and
nameplates, and, when policing demonstrations, to wear “enhanced”
identification “even if wearing riot gear” (Sections 109, 321). We
understand that the DC police have now stenciled ID numbers on riot
gear. It’s about time.
8. Prohibits dispersal of an assembly in response to problems arising
at the event, unless a “significant number or percentage of the
assembly participants are engaging in, or are about to engage in,
unlawful disorderly conduct or violence toward persons or property” or
a “significant number or percentage of the assembly participants fail
to adhere to … time, place, and manner restrictions,” and means
short of dispersal fail to restore order (Section 107). New time, place
or manner restrictions may be imposed on an ongoing demonstration only
if there is an “imminent likelihood of violence endangering persons or
threatening to cause significant property damage” (Section
9. Requires that any order to disperse must be clear and audible, and
that participants must be provided a “reasonable and adequate time to
disperse and a clear and safe route for dispersal” (Section 107(e)).
This responds to problems we have had with inaudible orders and “trap
and arrest” techniques.
10. Prohibits the use of police lines to encircle demonstrators
except to protect their own safety (e.g., from counter-demonstrators),
or unless there is probable cause to arrest a “significant number or
percentage” of the participants and an intention to make such arrests
11. Requires the police to contemporaneously record the justification
for each arrest; the Chief of Police must account in writing for any
failure to do so (Section 110). This also responds to a problem we’ve
encountered at mass arrests.
12. Permits restraints (e.g., handcuffs) to be used only “to the
extent reasonably necessary … for the safety of officers and
arrestees” and specifically prohibits restraining an arrested
demonstrator “by connecting his or her wrist to his or her ankle [or]
in any other manner that forces the person to remain in a physically
painful position” (Section 111).
13. Requires the police to provide adequate staff and processing
systems to ensure that persons arrested in a demonstration are promptly
processed for release or presentation in court; requires that such
arrestees be given written notice of their rights, including their
release options; requires immediate release of arrestees as to whom
arrest documentation has not been prepared and preserved; requires the
police to provide food “food appropriate to the person's health” to
any person not released within a reasonable time (Sections 112, 113).
These provisions respond to problems we’ve had with overlong
detentions, inadequate or inaccurate information given to arrestees, and
14. Prohibits the deployment of riot-geared police except where there
is “a danger of violence” (Section 116(a)). The deployment of riot
troops around peaceful demonstrations has become commonplace; we believe
that practice foments violence rather than preventing it.
15. Prohibits the use of “large scale canisters of chemical
irritant” against demonstrators unless the commander at the scene
determines that such use is “necessary to protect officers or others
from physical harm or to arrest actively resisting subjects.” The
commander must file a written report of explaining his decision within
48 hours (Section 116(b)).
16. Requires that news media representatives be given “reasonable
access to all areas where a First Amendment assembly is occurring”
17. Declares that “[t]he provisions of this [law] are intended to
protect persons who are exercising First Amendment rights in the
District of Columbia, and the standards for police conduct set forth in
this [law] may be relied upon by such persons in any action alleging
violations of statutory or common law rights” (Sections 117 &
18. Title II of the new law is a detailed regulation of police
investigation and surveillance of activities protected by the First
Amendment. Investigations must be based on “reasonable suspicion” of
criminal activity, defined as “a belief based on articulable facts”
and not “a mere hunch,” and may not be based on the “race,
ethnicity, religion, national origin, lawful political affiliation or
activity, or lawful news-gathering activity of an individual or
group.” Investigation techniques are limited, and written
authorizations, periodic review, and accountability are required
throughout the system.
I was on the X-2 bus today when an incident occurred that seems worth
mentioning. A thin, bespectacled, light-skinned, black man got on the
bus as I sat on the aisle and positioned himself directly in front of
me. He wore a tool belt bristling with objects. The tool belt and his
back were almost in the faces of two teen-aged black girls. One of the
girls said to him, “Excuse me.” He ignored her. She said again,
“Excuse me, you stepped on my foot.” He continued to ignore her.
“You'd better apologize,” she said. “You're lucky I didn't hit you
in the face.” He still ignored her.
To diffuse the situation, I offered to let him take my seat. A
statement from the only white man on a bus of black people only served
to direct the hostility of the four black people in the vicinity against
me. “What did you say?” the angry girl asked me twice. I explained
that I had offered my seat to him so that he couldn't step on her feet.
From that point on she regarded me with open hostility. The man with
glasses said nothing to me, but regarded me with a disdainful look. A
burly black man on the seat to my right noted the bespectacled man's
rejection of my suggestion and approvingly commented to him, “Some
people do things just because a white men suggests them.”
The girl got off the bus, but the man with glasses and my burly
neighbor continued to glower at me until I got off. So what's the moral
here? That white people should ride the bus but keep their mouths shut?
Let's see how fair the “cap” is with some specific cases. There
are several magnificent mansions here in Mount Pleasant, assessed at
well over a million dollars. The owners of a couple of those are doing
rather well; their property taxes being cut by 50 percent by the cap. My
own house is assessed at quite a bit less than theirs, but the cap is
worth a mere 7 percent break to me. The cap reduces my taxes by just
$520 a year, while the owners of the millionaire mansions are reaping
$5000 and $6000 benefits, and paying less property tax than I am. Next
year I'll be paying 100 percent of my assessment, while they're still
saving thousands on their property taxes. Is that fair?
Take another Mount Pleasant example, that of a series of five nearly
identical row houses, three owner-occupied, two rentals. The three
homeowners are currently enjoying a 40 percent reduction in their
property taxes, courtesy of the cap. The rental units get no benefit
from the cap, nor do they get the homestead deduction, so those owners
are paying about $3000 a year higher taxes. I think we can assume that
the higher property taxes are passed on to the renters, and it's no
wonder that rental rates here are skyrocketing. Is it fair to have a
property tax policy that places a heavier burden on renters than on
The right way to deal with the problem of escalating real property
values would be to increase the homestead deduction to protect
low-income homeowners, and cut the tax rates so that the total property
tax revenues remain constant. The notion of “capping” the annual
rate of property tax increases, so our huge tax increases are spread out
over several years, is like cutting off a dog's tail an inch at a time
so it won't hurt so much.
Budget Increases 4 Percent; Property Taxes 12
Matt Forman, Matthew.Forman2@verizon.net
The city council imposed a 4.7 percent spending cap increase for the
2006 budget. The mayor’s office sent around representatives to the
various community association meetings to give presentations on the
mayor’s 2006 budget, in which they informed us that their proposed
budget actually came in below the limit, at only 4 percent. So if the
budget is going up only 4 percent next year, then why is the mayor
proposing to keep increasing our real property taxes at 12 percent per
year? Why are we forking over 8 percent more than is necessary to keep
the budget afloat? No wonder there’s always a surplus. And, oh yeah,
homeowners make up only about 40 percent of the population, so only some
of us are getting screwed.
I’m trying to develop and organize a list of DC-specific bloggers
arranged by category. The web site is http://www.dcblogs.com.
Every blog is potential treasure, but it’s not easy finding blog
writers who pen about city life. Many have developed good link rolls,
and following one link after another leads to some finds. I’m trying
to refine some of this and provide a summary on what’s new.
I’m especially interested in community journalism trends, in
particular the so-called “citizen editor” idea. I write about that
at another site: http://www.newsbloggy.com.
If you would like your blog listed, or know of one I should list, please
send it along.
Audio Book Issue in Fairfax Public Libraries
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
There's an interesting fairness issue brewing in the Fairfax Public
Libraries. Leaders of this library system think it's a good idea to
provide audio book downloads in Windows Media file format. These digital
rights managed (DRM) files won't play on Macintosh or Linux computers,
nor on iPods. Taxpayer funds are being used to pay for the audio books.
A friend asked me to write a song about this to help the library system
better understand how their actions are discriminatory. I've posted the
song at http://www.writersforliteracy.org/youraudiobook.mov.
Throughout the history of our country, rights have only vested after
they have been specified in law. From voting rights to gender rights to
civil rights to disability rights, the rights were freely disregarded
until specified in law. What's needed is a digital equal protection
amendment so that this issue doesn't get revisited every time someone
comes up with another bright idea.
Do you know who is getting the shortest end of this stick? The
tenants in affordable housing units in Northern Virginia, where Linux
computer labs have been set up for them to use. Many of these tenants
are hardworking immigrant families. Could the adults and children in
these families benefit from greater access to audio books? You tell me.
“Sorry, buster, you're a digital minority. No audio books for you.”
How about this for irony — one of the books currently inaccessible?
Martin Luther King, Jr., On Leadership: Inspiration and Wisdom for
Challenging Times, by Donald T. Phillips. I hear it's a good book.
Having said all the above, I'm a huge fan of the Fairfax Public
Libraries and deeply cherish the contributions Lois Kirkpatrick has made
right here in email@example.com
over all these years. Inclusive is good. Once this issue is sorted out,
I really do hope the Fairfax Public Libraries holds a symposium on the
rights of digital minorities and on technology access issues in general.
We're all human and prone to make mistakes. Learning from and rising
above those mistakes knits us closer together as a community. I wonder
if my good friends at the Washington Post would be interested in
sponsoring such a symposium. Whatdya say? A time for some healing and
moving forward? Are we here to learn from one another and grow?
Microsoft Office Instructor Ad
Malcolm Wiseman, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Re the Classified Ad in themail, April 17]: Please tell me that
Howard is also hiring or already providing instructors for OpenOffice
(http://www.openoffice.org) along with the proprietary MS Office suite.
Governments and organizations, especially those with limited resources,
owe it to their constituents to use free-to-the-public, General Public
License software wherever possible. OO is every bit as robust as MSO in
most office environments. To train someone on a budget how to use a
powerful yet free business tool is really doing something for that
person. When you're teaching vendor-specific, proprietary software,
you're just working for the vendor.
Anything you are doing in MS Office or MS Word, you can do in
OpenOffice. They all run in Windows, so they essentially look the same.
A small business will save what is on their scale a lot of money by
incorporating professional-grade GPL systems and applications like
Linux, OpenOffice, and MySQL. I think the General Public License is the
first thing they oughta teach in B-school. Oh, check that -- elementary
Neil Richardson, Ananda001@aol.com
While I agree with Gary and Dorothy’s conclusion [themail, April
20] that it may be hard to “sustain the illusion of the administration’s
concern about revitalizing neighborhoods,” there are several factual
errors that need to be corrected. The Neighborhood Action Initiative did
not have vaguely defined or overlapping responsibilities. Neighborhood
Service coordinators take care of core services (rats, trash and
potholes), Neighborhood Planners asked people to create plans about what
folks wanted their neighborhoods to be 3-5 years in the future. The
Executive Office of Neighborhood Action formed the citywide strategic
plan and guided the connected offices in incorporating the public voice
based on data from the Citizen Summits and community meetings. The data
collected was context for the city budget and policy priorities. All of
this could be found on the Neighborhood Action web site. The concept was
complex, not vague. The only office that had the task to create a
“network of community supporters for the Mayor’s initiatives” was
Community Affairs, not unlike the constituent services office in nearly
every municipality in the country. This office was only nominally
connected to Neighborhood Action, and we provided no oversight.
Under the leadership of Beverley Wheeler and myself, after her
dismissal, the initiative remained firmly committed to listening to what
the public thought regarding issues and we added that insight to policy
and budget development. Only in the last few months of last year was I
ever asked to use the resources of the office for political purposes. I
resigned shortly thereafter. The promise of the initiative was to listen
objectively and report objectively; this promise was never broken.
Regarding specific achievements, there are many including a citywide
strategic plan, strategic neighborhood action plans (SNAPs), citizen
summits and myriad community meetings, abatement of persistent problem
areas, and crime reduction in Hot Spots. Added to this are achievements
by ServeDC and the Office of Partnerships and Grants Development that
also connected their work through Neighborhood Action.
Neighborhood Action was an innovation that failed. It was an idea
that was before its time in this city. We had hoped to create a system
for the public voice to be more directly heard. Neighborhood Action had
many enemies because it sought to bring greater transparency to
important issues that faced the city. Cynicism was its strongest foe and
the one that finally destroyed it. I am not sure what is more
remarkable, the fact it failed or the fact that it almost worked.
In “The Big Question” (themail, April 17) Gary Imhoff praises
Colby King for his op-ed assessment of mayoral candidates. I, too,
follow King's pieces with great interest and usually find his opinions
well-founded. However, in what Imhoff describes as a “one-paragraph
takedown” of Councilmember Jack Evans, King gets his facts wrong and
steps over the line. On Friday, April 22, the Post printed my
letter responding to King's column (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7931-2005Apr21.html).
I applaud Mr. King for publishing a direct challenge to his position; he
personally saw to the task.
Injecting racial undertones into the fledgling contest for mayor is
risky business. As readers of themail know, there are social and
economic issues of great importance that candidates need to address. If
today's debate (seventeen months before voters head to the polls) is
tainted, what can we expect come the summer of 2006 when campaigns are
heated and heading into the homestretch? Already I've listened as one
potential candidate described how he is blacker than another. Doubts
regarding a white candidate becoming mayor are not uncommon either. All
of this is nonsense
District residents should hold politicians accountable to the highest
principles, and our hometown newspaper should present a tone of
comparable standards. It is only in this kind of campaign environment
that a clear understanding of qualifications and ideas can be divined,
and the best interests of District voters served.
Gabe Feels Pepco’s Pain
Larry Seftor, larry underscore seftor .the757 at
Gabe Goldberg, while apparently living in Virginia, apparently feels
Pepco’s pain as they provide subpar service to DC. In his flame “How
Long Does Pepco Really Take to Respond” [themail, April 20], Mr.
Goldberg accuses me of hiding facts, while all he does is present
guesses about Pepco’s tardiness. Mr. Goldberg, the evidence is my
statement: “call placed, over two hours to respond.” Your statement
that there might have been “a hot wire down on a road or some other
emergency,” are guesses, and groundless ones at that. The fact of the
matter is that, as a consumer, the internal operations of a private
company that has contracted to provide a service is not and should not
be my concern. My next-door neighbor has a buried power line and has had
no outages compared to my last eight! Since Pepco has decided to provide
power to my house via lines through the trees, they need to have
sufficient crews standing by to correct the problems that this faulty
delivery mechanism entails. I have lived many places around the country,
I have paid many electric bills, and I have been subjected to outages.
Pepco provides a lower level of service than I have received elsewhere.
I don’t expect a free lunch, as Mr. Goldberg accuses. But I do expect
a level of service comparable to what is provided elsewhere (including
Mr. Goldberg's Virginia).
DCFPI Analysis of Mayor’s Proposed Budget
Ed Lazere, email@example.com
On April 21, DCFPI released a summary of the proposed budget
submitted by Mayor Williams for FY 2006. The DCFPI analysis found that
the proposed budget is 6.0 percent higher than the revised FY 2005
budget. This is lower than the growth rate for proposed budgets in most
of the DC suburbs. The budget includes $108 million in new or expanded
initiatives, including $78 million in so-called “community
investments” and $30 million for roads and bridges. More than half of
this additional funding is targeted on lower income residents, including
funds for job training, child care, homeless services, and literacy
programs. The DCFPI report provides a complete list of the community
The proposed budget also includes a substantial amount of one-time
expenditures, including additional funding for capital construction
projects. DCFPI's report provides a complete list of these “resident
dividends.” The mayor's budget includes $94 million in tax relief, $22
million for property taxes and $72 million in income taxes. These
include some progressive tax changes, such as an expansion of the DC
Earned Income Tax Credit and an increase in the Homestead Deduction
under the property tax. The budget also would continue implementing
income tax cuts under the Tax Parity Act, which would provide
substantial relief to high-income households.
The full report can be found in the DC Fiscal Policy Institute's
Budget Toolkit at http://www.dcfpi.org/4-21-05bud.htm
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
National Building Museum Events, April 28
Brie Hensold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW,
Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Thursday, April 28, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Architects and engineers with
vision seek to create buildings that are both aesthetically pleasing and
environmentally responsive. Steven Strong, president of Solar Design
Associates, Inc., will present an overview of Solar Electric
Architecture, using outstanding examples of solar-powered residences and
commercial buildings from Europe, Japan, and the US. Afterwards, he will
sign copies of his books. Free. Registration not required.
Thursday, April 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Each year the American Institute
of Architects’ Committee on the Environment (COTE) invites architects
to submit sustainable designs for the annual Top Ten Green Projects
competition. Vivian Loftness, FAIA, 2005 COTE chair, and David Nelson,
AIA, a member of the 2005 COTE advisory group, will discuss this year’s
winners, many of whom will be present to briefly discuss their projects.
$12 Museum and AIA members; $17 nonmembers; $10 students. Registration
Pirates Command the Stage at Duke Ellington
Theater, April 28-May 1
Mary Kay Claus, email@example.com
A would-be picnic on the beach brings out pirates, beautiful young
women, hopes of marriage and honor, orphans, and an inconvenient
misunderstanding of the meaning of Leap Year when the Washington
Savoyards, Ltd., the area’s premier Gilbert and Sullivan light opera
company, produces The Pirates of Penzance at the Duke Ellington
Theater. With veteran stage director Ray Cullom at the helm, the
production offers audiences a fresh carnivalesque look at the classic
story of love versus loyalty. Uri Kogan, tenor, makes his Washington
debut as Frederic, and Kari Paludan, soprano, returns to the Savoyards
stage as Mabel. Long-time Savoyard Michael Galizia, bass, is The Pirate
King. They are supported by an ensemble cast of pirates, maidens,
police, and the classic "Modern Major-General." Gilbert and
Sullivan’s popular comedic opera premiered in New York, 1879. In a
letter to his mother, written soon after the premiere performance,
Sullivan wrote, "I think it will be a great success, for it is
exquisitely funny, and the music is strikingly tuneful and
catching." The same holds true at this year’s performance of one
of our most popular and endearing works of light opera.
Evening and matinee performances are scheduled April 28 through May
1. Visit http://www.savoyards.org/tickets.htm
or call 315-1323 for ticket information, including special rates for
seniors, children, and groups. The Savoyards participates in “Stages
for All Ages.” Children under 17 are free, if accompanied by a paying
adult. The Washington Savoyards Ltd., incorporated in 1972, features a
unique blend of professional and amateur artists, each committed to its
mission of bringing the joy of opera to audience members of all ages.
Celebrate Spring with the Revels, April 30
Connie Ridgway, kaniru at aol dot com
The Washington Revels is bringing in the May with a May Pole dance,
children's songs, a Mummer's play, and lots of wonderful traditional May
and spring songs. Saturday, April 30, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at the
National Arboretum's Flower and Plant Sale, and Sunday, May 1, from
3:30-5:30 p.m., at the Audubon Naturalist Society Nature Fair. Visit http://www.revelsdc.org
for further information.
The Society for Women’s Health Research is sponsoring a 5K run and
1-mile walk on Saturday, May 7, at 8 a.m. in West Potomac Park, on Ohio
Drive, SW, just South of Independence Avenue. The event kicks off
National Women’s Health Week, May 8-14, and serves as a springboard
for "Sex Differences in Health Awareness Day," Tuesday, May
10, which is the Society’s National Health Observance to draw
attention to biological health differences between women and men. Come
out to support women’s health and bring friends and family for a fun
morning of exercise in one of Washington’s beautiful and scenic
national parks! Registration is just $15 and you can register online: http://www.womenshealthresearch.org/events/runwalk.htm.
For more information or sponsorship opportunities, contact Richard
Schmitz at 496-5011 or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The top overall male and female finishers will each receive a Timex
watch with GPS and heart rate monitoring technology, the second overall
male and female finishers will each receive a Timex watch with heart
rate monitoring technology, and the third overall male and female
finishers will each receive a Timex Ironman watch; all watches are
courtesy of Fashion Time. The top finishers in six age groups will
receive: a $20 gift certificate to City Sports and gift certificate of
at least $25 from Fashion Time.
Woman’s National Democratic Club Woman of
the Year, May 11
Tamara O'Neil, email@example.com
The Woman’s National Democratic Club Educational Foundation Woman
of the Year Award will be given on May 11, 6:30 p.m., at The Woman’s
National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Price: $150
($90 tax deductible) before May 1; $175 after May 1.
Ellen R. Malcolm, the founder of EMILY's List, will receive the 2005
Woman of the Year Award from the WNDC Educational Foundation at a gala
dinner. The list of those attending the dinner reads like a who's who of
Washington players. Tributes will be given by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep.
Rosa DeLauro, Mary Beth Cahill, Judy Litchman of National Partnership
for Women and Families, Cecile Richards of America Votes, Steve
Rosenthal of America coming Together, and Joe Solmonese of the Human
Proceeds from the event help fund WNDC-EF's numerous philanthropic
endeavors such as providing training for future leaders through the
Young Women's Leadership Project and intern program, providing college
scholarships to deserving Washington, DC, high school students,
educating the public through speaker programs, and operating a
nationally recognized museum dedicated to educating the public on the
history of women in national and regional politics. For more information
about this event, please contact Tamara O'Neil at 232-7363, ext. 3002.
The Four Nations Ensemble at Grace Church, May
Sam Carabetta, firstname.lastname@example.org
The renowned Four Nations Ensemble, featuring Broadway chanteuse Anna
Bergman and Ann Monoyios, soprano, will present Torch Songs, an
innovative program exploring the world of heartbreak and longing in
music, from Purcell to Gershwin and Couperin to Noel Coward. Hundreds of
years may separate them, but heartache and desire are common grounds on
which all composers have written their most moving and beautiful
works.For almost two decades, Four Nations has developed a leading
presence on the early music scene in New York and across the country,
performing at major houses and series throughout the US, including the
Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center.
The concert will be held on Sunday, May 22, at 5:00 p.m., as part of
the Grace Church Concert Series, at Grace Episcopal Church, 6507 Main
Street, The Plains, Virginia. Suggested donation $15. For further
information, please call 540-253-5177 or visit our web site http://www.gracechurch.net.
CLASSIFIEDS — SERVICES
Tara Goldberg, The AHJ Group, email@example.com
There are more than seventy District of Columbia funded construction
projects, all requiring District of Columbia Certified Contractor or
Supplier participation. If you are a District based Contractor, your
Business may qualify to bid on these projects. Contractor services that
are needed include all construction trades, building maintenance,
security and landscaping services, and suppliers of construction
materials, uniforms, office supplies, and equipment. These are L.S.D.B.E.
certification projects. If your business is not a District of Columbia
Certified L.S.D.B.E. business, contact the AHJ Group by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 256-1651, Monday-Friday, 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
CLASSIFIEDS — DONATIONS
Do you have shoes you want to get rid of? Don’t want to throw them
away? Is so, then we need your shoes. DC Coverings Kids and Families
will be holding a press conference during the week of May 1st to
highlight “Covering the Uninsured Week.” Our aim is to highlight the
challenges faced by the uninsured and the underinsured. The shoes will
be used to represent the number of residents in DC that need health
insurance coverage. If you would like to help us in our cause, you can
drop off your shoes no later than April 29 at the following locations:
Healthy Babies Project, 801 17th Street, NE, or DC Action for Children,
1616 P Street, NW, Suite 420. After the event, shoes donated will be
given to those in need.
If you are unable to drop off your shoes, we will pick them up for
you. Just call me at 234-9404 or E-mail email@example.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — FREE
Free: three hundred new legal size (14") hanging file folders,
2" capacity. Pick up from Freedom Plaza office location. C'mon, if
you have legal size file drawers, you must need these.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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