The DC Public Schools’ strategic plan, “Declaration of
and the final report of the DC Education Compact, “A Call to
were both released on May 2. Your review of them and comments on them
are welcome. Do they raise your hopes and expectations, or are they just
more of the usual educationalese verbiage?
I’d also welcome any comments about Allan Lengel’s important
article in Monday’s Washington Post, “Safety Stops Draw
Doubts: DC Police Gather Nonviolators’ Data,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/01/AR2005050100848.html.
Our current city administration and Metropolitan Police Department seem
to be inclined to violate our civil liberties and privacy whenever they
can, and to be indifferent to citizens’ complaints about these
violations, but this article exposes something we had no idea was
happening — and it does not as yet seem to have aroused any widespread
protests. It is offensive that the MPD would do random traffic stops,
and then enter private information about the citizens whom they had
stopped, citizens who had committed no crimes or offenses of any kind,
into a police database, for some vague and unspecified purpose. And it’s
A message in the last issue of themail was sent by Marlene McGuirl
(not Mcguire), and her E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I apologize for the error. The best way to avoid misspellings of your
name and E-mail address is to format your message as it will appear in
themail, with your name and E-mail address in the body of the E-mail,
above the text of the message.
On Sunday, May 1, at 5:20 a.m., I was awakened by a woman screaming
on 14th Street near Thomas Circle. I called 911. A “non-emergency
311” operator answered. I have no idea why a 311 operator answered the
911 line. Maybe I was surprised that there was an answer at all.
Insulting DC’s Neighborhoods and Activists
Dorothy Brizill, email@example.com
On April 20, I wrote in themail about the long-standing vacancies in
three key positions in the Williams administration that focused on
neighborhoods — the director of the Office of Community Outreach, the
director of the Office of Neighborhood Services, and the director of the
Office of Neighborhood Action. All these jobs require an intimate
knowledge of the District government, its neighborhoods, the issues
facing these neighborhoods, and the community organizations and civic
leaders in the neighborhoods. I wrote then that these vacancies
indicated an inattention to and indifference toward neighborhood issues.
At the mayor’s weekly press briefing today, he announced the
appointment of Aretha R. Ferrell-Brown as head of the Office of
Neighborhood Action, with a annual salary of $108,000. Brown’s resume
indicates that she moved to the District last June from Los Alamos
County, New Mexico. When the mayor was asked why he would appoint
someone who did not have any knowledge about DC’s neighborhoods or any
background or familiarity with community leaders to such a key position,
he shrugged off the question. He responded that Brown had “management
abilities” and would rely on the current staff of her office to
provide her with the resources that she needed.
Who’s at Risk for Asbestos in DCPS?
Ed Dixon, Georgetown Reservoir, firstname.lastname@example.org
Asbestos in the public schools? Sure, there still is. Schools that
were built and renovated up through the mid 1970’s used
asbestos-containing building materials in many different parts of the
building. As part of asbestos health risk prevention, the EPA and OSHA
stepped up regulations for local schools to determine the risk through
building surveys and to put risk prevention plans into place. One of the
results of these surveys and risk prevention plans is that work or
repair sites must be assessed for asbestos risk.
The fixourschools.net web site (http://fixourschools.net)
has obtained and posted lists of completed and uncompleted building
repair work orders for DCPS through the current year. A cursory review
of the Wilson High School work orders shows repeated asbestos test
clearances in order for work to begin. In some cases (e.g., classrooms,
bathrooms) plaster and paint are being tested. Presumably, the logic
here is that exposure to asbestos in the dislodging of plaster or
scraping of paint is an occupational safety hazard to the repairmen and
women who do the work. Doing this work day in and day out would cause
exposure levels to be higher than to your average do-it-yourselfer who
takes on a similar project at home on a sporadic basis.
So if the day in and day out exposure to these materials is a problem
for the workers who come into the building to fix them, what about the
students and teachers who are exposed to them a minimum of eight hour a
day, five days a week? If you haven’t been in one of these schools
recently, go back to the web site. Look at the photos of Wilson, look at
the lists, and consider whether or not students and teachers use the
areas highlighted and are exposed to these materials at the same rate or
greater than the workers for whom the sites are being tested. In many
cases, the walls are collapsing (though not yet as seriously as at
Wilson’s pool a couple summers ago). Collapsing walls cause dust.
Certainly, the fact that students teachers and parents are submitting
these photos suggests that the areas are easily accessible. If the risk
is not a threat to the students and teachers as well, then why is the
city adding time and money to every repair to protect workers from
No Shortcuts to Marriage Equality
Rick Rosendall, email@example.com
You may be surprised to hear this if you haven’t been following the
story, but the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance agrees with DC Chief
Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi’s May 3 ruling that gay couples with
out-of-state marriage licenses cannot file joint DC tax returns. His
decision is online at http://app.cfo.dc.gov/CFORUI/news/release.asp?id=129
[and at http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/cfo050503.htm].
As GLAA sees it, the time is nowhere close to being ripe for pushing
same-sex marriage in the District. Like it or not, we are in a marathon
for civil marriage rights, not a sprint, and we cannot expect to take a
taxi to the finish line and claim victory without bothering to run the
race. Going along with Jim Graham, who wants it all right now and damn
the consequences, would only provoke Congress to roll back the gains we
have already made for domestic partners in DC.
Graham says that the cat is out of the bag and the city has to
release the advisory opinion by DC Attorney General Spagnoletti on
whether to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions,
because gay married couples will keep coming forward and are entitled to
an answer. This assumes that anyone has any doubt as to the outcome,
when in fact it is plain as day that Congress will not allow the
District either to issue marriage licenses or to recognize out-of-state
marriages involving same-sex couples. Fortunately, the Mayor and Mr.
Gandhi have not been swayed by Graham’s reckless grandstanding. For
GLAA’s full statement, see http://www.glaa.org/archive/2005/glaa2membersonmarriagefight0504.shtml.
Developers Act Like SE Waterfront Is Vacant
Playground for Speculation
Ed Delaney, firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Washington Business Journal (http://www.bizjournals.com/industries/sports_business/general/2005/05/02/washington_story5.html):
“The foundation is floating a plan that calls for a
120,000-square-foot maritime museum surrounded by a retail and office
development and possibly even a hotel. It would secure funds for the
museum and hope that developers then put in money for the chance to be
close the tourist attraction.” Nice; just start planning to co-opt
privately held land and property from existing home and business owners
as part of a eminent domain project driven by a ballpark scheme (costing
over half a billion dollars and rising) for an extremely speculative
private venture (with a sprinkling of federal money thrown in). And why
not? This is the way things are done in the District now, especially as
the media levels hardly a word of criticism of such projects, no matter
how ludicrous they are!
“The museum would cost $50.7 million to develop, not including the
land price — which could be significant.” Like the ballpark schemers
and those who certify their schemes just under certain caps, no one ever
seems to properly factor in the land price when talking about projects
down there, do they! Wonder why.
“The Spirit of Enterprise would bring in $96.7 million to the city
over a 10-year period, according to the Howard University Center for
Urban Progress, which the foundation hired to do an economic impact
study.” Uh huh. A “replica of a 19th century tall ship” in the
Anacostia River is going to generate almost $100 million for the city. I
hope the check cleared for that study before it was released. “We’re
not sure what the development program is, so we can’t comment on
whether it’s going to be a driver,” says Uwe Brandes, a project
manager with the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. “It’s a base of uses
like this that collectively are going to make the Anacostia a major
destination in the city. It’s just such a morale-booster. We’re
definitely in favor of it.” Yes, you read it right; this official of
the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, which of course is the
organization set up behind the scenes by city officials mainly from the
mayor’s office to be separate and independent from DC government (thus
freeing it from a multitude of regulations, checks, and balances that
might make it harder to steam roll projects like the ballpark past
governmental oversight) is “not sure what the development program
is” (outside of a wooden ship worth $100 million to the city) but
nevertheless is “definitely in favor of it” because “it’s just
such a morale booster.”
Inventing Ways for People to Treat Each Other
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
I spend a lot of time thinking about inventing ways for people to
treat each other better. Here’s my own little contribution to people
treating each other better (warning — geekish humor ahead): http://shorterlink.com/?OO2RWX
firstname.lastname@example.org is an invention for people to treat each other
better (credit goes to Jeffrey Itell for bringing this invention to
life.) Like every invention, how we choose to use it determines the
value of the invention.
Historic Washington Listserv Now Forming
Mary Rowse, email@example.com
You’re invited to join a new E-mail discussion group called
“Historic Washington,” designed for people interested in or involved
with the history and preservation of Washington, DC, and its
extraordinary neighborhoods. The purpose of this listserv is to provide
a forum for exchanging views, ideas and information with those who share
a common interest in protecting and preserving the cultural resources of
our great city.
Discussion is encouraged in the areas of city and neighborhood
history; architecture; historic resource surveying; creating,
maintaining and expanding historic districts; zoning; city and
preservation planning; existing and proposed city and federal
preservation laws and their enforcement; condemnation; demolition; tax
credits; easements; building restoration; etc. Those searching for a
specific preservation resource are encouraged to post, as well as those
seeking advice or action from members to intervene in a preservation
battle or crisis. Announcements for local and national conferences,
tours, classes and other events that support this focus are welcome.
Those working in other jurisdictions are invited to join and share
information and ideas. Those seeking or offering recommendations or
warnings about businesses doing renovation or restoration work in the
Washington area are encouraged to post. Announcements of job and grant
opportunities, awards, requests for proposals or calls for papers in the
fields of preservation and Washington and neighborhood history are also
welcome. This listserv is independent of any organization.
You can join the list by sending an E-mail with your name and address
or name and professional or volunteer affiliation to: HistoricWashingtonfirstname.lastname@example.org.
An invitation will be sent to your E-mail address. After responding to
it, you will become a member and be able to post and have access to the
listserv’s web site and archive of messages.
I have attended many Nationals games, and I am struck by the number
of police and DPW people enforcing the no parking rules around the
neighborhood that is close to RFK. Cars are towed. The streets and most
of the parking spaces near the neighborhoods are empty before, during
and immediately after the games. This is what the neighbors wanted and
this is what has been achieved. The larger problem will evolve into the
residents who would like to enable their friends to visit and park near
the homes the same evening of a baseball games. The Sports and
Entertainment Commission has done a lot of work to address the needs of
the neighbors of RFK.
Living in Georgetown, we learn to live with vast numbers of visitors
from DC, Maryland, and Virginia who choose to take whatever parking they
can and avoid paying under $10 to park in an off-street lot. Living in
DC and enjoying urban life presents its challenges.
As noted in the previous postings, the current system for obtaining
guest parking passes in residential permit parking zones is broken. MPD
requires you to accompany your guest to the station, which may be quite
some distance from your house, and to present proof of your residence as
well as your guest’s vehicle registration. Obviously if you’re
hosting a dinner party, that’s not really practical. As your guests
are arriving, should you leave your food cooking while you accompany
each of them in turn to the station? And if you’re lucky enough to
actually have a plumber show up at your house, good luck getting them to
meander down to the station with you, at least not without charging
their hourly rate.
So the clear solution is to provide residents with guest permits in
advance. Either an annual permit or a booklet of daily passes, as the
now dusty December 2003 Mayor’s task force recommended (http://www.ddot.dc.gov).
Several other cities use the annual permit, such as Los Angeles,
Baltimore, and right next door in Arlington, Virginia. Yes, Arlington
did discover some abuse with annual permits, and is working on program
improvements, as indicated on their web site. Why not learn from the
experience of these other cities to develop a workable guest permit
system? Interested parties should contact at-large councilmember Carol
Schwartz at Carol.Schwartz@dc.gov,
as she is in charge of that committee.
Ann Loikow, Cleveland Park, email@example.com
I was another recipient of Pepco’s bogus “late fee” even though
I paid in full, the day I received my bill and it cleared my bank two
weeks before the due date. Like Mr. Nellis, I called Pepco and the
charge was removed, but I sure do wonder whether it is a concerted
campaign to overcharge unobservant customers.
I totally agree with the author’s posting [Bryce Suderow, themail,
May 1]. DC is not a place to raise a child. What I thought was
interesting was the way it was worded; “Low-income blacks with large
families are leaving the city. They are being replaced with smaller
numbers of white newcomers who are either childless or have only one or
two very young children.” Would the same statement be just as
effective without the color reference?
My grandfather once told me, “DC is either all black or it is all
white.” He thought these two ethnic groups could not cohabitate in the
city together. Being a child I did not understand. As I matured into
preteen and teenage years I did not believe him. I saw people for the
character within not the color of their skin. Now, being an adult, I
realize he was right. Why do Americans classify everyone by the color of
their skin? Racism is still very much alive though much more subtle.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DCPS Full Funding Campaign and Fair Budget
Coalition Rally, May 5
Martina Gillis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, May 5, at 10:00 a.m., on the Wilson Building front steps.
Councilmembers Fenty, Graham, and Patterson are confirmed speakers and
supporters. Use the city’s budget surplus for schools, housing, and
health care, not tax cuts for the wealthy. Some Council members have
made an outrageous proposal to use the surplus for $125 million in tax
cuts, on top of $100 million tax cuts already in the budget. Tell the
Council that DC residents want their surplus invested in other
priorities: school repairs and construction, keeping our teachers and
other critical school employees (stopping over 300 layoffs), child care
assistance for working parents, replacing cuts in federal rental
assistance, housing for victims of domestic violence, substance abuse
treatment, and emergency housing for homeless families with children.
For more information, call DC Public Schools Full Funding Campaign,
491-6593, or the Fair Budget Coalition, 328-5513.
National Building Museum Events, May 7
Brie Hensold, email@example.com
Saturday, May 7, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. When the Atlas Movie Theater
complex opened in 1938, its H Street, NE, neighborhood was a vibrant mix
of residences, shops, and a synagogue. Eight years after the 1968 riots,
the theater closed. Early this year, it partially reopened as the Atlas
Performing Arts Center. Scott Kenison, director of Patron and Partner
Services, will lead a tour of this project, which includes professional
and lab theaters, dance studios, office and support spaces, and the
restoration of the distinctive Art Moderne facade. Open only to Museum
members, $15. Limited space available. Prepaid registration required.
Saturday, May 7, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thesis projects representing
one year of work on a single design scheme signify the completion of the
5 1/2-year Master of Architecture curriculum at The Catholic University
of America. Six students from a class of over thirty will present their
projects to an internationally recognized panel of jurors: Reed Kroloff,
dean of Tulane University’s School of Architecture, Lisa Iwamoto of
the Berkeley-based form IS.Ar Iwamoto Scott Architecture, Gregg
Pasquarelli of the New York firm SHoP, and Adam Yarinsky of Architecture
Research Office in New York. Free. Drop-in program. Registration not
Saturday, May 7, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Eco Vase. Combine creativity with
recycled materials to make an environmentally friendly and decorative
vase. A perfect gift for Mother’s Day! $3 per project for Museum
members; $5 nonmembers. All ages. Drop-in program. Both events at the
National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro
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 6; $175 after May 6.
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 Rights Campaign. 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.
Women of Gala Vision Awards, May 13
Dorinda White, firstname.lastname@example.org
Women in Film and Video will hold its Women of Gala Vision Awards on
May 13 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. Join WIFV in
celebrating Hollywood in Washington! You are invited to attend the Women
in Film and Video’s Event of the Year. This exclusive black tie gala
includes cocktails, dinner, celebrities, silent auction, and awards
presentation. In special recognition, WIFV is honoring Carrie Fisher
(Richard Dreyfuss presenting), along with an impressive group of Women
of Vision honorees. We have prepared a special audio message just for
you. Make sure your PC’s speakers are turned on and click http://www.websuccessnetwork.com/wifv/invite.htm.
Please note that sponsorship opportunities are still available. Call
429-9438 for reservations or to donate to our silent auction. We hope to
see you there!
Washington Storytellers Theater presents Carmen Deedy, Ay, Cuba! at
the City Museum of Washington, DC, 801 K Street, NW, on Saturday, May
21, 8:00 p.m. Ticket price, $15 (senior, student, and group discount
rates available). Purchase at the door or in advance by calling 545-6840
or on-line at www.washingtonstorytellers.org.
Street or garage parking nearby (check web site for details); Metro Red
line (Gallery Place), Green/Yellow (Mt. Vernon or Gallery Place),
Blue/Orange (Metro Center).
Entertaining thousands of adults and children alike with her ultra
energetic and charming style, Carmen Agra Deedy has recounted her tales
of growing up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia, for over a decade; and people
keep coming back. Deedy’s performances of the humorous and poignant
episodes of familial living ring a familiar tone in the ear while
retaining the unique quality of her individual upbringing. In addition
to her personal stories, Deedy recounts classic folk tales from around
the world and is an author of many published children’s books. She is
also a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s All Things
Considered and Latino USA and has performed throughout the country
garnering awards and honors along the way.
CLASSIFIEDS — VOLUNTEERS
Sierra Club Volunteer Opportunity, May 7
Chris Carney, email@example.com
Take action for a future with better Metro service. Saturday, May 7,
10:00 a.m., at Southeast Branch Library, 403 7th Street, SE, next to the
Eastern Market Metro Station.
Without stable, effective Metro service our region would face an
overwhelming increase in traffic congestion and air pollution. We’re
going to talk to our neighbors one-on-one about Metro’s long-term
funding crisis, and about action they can take to ensure a future with
more and better Metro service. To volunteer, send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
with your name, phone number, address, and your availability.
We’ll meet up at the Southeast Branch Library at 10 am (bagels and
coffee provided!). There will be training and discussion, then we’ll
go out to talk to our neighbors in the Eastern Market area. Stick around
to join us for an after-event lunch social at a local restaurant. Read
more about Metro and Sierra Club here: http://www.sierraclub.org/dc/sprawl/metro/index.html.
RSVP to Chris Carney at 237-0754 or email@example.com.
Host Families Sought
Harold Goldstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
We seek families to host visiting students from France this summer.
Most will arrive as a group in early August and stay for three weeks,
although other combinations are possible. The students will range from
twelve to sixteen years of age, and the host must have a child within
two years of the age of the visitor.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Day of Service and School Search
Inez Saki-Tay, email@example.com
The Young Members Committee at the National Press Club is setting up
a day of service. Are there any ideas or projects that need assistance
around May 21?
Someone very dear and close to me is on a school search for a
three-year-old, soon to be four. Any ideas or suggestions?
Watch and Clock Repair
Emily Piccirillo, firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to make a quick pitch for Moren Watch and Clock repair on the
corner of Georgia and Thayer in downtown Silver Spring. (I received no
favors for the kind words.) It is a wonderful family-run business. They
have parts for timepieces that date back 75 years!
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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All postings should also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org,
and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of
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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.