Dear Festive Readers:
Michael Killian has written a rather funny article in the Chicago
about how the whole city of Washington is going to be turned into a
six-month Shakespeare festival for the first half of 2007. “The
Washington festival I’m about to describe, however,” Killian writes,
“is to ordinary Shakespeare festivals what a theme park is to firemen’s
carnivals. Not only will this extravaganza take over the entire city and
suburbs; it will feature the participation of no fewer than 22 cultural
institutions, ranging from the lofty Royal Shakespeare Company (here
from Britain to perform something of its choosing) and Russia’s Kirov
Ballet (performing Sergei Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’), to a
Folger Shakespeare Library musical ‘Lone Star Love, or, the Merry
Wives of Windsor, Texas,’ and, from inimitable New York, the Tiny
Ninja Theater.” If you intend to leave Washington, it sounds like you
should postpone your moving plans for a couple years, so that you won’t
But every summer in Washington is a never-ending round of enjoyable
community and street festivals. In the past month or so, Dorothy and I
have been to the Spanish heritage festival at Strathmore in Rockville,
the Bethesda Arts street festival, the Dupont-Kalorama Museums walk, the
Philippines festival on Pennsylvania Avenue, and today the Crystal City
Rocks tastings event with music from Da Vinci’s Notebook (http://www.davincisnotebook.com)
and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (http://www.bbvd.com)
— and we’ve passed up many more events than we’re been able to get
to. Please help us, and themail’s other readers, find the best events
in your neighborhoods this summer. If something good is coming up, don’t
keep it to yourself; let us know.
Last week, after nearly two years, the Washington Teachers Union (WTU)
trial got underway before Judge Leon in Courtroom 7 of the US District
Courthouse. After a protracted jury selection process, eighteen jurors
(including six alternate jurors) were selected. In opening statements on
Thursday, US Attorney Anthony Alexis detailed the theft, embezzlement,
and money laundering charges and the conspiracy scheme that are detailed
in the November 20, 2003, indictment (http://www.dcpswatch.com/wtu/031120.htm).
In response, attorneys for the remaining three defendants who have not
accepted plea agreements — Gwen Hemphill, James Baxter, and James
Goosby — proclaimed the innocence of their clients. While
acknowledging that “big time thieving” took place, attorney Michele
Roberts, representing Baxter, argued that, while he had the title and
position of union treasurer, it was “largely ceremonial,” and that
he wasn’t fully aware of the union’s financial situation. Nancy
Luque, representing Gwen Hemphill, portrayed Hemphill as a
“hardworking 65-year-old grandmother” who was simply a secretary and
a "low-level employee at WTU," and described former union
president Barbara Bullock, who pled guilty on October 7, 2003 (http://www.dcpswatch.com/wtu/031007.htm),
as the “kingpin” of the scheme who created a “culture of greed”
The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks, through the end of
Zoe Yerkes, ZSYerkes-at-gmail.com
The concept of fair play is often shelved during political combat
season, instead replaced by the bending of rules to their extreme.
Adrian Fenty is the first of the Exploratory Committee crew to throw his
hat into the ring. As an elected official who is campaigning on a theme
of good, clean, honest government, Fenty should set the standard for how
an Exploratory Committee terminates its operations and, in the spirit of
the law, transfer nothing to the actual Campaign Committee.
The Washington Post reports that Fenty’s Exploratory
spending included a $71,750 poll. Is it lawful or ethical for him to use
the data obtained from that poll to conduct or guide operations of his
Campaign Committee? I think not. The information obtained from this poll
should be sealed in a vault.
Also, people who subscribed to Fenty’s Exploratory Committee E-mail
list are now receiving messages from the official Fenty Campaign web
site. That list, compiled via the Exploratory web site and at
Exploratory events, should be discarded.
DMV Georgetown Service Center to Close for
Janis Hazel, Janis.Hazel@dc.gov
The Department of Motor Vehicles Georgetown Service Center, located
at 3222 M Street, NW, in the Shops at Georgetown Park will close
beginning Monday, June 20, for expansion and renovations. It is
anticipated that the construction work will require approximately sixty
days. Currently the Georgetown center is limited to renewal services
only. When it reopens in late summer, the service offerings will be
expanded to include original driver license and ID issuance, vehicle
titling, and registration services, and support services such as medical
review, insurance support, driver records, and permit control.
The facility will be closed until late summer in order to speed the
construction schedule and protect employees and citizens from the safety
and nuisance issues it will create. In the interim, citizens are
encouraged to “Skip the Trip” to DMV by using Internet renewal
options at http://www.dmv.dc.gov
taking advantage of mail renewal options, and visiting DMV’s three
other services centers at 301 C Street, NW, 1233 Brentwood Road, NE, and
3214 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. The exact date for the late-summer
reopening is expected to be announced in August. For DMV Service Center
locations and hours of service, please visit http://www.dmv.dc.gov
or call the DMV call center at 727-5000.
New Article About the Digital Divide Network
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
I was recently asked to write an article about the new Digital Divide
Network web site (http://www.digitaldivide.net).
This web site and accompanying E-mail list unites over 7,000 people
worldwide who are working on initiatives to bridge the digital divide.
The article I wrote appears in the latest issue of Community Technology
Review, a semiannual national publication. You can find the article at http://www.comtechreview.org/spring-summer-2005/000314.html.
Thanks for alerting people you know who might be interested in this
article and online community. There is no charge to participate on this
web site or E-mail list. “Digital divide” is defined very broadly in
this community. Anyone working to make the world a more inclusive place
would feel at home in this online community. It’s useful to note that
you can choose your level of involvement on the Digital Divide Network
web site. Just showing up counts for a lot.
Sole Source Contracting and Internecine
Timothy Cooper, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mayor’s legislation to award a million dollar sole source,
noncompetitive grant to DC Vote will only encourage internecine warfare
among the various DC pro-democracy groups, inspiring unhelpful animosity
and discordant relations, detrimental to the movement as a whole. It is
wrongheaded and counterproductive, and as Gary Imhoff has duly noted [themail,
June 8] a perfect example of insider-trading in DC government. The
legislation should be revised.
Pro-voting rights groups should be permitted to submit proposals for
consideration on a competitive basis to a nonpartisan body appointed for
that purpose. While DC Vote should have every right to compete for a
grant, it should by no means be the sole recipient of the proposed DC
voting rights education funding. To suggest otherwise is to disrespect
the voting rights movements as a whole. While DC Vote is certainly a
contributive part of the movement, it is not the sum total of the whole.
Not by any means.
In principle, I agree with [Gary Imhoff, themail, June 8] about the
evils and perils of sole-source contracting. (And when someone gets his
numbers wrong, can we trust him to get anything right?) And yet, as a
practical matter, one must wonder whether there is a threshold below
which an outlay is too small to warrant competitive bidding. To invent a
convenient example, if my office needed a stapler, I would send someone
to buy it at an office-supply store (preferably a low-priced store).
Apart from dollar magnitude, there is the question of expedition. If I
discover a leak in the roof and rain is forecast for the day after
tomorrow, is it prudent to take the time to seek bids? You get the
If seat belt laws exist only to protect people, and not to grant
power to the police -- an irrefutable consequence -- then I’d like to
know why DC, Maryland, and Virginia do not have bicycle helmet laws
except for minors. This is an activity arguably much more dangerous than
driving without a seat belt. Likewise, I’d like to know why other
common activities that are far more dangerous are not outlawed under the
same premise cited by Mr. Goldberg: “The benefits — to individuals
and society — of wearing belts are no more in question than the
existence of gravity.”
If you think this is a good enough reason to pass a law, just replace
“wearing seat belts” with “not eating Big Macs,” “not downhill
skiing,” “exercising thirty minutes per day,” and “going to
college.” Should we mandate these activities by law under the premise
that they are unquestionably beneficial to the individual and society?
Seat Belt Spying
Wenzell Taylor, email@example.com
Responding to Gabe Goldberg (themail, June 9): Personally, Wenzell
Taylor does object to wearing seat belts unless he chooses to do so. And
yes, Wenzell Taylor also objects to being told he must do so when he
feels he doesn’t want to. The wearing of seat belts, as opposed to not
talking on cell phones, putting on makeup, eating, or even reading a map
while driving will not make Wenzell Taylor or anyone else a better
driver of vehicles. Using infrared devices to catch one not wearing
them, though, is a quick, efficient way of making money. If the
government is so well meaning, shouldn’t the most vulnerable of
victims, school bus children, be required to wear them? Haven’t you
seen the onboard videos of these children in school bus accidents being
flipped in the air?
What Wenzell Taylor is opposed to ultimately is this rising police
state we now live under. The political morons dictating and making
public decisions to benefit themselves and not their constituents. He
suggests to you that a large amount of the laws passed today are
designed in some way to make money. Wenzell Taylor lives in what was one
of the first designated “hot spots.” For months now, DC MPD has been
highly visible sitting around in the neighborhood in an attempt to curb
crime. About ten days ago they went so far as to put up signs declaring
the neighborhood as drug free. Knowing better, the children in the
neighborhood took the signs down. At night jackasses still stand back in
the dark areas and in the shadows and randomly fire automatic weapons
and conduct drug transactions with the police hardly forty to fifty
yards away. Where are the infrared devices then? As soon as the police
cars pull out of the area, after watching the criminals watch them, the
kids with the mini bikes and pocket bikes are back out in the streets
dodging in and out of traffic and the criminals do business as usual.
They do this in broad daylight as well. And summer hasn’t even come to
the “hot spots” yet.
Wenzell Taylor would like for the government to enforce laws already
on the books and not create new laws making personal decisions for him.
With themail’s permission I invite you to listen to the broadcasts
Monday through at 10 p.m. at infowars.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Public Library West End Film Club, June 14
Debra Truhart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, June 14, 12:00 p.m. West End Neighborhood Library, 1101 24th
Street, NW. West End Film Club. Bring your lunch and enjoy a film.
Public contact: 724-8707.
National Building Museum Events, June 16
Brie Hensold, email@example.com
Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW,
Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Thursday, June 16, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Hear the story of how a highly
energy-efficient home was built in five days for the ABC television show
Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, during one of the worst storms in Los
Angeles history. Rob Hammon, principal of ConSol, will tell the story of
this project and home, built by Pardee Homes and designed by ConSol to
exceed California requirements to save 70 percent in annual energy
bills. The house draws less than 1kW during the peak summer utility
period. Free. Registration not required.
Thursday, June 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m. David Thompson, AIA, vice president
of RTKL Associates Inc., will explore the history of architectural
drawing instruments through his own professional odyssey that has taken
him from his first use of a ruling pen on linen to the development of
computer-aided design software to his current interest in collecting
specialized 18th and 19th century architectural instruments. His richly
illustrated lecture complements the exhibition Tools of the Imagination,
which will be open for viewing. $10 Museum members and students; $15
nonmembers. Registration required.
Washington Democratic Meetup Group, June 28
Susana Baranano, firstname.lastname@example.org
Come and meet DC Democrats at Washington Democratic Meetup Group 153
at Ben’s Chili Bowl, 1213 U St., NW, June 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tom
Sherwood is the guest speaker.
CLASSIFIEDS — DONATIONS
Send a Kid to Camp
Edna Small, Erklein@aol.com
I’ve been following with dismay the low amounts raised so far in
the “Send a Kid to Camp” campaign, a fundraising campaign sponsored
by the Washington Post for an excellent camp program run by
Family and Child Services. (This is a well-run private agency that has
run Camp Moss Hollow for many years. People sometime confuse the agency
with a DC government agency with a similar name.) Columns by John Kelley
in the Comics section covers this effort, and gives directions for
making contributions, but many folks don’t read the comics. Unlike me.
So check there, or E-mail me. It’s a chance to make an important
contribution to area kids who otherwise would never have the experience
of summer camp, with all its benefits. Over the years, I’ve read the
testimony of former campers, and been amazed at how significant an
experience it has been for many.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Does anyone know where a fourteen-year old can take a life guard
course this summer in DC?
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