themail.gif (3487 bytes)

July 6, 2005

Clearing the Air

Dear Air Conditioners:

As I wrote in the June 29 issue of themail, I cut off discussion of the secondhand smoke issue with a last round in the July 3 issue. I apologize to those who sent in submissions for one more round in this issue, but we were getting repetitive and not adding much to what had already been written. I’ll enforce the ban on talk about secondhand smoke until there is a new development, such as new action in the city council.

Gary Imhoff


Possible DC Parking Ticket Scam
Dana Miller,

I have recently received notices from the Department of Motor Vehicles for failure to pay two separate tickets that I never received. Both were for residential parking violations, although I have a parking sticker on my windshield. It seems unlikely that I would fail to get two separate tickets for offenses I never committed, and I am curious about whether others in the neighborhood have had similar experiences. Because DC doubles the fine if one does not immediately pay a ticket, this is an extraordinary revenue raiser for the City.

Please do contact me if you have had a similar experience.


The Ballpark’s Project Labor Agreement
Dorothy Brizill,

Today at RFK Stadium, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission approved ( the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) ( between the city and labor unions on the baseball stadium project. The board members are required to discuss and vote on official business in public meetings, but they held a private meeting to discuss the PLA before convening publicly to take their vote.

The PLA is legally required to be justified by a due diligence report on the advisability of signing an exclusive agreement with the unions. The administration first claimed that a memorandum by consultant Jane Brunner ( was that due diligence report. When Brunner’s paper was exposed as having been plagarized from the position paper written by the building trade unions (, the administration had Gregory Irish, the director of the Department of Employment Services, write a brief memorandum that outlines only the city’s view of the positive benefits of the PLA (

The administration recognizes that the Irish paper also doen’t fulfill the legal requirements for a due diligence report, so it is now in the process of develping an RFP (request for proposals) for a company to write an after-the-fact due diligence report. That report will be done within two or three months after the RFP is issued, the bidding is completed, and a consultant is hired. Whatever the report says will be completely irrelevant, since the Sports Commission’s resolution approving the PLA is not in any way conditional or contingent on there being a favorable due diligence report, nor is there any provision by which the resolution can be rescinded in the very unlikely case that the due diligence report done by the consultant the city hires will actually be critical or recommend against a PLA


International Resolution on DC Voting Rights Passes Without Objections
Kevin Kiger,

During a morning meeting of the OSCE General Assembly on Tuesday, July 5, the Third Committee resolution that included a language in support of DC voting rights passed without any objections. The resolution “calls on the Congress of the United States to adopt such legislation as may be necessary to grant the residents of Washington, DC, equal voting rights in their national legislature in accordance with its human dimension commitments.”

On Saturday, July 2, the Third Committee of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly passed an amendment that calls on the United States Congress to grant the residents of Washington, DC, equal voting rights in Congress, with an overwhelming majority voting for the measure. The United States is the only country in the OSCE where residents of the nation's capital are denied full representation in the national legislature.


Eminent Domain
Michael Bindner, mikeybdc at yahoo dot com

The folks who should be really worried are not the minority residents of Wards 5, 7, and 8, but the residents of Ward 3 three to five blocks back of Wisconsin Avenue. When the National Capital Revitalization Corporation Act of 1998 was passed, I was the Mayor's Ward 3 Ombudsman. Back then I raised the alarm to my neighbors that the act would likely be used against them. The recent Supreme Court decision only reinforces my opinion on this. Now that the legal hurdles have been swept away, the only way to protect these homes is to make it a campaign issue for any District-wide and Ward 3 council candidate to pledge not to use these provisions in any ward. The developers don't want to develop on Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue; they want upper Northwest.


Anacostia Waterfront Corporation Board Meeting Protest
Mary Vogel,

If any readers of themail know more about what the protest at the last Anacostia Waterfront Corporation board meeting on June 20 was about, please get in touch or publish it in themail. I saw some signs calling Executive Director Andrew Altman arrogant and untrustworthy, some calling for his resignation, still others calling for more jobs for existing residents. In any case, the thirty to forty protesters must have felt the need to disrupt the meeting to get Altman's and the board's attention rather than come in and speak at the public comment period — which they disturbed with a constantly blaring car horn. I had the feeling that the protesters’ fear that the $45 million in “District Capital Dollars” over the next five years will be used to cause their displacement rather than improvements that would make their lives better.


Jonetta Rose Barras,

You mischaracterized my position on the contracting done by the city administrator in the last edition of themail [July 3]. For the record, I have repeatedly blasted those who circumvent the city's contracting and procurement laws. Even before this recent media frenzy emanating from City Auditor Deborah Nichols’ report and testimony before the council, I reported on contracting irregularities in numerous agencies, including the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the Department of Parks and Recreation. For almost two years, I was the only person in the city calling for the removal of the city's Chief Contracting and Procurement Officer Jacque Abadie because he was wholly incompetent. Everyone thought me possessed or obsessed. Finally, he was removed; but by then the damage had been done.

My record of reporting indicates that I don't deal lightly with violations. Also, on the DC Politics Hour, I pointed out during a previous show on which Robert Bobb appeared that what he did was wrong. I chalk up his mistakes to being new to the intricacies of DC government. I believe it unfair to compare his situation to the days of Marion Barry. Barry was mayor for sixteen years and knew the government he created inside and out; when he passed on a contract or a job to a friend, it was not a mistake. It was deliberate and designed to garner political favors. What can two Asian women based in the Bay Area and an Oakland city councilmember do for Mayor Anthony A. Williams, or the city administrator? Wait, don't tell me: give them jobs. Maybe help them win some political office somewhere. The labor unions already support the mayor. The PLA wasn't to win their support, it was in payment for their support from the last election and for support of the baseball agreement. Further, the mayor already has his imprimatur on the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation through the appointment of its director and its board, which the council approved. You should remember, too, the council agreed to make the AWC an independent agency, which means that it, not unlike the office of the Chief Financial Officer, can set up its own contracting and procurement system. Hey, has anyone checked out the contracting by the OCFO?

More important to my argument, however, is the fact that Bobb's sins pale when compared to those of Suzanne Peck, the chief technology officer. She has been allowed for years to circumvent the law without so much as a raised eyebrow from the media, the mayor or the council. (In this we do have a case of political favoritism, since Peck and her husband are financial supporters of several elected officials--not just the mayor.) I think it's only fair that if we are going to whip up on Robert Bobb for contracts, which were for about $150,000, to associates he knew during his days in Oakland, then surely we ought to cast some light on Peck whose sins affect millions — that's millions — of taxpayer dollars. I'm hoping you and Dorothy will turn your critical eyes and reporting to this, especially since you understand, as I do, the connection between contracting and waste, fraud and abuse in government, and you know the value of fifty cents against a dollar.


The PLA and Due Diligence
Clyde Howard,

In response to Gary's editorial concerning due diligence on the PLA [themail, July 3], one must understand that there is a lot of money both under and over the table and that the corruption taking place is nothing more then business as usual. The corruption didn't begin with the baseball stadium. It has been here all along and it has manifested itself because the ones whose fingers are in the pie can no longer hide, so they couch their misdeeds in the form of government policy. To add to the pot of favors and kick backs they bring in California Slick, who is very good at doing the necessary moves to push through unfavorable actions and to reward his one-time colleagues. If you think that government will clean itself up and correct a series of actions that will benefit the unemployed and remove the requirement of a union shop, just remember the fox in the hen house can't count too well.


A Positive Suggestion for the Police
Bryce Suderow,

I am replying to a letter [Winston Bull, themail, July 3] attacking me for not offering positive suggestions to the police regarding a murder that occurred in an alley near H Street, NE. The fact that Mr. Bull is new to the area says it all. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think everyone who reads this newsletter and who has lived here more than a year or so knows a sad truth. None of the agencies in this city is functional.

Mr. Bull, are you aware that if you press them to deal with an open air drug market, the cops will actually tell you that they can't make drug dealers move because that violates their constitutional rights? To me, that says it all. Some cops even deny there are drug dealers. I actually had a cop say in regards to the area around 6th and G: “I've been in this PSA for five years and I've never seen a drug dealer.” As a newbie to DC, you're going to have to make a decision in the next year or two. Either bitter experience will force you to admit that the DC MPD is entirely dysfunctional and hasn't the will or the skill to prevent or solve crime (and then you'll either stay here like the rest of us waiting for things to improve or you will flee like a frightened rabbit) or you’ll continue to live in denial. Get back to me in a couple of years and let me know what you've decided to do.

Here is my positive suggestion to the cops: This is the second murder that occurred in the alley linking 12th and 13th Street. The first victim was David Lewis, a homeless man, who was beaten to death five or six months ago. Dear Police Officers: bust the drug dealers who deal in the area and cut off the supply of crack and heroin until someone snitches. Meanwhile, stop your smoke and mirrors bullshit — no more flashing lights, no more ticketing pedestrians at 14th and H.



DC Public Library Events, July 11 and following
Debra Truhart,

Monday, July 11, 6:30 p.m., Northeast Neighborhood Library, 330 7th Street, NE. Capitol Hill Mystery Book Club. Monthly book chats will feature the book, Day of Atonement by Faye Kellerman. Public contact: 698-3320.

Monday, July 11, 7:00 p.m., Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R Street, NW. Georgetown Library Book Group. The book group will discuss the book, Brick Lane by Monica Ali. Public contact: 282-0220.

Mondays, July 11, 18, and 25. Northeast Neighborhood Library, 330 7th Street, NE. Computer tutorials for beginners, or those who just want to refresh their skills. Adults. Public contact: 698-3320.

Saturday, July 9, 12:30 p.m., Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Neighborhood Library, 7420 Georgia Avenue, NW. Shepherd Park Author Speaker Series. Author William Taylor will discuss his book, The Passions of My Times: An Advocate’s Fifty-Year Journey in the Civil Rights Movement. Public contact: 541-6100.


National Building Museum Events, July 11-12
Brie Hensold,

Monday, July 11, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Studio tour of RTKL. Since its founding in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1946, RTKL has grown from a two-person design studio into a global architecture, planning, interiors and engineering firm. David Thompson, AIA, RTKL vice president, and Douglas Palladino, AIA, principal RTKL, will lead a behind-the-scenes tour of the Washington, DC, office and discuss the evolution in the firm’s design process which now incorporates sophisticated digital technologies. Current projects in the office include the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, the Food and Drug Administration’s White Oak Campus, a Veterans Administration hospital in Las Vegas, and other residential, mixed-use, office and planning projects. This tour complements the exhibition Tools of the Imagination. Open only to Museum members, $15. Limited space available; prepaid registration required. To register, call the Museum at 272-2448 or visit

Tuesday, July 12, 6:30-8:00 p.m. In an exploration of several Louis Kahn masterpieces including the Yale Art Gallery and the Salk Institute, Thomas Leslie, AIA, assistant professor of architecture at Iowa State University, will reveal the technical basis of Kahn's work and show that it influenced the development of the “High-Tech” school of the 1970s and 1980s. After the lecture, he will sign copies of his book Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science (George Braziller Publishers) that includes previously unpublished drawings, sketches, and photographs. $10 Members and students; $15 nonmembers. Registration required. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.


Phish Tea Events, July 31, August 13
Afrika Abney,

Images of Life, an artist exhibition featuring the works of Afrika Midnight Asha Abney at Phish Tea, 1335 H Street, NE (1st floor — Lyme Lounge). Opening reception, July 31 from 3:00-5:00 p.m.; exhibit from July 31-September 3.

On August 13, at the second Saturday H Street Crawl, “Cool Art and Cool Drinks,” come to Phish Tea Cafe for artist talk about Images of Life and to dine or drink. The crawl will begin around 3:00 p.m. with a matinee at H Street and continue to Pierce School (or vice/versa), and will end at Phish Tea Cafe from 5:00pm - 9:00pm. For more information on Phish Tea Events, go to or join



Mitch Arnowitz,

Do you know of a nonprofit in dire need of design or communications services, but without the budget to pay for them? If so, send them to, where they will find information about CreateAThon, a twenty-four-hour design blitz providing pro bono creative services. Applications are due to Mediastudio by noon on August 3, and winners will be notified on September 8. This annual event is brought to the DC area by Mediastudio, a northern Virginia-based branding agency that specializes in nonprofit communications efforts. For more information or to download an application:

Here's how CreateAThon works: 1) 501(c)(3) organizations located in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area are invited to submit applications to the Mediastudio hosted CreateAThon in September. 2) Ten to twelve organizations will be selected to work with the CreateAThon team on the creation of a graphic product. In addition, selected groups will receive a comprehensive financial policy and procedures manual, tailored for your organization, that incorporates the latest policies, regulations and compliance requirements outlined in Sarbanes-Oxley and related nonprofit legislation. 3) All projects will be completed-from start to finish-during a twenty-four-hour blitz starting Friday, September 30, at 8:00 a.m.

Past CreateAThon winners include Community Harvest,, and Neighbors' Consejo, Any questions can be E-mailed to (no phone calls please!).



Tenants Rights
Ted Knutson,

Which is the most prominent tenants rights organization in DC?


themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available at

All postings should also be submitted to, and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to 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.

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)