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.
Possible DC Parking Ticket Scam
Dana Miller, Danakmill@hotmail.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today at RFK Stadium, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission
the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/sports050616.htm)
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 (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/sports050624.htm#waites),
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 (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/sports050630.htm).
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, email@example.com
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
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.
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
Mary Vogel, Maryvogel@yahoo.com
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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Public Library Events, July 11 and following
Debra Truhart, email@example.com
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 http://www.nbm.org.
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
Phish Tea Events, July 31, August 13
Afrika Abney, Ashawarrior@aol.com
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
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 http://www.phishteacafe.com
or join http://groups.yahoo.com/group/phishteaevents.
CLASSIFIEDS — FREE SERVICES
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 http://www.mediastudio.com/createathon,
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
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, http://www.mediastudio.com/createathon/projects/comm_harvest.asp,
and Neighbors' Consejo, http://www.mediastudio.com/createathon/projects/neighbors.asp.
Any questions can be E-mailed to CAT@mediastudio.com
(no phone calls please!).
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Which is the most prominent tenants rights organization in DC?
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