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August 21, 2005


Dear Eavesdroppers:

Sandy Fernandez has an article in today’s Outlook section ( about cell phone and Blackberry abuse, including stories about the hairdresser who continues talking on a cell phone while braiding cornrows, the husband who types Blackberry messages to fellow workers while discussing their baby with his eight-months-pregnant wife in their obstetrician’s office, and the man who types Blackberry messages while at the urinal in a public restroom. Fernandez’s stories beg for one-upmanship, for coming up with an better story.

As you know, I wouldn’t bring up the subject if I didn’t think I could top them with an even more disgusting one. Mine also takes place in a public restroom and, believe it or not, I can tell it without using any words that will alarm your company’s E-mail filters. It was in the men’s restroom in Macy’s at Pentagon Fashion Mall. From one of the stalls came the unmistakable sound of violent projectile vomiting. A few seconds later, a cell phone started ringing in the stall — and the man inside answered it. “Yeah, hi,” he said. “No, I’m just upchucking. Hold on.” He vomited some more, then continued his conversation. “Something I ate last night; I think it was the fish,” he told his caller, and then talked a few seconds until he had to regurgitate more. I left before he finished either activity. Okay, that’s my story. Can you top that?

Correction: in the August 17 issue of themail, the message “DC Rewriting Ballpark Financing, Carving up Land for Developers” was incorrectly credited. It was by Ed Delaney,

Gary Imhoff


Fenty’s Red Brigade
Zoe Yerkes, zsyerkes-at-gmail-dott-com

Why is it that the “populist candidate,” Adrian Fenty, in a city that is nearly 90 percent Democratic, finds it necessary to dig for gold in Republican mines? And, if he’s elected, what does it say about how he’ll govern and the special interests he’ll entertain?

On August 11 the Washington Post reported that Fenty paid $7750 to Clinton LeSueur, a Mississippi Republican, to make “calls about fundraisers” ( On August 18, the City Paper detailed Fenty’s relationship to Judith Terra, a longtime Republican with connections to some of the biggest names in political fund raising ( Fenty has also taken a $1000 donation from a finance official employed by the shady, multinational, Carlyle Group. George H.W. Bush and James Baker serve on its Board, and until October 2001 the Bin Laden Family was a Carlyle investor (,1300,583869,00.html).

Remember the stir when Mayor Williams attended a fundraiser for the Maryland Republican, Connie Morella? Fenty is no different, if not worse; rubbing elbows with the Big Red Machine and cashing their checks in the process. When it comes to finances (follow the money) the Fenty campaign leaves much to be desired.

[This is the fourth anti-Fenty message that Zoe Yerkes has sent to themail; there has been one a month since May. Zoe, I’m curious; do you support another mayoral candidate, announced or unannounced, or do you just oppose Adrian Fenty? Please reveal whether you have an interest in the race. — Gary Imhoff]


Redskins Pat Downs
Clyde Howard,

Now the Redskins have entered into the security arena of the Transportation Security Agency by patting game attendees down prior to entering the stadium. What gives them the right to pat down the body of a guest attending the game? Do they have the experience to pat a person down or do they have the right under the law to pat a person down? An employee of the stadium that is not trained and has no knowledge of how to pat a person down, in my view, is violating my personal right not to have a stranger place his hands on my person. Where does Snyder get the nerve to think that someone will do harm when his team is barely holding their own? How will the ACLU deal with Snyder’s unwarranted invasion upon people who are just going to see a game of losers and who are then insulted by such an indignity?


One Thing You Can Be Sure Of
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom

Mayor Williams wants the new Nationals’ baseball stadium to be unique. He wants this new ball park to be one-of-a-kind compared to the many new stadiums that have been built in the last decade. He will get his wishes. The new stadium will be the most expensive baseball park in the world’s history to date. You can count on that bit of uniqueness. And, the fall guys for this folly will be the taxpayers of DC who will wind up paying for something the baseball owners have traditionally paid for in other major cities (just look at the new ball parks in San Francisco and the one a building in Saint Louis). Great taxpayer support in those two cities comes from attendance, not taxes.


Land Grabs and Boondoggles
Harold Goldstein,

Land grabs? So what about the Metro land grab? So why is this supposed stadium land grab different from the Metro land grab? One can argue that the Metro system construction was the biggest real estate boondoggle in the history of this region. Many people got very rich because of it. And because of the results of this real estate boondoggle, the Metro system left us with more vehicles on the road than were there before.

Where were all you righteously upset folks then? Oh, I forgot, that was for the public good. Well, I guess there is the old-eye-of-the-beholder thing.


Newspapers in a Fix to Change
Phil Shapiro,

This past week Hollywood notified major newspapers that they are withdrawing many of the large movie ads that newspapers have depended on for revenue. (See Why is that significant for us? Because this is another way newspapers will be forced to change the way they’ve been doing business. Change is good. Change is needed.

Here is something you can do to hasten change: Cancel your newspaper subscription and read the newspaper on the web. This will provoke a discussion at newspapers about how to regain lost subscribers. That would be a productive discussion. Newspapers might even invite community members to participate in that discussion. Imagine that. consulting your customers to find out more about their wants and needs.

Newspapers, being “all knowing,” have always known “what’s best for us.” Patronizing attitudes don’t cut it any more. The road to renewed profitability is humility and deeper listening. Our community is ready for this. Are newspaper ready, or would they prefer even greater losses before making changes?


National Capital Medical Center
Lisa Alfred,

I have no hope that the National Capital Medical Center (NCMC) is a bad idea which will go nowhere. Unfortunately, given our political leadership, the only ideas that go anywhere are bad ideas. At the August 16 meeting in the Wilson Building attended by eight Ward 6 residents, the representative from the Office of the City Administrator was very clear that the Mayor wants this new 250 bed hospital and Medical Center, and therefore, the proposal will go full speed ahead. At this meeting, the city purposely wanted to pack the meeting with Agencies that have nothing to do with the current proposal in order to sidetrack the real issues. The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation representative and the representative from the Office of Planning were there to talk about the architecture, building design and zoning. The Department of Transportation representative was there to discuss the impact of the NCMC on traffic patterns in the surrounding neighborhoods. Prior to the meeting I specifically asked that those agencies not be in attendance because their issues weren’t currently on the table.

I specifically asked that the DC Department of Health (DOH) be present to address health related issues concerning the NCMC, such as how will NCMC affect the abysmal health outcomes our neighbors are currently experiencing. While I may have missed it, I cannot find that the DOH has uttered a single word on the hospital — not at any of the hearings, not at any of the meetings, not during press conferences concerning the NCMC. The DOH is not even mentioned in the proposal. Does this mean that the NCMC has nothing to do with health care in the District of Columbia? In response to my questions concerning the absence of the DOH, the city’s representative on August 16th kept saying that the NCMC will not cure all DC health issues.

In my mind, the primary question before the city is: given the abysmal health outcomes in the District among our residents, will the NCMC make our neighbors healthy, and consequently extend their lives. Time and time again the city representative kept saying the word "trauma" -- we need the hospital because of all the trauma cases being experienced in Wards 7 and 8. At no time was it said that we need a hospital because, per the city’s own NCMC Report dated July 12, that 50 percent of the residents east of the river have asthma and/or diabetes. Asthma and diabetes are not trauma related. And frankly, at no time since the NCMC proposal was announced to the public, has the city provided any data on trauma

Many of our neighbors want the hospital because they believe the city’s mantra on trauma. I urge all of you to check the DOH web site. Our neighbors are not dying from trauma. They are dying, at alarming rates, from asthma, diabetes and hypertension. None of these illnesses can be prevented or, more importantly, managed by a hospital, no matter what kind of hospital you construct. After all, when you look at the city provided map of sick people in DC, the sickest people in DC live around hospitals. No, that doesn’t mean that maybe we should just get rid of all hospitals. But that does mean that maybe the city should 1) read its own data; and 2) adjust the proposal accordingly. There are, however, two aspects of the July 12 report on the NCMC [] that appear to have considerable merit and should be explored further and hopefully enhanced. The Medical Office Building and the Medical Homes Initiatives are concepts that, if implemented, are desperately needed not only in Wards 7 and 8, but also in Ward 6.


A New Hospital? or Staying Out of the Hospital?
Pat Taylor,

It is no wonder that many residents of Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8 are hoping for a new hospital to be built on the site of DC General Hospital. They or family members or good friends have had to be hospitalized this year or last year or the year before. So they know many people who have recently needed hospital care. A new hospital on the east side seems needed. But wait. How many of these folks were hospitalized because they did not get the outpatient care they needed for the management of their chronic disease (asthma, diabetes, hypertension, angina, congestive heart failure, extreme shortness of breath from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, perforated appendix, urinary tract infection, dehydration)? How many of them would not have been hospitalized if they had gotten the outpatient care they should have received?

The answer is many. Here’s the statistic for just one age group. The avoidable hospitalization rate for people age 65 to 99 living in Wards 5, 7 and 8 was 117-232 persons per 1,000 population, in 2000-2003. This is a huge rate! It is three times the avoidable hospitalization rate for seniors who live in Georgetown and Northwest DC! To see the statistics for more age groups, look at this PowerPoint presentation which has lots of maps, including the chronic disease and avoidable hospitalization information. The analysis was conducted as part of the Medical Homes DC project of the DC Primary Care Association (

The Ward 5, 7, and 8 avoidable hospitalization rates for younger adult age groups are even worse. They are three, four, five times as high as those rates in Georgetown and Northwest DC. Now ask yourself -- for DC’s east side residents, what is DC’s health policy priority? Is it keeping people out of the hospital by having more primary care physicians, urgent care, ready access to continuous and coordinated care for chronic diseases, and easy access to outpatient specialty care and diagnostic services (lab work, X-ray, CAT scans, and so on.) located right in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8? Or is it an east side hospital?



March on Washington Remembered, August 30
Debra Truhart,

Tuesday, August 30, 12:00 p.m. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 307. A special presentation of March on Washington Remembered, a documentary, which tells the story of the August 1963 March on Washington through film, photographs and the words of those who participated, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, Peter Yarrow, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and others. Public contact: 727-1213.



Part-Time Sitter
Sarah Eilers,

I’m looking for a student — college or mature high schooler — to pick up my two children from elementary school at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, walk them home, and supervise until a parent arrives home between 6 and 7 p.m. Please E-mail me if interested.


Classroom Aide
Martha Saccocio,

Classroom aide needed to work in fourth grade classroom of upper NW DC public elementary school. Experience working with children a plus. Duties include assisting teachers with grading and paperwork, working with students, and providing general support to three fourth grade teachers. Hours Monday-Friday, 8:30-3:30, beginning immediately. This position is ideal for someone who has recently retired or someone just starting out in their career. Must love working directly with children. If interested, please respond by E-mail to


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