Zoe Yerkes, below, makes a good point. It may or may not be true that
the unexamined life isn’t worth living, but it’s unquestionable that
the unexamined candidate isn’t worth electing. In DC’s short
electoral history we’ve elected several people to political office who
were promising, even exciting, candidates, but who were disappointments
in office. We need to get better both at recruiting good candidates for
public office and at examining those who run. We need to ask better and
more specific questions of our candidates, and demand better answers
from them. Tough, competitive, and even long election races may be ugly
and exhausting, both for candidates and the public; but on balance they
are the only way to expose both the strengths and weaknesses of those
who want to serve us.
Yerkes has expressed, in a series of messages to themail, serious
doubts about Adrian Fenty’s readiness and qualifications to be mayor.
Some of her doubts strike me as better founded than others, but all of
them deserve to be answered. But it isn’t enough to ask questions just
of Fenty. Councilmember Vincent Orange and Marie Johns are announced
candidates for mayor; Michael Brown has said that he will announce; and
Council Chairman Linda Cropp has said that she will announce her
candidacy on September 7. They, and any others who may enter the race,
need to make it clear why they want to be mayor; what they will do as
mayor; and whose interests they will serve as mayor -- and we can’t
let them get away with the usual platitudes about how they’ll serve
"all the people." I’d like some specific commitments this
In the last issue of themail, Ted Knutson asked whether this election
season weren’t starting too early, long before anyone other than the
candidates themselves care. Well, of course, most people aren’t going
to pay any attention until a month before the primary, and then again a
couple weeks before the general election. But we political junkies have
been paying close attention for months now. If you really want to
influence the races for mayor, council, and school board, jump in now.
And if you have questions to ask about any of the candidates, ask them
Dorothy’s piece on the Washington Teachers Union trial, which she
promised would be in this issue of themail, turns out to be longer than
she thought it would be. We’ll probably send it as a special issue of
themail in a day or two.
Last year I received a ticket in the mail for a tag number and car
that did not belong to me. The Department of Motor Vehicles sent me a
letter stating that I had to prove that the car and tag did not belong
to me. I responded that it is impossible for me to prove that a car and
tag does not belong to me, but that the DMV can verify my denial by
reviewing their registration records. This was not an adequate answer
for them so they wanted me to pay the ticket. I then contacted
Councilmember Patterson’s office, which was very helpful in having the
DMV void the ticket.
On August 8, 2005, I received notification in the mail of a $100
ticket (Ticket # 336 271 994) for a car and tag number that does not
belong to me. I sent a letter on August 15, explaining the ticket was
issued to a tag number and car that did not belong to me. On August 22,
the DMV sent me an unsigned letter stating that a “15 day suspend had
been entered into the system to provide additional time for you to
produce a registration or certification from the Department of Motor
Vehicles.” How can I produce a registration for a car that I do not
own to prove that a car that I do not own does not belong to me?
I then spent one hour on the phone trying to get somebody at the DMV
to help me solve this problem. Everybody that I spoke to said that I had
to prove that the tag number and car do not belong to me. It is
unfortunate that I will have to again request help from Councilmember
Patterson’s office to deal with incompetence at the DMV.
“DC Government”: Oxymoron?
David Sobelsohn, dsobelso -at- capaccess -dot- org
The letter came to an ANC commissioner. It was sent by the DC
Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. Dated July 27, it announced
an August 6th job fair to recruit youth correctional officers. According
to the postmark, it was mailed August 26. It arrived August 27, exactly
three weeks after the event. At least the post office works. “DC
Government” is an oxymoron. Or some kind of moron.
Thinking About the Residents of New Orleans
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
The focus of email@example.com has always been DC, and I love it
just the way it is. That said, I’ve been thinking a lot about the very
difficult time the residents of New Orleans will be facing very soon. I
picked up my guitar a minute ago to sing the opening verse of Mr.
Tambourine Man, written by Bob Dylan in 1964 while visiting Mardi Gras.
In times of trouble, we reach out to each other in song, a metaphorical
hand stretching across the distances between us. That’s what we do.
I’ll be uploading this to the Internet Archive in a minute, and
when released tomorrow by the Internet Archive, I’ll be submitting it
to a web site named Del.icio.us using the tag (descriptor)
neworleanskatrina. Others around the country wishing to send thoughts to
New Orleans residents in text, pictures, audio or video form could do
the same after putting their thoughts on the web. Here is where you’ll
find this on Del.icio.us. (http://del.icio.us/tag/neworleanskatrina).
For those who might not know, Del.icio.us is an excellent social
bookmarking service. To learn more about Del.icio.us, view these three
excellent screencasts. http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/pshapiro/view?PostID=4865
Cell Phone and Blackberry Misuse
Ralph Blessing, firstname.lastname@example.org
Having had similar experiences as those described by Harold Foster [themail,
August 24], I wholeheartedly concur with his comments -- with one
exception: the crashes these idiots cause are not “accidents” but
are instead totally preventable if they would just hang up and drive.
We, as a society, need to stop excusing them (as well as speeders, red
light runners, etc.) by pretending that the havoc they wreak is somehow
As a DC voter, I would appreciate Roger Scott’s giving examples of
the claims he makes for Mr. Fenty [themail, August 24]. In the paragraph
below, Mr. Scott claims Fenty “walks the walk . . . has proven he is a
people’s politician . . . is the best the city has to offer . . . will
make this city a better place. . . .” How do we know this? I don’t
live in Ward 4, so I am asking a serious question here, wishing to know
more about the candidates. Thanks in advance for a few more details.
I do not currently support any of the people running for mayor in DC.
And I am not sure why people think I have to be supporting a certain
campaign just because I don’t believe in Adrian Fenty. My feelings
about Fenty are from his actions. He makes me angry with the way he
pretends to be the squeaky clean politician, but really he is just like
all the others, except he is young so people think he is honest.
People post messages all the time in themail critical of Mayor
Williams and many other politicians, but you don’t ask them who they
support. Once again, Adrian Fenty seems to be the beneficiary of the
benefit of the doubt, but really he doesn’t deserve it.
I did all the fact-checking about my E-mails to themail about Fenty,
and everything is accurate. Most of it was based on what I read already
in newspapers or online elsewhere. If my statements weren’t based on
facts, I can see why there might be a problem, but I didn’t dream up
this stuff. You won’t like it if he becomes mayor. People will be
gleeful the first few weeks, but then the reality of having an
unqualified mayor who tends to bend the rules for his own purposes (like
the Exploring Committee stuff) will set in.
Expanded Online Information
Kathy Sinzinger, NewsDC@aol.com
The Common Denominator has added links to more than thirty online
DC neighborhoods to the main page of its web site at http://www.thecommondenominator.com.
If we have missed your neighborhood, please let us know so that we can
This year, The Common Denominator also is expanding its
coverage of high school sports, in both our print and online editions.
In addition to information about the DC Interscholastic Athletic
Association (DCIAA/D.C. public schools), information is now available
online about schools that compete in the Washington Catholic Athletic
Conference (WCAC), the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) and other
leagues, as well as other independent DC high schools. We are starting
with football season, but we plan to expand beyond football coverage.
Click on the "High School Sports" link on the main page of The
Common Denominator’s web site to access this information.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Bill Lofy on Paul Wellstone, September 6
Tamara O’Neil, email@example.com
Bill Lofy discusses and signs copies of Paul Wellstone: The Life
of a Passionate Progressive, on September 6, at 6:00 p.m. Price:
$15, including cocktail reception. At The Woman’s National Democratic
Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW.
Bill Lofty, Director of Communications for Wellstone Action, has
written a compelling biography of the legendary progressive who changed
the face of Democratic Party politics. Hardworking, funny and
well-liked, Paul Wellstone died with his wife, daughter, and aides in a
plane crash during his 2002 campaign for a third term as Minnesota’s
Senator. Come celebrate Paul Wellstone’s life and legacy at a
reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the historic Woman’s
National Democratic Club. Tonight’s event will kick off the national
introduction of Lofty’s book. The book will be available for purchase.
This event is cosponsored with Politics & Prose. For more
information about this event, please contact Tamara O’Neil at
Planning DC’s Transportation Future Forum,
Benjamin Slade, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities is holding a
forum titled, "Planning DC’s Transportation Future Transit,
Streets, Traffic and Parking for a Livable City" with Dan
Tangherlini, Director, DC Department of Transportation, Wednesday. The
forum is to be held on September 7, 6:00 p.m., refreshments; 6:30 p.m.,
program, at the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), 401 9th
Street, NW, North Lobby, Suite 500. RSVP (attendance only) to WRN,
244-1105, or E–mail email@example.com.
This event is free of charge. NCPC is located on 9th Streets between E
and D Streets; Metro Stations: Gallery Place, Metro Center, Archives,
Federal Triangle. Please arrive before 7 p.m. and bring photo ID. For
more information see http://www.washingtonregion.net/events/
National Building Museum Events, September 7,
Brie Hensold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, September 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m. The complex geometries that
characterize architect Frank Gehry’s buildings are made possible by
architectural software pioneered by Gehry Technologies. Founded in 2002
as an offshoot of Gehry’s design firm, Gehry Technologies promotes
integrated, three-dimensional, digital design and construction
methodologies. In 2004, the company released Digital Project, a suite of
software that supports complicated projects from design development to
on-site construction coordination. Dennis R. Shelden, Ph.D., chief
technology officer with Gehry Technologies, will discuss these
technologies and their effects on the design process. This lecture is
held in conjunction with the exhibition Tools of the Imagination, which
will be open for viewing. $12 Museum members; $17 nonmembers; $10
students. Registration required. At the National Building Museum, 401 F
Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Saturday, September 10, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Construction Watch
Tour: The Odyssey. The Odyssey Condominium in Arlington, Virginia, will
feature an astonishing 13-story glass curtain wall. Located along a
bluff on the edge of Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood, the building
takes advantage of remarkable panoramic views. The glass and brick
high-rise is sculpted to engage the grid of the city and is set back
from the street behind a series of row houses. The 460,000-square-foot
project will offer 271 condo units, a rooftop pool, and other amenities.
Robert Sponseller, design principal with Shalom Baranes Associates, will
lead a tour of this project, scheduled for completion in spring 2006.
Open only to Museum members, $15. Space is limited. Prepaid registration
required. To register, call the Museum at 202.272.2448 or visit http://www.nbm.org
beginning August 22.
Changes in the Supreme Court — Justice for
Women, September 8
Sheila Willet, email@example.com
Retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has stated,
“When you change one member of the Supreme Court, you change the
Court.” The National Capital Chapter of OWL (Older Women’s League),
the voice of mid-life and older women, will consider this emerging issue
on Thursday, September 8, at 1 p.m. The public is cordially invited to
this free event. Coffee and cake will be served. The two-hour
presentation will be held at the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library,
3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW. To ensure seating, please RSVP attendance
only to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The distinguished panel of speakers will include Eleanor Smeal,
President of the Feminist Majority Foundation and Past President of the
National Organization for Women; Dr. Martha Burk, Chair of the National
Council of Women’s Organizations; and Mary Jean Collins, Senior
Vice-President and National Political Director of People for the
American Way. The panel will discuss the implications for women should
President Bush’s nominee for the position, John G. Roberts, Jr., be
appointed; the future of Roe v. Wade; and other judicial matters
affecting women of all ages.
National Daughter-Daddy Reunion Tour,
Jonetta Rose Barras, email@example.com
The National Daughter-Daddy Reunion Tour launches in Washington, DC,
from September 11 through October 2. Father absence is a silent epidemic
in America, affecting twenty million girls under twenty years old and
another forty million adult daughters. It crosses all boundaries with
devastating consequences. Unfortunately, there has been little focus
within the National Fatherhood Movement on the relationship between
daughters and daddies. Many people still believe fathers are less
important to their daughters than their sons. But a father is critical
to his daughter’s development. When a girl loses her father, she grows
up with an unexplained ache that nothing seems to soothe. But fathers
also suffer from the loss of a relationship with their daughters. Often
men want to reconnect but believe that they are unnecessary or forgotten
in their daughters’ eyes. Further, they are unsure of how to build a
bridge back without upsetting other people. If you are a daughter
thirteen or older, who wants to understand the effects of father absence
in your life, wants to heal and wants, perhaps, to reconnect with your
father, or if you are a father who has been separated from your daughter
and want to restore the relationship with her, register for The National
Daughter-Daddy Reunion Tour. Send an E-mail to Ddreunion@aol.com or call
722-4639 for more information.
Washington Storytellers Theater opens its 2005-06 Season with two
celebrations that survey a broad landscape of storytelling. When you
think of storytelling, the first image that comes to mind may be a
circle of children sitting cross-legged on the floor of a library. Or
perhaps a cultural presentation at a museum, with a performer in
traditional dress telling ancient and sacred tales. With its first two
events of the 2005-06 season, Washington Storytellers Theater attempts
to change those images, replacing them with something more aggressive,
energetic, and fun.
On Tuesday, September 13, WST presents its first SpeakEasy of the
season. The theme is Naked: Stories about being exposed, and will
feature three performers who are all young practitioners of the
monologue. Funny, dramatic, and sometimes over the top, these three
enjoy playing with the comic edges of the art form. SpeakEasys always
include open mic performers; on this special evening, HR-57 will be
collaborating with WST by providing a jazz ensemble to kick off the
evening. The featured performers are Stephanie Garibaldi, Robyn Holley,
and Josh Lefcowitz. Stephanie Garibaldi is a veteran improviser, writer,
and humorist. She has been featured on WETA and WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi
Show. By “veteran,” we do not mean to imply that she’s old. She
just started really young. And now she’s back from her whirlwind tour
of Ireland to kick start our season opener. Texan Robyn Holley won’t
be around town much longer. This may be the last chance to catch the
phenomenal and unpredictable Master of Divinity and Motley Crue fan on
stage in DC. Holley is the author of “Turkey Lurkey,” “The
Bird,” “Litter Hurts Babies,” and “My First Trip to the
Gynecologist.” Josh Lefkowitz is an actor, writer, and solo performer.
As an actor, he has worked with Woolly Mammoth, Center Stage, Signature
Theater, Arena Stage, and Olney Theater, as well as with actor/writer
Eric Bogosian and performance artist Holly Hughes. Josh’s first
full-length solo production, entitled HELP WANTED: A Personal Search for
Meaningful Employment at the Start of the 21st Century, has received
public readings at Center Stage in Baltimore and at Washington DC’s
Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. Josh performed this piece on the opening
night of the Single File festival in Chicago this August. The Chicago
Sun Times, in a review of HELP WANTED, called Lefcowitz “a
bristlingly smart, boyish fellow in his early 20s, chronicles his
depressive post-college days in a clever, confident, knowingly
precocious way (at moments even verging on the smug) that is neatly and
unapologetically imitative of [Spalding] Gray.” HR-57 Center for the
Preservation of Jazz and Blues, 1610 14th Street, NW (between Corcoran
and Q Streets), Tuesday, September 13, 7:00 p.m. Metro Red Line (Dupont)
or Green Line (U Street/Cardoza). Ticket Price: $10.
Later in this same week, on Saturday, September 17, we will present
Chris Chandler, who is a self-proclaimed huckster, wandering minstrel,
and medicine show sideman, as well as an acclaimed musician and
storyteller, in a performance that celebrates his newest CD release,
“American Storyteller.” Utah Phillips calls Chandler “the best
performance poet I have ever seen.” The performance caps off a
successful forty-day tour, during which he played the main stage at
several of the countries most prestigious festivals. Now back at home,
Chandler will appear at the Takoma Park Folk Festival and WST’s
September 13 Speakeasy. But the real party will be the following
Saturday, when he will play at WST’s home in Takoma Park, Seekers
Church, with pianist David Roe and other musical guests. “American
Storyteller” is an enhanced double CD produced in Takoma Park, and
features three new short films including the acclaimed “This is not a
Folk Song,” which tells the true tale of a slave graveyard that sits
between the runways of the Atlanta airport. Seekers Church, 274 Carroll
Street, NW, Metro Red Line (Takoma), Saturday, September 17, 8:00 p.m.,
Ticket Price: $12. Reservations: 545-6840.
Cultural Institute of Mexico Events, September
Barbara Ruesaga, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, September 14, at 7:00 p.m., at the Cultural Institute of
Mexico, 2829 16th Street, NW, the grand opening of the exhibition
Mirrors: Contemporary Mexican Artists in the United States. The
exhibition features one hundred works by thirty-six artists, selected by
the prestigious curator Santiago Espinosa de los Monteros. It includes
paintings, videos, sculptures, installations, and photographs. RSVP
728-1675. Free entrance; limited space available.
Friday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m., at the Cultural Institute of
Mexico, a concert to launch Fiesta DC. RSVP 728-1675. Free entrance.
Second Annual Citywide Child and Youth Policy
Forum, September 16
Susie Cambria, Scambria@dckids.org
What’s in it for kids?: Assessing the investment in children and
youth in the FY 2006 budget, will be held on Friday, September 16, at
10:00 a.m.-noon, at the True Reformer Building, 1200 U Street, NW
(on-street parking and close to U Street/Cardozo Metro Stop on Green
Line). Join DC Action for Children for our second annual child and youth
policy forum. This event will feature findings from DC ACT’s annual
budget analysis, What’s in it for kids? DC ACT staff will brief
attendees on the investments being made in children and youth as well as
outstanding issues and recommendations for FY 2007. Other panelists will
respond to the findings and will present their priorities for the FY
2007 budget. Following the panel presentation, there will be an hour of
The forum panel will include Neil O. Albert, Deputy Mayor, Office of
Children, Youth, Families and Elders (confirmed); the Honorable Linda
Cropp, Chair, Council of the District of Columbia (invited); the
Honorable Adrian Fenty, Council of the District of Columbia (Ward 4
representative and Chair of the Committee on Human Services) (invited);
Susie Cambria, Director of Public Policy, DC Action for Children; Evita
Smedley, Public Policy Analyst, DC Action for Children; and Frankeena
Wright, Senior Health Policy Analyst, DC Action for Children.
Agenda: 9:30 a.m., registration. 10:00 a.m., briefing begins. 11:00
a.m., questions and answers. Noon, briefing concludes. There is a $15
fee for this event; fee includes refreshments and materials.
Registration is required, and the registration deadline is September 14.
Direct questions to Alexis, 234-9404, email@example.com.
Please make checks payable to DC Action for Children and note
"Policy Forum" in the memo section. DC ACT is only accepting
registration via postal mail. Mail completed form with payment by
September 14 to DC Action for Children, 1616 P Street, NW, Suite 420,
WDC 20036, Attn: Policy Forum. Please give your name, title,
organization (if applicable), address, phone fax, and E-mail address.
A Community Responds to Homelessness,
Elizabeth Conger, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friendship Place Partners and the Community Council for the Homeless
at Friendship Place (CCH/FP) invite concerned members of the Washington,
DC, community to a symposium about the pressing problems of homelessness
in our midst in upper-Northwest DC. Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson
will deliver the welcoming remarks. This will be a free public-service
Panels of experts will address the disturbing fact that although Ward
3 is the wealthiest ward in the District (top in both median household
income and average per-capita income), Ward 3 and other areas of
upper-Northwest also have significant numbers of homeless people: people
living on the streets, sleeping in the parks, eating from garbage cans,
and suffering from disabling mental and physical illnesses. The
symposium will be held at the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist
Church, 3401 Nebraska Avenue, NW (parking available; located between
Massachusetts Avenue and Foxhall Road, adjacent to American University),
on September 17, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Brief lunch break; box lunches
provided.) To preregister, call 364-1419 (ext. 21) or send E-mail to email@example.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
Wingback chair: solid hardwood frame in dark walnut frame, tight
back, upholstered in pale pink fabric, $175. Provence style oak dining
table: simple rural beauty, includes one leaf for expandable dining and
four matching chairs, $275. Vintage Alston club chair: semi-attached
back pillow, upholstered in classic chestnut fabric, reinforced
CLASSIFIEDS — DONATIONS
Scarves for DC Homeless
Mary Boland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you knitted, crocheted, or woven presents for every family
member and friend three times over? Expand your gift list. Friends’
Action, a 501(c)(4) charitable organization that advocates for
Congressional voting rights for the citizens of the District of
Columbia, is collecting winter scarves to be given to those who live on
the streets of Washington. We ask for your help. Pull out your warmest,
prettiest yarn, whip up something wonderful, and send your creation(s)
to Friends’ Action, PO Box 3138, Hagerstown, MD 21741 by December 9.
We will distribute all donations to DC area shelters in December. If you
are a member of a craft guild, church/synagogue/mosque, or have friends
who could contribute, please pass the word.
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 http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to email@example.com
with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages
are available at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.
All postings should also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org,
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.