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September 4, 2005


Dear First Responders:

Many people are concerned with Hurricane Katrina this week, and there are some interesting comments in this issue of themail about the implications of this natural disaster for our city. If you have any additional comments, please continue the discussion, but remember that themail is about us locally, and it is not the place to try to score points in any national political debate. What can we do for ourselves? And what is our local government prepared to do for us?

Gary Imhoff


The Price of Gasoline
Keith Jarrell,

With the high price of gasoline and the fact that little or no relief is in sight, couldn’t the city tax on gas be eliminated for a period? Couldn’t the mayor or city council in special session remove the tax on gasoline to help us all out in this ridiculous situation?

We don’t hear much said about this, so I am wondering if anything can be done.

[On September 1, Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia ordered that state’s gas tax suspended through the month of September, and ordered the state legislature back into session to ratify the suspension. — Gary Imhoff]


It Could Happen Here
Dorothy Brizill,

During the past week, DC residents, the nation and the world have been horrified by the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama — and by the government’s slow response. Since September 11, 2001, and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a great deal of national and local attention has been focused on emergency preparedness. To date, millions of dollars have been spent, offices and agencies have been established, and staff has been hired. According to government officials, the District has a detailed, comprehensive plan to respond to every conceivable emergency. Unfortunately, we will be able to test and evaluate these plans fully only in the event of an actual emergency.

For those who think a New Orleans-type natural disaster could never happen here, remember the flooding that occurred in the District in August 2001. Just eight inches of rain overwhelmed storm drains, causing water and sewage to back up drains and flood basements. The Bloomingdale and LeDroit neighborhoods in northwest were the hardest hit, although other parts of the city also suffered storm damage. More than six hundred individual households in the District received assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Every DC resident citizen should be asking how our government would respond if there were a need to evacuate the entire city, or a large area of it, suddenly. What if there were an uncontained anthrax attack, or a serious threat of a terrorist attack, or civil unrest, or a nuclear disaster? Like New Orleans, the District and the metropolitan region have a high percentage of very poor residents with limited resources, and the District has a large number of people of all classes who don’t have personal automobiles. How would these residents be evacuated from DC on a few hours or a couple days’ notice? Where would they go? How would information be communicated if the electrical supply were disrupted? How would a region-wide emergency plan be coordinated among the myriad of city, state, county, and federal entities? Would the lines of authority and the responsibility of the various governmental entities be any clearer than they were in Katrina? Would chaos reign, or would there be an organized, humane evacuation? New Orleans, at least, had advance warning and time during which the majority of its citizens were able to leave the city safely. It is likely that any disaster that would hit the DC metropolitan region would come as a total surprise, and deny local officials the advantage of even that amount of advance planning.


Emergency Response: You Are on Your Own
Sally MacDonald,

The news from New Orleans and the Gulf emphasizes the need for citizens’ emergency response training in the strongest way possible. Millicent Williams is now in charge of the DC Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) office and training — her telephone number is 727-7200. I am happy to be a member (graduate) of the city’s first CERT training class, something I had, and have, advocated for a long time.

CERT training began in California after residents found that government “first responders” would not be able to reach areas for some time. Residents realized that they should know what is needed, and how to organize, triage and bandage patients, turn off gas connections, and describe the situation accurately when the first responders arrive on the scene. Indeed, in our first real DC training practice, we went about doing what we have been taught, including freeing patients from under debris, organizing patients from “dead” to “immediate care” with others for later treatment, and separating “walking wounded”; when we, rather proudly, reported the details by radio, the message back to us was, “You are on your own; we can’t get there for at least another twelve hours!” It was a shock to us — a most instructive one — one we learned not to forget.

Watching the Gulf area news has brought back that first shocking response to me: “You are on your own, we can’t get to you for hours!” Would you know what to do? You can learn and be of important help to yourselves, your families and your community. You are on your own! Call Millicent Williams!


Emergency Communications
Bill Adler,

Our hearts go out to the people of the Gulf region who have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. What happened in the hurricane’s aftermath should remind us that descent from civilization to chaos can occur in hours. The complete destruction of all means of communication in New Orleans -- land line phones, cell phones, the Internet — made the vast problems there even worse.

The DC Emergency Radio Network is one way to communicate if catastrophe should strike the Washington, DC area. DCERN is a decentralized, citizen-organized communications network that uses store-bought Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios. These are the easy-to-use, battery operated, inexpensive, two-way radios that families use in places like Disney World. In an emergency, tune your FRS or GMRS radio to channel 1: a neighbor will be there. For more about the DC Emergency Radio Network, visit


NCRC Response to Southwest Waterfront Concerns on Behalf of Marie Johns
W. Ronald Evans, Chairman, NCRC,

[Re: Ed Johnson, "An Open Letter to Marie Johns," themail, August 17] The National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) deeply appreciates the wisdom, experience, and commitment to Washington neighborhoods that Marie Johns brought to the NCRC Board of Directors. As a member of the Board, Ms. Johns was a strong advocate for community benefits including affordable housing, jobs, and opportunities for local small businesses.

NCRC is proud of its accomplishments made in Southwest during Ms. Johns’ tenure on the Board. We are particularly pleased to have approved the Town Center Apartments plan to convert the 256 unit building into condominiums. Residents currently renting their apartments will soon be homeowners in the building where more than half are vacant or in severe disrepair. Following extensive renovations, these residents will own a stake in the homes they have occupied for years.

At the Gangplank Marina, numerous improvements and additions have been made to a property that posed a serious risk to slip-holders at the site. Most of the changes made at the Marina have improved the way of life for those that use the docks. Unsafe vessels have come into compliance with safety standards. Throughout the Marina, upgrades have been made to electrical systems, security, and facility appearance.

Coastal Properties, the Marina’s management company, maintains regular and frequent communication with commercial and residential tenants. NCRC has participated in nearly a dozen meetings since January held in and around the Gangplank Marina. The Corporation has responded to all written requests for services or information, and issues of merit that were raised in the past by tenants have always been addressed as expeditiously as possible. NCRC will continue to maintain an open line of communication with all the tenants at the Marina, both commercial and residential. With our partners at Coastal, we look forward to building a healthy relationship with Marina users.


NCRC — A Gross Lack of Accountability
Charlotte Drummond,

The National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) was formed with high expectations for efficient and effective redevelopment of underserved and underutilized neighborhoods in the District. Its mandate by Congress, the mayor and the DC council was to enable, revitalize, empower, and enhance neighborhoods and their citizens. So far, NCRC’s reputation in Southwest DC is not only abysmal, but it has actually reversed such progress as had been made by local citizens and business owners. Particularly, NCRC’s management of the Southwest Waterfront has been an affront to business owners, disruptive to neighbors, and devastating to more than fifty residents forced from their homes on the water. The latter loss of homes was not through the dreaded eminent domain stick that NCRC wields in other areas, but simply through mismanagement at the Gangplank Marina.

I understand that the upcoming transfer of Southwest Waterfront property from NCRC to the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (AWC) results from this debacle and NCRC’s inability to carry out its mandate. My question is, why must those of us suffering at the hands of NCRC in Southwest wait for the transfer? Why can’t the DC council or the mayor’s office control the most destructive of NCRC’s practices here? There is absolutely no accountability for anything that NCRC chooses to do.

NCRC continues to exploit loopholes in its defining document to block Freedom of Information requests that would inform residents of exactly what is being done in our neighborhoods. Board meetings are often not publicized and citizens are not provided regular opportunities to comment on practices and problems resultant from NCRC actions or inactions. I am President of the Gangplank Slipholders Association. I represent, among others, over one hundred people at the mercy of NCRC and their mismanagement company at Gangplank, Coastal Properties. These DC residents do not understand why their civil liberties can be quashed, their lives disrupted, and their families evicted, all at the whim of the NCRC’s contracted management. We are tired of waiting for the transfer of responsibility for our lives from NCRC to AWC. This is an open plea to the DC council and the mayor’s office to step in and make NCRC accountable and answerable to someone for their actions. Your citizens deserve your attention to this unreasonable situation.


Forthright Fenty Takes the Heat
Gabe Fineman,

In the August 28 issue of themail, Gary said "We need to ask better and more specific questions of our candidates, and demand better answers from them." Absolutely correct. That is why it was so distressing to see the continued attacks on candidates that are in the form of, "He did not say what I like." For example, the posting in the August 31 issue attacking Adrian Fenty. Whether you agree with Mr. Fenty on Klingle Road (as I do) or disagree, you have to applaud his willingness to take actual stands on issues and articulate his reasons, even if he may lose some votes by doing so. In the case of Klingle Road, he took his stand long, long before most other Councilmen and articulated his reasons as those of fairness and of binding the City together, and not simply that his constituents were overwhelmingly in favor of reopening this vital street. So far, the other candidates have used the time-tested strategy of saying little or nothing on controversial issues so that they offend no one. We would not need to “ask better and more specific questions of our candidates” if they emulated Mr. Fenty and actually volunteered their positions. And, by the way, why is it taking years and years to reopen this street?


Fenty and Klingle
Laurie Collins,

As I sit and read themail on a beautiful island beach of Greece, I can’t help but comment on Mary Vogel’s rant [themail, August 31]. Adrian Fenty took a position to restore and preserve our city’s historic 160-year-old Klingle Road right from the beginning.

His sound decision rang loudly to all his Ward 4 advisory neighborhood commissions and to many if not all Ward 4 civic associations, which also voted to restore Klingle. But more importantly to me, he supported and fought for Ward 1 residents and helped preserve the Ward 1 Comprehensive Plan, which notes Klingle as a vital cross park artery. Adrian Fenty is connecting our neighborhoods, connecting our businesses, and connecting people east with west and for that, I am grateful.

Now, back to the sun, ouzo, feta, and souvlaki!


Pat Down at the Ball Park
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom

Have been out here in Seattle for a while enjoying the wonderful cool weather. A few games have been played in the local stadium, Safeco Field (built with tax dollars, by the way) and observed that there was a pat down search of fans entering the stadium for the University of Washington-Airforce Academy football game yesterday. I understand that the same process will be followed for the National Football League Seahawks games at home in Seattle. I guess it is just a symptom of the times we are living in.


Our Daley Words
Harold Goldstein,

[Gary Imhoff, themail, August 31, wrote: "I’m in no position to judge the sincerity of those words, but I’m still impressed by them. Have you ever heard anything like them here?"] Gary, come on. [Chicago Mayor Richard M.] Daley impresses you with these words? After years of enriching himself and his family and friends, even after his father made his family rich? I dislike our present mayor as much as anyone here, but give me a break. Saying things like this loses your credibility. Daley was backed into a corner, so he apologizes and comes up smelling good, when he really, really stinks.



Kalorama Citizens Association Yard Sale, September 11
Ann Hargrove,

On September 11, Adams Morgan Day, the Kalorama Citizens Association will be sponsoring a yard sale at 1827 Belmont Road to raise money solely for its work on historic preservation and zoning. This is you opportunity to help with good causes through donating things in good condition for the sale, including furniture, artwork, household goods, china and dishes, glasses and crystal, antiques and the like as well as things that are in working condition, such as small appliances and office equipment. (We have a truck and can pick up any heavy items.) The value of your donations is tax deductible because KCA is a nonprofit. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the 11th. Call 332-6320 if you can contribute, or write an E-mail.


Half a Day on Sunday, September 11
Brie Hensold,

Sunday, September 11, 1:00-1:20 p.m. and 1:40-2:00 p.m. “Half a Day on Sunday: Jewish-Owned Mom and Pop Grocery Stores of the Washington Area.” This twenty-minute documentary film produced by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington traces the stories of many small “mom-and-pop” grocery stores in the Jewish communities of the Washington, DC, area that existed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The two screenings of this film complement the exhibition Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community. Free. Registration not required. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.


DC Public Library Events, September 11, 12, and following
Debra Truhart,

Sunday, September 11, 2:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Main Lobby. Poetry readings by local poets reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, as part of the DC Public Library participation in this national and international grassroots effort organized by The September Project. Public contact 727-1281.

Mondays, September 12, 19 and 26, 1:00 p.m., Northeast Neighborhood Library, 330 7th Street, NE. Computer tutorials for beginners, or those who just want to refresh their skills. Public contact 698-3320.

Mondays, September 12, 19 and 26, 7:00 p.m., West End Neighborhood Library, 1101 24th Street, NW. Quigong, a form of Chinese medicine using movement, breathing and meditation techniques. The DC Public Library is not responsible, nor does it endorse health information given to participants during the program. Public contact 724-8707.


Fall Small Business Workshop, October 4
Alexander M. Padro,

Shaw Main Streets, in conjunction with Georgetown University Law Center’s Harrison Institute for Public Law, will present the fourth in a series of Small Business Development Workshops on ten consecutive Tuesday evenings from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, beginning on October 4 at the Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th Street, NW.

Topics covered will include developing your business plan, what type of business entity to form, getting capital; finding, leasing, and buying space; hiring employees; permits, licenses, insurance, and taxes; basic accounting; and marketing. Two graduates from the class held this spring have already opened new businesses. Perhaps you’ll be the workshop’s next success story. There is no charge to enroll in the class. A $25 materials charged will be collected upon acceptance into the program. Similar classes cost $250 or more. Advance registration is required. Enrollment is limited, so register today! Attendance is required in order to receive a certificate of completion. For more information or to register, call Shaw Main Streets’ Executive Director Alexander M. Padro at 265-SHAW or E-mail



The Healing Power of Music
Phil Shapiro,

After our family members settle into the DC Armory, I’ll be heading down there to play guitar and teach guitar. I’d like to drop off one or more guitars for people down there to have. If you have one you’d like to donate, I can come by to pick it up.

If you’d like to contribute to buying a guitar, this student classical guitar is affordable and sounds nice. It’s almost guaranteed that one or more family members coming to the DC Armory already plays guitar and it would be meaningful for someone to hand them a guitar.


Helping Animal Victims of Katrina
Mary Rowse,

The Montgomery County Humane Society needs help as it prepares to go to Louisiana to assist animal victims of Katrina ( We are sending our Mobile Adoption Unit as well as a large box truck filled with your donations to Louisiana State University. The Board of Directors is already planning to purchase medical supplies, but there are several care items that are desperately needed: bowls, leashes and collars, collapsible crates, bottled water, pet food, kitty litter, scoops, litter boxes, and manual can openers. Donations can be brought to the Montgomery County Humane Society on Sunday and Monday between the hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at: 14645 Rothgeb Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Financial contributions can be mailed to the Humane Society’s address above. Main phone 240-773-5960; programs and services 240-773-5054; emergency services 240-773-5900.

Other organizations working to help the animals are United Animal Nations, http://www. and the Humane Society of the United States, Please go to these web sites to read what these groups are doing and to offer financial help.



Help Needed for Hurricane Devastated Areas
Joan Eisenstodt,

The Department of Homeland Security/FEMA and the American Red Cross are responding to Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans and the surrounding region. We need your help! Hurricane Katrina has caused devastating damages in Louisiana. FEMA Response and Recovery operations are a top priority of the Department of Homeland Security. The DC Citizen Corps is being requested to immediately seek volunteers for a two- to three-week assignment assisting the American Red Cross. Volunteers will be trained in mass care by the American Red Cross and then sent to Alabama for further deployment details.

Requirements: must be sponsored by your State and Local Citizen Corps Program (this means you must first contact the Citizen Corps office with initial contact information). Must be a United States Citizen with no prior felony convictions and the ability to successfully complete a background check (if necessary). Must be at least 18 years of age. Must be physically able to work in a disaster area without refrigeration for medications and have the ability to work in the outdoors all day. Must be willing to work long hours under arduous conditions. Workers may be exposed to mold, high heat and humidity and insects. Must be willing to work in vicinity of disaster debris, damaged facilities and related adverse conditions. This assignment is temporary. Must not self-deploy. Individuals who self-deploy will not be reimbursed. You will not be working in CERT teams.

Step 1: contact Pamela Taylor, Citizen Corps Manager, Executive Office of the Mayor (727-7949, fax 727-9198, so that our Citizen Corps office can get an accurate account of volunteers who will be deployed. We will need your name, address, contact number, an emergency contact number, and a date you able to leave for the two to three week deployment. Step 2: once your have contacted the Citizen Corps office, it will forward your information to the American Red Cross for Mass Care training. Please know that this is a very serious deployment! You will be working in heat and humidity for several hours a day. There’s a possibility that utilities may not be available. We cannot guarantee that you will be staying in a hotel. You should pack comfortable clothing that you do not mind getting dirty or damaged. Please contact Ms. Taylor if you have any questions. All of this is happening at a rapid pace; please be patient. We need your response as soon as possible.



Bilingual Legal Secretaries Sought
Jon Katz, jon at markskatz dot com

Our Silver Spring trial law firm seeks fully bilingual (Spanish-English) experienced candidates for the following positions: 1) junior secretary/receptionist (part time and full time) and 2) experienced legal secretary (full time). Unlimited career and pay growth potential, paid parking, and training. Please read our detailed job postings before applying:


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