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?
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]
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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!
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 http://www.dcradio.org.
NCRC Response to Southwest Waterfront Concerns
on Behalf of Marie Johns
W. Ronald Evans, Chairman, NCRC, email@example.com
[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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email@example.com
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?
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
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.
[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.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS AND CLASSES
Kalorama Citizens Association Yard Sale,
Ann Hargrove, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email@example.com
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,
Debra Truhart, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, PadroANC2C@aol.com
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 info@ShawMainStreets.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — DONATIONS
The Healing Power of Music
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
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. http://shorterlink.com/?0PM3VN.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Montgomery County Humane Society needs help as it prepares to go
to Louisiana to assist animal victims of Katrina (http://www.mchumane.org/MCHSHEADSTOLOUISIANA.htm).
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
and the Humane Society of the United States, http://www.hsus.org.
Please go to these web sites to read what these groups are doing and to
offer financial help.
CLASSIFIEDS — VOLUNTEERS
Help Needed for Hurricane Devastated Areas
Joan Eisenstodt, email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
CLASSIFIEDS — HELP WANTED
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: http://www.markskatz.com/jobs.htm.
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