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September 11, 2005


Dear Overseers:

For one issue of themail, I’ll retreat from life-and-death topics back to the everyday problems of dealing with a predatory city government. In the August 28 issue of themail, Pete Ross wrote about receiving his second parking ticket in two years from the Department of Motor Vehicles for cars that he didn’t own. This week I received a phony ticket myself, a $100 parking fine issued to a car of a make that I’ve never owned with a long-expired license plate number that I’ve haven’t had for several years. I’ve heard many stories about these phony tickets, and the DMV’s practice of making it so difficult to contest them that most people will pay just to avoid the bother. Since the cars and license plate numbers don’t match the records of the people to whom they are sent, what records does DMV consult to decide whom to send these tickets to? It seems to me obvious that somebody is running a scam. There are two possibilities. Either some DMV employees are running a freelance scam and pocketing the fines they receive, and DMV doesn’t care enough about the widespread stories of fake tickets to investigate them; or DMV itself deliberately sends out fake tickets to raise money. Which is it?

In the August 17 issue of themail, Ed Johnson raised serious questions about the National Capital Revitalization Corporation’s management of the Gangplank Marina, and its unresponsiveness at best, and hostility at worst, to its residents. In the September 4 issue, W. Ronald Evans, the Chairman of the NCRC, attempted to answer those charges; and Charlotte Drummond, the president of the Gangplank Slipholders Association (the tenants’ association), substantiated and expanded on them. In this issue of themail, both Charlotte Drummond and Susan Carpenter, a past president of the tenants’ association, give even further evidence of the NCRC’s mismanagement of the Marina. Frankly, their charges are a lot more credible than Mr. Evans’ denials. As I’ve written before, the NCRC, like the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, was set up to do dirty deals for favored private interests that the city government couldn’t do directly, in order to escape public scrutiny. But that works only as long as the NCRC keeps its business secret. When its deals become public knowledge, and the administration and the city council can’t pretend ignorance any longer, don’t they have to step in to clean up the situation? Apparently, they don’t think so. Where is their oversight?

Gary Imhoff


High Gasoline Prices
Gabe Fineman,

The recent surge in gasoline prices raises some questions. Obviously, closing some refineries or pipelines has not raised the cost of producing or even transporting gasoline although it has reduced supply in the storage facilities. I have never understood the argument that rising gasoline prices were simply due to the laws of supply and demand. The theory is that there is a natural price for gasoline for a given availability and demand. Thus, prices will rise as availability decreases and fall if availability increases. Under that model, if the government increased gas taxes by $2.00 a gallon, the total price would remain the same and the price of the raw gas would fall so that the natural final price continued to balance supply and demand.

What we see, instead, is that gasoline companies segment their market by what they think consumers will pay and set their wholesale price accordingly. Thus, gas is usually at least twenty cents cheaper in Laurel than in Potomac. We are talking here about the wholesale price of the gas and not the cost of the real estate or the labor of collecting the payments. By some remarkable coincidence, every major gas company has hundreds of geographically identical wholesale pricing zones in each state and independently computes identical prices for the identical zones.


Circumnavigating the Beltway Using a Gallon of Gas
Phil Shapiro,

In 1500, one of the great challenges of the day was to circumnavigate the globe. In 2005, one of the great challenges of the day is to circumnavigate the Beltway using less than one gallon of gas. Smart friends tell me it’s impossible to travel these 64 miles using a gallon of gas. That’s all the more reason to do it. Any landlubbers out there with the gumption to give this a try with me? A mini-documentary can be shot about the attempt. This is surely feasible and may be worth pursuing for the educational value of the journey.


Gouging DC Residents
Clyde Howard,

How is it that the residents of DC are paying more for gas then our state neighbors? Our beloved bow-tie-wearing mayor stated, "the prosecutors will investigate to determined if any gouging is going on." This shows the amount of concern he has for the residents of this city and how disconnected he is. The same holds true for the rest of the government in this city. The gas stations in this city are largely unregulated by our government. They are subject only to the regulations of Weights and Measures, who ensure that a gallon of gas is accurately measured when it passes through the hose into your tank. What you don’t know is that the DC Government cannot tell you if you are getting the right octane of gas from the pump. Shortages in certain grades can lead to unscrupulous station managers to sell low octane gas at high octane prices. There is no way that you would know the difference. A car with computer controlled ignition would easily compensate for the difference in the octane content of the gas that you are burning.

Any mayor worth his salt would immediately direct the resources of his city to find out why the residents of this city are paying more for gas then our state neighbors. But it is the same old story, no action, just talk. So, let us teach the gas stations a lesson in this city by buying gas where it is cheaper. Only use the in-town stations to top off later in the week or to get you out of town to seek cheaper gas. Happy hunting.


Let the Games Begin
Dorothy Brizill,

Last week, we celebrated Labor Day and the end of summer, and we also marked the start of what will be an interesting and contentious political year in DC. Political campaigns began that will culminate in the fall of 2006 in elections for mayor, council chairman, two at-large councilmembers, council representatives for Wards 1, 3, 5, and 6, and school board representatives for district 3 (Wards 5 and 6) and district 4 (Wards 7 and 8).

Last week, two candidates for mayor, Linda Cropp and Adrian Fenty, formally kicked off their campaigns at separate events at the African-American Civil War Memorial, at U Street and Vermont Avenue, NW. On Wednesday, Cropp rallied her supporters at the Memorial and walked the U Street corridor to the Reeves Municipal Center, occasionally stopping to speak with merchants. At the Reeves Center, she formally filed her statement of candidacy and registered her campaign committee with the Office of Campaign Finance. Her campaign will be headed by two septuagenarians, Elijah Rogers (former city administrator in an early Barry administration) will serve as campaign chairman and Marilyn Brown (the District’s national Democratic committeewoman) will serve as treasurer. Former Ward 7 councilmember Kevin Chavous will be the campaign’s general counsel, and counsel secretary Phyllis Jones is currently serving as the interim campaign manager. Throughout the rally, the key word used repeatedly by Cropp was "experience," with the implication that she has proven experience.

On Saturday, Adrian Fenty gathered his supporters at the Memorial to mark 365 days until the September 6, 2006, primary. Former at-large councilmember and personal injury attorney Bill Lightfoot chairs the Fenty campaign, and attorney Benjamin Soto serves as treasurer. Fenty told me that he will serve as both the campaign manager and press secretary for his campaign. He has, however, hired John Falcicchio, Sam Brooks, Alex Evans, and Tom Lindenfeld to work in his campaign headquarters at 809 Florida Avenue, NW. On Saturday, the key word that Fenty used more than twenty times in his brief remarks was "future," with the clear inference that he represented the District’s future.

Other announced candidates for mayor are Ward 5 councilmember Vincent Orange and former Verizon DC executive Marie Johns. Attorney Michael Brown has indicated that he will announce his decision on whether to run for mayor in the coming week.


Staffing the DC-Area Out-of-Town Shelters
Phil Shapiro,

The big lesson learned last week is that major American cities need to have existing, large out-of-town shelters available for any eventuality. Here in the DC area we probably need about five shelters, each capable of temporarily housing 80,000 persons. Who might be the right persons to staff those shelters year round? Our current family members at the DC Armory. Yes, it’s possible to use those shelters for other purposes (as conference centers) when not needed in an emergency.


NCRC: Follow the Money
Charlotte Drummond,

Regarding the letter by National Capital Revitalization Corporation’s Chairman Ron Evans (themail, September 4), I just must speak to several statements he made. “Throughout the [Gangplank] Marina, upgrades have been made to electrical systems, security, and facility appearance.” I would challenge Mr. Evans to come and inspect any dock to point out a complete electrical or dock surface upgrade anywhere, except possibly the one on which the Marina manager lives. “The Corporation has responded to all written requests for services or information. . . .” This spring, I met with the President of NCRC, Tony Freeman, who promised quick response on a laundry list of issues he wrote down during our conversation. I was unable to get a reply by voice or E-mail to any subsequent follow-up attempt I made and never received action on a single issue. I have also requested information or response from NCRC Asset Manager Sandra Fowler only to be completely ignored on a number of occasions.

NCRC has consistently denied FOIA requests from citizens and ignored requests from the city council for contract and budget information all the while pleading poverty at council oversight hearings. They began four years ago with a $25 million cash grant, were given hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of city property, and were pledged another $50 million in Fannie Mae grants. Where has it all gone? Apparently, approximately $6 million went to purchase the Gangplank Marina, a stunning amount for a property that had been in bankruptcy only a few years before. Now it appears that NCRC is making $500,000 a year off the property but putting little back in for much-needed improvements. They recently announced a $2 million plan to repair the crumbling docks, but that work won’t start until after the property is handed over to the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (AWC). A case of one quasi public-private corporation sticking another with the bill.

Since NCRC gained control of the marina, they have pursued an aggressive policy of reducing the number of people allowed to live here. They put a moratorium in place based on vague statements about how the facility couldn’t support more than one hundred residential boaters. Even by their own accounting (which appears to include the deceased) the actual residential population is now well below even that. Since NCRC is supposed to be creating housing, not eliminating it, why haven’t they spent some of that $500,000 a year on fixing the infrastructure to allow the population to grow back to the 120-130 live-aboard vessels previously on the docks? A few years ago, Lloyd Smith, NCRC’s former CEO, may have answered that question at a Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing. When questioned about the $5.5 million purchase of the old Hogates restaurant, he stated that income from the marina was used to make payments on the loan they took out to buy back the lease, which they have now opened as the infamous H20. NCRC keeps the terms of that contract a secret, so we may never know how profitable H20 is to them. Profit is fine, but not when they’re pleading poverty to avoid making necessary upgrades and repairs to this facility.

In his recent letter, Mr. Evans stated he was proud of NCRC’s accomplishments in Southwest. Is he proud of getting rid of more than forty of his tenants, presumably to pave the way for a development project now yanked out of their hands? Proud of the good reviews H20 gets at How about sticking the AWC with a deferred maintenance bill? Is he especially proud that his marina management company tried to evict certain marina residents because they presented testimony criticizing NCRC before city council? It’s way past time to rein in NCRC. The public needs an accounting of what they’ve spent our tax dollars on and if they have done it to enrich themselves at the expense of the neighborhoods they are supposed to be serving.


Response to Ron Evans’ Letter on Behalf of Marie Johns
Susan Carpenter,

Mr. Evans, your organization has allowed a Maryland-based corporation to employ escalating abusive tactics against DC citizens at the Gangplank Marina for almost four years. Tactics that would be against the law if we were covered by the same landlord-tenant protections as other residents of the District. As a DC citizen and Gangplank resident, I am appalled and ashamed that you would sanction such actions, and I hold you personally responsible for what has occurred. I’m sure that others can and will speak of their own abuses at the hands of your people, and the current president of out tenants association has already spoken eloquently on numerous issues. I would like the readers of themail to hear my story, one that is all too sadly representative of what other tenants have had to endure.

My husband and I are among about eighty live-aboard boaters at the Gangplank, meaning we live year-round aboard our boat. This winter we were given an eviction notice with a demand that we leave our home at the marina in 45 days, but were not informed, at least in writing, for what cause. Only after we questioned the marina manager were we told that our eviction was because of my unfriendly attitude (I am the past president of the tenants association), my past activism (both my husband and I have testified about NCRC before city council), and an outrageous and false allegation of stalking of an employee because I was a racist. The charge of being a racially motivated stalker stemmed from my reporting to management what I thought was suspicious activity on the part of an employee. That employee was dismissed for what Ms. Fowler of NCRC was to later call “an unfortunate incident” but not until after she repeated accusations against me of breaking and entering and entrapment at a city council hearing! Ms. Fowler repeated those accusations in a public forum without ever once contacting me to hear if I had another side to the story. When your organization targets individuals with costly and devastating public accusations, you might consider that some due diligence be used to ferret out the truth first.

Since that incident, I have received anonymous hate mail, and I’m sure I have been ridiculed behind my back. As a woman who has spent a great deal of her life as a community activist, including a term as the president of a local chapter of the League of Women Voters, I can’t begin to tell you how this feels. If you don’t like the criticisms written about NCRC in themail, just image what it would be like to be labeled a racist. With costly legal representation and assistance from Councilmember Ambrose and her staff, we were able to beat back the capricious eviction and remain in our home. Some of my neighbors were not so fortunate and now have left the marina because of eviction or because of just being harassed until it was no longer worth the fight. Others are still seething about ludicrous “apology” letters they had to write in order to stay, or having been put on “secret probation” because they were accused of testifying before the city council. Your staff has been made aware of all these incidents and has done nothing to act on them.

Mr. Evans, you wrote, “With our partners at [marina management], we look forward to building a healthy relationship with Marina users.” I can’t imagine a more ludicrous statement given everything that has happened during your watch. Do you really not know what is happening to your tenants, or are you willing to back your staff at any cost, even when that means people may lose their homes? If you want to truly be proud of your organization, you need to make immediate and dramatic changes beginning with terminating your management company’s contract.


Preparedness in DC
P. Walters,

A DC disaster would not be water, but a chemical, biological, or nuclear attack. We wouldn’t have water lapping at our rooftops, and so many people may not feel compelled to evacuate. For the likely threats we face, many basic services would probably remain — power, water, sewage — further compelling many to chose to stay. (Not to mention fear of gridlock while fleeing, memories of the bad outcome for many evacuees from Katrina, and genetic distrust of authorities.) Thus, a higher percentage of the populace than in New Orleans could suffer here, because they simply did not see a reason to go. Absolutely clear, widespread, and available communication before and during a situation in DC is critical to ensuring the highest number of survivors of mass disaster. Are we up to it? I suspect that the existing DC plan, like most, is a pro forma exercise required to meet some federal requirement rather than a well-tested plan that has been proven to work, albeit on a small scale. (After all, 99 percent of disaster planning is a tabletop exercise performed in sunny weather.) Our leadership would do well to regroup, drawing on people who know their neighborhoods, the psyche of their local communities, and the behavior they are likely to show when under stress, and build a realistic plan from the bottom up. Then test, test, test. Katrina showed that the possible is the inevitable.


Harold Foster,

You can’t possibly talk about preparedness (there, then, or here and now) without talking about what you call “political” blame. First off, everything is political in one way or the other: check the dictionary definition of the word. Second, the whole point of themail’s very timely introduction [September 7] deals specifically with political questions. How much money is diverted from other (probably urgent) public needs to truly adequately prepare for an absolutely catastrophic occurrence such as Katrina (or Isabel or 9-11, for that matter)? Take it from a thirty-year transportation planner: you cannot take these kinds of precautions and be as prepared as you should be without shortchanging other critical budgetary needs.

What priorities do you have for evacuation? Who goes first? Who do you sacrifice (and any truly realistic evacuation plan must answer this nasty question, just as airlines admit that after a crash landing passengers in wheelchairs are sacrificed to get able-bodied survivors off the plane as fast as possible.) In the case of DC, where would the evacuees go? Maryland? If so, what arrangements do we have with that state to accommodate the evacuees? Virginia? Okay: then the plan has to make allowances for getting a couple hundred thousand people across four or five bridges at a time when that may not be possible, or the bridges may not even be there any longer. (The hijacked airliner that hit the Pentagon on September 11th could have taken out any one of three bridges across the Potomac had it diverted off course by as little as two degrees. And those of us over forty certainly remember Flight 90 in 1982.)

How much do you depend on WMATA? (Please note that I said WMATA and not Metro, because, as in New Orleans, DC has a large number of bus-transit-dependent residents who not only don’t own (or can’t afford) a car, but also live so far from the nearest Metrorail station that the only practical way to evacuate them anywhere, including to somewhere else inside the city itself, would be by bus. Or by something like a taxicab caravan like the one that shuttled troops to the front and saved Paris from the Germans in 1914. Also, the Metrorail system is infinitely more vulnerable to disruption than, say, a bus caravan operating on the city’s primary arterials. What if the catastrophe provoking the evacuation in the first place is, in fact, some sort of crippling event that has hit Metrorail?

What role does the federal government play in all this? Clearly we have seen in New Orleans that not answering that question ahead of time can be tantamount to committing an institutional form of manslaughter. Given the city’s orphan relationship to both neighboring states, never mind an indifferent, almost institutionally hostile, congress, should the city depend on the federal government at all in the event of a truly massive catastrophic event that necessitates large-scale evacuation? All those questions trace right back to what went wrong, and why, in and around The Gulf. You can’t possibly know if you will be ready to handle something like Katrina (or 9-11) tomorrow without having some rather cold-blooded assessments of what made Katrina and 9-11 such lethal snafus yesterday. We need to have a conversation about a realistic, practical evacuation, rescue and recovery plan for this city in the event of a major catastrophic occurrence. But we can’t have it in a time warp that doesn’t assess what might have been done in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf to have lessened the staggering human and financial cost this entire country will have to pay.


More on “Think Cropp”
Amy Hubbard, ahubbarddc at yahoo dot com

I swear I have not yet made up my mind about who I will vote for in the mayoral election (I’ll be looking at both Cropp and Fenty) but every time I see one of those “Think Cropp” posters, I want to write “But vote Fenty” on it in black magic marker.


Campaign Signs
Mike Livingston,

In case Cropp’s office doesn’t answer Sally MacDonald [“Think Cropp,” themail, September 7] in time: registered campaigns and PACs may put campaign signs in public space using staples (stapling two or more signs together around a metal post or utility pole). It is illegal to tape signs to public property. There is a limit of three identical signs (or pairs of signs back-to-back) on one side of one block. Signs may be posted anytime once the authorizing political committee is registered with the Office of Campaign Finance and must be removed within thirty days after the election, which is the campaign’s responsibility. Nobody else has any right to remove campaign signs; violations of the signage rules should be reported to the OCF. The offending campaign can be fined for each occurrence times each day until the violation is corrected.

That said, all campaigns would do well to recognize that there are a lot of Sally MacDonalds in town, and that excessive signage alienates more voters than it impresses. A few carefully placed signs can generate as much name recognition as a thousand signs blocking out the sky, and do so for less money and wasting fewer natural resources. Candidates should also remember that the inks used in these weather-resistant print jobs are toxic (you would not want your children to live near an industrial print shop) and even smell bad. If you tell me too many times, in too many places, to “Think Cropp,” I might start to Think Cropp is not a good steward of money and resources.


A Tangential Point About Signs
Mark Eckenwiler, themale at ingot dot org

In the last issue [themail, September 7], Gary asserted that installing “Think Cropp” signs “in the tree boxes in public space . . . is legal.” I disagree. Under the Construction Codes Supplement (12 DCMR 3107.7.8), “No . . . sign . . . of any sort shall be . . . placed . . . in or upon any street, avenue, alley, highway, footway, sidewalk, parking or other public space in the District of Columbia, unless specifically approved by the code official . . . in accordance with provisions of this Section.” (Note: the ellipses aren’t there to mislead or deceive; I’ve merely trimmed the copious strings of synonyms in the regulation. See for yourself at$fn=main-nf.htm$3.0#JD_Chapter31A if you want the full legal monty.)

While there are exceptions elsewhere in DC law for campaign signs sponsored by officially declared candidates for public office, I’m unaware of any exemption for signs installed by PACs (such as the “Think Cropp” crop).

[Mark believes that political campaign signs that are sponsored by PACs, rather than by candidates’ official campaign organizations, should be governed by the law that forbids commercial advertising signs in public space. I think otherwise, and I believe any court would find it unconstitutional to allow only official campaign organizations to post political signs in public spaces, and to forbid PACs from posting signs supporting their preferred candidates. PACs have posted political ads in past years. I am not aware that there have been any complaints about those signs, so I do not believe that the Office of Campaign Finance has issued an opinion on their legality. That is why I wrote, “It will be interesting to see whether the regulations are interpreted as also applying to PACs.” But I think their opinion can go only one way. — Gary Imhoff]


Bryce A. Suderow,

I got an E-mail from JD who says that he’s Hispanic and that he lives on 10th Street. I meant to say in my E-mail (“Piensen Cropp,” themail, September 7) that there weren’t any Hispanics on 10th Street between F and G. In fact there aren’t that many residents. On one side of 10th Street, there are no houses at all; there is a school and Sherwood Recreation Center. On the other side there is the House of Ruth, which takes up a substantial part of the block, and then there are houses mostly owned by Blacks. Yet there were eight or ten signs in that one block, half in English and half in Spanish. Even if there were one or two Hispanics, I don’t understand why that merits three or four signs in Spanish on a hundred-yard stretch of the street. They’re all crowded together. Nor do I understand why there are so many signs in English.


Where Are the Jobs for DC Residents?
Andrew Lightman,

The city is exploding with government-subsidized development projects, and with each bite of the gold-plated shovel Mayor Anthony Williams boasts of the new jobs that these projects create. Unfortunately, according to data acquired by Capital Community News from the District’s Department of Employment Services (DOES), in 2004 only 30 percent of the over 6,000 jobs created through local government moneys went to District residents. Most of the District’s high-profile development projects, including the new Washington Convention Center, Gallery Place, and Mandarin Oriental Hotel missed the fifty-one-percent local hiring goal by a significant margin. This is especially troubling given that unemployment for District residents continues to be higher than in most cities, even though tens of thousands of new jobs have been created here.

Beginning this year, the mayor has moved to remedy the situation by proposing legislation that would put some teeth into the local hiring laws. The private sector has complained bitterly, however, saying that the laws "would not result in one more DC resident being hired." As the council moves to take up the issue this fall, the question becomes, how do we close the jobs gap? Read the full article by Gabriel Pacyniak at It includes a chart listing recent high-profile subsidized projects and the percentage of DC residents they hired.


September 2005 InTowner
Peter Wolff,

This is to advise that the September 2005 online edition has been uploaded and may be accessed at Included are the lead stories, community news items and crime reports, editorials (including prior months’ archived), restaurant reviews (prior months’ also archived), and the text from the ever-popular "Scenes from the Past" feature. Also included are all current classified ads. The complete issue (along with prior issues back to May 2002) also is available in PDF file format directly from our home page at no charge simply by clicking the link provided. Here you will be able to view the entire issue as it appears in print, including all photos and advertisements. The next issue will publish on October 14 (the second Friday of the month, as always). The complete PDF version will be posted by the preceding night or early that Friday morning at the latest, following which the text of the lead stories, community news, and selected features will be uploaded shortly thereafter.

To read this month’s lead stories, simply click the link on the home page to the following headlines: 1) “Parks Department Joins Mayor’s Office in Plan to Commandeer Scarce Recreation Area for Housing”; 2) “Dupont Circle Groups Unveil Redone Call Boxes to Exhibit Area History”; 3) “Adams Morgan Essay: Part 2 — Four O’clock in the A.M. Friday, June 10, 2005.”



The National Daughter-Daddy Reunion Tour, September 11-October 2
Jonetta Rose Barras,

The National Daughter-Daddy Reunion Tour, an unprecedented movement to restore the sacred relationship between daughters and dads, arrest pronounced community problems and create healthy families, is being launched on September 11. A new socioeconomic model developed by Esther Productions, Inc., in association with national experts, civic leaders, and other nonprofit organizations, The National Daughter-Daddy Reunion Tour is a series of speakouts, training institutes, and celebrations that will occur in several venues throughout the city from September 11 through October 2. Without Our Fathers: Daughters Only SpeakOut will take place on September 13 in southeast; Daughters Only Training Institute runs from September 16 through September 18; I Am Father: Daddies Talk About Absent Daughters will take place on September 20; In Their Absence: A Roundtable Discussion about the Effects of Father Absence in Washington, DC, will occur on September 28; the Daughters and Daddies Training Institute runs from September 30 through October 2

Washington is the first stop for this newly created Tour. The Tour is expected to reach eighteen cities over the next five years. It promises to elevate the public discussion around the impact of father absence on daughters; provide tools and resources to help daughters recognize and decrease the negative effects of father absence in their lives; teach daughters how to develop a plan to diminish or alleviate those effects; help fathers and daughters design a workable plan for reconciling; develop a network of experts and community leaders who can provide a continuum of care, advice, and nurturing to fathers and daughters through the creation of support groups and faith-based reconciliation centers; and provide a venue to celebrate successful father-daughter relationships.

The National Daughter-Daddy Reunion Tour is sponsored by CIGNA Healthcare, Verizon Washington, the Downtown Cluster of Congregations and the National City Christian Church. Additional support has been provided by a variety of foundations, corporations and individuals. For further information, contact Jonetta Rose Barras or Misty Brown, 722-4639 or


Democracy for DC Rally, September 15
Shawn Rolland,

The ACLU of the National Capital Area is organizing a Democracy for DC Rally on Thursday, September 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., on the west lawn of the US Capitol, 1st Street, NW, between Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue, to protest DC’s status. Congress has over the years imposed its will on DC by attaching riders to the DC Appropriations Bill, which, in effect, limits the DC government from determining how its own budget should be allocated. Once again through the appropriations process, Congress is limiting the DC budget and stripping DC residents of their right to spend their local tax dollars their own way, this time with regard to gun control laws. Such action in the past has resulted in limitations on HIV/AIDS prevention measures, domestic partnerships and reproductive rights, to name a few.

The schedule for the event is as follows: 5:30 p.m., music and entertainment will begin; 7:30 p.m., the candlelight march around the Capitol begins. For more information on the rally, go to or contact


Skills and Secrets of the Building Arts, September 17
Brie Hensold,

Saturday, September 17, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Build a brick wall; participate in a nail driving contest; try stone carving and woodworking; learn the techniques involved in surveying; help construct a log cabin; build a city out of boxes; create a photo holder using quick-drying concrete; climb aboard construction equipment; collect home improvement tips from expert plumbers, roofers, contractors; and more! Visitors of all ages can work side-by-side with as many as 25 master craftspeople in a variety of hands-on activities to discover the skills and secrets employed in the building arts. Free. Donation of $5 is suggested. Registration not required. Appropriate for all ages. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.


DC Public Library Events, September 17
Debra Truhart,

Saturday, September 17, 11:00 a.m., West End Neighborhood Library, 1101 24th Street, NW. Amy Joyce, business reporter for The Washington Post, will discuss workplace dilemmas and answer questions. Public contact 724-8707.

Saturday, September 17, 3:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5. Soprano Ann Elizabeth Jones, violinist Cecilie Jones, and the Lennox String Quartet perform music by Vaughn Williams, Hindemith, Holst, Sametz, and Villa-Lobos. Public contact 727-1285.


Tibetan Red Tara Sand Mandala Ceremony, September 20-21
Tenzin Jigme,

In honor of the Dalai Lama’s November visit to Washington DC, Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Mindroling Monastery are creating a traditional Tibetan Red Tara Sand Mandala at the office of the International Campaign for Tibet, 1825 Jefferson Place, NW, on September 20-21, from 10.30 a.m.-5.30 p.m. You are invited to come at any time during the day to watch the creation of the sand mandala.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning circle, and Tibetan monks create these beautiful archetypal templates with grains of colored sand to remind us of the cycle of life and death. The mandala will be ceremonially destroyed at ICT from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, September 21. Following the ceremony, please join the Mindroling monks and staff of ICT for some traditional Tibetan refreshments. For more information, please visit


Resource Exchange II, September 22
Marc Ouellette,

The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation announces Resource Exchange II. This is an opportunity for organizations serving children and youth in the District of Columbia to find out about local and national resources (curricular, programming, training and more) for potential partnerships. Thursday, September 22, from 10:00 a.m.-12 p.m., at the ARC, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington gymnasium, 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE.The event is free!

Who will be showcasing their programs at the resource exchange? The Arena Stage, Community Engagement Division; Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington; Center for Inspired Teaching; Children’s National Medical Center, Teen Life Clubs and T.A.S.A. (Teens Against the Spread of AIDS); Covenant House Washington, Artisans’ Program; Dance Institute of Washington; DC Public Libraries; Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; Friends of the National Zoo; Getting Connected DC; Library of Congress; National Aquarium of Washington and the National Aquarium of Baltimore; National Building Museum; National Geographic Education Foundation; National Museum of the American Indian; National Organization of Concerned Black Men; Northeast Performing Arts Group; Opportunities Industrialization Center, Washington, DC; The Parent-Child Home Program; Philips Collection; Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies; Washington Performing Arts Society; and WETA, Between the Lions. For more information, please contact Peter Guttmacher of the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation at or 347-4441.


Ward 6 Democrats Meeting, September 27
Jan Eichhorn,

The Ward 6 Democrats will meet on Tuesday, September 27, at 7:00 p.m., at the Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club, 261 17th Street, SE. The issue forum will be what’s needed and what will be done to repair, renovate, and rebuild DCPS facilities. Moderator, Tom Sherwood, WRC-TV; panelists, Councilmember Kathy Patterson, Chair of the Council Committee on Education; Tommy Wells, District III (Wards 5 & 6) school board member; Jason Spooner, Deputy Director, 21st Century School Fund; Mark Dixon, Parent Coordinator at Terrell Junior High School and Chair of ANC6D; Marc Boberly, Fix-Our-Schools coordinator. ANC6A Commissioner. Also invited: Cornell Brown, Facilities Manager, DCPS. For further information:, 547-8855.



2006 Children’s Black History Calendars
Ingrid Drake,

Please consider purchasing advance copies of the 2006 Children’s Gallery of Black History Calendar to distribute to your members, customers, friends, families, and other supporters. Not only will you be increasing the awareness of great African American innovators, but you will also be investing in a high-quality community-based educational organization, Mentors of Minorities in Education Total Learning Cis-Tem (M.O.M.I.E.’s T.L.C.).

The full-color wall calendar features twelve original children’s drawings of their favorite African American change-makers, such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Ben Carson, and significant dates, such as January 25, 1966, when Constance Baker Motley became the first African American federal judge.

The calendars will be delivered to you by October 10, so that you can mail them out to your supporters before the holiday season and New Year. Please call 577-3437, visit or write



Computer Trouble
Bryce A. Suderow,

My computer keeps shutting itself down. I think there’s a problem with my Windows XP software. If you can help, please phone me at 546-3358 or E-mail me at



Red Bricks
Ashley Inselman,

For my garden, I am looking for red bricks which are in pretty good shape — new, used, whatever — as long as they don’t have too much residual cement on them. You call and I’ll haul! Contact Ashley at



Best High Speed Internet for Foxhall Village
Jason Maloni,

What has been folks’ experience with high speed Internet services in the Foxhall Village area of DC? I’m sick of Verizon (my speeds vary from 80 kbps to 760 kbps). My friends in Virginia say Comcast gets 6,000 kbps, but then I read about all the poor Comcast technical assistance. My father has Comcast in Bethesda, and his speeds range from 2000 to 3000 kbps, but he is sick of Comcast and on Monday is switching to Verizon. He is ignoring my advice that Verizon is even worse.

I realize many factors control service, but I’ve been knocking on neighbors’ doors to ask them. So far I’ve heard good things about RCN, but want to know what works in a neighborhood with old phone lines.


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