Boulevard of Dreams
Recommended reading: two letters in today’s Washington Post by
Robert Malson (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/07/AR2005100701628.html)
and Eric Rosenthal (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/07/AR2005100701629.html).
The administration wants to build a new National Capital Medical Center
to fill the gaping holes left by its closing of DC General Hospital.
Just a few years ago the administration swore Greater Southeast
Community Hospital would fill all the need for hospital care in that
part of the city. Now the administration has switched its position and
claims a new full-service hospital is needed, but it wants to avoid the
formal process of getting a Certificate of Need to prove its case.
Malson’s conclusion: “If the city is going to invest taxpayer money
in a National Capital Medical Center, intense public scrutiny is
warranted. The public should demand that the certificate-of-need process
not be bypassed — particularly in an atmosphere already charged with
election-year posturing and pandering.”
Also recommended: Josh Levin’s biting summary of the current plans
for the new ballpark, “Rich Fan, Poor Fan,” in the current issue of
the Washington City Paper (http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/cover/2005/cover1007.html).
The City Paper demonstrates that it can do good in-depth
political reporting, on those few occasions when it cares to. And it is
a political issue, the way the stadium is being built to maximize the
profit of Major League Baseball and the eventual team owners, and to
maximize the perquisites for the richest few fans, when it is the
taxpayers of DC who are paying the bills.
Please remember that themail will take a three-week break for the
last three weeks of October. I’ll resume publishing on Wednesday,
November 2. Please hold your messages for that issue until late October;
I look forward to hearing from you then.
DDOT, GSA, and the Washington Post Need
to Learn DC Streets
LaTanya Wright, iamlatanya at verizon dot net
On Wednesday, September 7, the General Services Administration gave
an overview to ANC 8C on its plans for St. Elizabeth’s West Campus: to
move the US Coast Guard’s headquarters there. In the eye-catching,
color handout, a map shows one street boundary of St. E’s as “Martin
Luther King Blvd.” On October 3, in the Washington Post story,
“DC Red-Light Cameras Fail to Reduce Accidents,” the print edition
featured a map of DC’s major streets. Once again, “M.L.K. Blvd.”
is on the map as a major DC street.
On October 6, 2005, in the Washington Post’s story
highlighted on the front page of the District Weekly, “Hot Spots for
Crashes Multiply,” the Post provided a map on page 11. Again,
“M.L.K. Blvd.” The source for the map: “DC Department of
Last I checked — and I ride Metrobus up and down this street daily
— the only street named after Dr. King in this city was an avenue. In
fact, other than MacArthur, I don’t believe there is another boulevard
in this city. When DC’s gentrification reaches its height in the
“last frontier” of Ward 8, maybe the District government, the Post,
and the feds will publish the street names correctly. Or, this could
simply be the result of DC’s “new” residents filling up the
District’s civil service payroll.
The Verizon Foundation Resource Center
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
For those of you in the nonprofit sector who might be interested, The
Verizon Foundation Resource Center has launched (see http://foundation.verizon.com/resourcecenter/tech.shtml).
This reminds me of my first online experience with the Verizon
Foundation, about eight years ago (in 1997.) Verizon was offering free
surplus office equipment to Washington, DC, nonprofits. You could apply
for surplus equipment online right on the Verizon Foundation web site,
explaining your nonprofit organization’s needs in a web form. So I
applied online at 2 a.m., one early morning. Fewer than ten seconds
after I submitted my request, I received an E-mail announcing that
regrettably my request for surplus office equipment was not accepted.
Now that is a best practice policy worth noting: automated rejection of
nonprofit grant requests. Sure streamlines things, doesn’t it? I
wonder if the Verizon Foundation has some of the same people running
their web site, or whether they have brought in new blood.
I must admit that the Verizon Foundation has done a lot of good in
this town supporting literacy and other worthy causes, but I will not
let the overall good this foundation has done remove the foundation from
responsibility for boneheaded things it has also done. Either you’re
committed to doing things right, or you’re not. There was a time the
Verizon Foundation was not committed to doings things right. I hope that
It’s Spring Again
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom
Here in New Zealand it’s spring all over again. Lovely flowers and
trees much like DC in the spring. Lots of familiar stuff here Down Under
in both Australia and New Zealand, yet in many ways very different.
Cities here are much cleaner and there are very nice, well maintained,
public toilet facilities everywhere. They speak a somewhat familiar
language which is much easier than the Irish brogue. Sports fans abound
and crazy for their rugby. Can’t figure out cricket, though.
Departure of Andrew Altman
Erling Hansen, erlinghansen at verizon dot net
An item in the news this week is Andy Altman’s resigning as Chief
Executive Officer of the Anacostia Waterfront Development Corporation
and heading to the Big Apple. Perhaps we can now get a replacement who
is less arrogant (he’ll fit in fine in NYC, I think) and show less
disdain for the citizenry while making the rounds of neighborhood
meetings. There are many mourning his loss, but I think we can do
It is a post requiring Council approval and one heavily supported by
Hizzoner Williams because the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative is
supposed to be one of the crowning jewels of the Tony Bowtie era. We’ll
watch with interest who is nominated to replace Mr. Altman.
Some of us were not as easily convinced by the Post’s
article on red light cameras as Gary apparently was [themail, October
5]. What I got out of it was a rather elaborate recitation of
statistics, but little in the way of analysis. In other words, if
crashes have increased at certain intersections, why? The Post
implies a causal relationship between an increase in the crash rate and
the presence of red light cameras. But without a careful analysis of
individual crashes (something I recognize would be a massive
undertaking), their conclusions don’t necessarily hold water. For
instance, opponents of traffic cameras routinely claim that yellow
lights are shortened at intersections with cameras. Or else they claim
that because more people are now stopping when the light turns yellow
— what a novel idea! — they are more likely to be rear-ended. But
the article doesn’t evaluate either of those claims.
As a keen observer of traffic safety issues, I pay particular
attention to the timing of traffic signals and the like, yet I can’t
recall seeing an unduly short yellow light anywhere in the District.
Quite the contrary, practically every DC traffic signal now has a
delayed green. Did the Post factor that into its analysis? Is it
possible that the delayed green gives red light runners a false sense of
security that they can beat a light that just turned red, with the
occasional result being that they broadside a car that has the right of
The delayed green was phased in around the same time as traffic
cameras, so it would seem logical to include that factor in any
investigation of crash rates, though there is no indication that the Post
did so. Rather, the article simplistically hints that a spike in crashes
(what the Post glibly refers to as “accidents”) is the result
of red light cameras, period. I get the impression that the Post
reporters were, figuratively speaking, running a few red lights to make
If the District were truly interested in reducing red light running
and accidents, they would have installed camera boxes at virtually all
busy intersections in the District years ago; let’s just estimate four
hundred locations. Then they would have publicized the fact that a
limited number of cameras — say fifty — would be rotated on a random
basis to all the four hundred locations. This would truly have a
preventive impact because people would never know when there is a camera
operating at a particular location. But of course we all know this is
about revenue — big revenue — and so low-cost prevention strategies
that don’t bring in big bucks do not even get considered.
I am looking into this, but I think Denver or some other politically
consequential city has finally just confessed that automated red light
and speed surveillance systems really do not achieve all the great
things ascribed to them: greater pedestrian safety, slower speeds, less
yellow-to-red light running, and fewer accidents. But they went on to
state the obvious: automated red light and speed surveillance had become
such a cash cow that, for fiscal rather than safety reasons they were
continuing and even expanding the program.
The Post study and the earlier study of the more limited
automated red light surveillance program in Virginia both pretty much
refute these safety assertions. There is some semi-anecdotal evidence
that slightly fewer fatal traffic accidents occur at monitored
intersections, but there is a correspondingly greater number of
so-called fender-bender accidents. And most of the latter are caused by
motorists panicking when the traffic signal facing them goes green to
yellow. They brake suddenly and often get rear-ended by the following
car. I have seen three such accidents at a monitored intersection near
I would hope that, since he’s now a lame duck, Williams would just
come out and say that the city literally cannot afford to abandon any
program that nets $32,000,000 in less than a decade. Personally, I
actually don’t mind the complaints coming from non-District motorists
that this program is a sort of backdoor commuter tax. Whenever we
“Columbians” hear that, we ought to point out to our neighbors from
Maryland and Virginia that, if there were a true reciprocal income tax,
they could at least deduct it from their local and state income taxes.
As it is, unless they get ticketed while on the job, they can’t do
that after being photographed running a red light on New York Avenue or
North Capitol Street.
Rear Ended in themail
Michael Bindner, mikeybdc at yahoo dot com
The question on red light cameras is whether a low speed rear-end
collision is more deadly than a high speed side-on crash. Fenders can be
replaced, the left side of my body can’t.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Worry Free Advocacy Training, October 13
Martina Gillis, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday, October 13, 12:00-2:00 p.m., at 1200 U Street, NW,
Alliance for Justice expert trainers will help you understand the rules
of nonprofit lobbying and election related activities. This workshop is
for nonprofit managers, staff , and board members. It will provide an
in-depth overview of the legal rules for nonprofits that engage or wish
to engage in lobbying and election work. Since this is an election year,
we know many of you are planning election activities, so come make sure
that your activities are within the legal limits! Registration is
required; the fee is $15 for Fair Budget Coalition members, $30 for
nonmembers. Registration fee includes workshop materials and follow up
consultation with Alliance for Justice. Please fax or E-mail your
contact information to 328-5515 or email@example.com
if you plan to attend. For more information, contact Martina Gillis,
328-5513. This event is sponsored by the Fair Budget Coalition.
Used Book Sale, October 15
Edna Small, Erklein@aol.com
Come to the used book sale, with books for grown-ups, Saturday,
October 15, 12:00-4:00 p.m., in conjunction with the Stoddert School
Fair, on the school grounds at 40th and Calvert Streets, NW. Come find a
Fifth Annual Renovator’s House Tour, October
Ed Lazere, lazere@dcfpi@org
The fifth annual Capitol Hill renovator’s house tour will take
place on Saturday, October 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. All proceeds benefit the
Capitol Hill Cluster School, a DC public school. Capitol Hill is the
nation’s largest historic district. But the self-guided Renovator’s
House Tour does not focus exclusively on preservation. Rather it
highlights unique homes and the creative and interesting things the
owners have done to accommodate their modern families. The Tour
showcases how 21st century families live in 19th and early 20th century
homes. It promotes ideas and processes and can inspire those planning
their own home improvements. With an eclectic mix of houses, including
several neighborhood landmarks, this year’s tour promises to be among
the very best.
To order tickets, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or you can order tickets online at http://www.renovatorshousetour.org/.
Workshop: How To Become a Great Presenter,
Barbara Conn, email@example.com
Want to become more compelling and creative as a presenter or
speaker? Want to deliver a message that will grab your audience’s
attention, speak their language, playfully provoke new ideas, and
sustain group attention? Want to generate laughter, helping others
become more receptive to your serious or "bottom line"
message, and overcome your own presentation/performance fears?
Gather your friends, colleagues, and family members and bring them to
this Saturday, October 15, 1:00 p.m. (check-in: 12:45 p.m.), workshop of
the Capital PC User Group Entrepreneurs and Consultants Special Interest
Group (CPCUG E&C SIG) led by the “Stress Doc,” Mark Gorkin. This
free talk will be in the First Floor Large Auditorium of the Cleveland
Park Library at 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW, just over a block from the
Cleveland Park Metrorail Station on the Red Line. For more information
about this event, the speaker, and CPCUG, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
educational organization, and to register, visit http://www.cpcug.org/user/entrepreneur/1005meet.html.
Correction, Janine Di Giovanni Talk, October
Bruce Snyder, Chevy Chase Library, firstname.lastname@example.org
At the Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library, on Monday, October 17, at
6:30 p.m., author Janine Di Giovanni talks about her book Madness
Visible: A Memoir of War, about the breakup of Yugoslavia. This date
is changed from Wednesday, October 12.
Washington Storytellers Theater‘s Mainstage season begins on
Friday, October 21, at 8:00 p.m., at the City Museum, 801 K Street, NW.
Catherine Conant will present “Exit 11,” her group of personal tales
about the lunacy of 1950s and 60s industrial New Jersey. Ticket price,
$15; for reservation call 545-6840. NES (The League of Advancement for
New England Storytelling) calls the stories “beautifully crafted first
person tales, told simply and directly, of something pretty close to
ordinary life. But for Catherine Conant, ordinary life is a gently
absurdist comedy.” One of these stories, “Toast,” recounts Conant’s
epic struggle against a modern-day Goliath: a toaster manufacturer. It’s
not exactly “The Insider,” but her account is a comic distillation
of some of the things about a consumer society that make us crazy —
and her talent makes it a treat.
“Exit 11” is the first of seven performances in Washington
Storytellers Theater‘s sixteenth season. WST is one of only a handful
of theaters in the country that present the art of storytelling on a
National Building Museum Events, October
Brie Hensold, email@example.com
All events except Construction Watch Tour at the National Building
Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Monday, October 24, reception 6:00-7:00 p.m., program 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) will receive the Museum’s 2005
Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology in
recognition of its promotion of sustainable design and building
practices and development of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) certification program. Richard Fedrizzi, president
and CEO of USGBC, will moderate a program about the implications of LEED,
focusing the new Genzyme Center in Cambridge, MA, as a case study. It is
the world’s largest structure with the highest LEED rating (platinum).
After German architect Stefan Behnisch describes the biotechnology firm’s
headquarters, Genzyme president and CEO Henri Termeer, together with
Philip Coleman, project executive, and Brett Kass, project engineer,
both of Turner Construction Company, will join a round table discussion
about the project and LEED. $12 members of the Museum and USGBC; $16
nonmembers; $10 students. Prepaid registration required. Turner
Construction Company is sponsoring the reception honoring the USGBC.
Tuesday, October 25, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Earlier this year, preliminary
designs were unveiled for the Cultural Center that will become part of
the complex of structures at the former World Trade Center (WTC) site.
Designed by the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, the project will house two
museums — The Drawing Center and the International Freedom Center —
plus the visitor’s center for the WTC Memorial. Craig Dykers, a
founding principal of the firm, will discuss the Cultural Center and
some of his studio’s other internationally acclaimed projects
including the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt and the
National Opera House in Oslo, Norway. $12 Museum members; $17
nonmembers; $10 students. Prepaid registration required.
Thursday, October 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Smart Growth: Strategies for
Revitalizing Downtowns. Though every downtown is different, common
revitalization lessons can be applied anywhere. Christopher Leinberger,
partner in Albuquerque’s Historic District Improvement Company and
visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, will discuss these lessons
and the fundamentals for a downtown turnaround plan. Free. Registration
Thursday, October 27, 6:30-8:00 p.m. For more than half a century
people have marveled at the sweeping forms of the TWA terminal at John
F. Kennedy Airport in New York, lined up to enter the St. Louis Gateway
Arch, and admired the sensuous lines of Knoll’s pedestal chair. All of
these were designed by the Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.
Architectural historian Jayne Merkel will discuss the life and work of
Saarien, now considered to be one of the most influential architects of
the 20th century. After the lecture, she will sign copies of her book Eero
Saarinen (Phaidon). $10 Members and students; $15 nonmembers.
Saturday, October 29, 8:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. Celebrate the Museum’s
25th anniversary at the best bash of the year! Socialize with celebrity
guests, indulge in neon cocktails and gourmet munchies, enjoy live
entertainment, and bid on one-of-a-kind items at a silver-themed
auction. A luxury raffle may also have you leaving with a new set of
wheels! And don’t forget great mingling with noted design
professionals, architects, and lovers of the built environment -- all in
the Museum’s historic Great Hall. $75 Museum members; $95 nonmembers.
Special support levels available. All ticket contributions support the
Museum’s exhibitions and education programs and are partially
tax-deductible. Advance registration suggested; limited tickets
available at the door. Buy tickets online at http://www.nbm.org,
or call 272-2448, ext. 3559.
Monday, October 31, 6:30-8:00 p.m. DC Builds: Intown Living Around
the Country and in DC. In Washington, DC, and across the country, people
are returning downtown to live and play. Ann Breen and Dick Rigby,
cofounders of the Washington, DC-based Waterfront Center, have studied
this phenomenon in eight cities. They will present their findings and
briefly relate them to Washington. Gerard Widdicombe, director of the
economic development at Washington’s Downtown Business Improvement
District, will then discuss downtown living trends in the District.
After the lecture, Breen and Rigby will sign copies of their book Intown
Living: A Different American Dream (Island Press). $10 Museum
members and students; $15 nonmembers. Registration required.
Tuesday, November 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Building for the 21st Century:
The 2005 Solar Decathlon. In October during the Solar Decathlon,
eighteen university teams from around the world constructed a village of
solar houses on the National Mall, and competed in ten categories
ranging from architecture to energy efficiency. Richard King with the
U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy will discuss the competition and its results. Free. Registration
Tuesday, November 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Inside the Not So Big House:
Discovering the Details that Bring a Home to Life. Join architect and
best-selling author Sarah Susanka as she zooms in on the architectural
details that make a home functional, harmonious, and filled with the
personality of the homeowners. After the lecture, she will sign copies
of her just-published book Inside the Not So Big House (Taunton
Press). $12 Museum and AIA members and students; $17 nonmembers.
Saturday, November 5, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Construction Watch Tour.
Currently under construction on the Potomac River near Georgetown, the
House of Sweden will contain the new Swedish embassy, as well as
facilities for various cultural activities. The modernist
glass-and-wood-clad building is designed by the Swedish architectural
firm Wingårdh Architects. Brad Hunter of Lano / Armada Hoffler and
Gunilla Ekberg, general manager of the House of Sweden, will lead a tour
of this project. Open only to Museum members, $18. Space is limited.
Prepaid registration required. To register, call the Museum or visit
www.nbm.org beginning October 24.
DC Public Library Events, October 25-31
Debra Truhart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Halloween Parties at DC Public Libraries: Wednesday, October 26, 4:00
p.m., Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW.
Children come dressed in your costume for games, stories and fun. All
ages. Public contact: 282-3080. Thursday and Friday, October 27 and 28,
3:30 p.m., Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE. Games,
face painting, scary stories, treats and more. School ages. Public
contact: 698-3377. Saturday, October 29, Takoma Park Neighborhood
Library, 416 Cedar Street, NW. Scary stories, crafts and treats make for
Halloween fun! School ages. Public contact: 576-7252. Monday, October
31, 4:30 p.m., Capitol View Neighborhood Library, 5001 Central Avenue,
SE. Halloween treats and prizes will be awarded to the scariest,
funniest and most original costume. School ages. Public contact:
645-0755. Monday, October 31, 6:00 p.m., Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood
Library, 3660 Alabama Avenue, SE. Storytelling and activities with a
Halloween theme for children. All ages. Public contact: 645-4297.
Monday, October 31, 4:00 p.m., Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park
Neighborhood Library, 7420 Georgia Avenue, NW. Come dressed in costume
for scary films and stories. Ages 6 and up. Public contact: 541-6100.
Monday, October 31, 4:00 p.m., Palisades Neighborhood Library, 4901 V
Street, NW. Stories, games and treats. Ages 3 – 10. Public contact:
Tuesday, October 25, 12:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 307. Washingtoniana Centennial Film
Festival. View the film, Greatest Moments in Washington Redskins
History, which features historic games, players and plays of the
Redskin’s from the 1930’s to the 1990’s. Public contact: 727-1213.
Tuesday, October 25, 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 29, 2:00 p.m.,
Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Library, 3160 16th Street, NW. Angel
Robles-Pena, Esq., will talk about his book, Guia y Formularios de
Inmigracion, and the legal rights of immigrants. Public contact:
Thursday, October 27, 1:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5. United Nations at 60: Celebrating
the World at your library . . . Beginning with Water. Students and
teachers from local schools will experience the "Water Is
Life" celebration with United Nations speakers and local water
conservationists. Grades 6 - 8. Public contact: 727-4804.
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