I spent most of the day getting the Comcast problem ironed out, so I
could work again. It’s late now, so I’ll whine later.
ANC 6B on the National Capital Medical Center
Ken Jarboe, ANC 6B05, email@example.com
Last Tuesday, ANC 6B voted unanimously, 10-0 with no abstentions, to
oppose the National Capital Medical Center and urge the Council to
develop alternative proposals that will better address the health care
needs of the citizens of the District of Columbia, including more
appropriate health care facilities on the HillEast Waterfront. The ANC
also voted to strongly oppose the proposal to circumvent the Certificate
of Need process.
ANC 6b believes that the NCMC proposal is: 1) bad health care policy
-- it does not serve the needed of the currently under-served
communities, either in the type of care it provides (hospital beds
rather than clinics) or in the location (west of the river when the need
is east of the river). And it actually runs the risk of decreasing
service to under-served residents by forcing the closure of Greater SE,
the only hospital east of the river. 2) Bad land use policy — its
scope is too large for the Reservation 13 development plan and runs the
risk of precluding other development on the site. 3) Bad policymaking
— the city administration proposes to legislatively circumvent the
existing Certificate of Need process. We have seem too many cases
already where projects try to short-circuit the process; we don’t need
another project that tries an end-run.
We need a plan to solve our health care problems and to develop an
appropriate health care facility on Res 13. The NCMC does neither. A
copy of the full resolution is available on the ANC 6B web site,
http://www.anc6b.org. Click on “the library” under
DC Government to Demolish Kennedy Theater and
Other Historic Buildings
Richard Layman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the weekend, local preservation activist Peter Sefton (http://www.victoriansecrets.net)
alerted a group of us that you might consider the "triage" or
"emergency room doctors" on DC historic preservation matters
about an impending demolition of some great buildings on Kennedy Street,
NW, centered around the Kennedy Theater. It turns out that the buildings
are owned by the DC Government, specifically the DC Office of Aging,
which wanted to tear them down, but agreed to a face saving measure of
saving the facades. The DC Historic Preservation Office agreed to this
compromise. And the pro-developer faction on the DC Preservation League
Board doesn’t want to muddy the development waters.
So here a DC government agency is being an active and aggressive
destroyer of the qualities that make DC special and unique, and the
leading preservation organization isn’t too concerned about it.
Because the city is defined by its architecture and history, both of
which make the city unique and special and are the primary source of the
city’s competitive advantage vis-a-vis our suburban competitors, when
this heritage is lost, the city loses more of its definition and
character. Should we file a nomination anyway, to throw a wrench in the
process, and try to discuss and debate these issues? It’s a lot of
work, takes a lot of time, and it’s hard to do in the face of likely
failure. On the other hand, the Historic Preservation Office can’t
argue that the buildings don’t merit protection, because many such
equivalent theater/cinema buildings and have been designated heretofore.
What should we do? This is discussed in much greater length, with
illustrations, in my blog entry about this topic, http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2005/11/who-can-you-turn-to-when-most-active.html.
Touching the Third Rail
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom
Fixing the teaching problem in the DC public schools will take
someone who is willing to touch the third rail. It will take a
monumental change in the way teachers are hired, paid, and tenured to
fix what has been going on in the public schools for the last thirty or
forty years. To begin with let me say that I am in favor of paying
teachers what they deserve, and that’s a lot more than they are being
paid right now. New teachers should be hired at a level at which they
can support themselves and equivalent to what they could earn in private
There are several stipulations that go along with this proposal,
however, and here is where the third rail touching comes in. Teachers
today are paid based on how many years they’ve been teaching and how
many absurd and inapplicable courses they take to get some useless
advanced degree. Tenure is awarded to those teachers who can kiss up to
their school’s principal without raising the ire of fellow teachers.
Once tenured, teachers can just roll along forever without worry about
losing their jobs. Tenure should be withheld from all except those who
are exceptional teachers. All this, and the control that the Teacher’s
Unions have, has got to change. The first change is for teachers to
change. Teachers, like test pilots, are basically loners. They think
they are smarter than anyone else and don’t welcome any inputs from
principals or other teachers. Instead, teachers must learn to work on
teams. These teams, made up of the best teachers in any school, need to
define the major problems in that school and then develop the solutions
and processes that will correct those problems. By working together as a
team, these teachers will learn from one another and will all be come
better teachers. They must then mentor those teachers in the school who
need to be better teachers.
By raising the starting salaries of teachers, more, and better
qualified, teachers will come into the schools. Teachers’ pay
increases should be based on the overall performance of the school. When
the school as a whole shows outcomes of improved test scores, the
teachers should be awarded a pay increase. Only a qualified teacher can
extract the best from each and every student. The idea that all students
can be academic wizards is folly. Many students will never, and should
never, consider going to a university. Teachers, working as a team, can
determine which students belong in classes where they will be challenged
and inspired and which students need to develop skills that match their
interests. Students who are interested in what is being taught and
subjects that match their interest will do well. All students should
ultimately work in fields they like. That insures the best performance
and, very likely, a rewarding, satisfying career. As for teaching to the
test and standardized tests, that’s for creating a block of students
with minimal abilities and all at one level. Kids don’t come that way.
They all have different abilities and interests. Good teachers need to
teach in a way that brings out the best in these students. I remember my
own schooling. As an inner city kid from a single parent family, I had
elementary school teachers who learned what my interests were and
challenged me in those interests. They encouraged me to go to a
technical high school. At Brooklyn Tech, I received the best four years
of education I had in my entire life. Good teachers are the only answer
to improving education in the DC school system. The only way to achieve
cadres of good teachers in all of the schools is to trash the existing
system of hiring, paying, and tenuring teachers. It means grabbing ahold
of that third rail.
Happened upon a notable traffic sign at the intersection of Canal
Road and Foxhall where drivers turn left to continue on Canal Road.
There’s a sign posted “No Turn on Red.” If you’re familiar with
this intersection, drivers have only two options: left on Canal or
straight on to Foxhall. Obviously drivers in the District need to be
reminded that there’s no left turn on red.
Where Will the Newspaper Slide End Up?
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
Reported this week, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s
circulation slipped by 9 percent, according to the Audit Bureau of
Circulations. The San Francisco Chronicle’s circulation was
down 16.9 percent from last year. Where is this all heading? Perhaps in
the future newspapers will pay a subscription fee to subscribers, rather
than vice versa? It sounds incredible, but it might happen. For those
newspapers who might be interested, I currently offer a special where if
you pay me for twelve weeks of weekday and Saturday newspaper delivery,
you get the Sunday newspapers delivered to me for free.
My attention has value.
For those of you who thought that once you voted in an election, your
name would be automatically registered in the jury duty pool. Not
necessarily true. Our fourteen-year-old daughter received a summons for
petit jury duty. Think of the fun we could have with this.
The Secret Life of Commercial Assessments
Mark Eckenwiler, themale at ingot dot org
Apropos of the recent discussion about commercial vs. residential
real property assessments: DC law requires hearings before the Board of
Real Property Assessments & Appeals (BRPAA) to be open to the
public, with one unspeakably enormous exception. Under 9 DCMR 2014.1 and
DC Code 47-812(d)(2), a petitioner (property owner) may demand closure
of a hearing to prevent public access to “valuation records,”
defined as “(i) Information regarding private appraisals, actual
building costs, rental data, or business volume; (ii) Income or expense
forms; and (iii) Rent rolls.” Anyone puzzled by the alleged
underassessment of commercial properties in DC need look no further than
this anti-transparency rule.
Some years back I personally observed this provision in action. As
preparation for my maiden appearance before BRPAA to contest my home’s
assessment, I decided to sit in on a hearing a few days before mine to
get a sense of the procedures. It turned out to involve a commercial
property downtown, and I was allowed to remain in the room for the few
seconds it took the panel to formally introduce themselves on the record
and call the case docket number. At that point, I was politely kicked
out of the room because "confidential business records" were
to be discussed.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
National Building Museum Events, November
Brie Hensold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, November 13, 1:00-2:00 p.m. “Le Corbusier (Museum Without
Walls).” This film conducts an interesting tour of Le Corbusier’s
most important buildings, explores his revolutionary ideas on
architecture and urban renewal, and studies both the man and the vision
that changed the face of 20th century architecture. Free. Registration
Monday, November 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Building in the Aftermath:
Rebuilding the “Big Easy” — Not So Easy. Ideas about the future of
New Orleans have ranged the gamut from proposals to level entire
neighborhoods to calls to preserve as many historic structures as
possible. What is indisputable is that New Orleans is one of the world’s
great cities, with an unparalleled architectural and cultural legacy. It
is also becoming clear that a significant percentage of the city’s
buildings are either intact, only modestly damaged, or substantially
salvageable, meaning that some of the early calls for "moving"
New Orleans greatly overstated the extent of the destruction. Even so,
the task of preserving, restoring, and, where necessary, rebuilding is
enormous and will require difficult decisions. A distinguished panel of
leaders in urban planning, landscape architecture, historic
preservation, engineering, and architecture will each share advice about
the best strategies for rebuilding the "Big Easy," before
engaging in a freewheeling, moderated discussion. Robert Ivy, FAIA,
editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, will moderate. Panelists will
include Paul Farmer, AICP, executive director, American Planning
Association; Suzanne Turner, FASLA, emerita professor of landscape
architecture, Louisiana State University; Richard Moe, president,
National Trust for Historic Preservation; Thomas Campanella, assistant
professor of urban planning at University of North Carolina, Chapel
Hill, and coeditor of The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from
Disaster; Angela O’Bryne, AIA, president, American Institute of
Architects, New Orleans; Henry Hatch, civil engineer formerly with the
US Army Corps of Engineers. $12 for members of the Museum, American
Planning Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, American
Society of Civil Engineers, National Trust for Historic Preservation,
and American Institute of Architects; $17 nonmembers; $10 students.
Prepaid registration required. To register, please call 272-2448 or
Tuesday, November 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m. National Award for Smart Growth
Achievement. At the fourth annual ceremony for the National Awards for
Smart Growth Achievement, the US Environmental Protection Agency will
honor up to five communities for their innovative strategies to build
neighborhoods that provide safe and decent places to live and work,
protect natural and historic places, and create a balanced
transportation system. Free. Advance registration requested. Visit www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm
All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW,
Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Benning Road Metrorail Station Rally, November
Samuel Jordan, email@example.com
Community First at Benning Metro invites everyone who cares about
communities responding decisively to "Predatory Developers" to
rally with us for respect and honest representation. Noon, Saturday,
November 12, at Benning Road Metrorail Station. Stop CSOSA, Jenco, WMATA,
Marshall Heights CDO, and their plans to destroy our communities!
Without consultation with us, these predatory developers have applied
to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for suspension of parking and building
height restrictions to construct a five-story building serving ninety
employees and five to six hundred ex-offenders every day. The project is
too big, lacks sufficient parking, will present a constant threat to
public safety, and will halt any subsequent community-friendly
The Marshall Heights Community Development Oorganization accepted a
percentage of the revenues to abandon their responsibility to the
community — 10 percent profit for 100 percent betrayal! Who else got
paid? What about us? Councilmember Vincent Gray has adopted a pretense
at community representation in his “let’s wait it out” strategy.
He says, “It’s ‘dead in the water.” We say, “If it’s dead in
the water, don’t take it to BZA — withdraw it now, in writing!”
You would think he’s the predatory developers’ lawyer, not our
Feeding the Hungry Benefits, November 12, 18,
Ann Hargrove, firstname.lastname@example.org
The eighteenth annual Help the Homeless Walkathon, scheduled for
Saturday, November 19, at the Mall, is sponsored by Fannie Mae, a donor
to a special feeding program centered at St. Stephen of the Incarnation
Episcopal Church at 16th and Newton Streets known as "Loaves and
Fishes." If you are interested in the Help the Homeless Walkathon,
contact http://www.help the homlessdc.org for information.) Loaves and
Fishes, one of the oldest feeding programs in the city, is operated
largely with the help of all kinds of volunteers and local churches. It
seeks funds each year to continue offering very high quality and
wholesome hot meals to those in need. You are invited to two special
music events and their receptions, to help raise funds for its
operation, with tickets available at the door: 1) The Washington
Saxophone Quartet and friends, the thirteenth annual benefit,
"Music: The Food of Love," on Saturday, November 12, at 3
p.m., at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 16th and Varnum Streets,
just north of St. Stephen and the Incarnation ($15 admission and $5
2) "Jazz Fighting Hunger," on Friday, November 18, at 8
p.m., at St. Stephen’s, featuring some of Washington’s best jazz
musicians ($10 for individuals and $15 for a twosome). Also, you can
purchase golf shirts ($20) or a large sized cook apron ($15) with the
loaves and fishes logo. Both are useful and quite suitable as gifts.
For further information, to make a donation, or to purchase these
offerings or tickets, contact St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal
Church, 1525 Newton St., NW, 20010, telephone 232-0900, or visit the web
For tickets, checks may be made out to SSI/L and F, sent to this
address, or paid at the door by cash or check
Benefits Concert for Hurricane Victims
Leonie L. Campbell, email@example.com
DC public schools students will perform at Kelly Miller Middle
School, 301 49th Street, NE, on Thursday, November 17, at 10:00 a.m., to
raise money for victims of the recent hurricanes. Students from
Ellington High School, Fillmore Arts Center, Hardy Middle School, Kelly
Miller Middle School and students from eleven other schools across the
city will participate in the DCPS Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert — A
Concert for Children by Children.
The Library Renaissance Project seeks volunteers for a fix-up of DC
Public Libraries’ gardens and grounds on Thursday and Friday, November
17 and 18, starting at 10 a.m. Volunteers are needed to rake, clear,
trim, mulch, and plant bulbs at eleven libraries throughout the city.
All equipment will be provided on site.
The fix-up will be held at the following branches: Capitol View, 5001
Central Avenue, SE; Chevy Chase, 5625 Connecticut Avenue, NW; Cleveland
Park, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW; Georgetown, 3260 R Street, NW; Mt.
Pleasant, 3160 16th Street, NW; Northeast, 330 7th Street, NE; Petworth,
4200 Kansas Avenue, NW; Southwest, 900 Wesley Place, SW; Washington
Highlands, 115 Atlantic Avenue, SW; West End, 1101 24th Street, NW;
Woodbridge, 1801 Hamlin Street, NE.
For further information or to volunteer, contact Robin Diener,
Thanksgiving Dinner, November 24
Ted Knutson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thought I might not be the only DCWatch reader facing a lonely
Thanksgiving who might like to get a small potluck together. If anyone
is interested, E-mail me at email@example.com
or call me at 547-1387 (home and office). I am willing to have the
gathering at my Capitol Hill apartment.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
What to Do If You Get a Camera Ticket for Speeding?
Phil Greene, firstname.lastname@example.org
My sister was recently in town to take her daughter, a high-school
senior, to Catholic University for a visit. She was (allegedly) roaring
down Michigan Avenue at 36 mph, and the speed limit is 25. She received
a ticket in the mail a couple weeks ago, based on a camera photo of her
license plate (must be a high-speed lens, after all, she was doing 36).
Does anyone have any suggestions or insights about adjudicating this?
She lives in Pennsylvania, by the way.
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