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December 25, 2005

A Gift to the Mayor

Dear Citizens:

Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah. In the seasonal spirit of giving, I’m giving Mayor Williams the strategy and speech he needs to sell the baseball stadium lease to the majority of city councilmembers whom he has been unable to bribe or bully into supporting it. I’m doing this, of course, with full confidence that the mayor would never take any advice from me, so I’m not in any danger of actually helping him. Here’s the speech: “I want the citizens of the District of Columbia and their elected representatives in the city council to know that I listen to you; I have heard you; and I will follow your wishes. You have told me that my administration has struck a bad deal for the city and the city’s taxpayers with Major League Baseball, and that you want a better deal. I accept your judgment. Therefore, I am not going to resubmit the ballpark lease to the council until after I have negotiated a better agreement with Major League Baseball.

“To the officials and team owners of Major League Baseball, I say that you have nothing to fear. You will still make a tremendous profit on this deal, and you will gain a team in a major American market, one of the best sports markets in the country. But Major League Baseball also has to understand that I don’t have the authority to commit this city, to make a deal on behalf of the city, by myself. No deal with this city is final until the city council approves of it. Therefore, in this last round of negotiations with MLB, I am going to partner with representatives of the city council, and not just with those who have supported the agreement in the past, but also with those who have been critical of it. I am removing my lead baseball negotiator, Steve Green from further involvement in the negotiations, and I also am asking for his resignation from this administration. He undermined negotiations between potential team owners and members of the city council by going to Major League Baseball; that was contrary to the interests of the city, and indicates that his loyalty was to MLB, rather than to the citizens of the city. Although I have the highest respect for Mark Touhey and William Hall of the Sports and Entertainment Commission, I am also asking them not to participate in any further negotiations with MLB. Their law firms represent MLB and other baseball team owners; that presents a clear conflict of interest, and they should have disclosed that conflict to me earlier.

“I promise that the councilmembers and I will bring Washington a better agreement; one that will cost the taxpayers less and put us at less financial risk from cost overruns and from future stadium upgrades; and one that the city council can support enthusiastically. And I promise that if I can’t get that better agreement, I won’t insist on baseball at any cost, or on sacrificing our city’s higher priorities for a sports stadium.” Make that pitch, Mr. Mayor, and MLB will offer to give a free Frank Robinson bobble-head doll to every kid in the city who fills out a simple ten-page application. You can call that a tremendously generous concession; and that will provide enough cover for a few more councilmembers to vote for the agreement, even though it will still be the worst deal any city has ever made to build a stadium and a huge giveaway to MLB. But you would rather fight with the council than win, wouldn’t you?

Gary Imhoff


I Don’t Love Baseball Like Everyone Else
Ed Dixon, Georgetown Reservoir,

What about the Major League Baseball, the players involved, or the hypnotized fans should I idolize? The city’s deal with the MLB has shown the true nature of that greedy venture. Our lawyers, brokers, developers and politicians chase down and fawn upon the emperor with no clothes.

As an example of a player involved, Johnny Damon just signed with the Yankees for four years in exchange for $52 million. What about playing baseball is worth more than a million dollars per month? (Or about a dollar a second) I f only our teachers were worth that amount. Though I have no qualms with the rights of workers, I like to think that the worker is providing something of value. I don’t see that relationship here.

“Well educated” fans line up, encouraging this use of money as if nothing else in life matters. I dare to disagree. Our minds and hearts should know better than to believe in these temples of wealth and their minions that siphon away from society’s needs. The worship of athleticism would be one thing, but far too often we are reminded that our worship of athleticism comes at the cost of our own personal health. We are bombarded with snack food and soda and beer ads from companies that have the same interest in the sport as the players and the MLB. We have fallen prey to our own insecurities and throw money at these idols of ours as if we know no better.


Stream of Consciousness
Richard Rogers,

So sorry the mayor has to interrupt his travel plans to carry water for his baseball masters yet again. Ah, some things on the plantation never change. You’ve got to appreciate all the hard work of the Sports and Entertainment Commission to secure their forty-nine free parking spots and all the other cool items they negotiated for themselves. Right on, Sports Commissioners! The Sports and Entertainment Commissioners are the best and brightest shortsighted dimwitted political opportunists in the city. I mean, who appointed those imbeciles? Ambrose, Evans, and Patterson should be ashamed of themselves, but political cockroaches have no shame. I remember Cropp when, as president of the school board, she steered that baby into the ditch. We told Chavous, Allen, and Brazil to hit the road. Who’s next? Oh, and I love how the rulers say we’re negative. Since when are you happy to eat garbage material from elected officials who are supposed to be advocates for the taxpayer/citizens?


George Costanza Lives
Paul Penniman,

Two points seldom heard on our discussion board: 1) The DC council has held out for less money, as Jerry rightfully accused George. 2) The bottom line on the stadium deal has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with whether schools will be fixed or improved. Politicians who say otherwise are pandering. Citizens who think otherwise are thinking wishfully but unrealistically.


Councilmember Patterson
Keith Jarrell,

I have been involved in this city now for well over ten years. I have come to know and respect many of our councilmembers. Among them is Councilmember Kathy Patterson. I can tell you right now that she is honest, hard working, and knowledgeable of the issues at hand. I have met with her on issues and I have given testimony to committees that she both chaired and served on. But one thing she doesn’t do is sell her vote! Neither does she change her opinion easily. When I have spoken with her either through personal meetings or E-mail she has been open, frank and direct. She is always helpful when I’ve needed her or her staff’s assistance, and has always served me and the voters of this city honorably.

Given that, we all know her vote is pivotal in this baseball mess. I respect her for her opinion and her savvy ways that she stays informed. She is a true leader in this city and frankly if we had a few more cut from the same cloth we probably wouldn’t be having our entire city council tied up on one project for so long. The real sad effects of this entire baseball mess is it has overcome good government. It has taken over. From the beginning the deal was bad, and this mayor knew it, leaving the council now to make the best of the deal to salvage baseball. The burden should not be placed on the members of council, it should be placed on the executive branch. It is sad that we didn’t have better leadership from the start so that one single project didn’t take total control of our entire executive branch and our council at a time when there are certainly more important issues to this city and real quality of life issues that should be of far greater importance that one simple stadium and inevitable horrible cost over runs.

Stand tall, Councilmember Patterson, you are representing the people that elected and reelected you to your seat. Even if you don’t agree with her decision or her vote, you have to appreciate her method of gathering the information to reach her conclusion and to determine her vote. Perhaps a few more of you could listen to your constituents and stand up for the real issues in this city. Councilmember Patterson clearly weighed the issues of MLB and this stadium deal and made her decision based on knowledge. She should be respected for it!


Takoma Park Historic District Brochure Released
Bruce Yarnall, DC Historic Preservation Office,

The Takoma Park Historic District brochure, the nineteenth in a series of historic district brochures published by the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office, has just been released. The twenty-page brochure outlines the history and architecture of Washington’s first railway commuter suburb, founded by Benjamin F. Gilbert in 1883.

Containing excellent examples of Stick and Shingle style houses in addition to Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Bungalow architecture, the Takoma Park Historic District contains approximately 160 contributing buildings covering the years from around 1883 to 1940. The district was designated by the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Review Board in 1980 and added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in 1983.

The brochure was researched and written by Tanya Edwards Beauchamp. Sponsor of the publication was The Historical Society of Washington, DC, with special assistance from Historic Takoma, Inc., and financial support of a Dorothea deSchweinitz Preservation Services Grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The brochure was also funded with the assistance of a matching grant from the US Department of Interior, National Park Service, through the DC Historic Preservation Office.

Individual copies of the Takoma Park Historic District brochure may be obtained by calling 442-8835 or sending an E-mail message to



American Flag Exhibit, January 4-8
Amanda Sheehan,

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History will preview the "For Which It Stands: The America Flag in American Life" exhibition at the 51st Washington Antiques Show from January 4 to January 8, 2006, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. This traveling exhibition, not slated to open until 2007, will be free and open to the public at the 51st Washington Antiques Show, more than a full year before it takes to the road. “For Which It Stands” is a complementary exhibition to the presentation of the Star-Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History.

The theme of the 51st Washington Antiques Show is “Sweet Land of Liberty: Images of America in the Arts of the New Republic.” Forty-five premier dealers from the United States, Canada and England, featuring 18th and 19th centuries’ furniture, paintings, oriental rugs, and decorative arts, will participate in this show. Admission will be $15 for a one day pass and $25 for a run of the show ticket. The Admission price will include the catalogue. The Eagle Society Champagne Reception will kick off the show at 5:00 p.m. ($1000 for two tickets) Attendees will not only be offered an intimate tour of the loan exhibit but will also be able to preview of the wonderful antiques available at the Show. At 6:00 p.m., the Gala Patron’s Preview ($250) will commence. Attendees will enjoy cocktails and an elegant buffet-dinner while visiting the many fascinating exhibitor booths at the Show, and the Smithsonian loan exhibition. Complementary valet parking is available. Advance reservations are required.

Since its inception in 1955, the Washington Antiques Show has raised millions of dollars to provide for the health and well being of children in the metropolitan Washington area. It has become an annual event that is part of the fabric of our community, and thousands of volunteers have given of their time and talents to work, not only on the Antiques Show, but also for the institutions which the show benefits. The Thrift Shop, a 501(c)(3) organization established seventy-six years ago, is made up of Child Health Center Board and the Board of Visitors of the Children’s National Medical Center, The Ladies’ Board of The House of Mercy, and the Founders Board of St. John’s Community Services, Inc. All proceeds from the Show are passed directly through The Thrift Shop to these four charitable all-volunteer boards. For more information on the show, visit the web site at


National Building Museum Events, January 5
Lauren Searl,

Thursday, January 5, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Lecture: Extreme Preservation. Faced with destruction in 1969 to make way for the Metro headquarters at Sixth and G Streets, NW, the original Adas Israel synagogue (1876) was preserved by moving it to a site several blocks away. The structure is now the home of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Panelists involved in the project, including a former DC government official, will be joined by a preservation expert to discuss the move and the ramifications of such extreme measures. This program is held in conjunction with the exhibition Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community which will be open for viewing. $10 Museum and Jewish Historical Society members and students; $15 nonmembers. Registration required.


With a Dog’s Eyes, January 20
Brad Hills,

Bill Mooney went to The Seeing Eye, a resource center for the use of Seeing-Eye Dogs, in search of good dog stories. He came away with the most important one: the first. Mooney performs "With a Dog’s Eyes: Capturing the Life of Morris Frank" for Washington Storytellers Theater on Friday, January 20, 2006, at the City Museum of Washington. Mooney is a multitalented actor, writer, and solo performer who has won two Emmy Awards for acting, and was nominated twice for Grammy Awards for recordings of his stories. He is best known for portraying Paul Martin on the TV serial "All My Children". To prepare "With a Dog’s Eyes," Mooney interviewed Lois Frank (Morris’ widow) and studied audiotapes of Morris Frank. The result is a captivating experience of opening up new worlds of independence for blind people.

This performance takes place on Friday, January 20 at 8 p.m., at the City Museum of Washington, 801 K Street, NW. For tickets, call 545-6840. Purchases can also be made form our web site, The Washington Storytellers Theater, now in its 16th season, is dedicated to promoting the art of storytelling for adults, both through nurturing local performers and by presenting the top artists from around the country.


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