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February 1, 2006


Dear Readers:

It’s not often that themail begins with an apology, but an apology is appropriate in tonight’s issue of themail, because it contains what may be the ugliest, nastiest, and most offensive message that we’ve ever published, and we should explain why it is appropriate to print it here. The Williams administration is promoting the controversial National Capital Medical Center proposal, under which the city will build a hospital on Reservation 13 (the site of the closed DC General public hospital) that was originally to be operated by Howard University and now would be run by a new nonprofit organization to be created by Howard University. (Many of the documents outlining this proposal are available at

One of the strongest — as well as most reasonable — critics of the NCMC proposal has been Dr. Eric Rosenthal, who has published several well reasoned messages in past issues of themail questioning its rationale. In the last issue of themail, January 29, Rosenthal wrote a message about the creation of a group called the Citizens for the National Capital Medical Center (CNCMC), which he said was born at a meeting of “Councilmember Vincent Gray and representatives of the Williams administration, Howard University, and the Walker Marchant Group [a public relations firm]” with supporters of the proposed new hospital. Rosenthal wrote that “some of the rhetoric emerging from the meeting included appeals to racial divisiveness,” and he expressed the hope that the CNCMC would “make a serious attempt to demonstrate that the National Capital Medical Center is needed and that it would make Washingtonians healthier,” rather “than resorting to intellectually lazy and divisive appeals to race.”

Regrettably, the submissions below show that Rosenthal’s fears, rather than his hopes, have been proven true. Dorothy attempted to attend the January 30 meeting of the CNCMC, but was barred from attending by Greg Rhett, one of the organizers of the meeting as well as one of the contributors to themail below. Rhett allowed another reporter to attend because, he said, that reporter was “friendly to Wards 7 and 8,” but refused to allow her entrance. However, before she was excluded she did identify most of the twelve to fifteen people who attended the meeting: Rhett; Councilmember Gray; Leo Alexander, the other contributor to themail published below, employees of Walker Marchant; and employees of Howard University.

Rhett’s leadership of the CNCMC proves true Rosenthal’s suspicion that the group is not an authentic grassroots organization. Rhett would not tell Dorothy where he is currently working, and he doesn’t identify his affiliation in his message below. But Dorothy has confirmed that he has been detailed from the Department of Health to the Office of the City Administrator to work with Gina Lagomarsina, the Senior Policy Advisor on Health to the City Administrator. Rhett’s assignment is to work on public relations to garner support for the NCMC. He is being paid to write letters to newspapers, to set up and attend meetings to make the case for the NCMC, and to get civic organizations to adopt resolutions in support of the project. When Rhett barred Dorothy from the meeting, he said that if she had any questions about the meeting or about his role in the meeting she should speak with Vince Morris, the mayor’s press secretary.

The CNCMC is more Astroturf than grassroots. It was originally organized by Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, growing out of discussions in December in the Ward 7 Democrats, which he chairs. Gray tried to deny to Dorothy that he had any involvement with the group, until she confronted him with the fact that his chief of staff, Dawn Slonneger; Gina Lagomarsina; and others had already confirmed that he began it, and that he was coordinating its activities with the mayor’s office. Gray condemned Rosenthal to Dorothy in the same terms as Rhett does below, accusing him of racism for pointing out the CNCMC’s divisive racial appeals. But Rosenthal’s fear is more than confirmed by Leo Alexander’s contribution to the discussion, about which the less said, the better — except to apologize again for printing it.

Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill and


The Mayor’s Library Task Force Report
Pleasant Mann,

This expresses my concern that the effort to improve the District’s libraries is grinding to a halt. Last fall, the mayor set up a Task Force, made up of an extensive list of luminaries, to plot out the future of the District Public Library System. Contracts to rebuild four branch libraries were canceled and the search for a permanent library director for the District was put on hold until the Task Force began its study and issued a report. Unfortunately, after looking at the written products of the Task Force and participating in one of the “Listening Sessions” established in support of the Task Force proposals, I am not expecting much.

To start, the Task Force report is surprisingly weak. If you remember, the Task Force was originally reluctant to release its report to the public. This reluctance was apparently due to the quality of the report, rather than any secrets it might hold. Starting with the one-page summary, the largest provisions of the report are to replace the central library and to resume the issuance of overdue notices to book patrons. The six service priorities it calls for, developed by a group primarily of people who never used a District library, are basically generic goals that almost any library system should try to meet. The Task Force Summary Report is just an expansion of these generic prescriptions, with most of its sentences ending in question marks. The 328-page Technical Report is incredibly disorganized, with relevant facts occasionally popping up out of all the fluff. In sum, because the Task Force did not try to look at the current state and weaknesses of District’s library system or use relevant examples from other systems (the Task Force looked at cities that had recently constructed new central libraries rather than those recognized as the best library systems in the country), the report is not of much use in plotting the way ahead for DC libraries.

The weaknesses of the Task Force report were to be addressed by the establishment of a series of “listening sessions” where the public could influence the process of rebuilding the library system. Unfortunately, the "listening" process is somewhat constrained. For example, participants can discuss what a new central library should look like, but not whether closing down and moving out of M.L. King Library is a good idea or not. And, while there is a listening session in each Ward of the District, there are some notable gaps in the schedule. The West End Branch is not having a session, even though it is mentioned as the most likely location for a mixed use project with commercial developers. It would be nice to get the opinions of West End library users on what form such a joint project should take. And there is the issue of the patrons of the Tenley-Friendship, Watha T. Daniel, Anacostia, and Benning branches, who cannot participate since their libraries remain shut down.

Given the situation, I can only suggest that the District hire a new director for the library system as soon as it can. Then maybe we can all start to resolve the immediate problem getting our four closed library branches reopened and the longer-term effort to bring our library system up to a level of performance worthy of the District. We might even get the new librarian to rewrite the Task Force report.


Reeves Center Spurred Development on Fourteenth Street?
Matt Forman,

Last week, the Washington Post quoted Linda Cropp justifying the new baseball stadium by arguing that, “Our visionary mayor, Marion Barry, put the Reeves [Municipal] Center up on 14th and U Streets because it acted as an incentive to bring about economic development that changed the area.” The way I see it, 14th and U is only just now becoming decent, twenty years after the Reeves center was built. Seems like a little delay between cause and effect. Is that how long we must wait for redevelopment near the stadium?


DC’s Hidden Car Tax
P. Walters,

Once again, the Department of Motor Vehicles has levied its hidden car tax. A few weeks ago we received notice that a parking ticket was past due, and now doubled as a result. As is DMV’s usual practice, the ticket was issued on a plate for a car that couldn’t have been driven at the time and at a place where the alleged parking infraction occurred. So, following DMV’s procedures posted on its site, we requested a copy of the ticket and served notice by mail (our supposed right) that we protested. No ticket was forthcoming (how can you produce something that doesn’t exist), but a few weeks later a “dear chump” nastygram did, informing us that collection procedures would begin and we had been stripped of all appeal rights. So what’s the cheapest thing to do? Pay the hidden car tax (which is what these fines really are) and move on.

This fake ticket thing happens with alarming regularity. A few months ago, the most recent reformer DMV head in her then-zeal wrote to themail denying the practice. Well, ma’am, it’s true.


Support the Plan for Rock Creek Park — A Plan for Everyone
Laurie Collins,

After nearly ten years of planning, the National Park Service (NPS) is poised to adopt a management plan for Rock Creek Park that enhances recreational opportunities without additional closures of Beach Drive. The plan recognizes community concerns that closing Beach Drive would impose significant negative impacts on neighborhoods surrounding the park. NPS is soliciting public comment on the proposed plan until February 28, and you are urged to weigh in with NPS in support of their “preferred alternative” — Alternative A. Special interest groups are still pressuring NPS to reverse course and close Beach Drive anyway, so it is critical you make your voice heard today. There are two ways to comment electronically: via E-mail to, or via the Internet by visiting

Alternative A is a win/win solution that will enhance recreation, improve visitor safety, better control traffic volumes, and improve the use of park resources. The following are the key elements of Alternative A: 1) communities surrounding the park already compromised when weekend closure of Beach Drive was implemented in the 1980s. Alternative A recognizes that additional closures would impose significant negative impacts on local neighborhoods. Local leaders representing these community concerns include: DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the DC City Council, the Montgomery County Council, and citizen associations and ANCs surrounding the park. 2) Trails will be upgraded and deteriorating segments will be rehabilitated. In addition, Congress has authorized funding to study the feasibility of an additional hiker/biker trail along Beach Drive to complement the park’s extensive trail system already in place. 3) Traffic calming devices will be installed on Beach Drive to better manage motorized and non-motorized uses. 4) Numerous visitor centers and historic resources will be rehabilitated or expanded, including the Pierce Mill complex, Linnaean Hill complex, the Lodge House, and nature center.

Please contact NPS before February 28 to ensure that your voice is heard. This is your last opportunity to comment before NPS issues a final decision.


Keystone Cops?
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom

It boggles my mind that a prisoner being transported from a jail cell to a courtroom can get out of the transport van, climb under the van, and just not be noticed by the transporting cops. Nobody saw him climb under the van, and they only were aware that he’d hidden under the van when he dropped off as the van was driving through a tunnel and was hit (and killed) by a car behind the van. Are we back in the era of Keystone Cops?


Citizen Lobbyists Versus Paid Influence Peddlers
Greg DuRoss,

I too read with great satisfaction Colbert King’s second column on the impact of lobbying ( It is true that the Constitution guarantees us the right to petition our government. In today’s vernacular that would be called a citizen lobbyist. What the Constitution did not envision was today’s system of paid influence peddlers and all the opportunities for graft and corruption that are part of that system. That is what I believe Mr. King and many of us would like to see changed, but that would require a majority of like-minded people who really want reform to be elected to local, state, and national governing bodies. And that stands a snowball’s chance in hell of happening, especially if current elected officials and lobbyists have anything to say about it.


Noise Pollution in DC
Elliott Negin,

Joan Eisenstodt rightfully complained about noise pollution in the District, and there is something we can do about it: amend the regulation governing the hours workers can be doing construction when the site is near residential buildings. I live in Dupont Circle in a nine-floor condominium. Next door is a nonprofit association that is rebuilding a carriage house that sits behind its headquarters on 18th Street and behind my building. Construction started in late September and is expected to stretch into June. Construction starts every morning at 7 a.m. That’s when the workmen start hammering, sawing, and throwing debris into a dumpster right out my window. Dirt from the site routinely covers the cars (including mine) that are parked next to my building. Other residents of my building and I have complained to the association, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) — to no avail. I am about to collect signatures on a petition to MAA to try to push them to roll back the morning start time to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on Saturday. I will let you know how the association responds.

At the same time, I have drafted a petition to present to the city council to amend the regulation on construction time. I have already contacted Jack Evans’ office about this issue. The current regulation, DC Municipal Regulation 2003 DCMR Title 12, Section 105.1.11(7), authorizes construction to be conducted legally between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The regulation is administered by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The regulation should be amended to take into account that there are residential neighborhoods in Washington. I propose that the regulation be amended to read: “DC Municipal Regulation 2003 DCMR Title 12, Section 105.1.11(7) authorizes construction to be conducted legally between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday if the construction site is more than 100 feet from a residential building (house, condominium or apartment building). If the construction site is within 100 feet of a residential building, construction can be conducted legally only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.”

I know that cutting the hours of construction will not do anything about the noise during the day, but we can look into ways to dampen sound and try to get the city council to pass a new regulation to cut noise. I don’t know how practical that is, but we can do something about the hours. Readers of themail who are interested in joining the fight to make DC a more livable city by cutting noise pollution, please contact me. There are other things we can do. For example, get police cars, fire trucks and ambulances to significantly lower their sirens between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., or dispense with them altogether, as they have in other cities, and use their flashing lights overnight.


Anatomy of a Political Campaign
Jonathan R. Rees,

Coca Cola said it would never give away its’ secret formula but I will on what I believe will in time prove to be a trend in DC political campaigning. If you were a political candidate running for city council how much money would you need? Maybe $5k, $10k, $20K, $30k or none of the above?

What if you erected a web site and you just happened to have the current and accurate E-mail addresses of 11,000 Ward 3 voters, plus you have the E-mail addresses of Ward 3 voters you obtained from local groups that like you. How much would it cost you to send an E-mail directing you to their campaign web site? Right. It would cost you nothing! For the mere cost of erecting your own web site and having between eleven to fifteen thousand E-mail addresses to registered voters, you can run a campaign for near nothing.

This approach, along with a small amount of mini-flyers, has netted me around 12,400 hits to my web site. This approach allows me to reach voters as often as I want and at no cost! This is my campaign, and my goal is to show all that you do not need a fancy campaign office, paid staffers, fancy yard signs, or any of the other trappings of the past. My approach is different. I do not run around town professing to have a secret formula to win with, I am not cuddling up or rubbing shoulders with the Democratic party elite, I do not attend any of the socials the politicos throw, but I just quietly do my thing and humbly present me and what I have to offer and will allow the voters to decide. This is Rees for DC City Council Ward 3 in a nutshell.


Misdemeanor Misnomer
Tom Sherwood,

Given that Marion Barry is set to go back to court on February 8, it might be a good time to correct the popular perception that he is a “felon” (see themail item by Cecilio Morales, January 29). Barry’s drug conviction from the 1990 sting was a misdemeanor conviction for which he received the full six months. His current income tax charge also is a misdemeanor. I certainly don’t want to get into the swirling back-and-forth between Barry defenders and Barry detractors, just wanted to be accurate about his conviction and his current guilty plea.


The NCMC and Solidarity with Barry
Michael Bindner, mikeybdc at yahoo

The debate on rebuilding DC General, aka the National Capital Medical Center, is amusing in that it shows that at least the Mayor can admit he was wrong about closing it in the first place. Many activists put in much effort to prevent its closure, and the current proposal, which is based on the experience of overcrowded emergency rooms since then, as proven them right.

As to solidarity with Barry, it is DC taxpayers who lack representation who are in solidarity with him. If you are not the least bit upset by your lack of representation, don’t come to the rally.


The Race Card and Guess Who Played It?
Leo Alexander,

You can always tell when you have got your opponent threatened, because that is when they usually start hitting below the belt. What saddens me is that a member of the Jewish community is the one being used to carry their racist pail of water. Before I begin, I’ve got to put this disclaimer out there; I am not now, nor have I ever been anti-Semitic. Now let’s get down. Less than a month has passed, and I’m back on this blog taking on yet another member of the Jewish community as it relates to my people — African Americans. Quite frankly, I’m surprised and disappointed by this disturbing pattern, because I can remember a time not that long ago when our two communities stood together, side-by-side, kindred spirits and comrades in the struggle for justice and equality. Unfortunately, for some of our more history challenged brethren, this fact has been lost. Here in 2006, one of our struggles continues to be for justice and equality in healthcare. And we, the Citizens for the National Capital Medical Center (CNCMC), welcome this public health policy debate. However, there must be ground rules. First and foremost, there must be respect for your opponent. This, unfortunately, has been lost, or never existed. Because why else would a member of the Jewish medical community use the term “intellectually lazy” when speaking of the members of the CNCMC.

Now to this ill-informed, racist, Hebrew lost soul, Eric Rosenthal, I take exception with anyone who labels my community in such a derogatory, stereotypical manner. I have been to all three meetings of the CNCMC, and not once has there ever been any mention of anything racial, except when we discussed the disparities in healthcare, and that’s not “divisive appeals to race,” that is a blatant reality. And as far as “political threats,” once again your ignorance is painfully obvious; we discussed sound political strategy — you support our issues and we will support you, the candidate. That is no threat. That’s grassroots politics 101 in its purest form. I contend that it is morally reprehensible for you, or anyone else, to maliciously report these completely baseless and vicious lies.

The bottom line is there are three Level 1 trauma centers in the District and all are located within a half mile of each other, west of North Capitol Street. Granted, access to primary care on the east side of the city is a valid issue. But what happens in the case of life and death emergencies? Two recent incidents graphically illustrate the point: a young child and her mother suffered injuries from a car accident a few blocks from Greater Southeast Hospital. The girl and her mother were transported across town, where she died at Children’s National Medical Center. Her mother survived at Washington Hospital Center. Then there was the case of the shooting in Kenilworth; both victims were taken to Prince George’s Medical Center where one died. No one can say whether or not those two would have lived had there been a Level 1 trauma center in the eastern sector — but what if? Don’t these taxpaying citizens have the same right to a fair distribution of our city’s resources as it pertains to emergency medical care? Are not those two deaths worth this moral investment? Financial questions to District and Howard University officials are fair game, but to question whether or not there is a need is down right mean.


NCMC: Let’s Not Go There
Greg Rhett,

I am compelled to respond to the recent submission by Dr. Eric Rosenthal on behalf of the DC Federation of Civic Associations, the Ward 7 Democrats, the Ward 5 Democrats, the DC Democratic State Committee, the River Terrace Civic Association, the Hillcrest Civic/Citizen Association, the Citywide ANC Assembly, the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, the Howard University Board of Trustees, the DC Health Care Coalition, the Fairlawn Citizens Association, the Eastland Gardens Civic Association, the Kingman Park Civic Association, the DC Antiwar Network, the ANC 7B, the ANC 7C06, the Burville Civic Association, the Fort Davis Civic Association, and the Benning Ridge Civic Association. Members of the above organizations have deliberated and voted affirmatively to support the Mayor’s NCMC Initiative. Subsequently, the Citizens for the National Capital Medical Center (CNCMC) evolved to assert our collective resolve to challenge the powerful and well financed DC Hospital Association (DCHA) and the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA), as they attempt to block this initiative in order to protect their market share of the DC medical services industry. Collectively, we are men and women, old and young, rich and poor, gay and straight, “Black,” “Latino” and “White.”

Dr. Rosenthal, I attended that January 12 meeting of the CNCMC, along with about thirty other witnesses. The anonymous source for your “report” was dead wrong. Furthermore, labeling participants as “intellectually lazy,” is insulting and demeaning. Sadly, you have intentionally inserted race into what was once a lively public policy debate. Your inaccurate implications are a juvenile attempt to undervalue, underestimate, and marginalize fellow District citizens with whom you disagree. Playing the “race card” demonstrates your lost confidence in the merits of your own argument. Frankly, your deliberate inaccuracies exceed the boundaries of decency and civility. And to that, we vehemently object. Please remember your oath, Dr. Rosenthal: “First, do no harm.”

Out of pure decency, we expect your fellow opponents at the DCHA and the DCPCA to immediately issue public statements repudiating your racially divisive and unsubstantiated statements against the CNCMC participants, and my Ward 7 City Council representative. It is imperative that each side take the “high road” and continue this debate solely on the merits of our respective positions. The real issue remains the moral injustice of the current distribution of District-based hospitals, with certified Level 1 trauma services. The real issue remains the current disparity in equal access to emergency Level 1 trauma services. The CNCMC will exercise our constitutionally protected rights to assemble, speak, and organize ourselves in order to legally impact public policy decisions. We have no legal obligation to either justify or explain our actions and strategy to any opponent.

Yes, we are deliberating, organizing and mobilizing for justice and fairness. Yes, we are using maps of the current distribution of District-based hospital resources to show that the NCMC is not only needed, but absolutely necessary. Yes, we are using maps to demonstrate the moral injustice of the current configuration of District-based hospitals. And yes, we have issued a promise to all who seek our votes; we will remember those who demonstrate their support of our interests. We share our opponents’ desire to “make Washingtonians healthier.” Yet, we differ, strategically. So goes the debate. Again, we challenge Dr. Rosenthal to join us in a Public Citizen Debate on the NCMC. He previously declined this challenge. Nevertheless, we will never concede our rights to transparently petition our government and openly debate public policy issues affecting our community.


Re: A Tragedy in a Tragedy
Ralph J. Chittams, Sr.,

Katherine Howard’s response to “A Tragedy in a Tragedy” [themail, January 29] provides an opportunity to clearly focus on an ongoing problem. In my original posting, I indicated that all life is important. And no life, even a white one, is any more or less important than any other. I then asked the rhetorical question, why. To state that I “mindlessly compare” is just another example of imperialist thinking emanating from a false premise of superiority. My intellect, or the lack thereof, as Ms. Howard surmises, is not the issue. To make it such is nothing more than an ad hominem attack that seeks to shift the focus from the issue at-hand. In America, in 2006, a white life is still viewed as having more value than any other life. I did not underestimate anyone’s intelligence. Quite the opposite is true. I overestimated. I assumed that the concept of the fellowship of mankind would be something around which all could rally. I assumed that the brotherhood/sisterhood of all humanity is a concept that could be embraced. I assumed that after forty years of civil rights legislation hearts and minds would at least be able to contemplate the possibility that all men are created equal. How sad that I was wrong.

Yes, the District’s ambulance service is lacking. It has been lacking for years. However, the fact still remains. It wasn’t until a white person was ill-served that the issue gained legs.


A Travesty in a Tragedy
L.E. Adams,

Katherine Howard’s posting [themail, January 29] referred to “a white citizen” and “black persons.” Was this a mindless differentiation, or did it demonstrate either a lack of intelligence or a racial motive? I would wager that far more defenseless “black persons” have been attacked and killed in America (and yes, even in DC) by “white citizens” than vice versa. African-Americans have been killed by Euro-Americans for reasons other than their materials possessions for nearly four hundred years, and the latter have seldom received “their just reward/punishment.” Nothing justifies the killing in question, and racial enmity certainly doesn’t explain it. Let’s remember that the “race card” African-Americans are so often accused of playing comes from a white deck. Katherine Howard represents white supremacy in all its oxymoronic glory, and she should be ashamed of herself for reading racial paranoia into a simple, sad, and shameful tragedy.


Objections from CFO Against City’s Best Interests
Ed Delaney,

From “DC CFO Natwar Gandhi yesterday lashed out over a change in the ballpark financing plan saying he will not sell bonds needed to pay for the construction unless adjustments are made. City officials negotiating with MLB over a revised lease agreement eliminated language requiring a reserve of rent to help back the stadium bonds. Last fall, bond raters on Wall Street said the reserve was needed to grant the bonds with an investment-grade rating. ‘Our position is that would have given us an investment-grade rating,’ said Maryann Young, a spokeswoman for Gandhi. ‘We will not take this deal to Wall Street. There definitely needs to be a discussion about this.’" Given the CFO’s track record, this appears to be not about investment-grade bonds, but about the CFO’s obsession with preserving his prized bond rating at any cost. The CFO admitted in his testimony in spring 2005 regarding alternative ballpark financing methods that, “Typically, the least costly way to finance any public sector construction project is to issue tax-exempt general obligation bonds. If, for various reasons, a jurisdiction does not want to issue general obligation debt, issuing tax-exempt revenue bonds is the next least costly financing mechanism.” At the time (March 16), the Post’s Steve Pearlstein suggested the CFO’s motivation at the time for not choosing either of those methods but expressing approval of the Deutsche Bank private financing plan: “The city could also just use general obligation bonds, which the CFO is loathe to do because there is nothing he prizes more than his bond A bond rating and the more you borrow, the harder it is to maintain that.”

The CFO continued to support the Deutsche Bank’s plan, even after its main benefit of massive tax relief to city business was eliminated, due to the hefty revenue reserve requirements because the other bonding methods might “count against the city’s debt load.” (Times, November 10, 2005) When it got to the point that the CFO was accepting a plan that could cost the city $1.2 billion or more to pay off just to keep from putting even the slightest strain on the city‘s bond rating, Pearlstein’s suggestion was validated, and the CFO‘s motives regarding ballpark financing and bonding methods became suspect. The fact that the CFO won’t even try to bring a bond package to Wall Street without the rent reserve is extremely questionable, since he might know that it would likely succeed without a problem. Previous stadium deals have had investment-grade general obligation and revenue bonds supporting them, with Wall Street’s approval of municipal bonds voted on in referenda and passed by legislatures without the significant levels of reserves the CFO had requested — so sizable in the Deutsche Bank’s plan that they wiped out the $6 million of annual tax relief that was initially planned for DC businesses as part of the financing deal. The main reason that public financing was so welcomed by Major League Baseball is because of the lack of bonding issues that scenario presented. When government-secured tax streams have been a large part of a ballpark package as they are here, Wall Street has not required the rent reserves that the CFO is insisting on. It appears more and more obvious that the CFO’s insistence on the rent reserves is not based so much on Wall Street’s requirements as his apparent “don‘t tread near my precious rating” agenda. And as far as having “a discussion about this,” the CFO has a reputation of discussing things with the council and hiding key facts until after votes.

“[The council] will pass something, and then they will submit it to Wall Street, and they’ll say, ‘Excuse me, you forgot to talk to Dr. Gandhi,’” Young said. “Then we’re talking a month delay.” Who’s worrying about a month when the lease doesn’t have to be done until June, even according to MLB and the Brigade? Let’s take a chance and see what they say! We know you don’t want to, but this project is not the CFO’s personal property.

“City sources said bank officials also were baffled by the change and had not been informed. A Deutsche Bank spokesman yesterday said bank officials were continuing to operate as if they were part of the deal and remained in contact with Gandhi.” Gotta love the disconnect here! If the Deutsche Bank deal won’t die, it’s up to the council to use some wooden stakes on it ASAP.

“Gandhi was caught unaware by the financing changes and was said to be angry. ‘This is DC’s deal and has been shepherded by Dr. Gandhi all the way,’ Ms. Young said. ‘This is bad form.’” If anyone would know about bad form, it’s the guy who engineered a $54 million bump in the stadium cost figures by directly deceiving the council to its face that it was voting on minor technical amendments. The bottom line is that the DC council has the CFO where it wants him on the stadium deal — in a position of need. When supposedly “technical” amendments were brought before the city council in fall 2005 to make the bonds investment-grade, the CFO termed the amendments as minor and didn’t acknowledge until after the fact that the amendments in fact increased the city’s commitment to $589 million from $535 million, despite pointed questions from council members on the ramifications. And now the CFO wants to come crying to the council for redress after the Brigade ditched the Deutsche Bank proposal? Not so fast!

If Gandhi and/or the Brigade wanted rent reserves nailed down and finalized to the letter for Wall Street, they could’ve done the exact same thing for the council in terms of cost certainty of overruns for the project, with no more of their vague promises and works-in-progress. If its members wanted to, the council can make it extremely easy for the CFO to not take anything to Wall Street and for Tuohey, et al., not to have to deal with a ballpark at the RFK Stadium site by rejecting the deal completely and telling MLB to take a road trip! However, if all the parties want to get a stadium deal done and get the Brigade and the CFO onto more pressing city business, it will be easier for all concerned for the council to ditch both the CFO and the Brigade and hire experienced consultants, as they’ve leaned towards doing in order to get the results the city needs.



National Building Museum Events, February 2, 4, 9
Lauren Searl,

All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at

Thursday, February 2, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Lecture: Architectural Designs for Early and Modern Washington, DC. Showing seldom-seen architectural drawings at the Library of Congress, C. Ford Peatross, the library’s curator of architecture, design, and engineering collections, will discuss some of Washington’s most important buildings, monuments, and memorials as well as anonymous structures of everyday life and ambitious projects that were never built. The drawings tell the sometimes surprising story of the capital’s planning and growth over two centuries. After the lecture, he will sign copies of his edited volume Capital Drawings: Architectural Designs for Washington, DC, from the Library of Congress (Johns Hopkins University Press). $10 Members and students; $15 Nonmembers. Registration required.

Saturday, February 4, 1:00-2:00 p.m. Film: Gropius: Man of Vision. Written and narrated by Chester Nagel, FAIA, this documentary focuses on the contributions of architect and teacher Walter Gropius. (1983, 50 min.) Free. Registration not required.

Thursday, February 9, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Lecture: Greening the Built Environment in Response to Climate Change. The National Building Museum and the Koshland Science Museum (KSM) present a discussion by Tim Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, University of Virginia (UVA), and Bruce Hayden, professor and chair, department of environmental sciences at UVA, about green design concepts for homes and communities. They will examine the relationship of architecture and climate change, and specific design features that can diminish the potential impact of climate on the urban environment. This program will be held at the Koshland Science Museum, corner of 6th and E Streets, NW. $12 Museum members, Friends of KSM, and students; $17 nonmembers. Prepaid registration required.


Join the School Modernization Campaign, February 3
Marc Borbely,

The newly launched School Modernization Campaign needs you. Sign on today (, and urge three other people to do so, too. Your signature tells the Council rebuilding our schools is a priority. Sign on to the Campaign, online, and then come down to the Wilson Building, 10 a.m. to noon, on Friday, February 3, for School Modernization Lobby Day.

Parents, teachers, students and neighbors all across the District for the past year have been building a movement to demand that the Council fully commit to building twenty-first-century, high-quality public schools for all. Much progress has already been made: the bill that has emerged from the Education and Finance Committees aims to provide $3 billion for DC public school facilities over the next fifteen years — the amount of money needed to modernize enough space for the number of students currently enrolled in DCPS. This is thanks to Councilmembers Fenty, Patterson, Evans, Gray, Mendelson, Orange and Cropp.

There’s one more major legislative push still needed: the bill as it stands gambles on the Chief Financial Officer’s having significantly underestimated future economic growth in the District. (Much of the money would be allocated only to the extent expected revenues are revised upward by the CFO.) This is a big gamble; too big a gamble for something as important as schools. There is an alternative approach that would guarantee the funding. Instead of allowing a final $64-million-per-year income tax cut (“Tax Parity Act”) to go into effect in 2007, the Council should use that money for school modernizations. The Education Committee proposed this. How can we say we have too much money, so let’s give some back — and at the same time, we don’t have enough money for schools and so have to gamble on economic windfalls beyond the CFO’s current projections? The $64 million that would be saved by canceling the last phase of the Tax Parity Act is almost exactly what’s still needed to fully fund the school modernization program. It comes out to about $10 per person per month on average (more for high-income people; less for low-income people). Surely most of us would let the District keep that money, so it can (finally) modernize our schools.


Marie Johns for Mayor Campaign Headquarters Opening, February 4
Liz Rose,

On Saturday, February 4, noon to 2:00 p.m., please join us for the headquarters opening party at 1405 H Street, NE. For more information, call 725-8945 or visit



Bilingual Receptionist and Secretary
Jon Katz, jon at markskatz dot com

Silver Spring trial law firm seeks a bilingual (fully fluent in Spanish and English) receptionist/junior secretary and a bilingual litigation secretary. Both positions require one year minimum relevant experience. Great pay, full benefits, and ideal workplace. Fax resume to 301-495-8815. For more information, see



Documentary Workers
Tolu Tolu,

I am seeking serious and dedicated volunteers to work on a documentary. Please post and read stories at If you would like to volunteer for this important national project, please call Tolu, 331-4418, or write PO Box 48331, Washington, DC 20002.



Lorraine Swerdloff,

Can anyone recommend an upholsterer to reupholster cushions and create pillows?


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