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June 11, 2006

The Jet Set

Dear Jet Setters:

Mayor Williams returns from Seoul, Korea, today; he’ll stay long enough to repack his suitcase, and go to Albany, New York, tomorrow. Back in the mid 1960’s, there was a very popular film called “The Endless Summer,” which followed two footloose surfers as they jaunted around the world in search of the perfect wave. It was a vision of life as a permanent vacation, and it was extraordinarily enticing. A film of Mayor Williams’s terms in office would have a similar plot, but it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting or attractive. It would have to be called, “The Endless Junket,” the story of a mayor who searches for any tenuous excuse, any farfetched reason to leave the town he governs.

Colbert King’s column yesterday, “Has Our Mayor Gone FIGMO?” ( is an hilarious takedown of the mayor’s footloose and fancy-free ways. King mentions only some of the mayor’s international travel; he doesn’t delineate his much more frequent domestic trips, so he actually understates the degree of absence with which the mayor has blessed this city. King makes the point that Williams’s trips aren’t just a harmless distraction and a trivial subject for commentary, but that they have created a vacuum of leadership and led to inaction on many of our city’s pending problems. If King could have written a column that was twice as long, he could have also pointed out two more problems with Williams’s trips. First, the overwhelming majority of them have led to little or no benefits for the city; they have only served to promote Williams himself. Second, he could have made the connection to the Post’s lead editorial on the same day, printed directly opposite his column, “Around the World in 25 Days: How to See Paris Without Actually Paying,” The editorial scolds members of Congress and their staffs for taking so many subsidized and underwritten trips. But what is readily recognized as an ethical problem for members of Congress is also the common practice of the Williams administration. After having been criticized for wasting taxpayers’ money on so many junkets that have little value for the taxpayers who pay for them, Williams instituted a policy of having his travel paid for by Washington corporations, individuals, and interest groups, many of which require licenses or permits from the administration or do business with the city. And while the Post may berate Congress’ Ethics Committee for failing to rein in the unseemly system of favors that leads at least to the appearance of corruption, in the District there isn’t even an Ethics Committee, and the Office of Campaign Finance doesn’t see it as an issue it should address. There is nothing and no one that can make the junket junkie mend his ways, or bring him to understand that taking money from people who want favors from the city to pay for his travels is not just a joke; it is wrong.

Gary Imhoff


Land Theft in Kingman Park
Mindy Mitchell, Friends of Kingman Park,

Due to an aggressive, high-level lobbying campaign, the Kingman Park community is in danger of losing our well-used parkland. Congress has decided it will transfer our parkland from the National Park Service to the District of Columbia, but only if the city signs a lease to construct a school on this land. Our parkland is just north of Robert F. Kennedy stadium, located between Benning Road, NE, C Street, NE, and Oklahoma Avenue, NE. It’s on the bank of the fragile Anacostia River, less than a mile from the National Arboretum, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and the historic Langston Golf Course. On any given day, our park hosts soccer players, golfers, dog walkers, joggers, walk-and-talkers, Frisbee throwers, touch football players, and some of the most promising young pitchers around.

In 1993, a government study found high levels of toxins and hazardous materials deep in the park’s soil, which led the city to abandon constructing a stadium there. If the city was reluctant to dislodge contaminants while constructing a stadium, it should be even more hesitant to construct a school. The parcel is landfill constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, and most of it is in a flood plain. The city has already damaged the parkland by bulldozing 133 trees for a temporary racetrack — trees it promised to replant, but never did. If this parkland is transferred from the federal government to the District in order to build a "pre-collegiate public boarding school," it will throw the Anacostia Watershed, and our neighborhood, further out of balance. Every previous land use plan put out by the National Capital Planning Commission or the Office of Planning has shown this property as green space.

We’ve been told by the leaders of the project that this school will house up to six hundred students in a fifteen-acre locked, walled complex with buildings four stories tall. This complex would sever our neighborhood’s link to the river, rendering access to the Anacostia Riverwalk and adjacent Kingman and Heritage Islands awkward at best. It seems bizarre to put six hundred children in a four story locked-down complex in a flood plain on land fill with toxic soil next to an elevated Metro line. This is a year after Katrina victims lived in the Armory just two blocks away. Moreover, the school would destroy the only large, open green space remaining in the Eastern Capitol Hill community.

Most importantly, this land transfer deal is being moved along without any input from our neighbors, the people who live closest to the park, people who are being asked to risk contracting lung cancer by people who mistook it for a parking lot. With over fourteen schools within a mile of the parkland, the city can certainly find a different location for the school. Help us stop this land grab. Please call the mayor and tell him not to execute a lease to put a school on our parkland.


Getting the Deadline Straight
Dorothy Brizill,

If you have traveled to downtown or Georgetown recently, you may have seen the large red, white, and blue posters affixed to street lamp posts that proclaim, "May Is Voter Registration Month" in the District of Columbia. The posters were the brainchild of the Ward 2 Democrats, who shelled out $3000, not only to post them in their ward, but also to offer them to committees in other wards who wanted to distribute them. Wayne Dickson, president of the Ward 2 Dems, decided to launch the voter initiative in May, when the weather wasn’t too hot or too cold, in order to register the many new residents who had moved into the ward in the past two years.

The only problem with the Ward 2 Dems’ signs is that many people read them as implying, not that May was the month that the Ward 2 Dems designated for a voter registration drive, but that May was the deadline for registering to vote. It wasn’t, and if you haven’t registered you still can. According to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics, DC residents who want to vote in the September 12 primary have until August 14 to register, while October 10 is the deadline to register to vote in the November 7 general election.


Let’s Renovate MLK and Keep It as Our Central Library
Wendy Blair,

Last Wednesday evening, the Literary Friends of the DC Public Library cosponsored a viewing of the AIA Urban Design Committee’s Update to its Feasibility Study for a Renovation of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Library. Lead architect Kent Cooper provided commentary and David Hamilton supplemented the drawings of the original 2000 study. The changes they proposed for MLK are stunning to contemplate. Anyone who has despised MLK (as many of us have), but is dubious about the Mayor’s plan to build a new smaller central library on the old convention center site, should look at the Cooper/Hamilton renderings, on display at

The AIA renovation plan includes finishing the building as intended by the architect Mies van der Rohe – restoring features that were cut to save costs — with a marble lobby, additional elevators, and a fifth floor setback that could house conference rooms, offices, a Writer’s Room — perhaps a restaurant — on a roof terrace with trees and a view across Ninth Street to the Portrait Gallery. The plan also addresses long-standing problems of the building as reported by staff and patrons, and proposes solutions within the Miesian aesthetic. To begin, the entire outside skin of the building would become a silvery white (more than half of Mies’s buildings were white), street-friendly (with restaurants). Inside, the interior walls (presently housing windowless offices) can come down, opening up a huge inner atrium, with a glass roof. Each floor looks towards light, outside and inside. And the full expanse of each floor is transparent, with sight lines that promote service and improve security.

In the lobby, a wide central staircase against the rear wall humanizes the open center chamber, welcoming library patrons. Light spills down from a newly created second floor sky-lit reading room, illuminating the staircase. A landing at mezzanine level affords a resting place midway with views over the entire lobby. The landing, usable as a stage for ceremonies, lectures and readings (by Literary Friends), would also highlight the King mural. And the mural will now be able to serve as the backdrop for those events, as it was intended. The staircase leads to a dazzling, light-filled, atrium-style reading room on the second floor, five stories tall, the combined result of removing the prison-like inner offices on levels 2-4, and the addition of a new fifth floor. There are many other details that space does not permit me to describe, including doing away with dank, underground meeting rooms, and possible revenue-producing parking and reception spaces. This, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library would be a glittering jewel box of light (and enlightenment) encasing a treasure house of the works and words of civilization. If we rebuild it, MLK will surely become one of the most visited and most beloved DC institutions.


Why Keeping MLK Is a Bargain
Robin Diener,

Renovating the Martin Luther King, Jr., Library would cost significantly less than building the new, smaller library proposed by Mayor Williams (and the subject of a hearing this Thursday June 15). Simple instinct says that it would be less expensive to renovate a structurally sound building than to build something entirely new. Arthur Cotton Moore, the architect of the renovation of the Library of Congress, concurs. He says that the cost of digging and pouring the foundation and footings alone would account for substantial savings, and the interior superstructure is already in place, another major savings. In a June 2005 Roundtable on Sustainable Design, the American Institute of Architects lists among the top ten benefits of continued utilization of the existing built environment that "the cost of rehabilitating existing buildings is often less than that of new construction."

To judge from the comments we routinely encounter on this topic, many people accept the urban myth that renovation is pricier than new construction. This is apparently based on horror stories about projects gone awry due to unforeseen circumstances. We have the original plans for MLK and are unlikely to encounter the kind of unforeseen setbacks that renovation horror stories are made of. A building such as MLK — built to a simple, open plan — is the easiest and least expensive type of building to renovate. All systems from top to bottom could be ripped out and replaced, surgically curing the “sick building” syndrome that the mayor and Library Trustees give as the reason for abandoning MLK. Finally, the architect of MLK, modernist master Mies van der Rohe, did not employ complicated decorative flourishes and finishes that are so time consuming to preserve and restore.

The question of the building’s style, although arguably irrelevant when considering the practicalities of cost and functionality, nonetheless lies at the heart of whether we renovate MLK or build anew. Experts agree that a renovation will cost the city less than a new library, but the real news is that they also think MLK can actually be made lovable! With a white exterior and light filled interior, and new systems throughout, it would be ready for a new ethic of service and competence that would maintain and honor it. Judge for yourself if a building reshaped from Mies’ modernist vision can appeal to our 21st Century sensibility and needs at


The Renovation Alternative for MLK
Ron Leve, Dupont Circle,

This past Wednesday evening there was a meeting at the Carnegie Institution that addressed the renovation alternative to constructing a new DC Library at the old Convention Center site, as proposed by the Williams administration. The meeting was sponsored by the DC Library Renaissance Project started several years ago by Ralph Nader. Until now I had been unaware that at the request of the Library’s trustees in 2000, the AIA Urban Design Committee completed a feasibility study for the renovation of the library which was reported to have been favorably received by the city. Nothing has ever come of this, including no costing of it even though requested by the Trustees and the Committee of 100. Currently an independent contractor is reported to be preparing a cost estimate of the renovation, and new construction alternatives which will be discussed at the hearing described below.

Kent Cooper, who led the 2000 study, described the project and a representative of the Library Renaissance Project presented some updated graphical material along with information about what could be accomplished with the restoration. I think it is fair to state that the audience was bowled over by what was presented. If you look at the home page of the Project,, you’ll see a rendering that includes a new fifth floor and the proposed change of color. A sketch of the radically different interior,, shows an atrium almost the length of the building which would extend all the way to the fifth floor. When the Mies’ original plans were examined, it was discovered that there were no structural reason to retain the central portion. The result appears to be an light-filled airy open space. A cafe is proposed at the entrance as well.

While I believe this is a viable and much favored alternative to constructing a new building and leasing the current one to commercial interests for 99 years, I would urge you to investigate on your own. But please attend the public hearing by the Education, Libraries and Recreation Committee of the DC city council at the Wilson Building at 10 a.m. on Thursday June 15 in the Council’s Chamber. A large show of interest will prevent this matter from sliding under the public vision. At least 100-200 million dollars are involved in the various proposals. If you want to submit written testimony or get further information on the hearing, contact Evelyn Gould at 724-8195, The matter is Bill B16-0734, “The Library Transformation Act of 2006.”


A Cost Conscious Approach to MLK
Jenefer Ellingston,

A 2003 report about three options for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Central Library compared the costs of a new building, renovation in place, and renovation while occupying an interim location. The report offers the three options without any weighted predisposition to an already publicly viewed plan. This report on the cost of three options ignored a feasibility study for renovation of MLK undertaken by Kent Cooper and the AIA Urban Design Committee, done in 2000 at the request of DCPL Director and Trustees. Over the six years since this feasibility study was completed, it was exhibited, shown to government officials, and then put on the shelf. Despite many calls for the next step of costing out the feasibility study, the Williams administration chose to ignore them. The most recent request, in February of this year by the Committee of 100, was turned down by Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi in a dismissive letter appreciating "your concern about the best use of District funds," as though the mayor had no interest in advice that didn’t match his own scheme.

On April 22, at a town hall meeting about fate of MLK, convened in response to the outrage at the Mayor’s underhanded attempt to slip approval to lease MLK into the Budget Act, Committee Chair Kathy Patterson agreed to have the AIA/Cooper plan costed out. Following that concession, Cooper reports that President of the Library Trustees, John Hill, assured him the cost-out was being done by a firm different from the author of the 2003 report, and chosen by Mr. Hill. Sadly, that’s not true. The Office of the CFO says it is not doing any such cost analysis. Checking with DCPL, we were told that a new comparative cost analysis that includes “some elements similar to” the AIA/Cooper plan is being prepared at the direction of DC Public Library’s Capital Projects department, by a reincarnation of the firm that did the 2003 report. Whoever does the cost analysis, it must be a meaningful cost comparison between the AIA/Cooper renovation and the Mayor’s new library plan.

The understaffed and inexperienced Capital Projects division of DCPL is highly overworked. Currently, it has failed to provide interim locations for temporary services for four closed community libraries, for which original plans were declared inadequate. Consequently the division is occupied with creation of new plans for rebuilding those four branch libraries How can they cope with this new task? and how can we trust DCPL to do a fair and honest costing-out job since Trustees and most of DCPL staff are on record opposing renovation of MLK. When asked in a candidates’ forum about the status of the costing-out, Mrs. Patterson replied that she had called for it "from the dais" and that she was seeking evidence of the "architectural feasibility" of the AIA/Cooper plan to renovate MLK. Clearly, architectural feasibility is not the issue. The issue is how to dupe the public into believing that a new main library is preferable and more feasible than the present MLK, which can then be rented to developers. Citizens who want to protect and renovate MLK demand the mayor and the Library Task Force use the AIA/Cooper plan, and thus fulfill the original plan for MLK that was never completed. Either the costing-out will be a serious piece of work, using the renovation plan as a base line, or it will make a mockery of public trust.


Commuter Tax and Parking
Steve Leraris,

As we all know, several weeks ago the Supreme Court denied DC’s request for a commuter tax. Too bad — I agree with the city’s claim. What I don’t understand is why the city continues to give free parking to commuters and a free ride to DC residents who don’t register their cars in DC. As I see it, DC streets should be zoned for residential parking or have meters.

I live off of 16th Street, which has neither, so of course commuters drive to here and park, then take the buses downtown. There are also streets such as Tilden and Porter, NW, off of Connecticut Avenue, which I believe are also not metered or zoned for residential parking. Again a haven for commuters.

There’s also still a need for actual ROSA enforcement for these areas, but since most of the councilmembers are running for some other office no one’s paying attention.


Tommy Wells Is Hatched, Too
Alexander M. Padro,

The only exceptions to the Hatch Act in DC are the mayor, councilmembers, and the Recorder of Deeds. All other elected officials are, according the Office of Special Council, covered by the Act. Therefore, if Tommy Wells becomes an official candidate for the office of councilmember for Ward 6, upon submitting his nominating positions Mr. Wells will need to resign his office as an elected member of the DC Board of Education in order to avoid violating Federal law. Has anyone heard him say he will do so? Or should the Office of Special Council be informed so that they can take speedy action and figure out how to punish DC elected officials for engaging in partisan political activity even if they’re not federal employees? Unlike ANC commissioners, Mr. Wells receives a paycheck for his service. If the sitting ANC commissioners who are seeking ward seats on the Council are to be subjected to the provisions of the Hatch Act and be forced to resign their elected offices, then Mr. Wells must also step down.


51=Phil Pannell
Jeff Norman,

Phil Pannell, who is running in the Democratic Primary for shadow Senator, has a very unusual campaign sticker. Instead of using his name, it just says “51,” signifying that he wants DC to be the 51st state. He also will not accept any campaign contributions in excess of $51. I’ve had the opportunity to see Phil in action ever since I became the treasurer of the DC Democratic Party in October 2004. A longtime member of the Democratic State Committee and currently also the chair of the Ward 8 Democrats, Phil has been one of our Party’s most enthusiastic and energetic members. He has raised more money for us than any other member, and he represents us at almost every parade or other event of any political significance in the city (MLK parade, Gay Pride parade, Black History Month celebration, DC Emancipation Day festivities, just to name a few). As our shadow Senator, he will bring the same energy and enthusiasm to the cause of full Congressional representation for DC.


Coquettish Solicitations
Ed Dixon, Georgetown Reservoir,

The lure of the election season is that all politicians promise to do as they say. It almost sounds true sometimes. However, once the votes are cast, politicians will get back to their real work of following the will of the lobbyist and financial backer. Accountability is very elusive in the election cycle. Therefore, getting politicians to do the will of the voters must be done in the election season.

Unfortunately, with some of the blank checks that have been written this season, we are looking at a quick turn around in promises come late November when CFO-come-poet Natwar Gandhi will let local legislators learn their election lesson. Four years ago, right after an election not unlike this one, the Council had to hack away at what was promised to the people in terms of services. Schools took about a $30 million hit. Overall, it was probably less than 5 percent of the operating budget. That didn’t affect the teachers’ contract. It didn’t affect the students with special needs who were placed in private services. What it did drastically affect was the quality of free public education as delivered to the majority of DC children in general education in already low quality free public schools.

Some may feel that providing a “high quality” education seems like a no-brainer and doesn’t need to be legislated. It’s assumed. One might think the same of murder, car ownership, and noise ordinances. However, if folks haven’t noticed that providing high quality free public education is like rocket science for the crew at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue and 825 North Capitol, then they probably haven’t noticed that the first instruction in the public education kit should read the city is “obligated to provide a system of free high-quality public schools to every child.” Yes, judges will be able to judge the veracity of this languages application if asked. And, fortunately, judges don’t have to solicit money or votes every two to four years like others in the government. The city’s leadership needs to change the DC charter by amending the Education Rights Act, essentially putting its money and morals where its mouth is.


DC and Iowa
Amy Hubbard, ahubbarddc at yahoo dot com

I enjoyed Michael Bindner’s comparison of DC and Iowa [themail, June 7] and generally agreed with him, but he did mention one detail which runs counter to my experience. He said that: “In the District, the bottom line is unless you live in or near an open air drug mart or are engaged in the drug business, you are fairly safe — the odd robber aside. Unless you are walking near public housing after 11 p.m., you are likely safe.”

When I moved a block away from public housing in 2002, I expected to deal with much more crime than the “odd robber” in my little neighborhood just south of the Potomac Avenue metro stop. But when I started following the crime reports, I was surprised to find out that there seemed to be more muggings both north of the Metro stop and to the west in Eastern Market than there were in my little neighborhood. I’m not sure why that is; maybe because there are fewer wealthy people living here. It may also be because the neighborhood is blocked in by the river, the freeway, and the main roads so it is harder to get out of it easily in a getaway car. (A fair number of the muggers have made their escape in a car.) On top of that, a fair number of my neighbors watch out for each other (but we’re hardly unique in that respect).

At any rate, I’m not suggesting that you can walk down the street with your head in a book and listening to your iPod at 11 p.m. at night around here. Or that there isn’t a disturbing level of violence here between people who know each other in the form of domestic violence or revenge-seeking. But I have been amused at the number of people who are afraid of my neighborhood when they actually are more likely to get mugged over by Eastern Market, which looks prettier and safer. I can’t speak for everyone, but based on my experience I’d be more worried walking down a dark street near a bar and restaurant district late at night than I would walking past public housing in my neighborhood. At any rate, this doesn’t disprove Bindner’s thesis — just adds more evidence that crime in DC is more complex than we think!


Norton-Davis Is a Huge Step Forward for Voting Rights
Ed Davis,

The “DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act” (HR 5388), sponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and Rep. Tom Davis (Virginia), granting the District of Columbia a voting seat in the House of Representatives, is a creative and pragmatic breakthrough in the two-hundred-year struggle for DC voting representation in Congress. It’s not, as Scott McLarty of the DC Statehood Green Party said [themail, June 7], unconstitutional or a Republican plot to gain a seat in Congress. If that were the case, they would have passed it already. Critics come forth with lists of reasons to oppose the bill, but with no viable alternative. Where is the support in Congress or the nation for statehood -- or, in the short term, for two Senators? These are worthy goals, but how long can we wait and why should we pass up this opportunity? Voting rights for all Americans did not happen all at once; it’s a continuing struggle. This bill is an important step forward. DC should be united in supporting this bill.


Same Sex Adoption
Jonathan R. Rees,

In the last edition of themail [June 7], Rick Rosendall of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance was concerned about my recommendation that the best way to decide the issue of whether the District should pass a same-sex adoption law would be by a referendum. My reasoning for suggesting that the issue should be addressed by a referendum instead of the city council was based upon the fact that Congress has had several votes on Same Sex Adoption in the District (Bill HR 2587) and other discussions, and if Mr. Rosendall had paid attention to the debate on the Hill, he would know that many on the Hill made an issue of the fact that the push for same sex adoption in the District came from pressure on the city council by GLBT groups, and that same-sex adoption may not be the will of the majority of District residents.

Some members of Congress have suggested that a vote on this issue by the voters of the District, and not by the city council, which is being constantly lobbied by well funded GLBT groups, might be more persuasive. If such a law is passed by the District, Congress would be confronted by a vote of the majority of the people, and not by the will of thirteen city council members who may be out of touch with the majority or blinded to what the majority wants as a result of lobbying by well funded and focused GLBT groups. Also, in my discussion with various groups in favor of and opposed to same sex adoptions and marriage, those opposed to them feel that the GLBT community believes it will get better and faster results by pressuring our city council, whereas a vote by the voters of the District would result in a resounding defeat. While same sex adoption and marriage may not be hot button issues in the eyes of the GLAA, they are for other groups.

Since America and the District are split on these issues, I believe the majority would rather see a referendum on these issues and not allow our city council to decide. Isn’t a good legislator one who decides based upon the will of voters, not special interest groups? If so, then my rant is not crazy as Mr. Rosendall suggests. I’m just calling for the District to decide these issues by a majority of its voters and not by legislators who are listening more to special interests and not voters.


You Don’t Know What Good Churches Are?
Wanda Morsell,

Victoria McKernan asked the question, “What good are churches?” (themail, June 7) The fact that you don’t know means that you should go and find out. You make reference to what the Bible says, but I suspect that you really don’t know anything about that either. You ask a some biting questions and you should know that the church also ask itself many of those same questions as she evaluates how to better serve the congregations and the communities the church resides in. There has been failure of the church in areas; there has been hard fought battles that it has lost; and the church is guilty of misdirection and apathy, but even in the face of this there have been many, many victories.

Now, I can’t assume that you are not an artsy-fartsy, liberal type African American. But I will assume that you did not grow up in church. I am a black person who did grow up in the church in Deanwood. I received tutoring, scholarships, and employment, and many of the parishioners helped me with transportation all through school. This church partnered with the elementary school that was two blocks away and the principal knew she could rely on church space or aid when needed. This church is the reason I am a school activist and able to realize my calling to youth. The church has birthed many advocates. The church has always been political and is advocating because she has to be; the congregations she serves demands it. I saw many examples as a youth of the church taking a stand on a community or national issue and that’s how I came to almost live at the church after school.

Why couldn’t Jesus convert the world? Why can’t people just live in peace? Why can’t I get my fourteen-year-old to stop being a grouch in the morning? There are no clear cut answers, no text book solutions. Go to church and join some of these organizations that are doing great things in the community and help bring solutions to some of those biting questions. (By the way, I refer to the church as "she" because Christ referred to “her” as his “bride” — that’s in the Bible, too.)


Credit to The Common Denominator
Kathryn M. Sinzinger,

[Re: item on sentencing of James Baxter in themail, June 7] Shame on you, Gary. I always thought you were keeping up better than this on local news sources. The Common Denominator reported Baxter’s sentence on its Web site on Monday, the day it happened. Credit where credit is due.


University Expansion
Sally Kram, Consortium of Universities,

In regard to Gary Imhoff’s introduction of themail, “The Chicken and the Hatched Egg” [June 7] I take exception to the characterization of universities as plotting to “clear out,” “ease through,” or “take over” their adjacent neighborhoods. There is no comparison between local colleges and universities and Columbia University’s plans in West Harlem that is useful. There has been no case in the District in the 200+ year history of colleges and universities in Washington, DC, of eminent domain being used to expand local campuses and there are no such plans in the future. Any suggestion to the contrary raising this far-fetched specter is unhelpful to our local colleges and universities, as well as the communities in which they have long resided.



Don’t Blog
Eli Rosenfield, Cleveland Park, j-eli at starpowerdotnet

Regarding your proposal to convert your newsletter to a blog, Gary, you should reread the preface to your February 12 issue. Here you wrote, “I continue to get messages from people who completely misrepresent what the critics [of NCMC] have written, and who base personal attacks on those misrepresentations. I printed a few of those early attacks to let everyone know the nature of the debate, but I don’t feel compelled to continue to print them. Messages that consist of nothing but personal attacks will be ignored; messages that mix personal attacks with factual arguments will have the personal attacks edited out; and constructive arguments on both sides of the debate will be welcomed.” In the next paragraph, responding to another matter, you wrote, “I print only a small percentage of the messages that [Jonathan] Rees sends, and I can’t promise to print anything and everything that every candidate sends. I don’t want, and I don’t think any of us wants, to turn themail into merely an outlet for political press releases.”

The bulk of blog feedback is stupid, ignorant, and so ungrammatical it can be hard to read. I read themail because the contributors are literate, informed, and interesting. Your editing is a major, needed community service, for which we are all grateful. Let’s keep it.

[Thanks for all your comments and good thought about whether themail should turn into a blog. However, I’m going to call for an end to this topic; one thing I certainly don’t want themail to become is a forum that for discussing themail itself. — Gary Imhoff]



DC Public Library Events, June 14-15
Debra Truhart,

Wednesday, June 14, 10:30 a.m., Deanwood Kiosk, 4215 Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, NE. “Kindercize.” John “Kinderman” Taylor, a superhero of song, dance and rhyme, encourages learning and a sense of self-worth. Ages 3-7. Public contact: 724-8526.
Wednesday, June 14, 1:30 p.m., Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Tales unfold magically as Megan Hicks, the “Empress Storyteller,” makes origami creations. Ages 8 to 12. Public contact: 282-3080.
Wednesday, June 14, 1:30 p.m., Langston Community Library, 2660 Benning Road, NE. “Kindercize.” Public contact: 724-8665.

Thursday, June 15, 10:30 a.m., R.L. Christian Community Library, 1330 H Street, NE. “Kindercize.” Public contact: 724-8599.
Thursday, June 15, 10:30 a.m., Capitol View Neighborhood Library, 5001 Central Avenue, SE. Derek Riley, “Mr. Derby,” provides an engaging and moving song and dance experience. Ages 2 – 8. Public contact: 645-0755.
Thursday, June 15, 1:30 p.m., Sursum Corda Community Library, 135 New York Avenue, NW. “Kindercize.” Public contact: 724-4772.
Thursday, June 15, 1:30 p.m. West End Neighborhood Library, 1101 24th Street, NW. Tales unfold magically as Megan Hicks, the “Empress Storyteller,” makes origami creations. Ages 8 to 12. Public contact: 724-8707.


National Building Museum Event, June 17
Lauren Searl,

Saturday, June 17, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Family program: A Towering Challenge with KEVA Planks. Come watch KEVA Plank building masters try to break a Guinness Book of World Records mark by erecting a freestanding tower more than fifty feet high with more than 5,000 four-inch-long planks. No glue or fasteners will be used. As families watch the construction during the day, they can create their own KEVA structures with the help of experts. At the end of the day, watch the spectacular demolition of the tower! This program celebrates the opening of the exhibition Prairie Skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower. Free. All ages. Drop-in program. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at


Community Meeting on DC Jail Escapes, June 19
Frank Zampatori, Hilleast,

I have been asked to inform the community that Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose, Council Judiciary Chairman Phil Mendelson, and Devon Brown, Director of DC Corrections, will host a community meeting on the recent jail escape. The meeting will be held on Monday, June 19, at Payne Elementary School located at 14th and C Streets, SE. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. First MPD District Commander Groomes has also been invited.

The meeting will address neighborhood concerns over the recent jail escape of two prisoners on June 3. Information will be provided concerning procedures for altering the neighborhood in the event of future problems at the jail; new procedures to limit future escapes; and progress in the investigation as to what occurred on June 3. All residents are welcome and bring your questions. Additional information will be provided prior to the meeting by Councilmember Ambrose’s Office.


Ward 3 Democratic Candidates Forum, June 20
Ann Loikow,

The Ward Three Democratic Committee is sponsoring a forum for candidates for election as the new Ward 3 DC Council Member on Tuesday, June 20th, at 7:30 p.m., at St. Columba’s Church, 4201 Albemarle Street, NW (one block west of the Tenleytown Metro stop). All are invited to come hear the candidates discuss issues of importance to ward residents and ask questions of the candidates. For information about the Ward Three Democratic Committee, go to


DC Environmental Network Mayoral Forum, June 29
Meghan Beach,

Thursday, June 29, 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the Howard University Cramton Auditorium, located at 2455 Sixth Street, NW. Come and listen to the DC mayoral candidates present their environmental platform and responses to the soon-to-be released DC Environmental Agenda of 2006. A partial list of organizations involved in creating the DC Environmental Agenda includes the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Friends of the Earth, Washington Regional Network, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, Clean Water Action, 21st Century School Fund, Casey Trees Endowment Fund, Sierra Club, DC Smart Schools, Institute of Local Self Reliance, Washington Parks and People, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Center for Food Safety. Candidates speaking thus far include Chairman Linda Cropp and Councilmember Adrian Fenty. For more information please call 222-0746.


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