themail.gif (3487 bytes)

June 25, 2006

High Quality

Dear High Quality themailers:

At last Tuesday’s legislative session, the city council approved on first reading the DC Education Rights Charter Amendment Act of 2006, Bill 16-699. The legislation, if approved on second reading on July 11, will place a charter amendment on the November ballot. If the voters approve it, it will amend the Home Rule Act by adding this one sentence:  “In the continuing recognition that the fundamental right to educational opportunities is a basic value of our society and a foundation of our democratic system of government, the District of Columbia shall provide for a system of free high-quality public schools for all children of school age in the District of Columbia; the term high-quality to be defined by local law enacted by the Council of the District of Columbia.” The charter amendment is the brainchild of Parents United for DC Public Schools and the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. For more information about it, go to

As the editorial in today’s Washington Post ( notes, the amendment could cause “real mischief,” since it “practically invites families to file lawsuits.” Given the District’s history, the Post’s assessment isn’t far-fetched. In the mid 1990’s, Parents United and the Washington Lawyers Committee filed suit in federal court over the physical condition and fire hazards in the District’s public schools. As a result, a federal judge, Kaye Christian, acquired complete jurisdiction over the school facilities and decided if, when, and whether individual schools would be able to open. In the early 1980’s, District residents approved a voter initiative to provide overnight shelter to the homeless. Over time, the open-ended nature of this humanitarian effort threatened to bust the District’s budget. Homeless advocates took the District to federal court, which interpreted the initiative so broadly that it became not only an entitlement to a full range of services, but also a bar to any adequate management of homeless shelters. After several years of court mandates, the homeless program became so large that it threatened other human service programs; the city council revoked the open-ended elements of the homeless shelter law, and the voters voted against a referendum that tried to reinstate them.

The entitlement to a “high-quality” public school creates the same kind of high-minded and benign-sounding commitment as the entitlement to shelter did — and with the same predictable disastrous consequences. It will become another full employment act for lawyers, and give every parent who is dissatisfied with the public schools the right to seek court relief. City councilmembers know that this is its inevitable consequence, but in an election year they cynically pass it nevertheless, because it pleases the education advocates who claim to represent all the parents of public-school students. Councilmembers claim that they will mitigate the worst effects of the charter amendment by legislatively limiting the definition of “high-quality” schools, but by the time the voters will have to decide on the amendment in November, that legislation defining high quality won’t be written or passed by the council. So one of two things will happen: either the voters will have to put their blind faith in the council to fix the problem they have created by passing the charter amendment, or the council will have to count on the voters to vote against the amendment, and cancel the blank check they have written.

Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill and


You Don’t Have to Move Very Far
Ed T. Barron edtb1@macdotcom

Virginia has now eliminated the estate tax, sometimes called the death tax. Why is this important to DC residents? It’s important because DC still has an onerous death tax for relatively small estates. I checked out one of the local real estate listings online the other day. This broker had listings of more than two hundred homes for sale at over one million dollars. That means that there are literally thousands of homes in the District valued at more than a megabuck. When the owners of these homes die those that inherit these properties will be faced with very large estate taxes in DC.. Perhaps it’s time to sell these homes before you die and relocate nearby to Virginia, where they have no estate tax.


Mysteries of the CFO’s Assessment Database
Petra Weinakht,

Public records should be public, no? Maybe not in DC. Search the DC Chief Financial Officer’s online database of real property assessments at for the assessment of 3006 Albemarle Street, NW. It’s not there. You won’t find it on a list of properties on that street. Won’t find it in the list of sales. Data on that property just can’t be found in our online public records. But the house exists -- a big, beautiful property with eight bedrooms and 1.4 acres overlooking a very private branch of Rock Creek Park in tony Forest Hills. How do we know? The assessment data is available at How much is the assessment? $1.1 million. For Architectural Digest beauty on 1.4 acres in Forest Hills? So, who does this property belong to? Why it’s the home of Franklin Raines, the beclouded former head of Fannie Mae. Is that another perk of the job -- below-market assessments and hidden records? (Gotta close that gap at washpost, Frank.)


Fire and EMS Can’t Get It Right
Erik Gaull,

The Emergency Medical Technician who was fired will get her job back. Why? Because our so-called Fire Chief couldn’t even fire somebody correctly. The termination came after the statutory deadline for such action, and so she will get her job back -- not on the merits, but on a technicality. Had Thompson and FEMS initially conducted a thorough review of the Rosenbaum incident immediately and taken action immediately, DC would have been saved the embarrassment of not even being able to take disciplinary action correctly. Ironically, the person who needs to be fired the most is Chief Thompson.


One Level of Underground Parking Is a Compromise?
Ed Delaney,

From the Washington Post ( “In the spring, the city released stadium renderings that showed two boxy parking garages just north of the ballpark. Under the new plan, each of the two structures would have one level of underground parking and 13 stories aboveground, including one level of retail, four levels of parking masked by condominiums and an additional eight levels of condominiums.” Are you kidding me? How is one measly level of underground parking — none of which will be available for stadium parking, according to the story — plus several hundred condos on top of what was supposed to be straight revenue-generating retail space supposed to be such an improvement over cars in the outfield view? All of this is hardly a compromise or an improvement. Instead, it’s a brazen scheme by Herb Miller to get an unbelievable gift of a development deal, conveniently outside of any competitive bidding procedures. This deal will allow him to sell scores of condos not only directly adjacent to the stadium but many with unobstructed views of each and every Nationals game -- with each viewer completely free from District taxation via tickets, concessions, etc. The impact of that could be significant if enough of the twelve levels of condos sell space below the inflated new stadium ticket cost for as many people as they can squeeze in, a la Wrigley Field. Leave it to the Baseball Brigade to omit that detail from this "compromise." Too bad it’s only the condo owners that would be getting the views of the stadium they want, since the actual ballpark patrons will be getting views of either parking garages or condos encroaching on what was supposed to be an idyllic and iconic vista that couldn‘t be matched at the RFK Stadium site.

Speaking of Wrigley Field, remember how MLB and the Cubs got miffed in recent years over what they viewed as rooftop freeloaders to the point of blocking off some and demanding that most of those with views of the games pay some sort of fee? Most of the rooftops that are hosting parties just agreed to pay the Cubs 17 percent of total revenues off the top. How much do you want to bet that the city will somehow end up subsidizing a similar arrangement?

"Under the new proposal, 925 parking spots would be available for the stadium in the two aboveground structures. An additional 900 parking spaces in the underground parking lot would be reserved for condominium owners and patrons of the hotel and the retailers." How hilarious is it that Miller wants the primo underground spots for his own, and the mayor is ready to fork it over to him! Nine hundred spaces might be adequate for Miller’s hotel/condo scheme, but the Lerner group will most likely adjudge clustering the already cluttered area directly adjacent to the ballpark with a commingling of game day and private garage traffic in this as a terrible idea. Note that Miller is making sure his project has more than enough parking, while parking for the significant portion of the ballpark patrons who prefer to drive to games is not set aside in a manner nearly so generous or even adequate. Selling a city asset, one that has value and would bring the city revenue through its use or sale without the existence of the ballpark, to cover parking overruns on a deal that is hardly an improvement over the current situation is unacceptable. It is especially unacceptable when the deal appears to be nothing more than giving the ever-scheming Herb Miller a chance to build condos looming over the outfield in what would result in the giveaway of possibly the most prime piece of land in the ballpark district and one of the only spots where the city is entitled to directly receive all the revenue from its development — something which the local media continues to gloss over, despite the Brigade’s history of giveaways and incompetence on getting revenue out of this deal for the city.


Stadium Parking Updates
Mary C. Williams, ANC 6D03,

I may have been a bit hasty last week when I voiced concern that the proposed changes to the stadium design and construction, unveiled by the Sports Entertainment Commission at the ANC’s June 12 meeting, might result in a cinderblock or cardboard box. Having reviewed the latest proposals submitted to ANC commissioners on Friday afternoon, it appears that the new stadium will now resemble a tin can from the South Capitol gateway. That’s right, the design of the stadium parking garages calls for "a painted aluminum grille system that is visually compatible with the curtain wall system" along South Capitol. Chairman Cropp, what happened to the Buick?

With an estimated 50 percent to 60 percent of fans expected to travel by public transit, and with no money to expand the Navy Yard Metro to accommodate even them, the SEC still has not figured out where to park the remaining 10,000 who might drive into the city. Even now the SEC has yet to figure out how to provide the measly 1,225 parking spaces on site that is required under the contract with Baseball Expos LP. A proposal to build an egress and ingress to the Ballpark off of N Street and off of South Capitol conflicts with the South Capitol gateway plan to build a pedestrian boulevard. And, according to the SEC plan, the stadium pedestrian traffic will flow from the east side, so auto traffic will have no where to go but west. Hello, SEC, to the west is a densely populated residential neighborhood with narrow streets that cannot handle residential traffic on a weekday. Add even a hundred more cars and you have a transportation crisis on hand.

As to the Mayor’s promise of a state of the art environmental structure, the SEC now says: “It is the goal of the DCSEC that, to the extent financially practicable, the Ballpark construction follow the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for new construction, as developed by the US Green Building Council. Roofing materials with a high reflectance to minimize heat generation will be incorporated into the design.” Green roofs are planned only for a few of the residential structures. The SEC is set to go before the Zoning Commission on Monday to seek approval for many changes. Even if the Commission allows these changes, the ballpark still won’t measure up to the promises made. And I can’t imagine what we will end up with if the changes are denied. It’s sad to say, but it is time that the city bring in a pinch hitter for this club. This is the first inning of this game and no one has gotten a hit. In order to be a contender, this club needs a new manager and a whole new slate of players.


Baseball Parking
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

I have visited only two major ballparks in the inner cities outside of Washington, DC. I have not been back to St. Louis, which has built its new stadium right next to the not so old one, so I cannot comment on the nearby parking today. The old stadium did not have much parking nearby since most fans came by public transit. That may be changing. I am very familiar with the parking for Safeco Stadium in Seattle. There are some aboveground garages and lots of open lots nearby the stadium. If you are willing to walk about four blocks, the parking fees are quite reasonable (about five bucks). As for the area surrounding the stadium, it can best be described as light industrial. I would not like to walk through that area at night. If DC and the Lerners intend to build their parking garages a few blocks from the stadium (a very good idea) then they must ensure that the blocks traversed from the parking areas to the stadium are very attractive and safe.


Second Coming, Still No Relief
Ed Dixon, Georgetown Reservoir,

The Post, among other sources, has been writing that the voters of the District now place education as their number one priority in the upcoming election ( With this in mind, one might think that candidates wouldn’t run platforms made of worn out planks and promises. Such is the case of Linda Cropp. Former Councilman Kevin Chavous used to go on about universal pre-kindergarten in the city at the same time he would threaten to twist off the necks of administrators at DCPS. Cropp has universal pre-k at the top of her education priorities as well.

As with Chavous, the line sounds good, but read the fine print. She “will work toward universal pre-kindergarten education by . . . exploring innovative partnerships between nonprofit and public providers . . . that will allow for alternative providers, . . . [and] establishing programs for young mothers and fathers in child-rearing to emphasize the importance of pre-kindergarten education.” There’s really nothing there to establish universal pre-k. Perhaps she will remind us from the bully pulpit that the “haves” got pre-k and so should everyone else.

When she finally gets to the money part, all she comes up with is to obscure the funding mechanism by counting the number of children in this years pre-k versus last year’s or, as she puts it, change the wording from “prior-year” to “current-year.” If your pre-k drops one child over the year, your pre-k will lose that much money as well. Of course Cropp wants us to imagine there is constant growth in the number of children in a pre-k classroom. It’s really amazing that Cropp is trying to pass this rebaked language off as promises.


Linda Cropp’s Education Proposals
Patricia Kelley-Sheppard,

[Re: Ed Dixon’s message in themail, June 21] Linda Cropp’s educational proposals are brilliant. I have taught in the DC public schools, and there is no easy answer to solving the serious problems facing the District’s school system. Linda Cropp did her very best as DC Board of Education Chair to provide a better education for the children in Washington, DC. As a candidate for mayor of Washington, she has recently provided us with her goals and objectives in a clear and orderly fashion. They are meaningful solutions to a complex problem for the District school system. They are not meaningless documents left in a corner of a classroom presented by the Department of Education of the United States.

I beg to differ with your statement, “her mayoral education proposals for the city seem so meaningless.” Meaningless means an interruption of a direct route from perception to execution of action. This accounts for the dissociation between defective imitation of meaningless and preserved performance of meaningful gestures and actions. Her goals and objectives for the schools are meaningful, not meaningless. She has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate a preserved performance in establishing a series of meaningful and concrete programs for the DC school system.

Linda Cropp has experienced the failures of the District school board. This was not her fault. It takes a great deal of diplomacy to maneuver within this specific milieu. As mayor of Washington, DC, she will now have the clout to make things happen. Her proposals will provide targeted programs to solve the important needs of the most important asset of the District of Columbia; the children. By the time she is sworn in, her work will just begin.


Who Needs Experience Like This?
Norman L. Blumenfeld,

Of all the mayoral candidates, Linda Cropp has proposed the most detailed and far reaching educational platform. I do not agree with all her ideas, but she is way ahead of her opponents. For example: 1) make sure pre-kindergarten education is available to every three- and four-year-old child. Increasing enrollment in pre-kindergarten will give more children the opportunity to succeed. 2) Create a Principals’ Academy to establish best practices for school administrators. 3) Recruit and retain good teachers. 4) Assist teachers with housing costs. 5) Create a credit enhancement program and mortgage assistance for teachers. 6) Develop vocational programs for students. 7) Extend learning opportunities outside the classroom with stronger libraries, technology facilities and recreation center programs. 8) Put failing schools on notice that nonperformance will no longer be tolerated. Submit to the Council and Congress legislation authorizing the mayor to take over failing public schools. 9) Include the Superintendent of Schools in cabinet meetings. 10) Help parents hold schools accountable and be active participants in the education of their children.

Linda Cropp has drawn from her experiences and learned from her mistakes to make educational proposals.


Has Been Abandoned?
Jack McKay,

Petra Weinakht asked that question in the June 22 mail. That reminded me of a conversation I had with a DC Department of Transportation Public Space Office official concerning their failure to post Public Space regulations (DCMR Title 24, Public Space and Safety) on the DDOT Web site. I attend Public Space Committee meetings, and a repeated complaint is from residents who discover, after they’ve put up a fence, that it’s "illegal," and they’ve got to spend money to take down what they’ve just built. Most District residences have at least a few feet of "public space" in their front yards, and in some areas, that unused District right-of-way can extend twenty feet from the sidewalk, rendering one’s whole yard "public space." In such a yard, the resident cannot so much as grow a hedge without violating a regulation.

So why not make those regulations readily available, so that we residents can find out what the rules are? We don’t do that, this official said, because the regulations may change, and if they don’t keep the web site up to date, then residents may be misled by obsolete regulations, and the Public Space Office may then be held responsible for such misinformation. Hence, they prefer not to post the regulations at all.

Funny, I would have suggested that they put suitable effort into keeping their web site current. That seems not to be an option.


Nothing Works Well?
Ernesto Gluecksmann,

Nothing works in DC?? So based on such astounding lack of response from your readers, Gary, this leads me to wonder whether we are all a bunch of masochists living in the most dysfunctional city in the world or are we a bunch of busybody complainers with nothing constructive to say. I’m very, very surprised that no one has something positive to say.

You do cite appropriately enough a very serious and pervasive problem with the fire rescue services in Washington, DC. As a volunteer firefighter for seven years (now "retired") in Wheaton, Maryland, I always wondered how it was that DC did not have a volunteer system for their EMS services. DC’s EMS systemic problems are decades in the making. It is a system begging for assistance, so here’s a thought: urge your readers to demand a volunteer system to fill in the gaps. How’s that for constructive criticism?

[Better yet, Ernesto, let me turn the question around. What do you think works better in DC than in Wheaton? What governmental services are better; what makes living in DC more attractive than living a mile or so over the District line in Maryland? -- Gary Imhoff]


Oyster Elementary School Works
David Pansegrouw,

And works very well. For those not familiar with Oyster, first off, it is a DC public school. It is a bilingual English-Spanish program that has been nationally recognized as a positive model. My oldest child just completed fourth grade there. I have been saying for the past few years that DCPS needs to use Oyster as a model for other schools and to create a middle school and then a high school that can continue Oyster’s success on the elementary level.

In the recent school closing and consolidation plan, there is a chance that a bilingual middle school might happen. This would be a great step forward for DCPS. There are now a couple of bilingual elementary charter schools and bilingual programs at some other DCPS elementary schools. A bilingual middle school is overdue. DCPS has it’s problems. Each one of those problems is a reason that DCPS, its supporters, and critics need to embrace and actively build on the recognized successes within DCPS (and there are some).


Things That Go Right
Patrick Pellerin,

Sorry I missed the call for things that go right in the city, but the other day a large limb from a tree on city property in front of my house came down on the sidewalk. I called the number posted on the web site in the morning and they cleaned up the limb that afternoon. So sometimes things do go right.


What’s Working Well in DC?
Ralph Blessing,

It may have been beginner’s luck, but my son used his day off Monday to register the used car he had just bought. I went along for the ride to make sure all went well. The first stop — and first shock — of the day was the vehicle inspection station on Half Street, SW. We were directed right into one of the many open bays and were on our way in about five minutes. Then, after getting insurance verification faxed to my office, I took an early lunch to accompany him to the Department of Motor Vehicles Service Center at 3230 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE (Penn Branch), figuring that it would be less crowded than the main center on C Street, NW. His number was called before he even had time to fill out the one-page registration form. We were in and out in fifteen minutes; he dropped me back at my office about forty-five minutes after we had left. As I said at the top, it could have been beginner’s luck, or maybe just good timing. On the other hand, it’s possible that DMV is actually getting its act together.


What Works Well
Dorothy Miller,

Still thinking about what works well in the District.


Government Doubletalk in DMV and DPW
Clyde Howard,

[Re Widow Tax, themail, June 21] No one should be surprised by the lack of logic or intelligence by any DC government agency when they are dealing with the public. They only know how to make the obvious difficult and how to gouge the public out of money unnecessarily. There was no reason for a person who has suffered a grievous loss to have to go through a process that on its face was intended to place road blocks to what anyone with common sense could have made a simple procedure. Similarly, the Department of Motor Vehicles charges you $25 each year for inspecting your car, yet it inspects it only once every two years. Just maybe, some day the DC government will be purged of the gross idiocracy that permeates it from the lowest to the highest levels of management.

If you have been confronted by the doubletalk on ROSA (Mark Eckenwiler, themail, June 21), you should have seen the doubletalk that was handed me by Mary Myers when I questioned why parking aides are not visible after 6 p.m. in the evening and why is it that cars are allowed to drive across the sidewalk and park in public spaces. With the number of out-of-town cars and non-Ward one cars that park in my neighborhood, you would think that there would be a plethora of parking aides in my neighborhood, but as usual parking enforcement is too busy counting the scammed dollars they have contrived to collect from the residents for enforcement of parking laws. In the legal world, to fail to perform services after being complimented by monetary means is known as "Larceny after Trust," and it can be litigated in court. This is what parking enforcement is guilty of. After all, we as residents paid for parking enforcement and we should get it at least twenty days a month, 240 days a year, not including weekends and holidays. Aren’t we glad that they are not enforcing the same laws as the Metropolitan Police Department? Then we would really be in trouble.


Cake and Animals
Leo Alexander, Ward 4,

First things first. Before I respond to a posting last week [themail, June 21] in reference to my position on DC’s Emancipation Day, I have to put this on the record. I love all people. I especially have a deep fondness for people who share my ethnicity — African Americans. I’m an avid reader of history, both black and American. I draw strength from our past. Because of this, I will never forget how my ancestors were brought here, and all the suffering that ensued for some four hundred years, which led to President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Nowhere in the history of this planet has any group of people experienced anything remotely parallel to this American atrocity. It’s because of my personal history, which began with a woman who instilled her pride, strength, and thirst for knowledge of self into her three sons, that I have never needed nor sought validation from anyone outside of my immediate family for any position I take. I support Emancipation Day because with it we can finally begin a dialogue that will hopefully lead to an understanding, a national apology, repentance, and some form of restitution to foster the healing for the descendants of the American slave trade.

Now to respond to this person who claimed, “I find it quite mature to make a fiscally sound but politically unpopular decision, particularly when Mr. Fenty is certainly aware of the racial polarization that people like Mr. Alexander try to foment in this city.” To this I say, if she truly feels it’s better to save a buck, around an estimated one million, than it is to give the city a chance to recognize, and attempt to heal this open wound in the African American psyche, then she’s terribly shortsighted. How do we begin a process of healing if we refuse to recognize the importance of this day? If this city were strapped for cash, this argument may have some merit; but not when our Chief Financial Officer recently announced a windfall of 100 million dollars in revenue since the implementation of traffic cameras alone. Granted, we need money for schools, we need money for the National Capital Medical Center, and we need money for infrastructure, but since when does good governance measure everything by the bottom line? The quality of one’s life should never be reduced to a spreadsheet. It only gets better. This same person went on to equate the events surrounding the District’s celebration of Emancipation Day with this question, “Isn’t it better to honor the sanctity of that struggle by practicing fiscal responsibility and refusing to placate with bread and circuses?” All righty now . . . DC’s version of Marie Antoinette has effectively reduced this day of remembrance to cake and animals. Mind you, I’m the one she earlier charged with fueling the racial polarization of this city.

Back to my original point, are we to just select someone based purely on fiscal management? If that’s the case, have you forgotten that Fenty was unable to manage the financial affairs of one senior citizen? Remember the case assigned to him in probate court. Your candidate fouled that up so badly that his peers at the DC Bar reprimanded his shoddy work, and the presiding judge ordered him to write a five-figure personal check to clean up his mess. Now I ask again, is this the person you really want to entrust with managing the affairs of our nine billion dollar business?



Ron Walters at Woman’s National Democratic Club, June 27
Jessi Baden,

The Woman’s National Democratic Club invites you to hear Ron Walters, internationally known for his expertise on the issues on African-American Leadership and politics. Join us as he discusses the 2004 election, how black candidates can effect the party platform, and how African-American voters are courted by all the candidates. Freedom Is Not Enough: Black voters, Black Candidates, and Presidential Politics, Tuesday, June 27. Bar opens at 11:30 a.m., lunch begins at 12:30 p.m. Members $19; non- members $25, at the Woman’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Please make reservations with Pat Fitzgerald at 232-7363, ext. 3003 or via E-mail at Memberships are available.


DC Public Library Events, June 28-29
Debra Truhart,

Wednesday, June 28, 12:00 p.m. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5. Deaf-Blind Catholic Priest Cyril Axelrod will discuss his book, And the Journey Begins. Public contact: 727-2145 (TTY or Voice).

Thursday, June 29, 10:30 a.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. ,Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 200. Kindercize. John “Kinderman” Taylor, a superhero of song, dance, and rhyme, encourages learning and a sense of self-worth. Ages 3-7. Public contact: 727-1248.


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 include 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 or 421-7319.


Wednesdays with Wright, at the National Building Museum, July 5
Lauren Searl,

Wednesdays with Wright, every Wednesday, July 5-August 23, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Weekday summer fun is back for families at the National Building Museum! Join us each Wednesday, July 5 through August 23, as we explore in educational and fun-filled ways the designs of architect Frank Lloyd Wright in conjunction with the exhibition Prairie Skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower. Themed around selected objects, ideas, and buildings in Frank Lloyd Wright’s life, hands-on projects will enable children to explore geometric shapes, natural motifs, skyscrapers and more. $3 per project. All ages. Drop-in program. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.



Full-Time Legal Assistant
Jon Katz, jon at markskatz dot com

Silver Spring, Maryland. Boost your career with great pay and benefits. Exciting trial work and reasonable hours with highly rated newsmaking lawyers. See full details at Fax 301-495-8815.


themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available at

All postings should also be submitted to, and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can be put into each mailing.

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)