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July 16, 2006


Dear Tempters:

This issue of themail is long, and Dorothy and I are still working on the last-minute revisions to our appeal to the DC Court of Appeals on the slots initiative, so I’ll beg off writing a substantive introduction tonight. Not that I’m not tempted to comment on several messages below. . . .

Gary Imhoff


Knee Jerk Reaction
Ed T. Barron,

Police Chief Ramsey’s knee jerk reaction to the latest crime wave is to call for yet more police. The District of Columbia already has more city police per capita than any other major city in the US. And that does not even count the other police forces in the District that includes the federal police forces and the US Park police as well as the Secret Service police who protect the pols from the denizens of the city.

We don’t need more police. We need to deploy our police much more effectively and to cut down on “limited duty” and “sick leave” abuse. People ask why Kathy Patterson has voted against adding additional police. It’s clear to Kathy that we are not using our current forces efficiently and effectively. To add more police will not only cost a lot of money each year, but we will also be paying for these police for the rest of their lives, long after they leave the police force. Adding more police is the least cost effective approach to cutting down crime in DC. Kathy Patterson is a strong proponent of public safety and has been so for twelve years. It’s wrong to take a knee jerk reaction to the crime problem.


Crime in Georgetown and Elsewhere
Kerry H. Stowell,

I was wondering if, in order to increase a police presence without hiring all new officers or even taking officers from other areas of town, we might not make better use of the ticket police who scour the neighborhoods for badly parked cars. These men and women know the neighborhoods better that any new recruit would. Might they be reassigned or retrained to do some of the heavy lifting needed? If they are not retrained completely, might they be used along with a communications system tied into a police station to call for help?

Also, during these times, why not recruit ANC volunteers to take down auto parking infractions and then E-mail them into the DMV? I am sure a great many of the residents would love to do this. It would also relieve the ticket police for assignment elsewhere. I am not sure how many ticket police there are or even what their hours are. It just seems to me we need to think outside the box on this and try some more innovative techniques for covering the neighborhoods.


Crime Trends in DC, An Analysis by the Justice Policy Institute
Jason Ziedenberg,

Despite several high-profile violent crimes impacting tourist destinations and affluent neighborhoods, DC violent crime hit a five-year low in last calendar year. Crime in DC continues to impact African American neighborhoods most. While law enforcement has called for increased capacity and emergency redeployment, studies show that law enforcement alone has little impact on crime and safety. Employment and youth development programs, which have experienced massive funding cuts nationally and in DC, are proven to be effective at reducing delinquent behavior in young people. The Justice Policy Institute (JPI), cautions against overreactions to crime incidents, which can promote poor public policy. JPI suggests that violent crime is more appropriately addressed through thoughtful responses based on data and object analysis. Between 2004 and 2005, overall crime actually declined 6.7 in Washington, and homicide, sexual assault, and assault with a weapon reached the lowest point in five years. Because of an increase in robberies, overall violent crime rose 5 percent. According to the latest crime statistics from the FBI, the nation’s largest cities with populations over a million saw violent crimes fall by 0.4 percent. While the number of violent crime arrests nationwide rose 2.5 percent from 2004, the increase was driven by mid-sized cities in the Midwest where employment has fallen.

JPI also warns against the exaggeration of youth involvement in DC’s crime. The latest figures from the Metropolitan Police Department show that 94 percent of all arrests in 2006, and 82 percent of all violent arrests in the city in 2006 were adults. As of June, 2006, one of 36 homicide arrests, 93 of 829 aggravated assaults, and one of 10 rape/sexual abuse arrests were of juveniles. Of the 343 robbery arrests made in DC — a particular concern raised by law enforcement — 209 arrests were adults, and 134 were juveniles.

Of 13 homicides reported to have occurred in July, only one occurred west of 16th Street. Seven homicides occurred in southeast or southwest DC, and four occurred in northeast DC. Of the rise in robberies in 2005, 65 percent of the increase occurred in Police District 5 (the northeast quadrant of the city), which represents only 10 percent of the city’s population. Of the rise in reported robberies noted so far in 2006, there were 86 more reported robberies in Police District 3, which covers downtown and the National Mall, and 7 additional robberies reported in Police District 2, which covers the city west of Rock Creek Park, including Georgetown. Of the robberies reported in 2006, 1,400 (67 percent) occurred outside of the downtown area and east of Rock Creek Park. Low income communities suffer most from crime. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) — a Justice Department survey of crime and victimization trends -- African Americans are victims of violent crime at a rate 30 percent higher than whites. A near decade-long trend in Washington, DC, shows that youth unemployment closely tracked youth referrals to the juvenile justice system. Employment for young people may be an effective way to reduce crime. Between 1997 and 2000, the youth unemployment rate in DC (ages 16-19) fell from 42.4 percent to 30.4 percent, a decline of 28 percent in youth unemployment. During that same time, the rate at which youth were referred to DC courts for violent and property crimes declined by 18 percent, and for all crimes, there was a 16 percent decline in youth referrals to court per 100,000 youth. While the DC City Council recently added $28 million to hire 450 new police officers, the close tracking of youth unemployment and referral trends suggests that policymakers could invest in other ways to reduce juvenile crime, in the guise of vocational and employment services.


Murders and Other Crimes
Richard Layman,

Sometimes I sound callous because I think it’s important to distinguish between murder and other crimes. Most murders happen where the perpetrator knows the victim. The kind of murder that happened in Georgetown a couple nights ago is unusual. I do think it’s especially interesting that if the people arrested for the Georgetown crime are tied to previous assaults and robberies such as those on the National Mall in June, that it’s clear that as they remained uncaught, their exercise of violence escalated, culminating in murder. (This general principle holds true for criminal behavior. What people do escalates as they remain unpunished. It’s a basic aspect of the “Broken Windows” policing philosophy.)

So the Post story “In Renewed Area, Crime Remains” ( I would call but another “Department of Duh” newspaper story. First, the headline is inaccurate. I would say the neighborhood is “renewing”; it’s not “renewed,” whatever that means. The commercial areas are bleak, New York Avenue is a cesspool of traffic, the neighborhood is a mix of lower-income housing, longtime residents, and new higher-income residents, the main corridors, 7th and 9th Streets, are empty and, especially at night, feel forlorn and somewhat menacing, and nearby K Street, long a center of transvestite prostitution (I think it still is, I no longer work in Dupont Circle and come that way home from work late at night), is still “interesting.” It’s a potent mix, always ready to explode. Second, unlike in Georgetown, the person murdered is an old-time resident, not a new resident. And the antecedents of crime and violent behavior in DC neighborhoods tend to be the old residents, not the new residents. (Look at the map of the murders in July, all but one east of 16th Street, NW.)

There was a murder in the eastern part of the H Street neighborhood last week (note that Stop, Blog and Roll ( has been logging the murders occurring in the Northeast quadrant, and it certainly appears to be rising and a cause for concern — the question is why is this happening and how can it be addressed and interdicted). Monkkonen, analyzing two centuries of data of murders in NYC, finds that the reasons for murders hasn’t changed ( Murderers are most often men and murders are most often committed in the heat of passion, as a result of an argument. “Usually, the motives are the need to assert manliness, power or territory,” he says. So how does wringing hands over policing, or holding a candlelight vigil address the issue of why people are so willing and eager to use violence and weapons to settle differences? The kind of murders the police can impact are the type we saw in Georgetown. Had the perpetrators been caught earlier, this murder likely would not have happened. Still, that’s maybe 20 percent of the total.


We’re All Vulnerable; Crime Is Mobile
Kathryn A. Pearson-West,

It is time to stop pretending that violent crime is happening over there. Once upon a time it was believed that one would be relatively safe in DC if he or she did not travel in that neighborhood or at least stayed out of the ’hood at night or did not run with the wrong crowd. The recent spate of violence in America’s capital city’s safe havens has shown otherwise and dismissed that conventional thinking and myth. There is no place to hide. It’s time to change the situation that enables crime to flourish and the perception that one is safe because crime is happening in another neighborhood. It is unfortunate that the death of a visitor from Britain in Georgetown had to happen before the decibel level of moral outrage over crime in the nation’s capital could be heard over the construction of new condominiums and high priced amenities for those benefiting from the economic boon. Once upon a time, crime dared not cross a certain street or enter a certain zip code, making some neighborhoods seem immune to violent street crime. The National Mall, with its many museums, monuments, and tourists was impervious to violent crime. No more.

Violence, drugs, and crime have a new attitude. The perpetrators of crime go wherever they want and wherever there is an opportunity to showcase their greed and contempt for values, mores, and humankind. Violent crime has no respect for geographical or political boundaries, age, race, color, age, socioeconomic class, ethnicity, faith, or whatever.

The reality is that we are getting too much lip service from some of our elected and appointed leaders, while pragmatic solutions are shown the door. Cries from citizens and pain and suffering are often ignored. Some forget from where they came from or forget to pull up others behind them. Sometimes our police leaders provide workable options, but they are easily discarded because the budget has to embrace some other goodies and priorities, or sometimes they are viewed as incorrect. Still others wait to see which way the wind is blowing before they act. Some just throw up their hands and hope no one is paying attention that they do not have a clue how to make the city better and crime lower. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Maybe we need to put out the effort and cost to prevent crime. Be more proactive instead of reactive and not wait until there is a death to see that new approaches or intensified efforts are needed.

I listened to a citizen on the news talk about how the police and the council did not seem to be able to solve the problem of violent crime. Actually I’ve heard some good ideas coming from the police and maybe more resources are needed or better methods of execution of programs need to be employed. I like hearing about the new wave of candidates this year talking about alternatives to crime for young people and improving education to give our young people a competitive advantage in a global society. And yes, A. Scott Bolden comes to mind as one such candidate, attorney, and former prosecutor who is no nonsense and who is open to new ideas and solutions and has a plan of action. And he talks about getting tough on repeat, chronic offenders who seem to laugh at authority.

Additionally, I have heard of programs like Associated Marine Institute (AMI) out of South Carolina and Tampa that has programs throughout the country that deal with at risk youth to deter them from a life of crime. We can learn from some of the best practices in the world. We don’t have to think up all the good ideas our selves. Just use some others that have shown success. We cannot have a defeatist attitude in the nation’s capital nor can the solution be to move all the not so wealthy people out of the city by design or by default with expensive housing or wait until all the bad people and evil doers do away with each other.

The juvenile crime rate in DC is increasing. AMI believes that the system continues to store young people in detention and long term facilities for extended amounts of time without providing appropriate coping skills, adequate mental health resources, certified education, and behavior modification. The deficiencies these young people possess are not addressed nor corrected: therefore the likelihood of them returning to the institution greatly increases, which is recidivism. Talk to Roscoe C. Wilson, Vice President, Program Development, AMI (, and you will quickly become convinced by his commitment to young people that there is really a way to improve the lives and mind set of young people and consequently their outlook on life and their behavior. He walks the talk when it comes to servicing the needs of our young people to help prevent future crime.

Harry Jaffe in his article, “To keep city streets safe, make them unsafe for thugs,” mentions the need for intervention and prevention (, Washington Examiner, July 11, 2006). But just as important, he says, is the need to make the bad guys know that their foolishness will not be tolerated and there will be forces ready to stop crime in its tracks. The citizens will be protected and the police will make a difference.

Losing any life is unfortunate and sad. But with these high profile deaths lately, let’s learn some lessons and do what is legally, ethically, and morally right to stem the tide of crime and violence in DC To quote Bolden when he was chair of the DC Democratic State Committee, we have to “stop the killing fields in DC.” We don’t need another highly publicized death to know that we have to do more to protect DC citizens and we have to deal with the root causes of crime. Thank goodness it’s an election year so at least we will hear some good ideas and will be able to call on the carpet those that are not contributing significantly to the solutions and making DC a better place to live.


Praise for Councilmembers in Support of Safety
Naomi J. Monk,

The following ten DC Councilmembers are praised for their outstanding leadership in being a part of the solution of crime in taking action to make our great city and capital of the USA a safer place to live. They gave a vote of confidence the first time around for Bill 16-733: Linda W. Cropp, Sharon Ambrose, Phil Mendelson, Jim Graham, Vincent Gray, Carol Schwartz, Vincent Orange, Kwame R. Brown, Marion Barry, and Jack Evans. It is hoped that the following DC councilmembers who did not gave a vote of confidence the first time around for Bill 16-733 will reconsider and change their second vote to support Chief Charles Ramsey: David Catania, Adrian Fenty, Kathleen Patterson. Stated exemplary DC Councilmembers who voted for Bill 16-733 are applauded for their outstanding leadership in realizing that Chief Ramsey and individuals serving under his leadership apprehend and investigate offenders of crimes.

He cannot reduce crime without the equally important performance of high standards from the US Attorney’s Office of DC and Court Judges who prosecute the offenders, or from the DC Housing Attorney who is one key entity responsible for eviction of public housing residents who allow themselves or others to engage in illegal drugs that causes all sorts of negativity for their familles, or the Courts Services and Offenders Supervision Agency or Neighborhood Services Coordinators, or the Department of Public Works, or the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the Family Services Departments, or DC Public Schools, or the Department of Transportation, or DC Parks and Recreation Departments or our mayor or other departments and entities as well as residents, business, churches, other resources or even the DC councilmembers themselves and so forth and so on.

Chief Ramsey also does a wonderful job in seeing that the various Police District Commanders and Inspectors, Police Service Areas Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants, other officers, and staff throughout DC perform their duties 24 hours, seven days a week in regard to replying to residents service calls, preventing crime, resolving criminal and many other safety concerns. The Metropolitan Police is called for special duty at various demonstrations, they are required to ride with CSOSA case workers on visits to many ex-offenders homes at lest once a month. As you know many incarcerated and non incarcerated ex-offenders are throughout DC. They pickup many children who commit assaults (up 85% since Jan 2006) and violent crimes (up 13% since 2006) or should be in school (1,500 since Jan 2006) but are not, only to have many of the same children to be picked up again, and again. The revolving door happens with hundreds of drug offenders as well. Their are lots of parents and other individuals in DC, DC entities and others that need to perform their duties and support the police in order to improve the safety standard in DC to be the best it can be in regard to safety for all.

Chief Ramsey and individuals who work under him cannot force hundreds of DC resident to come forward and be a witness to who the offenders are, nor can they change DC laws that allow, for example, juveniles that commit crimes not to be apprehended to stop crime like adults and so forth and so on. In view of the above I ask all Councilmembers to spend time on providing positive help to improve performance of the entries that I mentioned above and more.

Finally, I ask Councilmembers and others to join others and myself at your monthly Citizen Advisory Council meetings and of course your Police Service Area monthly meetings to share information and work amiably with your police, residents, various departments, and others in the community to improve safety. I do. I speak from experience when I state that Chief Ramsey is an outstanding Chief of the DC Metropolitan Police Department. I have not missed by one monthly PSA 104 (old PSA 110) monthly meetings since December 1998. Chief Ramsey leads the Policing for Prevention Program, which includes law enforcement, neighborhood partnership, and systemic prevention. I believe if you would join Chief Ramsey and individuals under his leadership and take an active part in working in a positive fashion to make what Chief Ramsey did the ground work and still is doing great works in regard to safety, you would know first hand that what I have stated is true. Yes, he and I can tell you many, many success stories during his reign and so can hundreds of other individuals, entries and the like. I thank all Councilmembers for the wonderful work that they do to make our great city what it is, and I thank you for your support in this and other concerns that I have brought to you.


As Clear as Black and White
Leo Alexander, Ward 4,

For more than an hour this week, I read the Washington Post comments online regarding the attack on the Georgetown couple where one of the victim’s throat was slashed, and the woman was sexually assaulted. Comment after comment described the four people arrested for the crime as subhuman, monsters and ruthless animals. Then in shock, I watched a news report Tuesday evening on Channel 9 where Commander Andrew Solberg of the 2nd District police precinct told an audience of four hundred at a community meeting in Georgetown that, “If you see a group of three or four black men standing on a corner at night in a residential neighborhood, you should call 911.” Not 311, the non-emergency line, but 911. This mindset dates back to a time in our country when there was a law on the books prohibiting a group of four or more blacks from congregating in public. Is this where we are headed? Just think. If this is what he feels comfortable saying in an open forum in an affluent community, only God knows what he and his colleagues say behind closed doors. This is an example of the indignities minorities suffer everyday in America. At some time or another we’ve all talked about it, we’ve all felt it, and some have even experienced it first hand — but we had little proof. Now, thanks to one of our finest, we’ve got the goods. Andrew Solberg, a ranking member of the Metropolitan Police Department, experiencing a lapse in judgment, had the audacity to publicly state that in certain neighborhoods, racial profiling is the official sanctioned strategy for community policing. This example of institutional racism must be eradicated. Solberg has to be fired — not transferred. If Chief Ramsey doesn’t agree, then he must go also; because if officials don’t act with a heavy hand, it leaves the District wide open to every racial profiling lawsuit that will surely follow. The message must be that racism, in any form, will never be tolerated. I must state emphatically, because I don’t want my thoughts misconstrued, misinterpreted, or otherwise twisted, that I will never condone crime of any sort. However, I do regrettably understand how Senitt, Crowder, Rosenbaum, and Shipe, the young man walking his dog in Mount Pleasant, all became homicide victims.

For just a moment, let’s try to remove race from this. Crime, in its root form, is a result of some other social ill. Most criminals, except for the mentally ill, are driven to commit crimes for economic gain for means of survival. In these cases, criminals commit crimes of convenience. They usually prey on victims who already have very little, in their immediate surroundings, rarely venturing out of their comfort zone. Now what happens when criminals see an abundance of other desperate people, who like them, are working the same community? Sooner or later, like any other calculating opportunist, they move on, to an area where there are more potential marks, the take is far richer, and there’s less competition. This is what is happening here in the District, and none of this has to do with race — it’s human nature. For years it was mainly black criminals victimizing others who looked like them. In this new millennium, some of these same criminals (the black community has had to deal with for years) are now actively seeking new turf. This means nowhere is safe. You think your neighborhood emergency room is overcrowded now, just continue to drag your feet on the National Capital Medical Center.

We can sit around and denigrate “those” people as animals and monsters, and rattle our sabers for the death penalty, and fuel the argument for allowing all law-abiding citizens the right to carry guns — that’s easy. If we really want to solve this problem, it involves real work, which calls for vision, courage, and a real financial commitment. I can almost hear the political wannabes now, “I’ve got vision, and I’ve got courage. . . .” The hard part is a potential political career-killer, and shortsighted politicians don’t want to pay for “those” people to have any more programs; i.e., early child care, mandatory pre-k, adult education and career counseling, vocational/technical education, apprenticeship programs, recreational outlets, mental health, and substance abuse treatment. The irony is that not all of it costs more money. Some involves just good sound creative management of our current budget. After all, how much would it cost to require the local unions to set up a real apprenticeship program in conjunction with DC Public Schools? How much would it cost to mandate that all city contractors hire at least 51 percent of their unskilled workforce from the District?

I’ve heard the excuses from contractors claiming they can’t find District people who want jobs. That’s a smokescreen. The real issue is that some of our local citizens need training, and no one wants to pay for it — not the contractors, not the unions, and not the District government. Something tells me, that if one of the criteria for winning a contract was to train our local workforce, contractor’s positions would change overnight. Some local leaders have already projected the District is poised to experience a 100 billion dollar infusion of development over the next decade. Now what contractor in his or her right mind would allow a small thing like community outreach, and the training of local residents, get in the way of reaping those rewards? Remove your blinders and take a look around at all the construction cranes performing a virtual robotic ballet across our skyline; now look at the poor people aimlessly standing on every street corner watching the same changing landscape. How do you think they feel about being left out of this picture, wanting but not knowing how they fit in? Do we really need to debate why crime, drug and alcohol abuse is rampant? Either we commit to fixing this problem or tell these people they really don’t belong because that is the message they are receiving. Then the rest of us will have to prepare to deal with the consequences.

Since when does getting robbed merit breaking news coverage? This only happens when that robbery occurs on the National Mall, and not in some poor neighborhood. This current crime wave has little to do with race. If you haven’t noticed, people of all colors die horrible deaths everyday in the District, most with little mention. The only difference is how the media plays it, and how the police respond to it. Now that is as clear as black and white.


Andrew Solberg
Andrew Lightman, Capital Community News,

Here is an article we did on Andrew Solberg in June 2005 that is interesting reading given the current controversy over his remarks:


Show Me the Money
Jonetta Rose Barras.

Kimberley A. Flowers was director of the DC Department of Parks and Recreation for less than six months when she demanded a cost-of-living increase in her salary, according to E-mails provided by the DPR to The Barras Report under the Freedom of Information Act. The E-mails cover nearly a year of correspondence among the director, DPR staff, senior-level officials in Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ administration, and DC residents. They paint a portrait of an agency in swift and certain decline under an inexperienced, ill-focused director more interested in protecting her pals, her municipal turf, and acquiring trappings of power than providing in quality service to citizens. Further, the cost-of-living increase demand, salaries of poorly qualified or unqualified personnel, along with more than a quarter million dollars for furniture and travel, indicate that Flowers also has badly managed DPR resources.

Her audacious COLA move came after she successfully violated the city’s personnel rules to create new positions for five cronies from Baltimore. Not unlike their leader, members of this Baltimore posse also engaged in their own “Show Me the Money” campaign. For example, Roslyn Johnson demanded $108,000 to accept the freshly minted post of deputy director for recreation programs, according to DPR E-mails. Johnson had been associate director in Baltimore with an $83,000 salary. She had fewer than three years experience in that position when Flowers tapped her for the DC job. Johnson subsequently was given a salary of nearly $106,000, although she misrepresented her credentials and salary history on the resume used to secure her position.

Lisa Marin, director of the Office of Personnel, has recommended termination for two of the five cronies, and demotion for another. In her internal investigation, Marin concluded, among other things, that Johnson “enhanced her employment history and salaries in order to raise her earning potential.” Kakweta K. Sibetta, hired as director of partnership, and Tawanna Kane, head of program evaluation, did not meet the qualifications for their positions. Marin further concluded that Sibetta’s appointment suggested preferential treatment by DPR. Kane should not be offered a permanent position; her assignment with the DPR should have ended on June 5, 2006. On May 30, 2006, Marin asked Inspector General Charles I. Willoughby to formally investigate the hirings at DPR. Go to (The Barras Report) to read new details about Kimberley Flowers’ tenure, which Jeff Stoiber of the Friends of Lafayette Park calls a disaster.


Racial Stereotyping and Inaccuracy at The Washington Post
Jamila Pender,

On July 13, The Washington Post published an article about a black city official attending a black candidate’s campaign event with the headline, “Maybe It Was the Free Chicken.” There’s no room in the news business for this type of racial stereotyping. The Washington Post should be ashamed of itself and reprimand the reporter or headline editor who wrote this trash.

In the same column, and again at the expense of the same black candidate, the Post inaccurately reported that a white incumbent, Phil Mendelson, was endorsed by the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. The Post couldn’t be any further from the truth. Mendelson did not win the Stein Club’s endorsement. No candidates were endorsed.

[The question of endorsement by the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club has been explained in a blog entry on the Post’s DC Wire, Mendelson was declared the winner of the Club’s endorsement, having won 67 out of the 112 votes cast. That was 59.82 percent of the vote, and the Club’s officers ruled that it should be rounded up to the 60 percent required. However, Phil Pannell objected that according to Robert’s Rules of Order, votes in an endorsement cannot be rounded up, and the Club’s officers later agreed that Mendelson had fallen one vote short. — Gary Imhoff]


Reply to Mary C. Williams
Natwar Gandhi,

I read with interest your recent comments entitled “The Council Needs to Stop This Train Wreck” in the July 12 edition of themail. Many of your concerns regarding the report that I received and accepted from Deloitte & Touche need correction. 1) The cost of the entire study, which covered estimates of land value, infrastructure and environmental remediation, was S466,000. The cost attributable to the environmental report was approximately $100,000.

2) There are no “material omissions” in the Deloitte & Touche report. The language asserted to have been removed from the final report was included verbatim in Appendix C of Deloitte’s final report (the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, which is available on our web site at under “Baseball in the District”). Some language in Appendix C was not repeated in Deloitte’s summary “Land Acquisition Cost Study” dated March 22, 2005. In the descriptions of eight economic units, generic language referring to the “current and historic use” of the entire baseball stadium site and the resultant “elevated potential for petroleum contamination” was deleted. However, specific references to the potential for petroleum contamination at twelve other sites were not deleted. In fact, none of the underground storage tanks were found in these eight economic units (economic units 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 23 in the northwest and northeast squares of the stadium site).

3) Environmental Design & Construction is the environmental firm that estimated the $8 million cost for environmental remediation for the report. Deloitte included their estimate in the final report, without adjustment. 4) Increases in costs related to environmental remediation are being paid from the project contingency. No money from the District’s general fund is being used to pay these costs.


The Whole Stadium Deal Warrants Investigating, Part II
Mary C. Williams, ANC 6D03,

I appreciate that Mr. Gandhi took the time to respond to my concerns regarding the cost overruns for the environmental remediation of the Ballpark Stadium. But where is the outrage, Mr. Gandhi, about the quality of the work performed by these particular contractors? While he seeks to quiet calls for an investigation by Councilmember David Catania, Mr. Gandhi offers no explanation as to why the final report submitted to the Council excluded specific references to “potential for petroleum contamination at 12 other sites.” And why has a project estimated to cost $8 million risen to $14 million and continue rising every day? Nevertheless, Mr. Gandhi says he does not see any reason to investigate this. To pay even $100,000 for an environmental analysis that failed to provide near accurate costs is unconscionable, and the project is already about 82 percent over projections. It’s not like this city didn’t know that the site was highly contaminated. What the city simply needed from this contractor, for $100,000, was a reasonable cost estimate on cleaning it up. We got a figure that wasn’t even in the ballpark.

And Councilmember Catania is right about calling for an investigation and holding someone accountable, be it Deloitte Touche or its subcontractor, Environmental Design & Construction LLC. Does anyone remember what we were supposed to pay for the costs of the eminent domain land? I think that part of the $466,000 paid to Deloitte was for this cost analysis. Did we get a figure that was even close? I think not. Gandhi says the projected shortfalls will not come from the general fund, but are covered by a $50 million contingency fund. Land costs and remediation alone claim a sizable chunk of this. What’s left to cover future shortfalls? The project has hardly broken ground. I seemed to recall that Chairperson Linda Cropp promised an advisory group or task force to monitor the construction costs cap on this stadium. When? Finally, Mr. Gandhi’s letter provided a bit of clarification on Deloitte Touche but he did not mention what prompted my train wreck comments last week, which was Gandhi’s own enumerated concerns about the fiscal soundness of the newly-approved $300 million Western Development parking garage/condominium project on the stadium site. I believe that Mr. Gandhi’s comments regarding the project were right on the mark. But what happened to the CFO’s credibility with the council? Despite Mr. Gandhi’s recommendation against the project, the council voted to support it. What does the council know that the CFO and city residents don’t know? Will city residents have to wait until 2008 to see who is right? Can we afford to wait, and who will be around to take responsibility for it if Mr. Gandhi is right? Mr. CFO, where do you stand today on this project? We’re all waiting for an answer.


Florida Avenue Market
Richard Layman,

I have written about the Florida Market quite a bit, and about the value of asset-based revitalization rather than clearance, land assembly, and urban renewal. I agree with your comment [themail, July 12] that eminent domain (and other methods) are tools to award developers. Interestingly enough, the Office of Planning has a not-quite-released study for Cluster 23, which suggests that the Florida Market area be revitalized through extending and enhancing extant food-distribution related assets, more along the lines of Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, rather than tearing it all down. A couple Saturdays ago, Youngs Deli, a Korean-American-Salvadoran greasy spoon on the 300 block of Morse Street, NE, closed, because the landlord is itching to sell the property for a higher price. In April, the US Beef building at the corner of 4th and Morse Streets, NE, was demolished. The Florida Market area is changing, and not for the better.

The July Hill Rag story that you mention, “New Town: Urban Utopia or Pipedream” ( focuses on the proposal to tear down the Market and build anew. Most of the people they quote are fine with the idea of demolition, including seemingly prominent community “leaders.” Wednesday night, at a mayoral Forum, Councilmember Vincent Orange announced that he introduced legislation to go forward with this “New Town” program, and that he has ten cosponsors of the legislation. Getting back to the article, all the people quoted seem to be unaware of the reality of new construction and the impact on rents. New construction uniformly costs much more money to rent, unless rents are heavily subsidized. This is the whole point of Jane Jacob’s dictum that “Great American Cities” need a large stock of old buildings that have low running costs and therefore low rents, to attract and support unusual, diverse, and innovative businesses.

You’d think after forty years of experience with this through urban renewal, that people might understand this by now. I guess not. This proposal likely means the destruction of the market and the thousands of jobs there, and will damage the thousands of businesses that buy food from the businesses based in the market. Rents for new construction are likely to be $50-$80/square foot, which are as much as 400 percent more than what most tenants are paying now. This is the root of why the New Town proposal doesn’t make sense, although the Hill Rag article points out the necessity of hundreds of millions of city tax dollars and eminent domain, for the proposal to come to fruition. Seemingly to pull the wool over people’s eyes, the originators of the New Town proposal discuss how they intend to build hundreds of affordable housing units. Again, the reality is that the only way to build affordable housing is through massive financial subsidy, free land, or density bonuses. That’s because the major construction inputs, land, materials, and labor, don’t vary in cost whether or not the housing produced is sold at market rate or at a discount from market. (This is a basic economic point that most of the advocates for affordable housing seem to ignore. It’s why preservation of buildings, rather than demolition, is a good thing and a comparatively cheaper way to provide affordable housing.)

And, the Hill Rag article doesn’t mention the proposed crappy design. Pretty suburban and ersatz. For people interested, on Saturday, July 29, Elise Bernard of the Frozen Tropics blog and I will be leading a tour of the Florida Market area, beginning at 9 a.m. We’ll meet at 4th and Morse Streets, NE, at the southwest corner. Obviously, we won’t be starting off with breakfast at Young’s. But at the end, if people want, we can buy submarine sandwiches at Litteri’s and eat on the lawn at Gallaudet.


Ward 3 ANC Rantings Revisited
Thomas M. Smith,

ANC commissioners have an important function in our city. But, most residents in Ward 3 (I can’t speak about residents in other areas of the city) are not engaged in the ANC process. Ward 3 ANC elections are seldom contested. In reality, ANC commissioners operate with little or no accountability. ANC commissioners should be working to build alliances with other elected and appointed public officials. They should be working to bring issues and problems to the attention of others in our government who are in a position to solve the problems — with the hope that maybe more serious problems can be avoided over the longer term. Moreover, ANC commissioners should be diligent about creating and encouraging opportunities for open public dialogue by providing residents with substantive and advance notice of matters coming before the ANC. In this way, if there is a matter of critical importance or interest to residents, residents have an opportunity to participate, share their views, and take the initiative to ensure that such decision are not made by the ANC in a vacuum.

In her tenure as ANC 3D Chair, Ms. Gates has failed to meet these fundamental tests of leadership. Too often, Ms. Gates has demanded more from other elected officials than she expects residents to demand of her. Her approach is to criticize harshly first, with problem-solving being only a secondary goal. Ms. Gates tends to fuel controversy where it simply need not exist — on issues ranging from development to parking signs or to the community’s access to health care services. The latest example of her harsh criticism of city officials was prompted by the flash flooding in the Palisades. Nobody questions the damage done by the storms, and the criticism of the city bureaucracy may even be justified to a degree. But, is it necessary or even responsible to use a situation like the storm and the damage it caused, as an excuse, as Ms. Gates has done time and time again on so many occasions on so many issues, to push an agenda, more politically partisan than anything, that has nothing to do with addressing the problems that contributed to the damage?

As residents, we have a right to demand that even ANC commissioners (especially since they are supposed to be politically nonpartisan) put aside their own personal or political agendas, lower the rhetoric, go about the hard work of problem solving, and work for the benefit of the community as a whole.



Jay Alan Zimmerman’s Incredibly Deaf Musical, July 17
Justin R. Swain

On Monday, July 17, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., there will be one free public performance of an Incredibly Deaf Musical at Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5 (Metro’s Galley Place - 9th Street exit). Within the past two years, Jay Zimmerman, a successful musician and song writer, lost his hearing, but not his talent and passion for music. Accompanying himself on piano with humor, Jay describes his career-altering experiences, and ponders and creates a new career path. For a description of the program’s content and other DC performance dates, visit


Ward 1 Democrats Endorsement Meeting, July 17
Kathie Boettrich,

The Ward 1 Democrats, along with the Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association, and DC for Democracy, will be hosting a candidates forum for two of the hotly contested council of the District of Columbia races, the council chair and at-large positions. Monday, July 17, 7:00 p.m., Whitelaw Building, 13th and T Streets, NW. Immediately following the conclusion of the candidates forum at 8:00 p.m., the Ward 1 Democrats will hold their endorsement vote for the council chair and the at-large races. All registered Democrats in Ward 1 will be eligible to vote. For each of the races, the candidate who obtains a 60 percent majority of the votes cast will receive the endorsement of the Ward 1 Democrats in the primary election.


Solar Open House Tour, July 22
Ginny Spevak,

A free open-house tour of a solar-powered house will be given on Saturday, July 22, at 11:00 am - 3:00 p.m. The house has passive solar space heating and cooling, solar domestic hot water, a grid-tied photovoltaic system (thanks to a 2005 DC Energy Office Demonstration Grant), a solar food cooker, a cistern for garden water, and composting.

The house is at 5320 Belt Road, NW, between Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues, a few blocks from the District/Maryland line. This one-block section of Belt Road is one way from Military Road to Jenifer Street, between 41st and 42nd Streets. By public transit, it is about a five-minute walk from the Red Line Friendship Heights Metro station. Depending upon which exit you take, walk about five minutes east either along Western/Military Road and turn right onto Belt Road, or along Jenifer Street and turn left onto Belt Road It is about a ten-minute walk west along Military Road from the Connecticut Avenue bus routes. For additional information, call Ginny Spevak at 244-8644.


Ward 5 Democrats 2006 Endorsement Meeting, July 22
Hazel Thomas,

On Saturday, July 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Ward 5 Democrats will host an endorsement meeting at Providence Hospital, Ross Auditorium, 12th and Varnum Streets, NE. All Ward 5 Democrats are urged to attend and vote. The meeting will include candidate presentations followed by voting by Ward 5 Democrats for persons vying for the following offices: mayor, council-at-large, council chairman, Ward 5 councilmember, delegate to Congress, DC Shadow Senator, and DC Shadow Representative.


National Building Museum Events, July 22-26
Lauren Searl,

Saturday, July 22, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Family Program: Got Green? Design Your Own "Green" House. Explore the new exhibition, The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design with a special printed family guide that introduces five big green, or eco-friendly ideas. Experience the Glidehouse, a real green house located inside the exhibition. Listen to a reading of A House is a House for Me at 1:30, 2:00, and 2:30 PM and then create your own shoe box green house, using recycled materials, to take home. $5 per project. Drop-in program. Recommended for children ages 4 and older.

Wednesday, July 26, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis. In a career that spans more than seventy years, renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman continues to document modern architecture and the development of the Los Angeles region. The exhibition Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis honors the 95th birthday and life’s work of Shulman and includes original prints selected from his work, which was recently acquired by the Getty Research Institute. In this special appearance, Julius Shulman will be joined by Wim de Witt, curator of architectural collections and Christopher Alexander, co-curator, both from the Getty Research Institute, to discuss the work and influence of Shulman himself. The exhibition will be open for viewing -- a last chance before its July 30th closing. $12 Museum members; $17 nonmembers; $10 students. Registration required. Both event at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at



Bed and Breakfast
Ted Knutson,

A friend needs advice on starting a bed and breakfast. If anyone knows anything about starting and running a bed and breakfast, please E-mail Apollo Broom at


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