Candidate Bobb: for months, City Administrator Robert Bobb has been
hinting that he is interested in running for elective office in DC. His
first preference would have been the mayor’s office, but problems
quickly arose. Many Wilson Building staffers and community leaders told
him that he could be perceived as an opportunistic carpetbagger who had
resided in the District for fewer than three years, and who had never
relocated his family from Oakland, California. Several people with whom
he consulted told him that the District would probably not accept
another Tony Williams-like candidate at this time. More importantly,
several other mayoral candidates had already been running for over a
year, and had established strong campaign organizations, community and
field operations, and substantial campaign war chests.
Now it appears that Bobb has set his sights on running for school
board president. While he didn’t formally announce his candidacy for
the position on Friday’s DC Politics Hour on WAMU-FM, he certainly
suggested that he is leaning toward running. However, time is getting
short for Bobb to continue to be so coy. Petitions for the office of
school board president were made available on July 7, and the deadline
for them to be filed with the requisite one thousand signatures of city
voters is August 30.
Bobb’s candidacy raises several important issues: if he runs, will
he resign his position as City Administrator? If he resigns, will lame
duck Mayor Williams be able to recruit a replacement who will be able to
manage the District during the mayor’s prolonged absences from the
city? What will happen to Bobb’s major projects, such as the New
Communities Initiative and redeveloping Sursum Corda, reforming the
Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration and
avoiding its going into court receivership, and managing the District’s
Office of Baseball? With polls indicating that education and the state
of DCPS are a major concern of District voters, are those voters willing
to elect Bobb? (Bobb has thirty years of experience in municipal
management, but no practical experience in the field of education.)
Outside of government circles, is Bobb well enough known among District
residents? Will District residents’ growing dissatisfaction with Mayor
Williams hurt Bobb? To what extent would Bobb, who is known as a
strong-willed manager, clash with Superintendent Clifford Janey? With
the District’s business community increasingly concerned about the
condition of public education, will Bobb become the candidate of the
business community and champion their agenda on the school board?
Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Eleanor Holmes Norton on the Colbert Report
Jerry A. McCoy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Very funny! In his “Better Know a District” segment, Stephen
Colbert interviews District of Columbia’s Delegate Eleanor Holmes
Norton. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHsOrFwIZ8Y&feature=Views&page=1&t=t&f=b.
Can Anyone Water the Trees, Please?
Paul McKenzie, McKenzieDC at gmail dot com
North Capitol Street recently had planted, it seems like, hundreds of
new trees. But, with this hot weather, they are perishing because of
lack of rain. Doesn’t the city have a plan to water these young trees?
Can’t someone do something to save them? Half of the trees have brown
dead leaves and many trees seem to me to have died from lack of water.
Loco Motion Pictures
Mark Eckenwiler, themale at ingot dot org
For the past four months, Metro has displayed movie-like advertising
to riders on eastbound Red Line trains between Metro Center and
Judiciary Square. (For background, see http://wmata.com/about/met_news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1165)
What do themail’s readers think? Are these ads effective or even
comprehensible? Have you even noticed them? Are they an annoyance, a
diverting novelty, a welcome source of transit ad revenue, or some
I can’t be alone in wondering how we got so off track in this city.
Entire communities of our most impoverished population have been quickly
and quietly evicted and displaced into cheap Maryland suburban sprawl.
The city is crawling with corporate condo sites, sending living costs to
ridiculous new heights. How did we ever forget thousands of our own in
DC and obsess about building a baseball stadium we don’t need (smaller
and with less parking than RFK, of course), and with curfews and
reactive crime measures from an ineffective police force?
This mayor and the council have missed an opportunity to invest time
and money in our schools, and in what I would personally love to see
come to life: a DC community college, a successor to the ever-ailing UDC
institution. There, based on a multi-campus, citywide approach, we can
connect a re-energized and better funded secondary school system to a
community college system that promises professional job training and
certification, vocational degree programs, literacy and credit courses
for four-year schools, and, above all, hope for people where hope is out
DMV Southwest Inspection Station Code Red
Janis Hazel, email@example.com
The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles Southwest
Inspection Station, located at 1001 Half Street, SW, will observe code
red heat advisory service hours, opening at 5:00 a.m. and closing at
1:00 p.m., due to the heat wave weather forecasts, on Monday, July 31;
Tuesday, August 1; and Wednesday, August 2.
The Southwest Inspection Station provides vehicle inspections.
Customers are encouraged to watch media coverage, check on our web site
(www.dmv.dc.gov), or contact us at
727-5000 to ensure the code red service hours are not canceled or
extended due to a change in the weather.
All other DMV Service Center locations will observe normally
scheduled hours of operation.
“The price tag of the new stadium for the Washington Nationals could
be going up nearly $100 million. Sources close to the stadium project
tell WTOP the city will need to incur additional debt in order to build
the desired parking if developer Herb Miller’s current plan isn’t in
place by mid-August. One option would cost $44 million, another $58
million and would provide 1,225 parking spaces. A third option would
cost $98 million and provide 1,875 spaces, bringing the total stadium
price to more than $700 million.” The mayor’s office spent this week
putting spin on a troubling story that the stadium price tag could go up
due to more cost uncertainties regarding the ballpark boondoggle, this
time regarding Herb Miller’s seemingly improvisational "Yuppies
and Yugos in the Outfield" scheme. (Of course, the cap was already
breached in a major way via Miller’s scheme by allocating millions of
dollars from the land sale to parking overruns that could have gone to
other city projects based on the land‘s proximity to the Navy
Yard/DOT/SE Federal Center revitalization and not based on ballpark
activity. Just don‘t ask the media to follow up on this story and the
significant negative monetary implications for the city, lest the
ballpark scheme get slowed and the council’s supposedly rock-hard cap
be more widely regarded as the lie that it is.) Once again, city
officials with no background in stadium planning or management are the
ones making specific design decisions due to cost pressures brought
about by insisting upon a completely unworkable site due to land costs
as well as environmental remediation and transportation/parking issues
that are still completely uncertain in July 2006, less than two years
from the ballpark’s opening.
This should be the last straw for any governing body with a shred of
integrity and personal accountability to its constituents. It’s time
that a lemon law be called on the current site (where little enough work
has been done that other projects could be undertaken there), and either
force a relocation to the RFK Stadium site or ceding the franchise and
all the cost headaches associated with a ballpark to Virginia, which
Jack Evans and the mayor insisted during the lease debacle this February
was still hankering to build Major League Baseball a ballpark. The DC
council had a lemon law on its books to deal with such a scenario and
was set to move the site when the costs of land acquisition,
environmental remediation, and infrastructure improvements exceeded $165
million, and then readjusted (after those figures were dwarfed at the
current site) to a rock-hard cap of $611 million after being assured by
the Brigade, the Chief Financial Officer, and the developers encircling
the project that this king’s ransom of a figure would be more than
sufficient at the current site (despite complete environmental testing
not being available at the time such as those that revealed fifty-three
large gasoline tanks on the ballpark site). Further cuts in the ballpark
structure were made to meet that cap, even though the promise of a
state-of-the-art new ballpark deteriorated into a cut-rate “Buick or
Ford” greenhouse. If costs are still escalating past the outrageously
generous $611 million figure due to site-specific issues after all of
these cost-cutting measures have been implemented, the council has a
clear obligation given all of their promises to stop spending at the
$611 million level and consider its options.
As it’s clear that costs are going to continue to escalate and
remain uncertain at the current site, that site must be abandoned, or it
will continue to hemorrhage money and show that the council was
deceitful in its pledge to hold the boondoggle to their cap. I know
Carol Schwartz and others have been talked into apoplexy by the Brigade
over the possibility of financial penalties due to the delay of the
opening of the stadium, but more than enough money exists due to MLB
activity in the city since last year, according to the CFO, to cover
those costs. Plus, work could begin quite soon at the RFK Stadium site,
which could not only avoid many of the penalties but save enough given
the site‘s much better cost situation that the council could actually
meet its obligation to the city and keep costs under control rather than
throw good money after bad at the current unworkable site with its
compromises that would have patrons staring at cars and condos instead
of the river or monuments from a ballpark that looks like an airport
terminal. Of course, getting this done would require leadership,
something which disappeared on this issue a few months back with the
council’s midnight knee-buckle. They just better not tell us come
election day -- whether this time around or later for some, that they
didn’t have a choice. It’s a tough choice, but they can choose
between living up to their word or selling out.
“If Miller’s plan falls through, the additional costs could be
covered by issuing more bonds, or the mayor could seek the money from
the city’s general fund.” If you missed the first version of the
WTOP story, you missed the last part of the sentence which was edited
out (likely after a call from the mayor‘s office), as it points out a
politically dicey but very realistic option from the mayor and the
council (especially given its pliability on covering ballpark costs
reaching deceitful extremes with their no debate unanimous support of a
plan that gave up to a private entity the revenue from future
development at the place in the ballpark district most likely to yield
maximum revenue directly to the city due to its choice location — a
location where Herb Miller actually says he wants to live after it‘s
complete, which is ironic, given that private residents were jettisoned
from the location via eminent domain for supposedly a public need —
all to cover parking overruns above and beyond the council’s joke of a
cap.) As has been the mayor’s fashion when it comes to ballpark
legislation, the cap-busting spending proposals are slated to be
introduced when it will do its boosters the least amount of harm -- in
this case, after the September primary. It would be nice to have a mayor
who hasn’t let the ballpark issue lead to shady politics that put
private interests far above those of city residents and businesses. At
least this election will give residents a chance to end the reign in the
mayor’s office of those who sold out the city at an outrageous and
ever-escalating cost for the benefit of MLB and a handful of developers.
When Will Enough Be Enough?
Leo Alexander, Ward 4, firstname.lastname@example.org
In a lot of ways, the District is a microcosm of the rest of the
country, and then in still others ways the differences are so stark that
I’m often left scratching my head. Take Metropolitan Police Department
Commander Andrew Solberg, for example. A few weeks ago, he gets caught
in an audience of his peers saying, “If you see three or four black
men in this neighborhood standing on a corner at night, call 911.”
Why? He says, “Because black people are unusual in Georgetown.”
Message sent. Georgetown is off limits to black men after dark. For his
racially insensitive comments, the chief of police, who is black,
reassigned and reprimanded Solberg. Here’s a little history on Solberg:
this isn’t the first time he has done something to demonstrate his
mindset. In 1989, this same officer gave a black man a one-way trip to
Northern Virginia in the trunk of his police cruiser, telling him to
walk back to the District. Mind you, this man wasn’t charged with a
crime. He was just someone Solberg and two other officers suspected of
doing something illegal. Later excessive force charges were dropped
against Solberg and friends. (I suspect the arbitrator found that it was
just a harmless case of a few good ol’ boys having a good ol’ time.)
Ten years later, Solberg was involved in another incident of racial
profiling. This time he was reprimanded for his handling of a case
involving a black Arlington police officer who was pulled over in the
District and held for two hours because he "fit the
description." This Arlington officer didn’t find his treatment
one bit amusing and sued the police, and later settled out of court.
This Georgetown incident marks the third time on record that Solberg has
either said or done something that speaks to who he is.
Now what are we going to do about it? Wait until he kills someone of
color before we recognize whom we are dealing with? Am I to understand
that because he lives in a diverse community, Ward 4’s Shepherd Park,
and sends his children to a predominantly black public school, that that
in some way makes him not a racist? As I was researching this story, a
white editor of a community paper asked that I speak with members of the
Capitol Hill community before coming to any conclusions about Solberg. I
agreed and asked for names of some black folks. He gave me one, Francis
Campbell, an advisory neighborhood commissioner (ANC) in Capitol Hill,
“I can’t speak to whether or not he’s a racist, because I don’t
have a personal relationship with him, but I wasn’t surprised by what
Solberg said. However, I can tell you he was very responsive to this
community and always professional.” That’s about as honest as it
gets. No one really knows what’s in Solberg’s heart. In all
fairness, we can only judge a person on their actions, and what they
say. In these instances, Solberg has shown that on more than one
occasion he is a dangerous man with questionable judgment.
As I watched this controversy unfold over the weeks that passed since
that candid statement by this public official, I began to wonder, what
if. What if Solberg’s name was John Q. Public, and his race was black,
and had the same track record in his dealings with members of our Jewish
community. What do you think they would have done? That’s easy. In
this scenario; the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) would have jumped all
over this with both feet. They would have demanded and received a
written apology from the mayor and police chief stating their strong
commitment to a policy of zero tolerance for all racial bigotry. The ADL
would have then labeled the loose-lipped cop an anti-Semite, and forced
his termination. It’s just that simple, because the ADL is a respected
organization. They don’t pussyfoot around when it comes to any form of
perceived slight, institutional racism, or actions of ignorance against
their people. From the perspective of a former TV news journalist, I
have noticed two strategies that have worked extremely well in halting
our progress in race relations, justice, and equality. First, the
majority establishment, in cooperation with a minority group of
strategically placed blacks, has figured out that all they have to do to
silence you or your cause is to accuse you of “playing the race
card,” or label you as “divisive.” So far that has been successful
in shutting down any threats to the status quo, because these labels
attack the credibility of the individual, rendering the issue a
forgotten point. This effectively works because it distracts the media
and everyone else from debating and solving the real issues. This never
happens to the Jewish community; only black issues are trivialized and
discarded as race baiting. This second strategy has worked because the NAACP
depends heavily on charitable donations. Deep corporate pockets allows
access to the decision makers. Now, I don’t need to tell you what
happens next. That’s why here in the twenty-first century in a
majority black city, with a black congressional representative, a black
mayor, a black police chief, and a local branch of the NAACP, with its
national headquarters just thirty miles north of DC, not one of these
individuals or organizations took a serious public stand for justice. By
being silenced, they have consciously allowed all blacks to be
marginalized. To compound this insult, MPD Chief Charles Ramsey gave in
to citizens’ demands in Georgetown and sent Solberg back to his
command with yet another reprimand, and an assignment to watch the
movie, “Crash,” and to write a lesson plan for the police academy on
the topic of racial sensitivity. This isn’t fiction folks, this really
When will enough be enough? Are we ever going to get serious about
racism and its effects in this country? Reprimands won’t do it. In the
case of Andrew Solberg, reprimands have proven not to work. September 12
couldn’t get here fast enough, because a regime change is desperately
needed, and I can only hope the new mayor brings in his or her own top
Follow-up to Simple Steps for Accountability
Ed Johnson, mvcorderito at yahoo dot com
Somehow, I have become one of those slightly eccentric people who
accost candidates at forums like Tuesday night’s Ward 6 Dems event
with a backpack full of citations from the DC Code and drafts of
legislation. I lay the blame for this entirely at Gary’s feet for
encouraging me by posting my comments [themail, July 31]. Thanks to
everyone who E-mailed me such supportive comments. I’ve started a list
so I can keep you all informed. So far, I have gotten the following
endorsements and statements of support from these councilmembers and
“Every District resident should have access to the workings of
their government. Broadening the dialog by working through these issues
can only help facilitate the openness and transparency of government —
and that’s a good thing.” — Councilmember Phil Mendelson. “I
plan to recommend Chairman Cropp’s co-sponsorship of the bill that
would apply the Freedom of Information Act to the National Capital
Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) and to the Anacostia Waterfront
Corporation (AWC). I believe the Chairman would share your view that the
bill would help increase governmental openness and accountability.”
— Robert Miller, Legislative Counsel to DC Council Chairman Linda W.
Cropp. “It is vital to strengthen trust between residents and the
District of Columbia government by listening to its people and the
groups that represent their needs. Co-sponsoring these bills will begin
a dialogue that ensures community friendly development in every Ward of
the District.” — Councilmember Adrian Fenty.
The incumbents up for reelection or higher office that I’ve
contacted who have yet to respond (I’m sure this will make me popular)
are Councilmembers Catania, Patterson, Gray, and Orange. I have also
contacted every Advisory Neighborhood Commission in the city by E-mail,
fax, or snail mail with copies of the draft bills and a letter
requesting they adopt a resolution supporting their introduction. For
all you community activists, this would be a good time to contact your
ANC Commissioners and ask them to put the resolution on the ANC’s
agenda. I sent out a press release on Thursday to thirty local
newspapers, radio, and TV stations and have a few interviews setup for
this coming week. Momentum is building, and I am confident that we can
make this happen with strong grassroots support from the community.
Victoria McKernan wrote an interesting post in last week’s edition
[themail, July 23] about her experience at the Meridian Hill drum circle
and the absence of any police presence at community events. I had a
similar but less positive experience on July 4th. I attended a picnic in
Silver Spring on the 4th and left for Adams Morgan at around 9:30 p.m.,
hoping to catch a bus down 16th Street. Because bus service was poor (an
entirely different post which I’ll leave for later), I ended up
walking along 16th Street through Columbia Heights after a friend
dropped me off part-way down 16th Street.
To say that there was a lot of street activity that night would be an
understatement. There were families and groups of adults hanging out on
the sidewalk -- most shooting off illegal fireworks. There were cars
with booming music cruising the streets. Many people were openly
drinking, jaywalking, yelling obscenities, etc. In short, I felt unsafe
walking down a main thoroughfare in DC for the first time in many years.
After several blocks, I decided to catch a cab rather than continue to
walk through what can only be described as disorderly and dangerous
crowds (cab service is also a post that can wait for later).
What struck me at the time was exactly what Victoria wrote about --
there was not a police cruiser in sight. Nor an officer on foot.
Absolutely no police presence at all for at least the half hour that I
waited for a bus. I’m sure Chief-for-Life Ramsey will say that all MPD
officers were required to patrol the National Mall and other
"federal" events that day. But, what does that say about his
commitment to our community? Unfortunately, the crime statistics for
July have already revealed the answer.
No Ghosts from the Past for Kathy Patterson
Ed T Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
Unlike Mr. Gray, who is also running for the chairman of the city
council, Kathy Patterson is securing endorsements from well known and
respected folks currently alive and well — not ghosts from the past.
Last night in Ward 6 Sharon Ambrose and friends hosted an endorsement
fete for Kathy. More than seventy folks came to hear from Sharon and
Kathy, who, collectively, have been the outstanding leaders on the
council for the past eight years. Unlike Mr. Gray, who has a
questionable past and who has played the role of the head bushwhacker on
the council in his limited seventeen months there, Kathy and Sharon have
been the strongest council advocates for public safety and making the
Sharon will surely be missed on the council, but Kathy is poised to
reform the new council into a real working team. Kathy has the support
of those who really count in the District.
[Re: “Silly Season,” themail, July 26] Please let me know who
Harold Brazil endorses, because I always vote against them.
As an electorate, we must demand candidates’ platforms and their
approach to addressing city problems. This informs our vote and offers
us some predictability of how he or she will respond to issues we hold
important. Ultimately this reduces (not eliminates) the risk that once
in office he or she will not act contrary to the platform for which we
voted. Unfortunately, Mr. Fenty constantly surprises. Case in point: his
vote and words against our recently passed crime bill. Fact: there is a
crime emergency. We watch some of the results on TV, but we don’t see
the vast majority of harassment, muggings, and robberies that go
unreported upon. This is the true travesty. In fact, I was chased by
young teenagers while jogging by the Flagler Market at Flagler and U
Streets, NW, at 6:30 p.m. on a Monday evening. (Obviously, I carried no
money. So what was the point?)
Mr. Fenty argues the crime bill does not address the underlying
reasons for criminality. That may be true, but to do so adequately will
simply take years or even generations of coordinated policy and action
to stem the tide of chronic under-education, criminality, etc. But
everyone except for Mr. Fenty recognizes there a tourniquet is needed
now. While Mr. Fenty casts stones at the only attempt to address the
situation, people are still killed, harassed, and robbed. This begs the
question: does he recognize the difference and interdependence between
near-term actions and long-term strategy? Clearly not. Had he done so,
Mr. Fenty would have presented his own alternative plan for the council
to vote upon today and the electorate to consider in September.
Not too long ago, I spoke with Mark Plotkin, who confirmed what many
people already thought: Mr. Fenty has no intellectual curiosity in
addressing municipal issues nor does he have inspirational leadership
skills. As a result he is forced to rely upon his admittedly good
constituent relations skills, through his addiction to Blackberry E-mail
keeping him constantly in touch. This has positioned him as consistently
trying to circumvent admittedly broken city processes instead of
offering solutions for fixing them. This keeps him close to the
operational level and away from the strategic level of municipal
management. Unfortunately for him, the mayor must embrace both. As his
vote and subsequent comments illustrate, it is easy to complain. However
the electorate has yet to see a concrete position proffered by him. We
do not know how he wants to address the immediate crime wave, nor his
approach to policing policies in general. This key unanswered question
amounts to a huge risk for those of us who have invested, live, work,
and are chased in our city. Mr. Fenty says he wants safe neighborhoods,
but without telling us how he is going to achieve them, we are forced to
ask can he intellectually grasp the policies needed to do so? More
importantly, is our greater risk of being mugged today worth accepting
in favor of a nonexistent grand plan of tomorrow? That’s a risk I’m
unwilling to take.
Fenty’s “Reasonable, Solid, and
Substantial” Public Safety Paper
Bonnie J. Cain, email@example.com
Gary, I read your post in the July 26 themail. I was not sure whether
you had read Adrian Fenty’s public safety paper on his web site. I
think he presents a plan that is “reasonable, solid, and
substantial.” Here’s the link in case you haven’t seen it: http://www.fenty06.com/pdf/PUBLICSAFETY.pdf.
Ms. Brazil’s complaint about the DC Bar [themail, August 26] is
somewhat misleading. While it is true that the DC Bar has nearly 60,000
active members, only about 35,000 of them are located in the DC
metropolitan area, and a smaller number in Washington, DC, itself. Of
these, many do not practice law at all and the majority have no
experience with litigation.
A number of DC’s law firms have active pro bono programs
that provide assistance for poor DC residents with a variety of issues
ranging from criminal defense to public benefits to landlord/tenant
problems. It may be that some of the lawyers Ms. Brazil approached felt
they needed to give priority to other pro bono projects.
[According to the DC Bar, the number of their members in the metro
region is 43,320. The point is that the large firms, which do the
greatest amount of pro bono work, will take individual cases, or
cases in which the interests of their clients and the government
bureaucracy coincide, but are reluctant to take cases that confront City
Hall. — Gary Imhoff]
DC Office of Tax and Revenue Can Suck
Star Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org
Right before I moved to Arizona ten years ago, I had a good year and
owed DC $3,000. The woman at the tax office said if I cut a plan to pay
this in thirds, she would not put a lien on me. I did, and I had paid
one payment when the lien went on. I objected. I had it in writing; she
was all “sorry, sorry, sorry,” and removed the lien. When I got to
AZ the note saying the lien was removed (which was just as bad as having
one) almost kept me from buying a house. I despise those people!
Resolution of “Is This Any Way to Treat the
Henry Thomas, email@example.com
I can happily report that the Tax Office and I have reached agreement
that I should not have to pay any penalty on the missing estimated
income tax payment, and that I will be refunded the amounts representing
penalties that I had paid. This occurred on Thursday after the July 26
edition of themail appeared (no coincidence I’m sure). Jack Evans’
office had contacted the “Problem Resolution Office” in the Tax
Office, which telephoned me.
DC Office of Tax and Revenue and Punctuation
Henry Townsend, firstname.lastname@example.org
Groan. I can tell the same story, save that it went on for over two
years. I had paid my taxes three ways: estimated withholdings, a credit
card estimated payment, and a check with my return. Somehow the credit
card payment was not recorded by DC for six weeks, even though the
receipt from Official Payments Corp. was received well over a month
before the due date. I wrote letter after letter, made call and after
call, and was repeatedly assured that the situation was in hand, that
the interest and fines would not be levied. Then a few months later a
new, yet higher bill with more fines and interest would appear.
In my experience, like yours, forget Jack Evans. You’ll get a
letter and no action. Ditto the mayor’s office. You’ll get a quick
response saying your letter is logged in, etc., etc., and then nothing.
Finally after two years, I turned on the word processor and sent well
over a dozen letters, to my councilman (Evans again), the council
chairman, every at-large representative, staff heads of DC
appropriations on the Hill, etc., etc., etc. David Catania’s office
was the first to reply, by a margin of several days, and got action.
But often I think punctuation should go outside quotation marks, but
still I inflexibly leave them inside. (I wouldn’t start a sentence
with “but” in a more formal venue.) I’ll refer this problem to an
American born professor of English in an English university. If he
replies, I’ll pass it on to you.
[The general rule for American English: commas and periods go inside
the quotation marks, colons and semicolons go outside, and question
marks and exclamation marks go outside unless they are part of the
original quotation. — Gary Imhoff]
In the great debate over articles and editing, my vote is split. I go
with Mr. McKay on the uses of “a” and “an.” Constructions such
as “an historic event” or “an hospitable venue” are, in my
opinion, pretentiously old-world and annoying. It’s not how I talk. My
rule: if the aitch is aspirated, go with “a.”
As to the need and value for editing in themail, I’m with Mr.
Imhoff. He might occasionally make errors, but these are correctable and
done with the benefit of us readers in mind. PS: Please don’t sneer at
the verb “ain’t.” This vernacular expression, coarse as it may be,
is honored by ancient usage.
I just couldn’t help but point out, in an issue in which editor and
contributor spar over grammatical control over a submission, the editor
stubbornly maintaining his right to make minor corrections as he sees
fit to such things as headlines, that the subject line of that very
edition contained the word “silly” misspelled as “sily.” That, I
think, is truly silly.
Otherwise, I am delighted to see two writers debating technical
details of the grammar of their postings. Grammar is a sorely missed art
form. (And yes, I did work hard at making the first paragraph as
technically correctly difficult as possible.)
[What Michael is referring to is not the subject line in the body of
themail, but the E-mail subject line. Since themail is sent in many
small batches because of technical limitations imposed by Comcast, only
a small percentage of themail readers would have seen the misspelling.
— Gary Imhoff]
Now Is the Time to Stand Up for DC’s Future
Len Sullivan, email@example.com
The next few months will be crucial for America’s future
internationally, nationally, regionally, and locally as well. Sitting
governments at all levels have become remarkably complacent, if not
arrogant, about the directions in which they have steered their
electorates. Participation in the forthcoming primaries and elections is
vital for all voters who clearly don’t want “more of the same,”
and are willing to look beyond their near-term irritations and personal
The last eight years probably brought more progress and hope to DC
than to its neighboring jurisdictions or to the US as a whole. Most of
those very welcome improvements simply involved eliminating self-imposed
barriers to reasonably good government, and encouraging private sector
investment. But the city may well have done about as much as it can
“sitting down.” Over the next eight years, DC’s core socioeconomic
problems can only be faced standing up. The Post’s Pearlstein
recently noted that Major League Baseball’s negotiators treated DC
officials as if they were “in way over their heads” on the stadium
deal. Washingtonians should not dismiss this perception.
DC’s elected leaders and appointed officials often do seem to be in
way over their heads, and simply sitting out many of their major
long-range problems. DC’s voters must find fresh leaders willing to
stand up to its core issues. They must adopt a corrective, proactive
stance against Congressional tinkering, regional indifference, petty
local legislation, bureaucratic mediocrity, false myths about economic
dependency, burgeoning transportation and other infrastructure problems,
endemic poverty and its ghettos, racial demagoguery, lifetime adult
illiteracy, chronic health problems, ineffectual parenting, excessive
neighborhood NIMBYism, and so forth. Our national capital has only six
weeks left to decide if it will grow up, stand up, and belly up to the
issues that perpetuate its image as a second-class, introverted city
inside a world-class metro area.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Students for DC Vote Summer Sendoff, August 1
Sarah Pokempner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Students for DC Vote at our 2006 Summer Send Off on Tuesday,
August 1 for free food, hot issues, and live music. At the fabulous Gate
54 Lounge at Café Saint-Ex between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., you’ll have
the opportunity to talk to fellow students about the DC voting rights
movement and learn more about what you can do on campus and at home.
Café Saint-Ex is located at 1847 14th Street, NW, just two blocks
from the U Street/Cardozo Metro stop on the Green Line. Bring your
friends and check out our Flyers for the 2006 Summer Send Off (http://www.dcvote.org/pdfs/studentoutreach/summersendoffflyer2006.pdf).
To attend, please RSVP to Molly McArdle by phone at 462-6000 x20 or
by E-mail at email@example.com.
For information about last year’s event, visit http://www.dcwatch.com/events/event.cfm?eventID=166.
August 2-30, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street,
NW. Let’s Communicate in American Sign Language, classes provided by
the Librarian for the Deaf Community, Adaptive Services Division of the
DC Public Library. Beginning, intermediate, and conversational levels
for school ages and adults. Please call 727-2145 for dates, times, and
room locations (TTY and voice).
August 2 and 16, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr.
Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Computer Lab, Room 315. Computer
training classes for seniors. Are you computer savvy? Want to be? Learn
your way around a personal computer and to navigate the World Wide Web.
First Class-Senior PC Basics; Second Class-Senior Web. For more
information and to sign up, call Adaptive Library Services, 727-1335.
August 3-September 5, DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory
Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection Workshop. Be a smart consumer!
Protect and enhance your buying power. Learn how not to be a fraud
statistic. For more information, visit the web site at http://www.dcra.dc.gov,
and click on Office of Consumer Protection, or call 442-4400. Program
schedule: Cleveland Park, Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., August 3; Juanita E.
Thornton/Shepherd Park, Wednesday, 6:30-8:00 p.m. August 9; Lamond-Riggs,
Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., August 15; Southeast, Tuesday, 6:30–8:30
p.m., August 22; Francis A. Gregory, Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., August
30; Washington Highlands, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., September 5.
Thursday, August 3, 2:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 221. Let’s Talk About Books.
Discussion of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Next month’s
selection, the poetry of Stephen Dunn.
Fridays, August 4, 11, 18, 25, 12:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW. Music al fresco, a weekly outdoor
concert presenting a variety of musical styles throughout the summer.
This program is funded by the DC Public Library Foundation in
cooperation with Local 161-710 of the American Federation of Musicians
and the Music Performance Fund. All ages.
August 5, 12-4:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library,
901 G Street, NW, Second Floor West Lobby. Hook, yarn, and needles.
Informal knitting and crocheting workshops for all levels from beginner
to advanced. This program was made possible with a grant from the DC
Public Library Foundation.
National Building Museum Events, August 10, 12
Lauren Searl, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 10, 6:30-8:00 p.m. With so many technologies
available to make a house sustainable -- solar panels, geothermal heat
pumps, recycled building materials, and more -- deciding among these
choices and incorporating them into an aesthetic design can be a
challenge. David Hertz, principal of the Santa Monica-based firm David
Hertz Architects/Syndesis and creator of Syndecrete, a "green"
concrete, will discuss the design technologies employed in his McKinley
House. This program complements the exhibition The Green House, which
will be open for viewing. $12 Museum members; $17 nonmembers; $10
students. Registration required; register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
Saturday, August 12, 2:00-4:00 p.m. Family program: egg drop design
competition. During this “eggceptional” program, families design a
container using only one piece of paper and a rubber band to protect an
egg when dropped twenty-four feet from the Museum’s second-floor
balcony. Which eggs will survive the fall? Why? Through this fun and
challenging activity, families learn about the design process. $7 per
project Museum members; $10 per project nonmembers. Recommended for
children age 7 and up. Registration required; E-mail email@example.com
by August 7. Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street,
NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
AARP District of Columbia invites you to find out where mayoral
candidates stand on the issues District residents aged fifty and over
care about most, such as economic security, long-term care, and help for
grandparents raising grandchildren. The fall’s mayoral elections are
key to the future of our city. Join us to discuss critical issues and
determine whom you believe should be the District’s next top official.
All major candidates have confirmed participation.
Before you vote, get the facts. Please join us at the forum and have
your voices heard. The forum will take place on Thursday, August 10,
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE. If you
need directions or special accommodations, please let us know when you
RSVP at 202/434-7722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
Light wood computer desk: 35"L x 30"H x 19 1/2"D.
Keyboard pullout shelf, printer shelf pullout, separate space for CPU,
bottom shelf for files, paper, etc. Good condition. $100.00.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the
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