themail.gif (3487 bytes)

July 30, 2006


Dear Candidates:

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 and


Eleanor Holmes Norton on the Colbert Report
Jerry A. McCoy,

Very funny! In his “Better Know a District” segment, Stephen Colbert interviews District of Columbia’s Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Go to


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 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 combination?


Investing in DC Education
Peter Turner,

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 of reach.


DMV Southwest Inspection Station Code Red Hours
Janis Hazel,

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 (, 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.


Ballpark Costs Could Escalate Past Cap
Ed Delaney,

From “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,

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 happened.

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 cop.


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 their staff:

“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.


Police in 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 schools work.

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.


Silly Season Continued
Richard Rogers,

[Re: “Silly Season,” themail, July 26] Please let me know who Harold Brazil endorses, because I always vote against them.


Fenty’s Anti-Anti-Crime Vote
Ben Aspero,

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,

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:


Nick Cobbs,

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,

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 Public?”
Henry Thomas,

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,

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. Problem solved.

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]


Bill Coe,

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.


Sily Season
Michael K. Wilkinson,

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,

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 hobbyhorses.

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.



Students for DC Vote Summer Sendoff, August 1
Sarah Pokempner,

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 (

To attend, please RSVP to Molly McArdle by phone at 462-6000 x20 or by E-mail at For information about last year’s event, visit


DC Public Library Events
Debra Truhart,

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, 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,

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

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 by August 7. Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.


AARP Mayoral Forum, August 10
Grier Mendel,

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.

RSVP at 202/434-7722 or



Computer Desk
Lila Winter,

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 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)