themail.gif (3487 bytes)

August 30, 2006

Negative Campaigning

Dear Campaigners:

Negative campaigning works for politicians who are behind in political races. That’s why politicians do it. The best kind of negative political campaigning talks only about the opponent’s political skills and positions on political issues; the worst kind smears the opponent’s personal life and character. It’s risky to go negative, however. The gamble for the politician who depends on denigrating his opponent is that he can drive down the support for his opponent faster than he loses support himself because of his ugly tactics.

When Linda Cropp started running behind in the polls, her campaign became almost exclusively a negative one, based more on personal than on political attacks on Adrian Fenty. That campaign is almost certain to reduce the public support for Fenty; that’s why she engages in it. The question is whether she can increase support for herself by these tactics. Negative campaigning is even riskier for Cropp than for most politicians. Regardless of whether people supported Linda’s political positions — or whether they could even figure out where she stood on most issues — most people thought of her as a nice and friendly person. She’s sacrificing that advantage and coming off in the campaign as the queen of mean, while Fenty continues to act as the nice guy, criticizing Cropp only by questioning her claims of accomplishments.

Most of the political commentators and pundits have already had their say on the past two weeks of the campaign and on the debate between Cropp and Fenty. Now it’s your turn. Where do the mayoral candidates stand in your opinion? Who do you trust? As always, if you work for, volunteer for, or are associated with anybody’s campaign, please reveal that in your message.

Gary Imhoff


Retaliation Against DCPS Whistleblower
Erich Martel, ehmartel at starpower dot net

An open letter to my former advanced placement US history students and their parents: I am writing to ask your assistance. Since 1987, I have taught Advanced Placement US History at Woodrow Wilson High School. For nine years, most recently in June 2006, I have also been a College Board reader of Advanced Placement US History essays, making me the most broadly experienced AP US History teacher in DCPS. In July, Dr. Tarason [principal of Wilson Senior High] ordered all three sections of the AP US History that I was scheduled to teach transferred to a teacher who has never taught AP US History before and who came to Wilson High School last year as a substitute for a world history teacher who went on maternity leave. (There is no implied question of the other teacher’s general qualifications as a social studies teacher.) He never informed me of the change or gave me an educational or administrative explanation. He did not send me the August 11 announcement of school opening activities and teaching schedule, which was sent to Wilson HS faculty just before returning to school last week, thereby not giving me advance notice of his unannounced change. He has refused requests from me and my colleagues for the restoration of these AP sections to my schedule of teaching assignments.

This is a retaliatory response to my reports that 193 (now adjusted to 178) of the 420 students on the June 5 Wilson H.S. graduation day program had not completed all mandatory DCPS graduation requirements. The “official list” of June 5, 2006, graduates “as of June 14th” submitted to the superintendent lists 311 graduates. Ninety of these “official” graduates are among those who are ineligible. I have requested an independent and objective audit of all Class of 2006 academic records.

Most outrageous of all is using students and specialized AP course assignments as pawns for retaliation. If you agree that this decision is not in our students’ and our school’s best interest and that the AP US history sections should be restored to my teaching schedule, please consider sending your views to DCPS Superintendent Dr. Clifford Janey, to your or your parents’ Board member and city council member: (Superintendent Clifford Janey), (Board of Education member Victor Reinoso, Wards 3 and 4), (Councilmember Kathy Patterson, Ward 3).


Professor Cheh Refuses to Debate One-on-One
Erik S. Gaull, candidate for DC council, Ward 3,

Today, Mary Cheh declined to debate me one-on-one about public safety in Ward 3 and DC. I am disheartened that Professor Cheh, who has spoken so openly, often, and widely about how she will improve public safety in the District, refuses to give the voters of Ward 3 a substantive look at how she intends to do that. In issuing my challenge to Professor Cheh, I noted that there have been a number of debates with all nine Democratic contenders, but that the sheer number of participants means that the answers to questions must be kept short. I am concerned that the voters are being denied an opportunity to hear in-depth about a critical issue affecting Ward 3 and the city as a whole. I’ve knocked on thousands of doors in Ward 3, and I know that people want to know what the next Ward 3 councilmember will do to improve emergency medical services and the other vital public safety services in the District.

Professor Cheh is the only other candidate to make improving public safety a central platform item. The voters in Ward 3 are entitled to hear a dialogue that really fleshes out our differences on this issue. Complex answers to difficult questions on how best to improve public safety cannot and should not be squeezed into thirty-second sound-bytes. I would like to reiterate my invitation to Professor Cheh to participate in a real debate about a real issue that affects real people all across this city. Let’s give the voters what they want -- information.


Ward 3 Council Election and the Public Schools
Tom Smith,

Wendy Sefsaf’s recent post concerning the role of education in the election contest for Ward 3 DC council [themail, August 27] trivializes the problems confronting the DC public school system. Ms. Sefsaf’s solution to the problems plaguing the DC public school system is to elect a parent -- but not just any parent, a parent with children of age who are attending the public schools. I wonder if her choice for a candidate would suddenly be unqualified if this election was sometime in the future and her candidate’s children were no longer of age to attend DC public schools. I also wonder if Ms. Sefsaf is demanding that her candidate commit in advance and sign on the dotted line that the candidate will not ever forego public education in favor of private education at some point in the future. And does she suggest that a candidate with no children at all is simply unqualified to sit on the DC council?

Our children should not be used as pawns in a political debate on education. Likewise, the issue of public education is no less important to a voter who either has no children or none enrolled at this time in the public schools. All of us have a “dog in the fight” for public education reform in DC. But, the dog is not a candidate. Our interests should be our children — and not just the children in Ward 3 who have access to some of the best schools in the city — but for all children across this city. When our tax dollars are allocated to the public schools, nobody imposes a litmus test on those dollars by asking if the tax money is coming from a parent with children currently enrolled in the public schools. That’s because public education is a responsibility for a civil society. It is not the domain of any one individual or group of people.

I want a Ward 3 council member who will be tough on this issue, not just to make parents feel good, but also to be assured our tax dollars are spent wisely, that our schools are managed effectively and, most importantly, to ensure that children in all parts of DC can take advantage of the opportunities that are possible with a good basic education. So it’s time for candidates and their campaign workers to forego creating false litmus tests for voters on the issue of education. Talk is easy. Instead, I want to hear candidates outline what they plan to do and how they plan to do it, especially given the current city organizational structure that limits the role of the DC council and the mayor in dealing with education. The type of litmus test suggested by Ms. Sefsaf is usually indicative of a candidate with few ideas and who is motivated more by the desire to win than the commitment to solve difficult problems.


Wendy Sefsaf Has Hit the Nail on the Head
Jonathan R. Rees,

The true role of our DC city council as it concerns the DC public schools is funding and nothing more. Its oversight is merely one of funding what DCPS asks for in its budget request each year, but the real people who can make things happen are the DCPS officials we elect and otherwise, not the members of the DC city council. Until voters realize that, we will still have the likes of candidates promising things they cannot do. This is why Pat Bitondo suggested if people are really concerned about our schools, then they should run for a spot there.

I do not know who woke up one morning and decided that our schools would be the number one issue in this political season, but as a Ward 3 resident and candidate, I realize that only 7 percent of the voters in my ward have children in school, and more than half the people I have spoken too, which has been well over three thousand so far, put matters of the pocketbook first, not our schools. The sad truth is when I came to DC in 1979, our schools were in disarray then and after all these years, we finally decide to do something about it! Have voters been out to lunch these past 27 years? The fact is that all the ward 3 candidates except Eric Goblet and myself have made schools the top campaign issue and have ignored all else has robbed the voters of where they stand on so many other issues of concern to voters.

Income taxes, property taxes, jobs, job security, housing, excessive and costly regulations on businesses, healthcare, assisted living for our seniors, traffic congestion, and so many other issues were brought up in my talks with voters before the school issue was. Sadly, most of the Ward 3 candidates have made this campaign season a single issue and are cheating and/or keeping voters ignorant on where they stand on many other important issues. I ran into this 72-year-old gent who said to me: “Mr. Rees, I am 72 years old; I have no children, never had any, I live on a fixed income of $1,700 a month, I live in a rent controlled unit, I have health issues, and I am concerned about paying my rent, putting food on my table, co-payments on the fourteen different medications I take each day, so why would I give a damn about our schools? Mr. Rees, probably half the voters in Ward 3 are just making it, and they are just like me, more concerned about what I am. It is painful watching greedy landlords, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and others squeeze the life out of what little most of us have. What are you going to do to strengthen the backbone of what life people like I have left?”


Non-Parents Care About DC Schools, Too
Alan Kimber,

I have one problem with Wendy Sefsaf’s comments from the last edition of themail [August 27]. Let me start by saying that I live in Ward 6, so I don’t have a specific interest in the Ward 3 race, and I agree that all the talk from the various candidates for council in all wards needs to be backed up by action on those issues that the council can truly affect (as opposed to those areas under the control of the school board).

My issue is Ms. Sefsaf’s contention that those of us without children have no interest in DC’s public schools. All citizens should be outraged that our public schools continue to handicap the children growing up in DC by providing vastly substandard education, limited vocational training, and facilities that are literally crumbling around the students and dedicated teachers.

A neighbor on my block and longtime resident is the president of the J.O. Wilson PTA (I think she still continues in this capacity). She has no children — just a drive and desire to help the children in our community get the best education they can, despite a deeply flawed system. This past weekend, I participated in the school beautification work project organized by DCPS and Marc Borbely, working for several hours at Ludlow-Taylor to clean up all the trash, plant flowers, mulch and water the trees, etc., in preparation for the children starting school. Only one couple who participated had any children, and they had a two-year-old at that. We were all there because we care deeply about the education that the children in DC receive. So please don’t count us out when it comes to education issues. We all have an interest in bettering DCPS, and divisiveness won’t help the cause.


An Humongous Water Bill: A Cautionary Addendum
Clare Feinson, cfeinson at erols dot com

Beware of WASA technicians who come out to check problems with your water meter and want to take the nickel tour of your house. A few years ago, I, too, had an humongous water bill that was probably due to an outside leak or a malfunctioning meter [themail, August 27]. The tech who came out to check it asked casually if I would let him take a look around inside the house. We had done a substantial upgrade of the bathrooms several years earlier, which I showed him with great pride.

A week later, I got a letter from WASA, in which they told me that when people who have relatively new fixtures complain about an outrageous bill, WASA automatically assumes that there was a leak in old fixtures that were hastily replaced before calling WASA to claim that the problem was the agency’s responsibility. Unless I could prove at a hearing that internal fixtures were not the cause of the leak, they were going to make me pay the whole thing. Fortunately, I am a pack rat who saves every receipt, and I was able to show them conclusively that the new fixtures were installed several years before the water bill took a heart-stopping jump -- I even had the inspection certificate from their agency. I had to submit what amounted to a legal brief, with all the documentation attached, and I was going to have to take a day off work to attend the hearing. Fortunately, the day before the hearing someone with some common sense finally reviewed my submission and dismissed all the excess bill charges without my having to come in. So when that WASA tech asks to see the indoor plumbing, better think twice before letting him in.


What to Do in DC
Angie Rodgers,

Here’s how I’d improve on Adam Nagourney’s tour of DC [themail, August 27]. Yes, it is true that Zaytinya does not take reservations and (also) that it should not be missed, but use that hour wait for a table to hop down the block and have a blackberry mojito at the bar at Indebleu. Skip dessert at Zaytinya and walk a few blocks over to Andale for the chocolate y churros. A yummy night indeed that allows you to see more of what Chinatown has to offer. Other must sees/dos: The Holocaust Museum — I think if you’ve only got time for one museum this is the one you should see; U Street for jazz — walk down 14th street a little to HR-57 and don’t forget to save room for a snack of crispy fried chicken wings and vinegary greens washed down with a cold corona; and Eastern Market on Saturday for lunch either in a restaurant or at the lunch counter and for shopping.

On the way back from lunch, stop by Ticketplace, near Gallery Place, to see what shows you can catch for half price that night. I’ve even gone in and ended up with free tickets to theaters/shows for which they were trying to increase support. If the 9:30 Club is sold out, check out the Velvet Lounge a few blocks over. A little more low-key, but always interesting (and cheaper). After the show, have a beer at The Saloon on U Street. (By the way, do people really still consider the neighborhood around 9:30 Club to be out of the way and sketchy?) Finally, if you happen to be in DC on a third Thursday or a first Friday, I recommend the art gallery tours at Gallery Place (Thursday) and Dupont Circle (Friday). They are interesting and unpretentious. I look forward to other readers’ answers!


NY Times Article on DC
Ralph Blessing,

I found the Times article not terribly creative, especially considering that its stated intention was to highlight some lesser known DC gems. If that’s the case, then why an afternoon strolling through Georgetown? When I have visitors, I make sure they see the Awakening, Eastern Market, and Rock Creek Park north of Broad Branch. Time permitting, I throw in National Cathedral or the Catholic Shrine, the Franciscan Monastery, and the Library of Congress. Maybe a drive along Embassy Row, a visit to some of the marvelous downtown gardens (Bartholdi Park, Haupt, Ripley) or the Botanic itself. Then there’s Congressional Cemetery, Logan Circle, and Galludet University. For restaurants, I’d focus on some of the more upscale ethnic places downtown, such as Cafe Atlantico, Ceiba, Jaleo, or Zaytinya. Suffice it to say that the Times reporter just scratched the surface.


Entertaining Out-of-Town Guests
Mike Livingston,

I like to take people on the smartass tour: the Watergate, the spot where Reagan was shot, the hotel formerly known as the Vista. But seriously, 18th Street in Adams Morgan, ideally for Ethiopian food; for breakfast, the Tabard Inn or Ellington’s on Eighth or Teaism. For souvenir shopping, 18th Street again, or the last remnants of pre-Verizon Chinatown; if people insist on something more touristy, there’s the gift shops of the National Building Museum, Natural History Museum, Freer/Sackler, and the National Cathedral. And the two things I tell every guest about are Millennium Stage and the importance, to the city and the nation, of DC Statehood.


Evaluating the Mayor’s Performance
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

My single criterion for evaluating performance is leadership. Tony Williams is not a leader. He is not even a good manager. He is reactive, at best. A true leader creates a vision, surrounds himself with very capable people, lets these people establish a mission statement with clear, measurable goals to support the vision, and then develops a plan to make things happen. We have had none of this in DC. Instead, our four critical needs of the District: schools; police protection/crime prevention; fire safety; and emergency medical services, have not improved in the last eight years. We have an inept police chief and poor morale in the police department and fire safety department.

We have a mayor who loves to travel. He’s been away from DC more than any three mayors of large cities combined. More than 80 percent of these trips are real boondoggles. He’s even out boondoggled most of the members of Congress in his self-promotion trips. Scandals have plagued this administration including the petition collecting for the mayor’s reelection, and fundraising for boondoggles by key administration officials.

The key question one must answer is, “Would you vote to elect this person mayor of DC based on his past performance?” Sorry, Tony, you get a D-minus in my evaluation.


Top Ten Reasons Why I Really Like Tony Williams
Bill Coe,

Reason Number 10: Tony got my street plowed, then he got it paved, and then he put those lions back on Taft Bridge. (Beautiful!) Number 9: he tamed one of our community’s greatest plagues -- DMV. Number 8: thanks to Tony, a whole generation of Washingtonians knows the true meaning of the word “niggardly.” Number 7: he took an interest in restoring our city’s beloved trees. Number 6: Tony balanced our budget, and then he handed us a surplus!

Number 5: unbeknownst to most of us, he promised to help O.J. find the real killer if, in return, O.J. helped Tony find a house to buy in DC. Number 4: for better or worse, he gave our public schools a good hard kick in the pants by supporting the introduction of charter schools. Number 3: Tony didn’t just complain; he put the complaint on our flag -- Taxation Without Representation! Number 2: in his two terms as mayor, he was not once filmed smoking crack; and. . . .

The Number 1 Reason why I really, really like Tony Williams (and wish he wouldn’t go): after 35 years of no results from nobody, Tony did the work, paid the price, and brought major league baseball back to Washington, DC. Bravo, Tony Williams!


Tony and the Council: The Final Days
Petra Weinakht,

Without doubt, after the primary the lame duck government, with several months time on its hands and no reason to feel accountable to anyone, will spend a chunk of time giving themselves and Tony Williams honors. It will be interesting to see what parts of the District the council will christen with Williams memorials on his and their way out the door. I would say the best bet is that the stadium will soon be the number one TW memorial, runners-up are the Wilson Building or something inside it. If Cropp loses, then we’ll probably see more of the same.


Wayne Dickson,

Dorothy, you drive me nuts with your negative [themail, August 27]. While you have done a great deal of good, you always seem to take a negative on just about everything. How about taking a minute to find good in Williams, Miller, and Jamal?

[Wayne is president of the Ward 2 Democrats. Wayne, if you want to see praise of Mayor Williams and his partnerships with developers Herb Miller and Douglas Jamal in themail, why don’t you write it? — Gary Imhoff]


Smokefree DC Endorses Candidates for Mayor and Council
Angela Bradbery, Smokefree DC,

Smokefree DC has endorsed candidates for mayor and council based on their history of support for smokefree workplace legislation and their answers to a candidate questionnaire. You can see our endorsements at or and read responses to the questionnaires at We endorsed Adrian Fenty (mayor), Kathy Patterson (council chair), Phil Mendelson (at-large councilmember), Jim Graham (Ward 1), Sam Brooks (Ward 3), Kathy Henderson (Ward 5), and Curtis Etherly (Ward 6). Although the DC council earlier this year passed a smokefree workplace law that applies to bars and restaurants, it won’t be fully implemented until January, when a new mayor and council take office. The mayor is responsible for implementing the law, and the council has the power to change it. We encourage all voters to take this into consideration when going to the polls on Sept. 12.


Is Tom Davis a Genius or What?
Samuel Jordan, Samunomas at msn dot com

It was encouraging to see Sam Schramski’s online article in The Nation, DC Edges Closer to Representation (August 20, Almost any discussion of this issue that reaches an audience outside of the District of Columbia is welcomed by those who advocate for Congressional representation for the 570,000 US residents in the District Nevertheless, the article treats the matter with a gloss and does not even hint of deeper currents in the nation’s political culture that has lead to the status quo for the District. Schramski accurately notes that the proposed legislation, HR 5388, The District of Columbia Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act of 2006, introduced by Rep. Thomas Davis, III (R-Va.) and Eleanor H. Norton, the District’s nonvoting Congressional Delegate, would expand the House of Representatives from 435 to 437 Members granting one voting seat in the House to the District and another seat to Utah. Schramski does not inquire why the District does not have voting representation in Congress Nor does he ask why Utah should get an additional seat. Rare is the discussion that underscores the historical precedents for the District’s lack of representation or the traditional methods used to address this deficiency.

HR 5388 proposes that the District’s new voting seat be “balanced” with a seat for Utah, although there is no crisis of democracy in Utah, one of the “reddest” and whitest states in the nation. “Balancing” is also one of the two traditional tactics employed to grant Congressional representation to a jurisdiction featuring a nonwhite numerical majority in its population. The tandem entry of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 is the best example of this racial balancing. While we have been lead to believe that the purpose of balancing is the maintenance of partisan neutrality, the Congressional Record contains language that reveals the truth of the technique’s utility — nothing of value for non-whites without something of equal or greater value for whites.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, the powerful Senate Majority Leader, led the opposition to statehood for Hawaii. He feared that Hawaii would send a delegation to Congress that would “oppose segregation.” Other members of Congress were as direct in their concern that Hawaii’s Asian/Native Hawaiian majority was not sufficiently “American” to become a state. Even though Hawaii applied for statehood in 1903, it experienced the second-longest delay between application and grant — 56 years. Alaska, with its white majority, was admitted ahead of brown-skinned Hawaii — the only deal that Johnson would accept. Was racial balancing more important than political balancing?

The longest wait for the grant of statehood is the record held by New Mexico, 62 years. Is it merely coincidental that New Mexico, described in the April 1, 1876, Harper’s Weekly as “. . . an ignorant, foreign community under the influence of the Roman Church . . . nine tenths Mexicans, Indians, ‘greasers’ and other non-English speaking people. . . ,” did not become a state until the census of 1910 confirmed a white majority? This rejection of the nonwhite numerical majority until its replacement with a white majority is the second of the two traditional tactics used when a territory with a nonwhite majority population has sought to increase its political power through statehood. No other options have been available. This is the time-honored “rights by race rule” or more specifically, the “two tactics tradition.” Is it coincidental that all US territories with white majorities are called “states” and all the current US territories, including the District of Columbia, have nonwhite majorities and no realistic prospects of achieving statehood?

Something else that Sam Schramski missed in his review of the issue: Utah will have an additional vote in the Electoral College in the presidential elections of 2008. The District will not gain additional Electoral College strength. Does this still sound like bipartisan neutrality and political “balancing?” Just when the Republicans are becoming anxious about retention of control of Congress and the White House, along comes a feel-good bill that will give the reddest state in the union an additional Electoral College vote when it matters. Is Tom Davis a genius or what? “After all,” Davis is depending on his coterie to say, “one vote for the District is still a sign of progress and is better than nothing.” He expects no repercussions whatsoever when the bill’s supporters realize that the “balancing” they were willing to accept, is part of a stratagem to impact the 2008 presidential elections. Perhaps that is why Davis has not mentioned the electoral implications of the bill in his public promotion of the legislation.


A Time to Choose
Leo Alexander, Ward 4,

This past Tuesday, I attended a candidate’s debate in Ward 4 sponsored by the DC Federation of Civic Associations, DC Chamber of Commerce, and the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO. Damn, that moderator was good. All kidding aside, I had a wonderful time. I want to thank the president of the Federation, Gerri Adams-Simmons, for the memorable opportunity. At the peak of the evening, there were more than 250 people milling around Peoples Congregation Baptist Church. For the most part, the event drew a middle-aged black crowd with a conservative sprinkling of white folks and a few Latinos. But before I get into the meat of this piece, I have to single out the performance of our panelists: James Adams of NBC4, Sam Ford of ABC7, and Deborah Simmons of the Washington Times — they were absolutely stellar! Not only did they ask probing questions, but they also insisted that these questions be answered with real thought provoking responses and not the usual canned campaign spiels.

The first hour of the debate showcased the races for DC council chair, Vincent Gray and Kathy Patterson, and at-large councilman, A. Scott Bolden and Phil Mendelson. All four candidates got their messages across, but I was left with these observations; Phil Mendelson didn’t look the part. He wore no jacket or tie, and had the sleeves of his rumpled shirt rolled up . . . that didn’t go over well with this crowd. Bolden took full advantage of the debate format by requesting his right to rebut every response Mendelson gave, drawing a clear distinction between his candidacy and the two-term incumbent. Gray proudly spoke of his record in social service to the neediest citizens of the District, and his plans for reintroducing convicted felons back into the community. While Patterson stressed that although she has been the Ward 3 representative on the council, her record shows she has sponsored legislation that benefited the entire District. Right before their closing remarks I asked the candidates, “If the vote were held tonight for replacing the closed DC General Hospital with the proposed National Capital Medical Center, how would you vote, Yes or No with no explanation?” Bolden, yes; Mendelson, yes; Gray, yes; and Patterson, no.

The last hour of the debate was split into two segments, the front-runners in the mayor’s race and the candidates for president of the school board. The first half hour was the Linda Cropp show because Adrian Fenty refused the invitation sighting a scheduling conflict, without ever offering an alternative date or telling the organizers what was so important that he couldn’t make their date work. I get his strategy. If you were continually told you’re comfortably ahead, why would you debate a seasoned challenger in front of a well-informed panel? Being that the debate was in his backyard, maybe he’s already counting those votes as his. Ward 4 has the highest concentration of registered Democrats in the District, and these voters deserved an opportunity to see each candidate under fire. Panelist Sam Ford immediately asked Cropp about her “negative” campaign tactic against her challenger and she defended this strategy, “My record is out there for everyone to see, why shouldn’t the voters know the record of my opponent [Fenty]? If this is seen as being negative, then that speaks to his record and he should be held accountable. I have not leveled one charge that isn’t true, so if his record is negative, then it speaks for itself.” That response brought resounding applause from the audience. By the time the candidates for school board took the stage, Cropp and the candidates for city council had either left the church or were in the atrium politicking the audience who had left the sanctuary, prompting candidate Timothy Jenkins to say, “Every one of the candidates tonight talked about how important education is in this election, but did you see how fast the room cleared out when the candidates for president of the school board got up here? That should make you think how serious they really are about our children.” Strong statement.

A couple of weeks ago I posed the question on my web site,, asking the visitors about their choice for mayor, chair, and at-large city council. I did this because the numbers the Post was putting out there were inconsistent with Ward straw polls. The winners were Fenty, Patterson, and Bolden. I won’t get into the actual numbers because it was an uncontrolled and unscientific poll. The problem was that once certain camps got word of the poll they essentially stuffed the ballot box. Just as an experiment, I decided not to notify the camps for the at-large race, and those results will more than likely hold true, with Bolden winning in a nail biter. The polls did make me wonder, when is the right time for the mayoral candidates to take an honest assessment of their chances and endorse a candidate with a legitimate chance of being elected mayor. One would think with the election less than two weeks away, the time is now to choose a candidate whose platform most resembles yours — because no one will remember who came in second.



Rally at the Anacostia Public Library, August 31
Gerald Schwinn,

Did you know that the Anacostia Library has been shuttered since December 2004? Did you realize that the Mayor and the city council have never found it a priority to make sure interim services are in place to continue to serve the needs of this neighborhood? Does this make you angry because you recognize the important role libraries can play in a community? Two years is too long! Come on out to rally for the immediate reopening of Anacostia Library and bring your friends and children. Keynote speakers, children’s activities and reading time, open mic for all -- step up to the podium and speak! Food and beverages will be served.

Thursday, August 31, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Anacostia Public Library, 1800 Good Hope Road, SE (18th Street and Good Hope Road. The 92 bus stops directly in front of the library. For more information, contact Joy Pinkney, 202-889-7581,


DC Public Library Events, September 5-6
Debra Truhart,

Tuesday, September 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Washington Highlands, DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection Workshop at your library. 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.

September 6 and 20, 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.

September 6-27, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW. Let’s Communicate in American Sign Language. Beginning level: Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., September 6-27; Thursday, 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, September 7, 14, 21, 28; Intermediate level: Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., September 6-27; Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., September 5, 12, 19; Saturday, 10:00 a.m., September 2, 9, 16, 23; Conversational level: Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., September 6-27. Please check outer lobby bulletin board for class locations. American Sign Language classes are provided by the Librarian for the Deaf Community, Adaptive Services Division of the DC Public Library. School ages-Adults. Public contact: 727-2145 (TTY and Voice).

Monday and Wednesday, September 6, 13, 20, 27, 7:00 p.m., Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Neighborhood Library, 7420 Georgia Avenue, NW. Local authors from the Shepherd Park community. September 6, How Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation Norms Can Influence Jury Verdicts in Murder Cases by Cynthia Lee; September 13, The Passion of My Times: An Advocate’s Fifty-Year Journey in the Civil Rights Movement by William Taylor; September 20, Baseball 2006: Pennants, Playoffs and Personalities by Mark Pattison and Dave Raglin; September 27, TBA.



Computer Precinct Technicians for the Upcoming Elections
Bill O’Field,

The District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics is recruiting individuals with computer experience to serve as Precinct Technicians for the upcoming elections. Precinct Technicians will work in the District’s 142 voting precincts for the September 12 primary and November 7 general elections. These individuals will be trained by the Board to assist the Precinct Captains, among other duties, to operate the electronic voting systems in each of the District’s polling places. The Precinct Technicians’ hours are from 6:15 a.m. until about 9:30 p.m. on Election Day, and they will be paid a stipend of $140.00, which includes the training session. For more information or to inquire about the training sessions send an E-mail message to or call 727-2511. Individuals with hearing impairments can call the Board’s TDD at 639-8916.



House History
Paul Williams,

Ever wondered if those rumors are true about your house, who built it, who designed it, and when it was built? We will research it for you, plus a whole lot more, like what existed on the site before your house, who lived there in the past where they worked, and we even sometimes find living relatives of your original owner that have those rare photographs that showed how your house was furnished! Reserve your house history today for a unique holiday gift, or to use as a marketing tool when selling. In addition, the facade easement legislation was recently updated and signed by the president; have you considered a tax deductible facade donation? For more information or a sample house history, visit


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)