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September 10, 2006

Business Friendly

Dear Friendlies:

In Tuesday’s primary, one group of Democratic candidates has been described as business friendly, and they have in fact received the great majority of contributions from business interests. They are Linda Cropp in the mayor’s race, Vincent Gray in the city council chairman’s race, and A. Scott Bolden in the at-large councilmember’s race.

But what does it mean to be business friendly? A District politician who was truly business friendly would promote all businesses, small as well as large, politically uninfluential as well as well connected. That kind of politician would be concerned primarily with making it as easy to do business in the District as it is in surrounding jurisdictions and with keeping business taxes at least within range of what they are in surrounding jurisdictions. We live in a region with cumbersome regulations and high taxes, so staying competitive with our suburbs shouldn’t be hard. We don’t have to do away with business regulation and licensing, and we don’t have to lower requirements dramatically; we simply have to make it less torturous to navigate through the District’s regulatory and licensing processes, so that small businesses aren’t at such a great disadvantage to the businesses large enough to keep lawyers and lobbyists on staff. We don’t have to have low business taxes; we just have to bring them in line with the high business taxes in the surrounding counties.

In District politics, we don’t use that commonsense definition of business friendly. Here, a business friendly politician is one who does special favors for special friends. Here, a business friendly politician is one who doles out special tax relief, TIFF’s and the like, to the richest and best connected developers, leaving the tax burden to be shared by smaller businesses and middle-class residents. A business friendly politician here confiscates land and businesses from disfavored and small business people in order to award them to people with lobbyists working the Wilson Building. (See Lynne Duke’s must-read article on Skyland Shopping Center in today’s Washington Post for a look at how this process works: A business friendly politician gives city property and tax funds and leases and contracts as rewards to a small group of insiders. By these measures, Cropp, Gray, and Bolden are more business friendly than Fenty, Patterson, and Mendelson. Is that a recommendation?

Gary Imhoff


Slot Petitions Again
Phil Carney,

Outside of our famous Soviet Safeway at Corcoran and Seventeenth Streets, NW, on a sunny Saturday afternoon (September 9), two young white men were collecting ballot petition signatures “to raise money for DC schools and to increase DC government revenues.” One was from San Francisco and the other from Sacramento. They were gathering petition signatures without mentioning that the real purpose is to put legalized gambling on the ballot. One followed us down the block arguing that since DC residents travel to California to sign petitions then California residents have the right to travel to DC and get petition signatures. He also claimed that he makes $800.00 per day collecting signatures and that he already had earned $500.00 today.

I also watched a black woman sign the bottom of each petition page of a stack of petitions. I assume that she is the alleged supervising DC resident. She refused to identify herself. She refused to say where she lives. She used petitions to cover her face when I tried to take her photo.

[The gambling promoters behind the slots casino initiative have imported out-of-town petition circulators again, and we expect them to be out in force by the polling places on Tuesday. Again, as they did in 2004 and earlier this year, they are gathering signatures through a deliberate and organized scheme of fraud and misrepresentation. This time, as the E-mail above, and as other private E-mails and calls have shown, they are saying that the petition is either to raise money for schools or to protect our right to vote. It is neither -- it is purely and simply to give the initiative’s sponsors a license to open a slots casino. The circulators of an initiative petition should be free to lie about the merits of their proposal as much as they want, and to claim that it will benefit the city when it will really harm it. That’s standard political practice. But they shouldn’t be allowed to trick voters into signing a petition by fraud, by hiding the real subject of the initiative and claiming that the subject is something else. Since the DC Board of Elections and Ethics refuses to investigate this fraud and to gather evidence while it is happening, it is up to citizens to do it ourselves. Whenever you are approached by these petition circulators, if they are not DC residents, if they claim the petition is for schools or voting rights, if they refuse to show you the summary of the initiative on the front side of the petition, please take a note of where and when you were approached and a description of the circulator, and describe how they attempted to trick you into signing the petition. Photograph the circulators or, better yet, get video of them as they make false claims about what the petition is about. Then send it all to Ken McGhie, the general counsel of the DC Board of Elections and Ethics, at, and please send a copy to us. — Gary Imhoff]


FOIA Bill Supporters
Ed Johnson, mvcorderito at yahoo dot com

While I’m still working on an eminent domain bill that will be palatable enough to a majority of councilmembers get introduced, I thought you all would like to know before Tuesday which incumbents running for reelection or higher office have agreed to support the bill that would make the National Capital Revitalization Corporation and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Mr. Catania, Ms. Cropp, Mr. Fenty, Mr. Mendelson, and Ms. Patterson have all agreed to co-introduce the FOIA piece. Mr. Brown and Ms. Ambrose are also on board. I’m indebted to the staff of Ms. Ambrose, my council member, for all their assistance. Researching and writing legislation is hard work (and trust me, not fun), and Mr. Mendelson’s and Ms. Patterson’s staff also provided invaluable help. It’s encouraging to see people who surround themselves with smart, hardworking, and dedicated people.

Mr. Graham sent a staff person to a meeting I had with the other councilmember’s aides, and I spoke with Mr. Gray’s legislative person later that week and hope to hear from them both next week once they have had a chance to review the bill. The plan is to introduce the FOIA bill on September 18. I hope to have at least a scaled-back eminent domain piece to accompany it. I focused my efforts to get support from those who are running for office, but I plan to knock on doors next week and get the others who are not running this time to join Mr. Brown with their support. Mr. Orange was the only council member I repeatedly contacted at both his office and campaign who didn’t bother to respond. Perhaps I’m considered "morally unfit" to be an activist citizen?

In typical fashion, NCRC has not responded to a single E-mail, and I have been meticulous in sending them copies of everything. In stark contrast, I met with Adrian Washington, the president of AWC, and we had a thoughtful and very productive discussion. I’m looking forward as a southwest Waterfront resident to working with AWC. Hopefully, under the scrutiny of FOIA, the secretive corporate culture of NCRC will evolve into something more open and community focused like the one that AWC has demonstrated.


Nader to Fenty: Do You Have a Plan to Fix the Stadium Mess?
Shawn McCarthy,

[An open letter from Ralph Nader to Councilmember Adrian Fenty] With the primaries fast approaching, many voters are waiting for a plan as to what you would do to fix the baseball stadium mess should you become the mayor of the District of Columbia. To be sure, during the DC council stadium debate, you have stood admirably behind the two-thirds of District residents who are against a deal to subordinate their life necessities to developers and Major League Baseball.

But standing behind an overwhelming majority is one thing. DC residents need and expect more from you. Many residents would welcome more programmatic leadership from the leading candidate for Mayor, and are unsure of your willingness to protect DC residents and lead the way to end the stadium debacle. That is, stop the taxpayer giveaway and let the capitalists behave like capitalists. Voters need to know if you possess the desire to take on power-players like the stadium lobby.

Do you have a plan to get the District of Columbia out of exploitation by the no-cap stadium freeloaders? Would you call a press conference to denounce the stadium legislation? Would you leverage resources behind community leaders, ANC commissioners, community-based organizations, and residents who want an end to the stadium boondoggle? Would you march in the streets with them? Would you be their leader?


I’m Mad as Hell
Joan Eisenstodt,

I know; noise is a fact of life of District living. However, construction noise is not what it is about. In this election season, trying to reach anyone on the council — at least those who are running -- is silly. (I’ve E-mailed Mr. Fenty and Mr. Mendelson because their offices have helped before. Ms. Ambrose, our councilmember, has never responded to E-mails ever. I’ve just written to David Catania’s office, since they have been responsive before. An excerpt from the letter I sent: “You’ve responded in the past on other issues and I am hoping you might be willing to help. We live in an apartment building while we wait for our condo downtown to be finished. We have committed to staying in DC. There is a huge office building being constructed at 777 6th Street, NW, the corner of 6th and H, that abuts our building. I’ve been in touch with many people in the DC government, including David Janifer, who is no longer with the DC government; Juan Scott; and a Mr. Hubbard who now has Mr. Janifer’s phone number. I have left numerous messages for a Ms. Stephanie Artis and a Mr. Larry Carr, both of whom are with the Neighborhood Stabilization office. I’ve left messages for Councilmember Ambrose, Fenty, and Mendelson. We’ve called 311 numerous times to report the problems.

“They have continued to construct at illegal hours, sometimes beginning at 5 a.m. and most often working until midnight or after. At 9:40 p.m. on September 7, the construction continues. They worked until 2:30 a.m. on the morning of September 7. A DC officer responded to one of our 311 calls and secured a copy of a building permit that states that construction is allowed for ‘after hours work from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. using a tower crane to hang precast.’ The noise, literally outside our window, is horrific. They are pounding, drilling, hammering, sawing, and yelling. No one seems to want to do anything.”

Those on this list who have responded said to continue to call 311. We have, and the do nothing, and nothing changes, and ear plugs don’t do it. Ideas?


Getting Schooled
Mark Eckenwiler, themale at ingot dot org

In the last issue of themail [September 6], Trish Chittams discussed DCPS’s floating a trial balloon for the idea of year-round school. I join her in declaring this a spectacularly ill-considered, ill-conceived notion, for the following reasons. Year-round school won’t teach more material; students will get the same amount of material spread out over a longer period. (Numerous subjects, such as math and language arts, involve sequenced courses. An Algebra I pupil is not going to dive into geometry in late May.) Kids who can’t master the material under the current system seem to me unlikely to benefit, but you can bet that the talented students will be bored witless by the slower pace and/or time-killing busywork.

Children need a summer vacation for any number of reasons. Some are on swim teams; some need the income from a full-time summer job; some travel abroad to visit relatives or experience other cultures; some will take art, language, or dance courses unavailable through DCPS; and some may just sit and read to their hearts’ content. DCPS has no monopoly on summer enrichment experiences. Finally, two words: facilities repair. Anyone who thinks that DCPS plant maintenance won’t interfere with year-round classes needs a reality check. The real impetus behind the year-round proposal, as far as I can see, is that it offers free baby-sitting. Child care is undoubtedly a big issue for single working parents, and I’d be happy to see DC government work to improve daycare options for DC residents. Dragooning teachers (and students who don’t need to be baby-sat) into year-round school is a foolish means to that end.

For the record, I have two children, a high-schooler and a middle-schooler, who have been in DC public schools since kindergarten. I’m generally pleased with the education they have received and the progress they’ve made, but I’d be lying if I said it has been easy or that DCPS is anywhere close to perfect. I’d also be lying, as would anyone else, if I claimed that year-round schooling is the cure for what’s wrong with DCPS.


Voters’ Rights
Dorothy Brizill,

As I wrote in themail last Sunday, September 3, most of the Voters Guides mailed by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics to District voters directed them to the wrong polling sites. Since then, all District voters who are eligible to vote in Tuesday’s primary (those registered in the parties with primary contests — Democrats, Republicans, and Statehood-Greens) should have received postcards with the correct locations of their polling sites. If in doubt, you can call the Board at 727-2525 or go to the Board’s web site ( and click on “Find your polling station.”

With the exception of the elderly and disabled, District voters are required to vote at their assigned precincts. However, if you find yourself at the wrong polling site on election day on election day and are unable to go to the correct precinct, you may request and vote a “special ballot.” Simply ask to speak to the precinct captain, calmly describe the situation, explain that you are a registered vote eligible to vote in the election but unable to go to your assigned polling place, and ask for a special ballot.


Campaigns’ Phone Barrage
Cecilio Morales,

I don’t care whether it is legal, moral, or thinning, but the barrage of recorded telephone messages to voters from a variety of candidates in this election made me wish a pox on all their houses. By midday Sunday before the election, and just counting this last weekend of the campaign, I had received eleven calls from two mayoral candidates and supporters or candidates for my ward’s seat, Ward 3. This is worse than telemarketing and very, very annoying.

That’s not counting Bill Rice’s biweekly spam to my E-mail address (I hope DCWatch didn’t give my e-mail address to him — I hereby declare my decision to opt out of being E-mailed from any compiled list). Nor does it count the daily calls by one or two candidates or some fakey endorsement by someone I’m supposed to know for several weeks now. Rice lost my vote with his first E-mail to me. Who the hell does he think he is? As for the others, enough is enough!

I was disappointed that the candidates I liked had repeated calls to my phone. For all you present and wannabe politicians: next time, I will automatically give my vote to someone else if you E-mail me or call me without my permission. And face it, toy politicians, you are not major political figures. This election amounts to nothing more than a choice between political midgets (go ahead, call me a heightist). At best it is a contest in which I will attempt to pick the brightest, least connected, least corrupted of the lot — not an easy chore. This pathetic reality is shown by the abusive barrage of private citizens’ phones and E-mail addresses when they are trying to relax. Some day Washington will deserve leaders of statute.


Pictures of Amazing Police Partnership and Systemic Works
Naomi J. Monk,

This E-mail is written to invite you to visit the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s First District Police Headquarters at 415 4th Street, SW. Under Commander Diane Groomes’ leadership, the Community Room was recently decorated with lots of pictures that show some of the numerous neighborhood partnerships and systemic prevention efforts in which the police partake. It does not address law enforcement efforts because it appears that far too many individuals throughout DC feel that is all that the police men and women have done for the past eight-plus years.

Under the leadership of Chief Charles Ramsey, the DC Metropolitan Police men and women work vigorously with all three of the approaches of policing prevention at the same time. You are invited to read on about all the wonderful works that our DC Metropolitan police men and women do and how you can join them.


Cropp on Election Day
Norman L. Blumenfeld,

Many have decided for whom they will vote. Others are still considering the facts and the spin. The debate on Friday at George Washington University may prove instructive. In the first big mayoral debate months ago, Adrian M. Fenty couldn’t name the three bond-rating agencies that are crucial to DC finances. To some, this pegged him as being too uninformed or too unintelligent to run a big-time city like the District. After all, a councilmember should know what agencies are instrumental to the DC economy. At the GW debate this past Friday, Mark Plotkin asked Fenty who is Steve Chabot. Fenty had no idea. Well, if he wants to run this city, he should have known. Steve Chabot is a Republican congressman out of Ohio who is on the judiciary committee, which is holding a meeting next Thursday about DC voting rights.

Later Plotkin suggested that Fenty gets his head out of his Blackberry. In essence, he said that Fenty is so busy pushing the little buttons on his gadget that he does not take time to know and understand vital information that effects the District. Councilmembers have admonished for not paying attention to the proceedings Fenty while he fixates on his Blackberry during council conferences. This may show why he is often clueless about the facts regarding a piece of legislation. Fenty should not be mayor. He is still a young person playing with his Blackberry. He reminds me of the younger kids with their video games.

From time to time he introduces legislation, then abandons the time consuming process to fine tune the bills, leaving it to others to work out the deficiencies and problems with what was introduced. Cropp has her faults. But she has exhibited intelligence, consensus building, follow through, hard working on difficult tasks, meeting with congressmen and Wall Street financial people, and leadership. She is light years ahead of Fenty in working with others and tackling complex problems. Fenty has flashy sayings and knocks on doors, but there is very little to show that he can command the respect of others so as to be a leader. It is just plain scary that so many people have been bamboozled by this young man. He is not ready to lead the most important city in the world. We have an obligation to not vote for him.


Republican Running for DC City Council
Charlotte Hoffman,

I saw this in the Weekly Standard last week and thought I should share it with DC voters. I think it is time to support this next generation of leaders. “A Republican Grows in DC: Young Tony Williams Runs for City Council,” by Whitney Blake, September 4, Volume 011, Issue 47,


DC Examiner Endorses Me for Ward 5
Regina James,

On September 7, the DC Examiner editorialized: "Eleven candidates running for Vincent Orange’s soon-to-be-vacated seat mean one thing: Ward 5 will be the scene of some of DC’s biggest political battles as the city attempts to spread economic development to an area that only recently got its own grocery store.

“Frontrunners Harry Thomas Jr. and Frank Wilds would both make excellent council members, but we favor long-shot ANC Commissioner Regina James for her unwavering focus on public safety in a ward where people still get shot inside the new Giant.

“The kind of dogged effort James displayed when she spent more than three years trying to get the Metropolitan Police Department to close down the open-air drug markets plaguing her neighborhood will be invaluable on a council that too often pretends that the city’s biggest problem will just go away on its own.” (


The Beauty Contest
Leo Alexander, Ward 4,

Last week, the media’s coverage of the mayor’s race in the District of Columbia struck below the belt. On the cover of the City Paper the question was asked, “Is Linda Cropp the worst campaigner since home rule?” The very first line in their story took a personal shot at her weight and later at her age. To summarize the Post’s coverage of the two front-runners, for Adrian Fenty, they used the words young, energy and bold; for Linda Cropp, the words were old guard, status quo, and lacking stamina. The Post used a quote from a Ward 3 Fenty supporter saying the reason she was backing Fenty was because he was, “young and inexperienced.” If that’s the case, then my three-year-old son Zachary is ready to run. After all, he looks good in his church attire, uses the right utensils, and, if properly coached, says the right thing. I think the world of my son and his limitless potential, but because he lacks experience, he’s simply not ready to be mayor. What happened to the issues? Have we grown bored with debating competing visions on health care, affordable housing, education, jobs, and public safety? How did a valued prerequisite like experience get lost? Why aren’t we talking about who’s best prepared to be mayor? I wonder how the publisher of the Post feels about being compared to the City Paper. Does their coverage of the mayor’s race honor the proud legacy of Katherine Graham?

Reading the Post, I have to ask, how do accomplished, seasoned, and successful women feel about one of their own being labeled "matronly"? Would that same term have been used to describe Eleanor Roosevelt; the one woman many still think should have been our first female President? For that matter, how about Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential women of our time, she has publicly chronicled her struggle with weight. Is image without substance all that matters? Where has our integrity gone in this city? Linda Cropp is proud of her record before, during, and after her stint on the school board and city council, but freely states, “I’m not satisfied.” Ask that same question of Adrian Fenty and he says, “I’m looking to the future of this city.” Why isn’t his record fair game? Don’t the voters have a right to know why the court called him incompetent and negligent as an attorney? Why haven’t we read or seen any follow up stories on the two families who suffered those losses at Fenty’s less than capable hands? I’d like to know whom they would vote for. The media has basically allowed Fenty to dictate their coverage by branding his opponent’s questions about his record as negative campaigning. This coverage makes you wonder, how much the Fenty camp spent (advertising) with the Post versus the others in this field of candidates?

The lesson learned in Election 2006 is that it is off limits to attack a candidate’s record, because that’s negative campaigning, and you can’t mention any perceived character flaws of their associates, because then you’re mudslinging. So in the future, why don’t we just dress up the candidates and call the race what it has become — a beauty contest.


Mary Cheh, A Trojan Horse
Pete Ross,

1) Mary Cheh, a full-time tenured professor at George Washington University, desires to represent Ward 3 in the city council; this scares me. How can she represent residents of Ward 3 when issues arise between the community and the Mt. Vernon campus of George Washington University, which is located on Foxhall Road in Ward 3? 2) Mary Cheh has a child at Georgetown Day School. How committed can she be to our public schools if she does not even send her child to public school?

If Mary Cheh wins the Democratic primary to be the Ward 3 council representative and Kathy Patterson loses her bid to be the Democratic candidate for chairman of the city council, I hope that Kathy Patterson will save us residents in Ward 3 from self destruction by running again for Ward 3 council representative as a write-in candidate. Kathy Patterson is an asset that our city council and Ward 3 cannot afford to lose.


September 2006 InTowner
Peter Wolff,

This is to advise that the September 2006 on-line edition has been uploaded and may be accessed at Included are the lead stories, community news items and crime reports, editorials (including prior months’ archived), restaurant reviews (prior months’ also archived), and the text from the ever-popular “Scenes from the Past” feature. Also included are all current classified ads. The complete issue (along with prior issues back to December 2002) also is available in PDF file format directly from our home page at no charge simply by clicking the link provided. Here you will be able to view the entire issue as it appears in print, including all photos and advertisements.

The next issue will publish on October 13 (the 2nd Friday of the month, as always). The complete PDF version will be posted by the preceding night or early that Friday morning at the latest, following which the text of the lead stories, community news, and selected features will be uploaded shortly thereafter.

To read this month’s lead stories, simply click the link on the home page to the following headlines: 1) “Use of Public Space Bordering Private Property Stirs Consternation — Approval Procedures of DC Board Add Confusion”; 2) “Illegal Intrusion Into Public Space Being Addressed by DDOT;” 3) “Once Controversial Project Now a Model for Developer and Neighborhood Cooperation.”


Adrian Fenty, Kathy Patterson, Phil Mendelson, and Tommy Thomas
Albrette “Gigi” Ransom, Ward 5,

I am supporting Adrian Fenty for mayor. Since becoming a member of the council, Adrian has continuously fought for, legislated, and voted with the best interests of DC citizens first. No one can deny his requirement for our agencies’ taking responsibility and accountability when they fail to do their jobs. There is no denying that his vim, vigor, and vitality, along with his principle-centered leadership, vision, and commitment to public service, will inspire the masses to grasp and engage in his vision, which will take our great city to positive heights that many only thought was a dream.

If you listen to your heart, and act from a positive mind, you know that your vote for Kathy Patterson will be the right choice for DC council chairman. Again, her record, her efforts through legislation, and scrutiny of agency heads and business leaders alike during committee hearings is unquestionable. Responsibility, accountability, and ethics first and foremost! Since her first term in 1995, Kathy has not let the defeat by Congress of four critical pieces of legislation (which she co-sponsored), which would have led to the reform of our schools into twenty-first century masterpieces, to deter her from fighting for change. I know, because I was there. Instead, we got the congressionally mandate Board of Trustees, which set our efforts back. She has continuously chipped away the layers of unaccountability through smaller efforts. The media questioned her strategy to add additional taxes on our businesses, but it was a strategy used by many public servants, particularly men, to get people to see the bigger picture, to find common ground, to get the desired results. Eleven years later, we now, through other sources, have a funded, billion-dollar package to create state-of-the-arts facilities for our children to learn. This is one example of Kathy’s deft leadership, utilizing consensus-building. The skills of principle-centered leadership, integrity, intelligence, along with a no-nonsense approach, are not limited to men. Marian Anderson once said, “Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” With twelve years of public service experience, greater understanding gained with successful leadership on three committees, unbought and unbiased, along with vim, vigor and vitality, Kathy has what it takes, and has earned the privilege to guide our great city into the next phrase of its evolution.

I remember in the 90s when Phil and I were ANCs, and many times we testified on the same issues that affected our citizenry. Then, Phil was principled-centered, educated on the issues, with no fanfare or nonsense, fighting for better schools, quality public safety, and accountability from our agencies. In the present, he is still the same. Like Kathy, you will not find many contributions from the private sector because special interests have to come right before getting support on any legislation. I have followed his opponent’s campaign, and I am really concerned about where he would take us if elected. He has continuously presented a lack of knowledge of how our agencies work and the current status of programs provided. His response to me was “when I get in, then I will know.” Well, that’s not good enough, especially with his special-interest background. Phil has over twenty years of positive experience as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, along with his positive terms and committee chairmanships on the council, placing our citizens first! True public service, with vim, vigor and vitality, needed to continue to lead our great city in the right direction.

Many Ward 5 residents expressed concerns that Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr., is seeking a council position because of his late father’s prior service. At first, I too had thought that way, and felt it was time for a woman to represent Ward 5, but that would have been the easy way out. When I looked at the bigger picture and assessed Tommy from an up-close and personal perspective, I saw a person dedicated to public service and change. I have also been highly impressed with his love of and quiet effort to embrace and engage the youth of Ward 5, many from troubled homes, through athletic activities and field trips to develop character and interpersonal and communication skills, along with an understanding of how to succeed in life the right way. Not many men have accepted this challenge due to their fear of our young people. He is knowledgeable of the issues that confront our city. I truly feel that he will be his own person on the council. Yes, he will have a slight learning curve, but this curve will be short due to having a father who obviously shared his experiences with is son. Tommy also possesses the intelligence, experience gained from being an ANC, along with the vim, vigor, and vitality needed to deal with the rapid change and call for public service. I expect there will be first-class constituent services, which have been sorely lacking, and the ability to hold agency heads accountable for providing essential services in our ward and for businesses to respect our communities. I am willing to give him a chance. Placing my trust in him, I sense he will work diligently to prove his critics wrong, and in the long run, will gain their respect and appreciation.


ANC Commissioners Support Cathy Wiss
Carolyn Long,

A letter in support of Cathy Wiss, signed by thirteen current and former ANC commissioners, was published in the Northwest Current on September 6. Since the Current went to press, two more commissioners have added their signatures. Please read their endorsement: “In the crowded field of Ward 3 city council contenders, Cathy Wiss, with her years of community service and experience, stands out as the best. Each of us is a current or former ANC Commissioner who has either worked with or watched Cathy Wiss during her many years on the ANC. We support her candidacy wholeheartedly and want you to know why. Cathy is smart, extraordinarily hard working, and dedicated to the citizens of Ward 3. She is personable and easy to deal with as well. Cathy has been a tireless advocate for issues important to Ward 3 voters including development, public safety, education, and transportation. The mother of two children who attended DC public schools, Cathy will fight to improve our schools and perform diligent oversight of our educational system. Long involved in development issues, Cathy will encourage appropriate growth in our ward, as well as work with developers who will maintain the character of our varied neighborhoods. Trained as a lawyer, Cathy is well-qualified to draft or deal with legislation of importance to her constituents.

“Cathy’s record of service to the Ward is unmatched by any other candidate. In addition to being an ANC chairperson, she has served as president and founder of the Tenleytown Neighbors Association and president of the Friends of Tenley Library. While others tout professed expertise and accomplishments internationally, nationally, and citywide, Cathy can point to an actual record of service to this ward: working with developers of the City Line/Best Buy project, improving the ball fields at Fort Reno, keeping the Tenley Library open as long as possible, and fighting for improved coverage from the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

“To those of us who know her, Cathy Wiss is the most qualified, knowledgeable, experienced, dependable, and tested of all the Ward 3 contenders. She will dedicate herself to helping all Ward 3 citizens. We urge you to vote for Cathy Wiss for Ward 3 City Council on September 12. She really is the best candidate for Ward 3.”


Cathy Wiss for Ward 3 Councilmember
Alma Gates,

Many have called me this past week to ask for whom to vote on September 12. I have responded that I support Cathy Wiss for the Ward 3 Council seat. Residents of Ward 3 have not been well represented on the council for the past four years. ANC commissioners have turned to At-Large Councilmembers Phil Mendelson, David Catania, Carol Schwartz, and Kwame Brown on issues that would normally be addressed by our Councilmember, Kathy Patterson. She has remained on the fence on issues like the Army Corps’ Dewatering Facility behind Sibley Hospital and the deconstruction of Whitehurst Freeway. She has made shadow appearances at council hearings on issues like the munitions clean up in Spring Valley and the potential for perchlorate contamination of the Dalecarlia Reservoir. Ward 3 deserves new direction and attention, leadership and commitment, vision and experience because our roads and infrastructure are deteriorating rapidly, we have intense development and neighborhood identities are being lost; we have poor public transportation, our parks are neglected, our police are being pulled in too many directions and spread too thin, there is virtually no plan for emergency preparedness, and our schools are failing. The level of city services in Ward 3 is not terribly different from communities in other areas of the city; however, we are paying about 62 percent of the property taxes and the city assumes we will pay for undelivered city services out of our own pockets.

Voters in Ward 3 have been provided with a rather varied buffet of choices. I am writing to ask your support on September 12 for Cathy Wiss, my candidate of choice for Ward 3 on the DC Council. Cathy stands out in this race because she will bring practical experience to the position and is the one candidate who will listen to and represent your concerns. She is a well respected and very knowledgeable ANC Commission chair in Ward 3 who has provided leadership in the Tenleytown community. Cathy has always taken time to help when I have asked for her guidance and I look forward to continuing that relationship when she is on the DC council. She attends meetings, understands issues facing Ward 3, and has experience working with District agencies, police, schools, and even developers. She is the only candidate in the Ward 3 race who is thoroughly versed on current city issues such as the new Comprehensive Plan and proposed zoning changes and how they will impact you and the future of the city.

Cathy Wiss, an attorney. will be a full-time member of the DC Council. Her focus is on Ward 3 and community issues. Cathy has served as a social worker for the aged and disabled; as a civil rights specialist for equal treatment in hospitals and health care facilities; and as a judicial law clerk on the DC Superior Court and DC Court of Appeals. She is an advocate for public education and her children attended DC public schools. The choice is clear. Please review Cathy Wiss’ impressive record at I think you will agree that she is the candidate who can make a difference for residents of Ward 3. Please cast your vote for Cathy Wiss on September 12.


Cathy Wiss for Ward 3 Council
George R. Clark,

I support Cathy Wiss for Ward 3 Council because I have seen her in action for many years as the true civic activist she is. Cathy is the type of environmentalist who doesn’t just talk a good game, but lifts fish in buckets down by Peirce Mill; she researches the zoning laws of New York City to disapprove a misconception of the Zoning Commission, and studies the indigenous tree species in Rock Creek Park to help get the Forest Hills Tree and Slope overlay adopted. She was the leader in the Smart Growth project at City Line, at the old Sears and Hechinger’s site, as well as at the corner of Nebraska and Albemarle where environmentally sensitive and historic land was protected while six (instead of twenty-four) new houses went up on a small parcel. Cathy works hard and long and doesn’t play favorites. She doesn’t claim to have all the answers because she has high academic credentials. She works to look at all sides of an issue. She knows how to represent Ward 3. Her endorsement by a diverse group of respected Ward 3 current and former ANC Commissioners shows that she has earned the respect of those who know how the work gets done.

Thus I was puzzled when the Washington Post and the Northwest Current endorsed Professor Mary Cheh, a newly minted, self-styled "civic activist." For the many of us who spend several days and nights each month on civic affairs in Ward 3 and across the city, it is discouraging to see someone with so little interest or past experience in Ward 3 affairs touted as best for our neighborhoods. At the Ward 3 Dems forum on Wednesday night, Professor Cheh readily admitted that she had never belonged to her citizens association or attended a meeting of it, and had never even attended a meeting of her local ANC. Are those prerequisites for running for the council? No, but her twenty-year lack of interest in the civic affairs of her neighborhood until she decided to run for council speaks for itself. She did not disagree when one of her supporters added that citizens associations are very parochial and are only interested in protecting property values. (Yes she has done commendable volunteer work on constitutional law issues that relate to her job, but I’m talking about a broader interest in community affairs. She has said that her only civic activism involved her daughter’s soccer playing.)

This lack of understanding of Ward 3 affairs was proven that same night when she said that she thought that the new Comprehensive Plan of the Mayor should be enacted by this council because the Office of Planning stated it had been “fully vetted” at a meeting at UDC, before anyone in the community had even been shown the part of the plan affecting Ward 3. She did not realize that ANCs 3C, 3D, 3E, and 3F have each passed resolutions asking that the plan be considered by the new council so that its many flaws can be corrected. That same position is supported by the citywide Federation of Citizens Associations (disclosure — I am its president) and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City (disclosure — I am a trustee), the Cleveland Park Citizens Association (via letter), and other ANCs and associations in other wards. As one who has attended dozens of meetings about the Comp Plan, testified about it before the council, and spent hundreds of hours on the subject, I can attest that it is a very neighborhood unfriendly document.

Professor Cheh also did not know that her employer, George Washington University, wants to do away with the requirement in the current law for campus plans that protect neighborhoods across the city, including around American University in Ward 3 (this requires council approval). But she does not think that she has a conflict of interest on any issue involving GW because she does “not have an ownership interest in it.” But it is her employer, the employer who will let her teach less than a full-time load and retain her tenure so that she can sit on the council and vote on issues directly affecting GW (let’s forget about how she will pick between teaching a class and attending a council vote when the times for them conflict). She says she will recuse herself “if necessary,” but don’t we want a full-time councilmember who will vote on issues that are important to Ward 3 and the entire city?

At the forum held by three citizens groups last Tuesday night, Professor Cheh admitted that she had never been involved in any way in any development project implicating so-called smart growth principles in Ward 3. Nevertheless, she endorsed almost word for word the unusual definition of smart growth used by the Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities, which also believes that “transportation policies should put walking, bicycling, and transit first,” and that our transportation dollars should be used for these purposes instead of road repair. The push to adopt the current draft of the Comp Plan is co-chaired by one of the city’s most prominent development lawyers and the head of WRN. The leader of WRN has also told the Comprehensive Plan Task Force that as families diminish in size they should move out of their “too big” houses to make way for more and smaller condos. WRN’s head has also said that 85-year-old District residents should bicycle around town because, “It’s done all the time in Europe.” Is that the vision for Ward 3 or the city that you want your councilmember to espouse?

Professor Cheh is a very capable constitutional scholar, but the residents of Ward 3 deserve someone who has some practical knowledge and experience with the issues as seen by the residents, not just special interest groups. And they should have a councilmember who thinks our neighborhoods deserve interesting and complimentary neighborhood serving commercial areas, and not the intense development in a half-mile radius around each Metro stop (including several blocks in off the Avenues) called for by GWU, the Washington Regional Network, and the Mayor’s Comp Plan proposal.

Vote for Ward 3. Vote for Cathy Wiss.


Why I Support Cathy Wiss for City Council in Ward 3
Anne Cauman,

Cathy is best known as a commissioner on ANC 3F and for her involvement with development issues, but she is a multifaceted person. I support Cathy because she is very bright, she has the utmost integrity, she has an impressive record of results, and she is one of the hardest working people I have ever known. I am impressed by Cathy’s open-minded, fact-based, approach to issues and her insistence on getting input from all stakeholders. With regard to issues, I am particularly impressed by Cathy’s long-standing championship of libraries and the environment, but she has expertise, interest, and experience in many areas.

Cathy has served on the board of the Friends of the Tenley Library since 1995, including a two-year term as president of the board. Cathy kept the library from closing in the 1990s (when it was threatened with closure) by going to the Control Board and lobbying for funds to repair the boiler. Cathy persisted in contacting people until the job got done. More recently, Cathy forestalled the closing of the Tenley Library by fifteen months. Cathy has worked with the Board of Trustees of the DC Public Library and with other library advocates to enhance the physical plants and book collections in libraries throughout the city. If elected, Cathy will continue to work for full funding to rebuild and repair branch libraries, to improve and expand services, and to increase the hours the libraries are open. If elected, Cathy will obviously be in a more powerful position to continue this fight.

As a Commissioner on ANC 3F and the ANC’s chairperson for three years, Cathy has dealt with a variety of issues facing the District including planning, zoning, parks and recreation, libraries, traffic, and the environment. She has also dealt with issues affecting the District as a judicial law clerk for judges of both the DC Superior Court and the DC Court of Appeals. Previously, Cathy was a caseworker for a District agency assisting elderly and disabled clients in finding housing and receiving monetary assistance, medical care and a variety of social services. At the US Department of Health and Human Services, she worked for equality of care in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Cathy has had leadership roles as a volunteer in DC public schools. When Janney Elementary School was without a librarian one year, Cathy organized volunteers to keep the library staffed. Cathy established a library committee at Deal and chaired it for three years. Like all of the candidates in this race, Cathy cares about our schools. She wants to see that the school modernization process moves forward expeditiously and efficiently. She favors expanding pre-k programs, starting in areas of the City with the greatest need. She wants to return vocational education to the schools. She wants to improve and expand special education services within the school system both because there is a crying need for such services and because this is necessary to keep special education costs from devouring the rest of the school system’s budget.

Cathy cares about recreation and will work to reform the Department of Parks and Recreation. Cathy shines on the environment. She has been a Team Leader for the Audubon Society’s Water Quality Monitoring Program since 1997. She was promoting green roofs, permeable pavement, rain gardens, and innovative storm water management systems long before most of us ever heard of them. Before progress was stopped on building a new library for Tenleytown, Cathy arranged for a grant to cover the costs of a green roof for the new library. Cathy will fight hard for the environment and to increase and improve our parks.

Cathy’s fact-based approach to issues is typified by her handling of development. As a founder and President of Tenley Neighborhood Association, Cathy led the opposition to condos at Nebraska and Albemarle and later helped negotiate the townhouse project there instead, which included a conservation easement and protected a nearby stream. She also helped to promote the Cityline/Best Buy/Container Store complex at the Metro and our new hardware store there. Cathy was an early opponent of the improperly licensed radio tower on 41st Street, NW. She alerted others and galvanized them to action against the tower. Cathy’s hard work and results have made a positive difference in the quality of my life and of yours also. Fifteen current and former Ward 3 ANC Commissioners have also stated in an open letter to the community that they find Cathy Wiss to be the most qualified candidate to represent Ward 3 on the Council.


When Results, Leadership, Dreams Matter, Look to A. Scott Bolden
Kathryn A. Pearson-West,

Ready or not, the political landscape in Washington, DC, is about to undergo a sea change, creating a new force and solidarity of passionate leaders eager and able to move our wonderful city forward to reach its full promise for all its citizens. Admittedly though, there are some voters and media personalities that are not ready for change who are more comfortable with those that may not have a sense of urgency and purpose in solving some of the problems plaguing the nation’s capital. They will stay the course with the at-large Democratic incumbent. However, the rest of us voting for at-large councilmember are embracing change and are looking forward to leaders like A. Scott Bolden to help the city manage change responsibly, effectively, and for the better for the majority of residents..

Recently, I got a piece of literature from the incumbent at-large Democratic member with his face on it and the word, “Nitpicker.” I was aghast to think that he seems to find it a joke that he muddles through legislation and holds things up while the city’s public education system and public safety are in crisis in many neighborhoods. Making nitpicker a cute sounding synonym does not excuse the lack of results that communities are crying out for. It is another campaign justification for not dealing with issues that matter most to people and allows mediocrity in government to exist. At a Ward 8 forum, the same incumbent boasted that he was a "liberal, progressive," whatever that is. Is that further rationale for mediocrity in our city or just a campaign tactic? At this point, personally, I have grown tired of some of the liberal populist agendas that get us away from workable solutions to stem crime, advance quality education in our public schools, provide opportunities for DC residents, and promote homeownership and the American dream.

As a native Washingtonian, product of the DC public schools, parent of a young adult son and daughter, graduate of both Georgetown and Howard universities, and a former federal and DC government employee now in the sector in project management, I have experienced many of the ups and downs of this magnificent city I call home as it has developed during home rule. It’s time that someone steps forward with a sense of urgency, pride, and purpose and says enough is enough. We don’t have to accept mediocrity and failure and we don’t have to wait a lifetime to make a difference in the lives of the citizens in the nation’s capital. I strongly believe that Bolden wants quality, fair, and accessible education for all young people in the District of Columbia. That is their ticket to success and a way for DC to maintain a strong economy. It must become the true economic engine and catalyst for the nation’s capital to reach its promise. Bolden has the political will and courage to make it happen, get things done.

Don’t expect Bolden to join the bandwagon for same sex marriage to be the cornerstone of his agenda and he won’t allow it to be used as a wedge issue in this 2006 campaign as some are trying to make it. Hopefully he will leave that issue to those that want to sponsor a referendum or initiative for the public’s input and voice. Bolden has a proud record on human rights. I read with amusement the weak endorsement of one mainstream newspaper for the incumbent, in spite of the fact that he failed in their eyes on the laundry list of action items that they expected him to handle. Good thing this is a colorblind society and an equally evolved and enlightened mass media, otherwise I may have had other thoughts about the endorsement of a two-term incumbent whom they questioned and scolded his less than stellar leadership and performance on EMS, the crime bill, the open government bill, jail escapee and the Corrections budget, and so forth. Instead they questioned and belittled the good communication and interpersonal skills of a former prosecutor and accomplished African-American defense attorney/litigator with strong ties throughout the city to black, white, and otherwise, young and old, straight and gay, wealthy, and not so well to do. I am glad that Bolden will be able to connect with people from all walks of life in all communities.

A. Scott Bolden will get things done. He supports rent control as amended by the council, quality education, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, workforce development. And he has a plan. Expect him to be vocal on issues surrounding good management/good government and best practices. Expect him to strike a reasonable balance between labor and business issues. I am glad that I have signed on for Bolden for at-large and appreciate the opportunity to share my views on this candidate. Vote on Tuesday and let’s all work hard to make the nation’s capital the best place to live, work, enjoy, and do business. Get it done, Bolden.



UDC Hosts Mayor’s College Fair, September 15
Mike Andrews,

The University of the District of Columbia will be the host site for the first annual Mayor’s College Fair from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 15, at the University Gymnasium (Building 47). University President Dr. William L. Pollard and UDC Provost Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke will join Mayor Anthony Williams, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and DCPS Superintendent Clifford B. Janey (all currently scheduled to attend) and many other notables for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00 a.m. The University is a participating partner with Higher Education Financial Services Department of the DC State Education Office in conducting the College Fair. The Mayor’s College Fair is focused towards rising high school seniors in the District of Columbia. The event will allow a projected two thousand students and their families to interact with admission representatives from close to sixty postsecondary institutions (including the University of the District of Columbia) to discuss course offerings, admission, financial aid requirements, college life, and other information pertinent to the college selection process.

This fair will be a first for the State Education Office, which is anticipating representation from many of their DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG) partner institutions, the US Department of Education, private scholarship providers, and other college support agencies. The fair will be the first major college fair of the season. If you have any questions concerning the college fair, please contact Higher Education Financial Services Department of the DC State Education Office (1-877-485-6751 or 727-2824) or E-mail


Citywide Energy Expo, September 16
Phillip Harmon,

Combat rising utility bills! Come to the free DC Citywide Energy Expo for a home energy tune-up featuring workshops and demonstrations from exhibitors such as Home Depot, the DC Energy Office, the US Department of Energy, and local energy companies, all geared to help you lower your bills by making your home more energy efficient. Get consumer tips on high efficiency appliances, installing insulation, programmable thermostats, and much more on Saturday, September 16, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue, NW (Georgia Avenue at Madison Street) For more information, contact the DC Office of the People’s Counsel, Consumer Services at 727-3071.


Comprehensive Plan Meeting, September 16
George Idelson, Cleveland Park Citizens Association,

DC’s new Comprehensive Plan: what will it mean for you and for the city? Pros and cons of the Plan will be discussed on Saturday, September 16, at 10:15 a.m. at the Cleveland Park Library (upstairs). Panelists include Vincent Gray, councilmember Ward 7; Ellen McCarthy, Director, DC Office of Planning; Nancy MacWood, Chairman ANC3C and Comprehensive Plan Task Force; and Barbara Zartman, past president of the Committee of 100. The meeting is sponsored by the Cleveland Park Citizens Association and the Cleveland Park Historical Society. Both the Plan, which rethinks land use policies and will impact our city for the next twenty years, as well as the strategy to pass it on Mayor Williams’ watch, have evoked controversy. The council’s first hearing on the Plan is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26. The meeting is open to all.


National Building Museum Events, September 16
Lauren Searl,

Saturday, September 16, 1:00-2:00 p.m. Film: Modernism on Film: The Architecture of John Lautner. Modernist architect John Lautner began his career in Los Angeles and grew to be known for his visionary creations. The film The Spirit in Architecture: John Lautner (58 min.) explores the architect’s profound designs through interviews with historians, critics, collaborators, clients and Lautner himself. Free. Registration not required.

Saturday, September 16, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Family program, Was Kermit Wrong: Is It Easy To Be “Green”? Explore the interactive exhibition The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design to learn about the ways homes are becoming “greener” or more environmentally friendly. Experience a walk through the Glidehouse, a life-sized replica green house. Then create your own green house using a recycled shoebox(es) from home — complete with a real grass roof that will grow in your window! $5 per project. All ages. Drop-in program. Please bring a shoebox(es) for the program. Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.


DC Public Library Events, September 13, 14, 16
Debra Truhart,

Wednesday, September 13, 6:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Main Lobby. The District of Columbia Public Library’s Popular Library will host an author talk with Mary Monroe, who will discuss her recently published book, God Don’t Play. Monroe is the Essence best-selling author of God Don’t Like Ugly, for which she earned the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award and a nomination for the Black Writers Alliance’s Golden Pen Award. Following the program, there will be a book signing of God Don’t Play. The book will also be available for purchase by Karibu Books. The media is welcome to attend.

Wednesday, September 13, 7:00 p.m., Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R Street, NW. Author Catherine Mayo, editor of Mexico: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, will discuss works by such Mexican writers as Elena Poniatowska, Carlos Fuentes, Fernando del Paso and others.

Thursday, September 14, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Main Lobby. Volunteer opportunities in adult literacy. Help adults get GED’s or learn to read. Meet with local adult literacy providers. Call 727-2431 to register by September 11.

Saturday, September 16, 10:00 a.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW. Join Chalk4Peace, The Young Artists’ Global Chalk Project, and make history at a planet-size effort that pays respect to the visual concept of peace. Ages 8-18. The following neighborhood libraries will also host the program: Capitol View, Chevy Chase, Cleveland Park, Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park, Mount Pleasant, Palisades, Petworth, Southwest, Takoma, Washington Highlands, West End and Woodridge. For more information, call 727-4804.

Saturdays, September 16, 23, 30, 2:00 p.m., Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Avenue, NW. Lectures will be presented by C.R. Gibbs, noted author, scholar and historian. September 16, Black Inventors: From Africa to America; September 23, Lost Kingdom and Ancient Mysteries of Africa; September 30, White Slaves in Africa: The Untold Story.


Book Signing, September 23
Tolu Tolu,

You are invited to a book signing by the author of Why and How Women Are Exploited by Men Worldwide. Tolu, a local author, will be signing at Phish Tea Cafe, 1335 H Street, NE, on Saturday, September 23, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you bring ten other people with you I will give you a free copy of my book.


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