I’d love to hear your observations about the primary results. Oh,
let’s stop the pretense. DC doesn’t elect anybody except Democrats,
except for the at-large races, where each party can make only one
nomination for two seats that are elected every two years. The
Democratic nominees who won their primary races have for all practical
purposes already won the general election. So let’s hear what you
think of our new mayor, council chairman, and three new councilmembers.
(The final election night unofficial results by ward are available at http://www.dcboee.org/nws/news_frame.asp?filename=nr_86.pdf&mid=9&yid=2006&type=News%20Releases&hl=t;
results by precinct are also available on the Board of Elections’
The big surprise for me in the top three races was the size of the
margins. Fenty, Gray, and Mendelson didn’t just win; they won
decisively, by much bigger margins than the polls or any pundit
predicted. Can you explain the size of their victories? The other
surprise for me in the last days of the campaign was that Councilmember
Carol Schwartz endorsed Linda Cropp for mayor. Now, it’s not a
surprise that Schwartz was closer to Cropp than she was to Fenty. The
surprise was that the only citywide elected Republican politician, for
all practical purposes the head of her party in DC, didn’t endorse
David Kranich, the sole candidate in her own party’s mayoral primary,
but instead endorsed a Democrat for mayor. Is there any hope for the
emergence of a strong Republican party, one that can mount a real
challenge to Democrats in general elections?
On another subject, what are we doing to preserve the glories of our
city? In the past week, two leading architectural critics wrote that we’re
not preserving them; we’re ruining them. In The Los Angeles Times, Christopher
Knight wrote about “The Continued Mauling of the National Mall” (http://www.calendarlive.com/printedition/calendar/cl-et-mall9sep09,0,1022393.story?coll=cl-calendar).
He blasted the National Capital Planning Commission for a recent vote:
“The incremental ruin of the Mall — America’s greatest 20th
century work of civic landscape art — was pushed into overdrive.
Significant damage was assured for the adjacent Vietnam Veterans
Memorial, a modern design masterpiece. And, last but hardly least, the
NCPC tacitly announced its own obsolescence as a serious ‘planning’
agency.” In The Chicago Tribute, Blair Kamin wrote that,
“They are ruining Washington, ruining it in the name of saving it.”
His article was headlined, “Fort Washington: From Peoria to D.C.,
Federal Buildings Put on the Armor of a Nation Under Siege” (http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/arts/chi-0609090190sep10,1,3311141.story?coll=chi-leisurearts-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true)
Wilson High School Faculty Supports Contract
Compliance in the Martel Retaliation Case
Arthur Siebens, drart at starpower dot net
On September 11 and 12, the Wilson High School Faculty voted by
secret ballot to call upon DCPS Superintendent Clifford Janey and
Washington Teachers Union president George Parker to intervene at Wilson
High School. The resolution was entitled “Resolution in Support of
Implementation of the WTU Contract and Restoration of Erich Martel as AP
US History Teacher.” The vote was 60 in support, 7 against, 23
abstentions, and 3 teachers choosing to not participate. Thus, Wilson
teachers favor enforcement of the contract by a factor of over 8 to 1.
Included in the text of the resolution was support for the August 23
resolution by the WTU leadership at Wilson (the School Chapter Advisory
Committee) that attempted to restore Mr. Martel as AP US History teacher
prior to the beginning of school to avoid the changing of students’
teachers. Principal Stephen Tarason refused to reconsider his decision
to remove Mr. Martel despite three contract violations. The hope is that
Dr. Janey and Mr. Parker will insist that the contract be followed,
resulting in the reinstatement of Mr. Martel as an AP US History
teacher. The resolution was restricted to contract violations. Separate
issues include whether 90 of 310 Wilson students who graduated in June
failed to fulfill graduation requirements (currently under investigation
by the DC Office of the Inspector General), and whether the removal of
Mr. Martel’s AP classes was in retaliation for his being a
whistle-blower in publicizing his analysis of the Wilson graduates (see Northwest
Current, September 4, page 1).
Jay Mathews Writes About Retaliation at Wilson
Erich Martel, ehmartel at starpower dot net
On Tuesday, Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews
devoted his online column to the principal’s retaliatory act of
secretly transferring all three Advanced Placement US History sections
to a teacher who had never taught the subject before. Mathews wrote,
“No one who knows will say why Martel had his AP classes taken away
from him and given to a teacher who has not taught AP before.” He
describes the plausible link to my reports that many students received
diplomas they hadn’t earned.
He concludes the article with: “Janey’s next move, it seems to
me, is pretty clear. Give Martel his AP courses back. . . .” The
complete article can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/12/AR2006091200709_pf.html.
Is It Safe to Answer the Phone Again?
Paul Wilson, dcmcrider at gmail dot com
One sign of the money being spent on campaigns in Washington is the
unprecedented volume of phone calls we received in the run-up to the
primary election. Scores of calls had our phone ringing in the past
week. These came on our home line and business lines. Most of them
showed up on caller ID as either 800 numbers or mysterious out-of-state
area codes. Some regulation may be called for on that score: the
campaign paying for the call should display on caller ID. The most
frequent callers were Linda Cropp, Adrian Fenty, and Phil Mendelson. And
someone from “Tobacco-Free Kids” was shilling for Mendelson, as I
Color me unimpressed with candidates who can merely write checks to
pay for out-of-state automated calling services and slick prerecorded
messages. A real sign of a candidate’s strength is getting a couple
dozen volunteers to work a phone bank and to call me for one-on-one
conversations. That way I can at least ask questions, just like I would
interact with a volunteer on the street.
About Those Calls and Mailings from DC
Joan Eisenstodt, email@example.com
I concur with Cecilio Morales [themail, September 10] about the
calls. I am stunned at the number and the hours at which they call.
More, the mailings are like nothing I’ve ever seen in my nearly thirty
years in DC. Oy! The amount of paper generated was obscene. Where did
all the money come from that the candidates had to pay for this? Is it a
good use of money? Are that many voters persuaded by the mailings, or
are more turned entirely off from the process by the calls and mailings?
Maybe we’ll know tomorrow [election day]. But next election cycle,
there’s got to be a better way. (And no, shouting from rooftops won’t
do it! Enough with the noise!)
Are the Telemarketeers Back in the Water?
Star Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org
The post about E-mail spam reminded me that I am getting
telemarketing calls again. At least one a day, despite being on the No
Call List. When I say that I am on the list, they say, "Do you work
at home? Then this is a business and I can call a business." Or
sometimes, they stumble around and say, OK, and hang up. I cannot think
of one thing I would buy from a phone solicitation. Not one. Can anyone?
Public Libraries Now Wi-Fi Hot Spots
Monica Lewis, email@example.com
The District of Columbia Public Library has made all libraries within
the system, with the exception of the 150-foot Deanwood Kiosk, wireless
Internet accessible hot spots. Wi-Fi, an abbreviation for wireless
fidelity, is a technology that allows any library user with a laptop
computer and a wireless Internet card that supports the Wi-Fi standard
to log onto the World Wide Web. As Wi-Fi hot spots, the Martin Luther
King, Jr., Memorial Library and twenty-one branches across the District
will be able to provide library users with Internet access beyond the
public computers provided at each location. Wi-Fi access at the DC
Public Library is free of charge to all customers.
DCPL launched the first Wi-Fi access point available within the
system at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library in May 2006 as a pilot
program. The service was very well received by local-area residents and
by library patrons who now visit the library with their laptops. As the
service was being installed gradually at branches around the library
system, posters and brochures were displayed informing library users
they were now in a hot spot. Since going live with the Wi-Fi, laptop
users have been spotted in libraries across the city.
The District’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the DC
Public Library’s Information and Telecommunications Office worked
jointly to install Wi-Fi throughout the system. The work was completed
ahead of the scheduled September 30 deadline. The Deanwood Kiosk
currently has no broadband line, and therefore remains without Wi-Fi.
The Kiosk will be upgraded in several months and will be outfitted with
the technology. A brochure entitled, "How-To Guide: Using Wi-Fi at
the DC Public Library," is available in branch libraries across the
I said in an earlier issue of themail that I wouldn’t vote for
Cropp or Patterson because they financed the stadium. I received a reply
that taxpayer money hadn’t been spent on the stadium, so why was I
The point is that since DC has gone to Wall Street for bonds; it can’t
go back for capital improvements like street lights, because its debt
level is too high.
Insurgent Campaign Sweeps to Victory
Dan Wedderburn, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian Fenty led an insurgent campaign to sweeping victory yesterday
in the nation’s capitol. Distrusted and feared by much of the
entrenched political and business establishment, he can be expected to
make major changes in the machinery of government starting Jan. 2, 2007.
Mr. Fenty offered bold new leadership and is determined to make the
city government finally responsive to its residents. He has also pledged
not to raise taxes. A major objective of his will be to help those left
behind during the rising tide of prosperity under current Mayor
Williams. Despite these rather unalarming and even conservative campaign
themes, Fenty has been tagged by much of the establishment as everything
in the book, including lacking basic intelligence and lazily pecking
away on his Blackberry while other councilmembers made key legislative
decisions behind closed doors (instead of in public view as the law
Adrian Fenty will be thirty-six when he takes office, which for many
voters does not seem young at all. Some of our most revered Presidents
like John Kennedy and Bill Clinton were relatively young when they
assumed office. Further, both stumbled early on: recall the Bay of Pigs
and gays in the Military. Mr. Fenty can be expected to make some errors
out of the starting gate. Notwithstanding, the electorate has
overwhelmingly concluded they are willing to stand with this energetic,
focused man with a solid vision of what he wants to achieve for this
city and the determination to bring it about.
Are We Morally Fit If We Remain Silent?
Dennis Jaffe, DennisJaffe@Gmail.com
Weeks ago, Ward Five Councilmember Vincent Orange denounced as “not
morally fit” to be mayor all of his opponents in the September 12 DC
mayoral primary who supported gay or same gender marriage (http://www.washblade.com/2006/8-18/news/localnews/candidate.cfm).
Orange’s message didn’t resonate with 97 percent of Democrats who
cast a vote for mayor on Tuesday. I am tempted to denounce Orange, to
express as a gay American my anger at him for attempting to ostracize
gays and lesbians. Instead, I’ll reference the slogan of the
Democratic candidate nominated for council for Ward 5, Harry Thomas Jr.:
“Building bridges. Finding solutions.”
Now that the heat of the primary will soon be behind us, I ask you to
send a message to Councilmember Orange directly letting him know what
you think of his declaration about morality. Whether it’s a message of
anger or bridge-building or a combination of both (I hope not of
praise), I think it’s important to make your voice heard. His chief of
staff is Estell Mathis-Lloyd. Her contact information is email@example.com,
[In response to “I’m Mad as Hell,” themail, September 10]
Welcome to the Go to Hell Club that I am a member of, too. The
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs needs a class action suit
for their long history of not doing anything right. Read my story on
page 54 of the August 2006 Hill Rag newspaper (http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/publications/hillrag/2006_august/54-57-rag-0806.pdf).
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Congressional Hearing on DC Voting Rights,
Kevin Kiger, firstname.lastname@example.org
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a
hearing on the DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act (DC Voting
Rights Act, H.R. 5388) on September 14 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 2141,
Rayburn House Office Building. The bill would give DC residents a voting
member of Congress for the first time ever. Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.
(R-UT) will be among those testifying tomorrow. This hearing marks the
first time witnesses will unanimously testify before Congress that the
denial of democracy in Washington, DC, is a problem that needs to be
fixed. Witnesses have differing opinions on the solution.
In May, the House Committee on Government Reform passed the DC Voting
Rights Act, which is sponsored by Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA), with
overwhelming bipartisan support and a vote of 29-4. The House Judiciary
Committee, however, has primary jurisdiction over the issue. Chairman
James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has committed to bringing the bill to a mark
up in the full committee following the hearing.
DC Vote and our coalition partners, including the Leadership Council
on Civil Rights, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and others,
have worked tirelessly with Representatives Davis, Rob Bishop (R-UT),
Chris Cannon (R-UT), Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and other
members of Congress to keep momentum building for H.R. 5388.
Forums on the DCPS Draft Master Facilities
Plan, September 18-27
Sarah Pokempner, email@example.com
[On behalf of Erika Landberg, DC VOICE] You are invited to join your
neighbors and DC Public Schools officials in a community forum on the
DCPS Draft Master Facilities Plan. This landmark plan proposes a
strategy for modernizing and rightsizing all of our school buildings.
Eight forums will be held, one in each area. All forums will be from 6-8
p.m. Refreshments and childcare will be provided.
This is your opportunity to weigh in on what “modernization”
means, the order in which schools will get modernized, which schools
DCPS is planning to close and consolidate, and how DCPS proposes to
spend the $3 billion in facilities dollars it will be getting from the
District over the next fifteen years. For more information, go to the
DCPS web site, www.k12.dc.us, or
contact DC VOICE at 986-8534, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the schedule of forums. Planning Area A: Tuesday, September
19, Savoy ES, 2400 Shannon Place, SE. Planning Area B: Monday, September
18, Kramer MS, 1700 Q Street, SE. Planning Area C: Wednesday, September
27, H.D. Woodson HS, 5500 Eads Street, NE. Planning Area D: Thursday,
September 28, Hine JHS, 335 8th Street, SE. Planning Area E: Monday,
September 25, Brookland ES, 1150 Michigan Avenue, NE. Planning Area F:
Tuesday, September 26, Francis JHS, 2425 N Street, NW. Planning Area G:
Thursday, September 21, W. Wilson HS, 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW.
Planning Area H: Friday, September 22, Clark ES, 4501 Kansas Avenue, NW.
Taxicab Commission Community Forums, September
Moses Alexander Greene, email@example.com
The District of Columbia Taxicab Commission, in cooperation with the
University of the District of Columbia, has planned community forums in
each of the District’s eight wards to learn how the District’s
taxicab industry can better serve the riding public. As the Commission
consistently receives complaints about refusals to haul, overcharging,
discourteous and unsafe practices among drivers, the lack of dispatch
service, and inadequate service for the handicapped, it would like to
hear from members of the wider community on their experiences with the
District’s taxicab industry and recommendations for its improvement.
The meetings, which begin in mid-September and continue through
mid-October, will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7 p.m.-9
p.m. Ward 3, Tuesday, September 19, Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600
Calvert Street, NW. Ward 6, Thursday, September 21, Sherwood Recreation
Center, 1000 G Street, NE. Ward 2, Tuesday, September 26, Foundry United
Methodist Church, 1500 16th Street, NW. Ward 5, Thursday, September 28,
Washington Center for the Aging, 2601 18th Street, NE. Ward 4, Tuesday,
October 3, Peoples Congregation Church, 4704 13th Street, NW. Ward 7,
Thursday, October 5, Marshall Heights Community Development
Organization, 3939 Benning Road, NE. Ward 8, Tuesday, October 10, The
ARC, 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE. Ward 1, Thursday, October 12, All
Souls Church, Unitarian, 1500 Harvard Street, NW.
Gordon A. White, Extension Specialist of the University of the
District of Columbia’s Community Resource and Economic Development
Cooperative Extension Service, will serve as moderator for the forums.
The Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications will begin airing
public service announcements regarding the meetings the second week in
September. Each forum will be taped and will air on Channel 16 in the
The Fairfax County Public Library invites you to the eighth annual
Fall for the Book Festival on the Fairfax campus of George Mason
University, September 27-October 5. The festival features nine days of
free readings and discussions with bestselling authors such as Dave
Eggers and Deborah Tannen, plus Pulitzer Prize winners such as Doris
Kearns Goodwin and Geraldine Brooks. Explore your favorite types of
books, from history and memoirs to spy novels and thrillers, and meet
sports writers, poets, children’s book authors, and journalists. For a
full list of activities, visit http://www.fallforthebook.org/
CLASSIFIEDS — HOUSING
Charming three bedroom, two bath, Arts and Crafts style bungalow on
MacArthur Boulevard. Available October 1, $3495 per month. Go to http://www.rothblum.org
for pictures and more information, or call 244-3023, or E-mail Richard@rothblum.org.
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
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To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages
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All postings should also be submitted to email@example.com,
and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of
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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.