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September 13, 2006


Dear Pundits:

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; results by precinct are also available on the Board of Elections’ site.

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” (,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” (,1,3311141.story?coll=chi-leisurearts-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true)

Gary Imhoff


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 High School
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


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 recall.

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 Candidates
Joan Eisenstodt,

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,

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,

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 District.


Bryce Suderow,

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 upset.

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,

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 requires).

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,

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 ( 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, 724-8067.


Tolu Tolu,

[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 (



Congressional Hearing on DC Voting Rights, September 14
Kevin Kiger,

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,

[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,, or contact DC VOICE at 986-8534,

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 19-October 12
Moses Alexander Greene,

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 upcoming weeks.


Fairfax Book Festival, September 27-October 5
Lois Kirkpatrick,

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



For Rent, Palisades
Richard Rothblum,

Charming three bedroom, two bath, Arts and Crafts style bungalow on MacArthur Boulevard. Available October 1, $3495 per month. Go to for pictures and more information, or call 244-3023, or E-mail


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