News Starts Tomorrow
Dear News Hounds:
The news from the new city administration begins tomorrow. Yesterday’s
private inauguration was just a formality, and today’s public
inauguration wasn’t that much more important. Mayor Fenty’s speech (http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor/070103.htm)
was a collection of platitudes. I just posted it, and I have already
forgotten it. Council Chairman Gray’s speech (http://www.dcwatch.com/council/070103.htm)
didn’t say anything either, although it signals his desire for a
return to 1960’s-style liberalism and 1970’s-style governmental
But tomorrow the news begins. Tomorrow Mayor Fenty announces his plan
to take over the schools. That’s where the important money and
property is. That’s where there is a multitude of desirable land
holdings that are ripe for divestment and dispersal to the insiders.
That’s where there is over two billion dollars in construction and
renovation money ripe for the picking, money that the powers-that-be
want to funnel to EdBuild, the Federal City Council creation that keeps
a revolving door open for high-level city government officials (http://www.edbuild.org).
By the way, don’t expect much reporting about EdBuild and its
sweetheart insider deals from the Post or the Times (although
V. Dion Haynes did have one story about it recently, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/25/AR2006122500546.html).
This is an occasion on which we miss The Common Denominator,
which would take on stories about who is profiting from sweetheart
back-room deals. You may want to start subscribing to the Afro-American,
since its reporter, Valencia Muhammed, is interested in covering the
Fenty has prepared well for this, naming new appointees to the Board
of Education who are primed to undermine its authority and power,
asserting that his secret plan for improving education will speedily
improve DC’s schools, somehow. When I dealt with education affairs in
some depth, a few decades ago, I formulated a personal rule: someone who
referred to himself as a “teacher” probably had some idea of how to
teach kids; someone who referred to himself as an “educator” would
have theories about teaching, but no clue of what to do in a classroom;
and someone who referred to himself as an “educationalist” was
purely a quack. Fenty hasn’t given us any reason to trust that he has
a teacher’s understanding of what DC’s students need, any reason to
believe that he really has a plan that will change for the better what
goes on in the classrooms. I have no doubt that he has a plan for the
city’s assets, but I don’t see what’s in it for the kids. I
suspect he’s an educationalist.
Here’s hoping for a year of improvements over the last. I have
appreciated your good work in publishing. One thing, though: we live in
a constitutional republic, not a democracy — this is what gives us our
rule of law as opposed to other supposed “democratic countries.”
Song Requested, Song Delivered
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Regarding the annoying flashing lights on DC police cruisers: http://dearofficergoodheart.blogspot.com.
I love it that the police keep their lights on at all times. It keeps
them from being able to sneak up on you.
A posting in themail [December 31, 2006] concerning a Department of
Motor Vehicles employee who insisted that a registrant for a driver’s
license provide his Social Security Number prompts this message. It is
not necessary — and, in my opinion, it’s a really terrible idea --
to have your SSN serve as your driver’s license number. When someone
needs your driver’s license for identification, remember that you’re
handing them your SSN as well, if that’s the number on your license.
When it’s written on the back of a check you’re writing at the local
grocery or wherever, you’ve just given someone your name, address,
social security number, birth date (since that’s on the license as
well), and your banking information. Identity thieves love this!
When I applied for my last driver’s license I asked for and was
given what appears to be a random number. And I left feeling better that
I had withdrawn my SSN from yet another public venue.
Failures at Metro: Indifference Elsewhere
Len Sullivan, email@example.com
I disagree with Ed Barron’s characterizations of Metro’s role,
purpose, and shortcomings in the DC region (themail, December 13 and
31). Metro is not a public service, nor is it charged with giving every
resident and commuter whatever service at whatever price they want.
Metro is vital to the region’s infrastructure and a precursor to its
future growth. DC’s future as a great capital city is put at risk by
indifference to Metro by the federal government; the states and counties
served; the DC council; DC’s economic planners; DC Department of
Transportation; and, so far, Fenty’s transition team. A good case can
be made for placing WMATA under federal receivership, at least until its
long-term growth plans and funding sources (including fare-setting) are
codified for both operations and expansion.
WMATA is DC’s most heavily (50 percent) subsidized public utility.
It is an inadequately chartered, ineffectually managed corporation,
unable to keep up with its aging physical assets, much less the region’s
projected growth. Among water, sewer, gas, power, and communications,
Metrorail will be DC’s first infrastructure element to become
capacity-limited downtown, probably by 2015. Absent substantial in-town,
off-street expansion, Metro cannot offset DC’s overcrowded arterials
that DDoT plans to downgrade to traffic-limited, trolley-clogged, local
Metro need not be a barrier to commuting minimum-wage workers, nor a
duct for pumping freeloading suburbanites into an overtaxed,
under-subsidized city. DC needs more tax sources that generate
substantially more revenue than they consume. Successful businesses pay
high property and sales taxes, and employ many skilled workers that
leave their dependents elsewhere. DC’s financial future would be
assured indefinitely with 100,000 more commuters, and 50,000 less
resident tax-consumers at/below the poverty level, even if DC or their
employers pay their fares. Why do DDoT’s “Transportation Vision”
and DC’s twenty-year Comprehensive Plan show no growth in Metro? Where
was Tangherlini when Metro’s budget deficit arose, and the Friendship
Heights bus station ceiling was lowered below bus height? Is the
long-term vision of Metro’s new $360,000 manager, John Catoe, any
better than that of his predecessors or his Board? What did Emeka Moneme
do to be DDoT’s next highly-paid director, besides tag after
Tangherlini for six years? A first-rate city surely cannot be developed
with third-rate transportation infrastructure planning.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Public Library Events, January 10-11
India Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Great Hall. Reverend Walter E. Fauntroy will
discuss Dr. Martin Luther King: The Person. For more information, call
Thursday, January 11, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Martin Luther King,
Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Great Hall. Rudy Barker will
give an inspiring, powerful rendition of Dr. King’s "I Have a
Dream" speech. Grades 3-10. For more information, call 727-4804.
Thursday, January 11, 12:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5. Gifted Soprano Malinda Dix-Hunt
joins pianist Michael Craybill to present a recital in honor of the
civil rights movement and achievements of African Americans,
highlighting the poetry of Langston Hughes, set by composer Margaret
Bonds. For more information, call 727-1285.
Thursday, January 11 6:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, 901 G Street, NW, Great Hall. The twenty-five-member Salone
Clary Chorale will perform a variety of selections, including Negro
spirituals and some of Dr. King’s favorite anthems. For more
information, call 727-1285.
Thursday, January 11 6:30 p.m., Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library,
3110 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Author Alicia Shepard will discuss Woodward
and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate. A book sale and
signing will follow the program. For more information, call 282-3080.
The Hearst Tower at the NBM, January 10
Lauren Searl, email@example.com
Wednesday, January 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m. The Hearst Tower is New York
City’s first building to receive a Gold LEED certified rating for
“core and shell and interiors.” The Hearst Tower uses
high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning equipment, Energy Star
appliances, and other energy-saving features such as rainwater and
daylighting techniques to reduce resource consumption. Brian Schwagerl,
vice president of Real Estate and Facilities Planning of the Hearst
Corporation, will share his insights on the road map the Hearst
Corporation used to design the environmentally friendly, 46-story office
tower. Free. Registration not required. At the National Building Museum,
401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.
Cleveland Park Meeting on DC Libraries, January 13
George Idelson, Cleveland Park Citizens Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
“What’s Ahead for the DC Public Library System?” is the subject
of a meeting scheduled for Saturday, January 13, 10:15 a.m., at the
Cleveland Park Library. The speaker will be Ginnie Cooper, Chief
Librarian of the DC Public Library System. The meeting is cosponsored by
Friends of the Cleveland Park Library, Cleveland Park Citizens
Association, and Cleveland Park Historical Society. All are welcome.
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