Over the years, Dorothy and I have seen the Fourth of July fireworks
from a number of perspectives. We’ve been on the Mall, on the Capitol
steps, on the Georgetown waterfront, on the rooftop of the Harbour
Square apartment building in southwest, in the rooftop restaurant of the
Hotel Washington, on the upper tier of Meridian Hill Park, and on the
grounds of Cardozo High School in Columbia Heights. But we continue to
be surprised. We were going to skip the fireworks this year because of
the thunderstorm, and we decided just to go out to dinner. We chose a
restaurant we had never been to before, Singapore Bistro on 19th Street,
NW, between L and M Streets, and we finished dinner just after 9:00 p.m.
It turns out that that stretch of 19th Street has a direct line of sight
to the fireworks, so at the same time that we left the restaurant most
of the diners, waiters, and cooks emptied out from all the restaurants
on the block, and we all spent the next half hour standing in the street
getting our yearly complementary dazzling. Nooshi (the new name for
Oodles Noodles), Smith & Wollensky, Rumors, and the other
restaurants on the block basically suspended business to celebrate the
Fourth, and everybody on the block smiled, laughed, and applauded during
and at the end of the show.
By contrast, there were no fireworks in the city council last week.
As I predicted, the fact that the Deputy Mayor for Education, Victor
Reinoso, committed plagiarism was seen as no bar to his appointment; and
the fact that schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee doesn’t have the
qualifications to head a large, troubled school system and that she
padded her resume with exaggerated claims that can’t be substantiated
was passed over easily. Reinoso, on the bad legal advice of the mayor’s
General Counsel, Peter Nickles, told the council that he didn’t have
to answer their questions about who in his office participated in
copying the report or whether anyone was disciplined for it, and the
council rolled over and played dead for him. If the city council thought
it had trouble getting information from the Board of Education, wait
until they try to get any straight answers from Reinoso’s office, now
that Reinoso has established the principle and the precedent that he
doesn’t have to tell them anything. (Last week, Nickles also said that
when Mayor Fenty was a councilmember he didn’t have to disclose in his
financial report the fact that his wife was paid for legal work she did
for the National Capital Revitalization Corporation because -- well, it
doesn’t matter what argument he used, because it doesn’t make any
sense; it all comes down to Nickles’ consistent position that Fenty
doesn’t have to follow the laws that apply to others [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/03/AR2007070302137.html]).
In any case, if you ignore the city’s government, it’s still a
delightful city to live in. Dinner at Singapore Bistro was satisfying,
and the fireworks are always worth seeing, whether you make an effort to
see them or not. The joy of lights in the sky.
Dropped the Ball
Ed T Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
As I sit here wearing my Kathy Patterson for Council Chairman T-shirt
I can only wonder why Mayor Fenty dropped the ball in selecting Victor
Reinoso as his Deputy Mayor for Education. Fenty has really fumbled on
this selection. Far better qualified for that job is Kathy Patterson
(now a director for the Pre-K Now organization). Reinoso is a
lightweight in both experience and a demonstrated capability for making
things happen, compared to Kathy. She’ll do a great job in her new
organization, but the District has missed a golden opportunity.
Arrested Development Update
Dorothy Brizill, email@example.com
At Tuesday’s court hearing in Superior Court, the case against me
for simple assault was dropped. The US Attorney’s office made the
decision not to proceed with prosecution and thus the case got "no
papered." I was arrested on the evening of June 13; the US Attorney’s
office made this decision on Friday, June 15. It made a notation to that
effect on my arrest report, but no one bothered to inform me. Although I
repeatedly tried to secure a copy of the arrest report from MPD (both
the First District Commander and the Public Information Office) over the
next two weeks, I have still not been successful. I spent two weeks
trying to find and hire a criminal defense attorney, which I would not
have done if I had known the charge had already been dropped. It wasn’t
until my attorney called the US Attorney to determine the status of the
case that I learned that the case would be no-papered. Meanwhile, the
news was widely known and shared within the Executive Office of the
Mayor. I understand that the reason that the US Attorney’s office made
the decision not to prosecute was that, after reviewing the arrest
report, it found “insubstantial evidence” to proceed.
Even though I did not assault or even touch anyone, I now have an
arrest record. I will have to go through a time-consuming process to
petition the court to have the arrest record sealed and, hopefully,
expunged. Despite the adage that the criminal justice system treats
suspects as innocent until proven guilty, that really isn’t true.
After someone makes a false or unfounded allegation against you, even if
the charge is dropped, you must fight to prove that you are innocent. As
Massachusetts Governor and Secretary of Transportation John Volpe
Labor Secretary Ray Donovan said
after being cleared of corruption charges against him, “Where do I go
to get my good name back?”
It’s almost three years exactly since the hands free cell phone law
took effect in DC, and anyone who drives with eyes open must see that
enforcement of this law by the Metropolitan Police Department has been a
complete failure. Many drivers seem to think that holding the cell phone
a few inches further away from their face constitutes hands free, while
others continue to veer dangerously around the streets of DC while
driving and chatting. I’ve seen countless police officers also talking
on cell phones while driving, and contacted the MPD, who say the
officers were in emergency situations, and so exempted from this law. A
year ago, I suggested to the MPD that an awareness campaign or crackdown
on this dangerous practice would go a long way, but still nothing.
Also, in reply to Gary Imhoff’s snide footnote to my message about
the monotonous debate on this list regarding the DC schools situation, I
neither (unlike some) blindly support nor oppose the mayor’s takeover.
I do think, however, that the editorials on this mailing list reflect a
short sighted and completely unbalanced view of that issue, and often at
the expense of examining other important issues facing DC residents.
[Re: Getting the Finger, themail, July 1]: With regard to correct
spelling, that would be John Street, mayor of Philadelphia.
[I had written John “Streeter.” — Gary Imhoff]
Sorry you’re getting so much grief for printing residents’
criticisms about Fenty in your newsletter. I for one will continue to
criticize Fenty and his government whenever they step over the line,
even if it means Peter Turner and others get upset. So just keep
printing my comments.
Remember when you and I got the same grief for criticizing his
highness Anthony Williams? Apparently people felt that since Williams
was going to single-handedly fix every agency in the District, it was
uncharitable to tell the truth about his habitual disregard for the law.
Well, guess what, you protectors of the good rep of Williams and Fenty?
The government’s still dysfunctional. So acting like the three monkeys
who saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil didn’t do a damn bit
of good during the Williams administration. And it won’t do any good
with Fenty either. Because they aren’t here to fix things. They’re
here for power.
When are you going to learn that, folks? Let me be the first to
nominate Adrian Fenty for the position of God.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Public Library Events, July 6, 7, 10 and
Randi Blank, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fridays, July 6-July 27, 12:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, G Street Overhang. Music al Fresco.
Join us for weekly outdoor concerts in a variety of music styles
presented by members of the American Federation of Musicians Local
161-170. If it is raining, concerts will take place in the Great Hall.
Music al Fresco runs through August 31. For more information, call
Saturdays, July 7, July 21, 1:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room 215. Technology Training
Session. Demonstrations of new assistive technologies and group training
for people of all ages who use assistive technology for the blind and
visually impaired. For more information, call 727-2142.
Tuesdays, July 10, 17, 24, 31, 7:00 p.m., Cleveland Park Neighborhood
Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Book bingo: read, play bingo, and
win prizes! For more information, call 282-3073.
First-Wednesdays Money Savers, starting July
Michelle Phipps-Evans, email@example.com
For the rest of 2007, the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and
Banking (DISB) will host a series of moneysaving seminars to help you
take stock of your financial future. Every first Wednesday of the month,
you will find innovative ways to realize your dreams. These will be held
at DISB’s office at 810 First Street, NE, Suite 701, from noon to 1
p.m. The topics are The Truth about Credit (July 11), Saving for
Retirement with 20 more years to work (Aug. 1), Life Insurance Month
(Sept. 5), Saving Tips for the Family (Oct. 3), Health Insurance Month
(Nov. 7), Tax Tips that Save (Dec. 5). For more information, visit DISB’s
Web site at www.disb.dc.gov or call
Michelle Phipps-Evans at 442-7822.
Community Service Partnership Fair, August 20
Dena R. Bauman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a nonprofit public interest organization (including the
government and judiciary) that provides legal services to District of
Columbia residents? Would law student volunteers help you? If so, we
want you to take advantage of the UDC-DCSL Community Service Program.
Come to the community service partnership fair on August 20 from 10:45
a.m.-12:15 p.m. At the University of the District of Columbia David A.
Clarke School of Law, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Building 39, Room 205
(Second Floor). UDC-DCSL requires students to complete a minimum of
forty hours of pro bono community service during their first year as
part of their Law and Justice Class. The work must be law-related and
benefit District of Columbia residents.
Community service is an integral part of the UDC-DCSL curriculum.
Students learn invaluable lessons from their real-life experiences with
clients, deadlines, workplace rules, and supervisors. Beyond the initial
assistance our students provide, many continue their relationship with
their host organization through additional voluntary internships, School
of Law summer stipends and academic credit internships. You are invited
to send a representative with materials to this free event. We will
provide a table, chairs, lunch, and Class of 2010 students who are eager
to meet you! Unfortunately, we cannot assist individuals seeking legal
advice through this event or program. Examples of past participating
organizations include: CAIR, DC Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid
Society of the District of Columbia, American Civil Liberties Union of
the National Capital Area, the Council for Court Excellence, DC Office
of the Attorney General, National Veterans Legal Services Program,
District of Columbia Office of Bar Counsel, AARP Nursing Home Ombudsman
Program, US District Court, Public Defender Service of DC, DC Superior
Court, UDC-DCSL Immigration Law Center, and Time Dollar Youth Court.
Please RSVP by E-mail to email@example.com
by August 13. Please send the name of the person attending and all
contact information (street address, phone, fax, E-mail). If you are an
organization new to working with UDC-DCSL, we will ask for more
information about your program. The UDC garage has a limited number of
guest parking passes for $3.50 (rather than the usual $8.00). If you
need a parking pass (the garage is under the campus off Van Ness Street)
you will need to request it by August 13. Your name will be added to the
guest list. Street parking is limited. We are at the Van Ness/UDC metro
stop, Red Line. If you cannot attend, but are otherwise interested,
please let us know.
CLASSIFIEDS — LOST PET
Reward: my lutino cockatiel (small white bird with golden yellow
mohawk, orange cheeks, and yellow flecks on chest) flew away from the
DC/Montgomery County border on May 26. He is unbanded, fully flighted
(unclipped), and capable of flying long distances. He is feisty and
affectionate and loves to sing his song. If you see him please coax him
to you with whistles, kisses, and light hand clapping. Once you have
him, gently scratch his head and then stroke his back and gently catch
him from his back (never from the front, it compresses their lungs),
take him home and call me at 244-0610 or E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve already rescued him, please do the same.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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