On October 22, at Ballou High School, Mayor Fenty announced a new
strategy for increased school security (http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor/071022.htm).
Well, it wasn’t exactly a new strategy. It was more like a restatement
of the school security plan that Mayor Williams announced on February
18, 2004, in response to a student’s shooting at Ballou (http://www.dcwatch.com/policy/040218.htm)
— a strategy that was never implemented.
I don’t often publish praise of DCWatch. Compliments are accepted
gratefully, but publishing them strikes me as being too close to
bragging. I’ll make an exception, however, for a novel and unique
compliment that Sam Smith gave us in the October 25 issue of his DC City
Desk newsletter (http://prorev.com/freedc.htm),
leading into a quote from the last issue of themail: “The media is
second only to certain late Argentinean dictatorships in disappearing
things it doesn’t care about, albeit more discreetly. Thus, in the
coverage of the Southeast Hospital story, you’ll find barely a mention
of its powerful roots in the disastrous closing of DC General Hospital
by the Williams administration with the support of the city council. A
rare exception is the sainted DCWatch.”
“Sainted.” Much appreciated, but I’m sure that the Devil’s
Advocate (the Catholic church official who investigates and exposes the
flaws of a candidate for sainthood) would be able to derail the process
in its early stages, long before DCWatch achieved sainthood.
On September 21, Mayor Fenty signed a new Mayor’s Order 2007-207,
detailing the District government’s “E-mail retention policy” (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/octo070921.htm).
In an October 3 memorandum to agency directors and agency general
counsels, Peter Nickles, Council to the Mayor, explains that “under
the proposed policy, OCTO (Office of Chief Technology Officer) will
store all E-mail on DC government E-mail servers for six months, then
delete it automatically and permanently” (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/octo071003.htm).
The new order to very similar to an earlier Mayor’s Order 2007-157,
which Fenty signed on July 5 (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/octo070705.htm).
However, the September order clarifies that the major’s E-mail
retention, actually deletion, policy will become effective on January 5,
It is widely known that Mayor Fenty and his top administrators do not
keep a paper records of their communications in the form of letters,
memoranda, or policy papers. Instead, they use electronic communication
devices; Fenty himself carries at least three Blackberries — one for
“mayoral duties,” another for personal use, and still another for
direct communications with the police department.
Since May, I have repeatedly tried to impress upon Councilmember
Carol Schwartz, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Workforce
Development and Government Operations, the importance of this issue. To
date, she has refused to schedule even a public hearing on the issue.
Prior to January, when Fenty’s new policy will be implemented,
citizens and members of the press must urge Council Chairman Gray to
have the council draft and adopt legislation that prevents the mayor
from implementing his policy of deleting the E-mail record and requires
the District to develop a comprehensive record retention and management
policy that is similar in some respects to the Presidential Records Act
Jonetta Rose Barras, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s termination of Department of Health
Director (DOH) Gregg A. Pane comes as no surprise to those who have been
paying close attention to the city’s healthcare delivery system and
executive-legislative politics over the past several months. No one
disliked Pane. He seemed a benign functionary. He certainly was far more
competent than James Buford, the department’s previous director. But
Pane still was unable to manage the massive healthcare bureaucracy. I
repeatedly requested the citywide healthcare plan the department was
required to prepare. There were always promises that it would be
released. I haven’t seen a copy yet. Two mayors and the DC Council
picked apart Pane’s department as he sat in the director’s seat.
Things were in disarray at the DOH even before Fenty arrived in the
mayoral suite. Sources say that former City Administrator Robert Bobb
believed Pane not up for the job. But then-Mayor Anthony A. Williams was
his protector. When Fenty was shuffling through the cast of Williams
administration officials he wanted to keep, Pane was someone I urged, in
a Washington Examiner newspaper column, that the mayor give the
boot. Pane had another protector: Councilmember David Catania. Fenty
went with that recommendation; he needed the at-large legislator to
effect his schools takeover. Catania had his own agenda. The duo’s
ambitions were compatible.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control sent a letter this summer
making it clear that federal grant money — as much as $30 million —
was in jeopardy. “Historically, the DOH’s inability to effectively
use CDC funding has resulted in large un-obligated balances from
year-to-year, equating to ineffective delivery of healthcare
services,” Dr. Stephanie B.C. Bailey wrote in her letter to Fenty. CDC
officials are expected to meet this week with Fenty administration
officials. While Pane may be gone, don’t expect the
executive-legislative back scratching to end. Read the full story in The
Barras Report at jrbarras.com
Ed T Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
An article in the October 29 issue of Sports Illustrated is
about the rejuvenation of a bad part of Denver where they built the new
Coors Field for the Major League baseball team, the Rockies (now in the
World Series, by the way). To lure a major league team to Denver the
city had to promise a new baseball stadium. That stadium was built in a
very bad section of Denver known as LoDo and opened in 1995. “No city
in America was transformed more by baseball than Denver. LoDo blossomed
into a garden of restaurants and shops and 4300 housing units,”
according to sports writer Rick Reilly. I’m not sure who paid for the
stadium and I’m certain that there is ample parking at the new ball
park. I’ll verify that with Rick. So, perhaps some good will come of
our investment in the new ballpark for the Nationals.
Video Interview with Rob Curley at the Washington
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
Here’s a short, informative video interview with Rob Curley, the
Vice President for New Products at the Washington Post (and
Hopeful. The interviewer, JD Lasica, is one of the most respected
names in citizen journalism. A few weeks ago JD Lasica added me as a
friend on Facebook. That meant a lot to me.
Fenty and the Continuing Problems
Jonathan R. Rees, firstname.lastname@example.org
While the District of Columbia is facing a housing slump, a serious
job crunch, a record number of unemployed African Americans and Hispanic
Americans, a long list of failed government services, and more, Mayor
Adrian Fenty has more $100,000-a-year people working under him than any
mayor in DC history, DC city councilmembers are now paying themselves
more than any other city council in the US, and problems that have
lingered on for a decade or more are still going unaddressed.
Mayor Fenty’s school plan addresses just one of around twenty major
problems facing the District, and he and the council are ignoring the
other nineteen. Forbes Magazine recently lowered the District’s
standing for the best place to find a job of America’s Top 100 Cities
from No. 20 to No. 36, and criticized Mayor Fenty for racking up record
salaries for his administration while having no real plan to lure in new
and better paying jobs into the District. Ditto for the DC city council.
While Mayor Fenty and the city council enjoy record income levels,
more perks, and going unscathed with their conduct that seems geared
more to enrich the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor, DC
is experiencing a record gap between the haves and the have-nots. A good
while ago, I warned that Mayor Fenty would prove in time to be another
Mayor Pratt-Kelly and probably worse, and I think the writing on the
wall is already starting to show. Fenty and the council have put all
their eggs in one basket, namely our schools, which are a mask for what
they are really up to. What they are up to is lining the pockets of
developers and their friends to give our schools a new face -- but they
are not really planning to, nor can they ever, have an impact on the
performance of our students, nor do they care to as long as their
developer friends rack in the dollars.
DC Consulting Firm in Entrepreneur Magazine
Arthur H. Jackson, Jr. Ahjgroup2005@yahoo.com
Washington, DC-based Global AHJ Group has been selected by Entrepreneur
Magazine as the Publication’s Growing Pains Award Winner. The
seven-year-old firm, which started in Ward 8, provides assistance to
small, minority, women and military owned businesses seeking to become
certified to bid on government contracts. As the winner of the award,
the firm will receive one year of free office space courtesy of Regus
Office Systems. As part of its expansion, the company is recruiting
District college and senior high school students for its young
entrepreneurs summer internship program. For further information,
contact Claudia Wynn at 330-8915 or E-mail email@example.com.
Response to Dorothy Brizill on Policy Advisory
Sally Kram, Consortium of Universities, firstname.lastname@example.org
With no disrespect to Ms. Brizill’s long history of watching the
District’s machinery, I must disagree with her most recent
condemnation of the composition of the advisory committee for the
council’s new policy office [themail, October 24]. While it is true
that the office is laden with academics, I don’t think its make-up
poses the weaknesses that Dorothy suggests. First, it has been my
experience as the Director of Public and Governmental Affairs with the
Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area for the
last ten years that academics are very independent of the administrative
policies adopted by their universities. Universities are expected to
encourage the marketplace of ideas. As a result, academics are insulted
if instructed to take, much less promote, a policy contrary to their own
beliefs but in favor of their employer.
Secondly, the national focus of the task force members is
appropriate. I believe the District has been handicapped in the past by
its lack of in-depth information about the issues it is addressing. As a
former city council staffer, I often looked with longing on other states
that had deep policy offices able to tap into the best national trend
research and data while I sat at my desk making hopeful phone calls. It
is precisely the broader vision that the academics bring to the task
force that will add value. While community viewpoints are important, as
Ms. Brizill knows, a uniform community position is often impossible to
reach. Deciding who should espouse that position on this advisory task
force would be a hopeless task.
Finally, as Mr. Gray pointed out, the task force is advisory. Its
work will be monitored and massaged by council staffers. And, the
process allows for ample community input, council legislative oversight,
and eventually, executive branch comment. It is hard to believe that
with that many layers, a bill that does not take local issues into
account would make it into law. It is time for the District to
professionalize its very talented, but under-resourced council. I
applaud Mr. Gray for taking an important first step.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Washington Studies Conference, November 1-3
Bell Clement, email@example.com
Sessions at the thirty-fourth annual Washington Studies Conference
will examine 1968 in DC; the civil rights struggle and the campaign for
DC political autonomy; Teenarama; architecture and city planning; Mme.
Evanti; Psychedelic DC at the Ambassador; and much more. The three-day
conference, held November 1-3 at The Carnegie on Mount Vernon Square,
801 K Street, NW, celebrates DC’s unique culture and history. On
Thursday, November 1, the conference opens at 6 p.m. with a reception
and remarks from Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy. Conference sessions run all
day on Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3, with panel
discussions on DC prison reforms and rebellions, Washington
architecture, African American history, and city planning as well as
screenings of DC movies, presentations by the drama troupe DreamCity,
walking tours of the downtown, and DC hand-dancing lessons.
On Friday, November 2 at 6 p.m., at a special roundtable and
discussion, Memory: 1968, DC leaders who were 60’s activists,
including Tony Gittens, Lawrence Guyot, Bob King, and Frank Smith, Jr.,
will join moderator Jerry Phillips and the audience in exploring what
happened in DC in 1968. The Conference is free and open to the public;
all are welcome. Please visit http://www.historydc.org
and click “Washington Studies Conference” for more information and
to register. For more information, call 383-1837 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Guidelines for Historical District,
George Idelson, email@example.com
“Building Guidelines for Historical Districts — How Do the Rules
Affect You?” is the subject of a community meeting to be held at the
Cleveland Park Library on Saturday, November 3, 10:15 a.m. The principal
speaker will be Tersh Boasberg, Director of the DC Historic Preservation
Review Board. The meeting is sponsored by the Cleveland Park Citizens
Association and the Cleveland Park Historical Society.
Rebel Folk Benefit Concert, November 9
Parisa B. Norouzi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Positive Force DC presents a rebel folk benefit for Empower DC, with
Casey Neill, Erik Peterson, and Kathy Cashel, on Friday, November 9.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m., music begins at 8:00 p.m. $5-10 admission
(sliding scale). At The Saloon, 1207 U Street, NW, upstairs (U Street/Cardozo
Metro). Please bring peanut butter, whole grain cereal, or canned
veggies for the We Are Family food bank to be delivered to low-income
community seniors. For more info, 487-8698, email@example.com,
www.empowerdc.org, or www.positiveforcedc.org,
Silver Spring Walking Tour, November 10
Lauren Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org
A decade ago, the area around the Silver Spring Metro station was
underutilized and lacked the vibrancy it has today. Due to the securing
of two key cultural and employment anchors (Discovery Channel and the
AFI Silver Theater) by former County Executive Doug Duncan, Silver
Spring has seen a dramatic revitalization. Now, it is an ever-evolving
mix of retail, restaurants, public space, residences, and offices right
at the Metro, and has a dynamic diversity unique to the neighborhood.
Join the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Gary Stith, director of the
Silver Spring Regional Center, to see and learn about the neighborhood’s
evolution and its unique urban design.
Saturday, November 10, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Tour, 12:00 p.m.-12:45
p.m. informal lunch. Space is limited. RSVP to email@example.com
by Wednesday, November 7. Meet at 10:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the
AFI Silver Theater.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, use the
subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
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with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages
are available at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.
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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