Dear Honest Citizens:
Gary Emerling has a major follow-up story on the spy-cam network that
the Fenty administration is setting up unilaterally, without the
involvement, cooperation, or consent of the city council, http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080413/METRO/397914640/1001.
The more we learn about this initiative, the worse it sounds. The
Williams administration marked the seventy-four Metropolitan Police
Department spy cameras that it installed in public places with signs
warning that the area is under surveillance. The Fenty administration
isn’t going to mark the areas around the thousands of other cameras
that it is adding to the network. Read the slippery disingenuousness
with which Darrell Darnell, director of the DC Homeland Security and
Emergency Management Agency, attempts to justify not giving the public
the same fair warning that they are being spied on: “This isn’t a
crime surveillance tool; this is strictly a monitoring function. It may
not seem like there’s a difference there, but there is.” No there
isn’t, and Darnell knows it.
That’s not the end of Darnell’s double-talk about the program.
“We’re not surveilling,” Darnell tells Emerling. “Unless MPD
comes to us and specifically asks for something, we’re not going to
MPD unless we catch it.” So they’ll watch the camera monitors, but
they won’t “surveil” them, and it’s not like they’re watching
for crimes or suspicious activity, because they’ll only report what
they see to MPD if they see it.
Darnell’s evasions, however, are nothing compared with the MPD’s
shameless duplicitous explanation of why it isn’t bound by the law
that forbids officers from actively monitoring the spy cams. MPD
spokeswoman Traci Hughes writes, “Chief Lanier is not prohibited from
actively monitoring the cameras, as the statute states that ‘. . .
video feeds may not be monitored in real time . . . ,’ not ‘. . .
shall not be monitored in real time. . . . The language of the statute
was not intended to, nor shall it be read to, be a limitation on the
chief’s authority to order active monitoring.” So a law that says
you may not do something means that you can — just you try arguing
that the next time you’re in a fight with the city.
Even if you don’t value your privacy, and don’t care whether Big
Brother spies on you, do you trust surrendering your privacy to
government officials who have shown themselves to be this dishonest and
disrespectful of the law when they first set up their spy camera
network? And does the city council care?
DCPS School Bus Drivers’ License Invalid and
L. Schmidt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Numerous District of Columbia School bus drivers have been
transporting children without a proper commercial driver license (CDL)
with an “S” Endorsement to operate a school bus safely. The DCPS
transportation administrator, David Gilmore, has been aware of the
federal deadline for years, and clearly before the 2007-08 school year
began. Some drivers have passed the required testing, but due to an
enormous backlog must wait months before able to drive. Others have
failed the test more than once, and there are those that passed but
cannot drive due to multiple traffic violations and or enormous fines,
and, allegedly, a few drivers have resigned due to license fraud.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that,
beginning September 30, 2007, a school bus driver with commercial driver
license (CDL) must have a new “S” (school bus) endorsement (http://tinyurl.com/66hxjg).
The S endorsement will be required to drive a school bus vehicle
designed to seat sixteen or more persons, including the driver. To
receive an “S” endorsement, extra testing is required that test
comprehension of vehicle inspection, loading, road safety, after-trip
vehicle inspection, prohibited practices, and other essential safety
points. If you pass, you will receive an “S” endorsement on your
Citizens for the Children is once again calling for Judge Paul L.
Friedman to seek immediate removal of transportation’s administrator
David I Gilmore for blatant negligence. Judge Friedman granted Gilmore
receivership and the duty as stated in the 2003 Consent Order, “To
transform DCPS Transportation into a transportation entity that
consistently provides SAFE and appropriate transportation services. . .
.” DCPS special education parents and children should expect late
pickups, school arrivals and late returns due to the number of bus
routes affected by Gilmore’s failure, once again, to comply with Judge
Friedman’s Order to “. . . provide safe and appropriate
transportation services to eligible special education students in
compliance with, inter alia, the Orders of this case, including the
Petties Transportation Plan, the Petties Transportation Standards, and
relevant statutory provisions. . . .” Previously, the CFTC alerted the
community about the administrator harboring a convicted criminal;
currently, she remains the top manager, http://www.examiner.com/a-964826~Child_advocates_urge_schools_to_scrap_special_ed_bus_manager.html.
Labor and Chancellor Diss DCPS Teachers
Candi Peterson, email@example.com
As a Washington Teachers’ Union Board of Trustee member, I learned
about the DCPS Teacher Transition Award (TTA) by watching it on
television news last Thursday. That same evening, a citywide E-mail was
sent to all teachers by Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson providing the
details of both the early out for teachers eligible to retire and the
monetary awards that are being offered to DCPS teachers in closing and
restructured schools. I learned based on the news reports that my
teachers’ union requested this plan. I believe this to be true, as our
Washington Teachers Union Chief of Staff, Clay White, read a media
statement from our WTU President, George Parker, at that Thursday press
conference alongside Chancellor Rhee and Mayor Fenty. I am sure had our
union not supported such a plan, that claim would have been disputed by
Mr. White at that time. This was not the case.
This TTA plan was not brought to the attention of our elected WTU
Executive Board for review or consideration. I know that it does not
have the support of our WTU teacher members. At the very least, WTU
elected board members should have been made aware of this plan before a
televised press conference. I feel much like I imagine Chairman Vincent
Gray of the DC city council must feel when he learns about Mayor Fenty’s
and Chancellor Rhee’s plans in the local press: disheartened,
disengaged, and disrespected. While I support an incentive package for
DCPS teachers eligible to retire, I have a problem encouraging young
mid-level and senior certified teachers to resign with meager monetary
awards with as little as $1,000 up to $15,000 when there is a teacher
shortage across this country. If they resign under this plan, they
cannot return to DCPS for five years, and obviously they cannot support
themselves for long on these meager awards. I do not know of any other
credible school system or teachers’ union that would facilitate the
resignations of young and mid level teachers resigning. Certainly this
is not a remedy to the problems we face.
It is a sad day for all DCPS teachers and related service providers.
I strongly urge all eligible DCPS teachers and providers in our closing
and restructured schools to stand up and resist being forced out. The
plan is to hire new teachers in your place. Just say “no” to TTA for
we have been dissed!
Semisecret and Anti-Everything
Sue Hemberger, Friendship Heights, firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to hosting three special community-wide meetings on the
Tenleytown project and presenting reports on its work at regularly
scheduled ANC meetings, the “semi-secret” ANC 3E committee Ron
Lefrancois refers to [themail, April 9] has consistently posted not only
its analysis and recommendations online, but also the underlying meeting
minutes, interview notes, data, and FOIA’d documents that have
informed its work. All of these materials can be found at
http://www.anc3e.org by clicking the meeting minutes or documents links
provided in the first two paragraphs of text. And critics of the
proposal to build a private residential building on the already
heavily-utilized Janney/Tenley-Friendship Library site are hardly “anti-everything,”
as he claims. We’re pro-sports fields and playgrounds and quite
excited about the new library DCPL has planned for us. You can see its
design (as well as that of the other three neighborhood branches being
rebuilt) at http://www.dclibrary.org/dcpl/cwp/view.asp?a=1273&q=566653.
What’s striking about Ron’s post is that he is not in favor of
any actually proposed public-private project involving the school and
library. Like a handful of other residents, he has simply been enamored
of the idea of such a PPP for years. Literally nobody (individual or
group) has come out publicly in favor of selecting any of the
submissions or partners that have emerged from the RFP process. It’s a
shame that the Deputy Mayor’s office botched this project so badly.
Had they done a better job, it would be clear by now, even to Ron, that
the reality of a PPP is much less appealing than the concept, given the
economic and physical constraints of the site.
Meanwhile, don’t despair for mixed-use in Tenleytown. The metro
station in question is already home to two schools, a church, a couple
dozen stores and restaurants, and a couple hundred condos and, soon, a
This is to advise that the April 2008 on-line edition has been
uploaded and may be accessed at http://www.intowner.com. Included are
the lead stories, community news items and crime reports, editorials
(including prior months’ archived), restaurant reviews (prior months’
also archived), and the text from the ever-popular “Scenes from the
Past” feature (the accompanying images can be seen in the archived PDF
version). The complete issue (along with prior issues back to January
2002) also is available in PDF file format directly from our home page
at no charge simply by clicking the link in the Current & Back
Issues Archive. Here you will be able to view the entire issue as it
appears in print, including all photos and advertisements.
The next issue will publish on May 9 (the second Friday of the month,
as always). The complete PDF version will be posted by the preceding
night or early that Friday morning at the latest, following which the
text of the lead stories, community news, and selected features will be
uploaded shortly thereafter. To read this month’s lead stories, simply
click the link on the home page to the following headlines: 1) “Adams
Morgan Liquor License Moratorium Up for Renewal — Proponents Petition
Seeking 5-Year Extension & Additional Restrictions Granted”; 2)
“ABC Board OKs 5 More Years for Moratorium”; 3) “Haynes Charter
School Moving to Georgia Ave. from 14th & Irving Sts.”
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Park in Armed Forces Retirement Home, April 14
Reyn Anderson, email@example.com
Have you wanted to get involved in Washington Central Parks’ quest
to get parts of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) reopened as
public park, and wondered how? Now’s your chance! Please come out this
Monday, April 14, 6:30-8:00 p.m., to a public meeting sponsored by the
National Capital Planning Commission (at Bruce-Monroe Elementary School,
3102 Georgia Avenue). You can download the AFRH’s development plans at
or view a hard copy at the Petworth Library.
The AFRH’s plans still include over six million square feet of
development (that’s the size of the Pentagon, or ten times the DC USA
development in Columbia Heights); almost nine thousand parking spaces
(that’s almost double the number of cars going out to a Nationals’
game at the new stadium, coming to our neighborhoods every day). Come
support the alternative: development along the public transportation
corridors of North Capitol and Irving Streets, supported by Emancipation
Park at the Old Soldiers’ Home!
Emancipation Park will preserve the setting of Lincoln’s Cottage,
where he worked on the Emancipation Proclamation, for generations to
come, and provide a green backbone to support the neighborhoods East of
Georgia Avenue, which currently have access to five times less parks and
open space than neighborhoods West of Rock Creek Park. You can view
Washington Central Parks’ overall vision at http://www.thecentralparks.org.
Democratic Debate Watch, April 16
Hazel Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ward 5 Democrats, Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., and the DC
Young Democrats invite you to join them for a watch party of the
Philadelphia Democratic candidates’ debate. The watch party will be
held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, at the Cardinal’s Nest
Restaurant located at 3847 10th Street, NE (one block from the Brookland
Metro). Parking is available adjacent to the restaurant.
We welcome you to join the Ward 5 Democrats Community and the DC
Young Democrats as we watch this pivotal debate between Democratic
candidates, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. As
stated by Ward 5 Democrats Chairman, Tim Thomas, “this debate will be
their last direct encounter before the critical Pennsylvania primary on
April 22, where 188 delegates will be at stake: thirty of whom are
unpledged super delegates and one hundred fifty of whom are pledged
delegates who will be allotted on a proportional basis.”
Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Ward 5
Democrats Chairman, Timothy Thomas at 309-2229 or at Timthomas2202@gmail.com.
Roundtable Discussion on Buried Munitions in
Spring Valley, April 17
David Starrels, DStarrels@foe.org
In case you didn’t know, what is now the Spring Valley neighborhood
in upper Northwest was at one time the location of heavy munitions
testing during the First World War. Physical and potentially dangerous
remnants of this period are still being unearthed today. The US Army has
spent nearly $150 million in the clean up of contaminated properties and
the disposal of chemical munitions. District residents, decision makers
and others continue to be concerned that a larger clean up is necessary
and that the health and safety of District residents continues to be at
Come explore this critical issue at an upcoming roundtable discussion
hosted by Global Green USA and the DC Environmental Network at Friends
of the Earth. The April 17 event begins at noon. It will be held at
Friends of the Earth, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 600. For more
information call 222-0746.
Historical Society of Washington, DC, Events,
Karen Sallis, email@example.com
Saturday, April 19, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Family series walking tour:
Northern Liberty Market/Shaw. Join fourth-generation Washingtonian and
master guide Jeanne Fogle on a walking tour, as she guides you down
history lane. Learn little known facts about the Shaw neighborhood, its
landmarks and social and political pioneers. Limit 25 people (ages 12 to
Adults). Meeting place at 2:15 p.m., at the front door of the Carnegie
Library, 801 K Street, NW . Registration Required. RSVP@historydc.org
with the subject line walking tour or call 383-1828.
2 p.m. Film series: Thurgood Marshall: Portrait of an American Hero,
1985, USA, 30 minutes. Tracing the illustrious career of the first Black
person appointed as a Supreme Court Justice, viewers follow Thurgood
Marshall through legal studies and private practice, where he
concentrated on civil rights; his appointment to serve as head of the
NAACP’s legal division, and his career as Supreme Court Justice. RSVP@historydc.org
with the subject line Thurgood Marshall or call 383-1828.
2:45 p.m. Film: Skin Deep, 1999, USA, Marian Marzynski, 60 minutes.
Skin Deep is one episode of a 26-part PBS series by People’s Century,
a co-production of WGBH and the BBC, filmed around the world and shaped
in Boston and London. Skin Deep examines the fight against legal,
institutionalized racism in the United States and South Africa, from the
1950s through the 1990s. RSVP@historydc.org
with the subject line Skin Deep or call 383-1828.
National Arboretum in the Twenty-First
Century, April 21
Jazmine Zick, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, April 21, 6:30-8:00 p.m. America’s Public Oasis: The United
States National Arboretum in the 21st Century. How does the United
States National Arboretum (USNA) serve Washington, DC, and the nation?
Dr. Thomas Elias, director, USNA and Faye Harwell, landscape architect
and director, Rhodeside & Harwell, Inc., address this question and
discuss the arboretum’s Master Plan for the 21st Century. $12 Members;
$12 Students; $20 Nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk in
registration based on availability. DC Builds is presented by the
National Building Museum in partnership with the DC Office of Planning.
At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square
stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
Rainbow Families DC Conference, April 26
Julie Drizin, email@example.com
“Out Families: Proud Families,” the Rainbow Families DC annual
conference, is Saturday, April 26, from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the
Takoma Park Middle School on Piney Branch Road in Takoma Park, MD. The
conference features a full day of workshops, panels, discussions, food,
and fun for lesbian, gay, bi, and trans parents and prospective parents.
There’s also a full day of Kids Camp enrichment activities for ages
2.5-8, and ’ tween programming for ages 9 and older provided by COLAGE
(Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere). Preregistration for children
is required. The keynote speaker is attorney Shannon Minter on “The
future of LGBT Family Law: New Hopes, Fears and Uncertainties for
Same-Sex Couples and LGBT Parents.” More information and registration
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