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April 16, 2008

Constitutional Privacy

Dear Private Citizens:

I’m begging for good news. What have you done lately that made you glad to be a Washingtonian? Any Cherry Blossom Festival stories that you want to share? Any Papal visit stories? Any just plain good weather, that goodness it’s spring again, stories? I’m reaching here, but do you have any positive tax filing stories? (This was the first year that E-filing on the District’s Office of Tax and Revenue web site actually worked for me; every previous year the site would just freeze or crash before I could finish a return.) Cheer us all up. Please.

Apropos of nothing much at all, Dorothy and I got an automated telephone call from Costco saying that they are recalling their bottled water because some batches of it have too many minerals. A recall of water? Too many minerals? It shows the wisdom of my plan to drink only healthier liquids like Diet Pepsi and Guinness — separately, not mixed, in case that juxtaposition worried you.

The Constitution Project has good advice for Mayor Fenty, if he insists on creating a massive, interconnected spy camera network to keep watch over Washingtonians, and won’t take my advice to not do it at all. Read their press release at, and their more informative letter to the mayor at

A reader wrote about my criticism of DC’s expanded surveillance program: “So what? People with nothing to hide have nothing to worry about. Once a person leaves their front door, there has never been privacy.” However, the message wasn’t signed with a name; it just had an E-mail address. When I wrote back explaining themail’s policy that all messages had to be signed, and asking for the message to be resubmitted with the writer’s name, I got no response. I guess the writer values his or her privacy too much.

Gary Imhoff


The Inequitable Design and Congressional Corruption of the DC Taxicab Industry
Karl Rudder,

The details on the Congressional corruption of the DC taxicab fare structure are far from common knowledge. My research and address to this issue are available on under the subject, “Karl Rudder’s Blog.” The results of my research into the origin of the unique DC taxicab zone system allowed me to be aware of DC Public Utilities Commission Order No. 956, issued on November 6, 1931, which listed twenty reasons why the zone system was being “denied to replace meters in DC taxicabs.” This initial decision by the DC government of 1931 to deny the taxicab zone system was completely upheld by two court decisions.

A careful review of the design of the huge Zone 1 and the entire “zone system” will provide countless examples of the zone system providing the longest and cheapest rides and most reliable taxicab service to white people in the downtown and northwest areas of the city while insulting the predominantly Afro-American residents of northeast and southeast with high taxicab fares for traveling very short distances that just happen to cross the inequitable zone boundaries of Alabama Avenue, SE, Wheeler Road in the southeast area, the 12th Street, 19th Street, 42nd Street, and South Dakota Avenue in the northeast area of the District of Columbia.

Besides being the only major city in this country that is not actively represented in Congress and does not control its own tax revenue, the District of Columbia is also the only major city in this world that does not use a meter to equitably compute and reliable record and collect the tax revenue of the local taxicab industry. The depth of the corruption of Congress on this issue includes the fact that since 1934 Congress has disallowed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) any authority to even consider any of the rules or regulations or the income that will result from installing meters in DC taxicabs. Please call the IRS and see what staff they can refer you to or just reports they can share with you that they have ever issued in respect to the DC taxicab zone system fare structure.


More on Chancellor Rhee’s Lack of Transparency
Richard Urban,

I have a story to add to that of Candi Peterson [themail, April 13] regarding how Ms. Rhee operates in a non-transparent way. Ms. Rhee has decided that the ULTRA Teen Choice program, which has provided directive sexual health education, peer counseling, and ULTRA Teen Choice Service clubs to DC public school youth for the past five years, can no longer operate in DC public schools. Ostensibly, Ms. Rhee claims that rules have been violated, but the real reason is that ULTRA Teen Choice does not fit in with Ms. Rhee’s agenda, although it is popular with the parents and youth being served.

Let’s review the explanation of why we were ordered to stop the ULTRA Teen Choice program in a November 21 E-mail from Richard Nyankori: The Chancellor claimed that there was a moratorium on all outside health providers. This is false. So much for following the “rules” of impartiality. Yet Ms. Rhee insists that ULTRA Teen Choice is in blatant disregard of the rules. Richard Nyankori and Chad Ferguson of the Chancellor’s office also explained that ULTRA Teen Choice would not be approved due to not meeting the Chancellor’s criteria of being gay sensitive, as evidenced by my opposition to then proposed health standards mandating discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation beginning in sixth grade. Furthermore, we were asked to make a statement affirmative of homosexual lifestyles, and it was implied that promoting the formation of two parent man-woman families was not gay-friendly. Additionally, Ms Rhee stated, in an answer to a follow up memo, that she supported the decision of the Local School Restructuring team to kick out Ultra Teen Choice from Stuart-Hobson middle school. Yet that group had only stated that ULTRA teen choice “failed to meet the DC Standards” (which is false) as the reason, and the only representative of that group with a child attending Stuart-Hobson circulated an E-mail critical of the fact that several churches were supporters of ULTRA Teen Choice. The E-mail further identified my faith affiliation, clearly indicating illegal discriminatory intent.

In light of all this, it is apparent to an objective observer that ULTRA Teen Choice has not been barred for supposed “rule breaking.” As Joseph Laconte observes in his December 19, 2007, Daily Standard editorial ( “When education and media elites use their position as a kind of Star Chamber to blacklist groups they don’t like, then we’ve taken a step backward, a step away from pluralism. And there’s nothing enlightened or progressive or tolerant about it.” Those who do not like the ULTRA Teen Choice program have continually striven to block its implementation at Stuart-Hobson since March 2007. However, they did not succeed until Ms. Rhee came on board. It is apparent that the Chancellor and her staff are not being transparent and honest about their real motivation. Please read more details here:



Woodridge Library Used Book Sale, April 19
Suzanne Griffith,

The Friends of the Woodridge Public Library is holding a used book sale on Saturday, April 19, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We have lots of titles in a variety of subjects at great prices. The library is located at the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and 18th Street, NE. Call 541-6226 or send an E-mail to for more information.


Basics of Inventing, April 19
Barbara Conn,

You’ve got a great idea for an invention — what’s next? Inventor David Whiteis will give us an overview of the process of getting an independent invention to market. His talk will include information on how to evaluate and protect your idea, how and when to create a prototype, and how to publicize and license or sell an invention.

David is a local inventor who sold his first patent to a subsidiary of Microsoft in 1998. A Microsoft Certified Networking Engineer, David works full time as a computer networking engineer while continuing to work part time on inventing and developing new products. He has also been involved with helping other people interested in creating new inventions and obtaining patents. His first patent was for a method of recommending music to individuals based on the music they already enjoy. David may be better known for making it to the final 24 during season one of the ABC TV show American Inventor. For more information on the inventing efforts of David Whiteis, visit

Gather your colleagues, spouse, neighbors, and friends, and your questions, and bring them to this Saturday, April 19, 1:00 p.m., gathering of the Capital PC User Group (CPCUG) Entrepreneurs and Consultants Special Interest Group (E&C SIG). These monthly events are free and open to all. This month’s event is at the Cleveland Park Branch Library (first floor large meeting room) at 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW (between Macomb and Newark Streets), just over a block south of the Cleveland Park Metrorail Station on the Red Line. For more information about the event, the speaker, and CPCUG (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization), visit To RSVP, send an E-mail to


Green DC Day, April 21
Sam Brooks,

The Green Builders Council of DC (GBCDC) will donate thousands of items to promote environmental conservation and awareness as part of its lead sponsorship of Green DC Day next Monday, April 21. In total, GBCDC contributions will save over one million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. As part of its historic sponsorship of this event, GBCDC will provide the following to Green DC Day attendees: 1) one thousand compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs); these bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy that traditional incandescent light bulbs. Over the course of their use, these bulbs will save approximately one million pounds of carbon emissions. 2) Two thousand “eco bags.” These bags are made from recycled material and can be used for grocery shopping in addition to other uses in order to limit the use of plastic bags. Each bag will also contain “Fifty Tips on Energy Conservation” with a range of suggestions for Washingtonians about how to conserve energy.

Green DC Day, an event hosted by the District’s Department of the Environment, will take place 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 21, on Freedom Plaza — and will kick off a week of events surrounding Earth Day (April 22).


Planning for a Chinese Century, April 22
Jazmine Zick,

Tuesday, April 22, 6:30-8:00 p.m. For the Greener Good: Planning for a Chinese Century. Investigate China’s plans for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and the tension between cultural preservation and the creation of new “green” buildings. $12 members; free Students; $20 nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk in registration based on availability. For the Greener Good lecture series is presented by The Home Depot Foundation. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at


Historical Society of Washington, DC, Events, April 26
Karen Sallis,

Saturday, April 26, 10:00-11:30 a.m. Family Series: Urban Gardening: Spring Menus from an Urban Kitchen Garden. Join Ed Bruske, personal chef and president of DC Urban Gardeners, as he guides you step-by-step into the world of seasonal vegetables, fruit cultivation, and harvesting. with the subject line urban garden or call 383-1828.

12 noon. Film series: A Century of Quilts: America in Cloth, 2001, US, 60 minutes. This documentary celebrates the art of quilting by featuring selections from the best one hundred American quilts of the twentieth century. with the subject line quilts or call 383-1828.

1:00-3:30 p.m. Family series: HSW Quilting Circle. Washington’s Daughters of Dorcas (quilting guild) will teach participants the art of quilting. (Ages 8 to adults) Limit thirty. Registration is required. with the subject line quilting circle or call 383-1828.


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