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July 13, 2008

Moving Against People

Dear People:

My introduction to the last issue of themail got a few angry responses, but they haven’t convinced me that the administration isn’t anti-car. As Marilyn Simon pointed out in the last issue, the Office of Planning has proposed eliminating minimum parking requirements for new residential construction, reducing parking requirements for commercial uses, and even limiting the amount of off-street parking that developers are allowed to provide in new buildings. That’s a deliberate effort to make it more inconvenient, difficult, and expensive to own and drive a car, and I’m at a loss as to how it can be understood any other way.

Martin Austermuhle and Mark Eckenwiler, in their comments below, seem to equate driving with dangerous driving, to define suburban drivers as inherently dangerous, and to see measures that reduce available parking and make streets less navigable as equivalent to enforcing laws against speeding and running red lights. I don’t agree with any of that. The major purpose of normal traffic laws is to make driving safer. (I’ll argue another day that the major purpose of red-light cameras is to raise revenue from tickets, but I’ll readily agree that it should be illegal to drive through a red light.) But Martin and Mark argue that the administration’s latest traffic initiatives are just like normal traffic laws. There we differ; the purpose of the administration’s plans is not to increase driving safety, but to make driving more difficult. The administration assumes that parking is too easy and too cheap, that there are too many parking spaces that are too readily available, and that DC’s streets are too convenient and allow drivers to move too quickly and easily through the city. Therefore, parking spaces should be reduced, and streets should be made harder to navigate.

Mark and Martin both argue that the purpose of the administration’s moves is simply to arrive at a better “balance” between automobiles and mass transit. There are two difficulties with that formulation. The first is who defines what the right balance is, the people who live in the city and its surrounding suburbs and who demonstrate their preferences through their choices, or the “experts” who want to change dramatically the balance people have arrived at for themselves over time. The administration’s traffic planners think there are too many people in the city who own and drive cars, that too many suburbanites drive into the city, and that the “proper balance” can be reached by reducing the number of cars and the number of miles that they are driven. Even if, for the purpose of the argument, we accept the “experts’” prescription that more people should use mass transit and fewer people should own and drive cars, that leads to a second problem. How should that shift in “balance” be achieved? The choice is the traditional one, between the carrot and the stick. The carrot would be to make mass transit more convenient, more pleasant, more reliable, and cheaper, and therefore to attract more passengers. Prospective passengers won’t use subways and busses if they don’t run when and where they want to go, if they’re overcrowded and unpleasant, if they break down frequently and don’t keep to their schedules, or if they’re too expensive. If, however, government is intent on forcing people into mass transit option and is incapable of improving its mass transit system, it is tempted to use the stick and to do as the Fenty administration’s transportation planners want to do — to make driving more expensive, to make parking more difficult, to make streets less accessible in order to create traffic congestion and lengthen driving times. As ways of changing peoples’ behavior, carrots are attractive and unobjectionable, though they can be expensive; by definition, sticks are unpleasant and hostile.

Here are the latest articles on DC’s resistance to the Second Amendment: Mark Segraves on why you may not be able to buy a gun for months or even years,; the National Rifle Association on the federal legislation that is waiting in the wings to amend DC law to comply with the Supreme Court decision,; and Bob Owens on a surprising reason why DC’s ban on semiautomatic guns is ill-advised,

Gary Imhoff


King Fenty’s Decree
Sue Hemberger, Friendship Heights,

You’d think that a mayor announcing a major construction project that would rebuild a neighborhood’s library and expand and modernize its award-winning but overcrowded elementary school would be eager to share the news with the community. So why did Mayor Fenty fail to publicize his decision to select LCOR as a development partner for the Janney School/Tenley-Friendship library site? Why did he change the day and time of that announcement as soon as he discovered that residents knew of the event and planned to attend? And why did Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who was standing by Fenty’s side on Thursday morning, also neglect to inform the community that such an announcement had been scheduled? The short answer: both knew that this decision would be greeted with outrage rather than applause.

Here’s why: 1) it means that the reopening of our branch library (whose design had just been completed and whose construction was slated to begin next fall) will once again be delayed for at least two more years. 2) It means that instead of athletic facilities, there will be apartments on Janney’s soccer field and that the exterior facilities (playgrounds and a multipurpose sports field for physical education) DCPS’s educational specifications mandate for an elementary school campus of 550 students will not be provided as the school’s capacity is expanded and its facilities modernized. 3) It means that the mayor ignored both the community’s wishes and his own promise not to go forward with a public-private project unless the there was strong support for one. It also means that Deputy Mayor Neil Albert reneged on his oft-repeated commitment that the community would see the proposal chosen by the selection panel and have a chance to comment upon it before DMPED forwarded any recommendation to the mayor.

These were the predictable sources of outrage, but there were also a few surprises in store for the approximately fifty angry residents who made it to the press event after its existence and time change was leaked (by a non-governmental source) to a few community members who quickly spread the word. We learned that while both Fenty and Cheh endorsed the selection of LCOR (which entailed pulling the plug on DCPL’s reconstruction of the library), Fenty hadn’t bothered to look at DCPL’s design for our library before making that decision and Cheh hadn’t seen LCOR’s best and final offer before endorsing it. We also learned that there were no more concrete details available — no site plan, no timelines, no financials — than were provided to us four months ago, when LCOR’s design was rejected as unacceptable by the ANC and the Janney SIT, as well as by all but two or three of the one hundred and twenty some individuals who submitted written comments on the proposals to DMPED.

And finally, we realized, though not immediately, that apparently the lesson that the Fenty Administration has drawn from the West End debacle last July is not “go to the Council earlier” but “avoid the Council altogether.” In Tenleytown we have the spectacle of a mayor asserting his unilateral authority to offer public land for private development without any council input regarding that land’s surplussing or disposition.

It’s time for this scofflaw administration to be reigned in. This isn’t a feudal monarchy where the sovereign can dispose of public land as he sees fit as long as he can induce the local lord to stand loyally by his side. It’s a democracy in which the rule of law is supposed to govern the decisionmaking and in which elected officials (both the mayor and the council) have a fiduciary duty to protect public assets which are owned by the public, not by the (temporary) head of state. The deal Fenty wants to strike with LCOR is a disaster from a public facilities standpoint. Tenleytown will get less attractive facilities, later, and at greater public expense, than we would have if the government had proceeded with separate publicly funded modernizations of both school and library, using the capital funds already budgeted for the two projects (rather than turning those funds over to LCOR).

Will Fenty get away with it? I guess it depend in part on whether the media (and the citizenry) wake up and stop believing that decisions that engender vociferous and sustained dissent are presumptively “bold and visionary” rather than stupid and ill-conceived. It also depends on whether the council stops playing the role of enabler and starts acting like a check on the power of the executive. Stay tuned. Because your school, library, or fire station may be next.


More Costs of Ballpark Boondoggle Come Home to Roost
Ed Delaney,

First, there’s the ongoing stadium rent game: “DC officials said they plan to hire a special lawyer to handle what they expect to be prolonged arbitration over the ballpark, which was built with tax dollars.” So the cap-busting ballpark-related deal with Venable LLP wasn’t enough, as now there are more agreements with law firms in the offing of unknown cost and scope to cover “prolonged” arbitration and who knows what else against the private business entity for which the city broke the bank and saddled itself with massive debt in building the cut-rate greenhouse and insisting in keeping it at the cost-bloated current site. Before the hiring, the public and the full council need to be consulted, since the Venable deal was so bad that even Vincent Gray admitted that “I have frankly not seen ever in my service a contract more poorly administered than this one.” (Examiner, June 7, 2007).

Here’s a refresher on the audit of the Venable deal: The irony is that the city initially balked at the nearly four million dollars in legal fees to Venable but concluded, according to Gray, that they were “in too deep” not to complete the deal, the city could’ve used that money either to pay a firm to demand a reworking of the MLB-favored ballpark lease before approving it or to pay most of the five-million-dollar penalty for possibly not opening the stadium in time were the project to have been shifted to the RFK Stadium site. As it is, the city attached itself and its debt levels and treasury to a deal that gives MLB and the Lerners leeway to withhold rent and make plays to penalize the city one hundred thousand dollars a day and demand that the city pay for team uniforms and so on.

Some want to judge the stadium project a success simply because it hosted the Nats’ opener on time. They want us to close our eyes to the other results and fallout from the project. However, what must be factored into the picture is the continued economic mess and abuse of the public process by those in government seeking to mitigate the perpetual financial issues caused by this project. The day also brings us another consequence of the out-of-control costs of the ballpark project which has eaten up so much of the city’s debt capacity.

From “DC Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi yesterday called on government leaders to rein in their borrowing on Wall Street, a warning that, if heeded, eventually could limit the city’s ability to pay for major redevelopment projects proposed for the Southwest waterfront and at Poplar Point along the Anacostia River.” In essence, the CFO is suggesting killing upcoming city development projects left and right (none of which are to house a private business entity owned by a multi-billionaire who could fund most of the project himself as previous sports owners have) to please Wall Street and keep his precious bond ratings somewhat intact, as the city shoulders the enormous debt load of the ballpark, for which anticipated income such as rent is delayed and anticipated attendance numbers and turnstile aren’t materializing according to his rosy projections. When the baseball brigade so confidently boasted that this ballpark would not cost citizens one penny (which was almost as deceitful and amusing as the ballpark cost cap), they should have mentioned the number of city projects that would also be compromised by pursuing a baseball stadium and refusing to adjust where it was sited when the costs at that site exceeded the legislative cap for the project. I hope the city doesn’t have to float bonds to pay for its “special lawyer” and its prolonged fights against the Lerners!


An Ominous Sign
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

Attendance at the Nationals games seems to be declining as the summer progresses. I can’t agree with the posted numbers for attendance the day after I’ve attended a game. There are several thousand fewer folks in the seats then they claim in the attendance figures at the bottom of the scoring in the Post. The team, in the vernacular of old Brooklyn, stinks on hot ice. True, they have several of their first line players on the disabled list, but they seem likely to lose about a hundred games this season. Next year, given the health of their players, they might even win half their games. The ominous sign is the number of folks watching the games on TV. Of the half million folks in the DC watching area, barely nine thousand are watching the games on TV. That seems to me to indicate that a lot of the folks attending the game are coming because of the stadium, not the team. They may also be coming to only one or two games this season. Next season will tell the tale. The bloom may be off the rose, and it will take a very competitive team to inspire interest in the team and attendance at the games.


Simple Summer Pleasures
Dorothy Brizill,

During the cold winter months, Gary and I, like most Washingtonians, tend to hibernate indoors at home. However, as soon as the weather breaks in the spring, we become more mobile and try to take better advantage of all the region has to offer — festivals, fairs, outdoor concerts, farmers markets, sidewalk cafes, seasonal foods (crabs, fresh tomatoes, peaches, berries, figs), and scenic drives. In recent years, our favorite summer pleasures have included summer restaurant week in DC (this year, August 11-17, with three-course lunches at $20.08 and three-course dinners at $35.08), in Bethesda/Chevy Chase (July 8-August 3, with two-course lunches $12-$15 and three-course dinners at $30), and in Baltimore (July 26-August 3, with three-course lunches at $20.08 and three-course dinners at $30.08). It has included Friday afternoon crawfish and shrimp boils on the patio at Acadiana in Mt. Vernon Square; frozen custard at the Dairy Godmother in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, frozen ices at Rita’s; three-dollar ice-cream sundaes on Mondays at Giffords on E Street near 11th; and steamed crabs at Obrycki’s in Baltimore, Gunnings in Hanover, and the Bethesda Crab House, in Bethesda, of course. Simple summer pleasures have included the July 4th fireworks, viewed from the grassy overlook at Cardozo High School rather than the overcrowded Mall, and, as Gary wrote a week ago, minor league baseball rather than the overpriced and over-hyped Nationals games.

Looking over my list, it seems awfully heavy on food and eating. What simple summer pleasures am I missing? What do you recommend?


Parking News From Elsewhere
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com

I’m not sure parking spaces stay open long enough for this to be useful, and it might create more conflicts as multiple drivers aim for a supposedly empty spot. But it’s interesting.

In San Francisco, “The secret to finding the perfect parking spot in congested cities is usually just a matter of luck. But drivers here will get some help from an innocuous tab of plastic that will soon be glued to the streets.” (“Can’t Find a Parking Spot? Check Smartphone,” by John Markoff,


Street Robbers Now Required to Use Trigger Locks
Matt Forman,

The last issue of themail reported on Phil Mendelson’s legislative proposal that homeowners will still need to keep trigger locks on their guns at home. But another, unnoticed provision would also require criminals to keep trigger locks on any gun involved in street robberies, gang fights, and drug deals. This provision will greatly reduce the city’s gun violence. In addition, the legislation requires house burglars to give shout out a warning when breaking into someone’s home, to give the victims time to take off their trigger locks, which will ensure a fair fight.

Of course I’m kidding, but the proposed legislation (Bill 17-843) is grammatically a mess: “Except for law enforcement personnel described in section 201(b)(1), each registrant shall keep any firearm in his or her possession unloaded and either disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device unless such firearm is kept at his or her place of business, or while being used for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia, or for the purpose of immediate self-defense in his or her home.”

What’s unclear is the lack of parallel construction among the “or” phrases which follow the “unless.” What word does the phrase “for the purpose of immediate self-defense” modify? Unless, kept, or used? Also, I’m allowed to keep a gun at my place of business? And I can keep it unlocked at work, but not at home? What if I run a business out of my home? Do I need a master business license from DCRA?


Recommendation to City Council Regarding Fireworks
Kathy Henderson,

The fireworks issue has generated a significant amount of discussion on the Ward 5 listservs and within many of our neighborhoods. While some are clearly opposed to banning or limiting the discharge of fireworks in DC, enough of us are irritated by the disruption of our peace, order, and quiet that the issue merits revisiting by our council. Some compilation or version of the previously four submitted bills banning fireworks should be resubmitted and a public hearing should be held. I propose that the council consider including language for a three-year moratorium on the selling, distribution, and discharge of all fireworks in the District, excluding public professional displays that are typically held on the Mall. I believe the public hearing component is important to allow any citizen to be heard regarding this matter, voicing support or disdain for the measure.

If you agree, please contact Council Chairman Vincent Gray at 724-8000 (this is the general Council number and the receptionist will be happy to transfer you). This message is not intended to extend the debate on the various listservs. Many of us have been complaining for two years; it is time for action.


Stop the Magic
Bill Coe,

Allow me to comment on Mr. McKay’s piece in themail of July 9 about the pathetic death last week of the bicyclist, Ms. Swanson, near Dupont Circle. McKay accurately labels and describes the problem. (I’d never heard the term “right hook.” How apt!) I doubt, though, that a right hook could have been avoided in this case, since large utility trucks often have to make wide turns to negotiate our narrow intersections. This vehicle probably couldn’t have made a tight turn of the sort he suggests (i.e., moving to the right into the bike lane, thus crowding [and alerting] the biker, before turning).

The fatal crash on R Street reminds me of an interesting statistic presented at a public meeting on pedestrian safety last winter. Those paid to measure such things have discovered that the rate of pedestrian crashes (in other words, being run down by a car while crossing a street) is highest in marked pedestrian crosswalks at intersections not controlled by a traffic signal — higher even than the frequency of crashes for jaywalkers! I believe this comports with something known for a long time by our traffic police — that painted lines on the street are believed by pedestrians to confer some sort of magical charm which will protect them, even when they foolishly step in front of moving automobiles. Too many walkers apparently assume that, since the magic in the paint works for them at intersections with stop lights, it must work everywhere. I think the same sort of bad magic animates bicyclists in bike lanes; they fall victim to a complacent belief that the paint confers protection. This is wrong, disastrously so. Paint on the blacktop might carry legal significance, but its practical value in life-and-death situations is doubtful. In my opinion, lengthening bike lanes to run all the way through intersections, which Mr. McKay suggests, is counterproductive; this would merely enlarge the illusion which beckons so many bikers (including, possibly, Ms. Swanson) into the valley of the shadow.

DC should do away with bike lanes altogether, unless these can be physically separated from auto traffic (which on most DC streets will occur, approximately, never). Bikers should not be permitted to assume that painted lines confer any protection not available on unpainted streets. Such fanciful assumptions are too often fatal. The same applies, I believe, to marked pedestrian crossings at intersections without traffic lights. Those on foot would be better protected by eliminating these particular painted lines. Mr. McKay’s ultimate prescription hits the nail on the head. Drivers should be careful and share the road. Bikers should be defensive. Pedestrians should be alert. Everyone should be sensible. Absent a traffic light, pedestrians should cross the street when and where it is safe to do so -- irrespective of any painted markings or signs. Bicyclists should protect themselves in the same manner, by simply being mindful of themselves in traffic. When crashes occur involving bikers or walkers, primary responsibility should always rest with drivers; they must be presumed to be at fault, since they’re the ones operating half-ton lethal machines. This presumption can often be disproved by countervailing facts; bikers and pedestrians are known to commit traffic violations or behave stupidly. Still and always, responsibility for safety on our streets must rest first with automobile drivers.


The “Right Hook”
Clyde Howard,

As a continuation to The “Right Hook” (Jack McKay, themail, July 10), the “Right Hook” is sometimes referred to as the “Kill Zone” when a bicyclist does not exercise the rules of the road. Never place yourself in the position of not being seen by a driver when riding on his right side. If you can see the driver in his right side view mirror, he can see you. If you cannot see the driver in his right side view mirror it is best to drop back until he can see you and you him. Riding too close exposes you to the danger of a driver’s making a right turn on top of you because he can’t see you in his right turn mirror. Aside from looking out for jay walkers and those that do not stand on the curb until the traffic light indicates that it is safe to cross, bicyclists must assist in their own safety by helping the driver to see them as they ride adjacent to the vehicle in a bike lane. There are rules of the road, and all vehicles and bicyclists must obey them else more unfortunate accidents will occur.


The Anti-Car Fiction and Its Believers
Martin Andres Austermuhle,

In “Making Life Difficult” (themail, July 9), Gary fully buys into the fiction that the District is somehow “anti-car.” He writes: “City planners and urban ‘experts’ hate cars. They want to make people walk or use busses, subways, and bicycles. . . . The problem is that city planners and urban experts return the compliment, and don’t care what most people want, either. Instead of planning Washington to accommodate the actual preferences and real lives of both DC residents and suburbanites, our city’s planners want to force us to accommodate their preferences and their theoretical ideals. Instead of making our lives easier, our city’s planners want to make our lives more and more difficult until we give in, give up, and adopt the way of life they think is best.”

Let’s be honest. Compared to other urban areas, the District is surprisingly friendly to drivers. There are no tolls to drive into the city, parking regulations remain flexible enough to allow nonresidents to park in city neighborhoods for extended periods of time, and speed and red light cameras are not very widely used. As both a city cyclist and a car owner, I can faithfully attest to the fact that I have never felt that the city was stacking the rules against my being able to drive.

Recent initiatives are not meant to be anti-car; they are merely meant to reestablish a sense of balance between those that drive in and out of the city and those that choose alternative means of transit. City planners aren’t making the rules so prohibitive as to force anyone to give up their car; they are simply establishing commonsense guidelines so that drivers are encouraged to be more cognizant of the fact that they are in a congested and densely populated urban environment. Doing away with the reversible lanes on Constitution Avenue doesn’t force anyone to ride a bike, it merely makes them drive more slowly through a residential neighborhood. Red light and speed cameras aren’t going to push anyone onto a bus; they just make them pay fines for violating well-justified traffic laws. Increasing rates for parking meters recognizes that on-street parking is increasingly scarce and that the current rates are low enough that they do not encourage the turnover necessary to allow more cars to park for shorter periods of time. That sense of balance between drivers and non-drivers is key to establishing a sustainable transit policy for the District and its surrounding areas.

The ironic thing about the Post’s recent article about the District “anti-car” initiatives is that reporter Eric Weiss could only find one person to speak against them — and it was a spokesperson for AAA, America’s largest pro-car lobby. Everyone else, including suburban officials, recognized that the District is taking the same steps that they’re taking to better balance driving and more sustainable means of transit. Hilariously, Montgomery County Council member Nancy Floreen (D-At Large) had this to say to Weiss: “You’d like me to lambaste the District, but we’re all in the same boat.” Moreover, it’s interesting to note that another suburban area, Arlington County, imposes fines ten times higher than the District for not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. Essentially, Weiss managed to write an article about suburban drivers feeling shunned without actually being to find that mass of shunned suburban drivers willing to give him juicy quotes and anecdotes. Maybe it’s because they don’t exist; maybe it’s because they’re sympathetic to the District’s efforts to make the city just as friendly to pedestrians and cyclists as it is to drivers. Whichever it is, it’s saddening to see Gary buy the anti-car fiction hook, line, and sinker.


Car Talk
Mark Eckenwiler,

On the subject of a walkable vs. drivable DC, I am not one of those “young, childless DC residents who see no need to own a car” whom Gary derides. Color me a middle-aged, car-driving, married homeowner with two kids in DCPS and, more to the point, one who thinks it’s high time to strike a better balance between commuter vehicles and the interests of DC residents. As Matt Yglesias says of the DC government’s modest efforts to rein in misbehaving drivers, more, please.

I labor under no illusion that DC ought to be one giant pedestrian mall. We need to drive ourselves, our kids, and our elderly relatives plenty of places and at plenty of times when and where Metro isn’t an option. But I fail to see why we should continue to bear the burdens imposed by inconsiderate and at times dangerous drivers from the suburbs. (In my experience, those burdens include incessant parking pressure on restricted residential streets; commuters driving too fast on those same side streets because congestion pushes them off of primary arteries; the ubiquitous problem of blocked crosswalks; and the usual array of red-light and stop-sign running.) Our historical faith-based approach to managing commuter traffic — just pray that folks that obey themselves, sort of, and that not too many DC residents find themselves killed or otherwise inconvenienced — has produced dismal results. That needs to change, and I applaud DC government for taking steps in the right direction.


Anonymous Blog Posts
Mindy Moretti,

[Re: “Making Life Difficult,” themail, July 10] Considering there is no statistical information about the folks who post messages on DCist, to assume that the majority of the folks who posted there are young and childless is about as adolescent as you accuse them of being. Besides, to pay credence to anonymous blog posts (albeit they do have to register, but that can really be done anonymously) is ridiculous.


The InTowner July Issue Now Online
P.L. Wolfe,

This is to advise that the July 2008 on-line edition has been uploaded and may be accessed at 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 August 8 (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) “Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s Enforcement of Number of “Seats” Requirements Overturned — Fallout Affects “Pub Crawl Prohibitions”; 2) “New 9th Street Retailers Seen as the Vanguard of a Resurgence for Shaw East”; 3) “Historic Iowa Apartments Reinstalls & Celebrates Rebuilt Prized Fountain.”



Fun Family Films Under the Stars, July 16-17
John A. Stokes,

The District’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will hold “Fun Family Films Under The Stars,” its 2008 Family Movie Night Season, this summer. “Fun Family Films Under The Stars,” which continues until late-September, will afford residents of all ages and families of all sizes the opportunity to enjoy viewing the free, family-oriented films in DPR’s outdoor settings. As in previous years, viewers are invited to bring their own snacks, chairs, and blankets. This year, District residents will have a greater selection of viewing locations. Movies will be shown from 8:45 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Community members who arrive early enough for each screening will have the opportunity to place a vote between two movies that may be shown that evening. The movie that receives the most votes will be shown.

Wednesday, July 16, Oxon Run Park, Mississippi and Southern Avenue, SE
Wednesday, July 16, Anacostia Park, 1800 Anacostia Drive, SE
Thursday, July 17, Joseph Cole Recreation Center, 1200 Morse Street, NE


Spotlight on Design, July 17
Jazmine Zick,

Thursday, July 17, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Spotlight on Design: Michael Maltzan. Hear Los Angeles-based architect Michael Maltzan, FAIA, discuss his work, which includes MoMA QNS and the recently completed Billy Wilder Theater at the UCLA Hammer Museum. $12 Members; $12 Students; $20 Nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at


Hilton L. Root Book Signing at Politics and Prose, July 19
Jaime Fearer,

The Cold War mentality that the enemy of my enemy is my friend continues to drive alliances. In Alliance Curse: How America Lost the Third World (Brookings Press, July 2008), Hilton Root, a professor of public policy at George Mason, argues that the US should foster economic development in the third world rather than supply aid to authoritarian regimes on the basis of their promise to support us in the war on terror. On Saturday, July 19, at 1:00 p.m., he will hold a book signing at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

Hilton L. Root is a professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy and a senior fellow with the Mercatus Center. He has served as adviser to the US Treasury and the Asian Development Bank and has taught at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. Root has a number of books to his credit, including Capital & Collusion: The Political Logic of Global Economic Development (Princeton, 2006), Governing for Prosperity, edited with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (Yale, 2000), and The Key to the Asian Miracle, with J. E. Campos (Brookings, 1996).


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