Never Can Say Goodbye
Dear People Who Will Miss Isaac Hayes’ Voice:
I never can say goodbye.
Every time I think I’ve had enough
and start heading for the door,
There’s a very strange vibration
piercing me right through the core,
It says, “Turn around, you fool, you know you love him more and
Tell me why is it so.
Don’t wanna let go.
Never can say goodbye.
Boy oo oo baby.
Never can say goodbye. No no no no no oo.
Oh, I never can say goodbye.
Boy oo oo.
In answer to Wenzell Taylor’s question in themail (July 30),
Verizon may be bringing Fios service to DC sometime sooner or, more
likely, later: http://www.examiner.com/a-1525428~District__Verizon__agree_in_principle_on_TV_service.html,
The story about the meltdown of the Youth Summer Jobs Program
The problem is turning out to be the same as with other Fenty
initiatives: the imperative is to go full speed ahead, with no patience
for good planning and no ability to foresee the undesirable consequences
of the program.
Today, the Washington Post gives a rare opportunity to respond to
the people it normally denigrates, the people who are trying to hold the
Fenty administration accountable for keeping its promises on improving
DC’s schools and to keep the Chancellor from gulling teachers with a
contract that offers the elusive promise of potential performance
bonuses in exchange for giving up their job security and rights. Council
Chairman Gray’s op-ed, “No Blank Check on School Reform,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR2008080102634.html,
and Washington Teacher Union Trustee Candi Peterson’s letter,
“DC’s Teachers Can Make Their Own Decisions,” are both in the
Tales from Tenley
Sue Hemberger, Friendship Heights, email@example.com
One month after the mayor pulled the plug on DC Public Libraries’
imminent reconstruction of the Tenley-Friendship library and handed that
project and the adjacent Janney Elementary School modernization over to
Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, the story has become even more fantastic. It
turns out that the deal the Mayor was touting — a project involving
120-130 units of housing and “no loss of green space,” according to
his July 10 press release — was a complete fiction. The development
“partner” whom Fenty named had not agreed to these terms or anything
like them. LCOR’s same-day press release referred to an 174-unit
project, and Tim Smith, an LCOR Vice President, subsequently confirmed
that the company had made no “best and final offer.” In fact, their
only offer was the one that the community had seen last February. And
that proposal consumed all of Janney’s playing field as well as a
portion of the teachers’ parking lot.
But apparently it wasn’t just the community that Fenty and Albert
were misleading when they suggested that subsequent negotiations had
produced a new and much better plan. Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh,
standing by the mayor’s side but looking uncharacteristically
ill-at-ease, had written to Albert back in April, indicating that she
found LCOR’s plan to be unacceptable. Like LCOR, she had been called
the night before and asked to attend the press conference the next
morning. There was no opportunity for her to see the new (nonexistent)
plan before she arrived. Once she learned that the new plan was
essentially the same as the old plan, Cheh and Kwame Brown (who, as
chairman of the council’s Committee on Economic Development, serves an
important gate-keeping function on projects like this — if, that is,
such projects actually are taken to the council before they are faits
accompli) sent another letter to Neil Albert on July 24. According
to three different media accounts this past week, that letter laid out a
number of “essential conditions” that would have to be met before
these councilmembers could offer their support for the LCOR deal. None
of these conditions have been met (and, frankly, some probably cannot be
met), so Cheh and Brown apparently are, for now at least, opposed to the
deal. This is an important turn of events, since it was another letter
from Cheh and Brown, sent to the mayor in June of last year, whose
support for a public-private venture helped put the school and library
land on the auction block in the first place.
So now we know that Fenty and Albert subverted the council,
misrepresented the project to the community and to the ward
councilmember, and announced a deal their putative partner had never
agreed to. On top of that, the deal that LCOR has offered is a really
bad one for the community. It will provide us with fewer/worse public
facilities, delivered later, and at greater public expense. I’m
delighted to see Cheh “join the opposition,” as the Post put
it. Of course, talk’s cheap, and it’s a little unnerving to hear
Cheh, once again, talking about “crossing her fingers” and hoping
for the best. It’s time for the council to develop and enforce
standards (both procedural and substantive) for ensuring that public
land deals serve the public interest rather than just enhance the power
of the executive by providing a vast source of patronage.
Move the Teacher’s Contract to a Vote
Jackie Mann, firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several reasons why DC students have failed academically
for years. Lack of teacher accountability is one. As a DCPS employee,
most of the teachers I have seen are average to excellent. Nonetheless,
I have seen several very bad, even destructive, teachers. I have seen
teachers sleeping in class, and others fumbling through books, trying to
figure out what they want to teach that day, while the children sit and
wait for a thrown-together lesson. At one school, a teacher missed
several weeks of school each year, just before spring standardized
testing, so that when her children scored low, she could say, “It’s
not my fault. I wasn’t here to work with them.” Another teacher
refused to wear her hearing aid because “it was uncomfortable,” even
though she could not hear and respond to students’ needs without it.
The principal slumped down in her chair in exasperation stating that
there was little if anything she could do about a teacher who refused to
wear her hearing aid! (When one of my middle school students refused to
wear her hearing aid, her parents and teachers told her it was
unacceptable because it negatively impacted her work. I guess that
standard does not apply to adults).
Rhee’s plan is worth a try. Give those teachers who choose to be
accountable rewards for their risk. In Rhee’s plan, teachers who want
to maintain tenure and not be held accountable for students’ test
scores have that option. Teachers who believe they can produce student
improvement despite the odds against them have that option as well. By
the way, enough with blaming poverty and poor parenting for our
students’ failures. Those problems are real. However, there are
schools across the nation that have shown that with high teacher quality
most students can learn more regardless of the social ills they face. I
have seen old-school teachers in DCPS teaching (successfully) against
the odds as well. If you do not believe your students can learn because
they have a hard life, why are you even here? Move over and let in
someone who believes in the kids!
Rhee cannot get rid of poverty, crime or a hundred other social ills,
but our students need to learn anyway. So, she’s focusing on what she
can do something about — teacher quality, rewards, and accountability.
Let the rest of us educators also have the serenity to accept the things
we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the
wisdom to know the difference. If the union believes in its members’
intelligence, it should trust members to review a tentative contract.
Some colleagues were advised not to even go to the informational
sessions to understand what options were on the table. Strange! As
teachers, we usually tell our students to “learn all you can.” The
frustrating part is that people who are against Rhee’s plan are not
offering alternative suggestions. Where are the Union’s proactive
ideas for improving teacher quality and developing a fair system of
accountability? They have none. They need to give Rhee’s plan a shot
to show that they are at least willing to try new ideas in the absence
of their own.
To Club or Not to Club
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
As I take my early a.m. stroll around northwest DC with my faithful
Mountain Ukrainian Teutonic Toy, Trudy, I still find cars parked along
the streets with The Club, the antitheft bar, installed on the steering
wheel. This device is totally useless, since any thief wanting to steal
that car merely uses a hacksaw blade to disable The Club in about
twenty-seven seconds. Yes, it would take twenty-seven months to saw
through the impervium of The Club, but mere seconds to saw through the
steering wheel and then to remove The Club.
I recently came across a newer device made by The Club called the
Tire Claw XL. This device clamps onto one of the wheels of your car much
like the “boot” used by the police here in DC to disable cars that
are parked illegally or have outstanding tickets. This new Club device
locks with an electronic key in just a few seconds and the lock cannot
be disabled to free the wheel without the special key. This device is a
true antitheft device for those not wanting their Lexus to fall victim
to a car thief. Actually the most stolen auto in the US is a poor cousin
of the Lexus, a Toyota Camry (probably because there are so many more
Camrys than Lexus cars).
P.L. Wolff, email@example.com
This is to advise that the August 2008 online 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 and Back Issues Archive. Here you will be able to view the
entire issue as it appears in print, including all photos and
The next issue will publish on September 12 (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) “Preservation Board’s Order
Landmarking Church Being Challenged in Federal Court”; 2) “DC
Libraries Showing Improved Facilities and Service; Construction of
Branch in Shaw Soon to Start, Mayor Accused of Disrupting Tenley
Plan”; 3) “Ross School Joins With Fillmore Arts Center to Offer
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Fun Family Films Under the Stars, August 13-14
John A. Stokes, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Wednesday, August 13, Woodland Terrace, 2700 Block of Bruce Place, SE
Thursday, August 14, Fort Stevens Recreation Center, 1327 Van Buren
DC Government “Truck Touch” Event, August
Nancee Lorn, email@example.com
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced today that DC government will hold
its first “Truck Touch” event on Saturday, August 16, from 8:00 a.m.
to 4:00 p.m. at RFK Stadium, Lot 7. Mayor Fenty invites the public to
come out and climb aboard the nearly thirty vehicles — including fire
and dump trucks, one-stop mobile health and employment vans, and a
police helicopter and a harbor patrol boat — used to provide vital
city services. This is a free event.
The event will feature vehicles from the Departments of Employment
Services; Health; Parks and Recreation; Public Works; Transportation;
Fire and Emergency Management Services, the Homeland Security and
Emergency Management Agency; the Metropolitan Police Department; and the
Water and Sewer Authority.
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