Ed Barron, below, objects to Metro’s plans to conduct random
invasive searches of its riders personal property. Like all branches of
government, Metro has no respect for the rights of citizens, no respect
for their privacy, and no hesitation against subjecting citizens to what
would have been unthinkable intrusions only a few years ago. Even though
Metro admits it is responding to no immediate danger, no specific
threat, and no particular menace, it justifies these searches on the
grounds of “security” and “safety,” knowing that it can fool a
lot of people into accepting the loss of their rights by pretending that
it is protecting them by degrading them. Dr. Gridlock addressed the
issue in his online chat on Monday, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/10/09/DI2008100901608.html,
and wrote, “I’ve been riding Metro for 20 years and never had a
reason to reconsider it until now. I’m not afraid to ride the trains.
I’m afraid of giving up the rights that hundreds of thousands of
Americans did die to protect over the past couple hundred years. . . .
People can refuse to be searched — as I would. But what if it really
is a terrorist with a bomb? Would any self-respecting terrorist submit
to a search? If someone is determined to get a bomb on a train, this new
policy of hitting one station or another and targeting every so and so
many people at the entrance isn’t going to stop that person. . . . I’d
rather walk than submit to a police search of my property with no
probable cause for that action. But say it happened to me trying to
enter Metro Center Station. I’d refuse the search and walk to Gallery
Place. . . . While we can all recognize the extreme seriousness of a
real terrorist threat, I don’t see any way that occasionally searching
people at the entrances is likely to make us safer.” No, but it’s
likely to make us more sheeplike and compliant. Isn’t that the real
Richard Rothblum, below, states all too clearly and too well the
position of many Fenty supporters and of the administration itself:
Mayor Adrian Fenty is simply not to be questioned. Democracy is a
concept that belongs in sneer quotes, nothing more than the “clamor of
ignorant mobs,” which is how Fenty’s supporters view the citizens of
the District. Having elected Fenty, our role now is only “stepping
aside and letting him lead.” There is no place for criticism,
questioning, or doubt: “Let’s shut up.” Sorry, Richard and Adrian.
That may be how it is in your world, but the ideal of democracy is not
sneered at in my DC, or in my America. The people rule and their elected
officials serve them, not the other way around. I could support my
position with weighty quotations from prestigious sources, but the idea
is stated just as powerfully in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe by a
prisoner who says to Ming the Merciless, “Sire, there is no dictator
in the universe powerful enough to destroy human thought.” We’ll
still think, and say, what we want.
A most welcome development was announced today. After more than a
year of advocating developers’ plans for the Tenley Library and Janney
School (see http://www.dcwatch.com/issues/westend070606.htm),
Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Kwame Brown have at last heard the
opposition of every Advisory Neighborhood Commission and community group
in the area. They have written to Mayor Fenty (http://www.dcwatch.com/issues/westend081029.htm)
that they oppose the LCOR development plan and support rebuilding the
Tenley Library according to the library system’s plans, though with
structural supports that would make it possible to add additional floors
later for the mixed-use commercial purposes they want. The letter asks
for Fenty’s response by November 7; it will be interesting to see it.
Election Day, November 4
Dorothy Brizill, firstname.lastname@example.org
DCWatch has persuaded the DC Board of Elections and Ethics to
establish a telephone hotline on election day to receive calls from
voters who encounter problems at their precincts or who witness any
improprieties at the polls. The number is 727-2194; it will be staffed
by the Board’s General Counsel, Ken McGhie, and by seven attorneys.
The Board has also agreed to admit representatives of a variety of civic
groups (for example, DC Watch, the DC Federation of Citizens
Associations, the ACLU of the National Capital Area, and the DC Voter
Education and Participation Project) to observe BOEE’s counting center
as the voting machine cartridges and ballot boxes arrive for tabulation.
Representatives of these groups and others will also visit polling sites
at different times during the day to speak with voters about their
experiences and to make their own observations.
Prior to going to the polls, voters can click on links on the home
page of the BOEE web site, http://www.dcboee.org, to check their
registration status and locate the addresses of their voting precincts.
After the election, voters who were required to cast provisional special
ballots can also check the status of those ballots. There are two voters
guides online. The BOEE’s voters guide, which was also mailed to every
registered voter two weeks ago, is at http://www.dcboee.org/pdf_files/Voters_Guide_November_2008.pdf.
The DC League of Women Voters guide is at http://www.lwvdc.org/guide_front.html.
Both the Washington Post and the Washington Times will be
publishing sample ballots.
By the way, the law prohibits any campaigning or electioneering
within fifty feet of the entrances to polling places. For that reason,
voters can’t wear any campaign paraphernalia inside the polls while
they vote. Leave the buttons, t-shirts, hats, signs, and posters at
home, or put them away as you enter to vote. Your precinct captains will
appreciate your cooperation.
Shutdown of the Community Services Agency
Bryce Suderow, email@example.com
The Department of Mental Health is handing a flyer to its patients
telling them that the entire Community Services Agency, which currently
works for the city and provides mental health services, will be shut
down by next September and replaced by privatized services. In other
words, all of the doctors, mental health counselors, and case workers
are going to be fired. The flyer is dated October 9, and is signed by
Juanita Price, the CEO of the DC Community Services Agency, and Michael
Biernoff, the Clinical Director.
In anticipation of this event, many of the workers are already taking
accumulated but unused leave they have built up over the years. Many of
the older workers plan to retire. Here are some excerpts from the flyer.
The second paragraph reads: “The Department of Mental Health is
changing the way that outpatient mental health services are provided. By
September of next year, all clients of the DC CSA will receive services
from the other providers in the community — not the DC CSA. During the
coming months, we will be working with you to help you select a new
provider of your choice.” The fourth paragraph reads in part: “. . .
Information will be provided to you about other mental health providers
and their services. You will be able to choose your new provider.”
The dedicated case workers are afraid to tell some of their clients
because they are currently so fragile they will relapse if they are
subjected to extra stress beyond what they face now. The lazy case
workers have not told their clients and probably will not tell them
until the last minute. I don’t believe switching to for-profit therapy
will work, for a number of reasons, which are too numerous to discuss
here. Someone else can detail them. So what’s the bottom line? When
the CSA is eliminated, a lot more mentally ill people are going to be
wandering around your neighborhood and everyone else’s.
Another Privacy Invasion
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
Another privacy invasion in the name of homeland security. What an
absolute waste of time, money, and resources to search peoples’ bags
who are riding on the Metro. What’s next? Will it be searching the
bags of those coming out of Super Fresh? I always carry a small shoulder
bag when I go walkabout downtown. In it I always carry a camera, my cell
phone (turned off, I only use it for outgoing calls), and sometimes my
portable, battery powered, Tom Tom GPS which I use in case I can’t
find some place I’ve never been before. I also occasionally carry my
iPod touch which keeps me in touch with the rest of the world (E-mail,
stock quotes, the nearest good dining place, etc.). I’ll be happy to
describe what I have in my bag to any security person who politely asks.
I will not, however, open it up. I may risk arrest or be thrown out of
the Metro (I’ve been thrown out of much better places) but I have a
right to my privacy.
Cameron Poles, A Ward 7 Dilemma
Clyde Howard, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cameron Poles is the man being squired around by Yvette Alexander as
one of the candidates running for the Ward 7 State Board of Education.
What folks are wondering is how can he run for State Board of Education
when he works for a company that provides support services for youth in
DC schools. The company is called “Jobs for America’s Graduates.”
Does anyone know if this is an actual service provider for DCPS? If so,
wouldn’t it be a conflict of interest? Also, he was listed as the
owner of a 501(c)3 organization called “District 51,” which had its
501(c)3 papers pulled just this year. Does anyone know why?
Voters, Remember This about Schwartz
Angela Bradbery, Smokefree DC, email@example.com
Last night I got a robo-call from Carol Schwartz, who is telling
people that she got beaten in the primary because she cared so much
about workers that she pushed for a sick leave policy, going up against
“powerful special interests.” I only wish she had cared so much a
few years ago, when we were trying to get the council to pass a
smokefree workplaces bill. Before you go to the polls, remember that
Schwartz was an active opponent of the now wildly popular smokefree
workplaces measure. She bottled up the smokefree bill in her committee
for three years, making sure it didn’t come to a vote. She did this as
residents clamored for the measure and as officials in cities, states,
and countries around the world enacted similar laws because they
recognized the harm that secondhand smoke causes to workers and patrons
in bars and restaurants. In the end, Schwartz was the only Councilmember
to vote against the smokefree workplaces bill. Had she had her way, the
District’s bars and restaurants would still be filled with
cancer-causing chemicals from cigarettes. District voters should
remember that on November 4.
[Re: David F. Power, “My Wife’s Coworker Was Murdered by a Gang,”
themail, October 26] I was saddened to read about the tragic death of an
innocent person at the hands of a gang of black teenagers, and my heart
goes out to the family and friends of this man. However, I believe it is
a mistake to blame the police, and especially to blame Mayor Fenty for
making the reform of the school system his number one priority. The
police cannot prevent crime. Nothing will prevent people who cannot read
or write or otherwise function in our society from committing antisocial
acts, including murder. It is incredible that we haven’t suffered
worse consequences from producing generations of citizens who cannot
fulfill a productive role, attract a mate, raise a family, or obtain
material possessions legally. They have nothing to lose, so their
behavior can’t be changed by mere intimidation.
Yes, the police can clean up the mess after it happens. Evidently,
suspects are in custody. Unfortunately, there are hundreds if not
thousands more ready to resume their depredations. Our educational
system has produced an army of criminals. The best we can expect, until
we are able to educate our schoolchildren to be able to fulfill
productive roles, is to control these outcasts by confining them to jail
or to their hapless neighborhoods. This strategy has obvious limits, not
the least of which is the inevitable and ongoing infringement of the
liberties of all of us. This is not to mention the burden this puts on
the innocent neighbors of the predators who cannot escape by moving away
or avoiding their territory. I am not a bleeding heart. I am fully in
favor of locking up criminals, no matter their age, in the case of
violent offenders. Protecting victims trumps rehabilitating offenders.
If we need more jails, so be it. But, if we want a solution to this
problem, it has to be through the educational system.
So, please, get off Michelle Rhee’s case, and let her and Mayor
Fenty do what they have to do to straighten out the schools. Stop
whining about giving away public property, and lack of “democratic”
procedures. “Democracy” is what got the schools in their present
condition, if we can call responding to the clamor of ignorant mobs “democracy.”
We elected the mayor to lead. How about stepping aside and letting him
lead? If we don’t like the result, we don’t have to reelect him. We’ve
been waiting for decades for an adequate educational system. Nothing is
more important. Let’s shut up and give the people who have dedicated
themselves to this goal a chance.
The recent arrest of an Adams Morgan Advisory Neighborhood
Commissioner while monitoring 18th Street nightlife, and the
confiscation of her camera and digital memory, prompted a demonstration
of photographers and residents in Adams Morgan. ABC News Channel 7
covered the protest. Click on the URL to watch the story “Adams Morgan
The story starts after an ad.
Ah, this [”Anybody Been Rumbled Yet?, themail, October 26] might
explain the weird, unidentifiable sounds I’ve experienced in my condo
at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Porter Street, - a mere two blocks
from Second District MPD Headquarters. Not quite earthquake-ish,
although the windows did rattle a bit. More like a giant mega-truck kind
of sound, which prompted me to wonder, why in the world would such a
massive truck try to make its way up relatively narrow Porter Street? I
look out the window — nothing there. It’s only happened twice in
recent memory, but it was definitely noticeable among the background of
all other traffic sounds. With all the annoying noise issues that we
have in the DC, I certainly hope MPD does not make a common practice of
using this rumbler thing. It’ll only add more noise to what people are
already desperately trying to ignore or block out. The blogger was right
— I would not think it was police trying to get my attention, but
something more sinister that would require police attention.
I’m not sure what is sadder. That I was so easily fooled by the
opening statement in themail [October 26] or that I actually believed
until the last paragraph that the Fenty Administration would attempt to
remove knives from the citizens. I have lost all faith in him and his
administration. I can no longer say, “He would never do that.” If no
one else admits it, I will. You got me! Nice one.
I’m ready to start interviewing new candidates for mayor now! My
question is who do you think is going to step forward next year to
challenge him? Who is strong enough to stand against the Fenty money
Yep! You got me on that one.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Department of Parks and Recreation Events,
November 1 and following
John Stokes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, November 1-December 20, Adult Basketball League. Beginning
November 1, organized basketball leagues for male and female teams.
Leagues include a Lawyer’s League, Men’s Open League, 50 and up, 40
and up, 30 and up, 18 and up, and a Women’s Open League. Teams will
play an eight-game schedule and a single elimination tournament will be
held at the end of the season.
Ages 50 and up starting November 1, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Langdon
Recreation Center, 2901 20th Street, NE.
Ages 40 and up starting November 1, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Riggs
LaSalle Community Center, 501 Riggs Road, NE.
Ages 18 and up starting November 1, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Kenilworth-Parkside
Recreation Center, 4300 Anacostia Avenue, NE, and Fort Davis Recreation
Center, 1400 41st Street, SE.
Ages 30 and up starting Monday, November 3, Monday and Wednesday,
6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, SW.
Starting Tuesday, November 4-December 18, Men’s Flag Football,
Dwayne A. Moseley Sports Complex (Taft Field), 18th and Perry Streets,
NE. Ages 18 and up, Tuesday and Thursday. Three games will be played
each night; games start at 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m.
DC State Board of Education Public Hearing,
Sean P. Greene, email@example.com
The District of Columbia State Board of Education will hold a public
hearing Wednesday, November 5. At the meeting, the State Board will
receive input from the public on the proposed Early Learning Standards.
The public hearing will begin at 6:00 p.m. at 441 4th Street, NW, in the
District of Columbia State Board of Education Chambers, located on the
lobby level of the building. Note the new start time for the hearing.
Constituents who wish to comment at the public hearing are required
to notify the State Board of Education in advance by contacting the
Executive Director, Beverley Wheeler, by phone at 741-0884 or by E-mail
before the close of business Monday, November 3. Please provide one
electronic copy and bring fifteen copies to the hearing for the Board
Members to view. The meeting will air live on DSTV Comcast Channel 99
and RCN Channel 18.
Historical Society of Washington, DC, November
Ed Bruske, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, November 5, Saturday, November 8, 12:00 p.m.
Historical Society of Washington, DC, 801 K Street, NW, at Mt. Vernon
Square. Free admission. High Noon Film. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 115
mins., 1982, dir. Spielberg. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is Steven
Spielberg’s warmhearted classic delight for both children and adults.
It tells the story of an alien creature, E.T., mistakenly left behind on
Earth. When a young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), finds E.T. and hides
him in his home, both their worlds are changed forever. E.T. teaches
Elliott and his two siblings (Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton),
whose parents have recently separated, about caring and love while the
children protect E.T. from the malevolent world of grown-ups. Elliott
and E.T. become so close that they share emotions; as E.T. becomes ill,
so does Elliott. But both recover, and the children return E.T. to the
spaceship, after E.T. reminds Elliott that they will always be together
in their hearts. This is an outstanding family movie, with themes of
loyalty, friendship, trust, and caring. One of the most purely magical
scenes in the history of film is when Elliott’s bicycle lifts off up
into the sky. For the entire family. RSVP@historydc.org
Saturday, November 8, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Historical Society of
Washington, DC, 801 K Street, NW, at Mt. Vernon Square. Virginia Bus
Trip: Touring, Wine-tasting, and Dining. Spend the day with us! Board
our luxurious motor coach for a delightful day trip to Virginia’s
vineyards for wine-tasting, historic tours, and fine country dining. Our
personal tour-guide will navigate our HSW group around the Oatlands
Plantation mansion and gardens in Leesburg, Virginia. Once a wheat
plantation of hundreds of acres, Oatlands was purchased in 1903 by the
founder of Washington’s Corcoran Art Gallery. Our next stop is a short
trip to historic ‘Winery at La Grange’, where a sumptuous lunch and
wine tasting awaits our group. Off to Barrel Oak Winery, one of the
newest stars of Virginia’s wine industry, to do more touring and
tasting. At each winery, relax, sip and share your impressions of the
fruit of the vine. Don’t forget to purchase your favorite wines to
enjoy at home. Our final stop is The Blackthorne Inn, once owned by
George Washington. After a wonderful three-course dinner, we board our
coach and return to DC. Throughout the day, our onboard professional
guide will regale us with the legends, folklore and historical insights
from both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and more. Cost $175. Seating
limited. (Money will be fully refunded if this trip is cancelled for any
reason.) To reserve your seat today, call 393-1828 or E-mail Bustrip@historydc.org.
Cleveland Park Citizens Association, November
George Idelson, CPCA, email@example.com
Mark Plotkin, political commentator for WTOP Radio, will discuss what
the election will mean to DC. Also, the Office of the People’s Counsel
will give a presentation on how you can get a free energy audit for your
home. The meeting, sponsored by the Cleveland Park Citizens Association,
will take place on Saturday, November 8, 10:15 a.m., at the Cleveland
Park Library (Connecticut and Newark, NW). All are welcome.
Join DC Vote on Veterans Day, November 11
Eugene Dewitt Kinlow, firstname.lastname@example.org
In two weeks, DC Vote will honor veterans and their patriotic service
to our country by demanding democracy for all. Join us on Veterans Day,
Tuesday, November 11, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Upper Senate
Park (Constitution and Delaware Avenues, NE) as we recognize DC’s sons
and daughters who have served us so honorably. Just a week after the
November 4 elections, DC Vote and the DC voting rights movement will
educate Congress and the next presidential administration about our lack
of a vote in Congress. We need hundreds of DC residents, veterans,
students activists, and supporters of DC voting rights to help us make
this rally a huge success.
Let us know if your organization is interested in becoming a
supporter by being an event sponsor or encouraging family and friends to
attend. Please download a DC Vote Veterans Day Rally 2008 flyer from http://www.dcvote.org/pdfs/veteransrally2008color.pdf
to post on community boards and raise awareness of the event, and join
us on November 11. If you want to promote this event or attend, RSVP
Erica Spell by E-mail at email@example.com
or by phone at 462-6000 x18. Check out our veterans themed “Bring
Democracy Home” video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FIphJBBHo4.
Afternoon Coffee Talk at the Museum: Borrowed
Soldiers, November 12
Jessica Stark, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Borrowed Soldiers: Americans Under British Command, 1918.”
During the summer and autumn of 1918, two United States Army divisions,
fresh from training camps in South Carolina, were attached to the
British Army and participated in some of World War I’s bloodiest
fighting. Attacks against strong German positions on the Western Front
resulted in high American casualties, and the British were called upon
to provide medical support. Historian Mitch Yockelson will discuss how
the doughboys were evacuated from the battlefield and taken to British
hospitals for treatment. Following the program, Yockelson will sign his
recent book, Borrowed Soldiers (available for sale before and
after the program).
Wednesday, November 12, 2:00 p.m., at Russell Auditorium, National
Museum of Health and Medicine, 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW (at Walter Reed
Army Medical Center, Building 54). Free; coffee served. For more
information, call 782-2200 or E-mail email@example.com.
CLASSIFIEDS — DONATIONS
DC Vote is CFC #66340
Ilir Zherka, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s time for the Combined Federal Campaign. If you are a federal
employee, please contribute to DC Vote through the CFC this year. DC
Vote is CFC #66340. Pass this message along to your colleagues, friends
and family who are federal employees.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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E-mail edition. An archive of all past issues is available at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.