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October 29, 2008


Dear Washingtonians:

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,, 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 object?

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, 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 ( 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.

Gary Imhoff


Election Day, November 4
Dorothy Brizill,

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,, 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 The DC League of Women Voters guide is at 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,

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,

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,

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.


Murdered by a Gang
Richard S. Rothblum,

[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.


Who’s Policing the Police?
Eddie Becker,

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 Protest,” The story starts after an ad.


Paula Miller,

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.


2010: What Other Options Are There?
Roger Scott,

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 machine?


Liz Karch,

Yep! You got me on that one.



Department of Parks and Recreation Events, November 1 and following
John Stokes,

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, November 5
Sean P. Greene,

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 at 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 5, 8
Ed Bruske,

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. or 383-1828.

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


Cleveland Park Citizens Association, November 8
George Idelson, CPCA,

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,

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 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 or by phone at 462-6000 x18. Check out our veterans themed “Bring Democracy Home” video at:


Afternoon Coffee Talk at the Museum: Borrowed Soldiers, November 12
Jessica Stark,

“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



DC Vote is CFC #66340
Ilir Zherka,

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.


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