I’ve always tried to keep national affairs and politics out of
themail, but I’ve also said that any current national issue with an
immediate relevance to local affairs and life in the District of
Columbia was a proper subject for discussion here. Well, an issue has
arisen with the election of a Democratic president and increased
majorities of Democrats in both houses of congress. How will that affect
the relationship between the District of Columbia and the federal
government? On November 10, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton issued a
press release headlined, “Norton Predicts Clean Sweep for Voting
Rights and Self-Government Bills with Obama and a Democratic Congress.”
In it, she predicts, “Moreover, after two centuries, residents will
have a Democratic House and Senate that will pass the District of
Columbia Voting Rights Act and send it to President Obama. . . . [T]he
District of Columbia Voting Rights Act could conceivably have more than
the necessary 60 votes [in the Senate]. . . . The coming year carries
great promise for completing the home rule that Congress began when it
enacted the Home Rule Act of 1973. . . . The change in the national
government can open the path to a true democratic transformation in the
District of Columbia. Our goal should be to go the full way to complete
democracy for the 600,000 Americans who live in our nation’s capital.
We can make 2009 the year of the clean sweep for democracy in hometown
DC — for DC voting rights and full self-government, too, after
centuries of unceasing and hard work.”
Michael Neibauer had an interesting article in the Examiner,
also on November 10, http://www.dcexaminer.com/local/What_DC_should_expect_from_Obama_administration.html,
that has a wider range of opinions. Neibauer quotes Mayor Adrian Fenty
and Councilmember Mary Cheh as largely agreeing with Norton. Fenty says:
“The hope really is that it means full voting rights faster, and that
the issues of big urban cities in this country will be a higher priority
for the federal government. . . . President-elect Obama will push the
rights of DC residents and abolish our lack of franchise, not because of
any campaign promise, but because it’s the right thing to do.” And
Cheh says: “I believe that we can have less interference with our own
local budget and local decision-making. . . . We can impress upon the
administration and Congress that we have been extraordinarily
responsible.” But Alice Rivlin of the Brooking Institution, says, “I
think Congress needs to recognize its responsibilities to the District
as the nation’s capital and play some of the role that a state would
play if we had a state. . . . I would worry less about federal
interference and more about getting Congress and the administration to
acknowledge this is the nation’s hometown and we want to make it as
good as it can possibly be.” And Mary Levy sounds a cautionary note:
“Democrats tend to start off with attention to DC, but it fades very
quickly. Part of that is, political reality sets in. . . .
[President-elect Barack Obama] and his administration are going to be so
distracted by the economy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, health care.
What’s going to be left over for the District, which he can always
count on anyway?”
Three questions: what’s your prediction on whether there will be
any substantive change in the local-federal relationship, what’s your
preference for what that change should be, and what can citizens of the
District do to encourage change in the direction you prefer?
I’ve had an inquiry about whether themail will run classified ads
either requesting or offering housing for the inaugural. The answer is
yes. If you want to rent a room or rent out a room, let it be known. In
the last issue, I recommended the web site of Teachers and Parents for
Real Education Reform, but used an “at” symbol in its address where
there should have been a period. The right address is http://realeducationreformdc.blogspot.com.
So the Mayor Wants the Obamas to Choose DCPS?
Gina Arlotto, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, I know, please stop laughing now. In an interview with the Chicago
Sun Times, our vaunted mayor has the audacity to suggest the
president-elect Obama and his wife choose DC Public Schools, when he and
his wife won’t even do the same. I stood at 11th and East Capitol
Streets, SE, here on Capitol Hill with Adrian Fenty just a few months
before he won the primary. I asked him, will you ever put your children
in DCPS? And he replied, “Absolutely my children will be in our
neighborhood public school next year.” Funny, isn’t it, that I
actually believed him then? It’s what secured my vote in the primary.
Yeah, I’m still waiting. Fool me once.
So here we are, many of us well-educated and able to afford private
schools, making thoughtful, intelligent, informed decisions to choose DC
public schools for our children, and yet, when it is even barely
suggested that the president (or the mayor) do the same, it is somehow
regarded as completely out of the question. I had to challenge a few
people in the last few days, who said, “Oh, absolutely not.” And I
said, “Well, why?” I am sick of the old canard that the Secret
Service cannot provide full security if the president’s children are
in a public school. If that were true, we should all be worried about
the safety of our children. But we all know what the Secret Service is
afraid of, and maybe the Obamas, too — poor black children.
I wrote all this in an E-mail today to the Obama campaign and, while
I am sure it will never be read, it made me feel better. I also wrote
that, while it hasn’t been easy having my children in DCPS these last
nine years, it has made them stronger students and better people. They
do not sit on an island of privilege which, let’s be real is what
these private schools are. I don’t care how many minorities or voucher
students Sidwell or Georgetown Day purport to have or how often their
students work at a soup kitchen or deliver blankets to the homeless. My
kids know the real world, and it’s not always a beautiful rainbow of
happiness. My children’s learning experience has value and honor as
well as academics, and it’s a crying shame that my own mayor and now
the latest “populist” elected official on the scene, president-elect
Obama, can’t see that.
Now that we are done with election season isn’t there a time limit
when the illegal campaign posters need to come down from the light
poles, stop signs and telephone poles?
Some Friendly Tips on Television Converter
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
A kind retired person recently asked me for help hooking up her
digital converter box that she purchased using those government provided
coupons. After about three hours of volunteer work, I was able to
successfully determined that the General Electric converter box she
purchased barely works. It barely works at all. You’ll find others on
the Internet encountering a similar experience with the GE converter
box. (A hearty thanks to FCC engineers who certified this device as
Other converter boxes might work better, but it’s good to know that
the converter box route is always a second best option. Far more
recommended is to buy a digital television. These can be purchased from
Best Buy for as low as $130. If the FCC were doing a better job looking
out for the needs of consumers they would allow those $40 coupons to be
used for the purchase of a converter box or a digital television. ’Nuff
Jim Graham Is Responsive on WMATA
David Sobelsohn, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the November 9 issue of themail, Dino Drudi criticized WMATA’s
new policy of randomly checking bags on the Metro. He writes that “since
I live in Ward Five, I can’t express my objection to this policy
through the normal democratic means of voting Jim Graham out” of
office, since Graham represents Ward One.
I live in Ward Six. I have found Jim Graham responsive to my
criticisms of WMATA. I believe Graham rightly considers that, in sitting
on the WMATA Board, he represents the entire city. So although indeed
one can’t actually directly vote against Graham unless one lives in
Ward One, he will respond to messages from outside his ward regarding
WMATA. Try sending him one.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Events, November
Lisa Alfred, email@example.com
November 10-30. Exhibit of stamps from around the world honoring Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. B. Smith’s Restaurant will host this exhibit
of stamps from around the world honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
throughout the month of November. This is the personal collection of
Lisa Alfred. Please stop by the restaurant to view the stamps and enjoy
a meal in one of Washington’s première locations. Some of the
countries represented in the exhibit include Belgium, Cameroun,
Djibouti, Guinea, India, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Turkmenistan,
the United States, and Yemen.
Sunday, November 16, 4:30-7:00 p.m. The Foundation of Martin Luther
King. In this discussion, Dr. King’s immensely important spiritual
foundation and the source of his moral authority will be examined.
Panelists include: Dorothy Gilliam, former columnist, The Washington
Post; Lewis Baldwin, Vanderbilt University; Peniel E. Joseph,
Brandeis University; and Rev. C. T. Vivian. Musical performance by the
Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Choir.
Monday-Tuesday, November 17-18. Gandhi King Ikeda: A Legacy of
Building Peace. This exhibit and video features the lives of Mohandas
Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Daisaku Ikeda — three men
from different cultures and countries who followed a common path of
profound dedication and achievement to addressing the plight of the
common people. This exhibit and video was created by Dr. Lawrence E.
Carter, Sr., Dean of the Martin L. King, Jr., International Chapel at
Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, as a means of promoting peace
through nonviolent action and community peace building.
Monday, November 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Martin Luther King: Giving
Freedom a World Voice. Opening Reception. Featured Guest: Tom Houck, Dr.
King’s assistant and driver, and author of Driving Dr. King:
Chasing The Dream. Indian music and international food. Art exhibits
include stamps from around the world featuring Dr. King, priceless
Russian Nonconformist Art, photo exhibit of African Americans in
Tuesday, November 18, 12:00-2:00 p.m. Dr. King’s Impact on Global
Human and Civil Rights Law. This forum will discuss the significance and
continuing impact of Dr. King’s work on contemporary human rights and
civil rights both domestically and internationally. Panelists: Ved P.
Nanda, University of Denver; Huwaida Arraf, The International Solidarity
Movement; Maina Kiai, Woodrow Wilson International Center; Dianne
Orinthlichter, American University; and Adam Shapiro (The International
Solidarity Movement. Free admission. To learn more about this series of
events honoring the international legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
please visit our web site at http://www.wdchumanities.org.
Ready Schools Community Meetings, November
Jeff Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
As you know, last month we released the results of our Ready Schools
research on DC’s consolidated schools. (Links to DCVoice reports are
This week, a second and broader round of data will be released, and we
want you to join us.
Our second annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast and community meetings
will be held this weekend, November 14, 9:00 to 10:45 a.m. at All Souls
Church, 2835 16th Street, NW, and November 15, 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
at Ward Memorial AME Church, 241 42nd Street, NW. At these meetings,
which will take place in two different parts of the city, community
members will have an opportunity, not just to hear findings from the
fifth annual Ready Schools Project but to participate in small group
discussions to share reactions to, impressions of and strategies around
the data and what must be done to improve or maintain it. To confirm
that you will attend either of these breakfasts, please go to http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e2e13tntfmuwvpna/a011lfngeqmrd/questions.
Department of Parks and Recreation Events,
November 15, 17
John Stokes, email@example.com
Saturday, November 15, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Arboretum Recreation
Center, 2412 Rand Place, NE. Yard sale: the Friends of Arboretum will
host a yard sale for the community. For more information, call Donald
Perritt, Site Manager, at 727-5547.
Saturday, November 15, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Barry Farm Recreation
Center, 1230 Sumner Street, SE. Football Jamboree: Ward 8 teams will
play other teams from Ward 6 and Ward 7 that did not proceed to the
playoffs. There will be music and light refreshments served. Ages 5-15.
For more information, call Charles Lowe at 645-3896.
Saturday, November 15, 9:00 a.m., Takoma Recreation Center, 300 Van
Buren Street, NW, and Coolidge High School, 6315 5th Street, NW.
Citywide Soccer Championship, ages 5-15. There will be ten teams and
fifty players. For more information, contact Michael Williams, 673-7674.
Saturday, November 15, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Wake Field Park, 8100
Braddock Road, Annandale, VA. DC Speed Track and Field Club at the
Potomac Valley Association Cross Country Track Championship, ages 7-18.
Participants will compete in the Potomac Valley Youth Cross Country
Track Championship, in order to quality for the Regional on November 22,
and hopefully the National on December 13.
Monday, November 17, 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Coolidge High School, 6315
5th Street, NW, and Kenilworth-Parkside Recreation Center, 4300
Anacostia Avenue, NE. Practice begins for DC Speed Indoor Track, ages
7-18. Practice continues on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. For more
information, call Edgar Sams, DPR Track and Field Coordinator, at
National Building Museum Events, November
Jazmine Zick, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 18, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Community in the Aftermath: The
Alternative Housing Pilot Program: The Louisiana Cottages and Carpet
Cottages Project. Wil Jacobs, Housing Policy Director, Louisiana
Recovery Authority and Ben Dupuy, a partner of Cypress Realty Partners,
LLC, describe the design process for the iconic Louisiana Cottages and
Carpet Cottages, and challenges facing the Affordable Housing Pilot
Program in Louisiana. The completed cottages will provide essential
housing stock for the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged areas of
November 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m., National Award For Smart Growth
Achievement. Now in its seventh year, this award program honors up to
five communities for their forward-thinking smart growth strategies.
Smart Growth is presented in association with the US Environmental
Protection Agency and the Smart Growth Network.
November 22, 2:00-4:00 p.m. DAP Building Blocks Final Presentation.
The young designers from the Design Apprenticeship Program present their
final projects: structures constructed out of modular building blocks
such as bricks, tiles, and concrete masonry units. All events at the
National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro
Red Line. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
Historical Society of Washington, DC, November
Ed Bruske, email@example.com
Wednesday, November 19, 12:00 p.m. Historical Society of Washington,
DC, 801 K Street, NW, at Mt. Vernon Square. Free admission. HSW
Author and Lecture Series: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, 103 mins.,
1988, director, Robert Zemeckis. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit is
sheer, enchanted entertainment from the first frame to the last - a
joyous, giddy, goofy celebration of the kind of fun you can have with a
movie camera. The film takes place in Hollywood in 1947, in a world
where humans and Toons exist side by side. The Toons in the movie
include not only new characters such as Roger Rabbit and his wife, the
improbably pneumatic Jessica, but also established cartoon stars such as
Bugs Bunny, Betty Boo, Dumbo, Mickey Mouse and both of the great ducks,
Donald and Daffy (they do an act together as a piano duo). Worried that
his glamorous missus Jessica (voiced by Turner) is cheating on him,
cartoon actor Roger Rabbit (voiced by Fleischer) asks the studio to hire
grumpy gumshoe Eddie Valiant (Hoskins) to uncover the truth. But when a
man ends up dead, Roger becomes the prime suspect and so he taps Valiant
— a man who hates anything drawn with a pen — to help him find the
real killer. Visually stunning and creatively superior, Zemeckis’s
work is frequently staggering and always entertaining. Pulling off that
old trick of appealing to the kiddies, while also satisfying their
cynical chaperones is part of the film’s charm.” — Ben Falk, BBC. RSVP@historydc.org
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