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March 11, 2009

The Trial

Dear Inmates:

Reading Jack McKay’s message below, I am reminded of Orson Welles’ great adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial. What happens when the paranoid fantasy of government as a never-ending maze, with no allies, no guides, no explanation, and no exit, turns out to be reality? Your guilt is assumed; your crime doesn’t even have to be named.

Councilmember Harry Thomas’ threat against the Brookland Heartbeat neighborhood newspaper and its advertisers, reported by Jason Lee-Bakke in the March 4 issue of themail, has become national news. The Romenesko column on Poynter Online, a web site about the news industry, featured it on March 9,, and linked to Marc Fisher’s March 9 article about it in the Post (but not to Michael Neibauer’s article about it in the Examiner on March 6, Can anyone explain why Thomas doesn’t just admit he made a mistake and apologize? Does he really believe a neighborhood newspaper should print nothing but praise of him?

Another Examiner story, an exclusive that hasn’t been picked up by other newspapers or broadcast stations, shows how the District continues its defiance of the Second Amendment: When DC dropped its transparently unconstitutional definition of all semiautomatic handguns as “machine guns” that were banned, it adopted a requirement that the only guns that can be licensed in DC are those on the approved list of the state of California, which amounts to much the same thing. Now DC has denied a gun license to a woman because, although her gun is on the California list, California lists it only in different colors from hers. I can’t wait to hear DC’s legal argument for why the color of her gun is relevant to whether her right to keep and bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment. DC has also denied a license to a man whose gun model isn’t on the California list because it isn’t being currently manufactured, even though it’s exactly the same model of gun that Dick Heller owned, and that the Supreme Court ordered DC to license to Heller in Heller v. DC. DC should just drop the California list requirement, rather than spend millions more in taxpayer money to continue its defiance of the law, but common sense is too much to expect.

Gary Imhoff


Permit Purgatory
Jack McKay,

About a year ago, I had to remove a large diseased elm, and I needed a few "emergency no parking" signs so that no cars would be damaged by falling tree limbs. The officers at the MPD Third District headquarters readily provided them, and that was that, in about three minutes. Now another elm, same place, must be removed, so I went to the MPD again, with the same request. Nope; we won't give you any no-parking placards; you've got to go to DDOT, at the Reeves Center, 14th and U. Okay, so there I went. Nope, again, you've got to go down to 941 North Cap. And off I went again, glad that I wasn't trying to run this errand by bus.

Arriving at 941 North Cap, I saw to my horror that I was being sent to that torture chamber known as the DCRA Permit Center. I didn't want a permit, I just wanted a few no-parking placards! Nope, the clerk said brusquely, go apply for a permit. What, a permit just to clear out three parking places for a while? But Mr. Clerk gave me the, "go away, I'm done with you" look. Very well, at the computer kiosk I filled in an application, puzzling over what kind of permit I was supposed to request. The computer wouldn't let me leave that blank, so I picked something that looked vaguely appropriate. Then I waited for forty minutes until finally another clerk deigned to look at my application. I just want a few "no parking" placards for some tree work, I told him. Nope, he says, you've got to get a fire permit. Fire? Oy. Back into a queue, where I cool my heels for another quarter of an hour, until the fire permit clerk decides to give me a minute. Nope, he says, you've got to go to another office, in another building, and get fire department approval of a traffic control plan. Traffic control? For an hour's work at the very end of a one-block, dead-end street?

Well, after dealing with four clerks in three separate District government buildings, and now being told to go to a fifth clerk in a fourth building somewhere else, I exploded. All I wanted was three no-parking signs, and these clerks were giving a full-bore bureaucratic run-around. Did I mention that this isn't my tree, and it's not on my property, it's a city tree, on public space, but I'm willing to take it down, at my own expense — over six hundred dollars — so that the Dutch elm disease doesn't spread from it to healthy elms? And that it's at the orders of the District that I'm removing the diseased tree? All I want is a way to make sure nobody's car is parked under the tree during the work.

I stormed out of the Permit Office, declaring that no homeowner should be required to suffer this bureaucratic obstructionism, and that I was going to do the job without any permits. I printed three "no parking" signs of my own, posted them the requisite seventy-two hours ahead of time, the cars went away, and the tree work was done, in time to prevent the spread of the disease. But how is it that a task that took three minutes at a police station last year, now requires hours of time at multiple District offices, dealing with strings of minor bureaucrats? Homeowner-friendly, this is not.


Fenty Always Wanted to Visit Dubai?
Diana Winthrop,

It has been over two weeks since Fenty and family have returned from Dubai, and I still find myself furious. I fault the Washington Post and all other reporters for giving the mayor a pass on real questions about Arab treatment of women. Fenty “always wanted to visit Dubai?” The Arab country was the first country to come to his mind? Why not Disneyland, because it was a family vacation? Even France or Britain, but Dubai? It was so disingenuous from a mayor who appears to be bought by the country who paid for his trip. And the mayor called it ’’ a family vacation,” when he only took his boys and left his baby girl at home? If it were, as Fenty explained, a “family vacation,” then his baby daughter would have been in tow. Fenty is no fool. He has to be aware of Dubai’s treatment of women as second class citizens as well of the continuing problem with other Arab countries. The mayor turned a blind eye to Dubai’s treatment of an Israeli tennis player, as Marc Fisher of the Washington Post complained in his column last week. I expected so much more from Fenty, who seems to put “economic development” above moral and ethical issues. No, Mayor Fenty. Citizens of DC care about much more than whether taxpayers dollars are used to pay for a junket.


Qualified Candidates
Ralph J. Chittams, Sr.,

The tax troubles of Councilmember Barry are now the stuff of legends. However, his is not an isolated case. From prominent national figures (both Democrats and Republicans) to relative unknowns running locally, the nonpayment of taxes and non filing of returns seems to be occurring with more regularity. But for me, the problem is more insidious when it occurs on the local level. How can someone seek to represent me when they are not pulling their own weight, and are in fact a lawbreaker. For example, during a hearing on January 14 before the Board of Elections and Ethics challenging the residency of Cameron Poles, a candidate for Ward 7 Member of the State Board of Education, Mr. Poles stated, under oath, that he had not filed his 2007 and 2008 taxes. However, this is not a problem without an obvious solution. All prospective candidates, including incumbents, should have to file a certified copy of their current District of Columbia tax return when filing papers to run for office. The absence of a current copy of the required certified tax return would be a disqualifying event. This requirement would also apply to write-in candidates. They would have to submit the required certified tax return before being certified as the winner of an election. This will also end another cherished DC tradition, of a candidate who maintains two residences being able to cherry-pick the Ward or ANC from which he or she chooses to run. Let's see the council enact, and the mayor sign, that legislation.

We always hear the mantra, “no taxation without representation.” There should be another mantra: “if you don't pay you can't play.”


Religiously-Bearded Firefighters Prevail in Court of Appeals
Arthur Spitzer, ACLU of the National Capital Area,

On March 6, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in favor of our clients, a group of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish DC firefighters and paramedics who wear beards as a matter of religious obligation, but whom the Fire Department had ordered to shave, claiming that facial hair is unsafe. The ACLU of the National Capital Area has been representing these men since 2001, when the Fire Department changed its previous practice of allowing beards and long hair. Most of our clients have worn beards for their entire careers with the Department, some for more than twenty years. Not one has ever had a hair-related safety problem.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal statute enacted in 1993, prohibits the DC government from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion” unless it can show that the burden furthers a “compelling governmental interest” and is the “least restrictive means” of furthering that interest.

Finding that the Fire Department had not met its burden of showing that facial hair was unsafe, District Judge James Robertson entered a preliminary injunction in 2001, and a permanent injunction in 2007, prohibiting the Department from firing or disciplining our clients for wearing beards. The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision, rejecting the Department’s argument that Judge Robertson had improperly refused to consider some of its arguments. If you see a firefighter with a beard, please join us in celebrating religious freedom — and safety!


Ward 3 Ain’t Wisconsin
Frank Winstead,

From the line waiting for the 1:00 p.m. Cleveland Park Library opening to the Maryland Delegate’s SUV illegally parked in Friendship Heights, Ward 3 has distinctive neighborhood problems. Councilmember Mary Cheh’s solution is to hire an Outreach Coordinator from the pool of University of Wisconsin alumni; details at: Maybe all those new sub-union wage journalists being hired by the Washington Post will cover these stories, Or, will the Post raid talent from DC’s community papers undermining the viability of these local print competitors as they undermine their own established labor force.

But, we still have NBC4’s Tom “Slow Scoop” Sherwood. Late last Sunday night themail was kind enough to publish my sincere best wishes for speedy recoveries to Councilmembers Barry and Cheh. I even included a link to Cheh’s Avon Walk for Life web page where in the second sentence Cheh discusses her battle. Tom Sherwood sent me this 8:03 a.m. Monday morning E-mail: “Cheh recently sent out an E-mail asking for a basketball to practice for the council/media game next Monday (the 9th) . . . what’s her illness?” I responded to my BFF Tom Sherwood indicating that the Northwest Current had covered this twelve days before. My next morning priority was to check the web site. I was surprised to see a link to a Monday morning Washington Post article on Cheh’s health. Besides not reading the paper that publishes his own column, the Northwest Current, it seems that Sherwood reads themail, and me in particular, before the Washington Post.


DC Voting Rights Bills
Samuel Jordan,

The DC House Voting Rights bills, HR 157 and S 160, would give one voting seat in the House of Representatives to the District of Columbia and an additional voting seat in the House to the state of Utah. When Representative Tom Davis from northern Virginia introduced these bills in the 109th and 110th Republican congresses, he did not intend to empower the people of the District of Columbia. The bills do not assure full and equal representation in Congress for the District. They do not give the District full, local control of our own laws, budgets, and judiciary. As shown with the gun law amendment, Congress will continue to govern the District. The bills do not give the District a fair federal payment or a fair reciprocal taxing authority. The bills provide no substantial material or political improvement in the status of the District..

Given their history and purpose, it is stunningly deceitful for the bills’ current promoters to insist that the bills are incremental steps to statehood or self-government for the District. The bills only give our Delegate the title of Member of the House of Representatives and a second-class status in Congress. All icing, no cake. In 1980, the voters of the District elected Delegates to a constitutional convention and in 1982, ratified the Constitution of the state of New Columbia. The will of the people on this matter was expressed at the ballot box. That is the essence of democracy — the consent of the governed. Yet the promoters of HR 157/S 160 have not consulted with the electorate in any meaningful way. It’s ironic that “DC Vote,” the bills’ principal lobbyist, would be the name of an organization that refused to acknowledge the will of DC voters.

The DC House Voting Rights bill is another piece of “not yet” legislation. Even without the Congressional meddling with our gun laws, the legislation tells District residents you’re not yet equal, you’re not yet self-governing, and you’re not yet fully American. HR 157 and S 160 are trick bills that would give Utah, one of the reddest, whitest states in the union, and a Republican stronghold, an extra vote in the Electoral College without giving an additional Electoral College vote to African-American, Democratic District of Columbia. We continue to avoid discussion of race and democracy. An election in 2008 as close as those in 2000 and 2004, could have been decided by one Electoral College vote. Senator John McCain instead of Senator Barack Obama might have taken the oath of office. That was Tom Davis’ purpose with HR 157, and he has made fools of the people of the District of Columbia. We get nothing of substance and Utah gets the power to decide presidential elections. The election of 2008 has passed and the bills have outlived their usefulness. By recycling them, we waste an historic opportunity with a Democratic 111th Congress to make real progress toward political equality. We demand that the DC council lead the march to statehood and that the people of the District themselves organize community statehood forums and create an informed, decisive grassroots movement to establish democracy in the District of Columbia.


Can’t Lose in themail
Michael Bindner, mikeybdc at yahoo dot com

Ed Barron writes about what he sees as a futile attempt at voting rights [themail, March 8]. While I agree that the goal should be statehood rather than voting rights in one house, I must challenge the futility of pursuing this course. For one thing, it has already revitalized the push for statehood. In the Senate, one Republican’s becoming a Democrat could make this a reality and, given the conservative attacks on Senators Specter, Collins, and Snowe of late, one or all of them changing party is not outside the realm of possibility. While voting rights without a state is likely not constitutional, having the court say that raises the temperature on the issue and reveals that statehood is the only realistic goal. Retrocession is not a realistic alternative, since Maryland will never vote for it. This means that it is time for Maryland to put the issue up for a vote so that the Republican Party can no longer point to it as an option.


Digital Public Square
Norman Metzger,

Digital Public Square is indeed a nifty site, per Mr./Ms. Lassoc [themail, March 8]. Here’s the link: Let’s hope it stays that way as our excellent technology officer departs for national doings.


Recycled Paper and Soy-Based Ink
Paul Craney,

As a Ward 3 voter, I recently posted a comment on the Tenlytown listserv regarding Councilmember Mary Cheh’s unsolicited newsletter that she sent to her Ward’s residents. My concern was that Cheh didn’t print the newsletter on recycled paper or use soy-based ink, which is friendlier to the environment. I asked the listserv for feedback if it’s a good idea for Councilmember Cheh to stop sending out her newsletters to save resources.

I was really surprised by Cheh’s staffer who responded on the listserv, “Yet again, the Republican Party gets it wrong. The newsletter was printed with soy-based ink on recycled paper.” The newsletter didn’t indicate that, and the fact that the staffer used my political affiliation was really unprofessional.

If you have ever had a similar experience as a Ward 3 voter, please let me know. My contact is:


A Dim Outlook for the Nationals
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

With the current economic situation, the Nationals will likely find that attendance will be greatly diminished this season. The team is already selling single game tickets, which indicates that their sales of season tickets are way down. Many folks who attended games last year have already seen the stadium and the woefully inept Nationals team, and will not be back this year. Or they will be back less often. Coupled with the probable pullout of corporate buying of skyboxes, there will be quite a few empty seats at the games this year, and at night games there will be several more darkened skyboxes. As for the team on the field, they will probably win a few more games this season than in 2008. The Z man (Zimmerman) is locked up for two more seasons, but will bolt when he becomes a free agent in 2011. Zimmerman wants to play for a pennant contender. In all, it is a dim outlook for the Nationals this season. I’m doing my part, though, by upgrading my partial season ticket to a better seat. There are lots of good seats available.


A Bright Light
Paula Miller,

Thank you for your message on the so-called “Smart” Lighting Act of 2009. What’s “smart” about it? Section I, Paragraph (1) was simply absurd. I thought I was reading something from a pre-Edison, nineteenth century, Luddite treatise on the evils of technology. The council’s “findings” are simply archaic and so out of touch with twenty-first century urban realities that one would think the council members live in caves in the country or the forests primeval. While there may indeed be some related energy savings rational and medical findings to support their contentions of adverse health effects, I am also concerned about safety and security that is enhanced by a well-lit street at night. Don’t like it? It’s called an eye mask — get one. My building, on Wisconsin Avenue and Porter Street, NW, has glaring halogen security lights in our parking lot. Yes, they keep my bedroom “lit” to some extent at night, but if those lights prevent or deter car break-ins and thefts, and keep homeless folk from taking up residence in our relatively secluded back parking lot, then I say keep the lights!

As I continued reading some of the rationale for the SLA, it felt more like I was reading from concerned citizens in remote southern Arizona. Now, they’ve got a much more legitimate beef with such lighting issues as border fence security lighting, that is well-founded. Those Arizonians moved to the less-populated remote areas of the state to get away from the big city lights, but massive stadium lights for the border fence thwart their escape quest. Also, there are several astronomical observatories in that area (Kitt Peak Observatory, for example) that have a vested interest in minimizing any additional lighting of the ambient night sky for their operations to continue, telescopes unimpeded by artificially lighted ambient night skies. But DC is not remote southern Arizona, folks! It’s an east coast city — C.I.T.Y. Been that way for quite a while, I might add; and although I don’t know exactly when electric street lights were initially installed in DC, I’d hazard a guess that they’ve been in widespread use at least since the early 1940’s.

Of the three purposes for the Act that the council articulates, these two are the most hilarious: “Increasing the popularity and aesthetic beauty of the District’s tourist destinations, residential neighborhoods, and nightlife areas”; and “Restoring the view of the cosmic natural beauty of the night sky.” Who do these jokers think they’re kidding? Hello! Tourists do not come to DC to sit around in the dark and contemplate the sky at night. They go to Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska for such things. What about previous years’ Mall muggings of tourists that E. H. Norton attributed to the poor nighttime lighting conditions on the Mall? What, so now the council is okay with tourists getting mugged while they’re stargazing or feeling their way around in the dark? Pulleeeze. And if the council thinks that their piddly suggestions for reducing night lights are going to actually “restore” anyone’s view of the night sky to a “natural” state, then they’re living in la-la land. They’d have to first eliminate all the particulate matter in the atmosphere to get to that state; meaning, no more cars, no more coal- or fuel-powered anything in the entire region. And energy savings? Who’s gonna be saving? The way PEPCO customers have been raped and pillaged by PEPCO this winter, despite individual efforts to conserve, this energy savings argument rings hollow. Anyway, much of the language of the act is just too idealistic and unscientifically based to be taken seriously, and illustrates the council’s shear ignorance of the science involved in what constitutes the “natural” night sky. Too late, folks — it’s the twenty-first century. Until we hear the people at the National Observatory grousing and complaining about too much light in the city because it’s negatively impacting their legitimate observational operations, then the rest of us should simply accept that nighttime lighting contributes significantly to safety and security. Get your minds illuminated. Live in the light.


Richard Layman,

At the National Main Street conference last week in Chicago, I happened to talk with representatives from the company that is DC’s primary vendor for streetlights. The company is introducing LED technology that will significantly cut the energy use of streetlights. In order to house the LED technology, the streetlights will have to have “caps” on top of the globe, which will end up cutting out the light that is emitted that goes “up.”

I do support the sentiment to limit light. At the same time, I agree with Gary that cities are cities and light and action are a part of city life that I would hope that we wouldn’t try to legislate away. Similarly, just like you can’t take light away from the city, you can’t make every plot of land in the city have “open space.” Again, (thriving) cities are about buildings and activities, not emptiness.


Let There Be Light
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

The bill before the city council to regulate the amount of light from signs, etc., in DC is very flawed, in my opinion. Councilperson Cheh has proposed a bill that should be voted down. Lights make places much safer and appealing. Just look at 7th Street, NW. Several years ago that place was a mess. Then the lights came on as businesses and the MCI Arena opened up. That area is as attractive now as many places in the Big Apple, with appealing restaurants, shops, and theaters. The lights make all the difference. Let there be light(s).


Light Pollution
Bob Evans,

I can see merits both for and against the proposed legislation against “light pollution.” I particularly understand the need to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. However, I think that what is really needed is a thorough reexamination of street lighting in general, both to improve energy efficiency and improve public safety. For example, look at 4th Street, SW. Like much of the city, it is obvious that the main purpose of the street lights there is simply to light the street for car traffic and not to make the sidewalks safer for pedestrians. The lamps are like those on freeeways and interstates and go up quite high and point down only to the middle of the street (unlike DC’s great traditional lower sidewalk globe lamps, which lighted both the streets and sidewalks). Now the trees have grown up high enough that this street lighting provides even less secondary “spillover” to the sidewalks. The result is often overly bright streets and very dark (and dangerous) sidewalks. As with much of DC planning, the emphasis seems to have been on protecting car traffic and not on pedestrian safety. All I ask is that those tall lamp poles have a lower (not so bright) sidewalk side lamp added that would shine down on the middle of the sidewalk and help illuminate them against criminal activity (and protect against tripping on DC’s ubiquitous uneven sidewalk concrete or bricks). In the meantime, I will continue to take my chances against traffic and walk in the safely lighted streets instead of the dark sidewalks when I come home late in the evening.


Lighting Fiction Can Kill
Gabe Fineman,

We have had several pedestrians killed crossing Connecticut Avenue near the Uptown theater at night and in the rain, where the drivers said that they did not see them. The solution is not to decrease lighting, but to double it in this commercial area that is a proven fatality zone. It’s an inexpensive solution that may save lives.

The Smart Lighting Act links its two main objectives of reducing unshielded light fixtures and reducing excessive lighting intensity as though they were one problem, but they are two distinct and unrelated issues. There is no harm and probably benefit is directing lighting toward the areas where it is needed and not in simply sending it into the sky. However, to claim that street lights produce excessive glare and are dangerous is preposterous. Full sunlight produces over 100,000 lux (the measure of light per square meter) (see Street lights produce a completely different order of magnitude of light that seems to be under 100 lux (see and by the time it hits the road or the eye.

Over the centuries, there has been a policy of improving public lighting of the streets so that travel at night was not just for the wealthy (or gangsters) with their entourages while the poor stayed at home in fear. Perhaps the city council thinks that the streets are now so safe that lighting can be reduced. I suggest that they travel without their sycophants for a while.



Department of Parks and Recreation Events, March 13-15
John Stokes,

Friday, March 13, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Trip to the National Museum of American History on the National Mall, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. Seniors aged 55 and up will enjoy a tour the newly reopened National Museum of American History. For more information, call Ben Butler at 645-9200.

Friday, March 13, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Joseph H. Cole Recreation Center, 1200 Morse Street, NE. Sock hop for all ages. Enjoy an afternoon of eating, dancing, slipping and sliding, at Joe Cole’s first Sock Hop. For more information, call Kyanna Blackwell, Site Manager at 724-4876.

Friday, March 13, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th Street NW. Fifth annual sports banquet for all ages. Youth involved in sports and recreational programs throughout the year at Kennedy Recreation Center will be awarded for their participation. All participants will receive awards. For more information, call Freddie Brown at 671-4794.

Friday, March 13, 7:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. Ages 14-19. Join in Teen Night activities throughout various wards with Metro TeenAIDS, as teens will enjoy music, games, and movies while getting tested for HIV in partnership with Metro TeenAIDS. For more information, call Lou Hall at 671-0423.

Friday, March 13, 9:00 p.m.-7:00 a.m., Fort Stevens Recreation Center, 1327 Van Buren Street, NW. Young Ladies on the Rise participants, ages eight through twelve, will go beyond movies, munchies, and staying up all night, with this fun-filled sleepover party. Activities include party games, arts and crafts, movies, nail pampering, open discussions, double-Dutch, hula hoops, table games, and other traditional camp and recreation games. For more information, call Tiffany Johnson at 576-9541.

Saturday, March 14, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Hamilton Recreation Center, 1340 Hamilton Street, NW. Story time for tots aged eighteen months to five years. Kids will be entertained by a storyteller and do drawings with help from parents. For more information, call Mike Thompkins at 576-6855.

Saturday, March 14-15, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Trinidad Recreation Center, 1333 Emerson Street, NE. Kickball tournament for ages nine and under. Youth will compete in a tournament style of kickball games with single elimination games. For more information, call Anthony Higginbotham, Site Manager, at 727-1293.


Flying in the Great Hall, March 15
Jazmine Zick,

Sunday, March 15, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., A Day of Flying in the Great Hall. Model airplane workshop, 9:00-11:00 a.m., construct your own rubber-band-propelled model airplane with the DC Maxecuters, then launch your plane in a test flight in the Great Hall. From 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., watch as DC Maxecuters fly their model airplanes in and across the Great Hall. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.


DCSBOE Meeting on Residency Verification Regulations, March 18
Beverly Wheeler,

The DC State Board of Education (DCSBOE) will hold a public meeting to vote on the proposed Residency Verification regulations. The most notable proposed change is with regards to the date at which local education agencies can begin their residency verification process. It is being moved from July 1 to April 1 annually. Additionally, representatives from the DC Public Libraries will also provide the State Board members with a presentation on the DCPL children's programming and work with the District's youngest students.

The public meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 18, at 5:30 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.

The State Board has received updates on the changes to the existing regulations from Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Additionally, the State Board held a public hearing to receive public input. The remarks included explanations that the new enrollment date would provide parents sufficient time to enroll their students. The change would also create opportunities for school administrators to prepare for the upcoming school year. This lengthened enrollment period would allow school educational and support staff to arrange appropriate trainings and materials for incoming students at a variety of levels. Constituents who wish to comment at the public meeting 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 on Monday, March 16. 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.


ELP Honors Benjamin Wilson, April 2
Cerise Bridges,

The Environmental Leadership Program hosts a celebration of leadership remembering Dr. King’s environmental legacy with special guest Benjamin Wilson on Thursday, April 2, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at The Wilderness Society, 1615 M Street, NW. Tickets are $25, and are available at A silent auction will be held during the reception. Food and beverages will be served.

Benjamin Will joined ELP’s National Advisory Committee in the Fall of 2008. As one of the founders of Howard University Law School’s Environmental Law Program and annual State of Environmental Justice in America conference, Benjamin truly embodies the values and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Come out and network with a dynamic crowd, meet the inaugural class of Fellows in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Celebration of Leadership allows you to learn, network, and support a worthy organization. This promises to be a truly inspiring evening.


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