A few unanswered questions: 1) how much time does Mayor Fenty spend
on the job? I don’t mean how much time he spends out of town. I mean
when he is in town, how many days a week does he spend away from the
Wilson Building and off the official schedule? How many hours during the
business day, when he does show up at the Wilson Building, does he spend
jogging, bicycle riding, playing basketball, practicing for marathons
and triathlons, and playing other sports, as opposed to working? Do we
need to install a time clock? As a candidate, Fenty worked 24/7; as a
mayor, he’s part time. When will the press bust him for it?
2) Who has given Fenty reelection campaign staffers instructions to
call current DC government contractors and those who want contracts, and
to threaten them that if they want to keep their contracts or get new
ones they must contribute to the campaign? And which contractors are
willing to talk about the pressure that’s being put on them?
3) To which positions are Fenty planning to make illegal appointments
— appointments that the mayor doesn’t have the power to make or
appointments that he can’t make without city council confirmation?
Will the mayor invent a new category of “interim appointees” to
boards and commissions, a term that doesn’t exist in the law, and then
claim that “interim appointees” can perform their duties before they
are confirmed by the city council? Will the mayor follow through on his
promise to nominate qualified people to the Public Employees Relations
Board by Friday, or was that promise just a feint to try to stave off
the council’s emergency PERB legislation?
4) The Peaceoholics have been kicked out of Spingarn High School
after charges of sexual abuse against one of their “mentors.” Is
that the first school they’ve been evicted from? How many school
programs are they still running, and how many programs are they still
being paid to run? And, as WTTG’s Paul Wagner has asked (http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/042109_mentor_had_previous_murder_conviction),
why was the Peaceoholics “mentor” not required to undergo the
mandatory criminal background check on government workers and
contractors who work with children that would have revealed his murder
and drugs convictions?
5) Attorney General Peter Nickles claims to Mike DeBonis that he will
be moving into DC as required by the terms of his office, and that he
has located a DC residence to which he will move by early May, although
he refuses to reveal its address (http://tinyurl.com/dcaw55).
A reader who wisely wants to remain anonymous asks some good questions
to investigate in late May, “Has anyone checked his voter’s
registration, auto tags, vehicle registration, driver’s license,
apartment insurance, W-4 tax form, primary address for mail, and tax
returns (what address he uses with IRS as his tax residence)?”
6) The city council’s Board of Elections and Ethics Investigation
Special Committee, chaired by Mary Cheh, has released its report on
problems with the November 2009 election (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/boee090421.htm),
and it reduces a hot topic to a fizzle. Too short, too general and
nonspecific, too namby-pamby — it avoids, rather than answers, all the
hard questions. Will the final report of the Special Committee, which is
supposed to address larger questions about the operations of the BOEE,
be any better, and any more useful to the council and the public?
Sun and Fun in the Dominican Republic
Dorothy Brizill, email@example.com
On March 20, emergency rulemaking was published in the DC Register
to provide a legal basis for the transfer of a DC government fire
truck and ambulance that had been declared surplus to Peaceoholics,
which in turn would donate the vehicles to the city of Sosua in the
Dominican Republic. Ever since then, questions have been raised
regarding why the District was disposing of valuable surplus property in
such a manner, and who in the Fenty administration was involved in the
deal. Here’s part of the story in brief.
In November 2007, the mayor of Sosua, Vladimir Cespedes, visited
Washington, DC. As part of this visit, he was introduced to senior
officials in the executive office of the mayor in the Wilson Building.
He met with David Jannarone, Director of Development in the Office of
the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Development, and Pat Ellwood of the
Office of Protocol and International Affairs within the office of the
Secretary of the District of Columbia. The meeting was arranged by
William Walker, a District resident who heads a nonprofit organization,
Faith Productions, that has taken troubled DC youth to Sosua to
participate in a series of boxing matches. At the meeting, discussions
soon turned to Sosua’s need for a fire truck and ambulance, and
whether the District had any surplus vehicles. Based on that
introduction to Sosua’s mayor, Jannarone and Sinclair Skinner, as well
as some of their friends and associates in and out of DC government,
started traveling to Sosua frequently to party and have a good time.
Skinner is a longtime friend and a fraternity brother of Fenty, and he
was the controversial field director of Fenty’s 2006 mayoral campaign.
In the spring of 2008, after numerous meetings and conversations with
Jannarone and officials in the DC Office of Contracts and Procurement
(which oversees the disposal of surplus and excess DC government
property), Mr. Walker and Faith Productions were offered a surplus fire
truck and ambulance to present to Sosua. However, neither vehicle was
operable, and therefore they could not be transported to Miami or to the
Dominican Republic by boat. After concluding in April 2008 that both
vehicles were junk and little more than scrap metal, Walker abandoned
his efforts to act as a middleman. Unbeknownst to him, Jannarone,
Skinner, et al., continued to travel to Sosua. Using their
influence with the Fenty administration, they were able to inspect and
select a different fire truck and ambulance in good condition that could
be declared surplus. The fire truck they selected, for example, had only
55,290 miles on its odometer (despite the fact that Fire Chief Dennis
Rubin claimed in sworn council testimony that it had 197,000 miles).
Again using their influence, Jannarone and Skinner were able to have
both vehicles inspected and repaired at DC government expense prior to
being sent to the Dominican Republic. At some point, however, concerns
were raised about the seemliness of transferring titles to the vehicles
to Jannarone and Skinner. It was only then, in early March 2009, that
they reached out to Ron Moten, Chief Operating Officer of Peaceoholics,
a major District contractor, to act as the middleman in the deal. They
then arranged for the emergency rulemaking. They called on two senior
government lawyers, Andrew “Chip” Richardson, Mayor Fenty’s Acting
General Counsel, and Thorn Pozen, Special Counsel to Attorney General
Peter Nickles and the mayor’s Ethics Counselor, to provide them with
legal counsel and to facilitate the drafting and publication of the
emergency rulemaking in the DC Register.
After Mike Neibauer’s story breaking the news of the deal in the DC
Examiner on March 27 and subsequent press coverage, Moten and the
mayor’s office partnered to cover up the true background of the
donation. Moten claimed Peaceoholics originated the idea, and that it
grew out of youth trips to Sosua that he claimed were run by
Peaceoholics rather than Faith Productions. Ironically, Moten has never
been to the Dominican Republic, and doesn’t even possess a passport.
After press coverage raised questions about the donation, Attorneys
Richardson and Pozen played lead roles in Attorney General Peter Nickles’
so-called investigation of the incident and in drafting the AG’s April
3 report on the deal (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/fire090403.htm)
— a report that didn’t mention the roles of Jannarone, Skinner,
other DC officials, or themselves.
I Blew This One
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
My prediction that Ryan Zimmerman, the premier third baseman for the
Nationals, would play out his current contract to become a free agent
and then flee to a pennant contending team was wrong. Z man has signed,
according to my roomie, in a phone call last night while I’m here in
FL body surfing, a contract worth some $45M for several years. That’s
a real surprise. I guess he likes living in the area where he grew up
and has lots of friends and family. Good for the Nats’ fans.
I am concerned about Bill 18-66. I do not support gay marriage, and
am concerned that Bill 18-66 will lead to the support of gay marriages.
I believe marriage should be reserved only between a man and a woman.
The relationship between a man and woman is unique, not exchangeable,
and not replaceable.
Consequently, families from this marriage can not be considered as
the same as any other. Families created by same-sex couples cannot be
considered indistinguishable from any other family. This issue is a
fundamental one for society as a whole. Therefore, I do not support Bill
18-66. I urge everyone not to support it and to remove it from council
Clyde Howard, firstname.lastname@example.org,
says [themail, April 19]: “If you have business at 301 C Street, NW,
it is best that you have someone drop you off” because of the
difficulty parking. He goes on to bemoan the expensive meters and
aggressive parking enforcement. I may be stating the obvious, but since
you didn’t mention it in your missive, perhaps you are unaware. 301 C
Street NW is within two blocks of stations on the Red and Green Metro
lines, Archives or Judiciary Square.
Finding a Good Vietnamese Restaurant
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
The surest way to find a good Vietnamese restaurant is to find out
where all the Vietnamese truck drivers eat.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
National Building Museum Events, April 23-29
Jazmine Zick, email@example.com
Thursday, April 23, 6:30-8:00 p.m. The Federal Triangle: Building
Big. A panel of experts discusses the construction, political origins,
and the integration of various fine arts in the Federal Triangle.
Panelists include Robert Leighninger, author of Long-Range Public
Investment: The Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal; George Gurney,
author of Sculpture and Federal Triangle; and Dr. Richard
Longstreth, Professor of American Studies and director of the Graduate
Program in Historic Preservation at George Washington University.
Moderated by the National Building Museum’s Martin Moeller. Free. Held
at the National Archives’ McGowan Theater. Tickets available at the
door on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited seating available.
Wednesday, April 29, 6:30-8:00 p.m., For the Greener Good: Vertical
Farming. Learn how buildings and structures can be transformed to
provide sustenance. Panelists include Robin Osler, Elmslie Osler
Architects, Dickson Despommier, Professor of Public Health, Columbia
University, Carolyn Steel, author of Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our
Lives. William Thompson, editor, Landscape Architecture,
moderates. Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street,
NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
Come join us for “The Internet Is Serious Business,” presented by
People’s Production House and Radio Rootz (free and open to the
public), 6:30 p.m., Friday, April 24, at The Latin American Youth Center
Art and Media House, 3035 15th Street, NW (one block west of the
Columbia Heights Metro station).
The Internet Is Serious Business follows an alien from outer space
learning about the Internet: who owns it, how it works, and why that
matters. What the alien doesn’t realize is that the federal government
has pledged billions of dollars towards expanding the Internet. How
should they spend it? We’ll envision the Internet we want to see and
talk about how we can achieve it. Younger media activists and media
educators are invited to participate in a special hands-on prescreening
workshop from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Department of Parks and Recreation Events,
John Stokes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, April 24, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Hillcrest Recreation Center,
3100 Denver Street, SE. Trip to National Museum of the Native American
for ages 55 and up. Take a trip to the National Museum of the Native
American, see the latest exhibits and enjoy lunch out. For more
information, call Ben Butler at 645-9200.
Friday, April 24, 7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., various locations. Teen Night
for ages 13–19. Call 671-0451 or visit dpr.dc.gov for a list of
locations and times.
Saturday, April 25, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Turkey Thicket, 1100
Michigan Ave., NE. Fit 2 Live Community Health Day. DPR and the Miss
Black USA organization have partnered with the 50 Million Pound
Challenge to raise awareness on health issues. The Fit 2 Live Community
Health Day will feature an obstacle course, a 3K Fun Run/Walk, health
screenings, physical fitness tests, and fitness and meal demonstrations.
This year a new component has been added to Fit 2 Live; Community Law
Help. During the entire day, DC lawyers will provide free twenty-minute
individual, legal consultation to the community on various issues
including family law, landlord and tenant law, and civil rights law. For
more information, contact Miss Black USA program coordinator Breyuna
Williams at (404)539-7251.
Saturday, April 25, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Trinidad Recreation Center,
1310 Childress Street, NE. Supreme Teens Community Service Project for
ages 13–19. Teenagers will clean up the inside and outside of Trinidad
Recreation Center to earn community service hours. For more information,
call Anthony Higginbotham at 727-1293.
Saturday, April 25, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Bald Eagle Recreation
Center, 100 Joliet Street, SW. Mini Barnival for ages 6-16. Youth in the
community will have a day of carnival activities and entertainment.
Refreshments will be provided. For more information, call Margie
Robinson at 645-3960.
Saturday, April 25, 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., Turkey Thicket Recreation
Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE. Turkey Thicket spring beautification
fling for all ages. In conjunction with the Greater Brookland Community
Association, The Brookland Chamber of Commerce, and the Brookland
Community Garden Association, all community residents are invited to
clean, preen, plant, and prune the Turkey Thicket recreation center
grounds. For more information, call Mark Williams at 576-9238.
Saturday, April 25, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Lafayette Park Recreation
Center, 5900 33rd Street, NW. Go Green Month for ages 5-8. Participants
will clean and beautify the recreation center. For more information,
call Justin Rouse at 282-2206.
The Big Read DC invites Washington, DC, residents to enjoy the
pleasures and benefits of reading and experiencing a single book as one
community. The annual event is presented by the Humanities Council of
Washington, DC, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. This
year, DC is reading Carson McCullers’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.
The Big Read DC is part of The Big Read, an initiative of the National
Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This year’s honorary chair is DC’s own
George Pelacanos, author and screenwriter. He follows upon the heels of
former First Lady Laura Bush, who served as honorary chair in 2008. For
a complete schedule and to RSVP for events go to http://www.wdchumanities.org
Saturday, April 25, 11:00 a.m., Big Read DC 2009 Kickoff at Gallaudet
University’s Estad Auditorium at 800 Florida Avenue, NE. Please join
us this Saturday for the official kickoff event for the 2009 Big Read DC
and the city read of Carson McCullers’s The Heart Is a Lonely
Hunter. Special guests include the 2009 honorary chair, George
Pelecanos, crime author and writer/producer of the acclaimed HBO series
“The Wire.” The kickoff will celebrate the themes in the book, and
will feature an integrated deaf/hearing program. Refreshments will be
served. Free. 387-8391, or RSVP at http://www.wdchumanities.org
Saturday, May 2, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., The Heart Is a Lonely
Hunter Read-a-thon at Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library.
Come and join the marathon reading of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
by special guest readers from the DC community including Councilmember
Bowser, Sally Quinn, Maureen Orth, Sam Ford, and others. Free. 387-8391.
Sunday, May 3, 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 16, 10:00
a.m.-12:30 p.m., Walking Tour: New Deal Washington. Tour of the Foggy
Bottom and Downtown neighborhoods surrounding the White House gives us
the opportunity to see the Federal core of Washington with new eyes, as
we imagine how it looked during the Great Depression. Learn about the
New Deal, and the people who created its innovative programs. The tour
examines the period in which The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is set.
Humanities Council of Washington, DC, 925 U Street, NW. Free. 387-8391,
or RSVP at www.wdchumanities.org.
Bike Rack Public Arts Dedication, April 27
Deirdre Ehlen, email@example.com
The honorable Mayor Adrian M. Fenty invites you to a dedication
ceremony to mark the completion of twenty-eight artistically designed
bike racks by six DC artists. This project began as a collaboration with
the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the DC Creates Public Art
program, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and
Councilmember Tommy Wells. The artistic bike rack project was created to
encourage people to bike more and to increase the amount of bike racks
throughout the city that are both artistic and functional. The artists
whose designs were selected are Matt Barinholtz, Karin Edgett, William
Gordon, Carolina Mayorga, Melinda Merinsky, and Joe Sutliff. All six
bike rack designs will be displayed at the dedication event.
Monday April 27, 2:00 p.m., at US DOT Southeast Plaza, located at New
Jersey Avenue and Tingey Street, SE. RSVP to Deirdre Ehlen, firstname.lastname@example.org,
724-5613. For more information about the project, please go to http://www.dcarts.dc.gov.
Creation: Towards a Theory of All Things, April
Beth Meyer, email@example.com
Dr. John Umana, author of Creation: Towards a Theory of All
Things, concerning the evolution debate between Darwinism and
intelligent design. This book seeks to reconcile differences between
Darwinism and Intelligent Design, where possible, based upon the
scientific evidence. What is the meaning of ‘evolution’? The book
argues that Darwinists are correct in concluding that all species
descend from common ancestors — evolution is real. But Darwin’s
hypothesis 150 years ago that natural selection and random mutations
account for the origin of species remains unsubstantiated. What accounts
for the emergence of life and origin of species? Has life emerged on
Mars or other worlds? John Umana is a lawyer in Washington, DC. He
received his Ph.D. in philosophy and a law degree from the University of
Michigan where he taught philosophy. As a young student, he was a
National Science Foundation scholar in physiology. Author talk on
Thursday, April 30, 7:30 p.m., at Kensington Row Bookshop, 3786 Howard
Avenue, Kensington, MD.
Best-Selling Mystery Writer Laurie R. King to
Discuss Newest Book, May 3
George Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Best-selling mystery writer Laurie R. King will discuss her latest
book, The Language of Bees, on Sunday May 3, 2:00 p.m., at the
Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW, near
the Cleveland Park Metro station. The Language of Bees is King’s
ninth novel in her Mary Russell series. It opens as Russell and her
husband, Sherlock Holmes, return to Britain’s Sussex coast after
several months abroad. The anticipated rest and beekeeping is
interrupted when a surprise from Holmes’ secret life emerges. The son
Holmes never knew existed appears and asks for their help with finding
his missing wife and child.
King’s 1994 book, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, first
introduced Mary Russell to Sherlock Holmes. A cult following soon
developed. In addition to the Mary Russell series, King is the author of
highly praised stand-alone suspense novels and the Kate Martinelli
mysteries series. King has won the Edgar, Creasey, Nero, and MacCavity
awards for her writing. A book sale and signing, courtesy of the Trover
Shop, will follow the discussion.
CLASSIFIEDS — HELP WANTED
Volunteer Radio Producer Sought
Jonetta Rose Barras, email@example.com
Graduate student or retired journalist sought to help produce a
weekly radio show focusing on District politics. Must be willing to
commit a minimum of five hours each week; must have some knowledge of
radio production, ability to write pithy prose, conduct research, and
ability to negotiate District government bureaucracy without becoming
frustrated or angry.
Interested individuals should send a resume or bio via E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To change the E-mail address for your subscription
to themail, use the Update Profile/Email address link below in the
E-mail edition. To unsubscribe, use the Safe Unsubscribe link in the
E-mail edition. An archive of all past issues is available at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.
All postings should be submitted to email@example.com,
and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of
Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to
be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief
paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can
be put into each mailing.