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May 20, 2009

Bag It

Dear Baggers:

A contentious council hearing has turned into a nice smackdown between columnists. On Monday, Councilmember Phil Mendelson held a committee hearing on the Omnibus Anti-Crime Amendment Act of 2009. The Fenty administration and its supporters have been hyping the bill as the miraculous solution to all DC’s crime problems, one that must be passed without any delay or doubt, and they have been Mau-Mauing and politically bullying Mendelson because he has actually insisted on holding hearings and on listening to opponents as well as supporters of the bill. The Fentyists have tried mightily to exploit every recent shooting, claiming that it could have been prevented had the bill been passed earlier. Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham did so on Friday, May 15, when he wrote to neighborhood listservs about a targeted shooting at 14th and Columbia that, “at least three police officers were right there at the shooting. There are various cameras, including an MPD crime camera at 14th and Columbia, and other cameras on the buildings. All of that is now being checked for evidence. All of this reinforces my support for fast council action on Mayor Fenty's omnibus crime bill.” Right. Three police officers right at the scene couldn’t prevent the shooting; more legislation could. Then today, in a press release announcing the arrest of three suspects in a multiple shooting at North Capitol Street, Mayor Fenty claimed, “Senseless acts of violence like this multiple shooting are exactly why we need tougher laws on the books to fight gun violence in the District. . . . “I look forward to working with the DC council to get my emergency crime legislation passed as soon as humanly possible.”

If the bill were really so important to the administration, you would think Fenty and Nickles would have allowed the administration witnesses who were scheduled to testify to attend the hearing. But the bill wasn’t really that important to the administration; what was more important was taking another opportunity to show its disrespect for the council by ordering government employee witnesses to snub Mendelson. However, Attorney General Peter Nickles was watching the hearing on television, and he was so angered that critics of the bill were allowed to testify that he demanded that he be given the stand himself. He appeared at the end of the hearing and spent most of his time sneeringly and condescendingly lecturing Mendelson on how council hearings should be conducted, who should be allowed to testify, and in what order witnesses should be called, and then he nastily commanded that the administration’s bill be passed immediately without any further debate or discussion. Don’t take my word for it, watch it yourself at, starting at the 56 minute mark. Mendelson gave a dignified reply explaining the concept of separation of powers to Nickles, starting at the 1 hour 19 minute mark.

Harry Jaffe must have seen a different hearing from the one that was recorded by the Office of Cable Television, because he wrote a column today in the Examiner criticizing Mendelson and Nickles equally for the fiasco, This led Mike DeBonis to embarrass Jaffe with a much needed correction in his Loose Lips Daily ( “No, Harry. You know what, if Adrian Fenty were really taking this legislation as seriously as you say he is, he’d cut out the juvenile BS, and call Phil Mendelson back and figure this out. (Mendo called Fenty right after the hearing ended; still hasn’t heard back.) You know, maybe acknowledge that Mendo, too, is a citywide elected official who actually has a role to play here rather than have Mr. ‘I’m Not a Politician’ Nickles browbeat him into doing this ‘most important work’ through bully politics.” Actually Nickles these days is much less a lawyer than he is a politician. He’s just a very inept one.

The city council is certainly going to pass a bill imposing a five-cent tax on every plastic bag used in a store to bag groceries and other goods. This is a faddish cause, but it’s hardly a new one. For decades, advocates have wanted to abolish both plastic and paper bags, and to require people to use cloth bags instead. In the late 1960’s, European string bags were all the rage — for the small slice of the population who actually preferred them. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi predicts that the tax will cut the use of plastic bags by stores by 80 percent within four years ( The problem is, of course, that plastic bags are so useful for customers, not only to get their goods home from stores, but also to reuse for a myriad of purposes. Opponents of plastic grocery bags complain that few of them (perhaps 20 percent, more likely fewer) are recycled, but few of them are recycled because most of them are reused — as wastebasket liners, as extra wrapping for groceries, as pooper scooper bags, and so on. So here’s my prediction of what the five-cent tax will accomplish: it will create a new market for grocery-store-sized plastic bags sold in bulk, filling the gap between small food storage bags and large trash bags. Stores will sell a package of a hundred grocery-store-like plastic bags for one or two dollars. Consumers will buy them for all their home uses and they will take them to stores when they shop, instead of carrying inconvenient cloth bags that take up more space yet carry fewer goods, that have to be laundered and mended. (How do your cloth bags smell after you carry paper-wrapped fish in them?) The council’s bill will succeed in creating more expense and inconvenience for people who live and shop in the District, but it will raise very little tax money after the need for plastic bags is filled another way. Next up: a tax on paper tissues, to encourage people to use cloth handkerchiefs instead.

Gary Imhoff


Less than Full Disclosure
Dorothy Brizill,

On November 18, 2008, when the city council voted to confirm Peter J. Nickles to be the District’s Attorney General, he had 180 days from the effective date of Resolution 17-864 to move into the District from Great Falls, Virginia (9341 Cornwell Farm Road) as required by District law. In order to secure council approval, Nickles promised during his confirmation process to become a District resident, pay District taxes, register to vote in the District, and register his vehicle in DC. Nickles claims that he has done all of those things, but he refuses to reveal where he claims to live in the city.

Pursuant to District Code 1-1106.02, May 15 was the deadline for public officials and senior management employees in the District government to file their annual Conflict of Interest/Financial Disclosure Forms, FDS, with the DC Office of Campaign Finance. The form, which OCF has used for at least the past decade, requires filers to provide specific personal information, such as home and business telephone numbers, home address, E-mail address, and business address, as well as basic financial information, such as the location of all real property owned in DC, any interest in or gift received from a company that transacts business with the District, and any professional or occupational license held by the filer.

On April 24, Peter Nickles filed his FDS form with OCF. However, Nickles’ filing lacks all personal information. There is no home or work telephone number, no home address, no E-mail address. A review of his filing indicates that his FDS form is very different from the one that OCF has used in the past and that is still currently available on its web site. According to Wesley Williams, the public information officer for OCF, the FDS form for 2009 filers was changed to delete all “personal information” at Attorney General Nickles’ request. Thus, to accommodate Nickles’ effort to shield himself from public scrutiny regarding his residency and other personal information, OCF, which is supposed to be an independent agency, has completely redone the disclosure form to require less public disclosure. Moreover, OCF has temporarily removed all past FDS reports from its web site so that it can remove the personal information that has already been filed on those reports.

Postscript: Nickles claims that he is now a registered voter in DC, but the DC Board of Elections and Ethics today confirmed that it has no record that he has registered.


Parking Tickets at Broken Meters
Pat Taylor,

Just what happens when a driver calls the Department of Public Works number to report a broken meter? Here's my experience, and I wonder if it has happened to others.

I called the DPW telephone number on the meter to report a parking meter as broken, and also to ask whether I could park at this meter. DPW gave me a report confirmation number (by chance I had paper and pencil handy so I could write down this number), and said it was okay to park at this meter. When I returned to my car, I had a ticket issued fewer than ten minutes after my phone call to DPW! And I know another person who had the same experience.

Is this standard DPW policy — when a parking meter is reported as broken, does a Parking Enforcement worker immediately go to this meter and issue a ticket? For your information, by going through the paperwork hassle to contest the ticket, I did get it dismissed — but what a bad, mean policy. Why don't the parking enforcement workers report the broken meters and not ticket the vehicles, which is standard policy in other cities?


Failed Upward
Qawi Robinson,

The recent news of Dan Tangherlini’s position in the Obama administration has me puzzled. Many have said he has failed upward, meaning that he did such a lousy job at his current position that he's being promoted. Equally puzzling is the fact that he's taking a $50,000 pay cut just to work for the Department of the Treasury. Is he being selected based upon his work for DC or his performance outside of DC government? Does this mean he was overpaid in the first place? I wish him well, but I find this odd, to say the least. The one positive thing that can be said is that at least he (and Vivek Kundra for that matter) didn't leave the Fenty Administration via termination. That couldn't be said for many others including, most recently, the staff photographer.


Partnering Away Our Public Land
Donald Oakley,

In a May 17 Washington Post op-ed article, Council Chairman Vince Gray criticizes the National Park Service delay in signing a land transfer of fifteen acres to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, The location is a portion of Fort Dupont, one of the remaining Civil War fort sites surrounding Washington. This is actually a transfer of jurisdiction, not a land transfer. DPR plans to add new facilities to an existing facility, which appears to have functioned well in the past without benefit of a transfer of jurisdiction.

Gray is upset over a “reversion clause” (the jurisdiction of the fifteen acres can revert back to the NPS if conditions in the clause are not met). As examples of conditions in the reversion clause that are unacceptable to DC, Gray cites “conditions related to parking access, green building standards, and naming rights”. Why are they unacceptable? The National Capital Planning Commission Staff Recommendation,, already raised parking concerns. Do federal green building requirements on federal land take precedence over DC’s? It would seem so. Naming rights? Seems reasonable if the federal government owns land of historic significance. Gray intimates that White House or Congressional involvement might be necessary. Really? If we get their attention, let’s hope it’s over something more than fifteen acres and where to park. So what is this all about? Gray speaks of investors, public and private, who don’t like the reversion clause. Why, certainly not over parking, green buildings, and naming? Running through the NCPC Staff Recommendations are threads of concern for striking a balance between exclusive uses by not-for-profit organizations (aka DPR “partners”) and ensuring continued public access and parking. This was summed up in the final NCPC Fort Dupont recommendation: “[The Executive Director] [r]ecommends that the District strongly consider a site plan and programming option that retains a publicly accessible multi-purpose sports field on the project site.”

Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., chairs the council’s Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation. He is well aware of pressures on DPR from athletic organizations, some councilmembers, and the mayor’s office to enter into partnering agreements. In some instances, the agreements effectively limit ordinary residents’ use of outdoor DPR facilities when the facilities are not scheduled for use. Holding family picnics, flying kites, watching talented frisbee teams followed by tough rugby games, painting, summer concerts, reading a Sunday paper, walking the dog or with a friend, and similar simple, tranquil pleasures are vital elements of any park. In his first public oversight meeting with DPR Acting Director Ximena Hartsock on May 11, Thomas forcefully made the point that DC parks are to serve all recreational users. He also feels strongly that the DC schools’ new fields and tracks, which are locked, should be shared with the community on weekends. This is a great idea. It could reduce pressure on DPR to negotiate exclusionary partnering agreements and also free up park space for ad hoc uses on weekends.


Conflict of Interest Reports
Paul D Craney,

In Monday’s DC Examiner, there was a story about the DC council’s mandatory conflict of interest form that was due last Friday []. Two councilmembers failed to file on time. The conflict of interest reports are due once a year and require the councilmembers to list outside income from the previous year, gifts of more than $100 from companies that do business with DC, ownership of corporate stocks, interest in entities that do business with the city, and ownership of real estate other than their personal residence. The purpose of the reports is to force our elected officials to show transparency. There is no mention of the free Nationals Baseball tickets, no mention of the free trips out of the District, including China and Dubai. According to the reports, only one councilmember reported that he owns stock, which is very hard to believe. One has to ask, if our elected officials are in full disclosure, would they be willing to allow the public to compare their tax returns against their conflict of interest reports?


DCHA Commissioners Candidate
Aquarius Vann,

Aquarius Vann-Ghasri is a candidate for District of Columbia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Family Commissioner. Inquire from your Family Property Manager where you cast your vote for Number 1 on the Ballot, Aquarius Vann-Ghasri. Why should you tell residents aged eighteen and over, on DCHA leases, to vote for Vann-Ghasri on June 17 and 18? Enforce DCHA to hire residents.

Vann-Ghasri holds DCHA responsible for maintenance and repairs for residents; Vann-Ghasri holds government responsible for DCHA residents; Vann-Ghasri influences resolutions on behalf of the interest of residents; Vann-Ghasri debates issues and concerns of residents; Vann-Ghasri responds to telephone calls from residents, her home telephone number is 547-4254; Vann-Ghasri shares information by E-Mail and personal telephone calls, and she drops information off at DCHA Property Manager’s Office; Vann-Ghasri researchs problems, issues, and concerns of DCHA communities, and shoots those issues to your council representatives; Vann-Ghasri is a hands-on commissioner, and she has represented residents in the Board every second Wendesday of the month for three years; Vann-Ghasri attends meetings in every ward of the city on behalf of DCHA residents. If you do not know how she works for residents, just ask around.


Say Goodbye, Newsweek
Star Lawrence,

I have been a freelance reporter for twenty-eight years, and am out here daily commenting on the demise of some papers. It is such a sickening sea change, it takes my breath away sometimes. But I canceled my forty-five-year Newsweek subscription a year ago when they became so enamored of this president that they were absolutely drooling and hero-worshipping. I was embarrassed for them. I couldn't take it anymore. And before that, they had wallowed in one story after another about Christianity. They can try to be a thought-leader if they want, but to me they are a cheerleader, and I finally let go. (You get your money back, in case you are considering this — unless they need some bailout now for a PR job well done.)


Jan Eichhorn,

One correction to Sam Jordan’s information in themail, May 17. In spite of McMillan's opposition, President Lyndon Johnson was able to get enough signatures on a discharge petition to send a home rule bill to the House floor. Up to that point, LBJ had been successful in every single legislative initiative he led. Home rule was his first defeat.

On the House floor, home rule legislation was replaced by the adoption of a substitute motion by Congressman Sisk of California; it called for the creation of a charter commission (something like our later DC Statehood Convention but without the election of DC delegates). The Senate had already passed a home rule bill and, at the urging of local leaders, refused to accept the Sisk Amendment. So nothing changed. Then, LBJ used an Executive Order to change the three-commissioner leadership of DC to that of an appointed "Mayor" and "City Council." Walter Washington was appointed to the top post and was called Mayor by all, although his exact title was DC Commissioner I believe.

In the fall of the following calendar year, 1973, the House of Representatives finally adopted a home rule bill. Many Members of Congress were persuaded to support this bill, in part, because they were urged to do so by their constituents who had been contacted by DC volunteers using Common Cause WATS lines. The DC volunteers made a plea to voters in key congressional districts, pointing out that DC was governed by a Mayor and Council appointed by President Richard Nixon (this was in the midst of the Watergate crisis). The House home rule bill was drafted by a House District Subcommittee chaired by Congressman Brock Adams of Washington, who has never received the credit he deserves for his leadership on this issue.


Public Service Media
Muriel Nellis,

I want to add an important note to Jay Vinton’s suggestion [themail, May 17]. Two notable FM listening additions to NPR (WAMU here) are C-Span, for a full range of newsworthy broadcasts of hearings, (legislative and judicial) as well as major events (direct and taped) of seminars and meetings. These as-they-happen programs are unfiltered by pundit discussions/opinions or commercials. Also, for anyone who values music programming by devoted, well-informed, volunteer DJs, tune into WPFW (broadcasting from Adams Morgan here). Sundays are a special treat.


Wrong Against Other
Russell Cramer,

I have no opinion on charter schools (as yet), but I do take exception to Mr. Barron's claim [themail, May 17] that most countries drive on the “wrong side of the road.” They don't; we do. Try saying “other side of the road,” Mr. Barron — or we may never end our invasion of other countries in order to “liberate” them. As for Lieberman's stand on charter schools: one may want to take a closer look at what the consummate opportunist gets out of this one.


Unhandicapping themail
Qawi Robinson,

In reading themail’s intro [May 17] and the various columns about Fenty's chances in the 2010 election, let me say that I am severely disappointed that anyone would predict, prognosticate, handicap, etc., this election this early. Eighteen months prior to the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney were the front runners, and we all know how that turned out. I mention this because in a town where voter turnout is 35 percent citywide at best, it is seemingly irresponsible to predict a winner or his/her chances. If folks believe that there is no stopping Fenty, they won't come out to vote. The right to vote means that you have the freedom not to, but for many District residents, our disenfranchisement in Congressional representation will continue to be stymied by our voter apathy. How can the push for the DC Voting Rights Act be taken seriously if we won't even come out to vote for our own? While I'm not (nor will themail allow me to) encouraging folks who to vote for, please understand that Fenty is not the shoo-in that these columnists make him out to be. Furthermore, the "One-Term Mayor," "Recall Fenty," "Funk Fenty" and other activities of late aren't dying down. It is not just one group of employees, one ethnicity, ward, neighborhood, professional organization, civic association, etc., that doesn't care for Mr. Fenty. If anything, some of the disdain for him is crossing cultures and unifying folks. If folks really don't want him reelected, come out to vote, and support candidates that will oppose him.

Since Gary asked for competitors, I would say that Kwame Brown, David Catania, and Phil Mendelson have almost equally good chances. I'd even throw Carol Schwartz in the mix, if she starts early. Kevin Chavous, too, if he weren't a Fenty Supporter. Outside of the District Building, I'd even consider Marie Johns, Kojo Nnamdi. . . . All in all, what I'm saying is that these folks possess capabilities that are on par or better than Fenty in areas. In other words, I'm not buying the predictions for the 2010 election just yet.


Anybody But
Jenefer Ellingston,

The same day that I received themail, May 17, with your invitation to spark the search for a candidate for the 2010 elections, I was writing a letter to two political activists for social justice. My letter asked if either of them would entertain running for council on the Statehood Green ballot or as independents . . . so, as an incentive, I added your letter to mine. (I know your letter is about the mayor's seat, but it extends to council seats too.)

If I get a positive reply to my letter, of course, I will write to themail and put forward their names. It is inappropriate to name them beforehand. As usual, themail is an indispensable source for ups and downs, incompetence and criminal negligence of our local government.

I regard Fenty as a puff ball who aligned himself with the Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, and Federal City Council as he made his way to the Mayor's office. No surprise there: a "son of Mayor Williams.”


Mayor Hopefuls
Michael Bindner,

From left field — Kathy Patterson.


Dark Horse
Elizabeth McIntire,

Somebody who might knock the arrogant mayor out, while DC politicking as a hobby: Bill Clinton.

I’m sure we can think of others who have been in Washington so long they could claim residency


Anybody but Fenty — Draft Marie Johns for Mayor
Kathryn Pearson-West,

Got ABF? Are you ABF? I’m ABF. Anybody but Fenty (ABF) in 2010. There has to be a viable candidate to run against Mayor Fenty next year. Lately the mayor seems to have epitomized arrogance and childishness and is not on top of his game. There are ongoing issues with his “open and transparent accountable” government, where as mayor he is responsible. There is scandal after scandal. Workers are being terminated for reasons that seem to be other than work performance, but fortunately they are fighting back in the courts and any other way they can legally and ethically. There is a chancellor whom he thinks walks on water, and he never questions her policies. He joins with her on the promotion of a national agenda that may not be right for DC, and he seems to enjoy her constant bashing of the school system and employees as if she were the savior of the city.

Fenty took a trip abroad paid for by a foreign government, and when asked he asserted that he doesn’t have to tell people where he is going or why, if the trip isn’t paid for by tax dollars. He even dissed the media on this issue, and the media rarely said an unkind word about him or found any problems with his leadership. Leaders from other jurisdictions had no problem going to Dubai on legitimate business purposes and their trips were paid for by groups in the United States. The mayor played immature games with the DC Council, withholding their Nationals’ baseball tickets. The mayor started out his term by kicking the council to the curb when he took over the school system and made them less relevant. The list goes on, but not in this commentary. The media is finally looking at him more objectively and scrutinizing some of his actions. After watching this much of his first term, one can only hope that there is a candidate to run for mayor that isn’t frightened away by his campaign war chest or perceived level of popularity. He will not win every precinct in 2010 even if he is the only one running.

Everyone knows there are several councilmembers that might be good candidates for the position of mayor: Vincent Gray, Kwame Brown, Harry Thomas. Will one of them run? Will one of them risk their seat on the council? Who knows just yet? Each is superbly qualified. Robb Bobb, former DC city administrator and former president of the school board, may have been a good consideration for mayor, but he’s away in Detroit closing schools. Only one viable candidate needs to get out there to challenge the mayor and humble him before the voters. Only one strong candidate should be in the race against the mayor to be able to beat him and send him packing after the election. Even President Obama would not be able to save him, and hopefully the President is smart and political enough that he would not try.

Another possible candidate for mayor comes to mind, Marie Johns. Marie Johns would be a great mayoral candidate, better than an “Anybody but Fenty.” She may be the dark horse or underdog people are waiting for to shake up and shape DC with the people’s input. Marie C. Johns is Managing Member of L&L Consulting, LLC, a full service organizational effectiveness and public policy consulting practice. Marie is the former President of Verizon Washington. In that capacity, she was responsible for the company’s $700 million operations, over one million access lines, over eight hundred thousand customers, and nearly two thousand employees. Under Marie’s leadership, Verizon Washington made significant strides in maintaining excellent customer service and the company’s financial health during tumultuous times in the telecommunications industry. Throughout her noted career, Marie is best known for her ability to design and lead landmark regulatory matters successfully through the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia. One case led to groundbreaking regulatory relief that advanced Verizon Washington’s ability to compete effectively in residential and business sectors in the increasingly competitive telecommunications market. Marie retired in 2004 after twenty-one years of service in the industry.

During her years at Verizon, Marie developed a long resume of business and civic leadership as former chair of the DC Chamber of Commerce, founder of the Washington DC Technology Council, former chair of Leadership Greater Washington and founding chair of the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, to name a few. Marie has dedicated her time and energy for over two decades to create wider opportunities for disadvantaged citizens in Washington, DC. Based on her extensive leadership experience throughout the Washington, DC, community, Marie entered the race for the office of mayor during the 2006 Washington, DC, Democratic Primary, where she placed third in a field of five candidates.

Marie earned BS and MPA degrees from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). She has been married for over thirty-seven years to Wendell Johns. Marie would bring balance between civic and business interests. She is an outsider that knows and loves the city. Marie ran in 2006 when the media was set on making the contest between two leading council members. She was an excellent candidate, just not as well known or pushy as she could have been. If she starts now, she could win, but first she has to be drafted and wooed back in the political limelight to help lead the District forward. She has the right temperament, personality, energy, skills, intelligence, and leadership style. When she was unsuccessful in her first run for mayor, she stepped aside to give the successful candidate an opportunity to fulfill his campaign promises and push his vision for the nation’s capital. Well, there is a lot of voter disappointment and frustration. Marie seems like the right person to take on the mayor next year; however, she needs support with a draft movement behind her. It must be the people that call her into the arena, and not her own ego or personal ambitions and agenda. With Marie, you couldn’t get a better candidate because she is more than just an Anybody but Fenty. Voting for MJ would be better than not voting in the Democratic primary for mayor, as some are planning, or writing in Bugs Bunny. With the right candidate, Fenty can be a one-term mayor and given a grand exit, appreciation party. He shows no signs of changing to make his days as mayor more palatable and encouraging to the electorate. There will probably be a referendum on the ballot in September 2010, so there will be plenty of people coming out to vote. Maybe there will be enough people sick and tired of being sick and tired and vote Fenty out and Marie in. Let’s draft Marie Johns to run and see if she will go the distance to the mayor’s seat. Anybody but Fenty— ABF in 2010. Marie Johns, do you hear your calling?



Congressional Dress for Success Challenge, May 20
Anna Kreischer,

Wednesday, May 20 is the Congressional Dress for Success Challenge, hosted by Honorary Chairs Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY). FedEx will collect donations from 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. from members of Congress and the Capitol Hill community in support of Dress for Success, which helps economically challenged women transition from welfare to the workforce.

A light breakfast will be served 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association. Senate Collection Point: Reserve Officers Association, One Constitution Avenue, NE; House Collection Point, Bullfeathers Restaurant, 410 First Street, SE. One Constitution Ave, NE. Join us on Facebook:


Save Public Property, May 20, 26, 29
Parisa B. Norouzi,

The city council will hold a hearing on the public property legislation on May 29, and Empower DC will hold testimony prep sessions on May 20 and 26. Will You Join Us? RSVP to, 234-9119. If you are concerned about affordable housing, job training, community gardens, health care, recreation, small business incubators, youth services, homeless services, etc., you should be supporting this legislation. DC schools, libraries, and parks are not for sale. Public property is for public use, not private profit! Save public property and pack the hearing room.

Turn out, attend, and testify at the city council hearing on Bill 18-76, on Friday, May 29, 11:00 a.m., at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 500 (Federal Triangle Metro stop). Bring ID to enter. Sign up to testify by calling 724-8062 or E-mailing Find out more and prepare testimony at two upcoming workshops: Wednesday, May 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Southwest Library, 900 Wesley Place, SW (Waterfront Metro, 70 and A9 buses); and Tuesday, May 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Empower DC, 1419 V Street, NW (U Street Cardozo Metro). RSVP or get more info: Empower DC, 234-9119,

When Bill 18-76 is law, the community will decide what happens to public property, and the community will benefit. End back-room deals with developers; require hearings be held in the evening/weekend so residents can participate; notify residents by postcards in the mail, radio, and print ads, so they know decisions are being made; notify ANCs and civic associations thirty days prior to a hearing. Require real community planning; complete a Master Facilities Plan as required by law (10-1031) for all DC government agencies, so we know what facilities we need; audit space being leased by DC government from private developers at a cost of over $9 million per month, as required by law (10-1012), so we save taxpayer money by replacing leases with property we own; create a Master Facilities Planning and Program Coordination Committee, as required by law (10-1031), to involve residents and planning staff in matching community needs with available properties. Community needs, not developers’ greed; public properties must be looked at first and foremost to serve community needs, not private development; public property can be used to expand government services in areas of need, or replace offices that DC government is currently renting; public property can be used to support community economic development and projects that involve residents and serve needs like small business incubators, job training, youth programs, child care, community gardens, affordable housing, etc. Make it enforceable: the “private attorney general” clause gives DC residents standing in court to sue if DC government does not comply with the law. Sounds good, right? Now help make it law! Turn out May 29.


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, May 22-23
John Stokes,

May 22, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Takoma Aquatic Center, 300 Van Buren Street, NW. CPR Class, ages fifteen and up. To learn the role of Professional Rescuer in providing emergency care to the patrons in the Aquatic Facilities, to perform specialized skills and techniques in the proper and safe use of the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

May 22, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Seniors ages 55 and up will enjoy an afternoon enjoying the many exhibits and animal habitats. For more information, call Ben Butler at 645-9200.

May 22, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Congress Heights Recreation Center, 100 Randle Place, SE. Community cookout for all ages. Join Congress Heights Recreation Center, area schools, churches, and local community members for an evening of food, music, and interactive games that will enlighten all participants. Games include card playing tournaments, basketball, and softball. For more information, call Thomas Bolden at 645-3981.

May 22, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Stead Recreation Center, 1625 P Street, NW. Community cookout for ages 8-17. The staff at Stead Recreation Center will reward the youth that participated in the Stead’s programming with a cookout. For more information, call Jacquay Plummer, Recreation Specialist, at 673-4465.

May 22-24, 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Fort Stevens Recreation Center, 1327 Van Buren Street, NW. Adult females will participate in this three-day tennis tournament. For more information, call Larry Kinney at 541-3754.

May 23, 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., DPR Pool Openings. DC Department of Parks and Recreation outdoor pools will be open for the Memorial Day weekend for public swim.

May 23, 8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Dunbar Senior High School, 1301 New Jersey Avenue, NW. Tommie Smith Youth Track Meet for ages seven to eighteen. Tommie Smith Youth Track Meet will be hosted by DC Speed Track Club and sponsored by 100 Black Men of DC, Inc. For more information, call Edgar Sams, Track and Field Coordinator, at 671-0395.

May 23, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE. SETLC Sew ’n Know Second Annual Fashion Show. This Annual Fashion Show will feature garments designed and constructed by Southeast Tennis and Learning Center and Turkey Thicket participants of the Sew ’n Know program. This event will also feature designs of students from West Potomac High School Fashion Design Department in Alexandria, VA, and a special appearance by a guest designer. For more information, call Janice Rankins or Donna Stewart at 645-6242.


National Building Museum Events, May 23
Jazmine Zick,

May 23, 5:00-6:30 p.m., Fiftieth Saengerfest of the Nordoestlicher Saengerbund. Join the Washington Saengerbund (Washington Singer Club) and other choruses from the United States, Canada, and abroad to celebrate the Fiftieth Saengerfest. The evening includes German and German-American choral music accompanied by the National Gallery of Art Orchestra. For more information, visit This is a public event hosted by the National Building Museum. 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at  Tickets $25. Members receive $5 off by calling 703-644-0565.



Volunteer Recruitment for the Child Care Collective
Parisa B. Norouzi,

Interested in providing childcare for organizations working to further social justice? The DC Child Care Collective is a small all-volunteer group that has been working to provide free childcare to progressive groups working for social justice. We formed in the summer of 2005, at the suggestion of a group of community organizers who expressed the need for childcare during their meetings and events. We provide childcare as an act of solidarity and prioritize providing this service to groups that are primarily led by low-income women of color. It is our mission to make childcare that is safe, fun and empowering available to families to support their work to further social and political change.

Currently, we provide childcare for Empower DC, Women Empowered Against Violence, UNITE HERE union, The Women’s Collective, The Latino Economic Development Corporation, as well as events coordinated by The DC Rape Crisis Center, and we have worked with the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Research Project, and ONE DC. If you want to support parents in DC working toward social change and if you like spending time with kids (even if you don't have much experience) we would love to have you volunteer with us.

We are planning a Volunteer Orientation for Sunday, June 7, from 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. We ask volunteers to make a commitment to provide childcare at least six times over the course of six months and attend additional trainings that we provide. If you are interested, please fill out the volunteer application (available at our web site, and send it to The deadline for applications is June 1. If you have any questions or would like more information about the DCCC or any of the organizations that we work with, please feel free to E-mail us and visit our web site, and help us get the word out to anyone who may be interested!


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