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May 27, 2009

To Vote or Not to Vote

Dear Voters:

Long issue; short introduction.

In response to my introduction to the last issue of themail, about how DC government makes it difficult for small businesses to open and operate in this city, Richard Layman sends a link to a 2005 article on his web site. He writes, “You will find this article to be of interest; it has a link to an interesting piece from the libertarian Claremont Institute about the barriers to entry for opening small businesses in cities, and how this privileges (not their word, that’s the word a sociologist would use) chains:”

Gary Imhoff


How to Get the Vote
Dana Mellecker,

According the minutes of a March 15 meeting of the Cleveland Park Citizen’s Association, Councilman Phil Mendelson said that the gun amendment to the DCVRA “took everyone by surprise.” This is utter nonsense, of course. Most observers agreed that this move was all but certain given previous Congressional action and the council’s petulance in complying to the Heller decision. Unfortunately, it seems now that the council, the mayor, and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton seem content to let slip the best chance we’ve had for voting representation in thirty years. Even DCVOTE, whom I commend for moving the ball forward this far, seem to be moving beyond their mandate by focusing on the unrealistic goal of removing the gun amendment rather than looking for solutions that will actually make House representation a reality.

There is a solution, however, that would enable DC to achieve representation, recognize the Second Amendment rights of DC citizens, and give political cover to both Republicans and Democrats. It is a long shot and would require yet-unseen political leadership, but it is possible. What we need is the following course of action that basically brings DC regulations for registering handguns in line with the long gun registration process that has served DC well for more than thirty years. Step 1: rescind the council’s “December surprise” gun regulations. The council made two attempts at bringing DC in compliance with Heller. The September regulations, while still viewed as onerous by some, had the best chance of passing further court challenges. However, for reasons known only to them, Phil Mendelson and Mary Cheh pushed forward an additional set of regulations that any reasonable person must conclude are unconstitutional in light of Heller. Space does not permit me to pick apart all the things that are wrong with this legislation, but at the very least consider that the gun that was at the center of Heller, a Colt Buntline 22 revolver, can no longer be registered in DC; you are now required to take a training course that includes an hour of shooting a pistol on a firing range, just to own a shotgun (which is like requiring a motorcycle driving test to get a license to drive a car); and although you can register a semiautomatic rifle that is either 30" or 34" long, one that has a stock that can be extended from 30" to 34" is considered an “assault weapon.” It should also be noted that, despite the posturing about DC’s controlling its own gun laws, the December legislation basically abdicates decisions about what guns are allowed in DC to the state of California.

Step 2: introduce and negotiate a new amendment to the DCVRA that covers only the interstate sale of handguns. This is important in order to secure the support of pro-gun Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as it would allow them to cast a pro Second Amendment vote. It would also prevent DC from using its powers to prevent any gun stores from opening in the District as a back door means of restricting citizens’ rights. (Currently, there is one Federal Firearm License holder in DC, who must be used to transfer all handguns, at a cost of $125 each.) Again, all that the above steps would do is make the process for registering a handgun the same as the long gun registration process that DC has had in place for decades. By taking these steps, DC would maintain control of it gun laws and be better positioned to stave off court challenges, and it could achieve its goal of voting representation in the House. All parties involved could claim political victory.

If such action is not taken, it is likely that the current DCVRA will die, and the gun amendment will be attached to other legislation or DC’s current legislation will be struck down in court. DC pols will be outraged, but it we will still not have the vote. When it comes to fair representation for DC, moral indignation is not enough. Leadership is needed.


Eliminate DC Government’s At-Will Employment
Debra Daniels,

Many District of Columbia residents citywide have read and heard stories about Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s and his cabinet members’ highly questionable, malignant, malicious, and politically motivated abuse of power and authority through arbitrary and capricious termination of DC Government Management Supervisory Service (MSS) employees from their jobs. And many, many more MSS employee termination stories will be reported and discussed. So, how are the punitive termination actions possible?

In 1997, with the DC Financial Control Board’s strong urging and pressure placed on the District’s mayor, the DC city council Committee on Government Operations and the Environment, chaired by Kathy Patterson, passed the “Omnibus Personnel Reform Amendment Act of 1997” within which the MSS and MSS Law was created that authorizes DC Government MSS employment appointments “at-will” and terminations “with” or “without cause,” and required DC Government Career Service employees to transition to the MSS. Oh, and to no great surprise, Congress approved it. While I believe it safe to say that former DC Mayor Anthony Williams didn’t abuse employees via the MSS Law, the Fenty administration is another story. It is important to note that most of the terminated MSS employees and Career Service employees whose lives Adrian M. Fenty has effectively bullwhipped by pushing them out of their DC government jobs — and many also into home foreclosure due to unemployment — are African American native and longtime DC residents of a certain age with education and many years of professional experience in their chosen fields, many years of DC government service with excellent and outstanding management performance evaluations, many with years of Federal or other state government and private sector experience, and who have in one way or another expressed professional opinions of what improvements in the public interest should be made in the District of Columbia government or opposed taking actions that they considered to be illegal prior to being terminated.

Given the Fenty administration’s abusive terminations of hundreds of MSS and Career Service employees, it is abundantly clear that employment “at-will” and terminations “without cause” in the District government leaves a huge window open for blatant political use, abuse, corruption, and retaliation against government employees that is certainly not in the best interest of the District of Columbia. The Fenty administration is also replacing terminated MSS employees with new employees of considerably younger age and shamefully less experience. Just think what kind of success would the United States have if President Barack Obama had the mindset that his cabinet and the Federal government should be primarily comprised of people under age forty. [Complete post at]


Green DC, But Not in Parks
Jean Mammen,

In 2009, why are we burning gas to heat pool water? For an outdoor pool? If the water truly needs warming, beyond passive heating of the water by the sun’s rays, then Parks and Recreation should use some stimulus money to put in solar pool heaters. This is a proven technology that has been in use for thirty or forty years.

But since most DC pools have a very short season, apparently because of staffing and budget limitations, I suggest spending to lengthen the pool season for all pools during warm, sunny months, before spending money to extend the season at just one outdoor pool into colder months.


DDOE Arsenic Scare — An Anniversary Alert
Donald Oakley,

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the reopening of Fort Reno Park following an abrupt two-week closure in May 2008 due to the suspected presence of arsenic. After failing to notify the National Park Service for five months in 2008 that the Park might be contaminated, the DC Department of Environment and the US Geological Survey triggered the closure on May 14, 2008, by releasing an aerial image of arsenic contamination in northwest Washington, As if on cue, DDOE has just announced their intention to deliver more of the same failed technique — the identification of “stressed vegetation” in aerial images to measure arsenic in the environment. DDOE’s James Sweeney made this announcement at an oversight hearing on Spring Valley cleanup issues, May 11, that was convened by Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Government Operations and the Environment. Video links to Part 1 and 2 of the hearing are at; DDOE’s testimony begins at 3:12 of Part 1. Observations from Spring Valley ANC Commissioners begin at 1:27 of Part 2. Two issues that are reminiscent of the 2008 Fort Reno closure were discussed at the hearing, and both issues affect neighborhoods beyond Spring Valley.

First, ANC 3D Commissioner Tom Smith testified on current difficulties in obtaining Spring Valley cleanup information from DDOE. Smith added that he was discouraged by DDOE from inviting subject-matter experts to accompany him to meetings. Smith’s current experience is similar to the lack of public access to DDOE staff and information during the May 2008 Fort Reno closure, when DDOE and USGS staff withheld knowledge of potential arsenic contamination for five months. When Fort Reno reopened, Mayor Fenty and DDOE Director George Hawkins promised a full accounting of DDOE’s failure to inform the public. To date, there have been no explanations from DDOE. The second concern is with DDOE James Sweeney’s May 11 response to Cheh’s inquiry on the need for additional DDOE work at Spring Valley. Sweeney stated that “stressed vegetation may need follow-up” and that DDOE will “use information on stressed vegetation to decide where to go next.” This may sound familiar to those who followed the Fort Reno events of May 2008. Beginning in 2007, misinterpreted USGS aerial images and erroneous USGS/DDOE-interpreted ground measurements of “stressed vegetation” led to the false identification of arsenic contamination in Ward 3 neighborhoods beyond Spring Valley. Besides Fort Reno, the erroneously identified locations included Turtle Park, Glover-Archbold Park, Wilson HS, and many other smaller areas.

Any DDOE plan to create another Ward 3 arsenic exploration deserves a documented review by competent, non-conflicted peers. It would be wise to provide full public access to proceedings of the peer review. Why? DDOE has not demonstrated competence to manage such an experiment (aerial hyperspectral imaging analysis of “stressed vegetation”), or to recognize severe limitations of the technique when it is applied in a non-laboratory environment. To make matters worse, DDOE staff has consistently failed to communicate openly and credibly on public health aspects of arsenic in neighborhoods beyond Spring Valley.


Brookland Heartbeat May/June Issue Now Available
Abigail Padou,

The May/June issue of Brookland Heartbeat is now available. The lead headline in this issue is, “Councilmember Thomas Gave Support to Controversial Development after Developer Promised Payment to Thomas’ Organization.” The day before Mr. Thomas wrote a letter of support for the project to the DC Zoning Commission, the developer revised its proposal to include a $40,000 payment to an organization newly formed by the councilmember. Mr. Thomas did not disclose this to the DC Zoning Commission or to the parties involved.

Additional articles and features in this issue include: “Ward 5 Bypassed in Mayor’s $230 Million Plan,” “Michael Brown Visits Ward 5 and Tests Waters for 2010,” “Brookland Cafe Applies for Liquor License,” “Ward 5 ANCs Show Variation in Spending and Saving,” “Dance Place Celebrates 22nd Annual DanceAfrica DC.” To receive a copy electronically, send your E-mail address to Brookland Heartbeat is also on the web at Brookland Heartbeat is mailed to more than 9,500 homes in the greater Brookland area. Brookland Heartbeat is a nonprofit, all-volunteer community newspaper.


Cash Cab
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

There’s a video game show on the Discovery Channel (5:00 p.m.) that takes place in a New York City taxicab. Riders are asked general knowledge questions as the cab proceeds to their destination. Very clever show and lots of fun to watch. Some riding groups get a couple of grand on a forty block trip. Miss three questions and you are unceremoniously dumped out of the cab wherever you are. You have two chances to ask for outside help via a “street shout-out” or a “mobile shout-out.” Amazing how many times the street shout-out results in the right answer to an obscure question. It would be nice to have a local Cash Cab here in DC.


Michael Bindner,

Many condemn gay marriage because of what is said in Mark Chapter 10; however it can also be used as a justification for gay marriage, if the words are made gender neutral. To paraphrase the Gospel, “For this reason a man shall leave his Father and Mother (and be joined to his spouse) and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human must separate.” This passage is not about sex, it is about law. When you are an unmarried person, your parents and siblings make decisions for you when you are incapacitated and dispose of your body and your property when you die. When you marry, you are no longer of one flesh with your family, instead you are one flesh with your spouse, no matter what gender your spouse is. Unless the opponents can find some rational justification for treating gay spouses differently from straight spouses, the question of marriage is a matter of rights rather than one of public social mores decided by the democratic process.

While it is certainly preferable for this to come through legislation, ultimately the rights of the gay spouse over the family are a matter of right and do not depend on the democratic process. Indeed, Proposition 8 will likely be overturned because restrictions on gay marriage do not pass the rational basis test above (or the underlying truth of the Gospel for that matter), and it will be subject to a federal challenge which it would not win. The only possible problem with a DC marriage recognition or gay marriage in DC is that it does not conform with the Defense of Marriage Act, as DC is considered a creature of Congress. If DC marriage recognition is overturned on those grounds, it will surely also provoke a federal challenge, which the opponents of marriage equality will lose.


Proposition 8 Is Coming to DC
Richard Urban, richardurban [at]

Yes, the voters must speak on the issue of whether or not marriage is between a man and a woman only. A referendum should definitely be added to the ballot in 2010, and the DC council should not move to introduce any legislation recognizing same sex “marriages” prior to that. The current legislation, Bill 18-066, that recognizes same sex unions from other states should not be enacted either. Congress should vote yes on the DC Defense of Marriage legislation recently introduced in the US House of Representatives to block it until the voice of all District residents can be heard.

While I believe in self-determination for District Residents, as K. West has pointed out [themail, May 24] there has not been an open and transparent process in the District. For example, as she points out the language of Bill 18-066 is serpentine and hard to understand, and the title “Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act of 2009” plus the bill itself does not make it readily clear at all that same sex marriages are being recognized. Furthermore, the fact that 92 percent of the councilmembers voted for this bill can not credibly be put forth as a statistic that accurately represents the number of District residents who support same-sex unions.


Same-Sex Marriage
Franklin E. Kameny,

[Re: K. West, themail, May 24] If you disapprove of same-sex marriage (SSM) then you have an absolute right not to enter into such a marriage in your own, individual, personal life. But your rights stop dead at that point. You do not have a valid right even to attempt to impose that disapproval upon others who do not disapprove. You do not have the valid right to say that because you disapprove, I may not enjoy. Regardless of demographic or electoral statistics, to subject this to the outcome of a referendum represents an attempt to impose a tyranny of the majority. It represents the creation of an American Taliban. The majority does not have a valid right to impose its will in this matter — or even to attempt to impose its will..

There is no valid requirement that we all live identically, without difference in behavior and lifestyle. There is no reason why those Americans, and those Washingtonians who desire opposite-sex marriages should not enter into them, while those who desire same-sex marriages should not enter into those. Each to his or her own. They do not interfere with each other. There is no valid requirement for the uniformity which you would impose. The Declaration of Independence tells us that our America and its basic Americanism are defined by the guarantee, as an inalienable right — inalienable — to the Pursuit of Happiness. If your happiness includes opposite sex marriage, so marry and more power to you. But if mine includes same-sex marriage, I have an equal American right so to marry and more power to me. That is our America. Cease trying to alienate the inalienable happiness of gay Washingtonians.

To the extent that you rest your case upon anything at all (and you don’t, really), you seem to rest it, in major part, on an appeal to tradition. But anything which has lasted long enough to have become traditional has lasted long enough to have become at least potentially outworn, outmoded, archaic, obsolete, and otherwise invalid. Limitation of marriage only to opposite-sex couples certainly has become so. You have not presented a single rational, credible, persuasive, substantive argument against same-sex marriage. Not one!! Absolutely nothing! You have provided no reasons at all for opposing SSM or for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Your entire commentary is totally devoid or even a semblance of reason or logic. It amounts to nothing more than ranting and raving expressive of your desire to cram your ideas down our throats and to force uniformity upon all of us. We gays are Washingtonians, too. This is our city fully as much as it is yours. There is no valid basis for consigning us and our relationships to the “back of the bus” — or off the bus altogether, as you would do. We and our relationships are not second-class, and we need not tolerate your anti-American efforts so to render us and them.

It is clear that you have not a clue as to what America and Americanism are truly all about. Your sole interest seems to be a fascistic desire to eliminate personal differences, and to impose uniformity upon us all, willy nilly. That is not the America for the preservation of which I fought in front-line combat in World War II. You badly need to do some rethinking on this issue. A good course in basic Americanism would help you no end. Gay marriage is good, godly, and American. You are not.


No Marriage Referendum Needed
Richard J. Rosendall,

K. West (themail, May 24) writes, “Whether you are for same sex marriage or against it, a referendum in the nation’s capital is a must.” Why exactly does this and only this issue demand that we set aside our system of representative government? West’s paranoid ranting about “carefully, brilliantly, and strategically organized ward political meetings to push the Marriage Equality or same-sex clause” amounts to a staggering double standard by which the most civil gay advocates are sinister, while members of the Missionary Baptist Ministers’ Conference (which excludes women pastors on biblical grounds, for those of you who thought misogyny had died) are given no criticism for packing the Ward 5 meeting with hostile people making anti-gay catcalls.

No one is stopping West from organizing more discussions of the marriage issue. As it happens, however, the twelve DC councilmembers whom West reviles were duly elected by the voters of the District. It is bizarre and obnoxious to suddenly deny the legitimacy of our representative form of government because you don’t like the result in one case. And running to Congress to overturn the District’s own decisions is a betrayal of self-government and of all those who struggled for the full enfranchisement of the people of this city. How much public discussion would have to occur before West would even acknowledge that it has happened? Anyone who thinks there has been no public discussion on the issue should visit the Washington Post web site and search on “gay” or “marriage.”

West writes: “Too many people and leaders make light of citizens’ concerns about the traditional worldwide (with some exceptions) definition of marriage as well as their convictions, belief systems, cultures, and religions.” West, spare us the phony victimhood and try honestly addressing the arguments of marriage-equality advocates. As GLAA says in its talking points on marriage, the claim that marriage has remained unchanged for millennia is preposterous. New York’s Empire State Pride Agenda points out, “Marriage is a dynamic institution that has evolved throughout history to meet the needs of society. In fact, much of what was associated with marriage in the past would today be incomprehensible to the majority of Americans. This includes arranged marriages, payment of a dowry, the legally inferior status of women in the marital relationship, polygamous marriages, and royal and aristocratic marriage between relatives, such as first cousins.” [Complete post at]



Department of Parks and Recreation Events, May 29-30
John Stokes,

May 29, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th Street, NW. Pre-Summer Kickoff Community Day. In anticipation of the end of the school year and summer’s arrival, let’s celebrate with a day of community fellowship. Join us for a day of games, recreational activities, music, light food and a lot of fun! For more information, call Freddie Brown at 671-4794.

May 29, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Coolidge High School Gymnasium, 6315 5th Street, NW. Citywide Cheerleading and Pom-Pom Competition. Teams from different sites in all Wards will compete for the championship trophy and city title. The ages of the cheerleaders range from 4-18 but event attendance is all ages and is open to the public. There will be a charge for this event. $10/person (five and under free). For more information, call the office of Athletic Programs at 671-1700.

May 30, 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., Turkey Thicket Community Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE. Jeff Green Memorial Boxing Tournament. This event is sponsored by the Office of Athletic Programs Administration. It is a cross generation, coed, multi-class amateur boxing event. Primary coordination of boxing-related matters will be handled by Marshall Cunningham, Daryll Tyson, and Anthony Hardy in conjunction with Associate Director Maria Barner. For more information call Mark Williams, Site Manager, at 576-9237.


Lincoln and Juarez, May 30
George Williams,

Gregorio Luke, an expert on Mexican and Latin American Art and Culture will lecture on the friendship between Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juarez, the president of Mexico, on Saturday, May 30, 2:00 p.m., at Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, Auditorium A5, 901 G Street, NW. In celebration of Lincoln’s Bicentennial, the Library presents a multimedia presentation on the friendship and the similarities between President Lincoln and President Juarez. Both stewarded their countries through pivotal moments in history. Lincoln led the Union forces in the Civil War. Juarez expelled French forces during the French Intervention. In addition, both presidents came from humble beginnings and were known for their personal integrity.

Luke was director of the Museum of Latin American Art. He also served as first secretary of the Embassy of Mexico. In 1995, he was awarded the Irving Leonard Award by the Hispanic Society of the Library of Congress. For more information, contact 727-1183.


National Building Museum Events, June 1
Jazmine Zick,

June 1, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Deborah Berke: Local Knowledge. For over twenty-five years, Deborah Berke, FAIA, has designed buildings grounded in the conviction that architecture is not an end in itself, but a setting that is enhanced by its use. Principal of the New York-based firm Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, she will discuss her award-winning residential work, and larger-scale projects including the Irwin Union Bank, the Yale School of Art, and the Marianne Boesky Gallery. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at


Job Training Event, June 2
Katie Kraft,

DC Women’s Agenda and the DC Employment Justice Center present “Job Training Programs for Self Sufficient Wages” on Tuesday, June 2, 1:30-3:30 p.m., at Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, Room A-5 (near Metro Center (Blue, Orange and Red Lines) and Gallery Place/Chinatown (Green, Yellow, and Red Lines)). DCWA will team up with the DC Employment Justice Center to host speakers from numerous job training programs that train in the fields of: construction, business, medicine, building maintenance, technology, culinary arts, and more! This is a great event for those seeking job training and direct service providers.

There will be speakers from the following organizations: So Others Might Eat (SOME) Center for Employment Training, University of the District of Columbia Workforce Development Program, DC Central Kitchen Job Training Program, Washington Area Women in the Trades (WAWIT) Program, Beyond Talent, Byte Back, and the Department of Small and Local Business Development.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Debbie Billet-Roumell, Coordinator of the DC Women’s Agenda, at 464-1596 or or Courtney Chappell, Advocacy Manager for the DC Employment Justice Center, at 828-9675 or


Congressional Hearing on Spring Valley Clean-Up, June 3
Sonsyrea Montgomery,

At the request of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Issues and the District of Columbia will hold a hearing on Wednesday, June 3, at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2237, at 2:00 p.m., on the proposal of the Army Corps of Engineers to conclude its cleanup of chemical weapons, unexploded ordinances and other chemicals in Spring Valley, a Formerly Used Defense (FUD) site in Northwest, a neighborhood in the District. The Congresswoman has worked with the residents of Spring Valley, the Army Corps, and the Department of Defense (DOD) on the cleanup for more than fifteen years. The Army Corps proposes to destroy the chemical weapons and to declare the FUD site completely cleaned within the next two years, but Congress has not been consulted. The Congresswoman said that, because Spring Valley is the only FUD site in a US residential community, the Corps should not cease its activities without congressional oversight and the appropriate assurance that this area is free of contamination.


Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers, June 5-6
Doc Powell,

Friday, June 5, 7:00 p.m., Sounds of Hope presents The Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers at Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Road, NW. For more information go to and

Saturday, June 6, 2:30 p.m., catch a live performance of the Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers at Dance Place, 3225 8th Street, NE. For more information, call 269-1600 or go to


Should Bush Officials Be Investigated?, June 10
John Campbell,

Spark! Speaker Series presents Crime and Punishment: Should Bush Officials Be Investigated, featuring a debate between Jeremy Rabkin and Ivan Eland. Wednesday, June 10, 7:15 p.m., at the Washington Ethical Society, 7750 16th Street, NW. Cost, $15 for general audiences, $12 for senior citizens, free for college students who present a current college ID. RSVP to is suggested; arrive by 7:00 p.m. Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 9.

Are there moral and legal obligations to investigate members of the Bush Administration? Would investigations irresponsibly divert us from addressing critically urgent national issues? Would investigations uphold the Constitution or lead to political witch-hunts — or both? Jeremy Rabkin is a professor of law at George Mason University and was confirmed by the US Senate as a member of the Board of Directors of the US Institute of Peace. Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute and author of the books Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty and Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq. Together they will discuss and debate the many issues surrounding proposals to investigate Bush officials.

The Spark! Speaker Series continues with programs presenting provocative themes and controversial social issues in a civil and respectful forum. Previous topics have included immigration policy, US engagement with Iran and separation of church and state. The Washington Ethical Society is a humanistic religious community of four hundred adults, youth, and children with a proud, progressive sixty-year history in Washington. To learn more about the philosophy and values of Ethical Culture, visit our web site, Attendees are invited to stay after the event for an informal reception


Hine/Eastern Market Development, June 10
Lynne Fitzhugh,

Friends and neighbors of Eastern Market, development of the Hine School property will have a dramatic and permanent impact on Eastern Market and its open-air flea markets, as well as neighborhood density, traffic, parking, and character. The last opportunity for meaningful public input on development of this site is Wednesday June 10, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at Tyler Elementary School, 10th and G Streets, SE, when the six developers who have met the criteria set forth in the city’s fall Request For Proposals (RFP) will present their plans for public review. The response of those who attend can impact the city’s choice of winning bid. We urge all who value the Eastern Market environment to attend.

The group “Eyes on Hine” (EOH) has been advocating neighborhood-sensitive development of this site for the past year. We have primarily been concerned that most of the open space used by the weekend flea market be retained and improved as a “village square.” We have also pressed for low height and density buildings consistent with the historic character of the neighborhood, and minimal impacts on traffic, noise, and parking. And we have been working with the city and police to monitor security of the now-vacant school, and will be closely monitoring the environmental impacts of demolition and construction.


Hine School Development, June 10; Safeguard Public Property, May 29
Wendy Blair,

The Hine Junior High School, at Eastern Market and Pennsylvania Avenue on Capitol Hill, will soon be razed. Neighbors and citizens interested in the development of this public land are urged to attend a meeting at which competing developer proposals will be presented, at the Tyler School, corner of 10th and G Streets, SE, Wednesday, June 10, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Capitol Hill neighbors of Hine have been active for months, trying to influence plans for the site, with limited results so far. Our requests for low density housing, similar to the existing streetscape; open space; and concern for added traffic congestion did not make it into the city’s Request for Proposals — despite promises from our councilmember. We need your input and support if you care about your neighborhood.

Selling public owned land and green spaces to developers for building dense, high-rent condos, and high-end shops may add to our city’s tax revenues. However, we pay the price in drastic transformation of our liveable/walkable quality of life and in our own pocketbooks as the taxes and rents escalate. The development of Hine School, just beginning, is only one of dozens of projects overseen by the Office of Planning and Development. All others have been characterized by processes that ignore extensive citizen input, fail to provide reliable cost estimates or timelines, and do not even publish land valuations. The result is that we are virtually giving away our public assets without our neighborhood priorities being met. Please consider attending this important hearing on Councilman Harry Thomas’s bill to safeguard public property from a citywide effort to sell off public assets without citizen input at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, #500, this Friday, May 29, at 11:00 a.m. To testify, call 724-8062 or E-mail If you cannot attend, please send a message to your councilmember, as well as Kwame Brown (Economic Development),; Mary Cheh (Government Operations),; Tommy Wells (Ward 6),; and Mayor Adrian Fenty; as well as Harriet Tregoning (Planning Office),; and Robin Eve Jasper (Office of Property Management),


Simplicity on the Hill: “Menu for the Future,” June 11
Pope Barrow,

Across America, a movement is growing of people determined to live life more simply. “Simplicity” means consciously reducing stress on ourselves and on our environment. The movement traces back to Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond. In “simplicity circles,” people share strategies for simplifying their lives. On June 11, at 7:30 p.m., in a retired diplomat’s Capitol Hill living room, a DC simplicity circle will launch a seven-session discussion of the workbook “Menu for the Future,” all about food, stress, and the environment. The group welcomes newcomers. Participation is free. But you must make a reservation. The group plans to stay under twenty. When that maximum is reached reservations will close. Before each session participants should read the relevant chapter in “Menu for the Future.” To RSVP and arrange to get a copy of “Menu,” call 546-3933 or E-mail For background information, go to


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