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June 24, 2009


Challenges in themail, June 24, 2009

Dear Challenging Readers:

No comment is necessary on the following press release that was sent by Peaceoholics on Monday: “Tune into WUSA 9 TODAY @ 5:30PM. Peaceoholics Youth from Ward 1 speak to WUSA’s Bruce Johnson addressing the challenges of being predators and victims of Violence!”

Gary Imhoff


What Are We Doing Wrong
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

With all the accidents happening over the last few years on Metrorail, one must be asking what we are doing wrong. Compare the DC Metrorail to the NY City subway system. The NY subway system is very old. That system has probably twenty or more times the track mileage and subway cars than the DC system. Their computer control system is probably a generation older than the DC system. Yet the NYC system has had far fewer accidents and fatalities in the last decade. We need a fresh, independent, objective look at the DC Metrorail systems, procedures, hardware, and personnel.


Questions About the Future of DCPS
Roger Scott,

In response to “Chancellor Michelle Rhee Is a Terminating Machine” by Candi Peterson [themail, June 21]. I have three questions for Ms. Peterson, other DCPS teachers, and those in the know on DC Watch

1) With all these mass layoffs, terminations, and retirements, who is going to replace these teachers? Is Chancellor Rhee only pulling teachers from the teacher prep programs? No disrespect intended to any individuals who completed such programs, but I doubt that veteran teachers from the surrounding area would want to enter our system at this point. 2) Are there any other examples of this kind of “teacher crackdown” in the nation as a baseline for such a practice? This kind of thing seem unprecedented. 3) It feels that Chancellor Rhee is plowing ahead with her agenda full-stream, with no checks, stays, or reviews. Is there anything that can be done to validate that this “slash and burn” process is actually good for the future of DC youth and the school system? Logically, it does not seem to be an effective way to achieve the end result. That is, assuming the end result is to improve the quality of education and create better and stronger public schools.


Richard Layman,

Regarding gang violence, the following article on David Kennedy’s Ceasefire strategy appeared in the June 22 issue of The New Yorker: John Seabrook, Annals of Crime, “Don’t Shoot”


Speed Bumps
Phil Lepanto,

With regard to themail’s introduction’s final paragraph of June 21, it is my firm belief that there are many, many people in this city who feel that the services and attention are wrongly weighted to those who wish to drive into and out of our city on their way to and from Maryland and Virginia than are weighted to what they should be: allowing citizens of the District of Columbia to enjoy their neighborhood and city streets. Many of my constituents say that I am not doing enough to put in speed bumps, speed cameras, and other traffic control measures. They say that their streets are terrorized by drivers who feel like 30, 35, or even 45 miles per hour are perfectly reasonable speeds for Irving, Park, or Newton Streets in Mt. Pleasant.

If our mayor were actually waging a war on drivers, then perhaps he wouldn’t inexplicably override DDOT policy and allow the installation of sidewalks in the North Portal neighborhood. It is in the best interest of our city to find ways to make our streets more user-friendly to pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. We need sidewalks and smartbike stations in every quarter to allow for safe passage to transit hubs; we need a mix of local and express transit services that can take people where they need to go quickly and efficiently; and we need to make sure that busy streets and busy sidewalks have adequate facilities for cyclists.


Speed Bumps
Michael Williams,

Gary, you have written [themail, June 21] what I have observed as a motorist and cyclist regarding speed bumps. Also I have noticed far more speed bumps in Ward 4 than anywhere else.


DTV Transitioning
Robert Evans,

I have expanded basic cable service with Comcast (regular cable on some sets and digital cable on one) and my parents are using a shared roof top apartment building antenna that doesn’t require a converter box plus one rabbit ear antenna analog bedroom TV that does need a converter to receive television service. Although I know there should be no connection between the different digital transitions now being done for over-the-air broadcasts and the one for digital cable services, it seems very strange that since the transitions began both my parents reception and mine have been very poor due to signal drop outs, pixellation break ups, and temporary frozen screens. Since collectively we are using four different ways to receive the poor signals, it seems the problem is more related to the originating sources than to the delivery systems. Is anyone else having similar problems?

[In my experience, digital over-the-air broadcasting is very sensitive to interference from airplanes and helicopters, but is otherwise fairly reliable. However, Comcast signals for all stations, which used to be generally stable, have recently been breaking up, losing sound, and freezing frequently. A few people who have complained about this problem to Comcast told me that the company insists their problems are unique, and that there is no system-wide problem with the signal. What’s the collective wisdom? Has anyone called the Office of Cable Television about it? — Gary Imhoff]



DC VOICE Poll Ward Meetings, June 25-July 23
Jeff Smith,

Beginning this week, DC VOICE will be holding ward by ward campaign meetings to discuss action steps, organize campaign teams, and distribute materials for the Campaign for Education Reform, Campaign for Equity. The schedule for the ward meetings is as follows: Ward 1: Thursday, June 25, 6:00 p.m., DC VOICE, 1436 U Street, NW, Suite 401; Ward 2: Thursday, June 25. 7:00 p.m., DC VOICE, 1436 U Street, NW, Suite 401; Ward 3: Thursday, August 6, 6:30 p.m., Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW; Ward 4: Thursday, July 2, 6:30 p.m., Brightwood Elementary School, 1300 Nicholson Street, NW; Ward 5: Thursday, July 9, 6:30 p.m., Lamond-Riggs Library, 5401 South Dakota Avenue, NE; Ward 6: Thursday, July 30, 6:30 p.m., Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE; Ward 7: Thursday, July 16, 6:30 p.m., Ward Memorial Church, 241 42nd Street, NE; Ward 8: Thursday, July 23, 6:30 p.m., The Covenant House, 2001 Mississippi Avenue, SE.

To RSVP to one of these meetings, please contact Johanna Elsemore at or call 986-8533. Walk-ins welcome.


Kurtis Blow in Free Gospel Hip Hop Concert, June 27
Dorinda White,

Kurtis Blow and The Trinity will perform in a free concert on Saturday, June 27, at 4:00 p.m. at the First Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church, 602 N Street, NW. Other performers will include Joe Da Vessel, Melodic, and MC LaToya Foster. The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost” concert is free and open to the public. We hope to get a large crowd of youth who will enjoy the Word, the sounds, and more importantly the message of hope in the music. Kurtis Blow and the Trinity, along with Joe L. Da Vessel and Melodic have spiritual stories in their hip hop music and presentation.

Kurtis Blow and The Trinity performed in a free concert in southeast Washington in 2007. The audience was full of youth and family. The concert ended with a prayer circle with all the youth in attendance.

For more information, contact Barbara Jones, 253-1122 or


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, June 27
John Stokes,

June 27, 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet Street, SW. Jeff Greene Memorial Showcase (Boxing Tournaments) for ages 8-21. This event will be a memorial tribute to Jeff Greene for his contribution to Boxing Program; there will be ten to twelve bouts with local and regional competitors. Sanctioned by the Potomac Valley Association. For more information, call Marshall Cunningham at 698-2250.

June 27, 7:00 p.m., Friendship Recreation Center, 4500 Van Ness Street, NW. Community ice cream social sponsored by the Friends of Friendship Park. For more information, call 282-2198.

June 27, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th Street, NW. Basic football interest camp for ages five to fifteen. Come, perk your interest and participate in the basic fundamentals of football. Participate in a variety of activities. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Freddie Brown at 671-4794.


The Good Fight That Didn’t End, June 28
Beth Meyer,

Calvin Goddard Zon editor of The Good Fight That Didn’t End, will speak on Sunday, June 28, at 4:00 p.m., at the Kensington Row Bookshop, 3786 Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD. The book is a vivid firsthand record from the Union ranks of major battles and figures of the Civil War, and of the Reconstruction efforts that followed. The letters, journals, and newspaper writings of Henry Perkins Goddard (1842–1916) of Norwich, Connecticut, provide much firsthand detail about the passions and principles of a divided nation during the Civil War and Reconstruction as witnessed by a scrupulous soldier and scribe eager to capture the bitter realities of his time. Edited by his great-grandson, The Good Fight That Didn’t End includes Goddard’s accounts of combat in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, his travels across the war-torn South after the war, and his encounters and friendships with well-known historical and literary figures of the era, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, George Armstrong Custer, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain.

Calvin Goddard Zon, great-grandson of Henry P. Goddard, is a journalist and historian living in Washington, DC. He is a former staff writer for the Washington Star daily newspaper and his articles have appeared in such varied publications as the Civil War News, the Progressive, the National Catholic Reporter, and People. Free event. For further information, call 301-949-9416.


Art Salon, July 1
Marquis Perkins,

Join the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for Art Salon, a monthly convergence of artists, techies, green-collars, art enthusiasts, and educators that are creating the momentum for the new era of art. Art Salon is modeled after the salons of the late nineteenth century to inspire and provoke the minds of the creative community. Wednesday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Each month, we gather at a different location. This month, we invite you to converge at Meridian International Center, White-Meyer House, 1624 Crescent Place, NW.

Soundscapes by DJ Brian Liu; remarks by Regie Cabico, poet/DCCAH grantee; Dr. Curtis Sandberg, Curator, White-Meyer House; and Yosi Sergant, NEA, Director of Communications.



DTV Converter Boxes
William Haskett,

I have two converter boxes for TV that I'd be pleased to give to a good home, since I have found it simpler to opt for the simplest form of cable. Not a fifty-inch TV, nor two hundred thousand channels, but it will do.


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