In the last issue of themail, I wrote about the small pocket park at
the corner of Girard and 14th Streets NW, which was reopened at a
ceremony on Friday after a long and costly renovation. It turns out that
on Saturday there was another day-long opening weekend celebration, and
during that day the attendees voted to rename the park “President
Barack Hussein Obama Park.” This would be something of an insult to
any president, since the park is just a basketball court with a seating
area, and its most prominent feature is a pair of restrooms. But Ward
One Councilmember Jim Graham immediately introduced a bill to rename the
park in accordance with the informal vote, http://www.dcwatch.com/council18/18-x.htm
(the URL will be changed when the council numbers the bill). The Post’s
Tim Craig pointed out that DC law forbids naming any public space
after any living person, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2009/07/graham_proposes_barack_hussein.html.
That could cause a problem, but Graham has actually anticipated it. The
bill doesn’t really rename the park; instead, it “symbolically
designates” it as Obama Park. It’s not a new name; it’s a
nickname, a play name, a pretend name. Obama will be honored, I’m
sure. But that’s not the punch line. I wrote about the park that it
was difficult to see where the $1.6 million was spent, and that “we’ll
never find out how the city managed to spend so much money to so little
effect.” On Monday morning, the future Obama Park failed city
inspections. It was closed to redo a substantial amount of the work that
has been done; it’s expected to be closed for several weeks.
Also in the last issue of themail, I wrote that “the city council’s
investigation called for by Chairman Gray has been carefully proscribed
and limited to Barry’s contracts with Ms. Watts-Brightwood.” There
was something of a public outcry about that limitation, and Gray has
responded to a degree. The “Council Contracts and Grants Investigation
Authorization Resolution of 2009” still reads as though it is aimed
specifically at Councilmember Barry and his contracts with Ms. Watts-Brightwood,
but Councilmember Gray has introduced some loopholes in the law that
will allow Robert Bennett to do a more thorough investigation of the
city council’s contracting and grants, at his discretion (http://www.dcwatch.com/council18/18-xx.htm
— again, the URL will change when the council numbers the bill). For
example, Sec. 2(f) reads, “As part of the investigation, Mr. Bennett
may examine any personal service contract or grant awarded by the
Council, including any documents relating to the award. ” This is
an opening that we should take advantage of. If you have information
about irregularities in any council contract or grant that would be
helpful to Mr. Bennett, please send it to Robert S. Bennett, Skadden
Arps, 1440 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005 or to firstname.lastname@example.org,
Bill 18-345 Could Provide a Tool for Voter
William O’Field, email@example.com
On Monday, July 13, I presented testimony on Bill 18-345, the “Omnibus
Election Reform Act of 2009,” at the public hearing of the city
council’s Committee on Government Operations and the Environment,
chaired by Councilmember Mary Cheh. As a former member of the staff of
the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE), I felt compelled to
comment on the bill, as this is the first time in some twenty years that
DC’s election laws have been opened up to this degree for amendment.
Overall, I support the bill; however, I have some reservations and
concerns about the provision that will provide same-day registration,
which allows individuals to register to vote on Election Day.
I support same-day registration but, as I stated earlier this year at
the January 26 public oversight roundtable of the council’s Board of
Elections and Ethics Investigation Special Committee, I have serious
concerns about the Board’s bloated voter roll. The Department of
Justice is also concerned about bloated voter rolls across the country,
because they could enable voter fraud. I recommend that a thorough
review of the voter roll be undertaken by an independent outside
consultant. The recommendations from the consultant could be reviewed by
the Board’s staff who, I believe, need help undertaking this kind of
project. A nonpartisan contractor would give the Board’s staff the
support that is needed. After that is done, I would feel better about
same-day registration, but I must caution that the District of Columbia
is not like the states that have same-day registration, where their
voters may be less transient. With the surrounding jurisdictions so
close to our ten square miles that make up the District, nearby outside
intruders can play mischief with our elections by crossing their state
lines and come into our city.
At the January 26 hearing, I also stated that the DCBOEE conducted a
voter roll comparison with the surrounding jurisdictions in Maryland and
Virginia in 1997, following the November 5, 1996, Presidential general
election. It was discovered that there were dual registrants who voted
in two places. Those individuals voted in their state and then came into
DC and voted here. The names of those who voted in two places were
referred to the United States Attorney’s Office. I further recommend
that the Board once again work with the surrounding jurisdictions to run
a comparison match for dual registrants and refer anyone they find who
has voted in two places over the last twelve years to the US Attorney’s
Office. I always want to open up the franchise further; however, I do
not want the District to be victimized by voter fraud with same-day
registration and find that an election has been compromised. In my
opinion, and that of others, same-day registration is the one place in
the election process that is vulnerable to election fraud.
Here we go again. Today is the first full day of payment for summer
youth children and there are children who did not receive the right
amount of money. There are children who have $9.00 on their cards while
there are others who received as much as $250.00. When is Mayor Fenty
going to get this right?
It’s Been Four Years
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
Four years ago, I called the Department of Public Works in DC to
alert them to a potential hazardous situation. The new granite curbs
that were being installed in many parts of the city had a very sharp
exposed edge on the street side. This sharp edge would ensure that
people who fell and hit their heads on that sharp edge would likely
split their heads open like a ripe watermelon. Particularly vulnerable
are elderly folks and children, who fall more often. I was assured that
my caution was relevant and that the DC Public Works Department would
look into it. My recommendation was to put a two-inch radius on the
exposed edge, similar to the exposed edges on the cast concrete curbs
all around the city. Here we are four years later and I just observed
the new curbs being installed on Massachusetts Avenue just south of Ward
circle. They all granite curbs with very sharp exposed edges. Nice work,
Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club?
Frank Winstead, firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Mary Cheh, raised in the state that boasts a
decapitated horse’s head on its official seal, Jerseied-up her ward by
adding a $50,000 expense to the DC budget to create a Ward 3 “business
Unlike Councilmember Barry’s endeavors, I am confident that Cheh’s
entity has all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, with all the
principals in lockstep. This money should be returned to the city
coffers and Cheh’s “funky funding” investigated. There is not a
lot of difference between Marion Barry’s activities and Mary Cheh’s.
Open the books and open the doors to the Wilson Building to let all the
bad smells and self-serving councilmembers out.
Wither Goest the AMC?
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Just noticed that the movie listings in the Washington Post no
longer carry any listings for the AMC theaters in DC and the surrounding
Continental Congress 2009 (CC2009) will take place in November.
CC2009 is not a Constitutional Convention. The District of Columbia has
yet to nominate any delegates to this historic venue. We The People
Congress has a brand new easy to navigate web site, http://www.givemeliberty.org,
with all the information and tools needed for real patriots to stand up
and legally and effectively, yet nonviolently, defend against violations
of the Constitution.
CC2009 is the booster shot if not the cure against the latest
designed failed attempt of the citizens of DC to secure their right to
sovereignty. The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to
restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the
government, lest it come to dominate our lives and interests. Are you a
patriot? Prove it.
The rights of all citizens, including the citizens of the District of
Columbia, are secured in the founding documents of our nation. Go to the
web site http://www.givemeliberty.org.
There you can take part in this historic action of your first amendment
right to hold the government accountable for violations of all our
fundamental rights and for tyranny. CC2009 will take place November
9-24, 2009. Right now nominations are being entered into a database to
elect three representing delegates from each state and the District of
Columbia. You may nominate anyone you feel is of an established
respectable character or pillars of the community and who have a proven
passion for the Constitution as authors, scholars, or activists. This is
the next appropriate legal step in finally giving DC its voice in
I Am DC: I Demand the Vote
Iler Zherka, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are thrilled to announce DC Vote’s latest campaign, I Am DC, I
Demand the Vote, which tells the real stories of DC residents in their
own words. This exciting new campaign will highlight the everyday people
that make up the fabric of DC life — nurses, teachers, students, civil
rights leaders, activists, journalists, and community leaders. You will
see our I Am DC campaign ads on WMATA buses, local blogs, web sites, and
newspapers. Take a look at the first advertisement, featuring Julian
Bond, NAACP Chairman, which ran recently in Congress Daily: http://www.dcvote.org/iamdc/iamdc-letter2.pdf.
There are more to come!
But, this isn’t just an advertising campaign. It’s about reaching
out to all DC residents to join the movement for voting rights. Be a
part of this exciting campaign by sharing your story about why you
demand the vote for Washington, DC. Our experience has shown that when
people in the states are reminded that regular people call the District
home, they are more likely to support our cause. That’s why we want
you to tell your story. We’ve also launched a dedicated web site, http://www.i-am-dc.org.
This is your forum to tell us why you demand the vote. You can share
your story, read other people’s stories, download the advertisements
In our travels to the states, we want to share your personal stories
with constituents. They need to see how people like you are impacted by
DC’s denial of democracy. Everyone is facing tough times and full
agendas right now — with your help, we’ll be able to elevate the
profile of DC voting rights in key states and on Capitol Hill. Are you
DC? Do you demand the vote? Tell us why at www.i-am-dc.org.
Then, spread the word to friends and family by forwarding this E-mail,
sharing the ads with others, or posting them to your Facebook profile.
Together, we will show the nation and world that the movement for DC
voting rights is alive and well.
As a colleague and a friend, I will miss Desi Deschaine. He was one
of a kind. His warm smile, his excitement for life, his willingness to
always go the extra step for a friend, will be what I remember most when
I think about Desi. And I will think about Desi often. Desi knew how to
live life to the fullest and I always admired him for that. He made
everyone around him smile. He could charm the socks off of anyone and he
did. Desi did everything he did with gusto.
I join with so many of Desi’s other friends and colleagues to send
my condolences to his family and loved ones.
Desi may you rest in peace, knowing that you will be missed by all
who knew you and that though your life was much too short it was one
that meant something and will be remembered. Desi you will be forever
loved and missed!
There have been multiple public meetings on the proposed Hine
redevelopment starting last year, with the community given opportunities
to weigh in along the way. I have attended these meetings, offered my
views, and listened with care to various and often quite divergent
views. I’ve been impressed by the strong efforts made by Councilmember
Wells and his staff, plus city officials from the Deputy Mayor’s
Office, to make sure the community was involved. The last meeting, held
several weeks ago, centered on the proposals from four developers —
out of initially a much larger pool — for what they would do at the
very large Hine site. Those proposals have now been posted online (http://tinyurl.com/n7y7yq).
Personally, I strongly favor the Stanton/East Banc proposal, not
least because of the very able team behind it, one that has time after
time demonstrated a deep understanding of the nature of the Capitol Hill
community and affirmed that understanding with a strong record of actual
development on Capitol Hill, one that has been a key factor in Capitol
Hill having become such a a wonderful place to live and to visit. This
proposal, I believe, has easily the strongest architectural
representation compared to the other proposals, in Amy Weinstein and
Phil Esocoff. That team has in turn created a plan with very compelling
features including, now quoting my neighbor Randy Steer: “a nice mix
of both market and affordable housing, offices, retail, and
special-purpose (Shakespeare Theater); a net increase in available
parking (provided that half or more of the spaces go to the residential
units); and a nice variation in building height and setbacks that fits
more naturally into the streetscape than some of the more
suburban-oriented designs, and as a bonus a bunch of roof gardens and
Janney School and Historic Preservation
Richard Layman, email@example.com
While I know nothing about the specifics of what historical society
is involved (since it is unspecified in Ed Barron’s post, themail,
July 12), there is nothing in historic preservation law that prevents
buildings from being rehabilitated, including for better energy
performance, after a building has been designated as a historic landmark
or is deemed a contributing resource as part of a historic district. I
will grant that it does add time to the process, and provides for a
process of review that doesn’t ordinarily exist in such matters.
However, my general sense is that this added level of review is
particularly necessary in the case of DC-owned properties, where too
often haste makes waste, and making long-term, quality decisions is
often avoided in favor of the quick fix.
Typically, DC government hasn’t been a very good property manager.
This has definitely been the case for the school system. This failure in
management capacity has nothing to do with historic preservation,
although in many instances historic preservation has been blamed for
management failures it had nothing to do with. There are hundreds of
thousands of buildings across the country that are designated historic
and manage to be rehabilitated just fine. And there is nothing unique to
DC to make it some sort of outlier in this regard.
Furthermore, there are many examples of large-sized buildings and
complexes (often industrial in nature) that have been rehabilitated and
adaptively reused, while at the same time energy efficiency has been
enhanced. Rather than be reflexively oppositional (and/or quick to write
to themail), it would behoove Mr. Barron to learn more about historic
preservation and building rehabilitation.
Re: Robert McNamara
Neil Richardson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Not to beat a subject to death (no pun intended) but Robert McNamara’s
passing reminded me of an encounter I had with him about fifteen years
ago. While in grad school I was working as a laborer for a tile and
marble installation company doing work at his house in Georgetown.
McNamara was having his private bathroom remodeled. Besides an amazing
collection of books in the bathroom, I made note that on the back of the
bathroom door hung the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Considering his
legacy from that point on, I had a better understanding of where his
deepest thinking took place.
Issue Now Online
P.L. Wolff, Intowner@intowner.com
This is to advise that the July 2009 online edition has been uploaded
and may be accessed at http://www.intowner.com. Included are the lead
stories, community news items and crime reports, editorials (including
prior months’ archived), restaurant reviews (prior months’ also
archived), and the text from the ever-popular “Scenes from the Past”
feature (the accompanying images can be seen in the archived PDF
version). The complete issue (along with prior issues back to January
2002) also is available in PDF file format directly from our home page
at no charge simply by clicking the link in the Current & Back
Issues Archive. Here you will be able to view the entire issue as it
appears in print, including all photos and advertisements. Special Note:
We recently introduced a new way for visitors to our web site to share
their comments about our lead stories, the Scenes from the Past feature,
and the Publisher’s Desk commentary simply by clicking the link at the
bottom of each of those pages.
The next issue will publish on August 14 (the second Friday of the
month, as always). The complete PDF version will be posted by the
preceding night or early that Friday morning at the latest, following
which the text of the lead stories, community news, and selected
features will be uploaded shortly thereafter.
To read this month’s lead stories, simply click the link on the
home page to the following headlines: 1) “14th and U Streets Arts
Overlay Zoning District Seen to be of No Benefit — Logan Circle ANC to
Review New Approaches to Revitalization Goals”; 2) “Balancing
Neighborhood Retail: The 25% Rule”; and 3) “Adams Morgan Pocket Park
Gets Constant Care by Neighbors Who Attend to the Plants and Ensure Area
Free of Litter.”
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Department of Parks and Recreation Events,
July 17-18, 20
John Stokes, email@example.com
July 17, 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., Stead Recreation Center, 1625 P Street,
NW. Crafts Exhibit for ages six to thirteen. Participants from the camp
will display their crafts projects for their parents. For more
information, call Vincent E. Hill, Site Manager, at 673-4465.
July 17, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Ferebee Hope Recreation Center, 3999
8th Street SE. Trip to Six Flags for ages thirteen to nineteen. The
teens of the Ferebee Hope community will enjoy a fun-filled trip to Six
Flags America. For more information, call Gregory Poag, Site Manager, at
July 18, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Ridge Road Recreation Center, 800
Ridge Road, SE. Adult Sports Community Day for ages eighteen and up. The
staff at Ridge Road Recreation Center will host a fun filled day of
adult sporting events. Adults will participate in flag football,
basketball, kickball, and softball games. Come out and enjoy the fun.
For more information, call Sonny Hicks at 645-3959.
July 18, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Emery Recreation Center, 5801 Georgia
Avenue, NW. Battleground Round ball Championship for ages eight to
fifteen. This outdoor basketball tournament will christen the new
basketball courts at Emery. The round robin 3 on 3 tournaments will be
open to six teams per age group (10 and under, 13 and under, and 15 and
July 18, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Riggs LaSalle Community Center, 501
Riggs Road, NE. Car Wash and Clothes Drive for all ages. Come drop off
unwanted clothes and get your car washed. For more information, call
Shirleta Settles at 576-5150.
July 18, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD.
Cliff Wiley Invitational Track Meet for ages 7-18. Department of Parks
and Recreation youth track teem will attend the Cliff Wiley Invitational
Youth Track Meet held in honor of Cliff Wiley. For more information,
July 20, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., North Michigan Park Recreation Center,
1333 Emerson Street, NE. North Michigan Park Indians Kickoff Cookout for
ages six to fifteen. Participants on the 2009 football team will take
part in a fun-filled cookout as well as drill and exercising. For more
information, call Joe Clark, Site Manager, at 541-3526.
Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System (Release
Barbara Conn, firstname.lastname@example.org
Curious about what the upcoming Microsoft Windows 7 operating system
will look like? About its new features? About whether you can look
forward to using it effortlessly after suffering through or working
around the Microsoft Vista operating system? Then join us on Saturday,
July 18, as longtime CPCUG member and IT network pro Mark Mabee explores
the Windows 7 “release candidate,” investigating the capabilities of
the next Microsoft Windows operating system, now scheduled to be
available October 22, 2009.
Gather your colleagues and neighbors, and your questions, and bring
them to this Saturday, July 18, 1:00 p.m., gathering of the Capital PC
User Group (CPCUG) Entrepreneurs and Consultants Special Interest Group
(E&C SIG). These monthly events are free and open to all. This month’s
event is at the Cleveland Park Branch Library (first floor large meeting
room) at 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW (between Macomb and Newark
Streets), just over a block south of the Cleveland Park Metrorail
Station on the Red Line. For more information about the seminar, the
speaker, and CPCUG (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization),
To RSVP, send an E-mail to email@example.com.
Humanities Council Grant Workshop, July 20
Lisa Alfred, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grants Workshop, Monday, July 20, 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Humanities
Council of Washington, DC, 925 U Street, NW, near U Street/Cardozo
Metro. The Humanities Council of Washington, DC, presents a workshop to
assist nonprofit organizations in planning projects and seeking up to
$5,000 for programs that celebrate and document the cultural life of
Washington, DC. Free. Please RSVP at http://www.wdchumanities.org
or call 387-8391.
National Building Museum Events, July 21,
Jazmine Zick, email@example.com
July 21, 6:30-8:00 p.m., DC Builds: The Purple Line: A Rail Solution?
Hear a panel of experts discuss the Purple Line’s potential to relieve
congestion, spur economic development, and connect people to jobs in the
rapidly growing Maryland suburbs.
July 23, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Tom Kundig, FAIA, from Olson Sundberg Kundig
Allen Architects, which is the 2009 AIA Firm of the year, discusses his
work, including Chicken Point Cabin and Delta Shelter.
July 23, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Top Green Student Chair Designs. Honorary
Chairman Vern Yip (of TLC’s “Trading Spaces” and HGTV’s “Deserving
Design”), presents the winners of the National Chair Affair
competition and how it is introducing students to green, structural
design career opportunities. The winning Chair Affair entries will be on
display at the Museum from July 23-26. For more information visit, http://www.careersincorrugated.org./
July 24, 10:00-11:00 a.m. Design has the ability to influence, unite,
and link environments. 2009 National Design Awards winners Gregg
Pasquarelli, principal at SHoP Architects, and landscape architect
Walter Hood have both used their professional work to create
environments with a unique sense of community. Join us for this special
morning program to hear about their inspirational work and learn about
how design can engage your neighborhood. Free. Registration required.
All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary
Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — HELP WANTED
Legal Assistant — Silver Spring
Jon Katz, justice(at)katzjustice(dot)com
Highly-rated criminal defense law firm is replacing its law
school-bound leg assistant. See full details at http://katzjustice.com/JOBS.htm#apply.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
I am having a hard time finding day care options for my infant. I
think that day care is regulated by the District, so I wonder if there
is a list of them anywhere (specifically in southwest, Waterfront,
Capitol Hill), a review of them (including any complaints), and just
generally where I can find the regulations for my own information. Any
help on this would be appreciated.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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to themail, use the Update Profile/Email address link below in the
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