Creative Loafing, the company that owns The Washington City Paper and
The Chicago Reader, is in bankruptcy. Creative Loafing bought
both papers two years ago, in July 2007, with a $30 million loan from
Atalaya Capital Management of New York City and a $10 million loan from
BIA Digital Partners of Virginia. On August 25, there will be an auction
at which the two papers will be sold. The only bidders are expected to
be Atalaya and a partnership between Creative Loafing and BIA. If that’s
true, the winner will be Atalaya, because Atalaya is now owed $31
million, and will receive any proceeds from the auction up to that $31
million, after minor debtors are paid. Therefore, Atalaya can bid up to
$31 million without actually spending any money. Because of that,
Creative Loafing is asking the bankruptcy judge to disqualify Atalaya
from bidding, which would essentially make Creative Loafing the default
auction winner. Creative Loafing’s CEO, Ben Eason, argues that the
papers are his passion, that he’s the best caretaker for them, and
that Atalaya is just in the deal for the money. That’s a sentimental
argument; whether it’s a legal argument is yet to be seen. The judge
is expected to make her decision and announce the auction rules on July
27. The Chicago Reader has the story, http://tinyurl.com/mpxzss.
Candi Peterson E-mails the following clarification to her message
about Dr. Reginald Elliott in the last issue of themail: “Actually Dr.
Elliott was awarded principal of the year in 2001 by the National
Association of Secondary School Principals. He received national
accreditation from the Middle States Association for Colleges and High
Schools in May 2009.”
The Council Should Cut Its Own Costs
Paul D. Craney, firstname.lastname@example.org
The DC Republican Committee mailed the following letter to each
councilmember in response to councilmembers threatening to introduce new
taxes on DC residents and businesses: “The District’s budget is
plagued by a deficit that is expected to reach $150 million in 2010 and
could climb as much as $1 billion annually unless significant steps are
taken to reduce the city’s bloated budget. Instead of taking bold
steps to reduce District spending, council members are threatening to
raise taxes during an economic recession with District unemployment over
20 percent in some areas of the city. Councilmember Jim Graham has
proposed tax increases to the top tax bracket of District residents.
Councilmember Tommy Wells has suggested both a gas and food tax. Any tax
or fee increase on District residents will be a further drag on the city’s
economy and will impact low income residents the most. The District of
Columbia Republican Committee urges you to cut spending from the budget,
starting with salaries.
“Since 2004, the District budget increased 42 percent.
Councilmembers annually receive $350,000 for their staff salaries and an
additional $350,000 if they chair a committee. Each councilmember is
chair of a committee. Annually, each councilmember receives $700,000 for
staff and that does not include their personal salaries. Since 2006,
council salaries have increased from $92,500 to $125,000. DC
councilmembers now earn more than the national average of what governors
earn. The DC council chair makes $190,000, higher than 49 states pay
their governors and more than members of Congress make. The mayor makes
$200,000, only $6,000 less than what the highest paid governor in the
nation receives. The council’s spending problem was best displayed at
a July 10 interview on WAMU’s Kojo show when Councilmember Mary Cheh
said, “How much we each get in our offices, $350,000 dollars for the
office itself and an additional amount [$350,000] for our committees,
and I must say, that money in my own case . . . it may sound
unrealistic, but I could use more money.”
“The DC Republican Committee encourages our elected leaders to
govern by example. If the District’s deficit is to be effectively
addressed, councilmembers should demonstrate leadership by cutting their
own salaries and those of their staff, as well as looking for cost
saving opportunities within the District budget. DC councilmembers
should trim their bloated District budget and avoid any further tax and
Well it’s been a few weeks since the great Comcast service problem
denial was addressed on DCWatch, and at least for me the problem of
video and audio drop outs and heavy pixelation on regular (not HD)
Comcast digital service continues.
After the problem was referred to the DC Office of Cable Television
and it put some pressure on Comcast, I did receive a call from Donna
Richards at Comcast (635-5652) about two weeks ago; she claimed to be
investigating the problem. She indicated that the complaints in the rest
of the city “had mostly been resolved” and seemed surprised to hear
that I still had a problem. She called back several times afterwards and
I continued to explain that the problem still existed, though
occasionally it did get a little better for short periods. She said that
she was clearing my trouble ticket for now but to call her back if the
problem persisted (a very convenient way to convince the DC OCTT that
the problem is resolved). Now I cannot reach her to explain that the
problem does continue for me, and even appears to have become rampant in
the southwest development where I live (all my neighbors are now
complaining on our in-house listserv).
Did others out there actually get their problem resolved? Is Comcast
just pulling a fast one to convince the DC Office of Cable Television
that they have actually addressed and resolved the problem?
[This is the first complaint that I’ve received in a few weeks, and
I invited contributors to let me know if the problems persisted after
Comcast said that it had resolved them. Please let me know if you’re
still having problems, and what they are. — Gary Imhoff]
The Parking Meter Polka
T. Lassoc, email@example.com
[Re: The Parking Meter Polka, themail, July 19] Yes, DC does the same
with cars. A long-standing practice was to mark tires to determine which
cars were occupying spaces for the stated meter (or sign) time and then
to ticket persons “feeding the meter” to remain for a longer time
period. We don’t know if DC still uses this method, but the type of
ticket you got is pretty routine.
The practice is quite aggressive, especially in neighborhoods beyond
downtown. Guess it never occurred to DC that some people have an actual
need to remain in a parking space (meter paid) beyond the stated period
on the meter (or parking sign) — and especially if you’re downtown.
If you’re doing any business with DC (i.e., making inquiry of
an agency; responding to a DC communication, citation, letter, whatever;
filing a citizen complaint; any court matters; filing an application of
any type; paying a DC bill, etc.), it’s almost guaranteed that you
will need much more time than that provided by any meter within walking
distance of a DC government office, agency, or building.
I wouldn’t be surprised if statistics show that the parking areas
around DC government installations are some of the most lucrative for
revenue from parking tickets. This is definitely not an example of
government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” but of
government against the people, and only one example of too many. DC
really ought to consider multilevel public parking facilities with
long-term metered spaces as is done in Montgomery County.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Department of Parks and Recreation Events,
John Stokes, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 24, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Langdon Park Community Center, 2901
20th Street, NE. K[EA] Sports Ball for ages fourteen and up.
Participants will compete for prizes in three categories and a 5 on 5
basketball tournament. An individual from each modeling company has the
option to compete for prizes. Awards such as All Tournament Team, MVP,
and coaches will be presented. The idea for the program is to enlighten
participants on the concept of team work and perseverance. With this in
mind, the models will be able to endure teamwork through sports
recreation. T-Jai Farmer, Site Manager, at 576-6595.
July 24, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Edgewood Recreation Center, 3rd and
Evarts Streets, NE. Summer Camp Cookout for ages eight to fourteen.
Sport Campers ages 8-14 will enjoy a day filled with field games to
include sack races, two legged races, kickball, basketball, dodge ball,
tee ball, food, music, and fun. For more information, call Duwayne
Glover at 576-6410.
July 25, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Riggs LaSalle Community Center, 501
Riggs Road, NE. Riggs Park Community Day for all ages. The community
will enjoy a day of fun activities, food, and music. For more
information, call Shirleta Settles at 576-5150.
Students for DC Vote to Distribute Advocacy
“Care Packages,” July 25
Jaline Quinto, email@example.com
More than one hundred students are expected to attend Students for DC
Vote’s Summer Send Off this Saturday, July 25. This annual event aims
to engage DC-area students in advocacy on their college campuses.
Students will enjoy a BBQ lunch followed by the presentation of the DC
Vote Young Activist Award, recognizing the work of area youth who have
played a significant role in the movement for voting rights. Event
attendees will receive “care packages” with essential school
supplies, snacks and toiletries, along with an advocacy toolkit with
information on DC voting rights.
DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka noted that the polling shows
that once people are educated about the issue, that more than 80 percent
support voting representation for District residents. “I came to DC
five years ago,” said Erica Spell, DC Vote Public Affairs Associate
and American University graduate student. “No one told me that I would
have to give up my voting rights. I know I’m not alone in wanting to
do my part to spread the word about this important issue to my fellow
students. Our advocacy toolkits give students what they need to educate
their friends and classmates about taxation without representation in
The Students for DC Vote Summer Send Off BBQ will be held on
Saturday, July 25, 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at Rose Park, 26th and O
Streets, NW, Dupont Circle Metro. For more information, visit: http://www.dcvote.org/students.
CLASSIFIEDS — AWARDS
Call to Artists and Writers in Ward 7 and Ward
Martha Saccocio, firstname.lastname@example.org
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with
DC Public Library, is seeking East-of-the-River artists and writers to
submit proposals for four prominent areas inside the new Benning and
Anacostia Libraries, which will open in the spring of 2010. The proposed
artwork sites provide artists and writers the opportunity to display
their work in a large-scale format in a public building.
Deadline, Friday, August 21, 5:30 p.m. Artist honorarium, $2,500. For
more information and to receive an application, contact Rachel Dickerson
724-5613 phone, 727-3148 TDD. Mail or deliver entries by August 21 at
5:30 p.m. to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities,
Attn.: Benning and Anacostia Libraries, 1371 Harvard Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20009.
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