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October 25, 2009

One Question

Dear Questioners:

I have a question. Here’s an incomplete list of some of the latest scandals from the Fenty administration. The schools chancellor deliberately breaks a union contract by hiring hundreds of unnecessary teachers, so that she can fire hundreds of teachers. The DC Housing Authority breaks the law by giving out over $80 million in construction contracts for the Department of Parks and Recreation, almost all of them to Fenty’s cronies, without submitting them to the DC council for approval. When the Attorney General admits these contracts were let illegally, he submits them to the council along with the threat that they had better approve them, or else. When the DC council disapproves the nomination of the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation because she broke two laws in illegally firing hundreds of child care workers and privatizing their jobs, the Attorney General smears the council with charges of racism, and then the administration illegally keeps the director in her job, merely by changing her title from “acting” to “interim” director — and the Attorney General taunts the council by claiming that in his reading of the law the administration has the right to do it, and dares them to try to do something about it. The Attorney General refuses to allow the DC Auditor to see the books and financial records of the National Capital Revitalization Corporation and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, and defies a court order to provide them. The administration refuses to provide administration witnesses and pertinent government documents over a wide range of issues for many council hearings unless they are subpoenaed.

In the past three years, the Fenty administration has compiled a record of corruption and outright contempt for the law and the other branches of government that makes the second and third Barry administrations look like paragons of uprightness by comparison. Yet some of the same people who derided Barry and said they could not understand how people could continue to vote for a mayor who was making DC a laughingstock of the nation still support Fenty and declare their admiration for the way he governs.

Here’s my question: why?

Gary Imhoff


Join DC Teachers and Others Fighting to Save Our Jobs
Candi Peterson,

Three hundred eighty-eight (388) affected DCPS teachers and other employees will no longer be employees of DCPS as of November 2. Unbeknownst to teachers, the legal filings of their representative, the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU), did not request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO ). WTU President George Parker reported that a preliminary injunction hearing has been scheduled on November 5 at our most recent October 22 WTU executive board meeting. The purpose of seeking legal representation is to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order against the reduction in force. The WTU’s court case filed promises a hearing after the affected teachers’ date of termination. This strategy ensures one fact: teachers and other DCPS employees will be fired effective November 2, and will be fighting to get their jobs back. Some legal experts consider “fighting from the bottom” a disadvantage in this type of case, as courts often are more reluctant to reinstate individuals than to provide them legal relief if they are still in their positions.

Nathan Saunders, WTU General Vice President; Candi Peterson, WTU Board of Trustee and blogger in residence at The Washington Teacher; as well as rank and file union members make no statements concerning the WTU’s actions other than the facts herein. Arrangements were made for approximately sixty affected teachers and other affected employees to have an exhaustive meeting with Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A. to discuss legal options this past week. Pursuing this remedy as a group helps to defray cost-prohibitive legal costs for all involved. This option to seek a temporary restraining order has been extended to all laid off DCPS school employees regardless of their union affiliation. If interested in obtaining additional information about the TRO, you should E-mail me as soon as possible in care of with your name and telephone contact number.


Rhee’s Efforts Will Miss the Mark Unless Teachers Are Part of the Process
Mai Abdul Rahman,

Deliberative reform can improve school outcomes, but as long as Chancellor Michelle Rhee continues to assume that she does not need to engage DCPS teacher in the process, her efforts will fail to bring to bear the support she needs in the classroom, where teachers are the implementers of her vision. By definition, school reform involves systemic change that shocks the entire school system and impacts the nature, climate, and culture of the overall system. So it is understandable that her reform efforts may generate some challenge, but the options she has implemented so far are counterproductive and disaffect the most important segment of her school reform efforts. A core requirement for successful school reform to occur requires the collaboration and cooperation of schoolteachers who are the main drivers of school reform plans. To succeed, Rhee needs DCPS teacher’s collaboration, commitment, and most of all their trust. Above all, successful transformative change is guided and not controlled and must be built from within each school by teachers and staff, where teachers assume the more significant role.

So far Rhee appears to have overlooked the fact that change is a time consuming unpredictable process, which is articulated within each school differently. To make certain Rhee’s vision is well understood, it is necessary for her to engage her teachers as partners. Also, for meaningful constructive change to take hold in DCPS, teachers must trust Rhee’s intentions, which so far she has failed to gain. As Rhee moves forward, she must readjust her management practices and rethink her strategy to ensure the buy-in and collaboration of the same teachers she has alienated. She must reconsider her approach, since her reform plans rest on DCPS teachers who will lead and articulate her vision in the classroom. Otherwise she will end up with a hyper complicated disruptive school improvement plan much like the countless failed school district reform efforts that litter California, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, and Florida, to name a few.

School reform plan success is determined by how school leaders go about executing school reform as well as the choices they make with serious consideration of the implication of every option they implement. If Rhee does not gain the collaboration of her teachers, her reform may provide slight test improvements, but will not provide our schools the long-term meaningful transformative educational reform we all desire.


The Barras Report
Jonetta Rose Barras,

Was the DC council totally ignorant of the contracts to Friends of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty issued by the DC Housing Authority? Maybe not, according to one reporter and sources familiar with internal workings of the Department of Parks and Recreation. Meanwhile the mayor flipped the legislature the bird — metaphorically speaking — with the reappointment of Ximena Hartsock as interim director of the DPR; Elaine McConnell, cofounder of Accotink, a Springfield, Virginia, therapeutic day school attended by more than one hundred fifty District students courtesy of city taxpayers, confirmed, through her attorney, that her two sons are on the payroll; at least one John A. Wilson source compares the appointment of Councilman Michael Brown to head the subcommittee overseeing the taxicab commission to Bernie Madoff leading the SEC; and a cochairman of the campaign committee for Clark E. Ray tries to slap around TBR.

Read it all in this week’s The Barras Report., and don’t forget to listen to DC Politics with Jonetta, Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. on WPFR (89.3 FM).


Nominate a Community Member Who Is Making History
Ingrid Drake,

As MOMIE’s TLC (Mentors of Minorities in Education’s Total Learning Cis-Tem, gears up for its 2010 gala to celebrate the opening of the Children’s Gallery of Black History, we are seeking nominations of individuals who have made tremendous contributions to our cultural, social, economic, and political life in the Washington, DC, metro area.

We are looking to make three awards to people (or organizations) who honor the spirit of the change makers featured in MOMIE’s Children’s 2010 Calendar of Black History — Abe Lincoln; environmental justice leader Majora Carter; abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Polish social worker who saved thousands of Jewish children during WWII, Irena Sendler; Iraqi American writer, activist, and social entrepreneur Zainab Salbi; the imprisoned democratically elected leader of Burma Aung Sun Suu Kyi; Rwandan who has been internationally honored for saving 1268 refugees Paul Rusesabagina; 18th-dynasty female ruler in ancient Egypt Hatshepsut; former President Jimmy Carter; Mohawk Native American activist Richard Oakes, humanitarian star baseball player Roberto Clemente; and scholar activist Angela Davis.

Please send your nominations (including an explanation of why this person deserves the award and which change maker award they qualify for) to by November 23. You can send up to three nominations. The nominee can be any of age or background. We appreciate your participation and all you do to make history!


Wildlife Bill
Si Kailian,

Obviously Councilmember Cheh has never had raccoons making sweet sweet love in her ceiling all night long. I have, and boy they can scream.

Standard practice for small mammals in the wall is already trap and release; this unnecessary legislation is a complete waste of time. Councilmember Cheh is so competent, I would much rather she focus her considerable skills and energy on more important things.


Too Many Words for Too Little Opinion
Martin Andres Austermuhle,

It took K. West [themail, October 21] 1375 words to repeat an opinion we’ve heard from her plenty of times already -- she demands a referendum on marriage equality and claims that there is a silent majority out there willing to punish any local elected official that doesn’t back one. Instead of constantly telling us of this silent majority, I encourage K. West to go out and organize it. If she really think that an alliance of labor, parents, business leaders, educators and traditional marriage advocates will come together an upend the city’s political establishment, her time might be better be spent pulling it together than constantly warning us of the alleged mass of District residents who are simply fuming that they haven’t been given a chance to vote on whether a gay couple can commit themselves to each other for life through a valid legal contract.

Also, she seems to like Marie Johns a lot. Has she asked Ms. Johns what her position on marriage equality is? She might be surprised. And Vincent Orange as a possible House delegate? C’mon.



DCBOEE to Hold a Public Hearing on the “Marriage Initiative of 2009,” October 26
Bill O’Field,

The DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) announced on September 18 in the District of Columbia Register that a special meeting of the DCBOEE will be held tomorrow, October 26, for the purpose of conducting a public hearing to determine whether the “Marriage Initiative of 2009” is the proper subject matter for an initiative. The special meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Old Council Chamber in the One Judiciary Square building at 441 Fourth Street, NW.

You can read the short title, summary statement, and legislative text of the proposed initiative on my blog at


Art Salon at the Corcoran, October 29
Lisa Alfred,

Experience Art Salon with four of DC’s contemporary visual artists as they react to and interact with the Corcoran Museum’s two current exhibitions. This juxtaposition of the old and new will evoke thought and conversation. Art Salon is modeled after the Paris salons of the late 19th century to inspire and provoke the minds of the creative community. Each month, we gather at a different location. This month, we invite you to converge at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street, NW, on Thursday, October 29, at 6:30-9:00 p.m.

View the Corcoran Museum’s current exhibitions, Sargent and the Sea as well as Edward Burtynsky: Oil, and see “Recycled Meaning: Oil and Water,” from local artists Brandon Hill, Aniekan Udofia, Tim Conlon, and Chanel Compton, with music by Maureen Andary and Kev. O. Curated by Peter Chang and Shyree Mezick.


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, October 30
John Stokes,

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Fort Davis Recreation Center, 1400 41st Street, SE. Haunted House of Doom for ages six through thirteen. Children will walk through a scary maze of ghost and goblins; afterwards they will be given a candy bag, a hot dog, and chips. For more information, call Elijah Fagan at 645-9212.

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Ferebee Recreation Center, 3999 8th Street, SE. Halloween Party for ages five through fifteen. We will have our parade of ghouls and goblins, witches, ghosts and more. We will have refreshments then pass out candy bags to those aged five through fifteen. For more information, call Gregory Poag, Site Manager, at 645-3917.

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Brentwood Recreation Center, 2311 14th Street, NE. Haunted House for ages five through fifteen. Participants will have an opportunity to enter the haunted house and receive light refreshments and of course candy. For more information, call Lorenzo Carter, Site Manager, at 516-6667.

October 30, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Trinidad Recreation Center, 1310 Childress Street, NE, Halloween Party for ages six through thirteen. Youth will have fun playing games, costume parade and contest, enjoying refreshments and ending with a bag of candy. For more information, call Anthony Higginbotham, Site Manager, at 727-1293.

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Joe Cole Recreation Center, 1200 Morse Street, NE. Halloween Party for ages twelve and under. We will have hot dogs, chips, and juices. The kids will also be able to skate. For more information, call Andre Pressey, Site Manager, at 724-4876.

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th Street, NW. Halloween Flashlight Hunt for ages twelve and under. Youth will be able to show off their costumes as they parade around the recreation center. They will also be able to compete for prizes while playing outdoor Halloween games. Don’t forget to bring your flashlight! As the event ends, youth will search for treats on the baseball field with their flashlight. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call Pamela Pugh, Site Manager, at 671-4794.

October 30, 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th Street, NE. Halloween Carnival for ages five through twelve. Participants will engage in carnival style activities and enjoy light refreshments. For more information, call Stephanie Foster at 698-3075.

October 30, 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m., Friendship Recreation Center, 4500 Van Ness Street, NW. Halloween Festival for ages two through ten. The community is welcomed to participate in the Halloween Egg Hunt. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Enrique Leiva at 282-2198.

October 30, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Kalorama Recreation Center, 1875 Columbia Road, NW. Halloween Celebration for ages thirteen and under. We will have a parade of costumes, prizes; treat bags, light refreshments and fun for all. For more information, call John Borges, Site Manager, at 673-7606.

October 30, 5:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Arboretum Recreation Center, 2412 Rand Place, NE. Halloween Party for ages five and up. There will be a Halloween party and costume contest for the community. For more information, call Donald Perritt or Jean Mason at 727-5547.

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., North Michigan Park Recreation Center, 1333 Emerson Street, NE. Halloween Haunted House for ages seven through thirteen. Youth throughout the city will enjoy a variety of games, contest, and prizes as well be treated to a haunted house exhibit along with light refreshments. For more information, call Joe Clark, Site Manager, at 541-3522.

October 30, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Stead Recreation Center, 1625 Street, NW. Haunted House for ages thirteen and under. Participants will walk through the hunter recreation center and receive treats at end. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes. Prize given to the best costume. For more information, call Jacquay Plummer, Recreation Specialist, at 673-4465.

October 30, 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Watts Branch Recreation Center, 6201 Banks Street, NE. Halloween Party for ages six through fifteen. The staff at Watts Branch Recreation will host a Halloween Party. Come out and enjoy the fun and music. For more information, call Libby Morris at 727-5432.

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet Street, SW. Halloween Haunted House Party for ages twelve and under. Games, dancing, prizes, and food. For more information, call Margie Robinson, Site Manager, at 645-3960.

October 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Fort Stanton Recreation Center, 1812 Erie Street, SE. Halloween Party for ages twelve and under. Youth will play games and snack on light refreshments. For more information, call Valerie Arnold, Site Manager, at 645-3970.

October 30, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Congress Heights Recreation Center, 100 Randle Place, SE. Halloween Dance for ages six through twelve. Activities will include music, food, dancing and assortment of fun games. For more information, call Thomas Bolden, Site Manager, at 645-3981.

October 30, 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Benning Park Recreation Center, 53rd and Fitch Streets, SE. Halloween Haunted House and Fashion Show for all ages. Come out for a fun filled night at Benning Park Recreation Center. The evening will start with a Haunted House and dance followed by a fashion show. For more information, call Woody Ward at 645-3957.

October 30, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW. Guy Mason Haunted House for ages three through twelve. Come out and enjoy a fun filled day with several football games followed by a jammin’ Halloween Party with a DJ, food, and lots of fun. For more information, call Cleveland Dent, Recreation Services, 282-2180.


Community Mini-Walk in Support of Charlie’s Place, November 1
Robin Diener,

There will be a community mini-walk as part of the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon program on Sunday, November 1, beginning at 1:00 p.m., at the corner of 20th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Registration is $25 or $15 for those under 25, or we can pair you with a sponsor. This event is designed for those who are unable to do the 5K Fannie Mae Walkathon on November 21. We walk from the Farm Market to Charlie’s Place (St. Margaret’s Church), where we have light refreshments and a brief presentation about the current work of Charlie’s Place, our neighborhood breakfast program, and link to social, legal, and health services for the homeless in our area.

We need your help. Last year Charlie’s Place missed out on a $5000 Fannie Mae bonus because Charlie’s Place was a few walkers short of its target number. Sadly, our Mini-Walk had enough donations to sponsor fifteen more walkers than turned out. So, you see, we need your feet, whether you can contribute a registration fee or not. Tell your friends. Bring them along, if you can. Register at the Farm Market near the 20th Street and Massachusetts Avenue corner between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on November 1. Donations of any size are gratefully accepted and are tax deductible. In 2008 we doubled out 2007 result. To do that again, we need seventy walkers. We need you. Please join with us to help the neediest of our neighbors. You’ll do a good deed, and you will have fun.

Questions or offers of help? Contact Susan Dunn, or 387-2467, or Tom Goss, or 232-2995.


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