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January 6, 2010

Bad Bills

Dear Billed:

Why are so many bad bills proposed by councilmembers and the mayor, and why are so many bad bills passed by the council? Start with the most innocent explanation: legislators think their job is to pass bills and make laws, and they approach every problem as though they can solve it by passing a law. They measure their success by the number of bills with their names on them. There’s no reward or recognition for not passing bad laws or for eliminating stupid, wrong-headed, failed, or outdated laws from the code; there’s praise only for passing new laws.

Second, and much less innocently, lawmakers’ power makes them arrogant, and their arrogance makes them dangerous. They mistake their power for wisdom, and they confuse their ability to coerce citizens to obey the laws they pass with proof of their superiority. (It’s already being misreported that the “bag tax” law is successful because many store customers are carrying cloth bags. That doesn’t make the law successful at anything except coercion.) Lawmakers in democratic societies are seldom as openly contemptuous of citizens’ opinions as DC’s city councilmembers were last year in passing the same-sex marriage law, when they spoke openly of not trusting the voters and of believing they were ethically and morally superior to the people of this city. But lawmakers frequently express that attitude more discretely.

They know best how others should live their lives, and they can pass laws to enforce their beliefs on others. They can revive prohibitionism, making it progressively more difficult and then impossible to smoke tobacco, even outdoors on the sidewalks, while at the same time taking the opening steps to legalize marijuana and make it easy to obtain. When tobacco is sufficiently suppressed, the council will take up protecting our health by regulating our diets. The opening wedge in this movement is the “Healthy Schools Act.” Jay Mathews has already criticized this bill in the Washington Post,, for requiring more physical education in schools at the expense of time spent on “reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.” Mathews describes the problem: “Sometimes it is the smartest, most concerned policymakers who do the most harm to schools. My favorite recent example is the Healthy Schools Act, a bill introduced by DC council member Mary M. Cheh and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray two weeks ago.” Mathews addresses the physical education portion of the bill, but even worse is the dietary section, which can be briefly (and only minimally unfairly) described as identifying any foods served in schools that students may actually like, and replacing them with more servings of carrot and celery sticks. It’s always easier to regulate school children than adults, but you know that if councilmembers could figure out a practical way to mandate exercise programs and diets for adults, they would.

Finally, there’s just plain greed. Government is an instrument to redistribute wealth from the politically powerless to the politically influential, and most politicians — even the “honest” politicians who don’t profit from the redistribution personally — willingly participate in making sure that their friends benefit. This shows up even in the most unlikely laws. As an example, take Councilmember Cheh’s “Wildlife Protection Act of 2009,” which I have made fun of before. How on earth could a bill that regulates the capture or extermination of household pests be in anyone’s financial interest? Well, the bill was written at the behest of and with the very active participation of the Humane Society of the United States. What could be more public spirited? Except, of course, that the Humane Society has a commercial affiliate or subsidiary, Humane Wildlife Services, that uses exactly the kind of wildlife control methods that are mandated and required by the bill, and that would be given a competitive advantage by it. The director of Humane Wildlife Services testified in favor of the bill at its committee hearing, and couldn’t resist giving a commercial for his company: “All told, I have provided over 1300 long-term guaranteed solutions to satisfied customers in the Metro area at a competitive market price without killing, orphaning, relocating animals, or otherwise impacting urban wildlife populations and disease dynamics.” The other major supporter of the bill was City Wildlife, Inc., a newly formed organization whose president said it was “currently seeking space and funding to open our wildlife rehabilitation center,” and who praised “the importance of wildlife rehabilitation as a component of this legislation.” Under Cheh’s bill, except under the most extraordinary circumstances, household pests could not be killed, but would have to be relocated to a wildlife rehabilitation center. It’s not just the stereotypical powerful developers who get legal favors and giveaways from the mayor and the council — whenever there’s an especially bad bill, look for who gets the benefits.

Gary Imhoff


On Paying More for Parking
Lisa Swanson, Petworth,

Think about overdue library book fees. The fees are a monetary incentive to return the books so someone else may read them. You can avoid the fee by returning the book at the mutually agreed time, but if you choose not to use the public library to spite it, that’s your choice, but it seems you’re missing out on a great resource (though freeing it up for others who enjoy it). You can avoid the fines by reading a little faster, but I admit that I incur and pay them occasionally, though without the indignation that they were created as an unfair imposition on my right to read.

Same with parking in public spaces. Anyone who’s looked at real estate lately knows it has value. Those spots directly in front of your house, your friend’s house, your job, your place of worship clearly have a value. The rent for those little zones has been pretty cheap, and now it’s going up a little. Low-income people, tightwads, and those who value their time, are already choosing not to drive into the most congested areas of the world thinking they’ll find a parking spot just waiting for their arrival so we may suffer the impact a little less.

I’m familiar with the law of unintended consequences, but ironically, the solution proposed by many — to take their business to the suburbs, or Petworth, or Hillcrest for that matter — is a solution to the problem. If a good percentage of car trips to the most congested areas are avoided because of the increased cost of parking that car, meter turnover will be enhanced, and pedestrians and bikers will have a nicer time of it.


DC Sues AT & T
Farley Grainger,

The Tuesday, January 5, the Washington Post reported that DC has sued AT&T. The headline reads: “District sues AT&T over unused portions of prepaid cards,” The article says: “The District of Columbia is suing telecommunications giant AT&T to redeem the unused balances on prepaid calling cards — a lawsuit that could generate funds for the city and trigger legal claims in other jurisdictions and against other companies that sell prepaid calling cards.”

The article explains that the DC government lawsuit follows an unsuccessful local private suit seeking return of money to the District using the same theory, and that the private suit was dismissed on appeal. However, there seems to be some question about the fate of the private suit. A 2009 Court of Appeals decision suggests that the private suit is proceeding, so the District’s suit may be riding on its coattails. See

A reader of the 2009 Court of Appeals opinion might conclude that private plaintiff, Alan Grayson, prevailed in the appellate court and that his suit against AT&T concerning prepaid cards may go forward: “However, we [the Court] conclude that dismissal of Mr. Grayson’s CPPA claim [seeking return of money to the District] was improper, and therefore, we remand that claim to the trial court for further proceedings.” If Mr. Grayson’s case was allowed to proceed, it is puzzling that the Post reported that Attorney General “Nickles said he was inspired to sue AT&T by an unsuccessful lawsuit brought by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) against AT&T, MCIWorld Communications, Sprint and Verizon Communications.” Also, it would be inaccurate to say, as the Post article says, that the Court of Appeals has dismissed Mr. Grayson’s claim seeking return of money to the District. Perhaps the Post’s reporters will look further at the Grayson litigation and explain whether it is allowed to go forward, and whether it and the new DC litigation are riding the same tracks.


What Has the WTU Done for RIF’ed Teachers Lately?
Candi Peterson,

I have received E-mails and calls, too numerous to mention, about a recent union mailing citing all that the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) under the helm of George Parker has done for teachers lately. While I have not yet received this mailing, it troubles me to hear that our union members who are in need of the most support somehow always get left hanging. Recently, I heard from laid-off DCPS colleagues who have said in so many words that they are up to here with Parker’s public relations campaign of lies, distortions, and half-truths. Today Crystal Proctor, laid-off DC social studies teacher, reported that she initiated an E-mail to Mr. Parker about her concerns about the WTU’s false claims of support to DC’s RIF’ed teachers. Sheila Gill, WTU Executive Board member and laid-off school counselor, supports Proctor’s E-mail and has written an E-mail to advise other laid-off teachers to write President Parker challenging his false claims of support. Willie Brewer, WTU Executive Board member and now RIF’ed teacher, has signed on to Proctor’s E-mail as well. They say they are disgusted and enough is enough. This fighting trio for RIF’ed teachers and school staff are demanding answers from the Washington Teachers’ Union. My only hope is that they can finally get an answer from our union president to their legitimate concerns.

Here’s what Proctor’s January 6 E-mail requests: “Dear George: There was a recent mailing sent out to teacher union members that outlined all that you have done for wrongfully terminated teachers. In this mailing you give an inaccurate impression that you are helping teachers who have been unfairly laid off in November 2009. We are troubled that we have not received a phone call or any correspondence from the Washington Teachers’ Union in weeks. In your recent mailing, you indicate that there is a full time WTU staff person assigned to assist laid-off teachers. We would like to be made aware of the name of the WTU staff person assigned to laid off teachers because we have not been provided this information, to date. Additionally, what will the assigned staff person’s responsibilities include?

“Secondly, we would like to be apprised of what type of legal assistance will be provided to laid-off teachers with their Office of Employee Appeals hearings? At our last meeting with RIF’ed teachers, you indicated that our union did not have the money to provide legal assistance for our appeals. While we know that Johnnie Landon gave legal advice to laid-off teachers, it was concerning that he admitted that he is not a member of the DC bar. We can only hope that this meeting with him would not substitute for legal services. If there are types of legal assistance that the Washington Teachers’ Union is willing provide, then please provide that information to us in a timely manner. To date, a number of teachers who have been laid off have received their responses from DCPS regarding their Office of Employee Appeals and are in the process of preparing for their hearings. We desperately are in need of financial assistance to pay for legal services to handle our Office of Employee Appeals hearings.”


Peebles’ Mayoral Bid Never a Serious Threat
Mary C. Williams,

I now wish that I had taken up my “Anybody But Fenty” colleagues who wanted to wager a dinner on the viability of R. Donahue Peebles’ candidacy in DC’s mayoral race. I was alone in trying to convince the more rabid ABFers that they had really picked the wrong horse this time. Even though I predicted last month that Peebles couldn’t withstand the intense scrutiny of the media once he made it official, I never figured that he would have to quit even before the first investigative story hit the Washington newspapers. I’m still surprised that none of the mainstream media, until today, even mentioned his background other than to say he was a “successful developer,” or checked out the Miami Herald’s business section to verify whether Peebles’ business reputation was as “successful” as reported.

Despite Peebles’ bragging about putting up millions of his own money, I never bought into his being a serious challenger for a number of reasons. First, and most obvious, he has never held an elected position. The real estate market in South Florida is a lot different from running a city government, particularly DC’s. Still, there are few successful “real estate developers” in South Florida or anywhere in the US who have $8 million to gamble these days on a very iffy political race. And, given that a Miami Court recently foreclosed on Peebles’ former Royal Palm Hotel on South Beach, and the developers who bought the hotel in 2005 failed to convert it into condos as planned, I didn’t think that Peebles was in any position to put the so-called money where his mouth is — that is, if there is any money left. If he does have a bit stashed away, I’m sure that the hotel’s lender would like to know whether any of its money might have been diverted into Peebles’ personal bank account. I’m just saying, if I had $8 million to spend, and my signature investment was about to collapse after only a few years, I think I would use this money to save it rather than walk away from it. But that’s just me.

Peebles’ decision to enter the political scene in DC was suspect from the start, and certainly not altruistic. His big announcement coincided with the Miami Court’s ruling on the hotel’s foreclosure and a well-publicized federal investigation of the developers who bought the hotel. You can’t blame Peebles for wanting to leave South Florida ‘s hot climate right now. He needs a soft place to land. My only advice to the many gullible ABFers in search of their next knight in shining armor: Check out the shiny suit before you latch on to him or her. You really want to know whether the suit is tarnished or damaged before the vote.


Everything You Need to Know about the District’s Bag Fee
Alan Heymann, District Department of the Environment,

Your unidentified reader asks some excellent questions, many of which have been answered extensively in recent weeks in news outlets such as USA Today, The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, ABC News, NBC 4, Fox 5, ABC 7, WUSA-TV, DCist and Greater Greater Washington. DDOE mailed cash register decals to all affected businesses in December. These decals identify a web site,, which also contains many questions and answers about the bag fee.

The legislation, which passed the council unanimously in June and which Mayor Fenty signed in July, creates a dedicated fund to receive the bag fees. The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund will be administered by DDOE, and will begin receiving funds in the spring. The legislation has several stated purposes for the money, including physical cleanup of the river; public education about litter; and distribution of reusable bags to low-income residents and seniors. District residents can also make voluntary contributions to the Fund on their 2009 D-40 or D-40EZ individual income tax returns.

Restaurants that have seating are exempt from the fee on paper bags. The customer of a drive-through window, if that window is attached to a restaurant that has seating, would not be charged for a paper bag to hold a sandwich, fries or anything else. Liquor stores were not required to bag alcohol purchases prior to January 1; this does not change under the new bag law. For more information, including an FAQ and the legislation that created the bag fee, please visit


Plastic Bags
Martin Austermuhle,

The majority of the questions anyone could have on the new five-cent fee on plastic bags are answered by the District Department of Environment here:,a,1248,q,463137,PM,1.asp. Once you read through the purpose and scope of the program, I think it proves itself to be necessary and reasonable. Nothing in this world is free or without consequence, and as DDOE has shown, those “free” plastic bags we were all so used to had a very real effect on the health of the Anacostia River. If we ever want to see the river cleaned up, we have to start somewhere, and starting with the very bags that pollute the river is a logical first step. Yes, the new fee will take some adjusting to, but given the advertising the city did leading into its implementation and the fact that virtually every major grocery store was giving reusable bags away this week, it’s hard to argue that this is a challenge we can’t overcome or adjust to.

If anyone who reads themail really can’t afford a reusable bag of their own, E-mail me and I’ll happily turn a few over. (I’m sure your neighbors would too. Just ask.) If you can afford them but don’t have any, finding them isn’t hard. Alternatively, think of the five cents you’ll pay for the plastic bags as a donation for a greater cause — in this case, a cleaner and healthier Anacostia River.

As for Mr. Levine, well, it’s his choice to spend gas money or Metro fare to go to Maryland to do his shopping. But something tells me that the cost of either will far exceed the five cents he would pay for plastic bags in the District and the consequent benefit that could have for the Anacostia’s cleanup fund. (Many places actually provide a five-cent credit for bringing your own reusable bags, so he’d also be losing out on some savings.) Additionally, those “free” plastic bags from Maryland will still come back with him into the District, and unless properly disposed of, could well end up in the Anacostia River.

Giant is distributing 250,000 free reusable bags, and the District is working with CVS to distribute another 112,000. Harris Teeter is giving each customer that uses a promotional VIC card and spends $20 a free reusable bag, and Safeway is likely to get in on the action also. All told, that’s a lot of free reusable bags out there for the taking. And if that’s not to your liking, pay the five cents per plastic bag and just reuse those.


Nickel Shopping Bags
Gabe Fineman,

I think that the nickel shopping bags are a great idea. One of the most important things it will do is to cut down on the needless double bagging that is all too common. It will, in the long run, cut down on costs that may (yes, may) be passed on to the shopper.

Many questions are answered at the city FAQ at This makes clear that the paper bag you get at a drive through window is still free. In fact, restaurants with seating are all free to give away paper bags. It also says that the liquor store has to use recyclable bags instead of the cheaper black ones they used before so if you do not have your own bag, you will just have to pay the nickel extra.

There are many ways to respond to this change and I have to applaud Giant Foods. At my Giant at Van Ness, they were bagging everything in free cloth bags (usually $1.00 each) instead of plastic bags during the first week of January so that everyone had enough for their weekly shopping. Giant expects to give away 250,000 bags. (, far exceeding the 10,000 or so from Safeway (


The Disposable Bag Fee
Robert D. Ebel,

The legislation to impose a fee for the use of disposable shopping bags (Wells, Ward 6) was very thoughtfully considered and backed by a serious amount of study, review, and discussion. It is a very good piece of legislation (and, by the way, not unique to DC). The questions raised in the January 3 issue of themail are all addressed in the legislation — so it is worth reading that before reacting that this is a “stupid” idea. In addition, one can learn much about the legislative content and impacts by reading the Fiscal Impact Statement that was prepared by the OCFO/ORA. As with all Fiscal Impact Statements, this one may be found on the Office of the Chief Financial Officer web site.


Bag Tax
Trudy Reeves,

I think the bag tax is an excellent idea. There are bag taxes in several European and American cities that have helped to clean up the waterways, parks, and streets. I have talked to people who live in communities with a bag tax and they say it works. It will work if people give it a chance. In reading the legislation it appears to me that the tax does not apply to carryout food. Before making wild claims as your reader did, I suggest you do just a little research — it would help reduce some of the negativity of this column. The bill can be found at It is L18-0055. Also if you drive, can’t you keep some reusable bags in your car and a small trash bag for trash? I do not have a car, but I carry with me a small reusable bag that folds into a 1" x 3" cloth pouch. I really do not see the problem here. Free reusable bags are being given out by most grocery stores in the city. We certainly are the country of people who do not want to be inconvenienced, even if it is for the greater good of our generation and generations to come. How selfish.

Here is part of the legislation: “‘Disposable carryout bag’ means a bag of any material, commonly plastic or kraft paper, which is provided to a consumer at the point of sale to carry purchases. ‘Disposable carryout bag” does not include: bags used by consumers inside stores to package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items, such as nails and bolts; bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, whether prepackaged or not, flowers or potted plants, or other items where dampness may be a problem; bags used to protect prepared foods or bakery goods; bags provided by pharmacists to contain prescription drugs; or newspaper bags, door-hanger bags, laundry-dry cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags.”


What Kind of Bags?
Denise Wiktor,

I would add another question: can a retailer choose to use a corn-based or cellulose-based bag and still be subjected to the tax? It seems the tax applies to paper and plastic, but what about the third option?

[Denise’s question is a good one, but it is answered by the excerpt from the bill that Trudy Reeves quotes in the message above hers. The bill does not distinguish among the materials that bags can be made of. This gives the lie to the claim that the aim of the bill is to reduce trash in the Anacostia River. If that were the aim, mandating that disposable carryout bags be made of biodegradable materials would have served the same purpose without imposing additional inconvenience or cost on customers. In fact, if the bill is read strictly as it is written, the cloth bags that businesses are giving away at the beginning of the program should also be taxed. The cloth bags are reusable, but so are plastic and paper bags. And the flimsy cloth bags that are being distributed now will last only a few months under heavy use, so they’re disposable, too. Since all the messages to themail about the bag bill in this issue support it, here are three articles that are skeptical: Jillian Melchior, “DC’s Boggling Bag Tax,”; Katherine Mangu-Ward, “DC Taxes Plastic Bags, Annoying Shoppers and Ending American Beauty Scourge,”; and Jonetta Rose Barras, “Bagging the Bag,” —Gary Imhoff]


Homicides and Other Violent Crimes in DC
Ron Linton,

Without debating the effectiveness of the Metropolitan Police Department in achieving crime reduction in DC, I would argue that there are a number of actions that police can take that could reduce crime. Among these are 1) better understanding of the demographics and cultures in the policing area, 2) increased intelligence gathering and analysis capability, 3) intensified training in observation and recording conditional changes in the policed area, 4) greater incentives in retaining experienced and mature officers, 5) faster response times and better definition of crime areas, 6) improved closure rates, 7) improved prosecutorial capacity and effectiveness, and 8) more efficient judicial processing. I believe Chief Lanier has addressed a number of these areas. Certainly a 75 per cent closure rate for homicides is a remarkable improvement and has to count for something in reducing homicides.

But significant crime reduction will not be realized until the greater community can break the cycle of generational crime inheritance by enticing six and seven year olds into socially rewarding life paths. Trying to change anti social habits of teenagers is laudable but not a very productive way to reduce crime.



National Building Museum Events, January 8, 10
Johanna Weber,

January 8, 6:30–8:30 p.m., CityVision Final Presentation. Come hear the middle school students of Browne Education Campus and Columbia Heights Education Campus present their innovative design ideas for a new White House visitors’ center, developed in collaboration with the National Capital Planning Commission. Free. Refreshments will be served following presentations.

January 10, 9:00-11:00 a.m., A Day of Flying in the Great Hall: Model Airplane Workshop. Construct your own rubber-band-propelled model airplane with the DC Maxecuters, then try a test flight in the Great Hall. Cost per plane: $8 members; $14 non-members. Prepaid registration required. Ages eight and up and Webelos Cub Scouts.

January 10, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Flying in the Great Hall. Watch as the DC Maxecuters fly their model airplanes in and across the Great Hall! Free. Drop-in demonstration program. All ages. All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for events at


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, January 8-10
John Stokes,

January 8-9, 6:00-9:00 p.m., 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Southeast Tennis and Learning Center’s Annual “I Have A Dream” In-House Tennis Tournament, 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE. For ages six through seventeen. The Southeast Tennis and Learning Center will have its annual “I Have A Dream” In-House Tennis Tournament. This tournament is our first tournament of the school year to help establish a challenge ladder for the youth enrolled in the after-school program. For more information, call Keely S. Alexander at 645 -6242.

January 9, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kenilworth-Parkside Recreation Center, 4300 Anacostia Avenue, NE. Saturday volunteers for all ages. Volunteers will build a vegetable garden plot; construct a border and fill with planting medium to prepare for the upcoming season and clean up the park area. For more information, call Kelly Melsted, Environmental Education Specialist, at 258-5337.

January 9, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE. Winter Season National Junior Tennis League for ages seven through thirteen. Juniors that participate in the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center After-School Program have been selected to compete on the NJTL (National Junior Tennis League). The three teams competing are the 10 and under Division, 12 and Under Division, and the 14 and Under Division. They will play other NJTL teams in the area. For more information, call Yvonne Ruffin at 645-6242.

January 10, 4:15 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Raymond Recreation Center, 915 Spring Road NW. MLK Jr., discussion for ages six through twelve. Participants will discuss Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., accomplishments. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Ellsworth Hart at 576-6856.

January 10, 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., La Fontaine Bleu, 7514 S. Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, Maryland. Youth Sports Award Banquet for all ages. Youths will be honored at the banquet. For more information, call Sonny Hicks at 645-3959.

January 10, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., PG Sports & Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Road Landover, Maryland. All Comers Track Meet for all ages. Participants in the All Comers Track Meet will compete in track and field events. For more information, call Edgar Sams at 425-2859.


Dupont Circle Citizens Association, January 11
Robin Diener,

You’re invited to a festive evening to celebrate your New Year’s resolutions. Join us for prosecco, light fare, and music. Toast your resolutions on Monday, January 11, 7:30-10:00 p.m., at Darlington House, 1620 20th Street, NW.


DCSBOE Public Meetings, January 11, 13
Beverley Wheeler,

The DC State Board of Education (DCSBOE) and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will host a second community forum seeking input on the District’s application process for Race to the Top funds. Race to the Top (RTTT) Fund provides competitive grants to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform. The community forum will be held on Monday, January 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Charles Sumner School. The historic Sumner school is located downtown at the Northeast corner of 17th and M Streets, NW, conveniently located near the Farragut North Metro station on the Red Line.

The application requires states to document their past success and outline their plans to extend their reforms by using college- and career-ready standards and assessments, building a workforce of highly effective educators, creating educational data systems to support student achievement, and turning around their lowest-performing schools.

The DC State Board of Education will hold a public hearing on January 13 at 6:00 p.m. on the English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards. Please see the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) presentation to the DCSBOE,, and the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium web site,, for more information.

The public hearing will be held at 441 4th Street, NW, in the District of Columbia State Board of Education Chambers, located on the lobby level of the building. Constituents who wish to comment at the hearings are required to notify the State Board of Education in advance by contacting the Executive Director, Beverley Wheeler, by phone at 741-0884 or by E-mail at twenty- four hours before the scheduled meeting time. Please provide one electronic copy and bring fifteen copies to the hearing for the State Board members to view. The hearings will air live on District Knowledge Network (DKN) Comcast Channel 99 and RCN Channel 18.


Environmental Health Group (EHG) Events, January 12
Allen Hengst,

World War I munitions, bottles filled with chemical warfare agents and contaminated soil have been found in and around the Spring Valley neighborhood of northwest DC. The Environmental Health Group (EHG) seeks to raise awareness of the issues and encourage a thorough investigation and cleanup. Every Saturday at 1:00 p.m., please join the Environmental Health Group for an informal discussion about Spring Valley issues. In the cafe at the Tenleytown Whole Foods Market, 4530 40th Street, NW (one block north of Tenley Circle). For more information, visit the EHG on Facebook at:

On Tuesday, January 12, at 7:00 p.m., there will be the monthly meeting of the Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board with the US Army Corps of Engineers. USACE is in the process of investigating and cleaning up contamination in Spring Valley resulting from operations during the World War I era. The EPA will present a special overview of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process as it relates to Spring Valley at the meeting. At Saint David’s Church basement, 5150 Macomb Street, NW (one block north of MacArthur Boulevard)


Industry Gallery Opens Saturday, January 16
Nord Wennerstrom,

Industry Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, opening Saturday, January 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m., will feature the first solo US exhibition by Jerusalem-born artist Shlomo Harush. “Round the corner” will feature twenty unique, hand crafted stainless steel and aluminum works that examine different sculptural aspects of conventional seating units. Harush will arrange the work in an urban tableau within the gallery’s 4,300 square feet of industrial space.

Harush conceives and manufactures each of his pieces himself. His career is noted for his exploration of the physical properties of the material he manipulates, the role and perception of volume, differing ideas and expectations about function and design, and his frequent juxtaposition of probing theoretical intent with whimsy. Harush, born and raised in Jerusalem, studied photography and Middle Eastern history. He moved to Milan in 1990 and began creating sculptural works in aluminum and stainless steel. Since 1997, he has divided his time between Milan and Brooklyn. His work is included in numerous private collections and was featured in the print advertising campaign for Dolce and Gabbana’s Winter 2007-2008 women’s collection. “Harush’s work, which weds the physicality of industrial materials with intriguing and innovative design, was chosen for the gallery’s inaugural exhibition because it well represents exciting trends in 21st century design,” said Industry Gallery owner Craig Appelbaum.

The opening of “Round the corner” coincides with neighboring gallery Conner Contemporary’s opening of Jeremy Kost: Anyone Other Than Me . . ., Taylor Baldwin: Living Fossil, and Matthew Sutton: Sounds a Grown Man Should Not Make. Industry Gallery (,  based in the Atlas/H Street Historic District of Washington, DC, specializes in 21st century design. The gallery will regularly hold single artist exhibitions representing a broad spectrum of design trends by international artists who create functional art from industrial materials. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and by appointment.


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