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February 17, 2010

Full Removal

Dear Snow Experts:

Ronni Glaser’s message in the last issue of themail comparing snow removal facilities in Chicago and DC has stirred some healthy debate in this issue. What do you know about snow removal abilities of other cities? Comparisons are going to be difficult for all the reasons listed in the messages below. How do you compare snow fleet sizes directly when cities have different sized trucks; owned, rented, and leased fleets; and different access to state and federal government assistance? But, unlike Martin Austermuhle, below, who believes that the city council hearings will lead to answers about snow removal efforts this year, I don’t think the answers will come from the administration or the council. We already know their answer: spend a lot more money or be satisfied with the service you received. If we want a better plan, with better coordination of equipment and personnel, more efficient street clearance, and less managerial confusion, we’re going to have to come up with the ideas ourselves.


Bill Turque gives notice of two rare public meetings by the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization, Alan Lew’s school construction and renovation operation, on February 20 and February 24, As Turque notes, it’s an agency that “has taken some hits in the past for lack of responsiveness and transparency.”


A warning for sensitive readers: there are more expletives in this issue of themail than ever before, with one message that seems especially designed to get the issue banned by corporate and organizational censorship programs. Therefore, I’ve precensored the E-mail version of this issue myself. The asterisked words that you’ll see in the E-mail version are restored to full offensiveness in the web-based version.

Gary Imhoff


Council Contracts and Earmarks
Dorothy Brizill,

Attorneys Robert S. Bennett and Amy R. Sabrin have completed their seven-month investigation as Special Counsel to the city council ( At yesterday’s meeting of the council’s Committee of the Whole, they submitted a report on their investigation of personal services contracts and earmarked grants by the council. The report finds that Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry violated District laws and regulations regarding conflict of interest, ethical standards of conduct, the operation of citizen service programs, and obstruction of council proceedings. It recommends referral of the matter to the US Attorney and the DC Office of Campaign Finance for investigation of possible violations of law.

Councilmembers will have a week, until February 23, to review the draft report and submit any comments or corrections directly to the Special Counsels. Bennett and Sabrin will then have a week to review the submissions and prepare a final report.

The council investigation began in July 2009, following the adoption of Resolution 18-217, prompted by concerns about a personal services contract Councilmember Barry had awarded to his girlfriend, Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. The investigation was soon expanded to include earmarked grants awarded by the council during the budget process.


How about Some Signs of Intelligence Instead?
Abigail Padou,

Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., recently introduced legislation to allow “special signs” (i.e., billboards) to be erected in Ward 5. If Mr. Thomas has his wish, billboards will spring up along boulevards like Rhode Island Avenue and neighborhood corridors like 12th Street, NE. Why would Mr. Thomas support increasing billboard blight in Ward 5 when the rest of the District is finding ways to remove it?


Free Tax Help From AARP’s Tax-Aide Program
Grier Mendel,

District residents can take advantage of free tax help through AARP Tax-Aide, an AARP Foundation program and the nation’s largest volunteer-run tax counseling and preparation service. The program offers help to low- and middle-income taxpayers with special attention to those who are sixty and older. Here in the District, fifty AARP Tax-Aide volunteers will be helping thousands of District residents file their taxes at seventeen Tax-Aide locations throughout the city. To find the Tax-Aide location nearest them, District residents can call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669) or visit

Last year, more than four thousand DC residents received Tax-Aide assistance. AARP Tax-Aide volunteers, certified by the Internal Revenue Service, can assist in filing tax forms and schedules, including the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ. AARP Tax-Aide, America’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance program, provides services to taxpayers each year from the beginning of February through April 15 at approximately 6,600 sites around the country. Sites are located in places such as senior centers, libraries, and community centers. In addition, volunteers can visit hospitals and nursing homes for those who are homebound. Help is available on a walk-in basis or by appointment, depending on the site. The program began in 1968 with only four volunteers who worked on one hundred returns, but it has grown dramatically. Last tax season, AARP Tax-Aide served 2.6 million people with more than 34000 volunteers nationwide.

The AARP Foundation administers AARP Tax-Aide in cooperation with the IRS. Additional funding comes from private contributions. Tax counseling on the Internet is available year round.


Federation of Citizens Associations Backs Public Education Use for Franklin School
Bell Clement, bell.clement at

The District-wide citizens’ effort to prevent the privatization of historic Franklin School has received the support of DC’s Federation of Citizens Associations. In a February 8 letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty, Federation President Carroll Green called upon the District to reconsider its move to turn the nationally landmarked building over for private development, and announced Federation backing for redevelopment of the school for educational use by District residents. “Franklin School can reclaim its prior status as a model of educational excellence for the world,” counsels the Federation letter, noting that “for over 120 years, Franklin served the educational needs of our citizens, providing teacher training, a business school, vocational training and adult education.” Founded in 1910, the Federation of Citizens Associations is a coalition of more than forty neighborhood organizations from across the District, “committed to bringing the voice of District taxpayers and residents to policy discussions.”

The DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development offered Franklin School for conversion to condominium, hotel, or other commercial use in a September 2009 Request for Proposals. On January 19, a citizens’ proposal, calling for retention of the building in the public inventory and its redevelopment for educational use was filed by the Coalition for Franklin School, an ad hoc group representing a cross-section of District of Columbia citizens and area residents. The Federation letter states its support for Coalition goals. The Coalition’s proposal to the District lays out several public and public / private partnership alternatives for redevelopment of Franklin, among them a magnet high school for global education; a school of education for teacher training and research; and an academic center that would share space through rentals to education organizations such as universities based outside the District.

The Coalition for Franklin School has challenged the legitimacy of the District’s RFP, which was issued without input from the public and in the absence of a master facilities plan and of action by DC Council declaring Franklin to be surplus property, both of which are required under District law. Information about Franklin School and the work of the Coalition for Franklin School as well as the Coalition’s proposal for public education use for Franklin can be found at


Chicago vs. DC
Valencia Mohammed,

Like Ronni [themail, February 14], I lived in Chicago for many years. Three of my children were born there. I lived in Chicago during one of its largest blizzards in 1981 or 1982. I voted in protest for Jane Byrne against Mayor Michael Bilandic because of his dysfunctional snow removal plan. People died, cars were crushed, schools and businesses were closed for long periods, and piles of snow was everywhere. This blizzard reminded me of why I left Chicago and moved to DC.

Ronni’s comparison of Fenty’s fleet to Chicago’s is very important. We have more vehicles to use in a smaller area and somehow can’t get it right. The Department of Public Works director, William Holland is no stranger to blizzards. He worked in Fairfax County. I’m sure Holland probably had a good plan. The problem we have is Fenty wanting to micromanage everything. It’s Fenty’s way or you’re out!

As long as it was sunny, Fenty could jog showing off his sport gear. But he should have learned how to ski. Chicago residents learned there were some basic strategies that should have been used years ago to prevent the disaster it faced. Somehow these effective strategies are not part of Fenty’s “best practice” snow removal efforts. I know what to do in thirty weeks. I’ll protest just like I did in Chicago.


Snow in Chicago
Jonathan Zurer,

I enjoyed reading Ronni Glaser’s opinion about Chicago’s snow removal abilities. I suggest that a little more research was required. While her basic assertion that the city of Chicago has 275 plows is almost correct, she neglected to mention the fleet of 24 smaller plows (used on narrower streets) and the 200 garbage trucks that are outfitted with plows. And that, “In addition, heavy equipment and labor is available from other municipal departments for snow clearance during and after a blizzard.” And that the State of Illinois plows all of the expressways in the city. And that, according to the city, “Chicago averages 39 inches of snow annually.”

So DC got more snow in five days then Chicago averages in an entire winter, the city of Chicago has far more plows available, and isn’t even responsible for any of the highways in the city. Draw your own conclusions. And for all you Marion Barry haters out there, remember how Chicago treated its mayor when he couldn’t clear the snow after a blizzard.

Finally, from NOAA/National Weather Service, Chicago’s ten biggest snowstorms: 1) 23.0 inches, January 26-27, 1967; 2) 21.6 inches, January 1-3, 1999; 3) 19.2 inches, March 25-26, 1930; 4) 18.8 inches, January 13-14, 1979; 5) 16.2 inches, March 7-8, 1931; 6) 15.0 inches, December 17-20, 1929; 7) 14.9 inches, January 30, 1939; 8) 14.9 inches, January 6-7, 1918; 9) 14.3 inches, March 25-26, 1970; 10) 14.0 inches, January 18-20, 1886.


Snow Reality
Martin Andres Austermuhle,

I’m not sure where Ronni Glaser got her numbers, but an AP article published on February 16 stated that Chicago has 500 plows and 1,000 workers dedicated to snow removal (  Additionally, Chicago’s snow removal budget is three times higher than the District’s, and the city’s annual snowfall is twice what we get here, which means that they’re simply better practiced at dealing with large amounts of snow. Moreover, Chicago’s mass transit system — primarily the trains — are equipped to handle snow and ice, unlike Metro, which can’t deal with anything above eight inches on and around the tracks.

As for defending Mayor Fenty against Chris Matthews, well, what Matthews said was patently indefensible. He blamed the District for the federal government’s decision to shut down and compared the city’s response to the snow to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. (One of his guests compared it to 9/11.) For someone with a national audience, this is both irresponsible and wrong. Matthews and other national figures that have criticized the District should know that the federal government’s decision to shut down was based on a number of factors, including the fact that Metro couldn’t run above ground and that most neighboring jurisdictions handled the snow worse than we did. (Ironically, Matthews lives in Montgomery County, which preemptively closed its schools for an entire week, while the District’s schools remained day-to-day.)

Regardless of what other cities can or cannot do when it comes to snow, the back-to-back storms dumped a historic amount of snow in the region. And while the hearings called by the DC council later this month will surely expose whether or not the city’s response was adequate, I think that the majority of the city’s residents are willing to cut Mayor Fenty, DDOT, and DPW some slack for what happened. Does that mean things can’t be improved or that we can’t prepare better for next time? Absolutely not. But all things considered, I think that the city’s snow removal crews did about as much as they could considering what they were faced with. After storms like these, someone will always be unhappy. But we need to stop, put things in perspective and judge the city’s response based on quantifiable factors, not simply politics.


Mal Wiseman,

On Crittenden Street, NW, in addition to the few passes by snow plowing tractors and trucks during the recent storms, one day a contractor being supervised by a Department of Public Works employee worked a Bobcat plow to great effect. He didn’t create barriers of snow for parked cars and was able to get into places where a large plow couldn’t. I think these should be employed more than they are presently. You can buy maybe three for the price of one large plow. I’ll bet they cost less to operate and maintain, too.

The additional people to operate them could be recruited starting at DC council. I read about Councilman Kwami Brown, in a Samaritan act, operating one in his southeast neighborhood.


Snow Clearing Comparisons
Paula Edwards,

According to an interview with Bobby Richardson, head of snow removal in Chicago (, Chicago has a fleet of “more than 500 plows and 1,000 workers. . .“ to be used for snow removal. The same source reports that Chicago has three hundred vehicles specifically designed for snow removal and DC has two hundred.

Money is very much part of the issue. Chicago had a calendar year snow removal budget of $17 million in 2009 and $17 million in 2010 for an average winter snowfall of 39 inches. DC had a snow removal budget of approximately $6.2 million in each of the last two fiscal years for an average winter snowfall of 19 inches. We can get a Chicago style system for higher taxes/reduced services/bigger deficits. That’s a struggle Chicago had in 2008 when the city tried to remove $1 million from the 2009 snow removal budget to keep other programs.

The article in the Oklahoman also cites the futility of comparing snow removal in different areas where temperatures, topography, and other variables complicate snow removal. There are very interesting algorithms/computer models to optimize winter road maintenance and snow removal (see James F. Campbell, University of Missouri, St. Louis,, but they are models, not magic.

I do not know how accurate the above information is since I did not use primary sources, but I was able to locate some of it from more than one source. The assertion, “It’s not money or equipment. . . ,“ does not appear to be borne out by either the models or the facts.


Snowmaggedden Thoughts
Lisa Alfred,

This series of storms was an aberration. Therefore I have no complaints about how DC and Fenty handled the snow removal. For those complaining about DC, keep in mind that DC streets were no better or worse than those in Maryland and Virginia. I will have a problem during the next minimal snow storm of five inches or less. During those occasions, I think the city does an abysmal job. This is not rocket science, and a couple of inches of snow should not be a big deal.

I did see a couple of problems that we all should be concerned about: 1) sidewalks. The sidewalks were generally impassable. Most sidewalks are maintained by us, the citizens. Therefore if we want to dump on the mayor, we should also consider the job that we did. Pedestrians were forced to walk in the street, because they couldn’t walk on the sidewalks. 2) End of block sidewalks. For those who live at the end of a block, I feel bad for you because you have the biggest responsibility during snowstorms. However, you can’t just shovel your extensive property line, you also have to keep the curb entry to the street clear. I know the plows dump more snow on you, but you are one of the main reasons people walk in the streets. Don’t just shovel the sidewalk, please shovel to the street entrance, and keep it clear. 3) Metro underground. Metro needs to operate fully no matter how much snow we get. I don’t know the mechanics of track safety, etc., but I would really love to know why the trains can’t keep rolling on two tracks. And by rolling I mean, why can’t they at least keep rolling underground. I tried to take the Metro one day during snowmaggeden and discovered that the trains were single tracked. Why? 4) Metro aboveground. Metro should be informing us about what it will take for the above ground tracks to work. Can someone at Metro please call Russia and ask how they keep the trains running during the winter? 5) Schools. I can’t see any good reason for schools to have been closed for one week. Open schools should be a bigger priority than an open Pennsylvania Avenue. If the streets were basically OK, kids should have been in school for at least a couple of those days. Parents should stop complaining about how hard it is for kids to get the bus to school, and walk them to school in the snow, just like most parents do in the rest of the country where they get a lot more snow. The same kids I saw outside walking to hills to sled, could have walked to school for math and English. The same parents I saw walking to Safeway and Giant, could have dropped their kids off at the schools next door to those stores.

6) Where to dump the snow. I know we don’t want to hurt the fish. But the city has got to come up with a long-term holding area for the snow. I’m tired of the debate about where to put the white powder. This is a town of experts. Pick one or two, no more than three, and settle this. I think we can probably get this expert advice for free, and get a long term plan in the process. 7) Garbage and recycling. Once the streets are plowed, can we have garbage pickup in the front of the house, maybe at the end of the block? Also, why can’t the recycling be picked up at the same time? The city could alert us when the alley pickup will start again.

Just a few snowmaggeden thoughts.


Students in Danger Going to School on the Franklyn Street Bridge
Marvin Tucker,

[An open letter to Chairman Vincent Gray] Today the students of the city of Washington, DC, need your help and that of council. Students who attend schools in Ward Five are staring down at death’s door when they are trying to go to school. The mayor and his staff have put our students in danger, and refuse to help them. Students have to walk in the roadway on a bridge with cars coming at them, with nowhere to go. They could be hit and killed by a car or truck on the Franklyn Street Bridge in northeast Washington, DC.

The mayor has told the citizens that he and his staff have done a good job, but in fact the walkway the students use to go to school is full of snow, although people have gotten paid to clear it. This bridge and street belongs to the city of Washington, DC, and our taxes are used to keep it up. That means the bridge and walkway should be cleared so that they can be used by people of the city. It is sad that when parents tried to contact people to help our kids on Tuesday February 16, the Department of Public Works, the mayor’s call center, and the Fifth District Police Department, have all turned us down and would not help us.

We could not get any help from the city agencies. We pay taxes in the city like other parents and we have the same rights as others. I, as a parent, have tried to contact others like The Washington Post, television stations, and news networks who have companies in the city, who work in this city, and who cross this bridge and know the dangers that our students face. I also know some people who work for the Washington Post like the mayor and will take bad news and cover it up, and not put out the truth out when he is wrong. I know you and the council were in a long hearing today, but our children were put in danger by the mayor. As of right now, the walkway is blocked and our students still have to walk in the street. The mayor’s children get a ride and not are put in danger like our children. I tried to get in touch with the City Administrator’s office, also with no answer. Again it goes to show that if you don’t have money in this city you will not get anything done; that means where you live in the city does makes a difference. Mr. Gray, you know if a child gets hit by a car and killed, the mayor and his staff will come running to the parent’s house and offer their help. But it would be because of the mayor’s neglecting to take care of the problem. If this is school reform, then our schools are in trouble. If you need pictures I will get them to you. Please give me a call at 609-5256 or E-mail me.


Plowing and Parking
William Haskett,

Is it possible that one simple contribution to the issue might be to require that all off-street parking, such as driveways, must be used before plowing begins? As so very often, the private car and where it is a large contributor to at least a fraction of an unplanned response. The planning and Chicago’s response to heavy snow I would stipulate and accept. The city of Chicago currently has 275 snow plows. The city of Washington, DC, currently has 330 snow plows. The city of Chicago is 228 square miles. Washington, DC, is 68.3 square miles. There familiarity does not breed contempt: quite the reverse, it appears to generate useful thought and anticipation.


Rebuttal to School Gardens Critique from the Atlantic
Virginia Johnson,

I read the Atlantic article with a lot of interest a few weeks ago. Although I support community gardens, I have always been a little bit skeptical of the lofty claims of the benefits of putting gardens in grade schools. Adults are the ones who need regular access to a small plot of land to make best use of it growing vegetables and fruit, and if they want to pass what they learn on to their children, then fine. Nevertheless, the Atlantic in general and the author (Caitlin Flanagan) in particular might not be the most credible sources for accusations of elitism. Coming away from the article, I thought, “I’m not sure if a ‘certain kind’ of educated professional class member can instruct California’s school children, one way or the other, Alice Waters or Caitlin Flanagan, about much of anything.” The article made what were to me some questionable assumptions.

Of the President’s physical fitness program implemented in the 1960s under JFK, Flanagan writes, “[Alice] Waters calls for a new federal program based on the old one, but the new one is necessary only because the old one has obviously failed: American kids are fatter and sicker than ever.” My own admittedly limited understanding is that if kids are indeed bigger and sicker than ever, one reason might well be that the physical education requirements, i.e., the old program, are being and have been abandoned at a rapid pace. In other words, when it stayed implemented, the “old program” actually worked. (There’s no mention of junk food advertising, or soft drink machines and candy machines in schools in Flanagan’s piece.)

The immigrant farm worker scenario we are asked to imagine is inflammatory. Seeing that call to outrage, I urge readers of themail to read the article themselves and come to their own conclusions. After all, it’s not just immigrant farm workers’ children who are participating in school garden programs, presumably. What comes across in the article is not so much a well-reasoned critique of school gardening programs and public education, but rather an intense dislike by one professional class member for another professional class member. I saw it going no deeper than that.


It’s Not Hate Speech
Philip Pannell,

Gary, I never said that simply opposing marriage equality is hate speech. That is an erroneous inference on your part. If your readers think that I implied that, then I apologize. The point I attempted to make is that when some opponents of marriage equality resort to homophobic hyperbole such as contending that it is tantamount to supporting polygamy, incest, and pedophilia, then the atmosphere around the discussion may get heated up and fire up the fringe element.

For ten years I served as a Trustee for the DC Public Libraries and was a member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates, a national association. I defend the right of libraries to have Mein Kampf on their shelves and vigorously support your right to continue to post opinions on marriage equality no matter how odious they may be to the LGBT community. I have friends and relatives who disagree with me on the issue, but we keep the discussion rational and civil.


Phil Pannell
Richard Worthington-Rogers,

Nope, I didn’t read anything wrong in Phil’s letter [themail, February 10]. As a matter of fact it was nice to see the bigots called out and the truth told.


Mayor Fenty’s Mom
Sharon Cochran,

Re: “I’d plead for mercy considering the accuracy of the phrase.” — Gary Imhoff, themail, February 14.

Are you saying that Mayor Fenty’s mom is a dog? Yep, I’m offended. Please consider an apology to her.


Lay Off the Mayor’s Mother
Josh Gibson, Adams Morgan,

In the last issue of themail, in reference to criticism of your past use of the term “son of a bitch” to refer to the mayor, you stated “In addition, in this case I’d plead for mercy considering the accuracy of the phrase.”

If you really gave a damn about accuracy, you would realize that the expression you chose is actually not derogatory to the mayor, it is derogatory to his mother, Jan Fenty. I have known Jan Fenty for over ten years. She is a gentle, thoughtful, and energetic community-oriented soul who does not deserve your scorn.

Please, be more selective in the future in your choice of vulgarities, such as I will now do when I call you an asshole. The only entity who might be saddened by this reference is an actual sphincter, who might be shocked and disappointed to be compared to the likes of you.


Son of a Bitch
Gary Imhoff,

When you feign offense in order to try to gain tactical advantage, in this case to defend the mayor’s inadequate management of the recent snowfalls, try to take your stand on solid ground, and be sure you’re right. The mistaken complaint about “son of a bitch” reminds me of the controversy when Mayor Williams fired David Howard for using the word “niggardly,” which Marshall Brown wrongly interpreted as a racial insult (Wikipedia has a good summary of the incident,

“Son of a bitch” is an insult to the person against whom it is directed, not against his mother. See definitions and the origin of the phrase from several dictionaries at A son of a bitch is “a contemptible or thoroughly disagreeable person,” “a person regarded as thoroughly mean or disagreeable,” “a despicable person, usually a male.” None of these definitions is “the son of a disagreeable woman.” Literally speaking, the phrase originally called the man the son of a female dog, but it did not imply that the man’s actual, human, mother was a female dog. It implicates the man’s character, not his mother’s. If you’re not familiar with actual English usage, it may be excusable to make such a mistake, and to misinterpret the phrase, but it’s not excusable to sink into vituperation and mean-spiritedness based upon your misinterpretation.

The best line about the “niggardly” debate came from Julian Bond, then the president of the NAACP, who is quoted in the Wikipedia article. It applies here: “You hate to think you have to censor your language to meet other people’s lack of understanding. . . . David Howard should not have quit. Mayor Williams should bring him back — and order dictionaries issued to all staff who need them.” Next time, use the dictionary first.



DC Climate Action Plan, February 18
Chris Weiss,

The DC Environmental Network invites all Metro-based environmentalists to a brown bag luncheon on the District of Columbia Climate Action Plan featuring Dan Barry, Senior Policy Analyst for Climate, Office of Policy and Sustainability, District Department of the Environment (DDOE) (invited); Larry Martin, Chair, Energy Committee, Sierra Club, Washington, DC; and Chris Weiss, Director, DC Environmental Network (moderator). In 2006, the DC Environmental Network recommended Mayor-Elect Adrian Fenty join Mayor Bloomberg (New York City) and Mayor Newsom (San Francisco) in the fight against global warming. Today, in 2010, as New York and San Francisco have charged forward, the District has only just started implementing policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Although Mayor Fenty has implemented some new programs most of the significant policy changes in the last few years have been spearheaded by the District council, including green building legislation, clean car standards, increasing the amount of clean energy (Renewable Portfolio Standard) and creating a new utility to promote energy efficiency in DC (partial).

The good news is that the District just released, on February 1, a new greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and will hopefully follow this release with a new draft climate action plan to curb these dangerous emissions. The environmental community is ready to push for and support the best climate action plan possible. Dan Barry of will give us a quick overview of the newest greenhouse gas inventory for the District and tell us what he knows about the upcoming DC Climate Action Plan. This will be followed by an open discussion.

Thursday, February 18, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m., at Friends of the Earth, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #600 (Dupont Circle Metro, South Exit). RSVP to: Call in: 888-346-3659, when prompted enter 7405#. Please remember to bring a picture ID to get in the building! For more information contact Chris Weiss, Director, DC Environmental Network, 222-0746 or


DC Jobs with Justice on Wage Theft, February 18
Mackenzie Baris,

Every day working people in our city have their hard-earned wages skimmed or outright stolen from them. Employers withhold tips, force people to work off the clock, pay less than the minimum or prevailing wage, pay less than promised, and sometimes run off without paying at all. For poor and working people who already struggle to make ends meet, even a small theft of wages can be disastrous for their families. Please join DC Jobs with Justice to learn more about this hidden crime wave and how you can fight it.

Workers’ Rights Board Hearing on Wage Theft: DC’s Hidden Crime, Thursday, February 18, 6:30-9:00 p.m., First Rising Mt. Zion Church, 602 N Street, NW (Mt. Vernon Square Metro station). A panel of community, faith, academic, and political leaders will hear testimony from workers, question government officials, and discuss tools for combating wage theft. For more information, E-mail or call 974-8224.


68th Annual Day of Remembrance, February 20
Chris Bastardi,

The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation (NJAMF) and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program will be commemorating the 68th anniversary of the February 19, 1942, signing of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which led to the imprisonment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. NJAMF and the Smithsonian will hold a discussion on Saturday, February 20, at 2:00 p.m. at the National Museum of American History’s Carmichael Auditorium (14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW).

The discussion will feature award-winning playwright Philip Kan Gotanda and historian Dr. Scott Kurashige. Philip Kan Gotanda is revered as the chronicler of Japanese America on the American stage and will talk about one of his latest plays, After the War, which captures postwar life for eleven Americans of diverse backgrounds brought together by a shared address in San Francisco’s Japantown. Through deft characterizations, Mr. Gotanda explores the delicate balance amidst diverse communities in post-War San Francisco.

Dr. Scott Kurashige, an associate professor of Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, American Culture, and History at the University of Michigan, will discuss his debut title, The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles. Dr. Kurashige examines both the conflicts and combined activism of the Japanese American and African American communities within a predominantly white but quickly changing Los Angeles during the last century. This event is free and open to the public. For information call NJAMF at 530-0015 or visit


Increasing Productivity With Mobile Apps, February 20
Barbara Conn,

Smartphones powered by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms are transforming the business landscape. Now, more than ever, people on the go can carry their offices in their pockets and be more productive. With small pieces of software known as “apps,” smart phones do much more than send and receive calls, E-mail, and text messages. With more than one hundred thousand apps on Apple’s platform, there’s an app for just about everything. With the touch of a button, someone on the go can manage client relationships and sales leads, find a nearby shipping center, comparison shop, and much more. During this session Barg Upender, Founder and CEO of Mobomo, will discuss some of the best business apps for the iPhone, including several from Mobomo. We will also explore where the mobile industry is heading.

Gather your colleagues, friends, and neighbors, and your questions, and bring them to this Saturday, February 20, 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), visit To RSVP, send an E-mail to


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, February 20, 22
John Stokes,

February 20, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., National Mall Museums, 1400 41st Street, SE. Black History Scavenger Hunt for ages twelve through nineteen. The teen club will participate in its second annual Black History scavenger hunt at the National Mall. The youth will be given thirty questions to answer, and visit five museums in order to obtain the answers for the questions. For more information, call Elijah Fagan, Site Manager, Ft. Davis Recreation Center, 645-9212.

February 20, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, SW. Royal Chili Cookoff for all ages. Calling all Royal Chili Cookers to come out and battle for the right to be labeled the Royal Chili Cooker for the best chili in the world. For more information, call Henry T. Moton IV, Site Manager, at 645-7454.

February 22, 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Raymond Recreation Center, 915 Spring Road, NW. Black History Essay Contest for ages twelve through nineteen. Teens will read their essays to their peers; the group will discuss the essays and enjoy juice and cookies. For more information, call Ellsworth Hart, Site Manager, at 576-6850.


Gwen Ifill to Speak at DC Public Library, February 22

On Monday, February 22 at 7:00 p.m., journalist and author Gwen Ifill will talk about racism in America based on her best-selling book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library. Ifill is the managing editor and moderator for ‘‘Washington Week’’ and a senior correspondent for ‘‘The NewsHour.” A book sale and signing will follow the program. The Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library is located at 901 G Street, NW, near the Metro Center and Gallery Place subway stations.


National Building Museum Events, February 24
Johanna Weber,

February 24, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Building in the 21st Century: Sustainable Designs for Emerging Energy and Movement Technologies. Shannon Sanders McDonald, professor at Southern Polytechnic State University and author of The Parking Garage: Design and Evolution of a Modern Form, discusses emerging technologies for transportation and movement that promote the use of alternative energy sources. Free. Registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for events at


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