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March 21, 2010


Dear Humorists:

I never learn my lesson; I shouldn’t attempt humor. In the last issue of themail, I quoted from Council Chairman Vincent Gray’s introduction to the first of a series of council hearings on DCPS, as it was printed in his office’s press release: “Today, I’m also excited to announce that the Committee of the Whole will expand beyond our traditional cadre of weekday budget hearings, and convene two Saturday hearings specifically designed to illicit views from our young people and their families on the proposed FY 2011 education budget.”

I thought it was funny. Oh, not as knee-slappingly funny, subtle, and sophisticated as a Carrot Top routine, but mildly amusing nevertheless. But some readers didn’t get the joke. Two informed me that I had probably mistaken the word “illicit” for “elicit,” and a third realized that the mistake was in the Chairman’s press release, but scolded me for believing that the council was expressing scorn for the views of students and parents.

No, I don’t believe that. Or, rather, I do believe that some councilmembers are scornful of the views of students and parents — those councilmembers who are blindly supportive of Mayor Fenty’s takeover of the public schools and Chancellor Rhee’s mismanagement of them — but not the council as a whole. There are two ways to respond to the anger and resentment of the parents and children who are begging the council to defend them against a hostile school administration and city administration. One way is to listen to the people whom the public schools are supposed to serve and to heed them, and we’ll see whether the council chooses to do that. The other way is to attempt to manage and control their opinions.

Michelle Rhee has already chosen the second path. She has hired Anita Dunn as a public relations consultant. As Pat Taylor points out in her message below, DCPS and the Fenty administration refuse to disclose what private source is paying Dunn’s fee, and how much it is paying, so we have no idea whose interests Dunn is serving. But from her recent history in the Obama administration, we do have an idea how she will serve those interests. As the Post noted in its article on Dunn’s appointment, her biggest project in the Obama administration was its war on Fox News, and its attempt to discredit a critical media outlet as not being a legitimate news source. As the Post didn’t note, the controversy that led to Dunn’s “resignation” was the disclosure of a video of a speech she gave in which she discussed her political strategy: “The third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Tse-tung and Mother Theresa — not often coupled with each other, but the two people I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point which is, ‘you’re going to make choices; you’re going to challenge; you’re going to say why not; you’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before.” A public relations consultant who advises all-out war against critical media outlets and who says that Mao Tse-tung is one of her two favorite political philosophers — that sounds like a perfect match for Rhee, but it doesn’t sound like someone who will do her any good.

Gary Imhoff


Sunshine or Darkness
Dorothy Brizill,

At the council’s Committee of the Whole meeting last week, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser introduced the “Open Government Is Good Government Act of 2010,” Bill 18-716. According to Bowser, the stated purpose of the bill is to strengthen the District’s open meetings law. Currently, DC Code 1-207l.42(a) provides that: “All meetings (including hearings) of any department, agency, board or commission of the District government, including meetings of the Council of the District of Columbia, at which official action of any kind is taken, shall be open to the public. No resolution, rule, act, regulation, or other official action shall be effective unless taken, made or enacted at such meeting.”

The problem with the District’s open meetings law arises because the phrase, “at which official action of any kind is taken,” is not defined, and is generally interpreted to refer only to meetings where decisions are made and votes taken. The obvious fix would be to clarify the term “at which official action of any kind is taken” by defining it broadly and inclusively. Instead, the Bowser bill first argues that the “formation of public policy and conduct of public business shall not occur in secret.” It goes on to state that: “Members of the public have a right to be present at all meetings of public bodies that advise or determine how the public’s business will be carried out, and to witness all phases of policy formation and decision-making, including information-gathering, discussion, deliberations, and resolutions.” But then the bill takes a step backward and details a laundry list of exceptions and loopholes to the open meetings requirement that would render it ineffective, meaningless, and possibly worse than the current law. For example, it provides for meetings to be closed when a public body is negotiating the terms of a contract; negotiating economic development incentives; consulting with an attorney; planning, discussing, or conducting collective bargaining negotiations; considering disciplinary matters before the DC Board of Medicine; discussing personnel matters; having a “discussion of any proprietary or confidential information”; or meeting “solely for the public of deliberating to make a decision in an adjudication action or proceeding by a public body exercising quasi-judicial functions,” such as the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, the Zoning Administration, the Public Service Commission, the Office of Employee Appeals, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics, etc.

Moreover, the bill’s open meetings requirement extends to any “public body,” which is defined as “any council, task force, board or commission of the District government established pursuant to statute, regulation, or order.” The bill specifies that its provisions apply to “the Council, the District of Columbia State Board of Education, the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board; the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, and any other entity that is created by and exercises authority delegated by the District of Columbia government.” However, it also indicates that the term “public body” “shall not include the District of Columbia courts, governing bodies of individual public charter schools, the Mayor’s cabinet, and the professional or administrative staff of public bodies when they meet outside the presence of a quorum of those bodies.”

Bowser’s bill is virtually identical to Bill 16-747, the District of Columbia Open Meetings Act of 2006, which former councilmembers Kathy Patterson and Vincent Orange introduced. Following substantive amendments to the original bill by the council’s Committee on Government Operations, then chaired by Vincent Orange, the entire council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on July 11, 2006, refused to approve the bill and, instead, recommitted it back to the committee, where it subsequently died.


Over-Hiring and Over-Firing
Sheila H. Gill,

My name is Sheila H. Gill, a proud product of DC Public Schools. On November 21, 2007, Ms. Pamela D. Graham, the Chief Financial Officer of DC Public Schools, submitted a memorandum regarding the FY 2008 projected deficit to Michelle Rhee; Dr. Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer; Lucille Dickinson, CFO Chief of Staff; Kaya Henderson, Deputy Chancellor; Lisa Ruda, DCPS Chief of Staff; and Allison Allis, Budget Director DCPS ( At that time, Ms. Graham identified budget pressures that had accelerated to the point where DCPS had a projected budget deficit in the fiscal year 2008. The deficit was as high as $100 million and Ms. Graham recommended measures that were required to stop the deficit immediately, including a freeze of all new hiring in DCPS central administration and schools and producing a deficit reduction plan by December 7, 2007.

Also, in Ms. Graham’s report, she stated that, “The practice of overriding process and procedure in hiring new employees must not continue. No one should be made an offer of employment until the budget certification process is completed.” Unfortunately, Ms. Graham’s career at DCPS as a certified competent Chief Financial Officer ended when she was forced to resign after she expressed in writing to the Chancellor that the practice of over-hiring must cease immediately. Ms. Graham was replaced by a new Chief Financial Officer of DCPS, who lacked experience and who supported the Chancellor’s over-hiring practices.

The United States Government Accountability Office recognized in its June 2009 report on DCPS (p.22) that “DCPS focused on a workforce replacement strategy . . . but is unsure new staffs are an improvement.” In other words, the Chancellor’s education reform is over-hiring and firing, over-hiring and firing. The Chancellor’s Administration has not stop recruiting, hiring, and training new employees on the job in DCPS since she was named Chancellor in 2007. The total funding approved for the FY 2009 budget was $764.6 Million and $779.6 million was approved for the FY 2010 budget. On October 29, 2009, testimony of Michelle Rhee reads that DCPS began the hiring process between April 15 and July 15, 2009 after establishing the need for up to 955 new teachers. It is evident that the Chancellor created and manufactured a reduction in force because she never stopped hiring. Why did the Chancellor’s administration hire 1,698 new employees from March 1, 2009 to August 31 2009?

The Chancellor’s Administration continued hiring after manufacturing the reduction-in-force, and hired an additional 513 new employees between September 1, 2009 and January 15, 2010, including over one hundred teachers for regular school-day jobs and over one hundred new employees in the central offices. Numerous job opportunities are listed on Craig’s List, DC Jobs,, and the DCPS web site. The Chancellor’s Administration never stopped hiring, not even after the reduction-in-force. Why does the Chancellor have a blank check for new hires any time? Why is DCPS still hiring?

The city council should not approve the Chancellor’s reprogramming request that will probably be made prior to the Summer School program in June 2010. Clearly, the Chancellor’s administration manufactured a reduction-in-force as well as continued over hiring practices. Also, the city council needs a forensic audit immediately for school years 2008-09 and 2009-10. Why were federal stimulus dollars used for new hires when school positions were being cut at the local schools? The DCPS Equalization process was never implemented by the Chancellor. However, the Chancellor is responsible for mass teacher firings and violating anti-deficiency laws, discrimination laws, labor laws, as well as DC laws and regulations. The city council needs to have emergency legislation in support of all wrongfully riffed DCPS employees to be reinstated and made whole immediately without any break in service.


More Private Money for Rhee
Pat Taylor,

Michelle Rhee now has a privately funded media adviser, Anita Dunn, according to a March 20 Washington Post article ( Do others think it strange that private donations, seemingly anonymous, are funding this media advisor? Is this appropriate? Is it legal for DC Public Schools to be using private donations to contract Squier Knapp Dunn — a private communications firm — for Dunn’s services? Are these anonymous donors some of the same private foundations and business organizations which have put millions of dollars into School Chancellor Rhee’s efforts to weaken DC’s traditional public schools by supporting the expansion of (nonunion) charter schools?


Rhee’s Extreme Makeover: Only a Dream!
Candi Peterson and Efavorite,

In an article written this weekend in the Washington Post, Bill Turque reports that Chancellor Michelle Rhee turns to Anita Dunn, a media consultant and former White House Communication Director, to help rebuild her despicable image. Anita Dunn is the wife of Bob Bauer, White House legal counsel, and she is also the owner of the media firm Squier, Knapp and Dunn. Rhee’s contract with Dunn’s firm is still being negotiated and will be paid for with private funds, which have yet to be disclosed. Among the objectives for Dunn’s firm will be how to effectively handle the local and national media. Turque also reports that Dunn’s firm is expected to assist with the upcoming announcement of the Washington Teachers’ Union tentative agreement, which has been three years in the making.

An E-mail from Efavorite suggests that the first meeting between Rhee and Dunn may go something like this: “I had the strangest dream last night. I was in a media training session with Michelle Rhee and her new hotshot, privately funded media consultant, Anita Dunn. I looked around nervously and thought, ‘No. This is all wrong. I don’t belong here!’ But then I realized that no one seemed to notice I was there, so I decided to sit back and observe the session. First Dunn said, ‘OK, Michelle, repeat after me: “I apologize for calling teachers child molesters.’ Rhee: ‘Arrrhhhgg.’ Dunn: ‘Uh — good start. Don’t worry, we have lots of time, lots of money, and this is very important work we’re doing.’ Rhee: ‘For the children! For the children!’ Dunn: ‘Oops, sorry. I didn’t mean to lead you down that well-worn path. No one pays any attention to that old line anymore. We’re starting fresh. We want people to see the new, reinvented, sensitive Michelle Rhee. So again, please, repeat after me: “I apologize for calling teachers child molesters.”’ Rhee: ‘I — I — I — I will not kowtow.’ Dunn: ‘Great progress! You’ve got the first word right. Good girl. We’re getting there. Let’s keep practicing. Here we go again: “I apologize for calling teachers child molesters.”’ Rhee: ‘I apol — I apol — ARRHGG — (gulp) I apologize for calling teachers child molesters!’ That’s when I knew I was dreaming.”


Richard Urban Launches Campaign for City Council At-Large Seat
Kyungmi Nadia Ayad,

On March 10, I attended while Richard Urban gave his campaign launch speech in front of the John Wilson Building to announce his candidacy for Washington DC City Council At-Large. Mr. Urban is an active Washington DC resident of twenty-seven years. He founded a nonprofit group called ULTRA Teen Choice, an organization that provides education and peer counseling to promote abstinence from sex outside of wedlock, as well as abstinence from drugs and alcohol. He is also the founder of a small community based business — Urban Grocery LLC. Now, he is stepping it up to better the Washington DC area through politics. His campaign being RUforDC.

Throughout Mr. Urban’s speech, he made it quite clear that he is unhappy with the role, actions, corruption, and influence within DC’s government that is emanating out towards the community. He states, “I am for a DC where public service comes before selfish conflicts of interest.” Mr. Urban’s main concerns regard family breakdown, same sex marriage, the spread of STDs, restoring the school board, tax codes, and “bringing honesty to the government.”

Mr. Urban’s core is the need to build up strong and healthy families. He believes that through strong families comes a strong community. “Are you for the families of Washington, DC?” asked Mr. Urban, “The very keystone of society is the family. It is not an exaggeration to say that without peaceful families, there cannot be a peaceful society. Family breakdown is at the very root of all major social problems. This includes out of wedlock pregnancy, high rates of juvenile crime and violence, high dropout rates and lagging school achievement, and a lack of a clear vision for a happy future for our youth.” Mr. Urban, obviously troubled by the lack of strong families in the Washington, DC, area, continued to support his theory further by pulling up facts; for example, the study showing that, “Ninety percent of children living in an intact, two-parent family do not become involved in delinquent behavior even in crime ridden neighborhoods.” All throughout his speech, Mr. Urban pushes the importance of the family.

Next, Mr. Urban’s opinion is without reserve when it comes to same-sex unions. He declares, “I am for a DC where marriage is defined as being only between a man and woman.” Mr. Urban is clearly against the law that states marriage is between any two consenting adults. He insists that through this teaching, our youth have gone into great confusion, and what could be worse than the next generation being utterly confused, when about to take over? Even though Mr. Urban is completely against same-sex unions, he is still intent on bringing the issue to the public so that the people may vote on what they would like marriage to be defined as.

One topic that Mr. Urban finds himself especially close to is the need for abstinence education. He constantly reminded the crowd that he is “running to fight for every child to have the option of a program that emphasizes sexual abstinence so that they can be free from the burden and consequences of premature sexual activity.” Mr. Urban is a firm believer in this, and also believes it will save the future of the youth in the Washington, DC, society, as well as around the world. He believes that the answer is simple: to prevent the rapid spread of STDs, don’t have sex outside of marriage, and stay faithful to one partner. As well as wanting to install programs or clubs he calls “Students Teaching Abstinence and Responsibility” (STAR), Mr. Urban also has the vision of “returning control of the DC public schools to an elected school board and to remove Chancellor Michelle Rhee.” He also says, “Nonprofit groups have been blocked from operating in public schools because they don’t meet the political agenda of the current school chancellor.” Furthermore, Richard Urban figures that the firing of hundreds of teachers and the blocking of community groups that want to work with public schools “is just plain wrong.”

Moreover, an issue of concern to all and Mr. Urban is taxes. One of Mr. Urban’s goals is to “reduce the high increase in taxes for longtime DC residents.” As of last year, a new property calculation was voted in by the city council, and now affects thousands of DC residents. Mr. Urban states that his property tax is now more than double last year’s. He also promises to work on keeping small businesses from being burdened by “excessive regulations and taxes.” He too, is the small business owner of Urban Grocery LLC. “In short, I am running to serve you, and to help each family to raise children that will be successful, happy, and safe, which will make the entire city a better place to live. I am running because the DC government has been hijacked by those who represent the values that most DC citizens hold dear.” So, there you have it, plain and simple, the words of the new independent candidate Richard Urban.


Mt. Pleasant ANC — Egos and Ego
J. David Stein,

On March 16, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission of Mt. Pleasant held a community meeting to discuss various neighborhoods issues. One of these issues was a proposed mural to be placed at the side of 3125 Mt. Pleasant Street. The muralist is DC’s and specifically Mt. Pleasant’s Byron Peck, a renowned muralist with an international reputation. I have been a resident in the neighborhood for almost twenty-four years now and met Mr. Peck about a decade ago. About a year ago, Mr. Peck was commissioned by DC Arts to do a mural. He thought of the Atonal building at 3125 Mt. Pleasant Street, NW, and approached the residents there. Since the city was funding the project and also because Mr. Peck wanted it to be a true reflection of the diversity in his neighborhood, he solicited community input. He had a succession of community input meetings that had hundreds of resident turn out. He compiled a large checklist of the various wants of the residents and came up with the proposed mural that you can see at

From the onset, certain ANCs wanted more control over the design of the mural. It got ludicrous at one point with one ANC in particular demanding more input than his position allows. I attended about three of these meetings and it was apparent who had an agenda. Mr. Peck went to extraordinary means to please as many people as he could, including and especially these ANCs. On Tuesday the 16th, the final discussion/vote on the Mural occurred. What a bunch of self-interested crooks those commissioners are. An overwhelming majority of the residents there were in support of the mural with an additional three hundred signatures of residents of the neighborhood attached to a petition that was given to each Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. Four ANC’s voted against the mural and gave very different and questionable reasons why they did not support it. Only two supported it, so the measure did not pass.

Jack McKay indicated that he was a longtime supporter of the mural but changed his mind suddenly after he realized that there was opposition to it. When he was asked to quantify this opposition, Mr. McKay could not. He then proposed an alternative legislation that would take away city funds from the project and require another lengthy community input process. I guess the hundreds of people who currently support the project aren’t convincing enough for him. Phil Lepanto is simply a jerk. He actually looked like he was hung-over or something (at 7:45 p.m.). He talked about why he’s opposing it and then suddenly “lost his train of thought” and couldn’t finish. It was pretty pathetic to see. Greg Edwards — well, where to begin. He was dressed in a snappy pinstripe suit; I swear I thought the guy was there for a job interview or something. He began by claiming that he was an “Arts History Major” in college and that he understands and appreciates fine art. He went on to outline a grand plan on panels attached to the side of this barren brick wall that could be used as a buffer for the paint against the wall. He finally proved to me what a real idiot he truly is. And my God, the ego on this guy; it seems to grow each time I meet him. Greg also introduced an alternative proposal for the mural laced with his numerous suggestions (all of which had already been voted down by the DC Arts Commission). In his description of the need for his alternative, he was forced to make a change to reflect the fact that he’s ignoring the will of the vast majority of people who are supporting the mural. His alternative was to have the phase say “all” residents of Mt. Pleasant must approve of the mural instead of the majority of them. This is an impossibility, and his alternative with quickly voted down. Angelina Scott just was asleep. She was so zoned out that she actually voted in favor of the mural, only to then recant by asking “where’s my mind tonight?” All of the E-mails and phone calls I’ve made to her prior to this was never responded to or returned. If she does not care to be there, to do her job, then she should simply resign and let someone more willing and capable take over.

Dave Glosserman was amazing, simply amazing. He asked his fellow ANCs what they were thinking and what they were looking at. He even gave a figure — 80 percent of the residents he’s spoken to about this support the mural. The remaining 20 percent simply offered contradictory reasoning as to why the mural cannot work. It was a pleasure seeing Dave engage Greg and call him out for the obvious stupidity and egotistical manner in which Greg handled himself.

The majority of the crowd was great and very supportive of the mural. One gentleman who introduced himself as Juan Carlos Ruiz from a Latino organization (I did not catch the name) was pissed that the mural did not have his final approval. He said that he represented the Latino voice in the neighborhood and that he should have been instrumental in the design of the mural. The problem with this is that the muralist, Mr. Peck, had almost ten separate community meetings during the past year to get input from residents. Mr. Ruiz never attended any of them and, at this final vote, he was there making a scene because he now wanted to be heard.

A Latino woman was angry at the fact one of the globes included a picture of two El Salvadorian men sitting at a bench. She thought that it would be viewed as El Salvadorians are lazy. Two things about this. First. the two gentlemen are business owners sitting in front of their restaurant. Second, Mr. Peck had heard her concern and decided to remove the globe from his final version of the mural. He had actually removed it months before, but this woman had never bothered to even look at the mural again. She actually tried to apologize later on during the meeting when someone pointed out the changes, but the ANC would not allow it.

Put aside all of the racist remarks at the meeting, and you will see that the concerns really aren’t who is or is not represented in this mural, but rather what this mural represents. Mt. Pleasant is a diverse neighborhood that embraces its diversity with pride. The process last night only proved to me last night that the egos of a few can sometimes derail the will of many. I have never been more ashamed of being a Mt. Pleasant resident than I was last night.


Size of the Council in themail
Michael Bindner,

When I was in the Office of the City Administrator, I floated a few proposals internally to expand the council. Tim Cooper has a proposal to make it 128, which is a bit too big. The New Columbia Constitution has forty members in single member districts, while the draft NC constitution that was enacted by the council and, in the current text of HR51, the statehood bill, must be adopted to achieve statehood, has a twenty-five member council with either sixteen districts or two members per District, with the remaining members serving at-large and the chair elected directly (as currently) rather than by the membership.

My proposal was for sixteen districts with three members per District, at least one of whom cannot be in the same party as the others and three at-large members, one of whom will be elected chair by the body so that they are really the legislative leader. This might create three factions — one for each at-large member — of varying sizes. It would bring in just enough instability to achieve real oversight and real debate. I have been suggesting for a while that the council amend the Charter to incorporate the New Columbia Constitution as enacted in advance of statehood, enlarging the council and calling it the House of Delegates and calling the mayor the governor instead. It could, of course, also amend the draft constitution by legislation and it can even save a future step by having it ratified as well. If people are impatient at council inaction, they could even have a People’s Constitutional Convention. More on this at



Lincoln Douglass Day Dinner, March 23
Paul Craney,

Please join the DC Republican Committee at our annual Lincoln Douglass Day dinner on Tuesday (March 23) at the Washington Hebrew Congregation located at 3935 Macomb Street NW. The event will start at 6:30 p.m., and the dinner will start at 7:30 p.m. The special guest speaker is Senator John Thune (R-SD). The dinner will include a fun silent auction with stays at vacation properties and private lunches.

To purchase a ticket, please go to, E-mail us at:, or call us at 289-8005.


Environmental Health Group (EHG) Events, March 23-24
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 EHG 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 EHG on Facebook at

Tuesday, March 23, 4:00 p.m.: School of International Service senior Michael Ginsberg will present his research on the chemical warfare cleanup occurring on and around American University’s campus and potential concerns for the community at the 13th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Members of the community are invited to come and ask questions regarding possible health concerns or the past, present, and future of the cleanup. In American University’s Mary Graydon Center, Room #200, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW (METRO: Tenleytown/AU. Shuttle bus service to AU)

Wednesday, March 24, 7:00 p.m.: Produced by Georgetown University students, Buried in History is a gripping eleven-minute documentary about the Spring Valley cleanup that will compete with seven other short student documentaries in the DC Environmental Film Festival. The program will be introduced by Chris Palmer and Sandy Cannon-Brown, Professors, American University. A panel discussion follows. At American University’s Wechsler Theater, Mary Graydon Center, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW (METRO: Tenleytown/AU. Shuttle bus service to AU)


Launch of Defeat Poverty DC, March 24
Ed Lazere,

Please join us on the morning of March 24 for the launch of Defeat Poverty DC, a public campaign to bring greater visibility to issues of poverty in the District. The launch will include a panel discussion moderated by NBC News4 reporter Tom Sherwood and release of a new report on growing poverty in DC during the recession. The event will be from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the True Reformer building, 1200 U Street, NW. Breakfast will be served. RSVP to Tamanna Mansury at or 301-656-0348.

Defeat Poverty DC is a new coalition of organizations and residents in the District of Columbia working to bring greater focus during the 2010 election season and beyond to the damaging effects of poverty on our entire city. The District’s long-term economic vitality depends on helping families obtain good jobs, affordable housing, and quality health care and child care.


Master Facilities Plan, March 24
Parisa Nourizi,

Yeah, it may sound boring, but without this important tool communities go unserved, human needs are not met, and the city has another reason to give your public property to their developer friends. Care about housing, health care, green space, gardens, seniors, the homeless, etc.? Then you should care about this. Come find out more! Vacant schools, community gardens, affordable housing, libraries, recreation, senior services, and more — demand the plan.

Why DC doesn’t have a plan, and why now is the time, an information and summit on the Master Facilities Plan, will be held on Wednesday, March 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Reeves Center, 14th and U Streets, NW. Accessible location, light refreshments. The Master Facilities Plan has been required by the Comprehensive Plan since 1986, yet has not been created. The People’s Property Campaign won introduction of legislation requiring the plan and Councilmember Mary Cheh pledged swift action, but has since stalled. What will it take to get the Council to act now? Find out how the absence of a facilities plan has assisted the giveaway of public property and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions in wasteful leases, how this plan could help under-served communities get the resources they are demanding and deserve, and what DC residents can do in the next sixty days to pass legislation requiring the plan, and hold the city accountable to carrying it out. For more information, contact Parisa at Empower DC, 234-9119,


Ward One Democrats’ Meeting on Statehood, March 25
Bill O’Field,

The Ward One Democrats will hold a ward-wide meeting on Thursday, March 25, at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Edna Frazier Cromwell Community Room located on the second floor of the Reeves Municipal Center, 2000 Fourteenth Street, NW. The meeting’s agenda includes a panel discussion on “Statehood for DC Residents.”

Come learn about why we need statehood, the historical efforts to achieve it, and what’s happening now. The panel will be comprised of City Council Chairman Vincent Gray, Senator Michael Brown, DC Statehood Constitutional Convention President Charles Cassell, and Executive Director of the National Capital Area ACLU Johnny Barnes. This is your opportunity to learn how the District of Columbia would benefit from being a state and have your questions answered by the experts.

For more information, feel free to contact Chairman Sedrick Muhammad at or 719-0281 or Treasurer Bill O’Field at or 365-6641.


National Building Museum Events, March 27
Johanna Weber,

March 27, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day and Opening Ceremony Family Festival. Celebrate the opening of Washington’s cherry blossom season with a family festival that explores Japanese arts and design, Washington, DC, in the spring, and the official opening ceremony of the 2010 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Free drop-in program. All ages. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station.


Reforming DC Public Education, March 31
Cherita Whiting,

Reforming District of Columbia Public Education, a community forum on performance, evaluation, parental and community involvement, and review of District public school test scores, will be held on Wednesday, March 31, at the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 412. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Katharine Tobin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Performance Review, Office of Management, US Department of Education. Opening remarks will be given by Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray; closing remarks by Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. The panel will include Mary Levy, DCPS expert; Lee Glaser, DCPS parent; Maria James, DCPS parent; Nathan Saunders, WTU Vice-President; and Clifford B. Janey, former DCPS Superintendent.

This event is sponsored by the DC Federation of Civic Associations, DC Federation of Citizens Associations, Ward 4 Council on Education, and the Ward 5 Council on Education.


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