themail.gif (3487 bytes)

June 2, 2010


Dear Stodgy Old-Timers:

There are two must-read articles in The Washington Examiner about the ballpark fiasco. The first is about how the tax that was supposed to be dedicated to paying off loans for building the baseball stadium is instead being raided to add to the general fund, Of course it is; didn’t we predict it? The DC government has a voracious, never-ending appetite for money, and you can’t trust any promise that any elected official makes about a dedicated fund. (The bag tax and the Anacostia River Clean-Up Fund, remember?) The second article is about how the phony promise of neighborhood revival through building the stadium was an empty illusion, Again, it’s just what we predicted. Governments are lousy engines of economic development, among other reasons because they have no incentive to do economically sound development. If a developer puts his own money into a project, or his bank’s money into it, he has to produce, or he’ll go broke and go out of business or get fired. The developer’s measure of success is that a project is profitable. The politician’s measure is success is just that the project gets built, whether it produces a profit or not and whether or not it produces the spin-off benefits that the politician promised. Politicians don’t gamble with their own money, they gamble with ours; and they don’t put any value on our money.


Martin Austermuhle, of DCist, doesn’t like you and me, and his dislike is shared by Martin Gross, formerly of DCist and now the temporary, fill-in Loose Lips columnist at Citydesk. On Tuesday, Gross wrote, “In Monday’s edition of DCWatch’s themail, Karl Jeremy says that David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington and all those pesky tweeters are in control of the DC budget and not DC councilmembers! DCist senior editor Martin Austermuhle tweets: ‘Ugh. DCWatch’s themail has become a sounding board for stodgy old-timers. There. I said it.’ Indeed you did, Martin.”

I think they’re jealous. By and large, commenters to themail are informed, intelligent, literate, and involved in the life of the city, and your postings are informative, polite, and not obscene. By and large, by contrast, the comments at DCist are . . . well, let’s just say they are different.


Another stodgy old-timer who agrees with Karl Jeremy is Harry Jaffe, who wrote on Tuesday that, “Streetcars? Gimmicky, unnecessary; unproved, and costly. Why try a 19th century technology to solve a 21st century problem? But streetcars appeal to the yuppies. The idea tickles their cute, toy city bone,” As a side note, Jaffe normally supports Fenty, but he admits in this article, “Fenty once was the favorite son whose political domain spread from both banks of the Anacostia River west to the Potomac; after spending his first term alienating most residents, his base is down to the white folks he has yet to diss and his family members — and favored contractors.”


In the last issue of themail, which was sent overnight on Sunday, I reprinted General John A. Logan’s General Orders No. 11, which first declared Memorial Day as a day to decorate soldiers’ graves in remembrance. On Monday morning, I opened the Washington Times to find that it had reprinted General Orders No. 11 as its lead editorial. This was entirely uncoordinated, but it was hardly coincidental; it was, after all, Memorial Day.

Gary Imhoff


Campaign Notebook — Candidates Forum, June 3
Dorothy Brizill,

On Thursday evening, June 3, three civic associations in Ward 3 — the Cleveland Park Citizens Associations, the Foxhall Community Citizens Association, and the Palisades Citizens Association — will hold a candidates forum with three of the leading Democratic candidates for mayor, Leo Alexander, Adrian Fenty, and Vincent Gray. The forum will being at 7:30 p.m., and will be held at the Field School, 2301 Foxhall Road, NW.

The sponsoring organizations had to change the location for the forum at the last minute when Attorney General Peter Nickles intervened and ruled that the civic organizations could not hold a candidates forum at a DC public school facility, the Key Elementary School. The organizations had completed the Application to Use DCPS Facilities, were in compliance with DCPS’ policies and procedures for the use of school facilities, and had been approved by DCPS’ Office of Realty. Then Nickles intervened and overruled DCPS’ Realty Office and legal counsel. The Attorney General’s office complained that the organizers weren’t including all the Democratic candidates for mayor, and implied that the meeting could be in violation of the federal Hatch Act and the District’s campaign finance laws and regulations.

On May 15, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, chair of the council’s Government Operations Committee, which oversees the Office of Campaign Finance and the Board of Elections and Ethics, held her reelection campaign at a DCPS facility, Murch Elementary School. The May 15 event was a true partisan political event, while the June 3 candidates forum is essentially a civic meeting. In both instances, DCPS’ Realty Office held that both events met DCPS’s guidelines for the use of its facilities. So what explains Nickles’ intervention to squelch the mayoral candidates’ debate?


Largess from the District’s Development Trough
Karl Jeremy,

Over the past three years, Adrian Fenty has shown great deference for developers who have helped fill his four million dollar war chest with campaign contributions. Michael Neibauer’s article, “Fenty Picks More Developers for Zoning Commission,”, casts light on Fenty’s design to ensure preferred development projects are approved by the Zoning Commission.

Immediately after assuming office, Fenty’s pro-development agenda came to light when he attempted to appoint Geoff Griffis to the Zoning Commission. Thanks to a group of Cleveland Park residents who opposed him, Griffis’ nomination was not approved. Never mind, Griffis remains a close Fenty friend, supporter and ally. Stanley Wall and Greg Selfridge, subjects of Niebauer’s article and Fenty’s latest nominations to the Zoning Commission, are young and eager to feed at the District’s development trough. A position on the Zoning Commission assures doors will open for them in the future when hot development opportunities present themselves. Meanwhile, these young “zoning experts” have nothing on which to base their decisions except what is whispered in their ears by fellow developers and the former Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

Don’t misunderstand, I appreciate the value of development and the income it generates for the city, but decision makers need to place value on individual investments in residential areas of the city. To head the Office of Planning and advocate for development, Fenty named Harriet Tregoning, a disciple of smart growth, who along with Mary Cheh supports increased density throughout the city’s residential neighborhoods. It is Tregoning’s staff who review and recommend zoning cases to the Zoning Commission, and if that isn’t enough, folks, the Office of Planning is also overseeing the rewrite of the Zoning Regulations and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.

Now you know. Fenty will continue to advance developers’ needs in return for their largess. Already in key positions, Neil Albert, Harriet Tregoning, and Jamie Weinbaum will continue to serve as the mayor’s agents of change and guarantee needed zoning and land use recommendations are approved by inexperienced members of the Zoning Commission.


Federal Funds to Maryland for Snow Disaster Approaching $4 Million
Stanford Ledbetter,

[See, “Federal Funds To Maryland For Snow Disaster Approaching $4 Million”: “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated $3,898,000 in Public Assistance (PA) funds for the State of Maryland. The funds will help in speeding the recovery process and help jurisdictions return to normal operations. Costs associated with the December 2009 severe winter storm and snowstorm will be reimbursed at 75 percent.”]

So Maryland is getting four million dollars in federal funds to help reimburse Maryland for the snow last December. What is DC getting for the December storm? This is just for the December storm; the February storm was a separate event with separate federal funds.


Android Cell Phone Help Offered
Phil Shapiro,

Are you thinking of buying an Android phone (Google phone) from Verizon? I can give you a free hour lesson using my Android phone — and just ask that you let me tell Verizon I referred you. I receive a $25 referral fee — and so do you — if that’s a route you’d like to take.

I currently recommend the HTC Droid Eris over the Motorola Droid phone. The HTC lacks the pull out keyboard, but I’ve not used the pull out keyboard in the six months that I’ve had my Motorola Droid. The Droid keyboard might have some appeal to teen texters, but I find it to be almost unusable ergonomically. (The keys barely press down one nanometer.) The HTC Droid Eris is less expensive than the Motorola Droid — and matches it very closely in features.


Political Advertisements
Denise Wiktor,

Gary, I was wondering, as we head into the silly season could postings from people campaigning and those supporting a particular candidate be put in a different section, maybe before ads or with ads? I was just going over some missed mails to read a piece by someone I’d never heard of only to find out at the end he was running at large. That and increasingly reading “interruptions” from the mayoral candidates distract from the pleasure of the debate in the rest of themail. This is sent as a faithful reader of themail, and not in any other capacity I may have in life.

[What is the pleasure of themailers? Separate section or not? — Gary Imhoff]


InTowner Street Crimes Reports Updated Through May 4
P.L. Wolff,

The Selected Street Crimes feature is available on our web site by clicking the Street Crimes button directly below that for Community News. It is now updated through May 4 and has been added to the archived reports back to July 3, 2009.



DPR Summer Camp Registration, June 3
John Stokes,

Register now for Department of Parks and Recreation summer camps and summer rec camps. Camps for children aged six through thirteen years old are at various locations. They run Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., from June 21 to August 20, and are free. Before and after care is available for an additional cost. Register in person or online at or For more information, visit the Camp Office at 1480 Girard Street, NW, or call 671-0372 or 671-0396.


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, June 3-6
John Stokes,

June 3, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Barry Farm Recreation Center, 1230 Sumner Road, SE. Full Collaborative Meeting and Community Resource Fair for all ages. At this event will recognize all Spring Summer Mini Grant Awardees during the Business meeting that will be held at the Barry Farm Recreation Center. During this event you will have the opportunity to engage youth and their parents from the Ward 8 community about your program we encourage you to use this time to register them for your programs, Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative (FSFSC).

June 5, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Guy Mason Community Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW. Glover Park Day for all ages. Glover Park Day will feature a fair, food, games, and fun activities for the kids. Also live entertainment will be provided. For more information, call Caryl King at 282-2180.

June 5, 10:00 a.m., Banneker Recreation Center, 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW. Registration for Wards 1 and 2 Pop Warner Blitz Football for ages five through seventeen. Registration fee $50.00. For more information, call one of the coaches: Coach Antuan Peterson at Marie Reed Recreation Center, 673-7768; Coach Henry Plater at Banneker Recreation Center, 673-6861; or Coach Fred Brown at Kennedy Recreation Center, 671-4794.

June 5, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Lafayette Recreation Center, 5900 33rd Street, NW, 2010 Panther Football Combine Clinic for ages five through eleven. Training will offer offensive and defensive drills, special clinics for quarterbacks, center, and kicker positions, individual skill assessment, and summer fitness skills in preparation for the upcoming football season. For more information, call Rachael PremDas, 282-2206.

June 5, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center, 501 Riggs Road, NE. Murals, Murals, Murals! For all ages. Participants will work with “City Year” to help beautify, design, and paint murals. For more information, call Shirleta Settles at 576-5224.

June 5, 12:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Ridge Road Recreation Center, 800 Ridge Road, SE. Stop the Violence Day for all ages. Join Ridge Road staff and the community for Stop the Violence Day. This event will provide food, and games for the community. For more information, call Sonny Hicks at 645-3959.

June 5, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Douglas High School, 8000 Croom Road, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. USATF Local Qualifier Meet for ages six through eighteen. First of many meets where athletes from the Prince George’s County South and Washington DC Region compete in track and field events that qualify an athlete for the 2010 USATF Junior Olympics. In order to qualify for the Association Championships, each athlete must place in the Top 6 of their respective events. For more information, call Edgar Sams, 671-0314.

June 5, registration at 10:00 a.m., meet begins at 11:00 a.m., Spingarn High School, 2500 Benning Road NE. DC Hershey Track and Field Meet for ages nine through fourteen. DC Hershey Track and Field Meet is a track and field event held for athletes aged nine through fourteen that compete in running and field events. The time of winners who qualify in their respective events will be submitted to the regional committee to determine the participants who will advance to the National Games. DC will have a minimum of five participants to advance to the National Games Track Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

June 5, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Edgewood. Meet the MET, Community Gardening and Clean up Event for all ages. Join the Friends of Edgewood group in cleaning up the park area and installing a new community garden. For more information, call Kelly Melsted, Director of Environmental Initiatives, at 258-5337.

June 5, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Palisades Recreation Center, 5200 Sherrier Place, NW. Backyard Wildlife Habitat Workshops for all ages. Discover the special environment of the Potomac Gorge with nature and wildlife specialists from around the area. We will be planting River Oats on a full sun slope overlooking the gorge. Workshop will consist of lectures, site assessments, and a hands on session in which participants plant a demonstration garden. Participants will receive a “habitat kit” to get them started creating wildlife habitat at home. Register online at For more information, call Kelly Melsted, Director of Environmental Initiatives, at 258-5337.

June 5, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., Southeast Tennis & Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE. Phresh Phly, and Phenom Third Annual Run-Way Youngin’s Fashion Show. Sew and Know participants will be displaying fashions on the runaway including three guest designers. For more information, call Janice Rankins at 645-6242.

June 6, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Turkey Thicket Community Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE. Mystics Youth Summer Basketball League Opening Ceremony for ages twelve through eighteen. The Washington Mystics, DPR, and the Greater Washington Sports Alliances will have an opening ceremony for the 2010 Mystics Youth Summer League at Turkey Thicket. The Washington Mystics players and coaching staff will hold a coaches and players basketball clinic for the forty teams and coaches who will compete in the league this summer. The summer season starts June 21-August 15 at six DPR sites. For more information, call Toby Strong at 316-2385.


Tennis Tournament Registration Closes June 3
John Stokes,

June 10-13, 4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. (June 10-11), 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (June 12-13), Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue NE. DC Closed Youth Championships DPR in partnership with Tennis at Shiloh, a USTA Tennis Tournament for DC residents aged eight through eighteen. Girls and boys from the District in various age groups (10, 12, 14, 16, &18’s) in this sanctioned USTA -Mid-Atlantic, Washington, DC, Tennis Tournament. This tournament is in partnerships with The Tennis at Shiloh and the Washington Tennis Association. Entries close on Thursday, June 3 at 11:59 p.m. For more information, contact Jeff Mays at 391-9188.


Classic Cars in Dupont Circle, June 5
Paul Williams,

Join Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets for the first annual Dupont Classic Car Show, part of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets “First Saturday” Events! Nearly twenty-five fantastically classic cars will be on display from the Straight Eights Car Club, a local DC chapter of the Lambda Car Club, this Saturday, June 5, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the PNC Parking Lot (site of the Dupont Farmers market at 1919 Massachusetts Avenue, NW). This event is free. More information on our Facebook invite page at:


National Building Museum Events, June 8-9
Johanna Weber,

June 8, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Preparing for the Big One: Assessing American Building Codes. Recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile have reinforced the importance of building codes. Are regions in the United States just as vulnerable to a catastrophic earthquake? Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Geological Survey, and the International Code Council discuss the state of seismic building codes around the country. $12 for members, free for students, $20 for nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability.

June 9, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Smart Growth, Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities. For many years urban parks across the US sank into decay and disuse. However, as cities have begun to rebound, investment in these valuable facilities has increased. Peter Harnik, director, Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land, presents the newest ideas for cities to add much-needed parkland. A book signing follows the lecture. 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


themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and Sunday. To change the E-mail address for your subscription to themail, use the Update Profile/Email address link below in the E-mail edition. To unsubscribe, use the Safe Unsubscribe link in the E-mail edition. An archive of all past issues is available at

All postings should be submitted to, and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can be put into each mailing.


Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)