Radio Shack officials recently had a revelation. The company had an
image problem. Their image problem, corporate officials decided, was not
that it was always out of the particular small electrical part you went
to the store to get, and not that it made its clerks annoy you by asking
for your zip code and telephone number before they let you buy an
overpriced battery. The image problem, they decided, was that people
thought it was old-fashioned because of the “Radio” in its name. The
solution, they decided, was to change its name. Or, rather, to pretend
to change its name. The company would still officially be named Radio
Shack, but its would put up lots of signs in its stores calling it “The
Shack.” This awesome name change would make people think of the
company as cool and swinging, and make them eager to buy its overpriced
It is in this tradition of brilliant corporate rebranding that DC
Water and Sewer Authority officials decided to pretend to change its
DC WASA decided that its image problem was not that it had delivered
lead along with its drinking water, and not that its rates kept going
up, but that it had an old-fashioned name. DC WASA determined to shed
its past by rebranding itself. As with Radio Shack, the real name of DC
WASA won’t change; it will officially remain the DC Water and Sewer
Authority. But its nickname will be DC Water, written as DC with a blue
waterdrop symbol, like Prince changed his name to a symbol when he
became “the artist formally known as Prince.” This is way cooler
than changing your name to an actual word, so DC WASA is points ahead of
But it won’t make us forget the lead in the water, the broken water
mains, the problem with sewage treatment capacity, the rising water
bills. It’s not too much to expect DC Waterdrop to handle these
problems. After all, it claims that the entire cost of the name change
— the new signage, the new uniforms, the repainted equipment, the new
stationery, and so on — will be only $160,000. This is a government
that can’t redecorate a department director’s office for under
$160,000, so we already know that DC Waterdrop can perform miracles.
Jack Evans and Patton Boggs: Questions of Conflicts of Interest,
John Hanrahan, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the last issue of themail, I wrote about the conflict of interest
in Jack Evans’ attempt to give millions of dollars of incentives to
Northrop Grumman to relocate in the District of Columbia. Evans also has
been the driving force behind another legal imbroglio, the deal for $272
million in public financing that the DC council has approved for the
convention center hotel. This deal will benefit Marriott International,
its development partners, and private investors who are putting up the
other half of the project’s financing. This ongoing involvement has
come despite Evans having abruptly recused himself from the final vote
on the matter one year ago — reportedly, according to The Examiner on
July 1, 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/nk7f94),
“because his law firm, Patton Boggs, represents Marriott.” There has
been no press follow-up on this recusal and Evans’s continued
involvement in the matter. So which is it: recusal, or no recusal?
Conflict or no conflict? Newsworthy? I think so.
Likewise troubling is Evans’s on-again, off-again “recusal” of
last June on the convention center hotel deal for Marriott, for which he
has been the driving force for so many years. Why did he recuse himself
just before the final June 30 vote on the $272 million public financing
package? For years he led the drive for a public subsidy for the hotel
(now at $272 million, to the benefit of Marriott, its development
partners and investors), participated in all the discussions, steps and
votes, leading up to that final vote last June. His behind-the-scenes
efforts to rescue the hotel deal have been reported by both the Post
and Washington Business Journal, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/17/AR2010011702213_2.html,
None of these articles mentions his prior recusal.
Why, after his abrupt recusal, did Evans see fit to un-recuse himself
in recent months to help end the Marriott-JBG imbroglio? When, exactly,
did Marriott become a client of Patton Boggs, as reported by The
Examiner? What more evidence of a blatant conflict of interest (or
appearance of conflict) could there be than this? The only serious
questioning in the mainstream press of Evans’ potential for conflicts
over the convention center hotel and other big-ticket deals came in a
January 22, citizen’s opinion piece — by freelancer Peter Tucker —
in the Washington Post, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-opinions/2010/01/two_hats_on_the_dc_council.html.
But as of now, no one actually on the Post staff — reporter,
editorial writer, or columnist — has taken notice of this or the
Northrop Grumman/Breaux-Lott/Patton Boggs/Evans apparent conflict.
Part three of this E-mail will be in the June 20 issue of themail.
Mayor Fenty’s Lack of Transparency
David P. Frankel, Friendship Heights, Slovakdc@starpower.net
While I haven’t decided who I’ll vote for in the upcoming
Democratic primary for DC’s next mayor, it definitely will not be
Adrian Fenty. His government lacks transparency, as evidenced by
scandals such as those involving the donation of a DC fire truck to the
Dominican Republic town of Sosua and the failure to submit numerous $1
million plus contracts for parks and recreation projects to the DC
council for approval — contracts that enriched Mayor Fenty’s
fraternity brothers at the expense of DC taxpayers.
Even more troublesome to me, because of its direct impact on our
community, is his government’s decision not to release the two
alternative plans to build a private multistory residential building on
top of the western one-third of the Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood
Library and the Janney Elementary School soccer field. In late 2009, the
city reallocated $991,000 from a project to fund fire equipment to pay
for additional structural supports for the Library to allow for that
private residential building. The city also paid Jair Lynch Development
$28,000 to prepare a report setting out two private development
scenarios for the Library/Janney site.
Mayor Fenty’s government has refused to release, in response to a
FOIA request, the taxpayer-funded 23-page Jair Lynch report and related
E-mails. From the titles of attachments to one E-mail, it appears that
one development proposal calls for a rental building on top of part of
the Library and on Janney’s soccer field with 103 rental units and 122
parking spaces. The other development proposal calls for a rental
building on top of part of the Library and on Janney’s soccer field
with 155 units and 142 parking spaces. Presumably, the parking would be
under the Janney soccer field and access would be from Albemarle Street
somewhere between the Library and the Janney school building — but we
do not know because Mayor Fenty refuses to share these plans with us.
Importantly, the E-mail with these two attachments was dated July 14,
2009 — after Mayor Fenty announced his decision (on March 16, 2009) to
rebuild our Library and modernize Janney.
What exactly is Mayor Fenty trying to hide here? Why can’t the
community see its government’s plans for development on top of the
Library and on Janney’s soccer field? We paid over $1 million for the
structural supports and these plans. We have a right to see the plans
and discuss how they impact on our children. I welcome Mayor Fenty’s
There is an equally important question that should be looked at,
along with the conflict of interest charge in the private grants to the
school system. That is, should private foundations be allowed to set
public policy? Even where no conflict might exist grants with conditions
that supersede legislative decisions or executive responsibility make
bad public policy. Generally private foundation grants are used to
support services provided by publicly approved programs. They should not
contain provisions that change publicly vetted policies or, in the case
of making funds available for a general payroll, letting the elected
representatives of the people off the hook of managing the city’s
Is David Catania Serving the Best Interests of Youth in DC?
Richard Urban, Rurban@rufordc.com
The man under whose oversight the DC HIV/AIDS Administration couldn’t
even allocate one dollar to help youth stay abstinent to avoid
contracting HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, or any of the
other consequences of premature sex now wants to champion helping
strengthen families. This is ironic and hypocritical. Let’s look at
Catania’s record of youth “service.” Catania cosponsored
legislation that requires dangerous HPV shots for eleven-year-old girls.
Catania is a leader in the effort to redefine marriage. Catania’s
office has authored a Sexual Health Project Report, http://www.davidccatania.com/publicdocuments/YSHP.pdf,
that says ,“Sexuality encompasses sex, gender identities and roles,
sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction.”
A sexual health education curriculum for seventh to twelfth grade
proposed in this report instructs youth to view art that includes
homoerotic art by Jessica Walker, http://www.redbubble.com/people/porcelainpoet/art.
It seems ironic, and somewhat cynical that Catania says in his press
release of June 8 “Many of our kids are being raised without the
parenting and support they need to develop socially. Frequently, this
leads to behavioral problems and violence. This much is clear — the
District’s current approach to addressing these problems is not
working.” And who has brought us this current approach of passing out
ever more condoms and providing absolutely no character-based sexual
health education for our youth? David Catania. And why don’t David
Catania and others want to encourage character-based sexual health
education? If you look at the Sexual Health Project Report, it is based
on the idea that all kinds of sexual expression are healthy. Those that
are teaching about sexual abstinence are seen as a threat to this “anything
goes” view of sexuality. And studies show that youth who are not
virgins are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested and seven times more
likely to be suspended from school. So the type of policies that Catania
has been promoting work to harm, not help, youth. The policies mentioned
above that Catania has help enact do not strengthen families. They cause
direct harm to youth in the case of HPV shots and higher rates of STDs,
as well as high rates of pregnancy. Same-sex couples have higher rates
of HIV/AIDS and STDs and report higher rates of abusive relationships.
It is ironic that Catania suddenly wants to work with residents of Ward
8, where his popularity is extremely low, in this election year.
I wonder why a law firm was chosen to lead this effort. Shouldn’t
parents and members of the affected communities be the main force behind
reform efforts? It is interesting to note that the firm chosen, Nixon
Peabody, is listed as “One of the Best Places to work for LGBT
Could that have something to do with why this firm was chosen? In my
experience, under Chancellor Michelle Rhee, parents who want support for
their children to learn character and values have been shut out, while
groups that promote condoms and promote tolerance of alternative
lifestyles are welcome. It seems that the same principle is at work in
the formation of this law firm. DC communities that have been shaken by
violence, as well as all DC residents, should look more closely at
Catania’s record and then judge Catania’s effectiveness in
strengthening families. The very things Catania has been promoting
weaken families, and especially black families, like every more condoms,
no support for sexual abstinence (a proven prevention method), constant
promotion of acceptance of same sex lifestyles within a community that
is more interested in helping children succeed in life. Parents and all
DC citizens should look carefully at how Catania’s policies have had a
negative effect on the upcoming generation. Some of these bad effects
are the lack of the goal of family formation (out of wedlock birth and
sexual activity, a known factor in disease and poverty), health risks
(HIV/AIDs and other STD’s) and a lack of respect for the fact that
most residents want their kids to be encouraged to abstain, not to learn
about homoerotic artists, such as those recommended in the curriculum
that Catania promotes in his Sexual Health Project report.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Premiere Community Development Candidate Forum, June 17
Hazel Thomas, email@example.com
Please join Premier Community Development Corporation and the
Woodridge Civic Association for candidates’ forums for the 2010
primary election. Part I, the Ward Five Councilmember and Council Chair
Forum, will be held on June 17 at Bethesda Baptist Church Fellowship
Hall, 1808 Capitol Avenue, NE (near corner of Mt. Olivet Road and West
Virginia Avenue, 7:00-9:00 p.m. The topic will be jobs, the economy,
economic development, and community benefits/neighborhood preservation.
The candidates listed have picked up petitions for the September 14
elections. Chairman of the Council: Kwame Brown, Dorothy Douglas, Calvin
Gurley, Vincent Orange, James Walker; debate from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Ward
5 Member of the Council: Timothy Day, Kathy Henderson, Delano Hunter,
Kenyan McDuffie, Harry Thomas Jr., Tracey Turner; debate from 8:00 to
9:00 p.m. The moderator will be Deborah Simmons, Ward 5 resident and
senior correspondent with The Washington Times. In the “Rapid
Fire” segment of the forum, for about ten minutes or so, candidates
will be asked questions quickly on issues where answers can only be “yes”
or “no.” The questions will pertain to the theme. For further
information, leave a message at 239-0888 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part II, the Mayor and At-Large Council Forum, will be held on July
13 at Israel Baptist Church, 7:00-9:00p.m.
Ward 3 Democrats Monthly Meeting, June 17
Thomas M. Smith, email@example.com
The Ward Three Democratic Committee will hold a special community
dialogue with Councilmember At-large Kwame Brown, a candidate for DC
Council Chairman, to discuss critical issues of importance to the
community. The meeting will be held on Thursday, June 17, at 7:15 p.m.,
at The Washington Home, 3720 Upton Street, NW (two blocks off Wisconsin
The committee will conduct an endorsement vote for all offices
appearing on the September 14 Democratic Primary ballot. Prior to the
meeting (beginning at 7:00 p.m.), the committee will hold a special
caucus to fill open delegate slots in Precincts 7 (Foxhall), 8
(Palisades), 9 (Spring Valley), 10 (Wesley Heights), 11 (Glover Park),
12 (Cathedral Heights), 29 (McLean Gardens), and 31 AU Park). The
committee also will release the results of its Ward 3 Mayoral Straw Poll
conducted on June 10.
For more information, contact Thomas M. Smith, Chair, Ward Three
Democratic Committee, 364-7130, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, see the web site at www.DCWard3Dems.org
Christ United Methodist Church Open House and Flea Market, June 19
Terri Stroud, email@example.com
Christ United Methodist Church (located at 900 4th Street, SW, on the
corner of 4th and I Streets, SW) is having an Open House/Flea Market on
Saturday, June 19, at 9:00 a.m. There will be breakfast served from 9:00
a.m.-11:00 a.m. The cost is $5. The Flea Market will be from 9:00
a.m.-2:00 p.m. There will also be a bake sale, tours of the historic
church, a free DC hand dancing demo, and more.
ULTRA (Urban Life Training and Reality Assessment) Teen Choice
presents a seminar on HIV/AIDS prevention, premature pregnancy
prevention; setting goals; plus peer counselor training. Free admission.
Sponsored by the US Dream Academy. Saturday, June 19, 12:00 p.m.-3:00
p.m., at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith,
Annex, 1235 C Street, NE. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 558-5550. For more information, go to http://www.ultrateenchoice.org.
Department of Parks and Recreation Events, June 18-19
John Stokes, email@example.com
June 18, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Ferebee Hope Recreation Center, 3999
8th Street, SE. End of the School Year Celebration and Cookout for all
ages. Youth will cook out and enjoy the end of the school year
activities. For more information, call Greg Poag at 645-3917.
June 18, 4:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Kalorama Recreation Center, 1875
Columbia Road, NW. Close of School Cookout for all ages. Staff and
participants will grill hot dogs and hamburgers and serve chips and
juice/water to celebrate the end of the school year. For more
information, call John Borges, Site Manager, at 673-7606.
June 18, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th
Street, NE. TGIF Celebration for ages twelve and under. Youth will
participate in fun recreational and leisure activities to commemorate
the end of the 2009-2010 Afternoon Access Program. For more information,
call Karena Houser Hall, Recreation Specialist, at 698-3075.
June 18, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Joe Cole Recreation Center, 1200 Morse
Street, NE. Father’s Day Card Making for ages twelve and under. The
staff will work with children to make Father’s Day cards. For more
information, call 724-4876.
June 18, 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Hillcrest Recreation Center, 3100
Denver Street, SE. Out of School Cookout for all ages. Come and join the
Hillcrest staff in celebrating the end of the school year with lots of
food and fun. For more information, call Everette Scott at 645-9202.
June 18, 6:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m., Fort Davis Community Center, 1400 41st
Street, SE. Graduation Cookout for ages thirteen through nineteen.
Graduating teens at Fort Davis will invite friends and family to come
celebrate their special day with dancing, singing, and food. For more
information, call Elijah Fagan at 645-9212.
June 19, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., North Michigan Park Recreation Center,
1333 Emerson Street, NE. North Michigan Park Community Day for all ages.
Ward 5 Residents will enjoy a fun filled day of activities, including
food, games, music, and a father/son softball game. For more
information, call Joe Clark, Site Manager, at 541-3526.
June 19, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., Langdon Park Recreation Center, 2901
20th Street, NE. Basketball Teams Banquet for all ages. Banquet will
honor the basketball teams for their success, steadfast attitude, and
for bringing fun and team spirit to our children. Dinner will be served
and trophies presented. For more information, call T-Jai Farmer, Site
Manager, at 576-6596.
June 19, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th
Street, NW, Kennedy’s Summer Kickoff. Summer is here! Join Kennedy’s
community to jump start the summer program season with kickball,
horseshoes, sack races, food, moon bounce, and much more. For more
information, call Pamela Pugh at 671-4794.
June 19, 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100
Joliet Street, SW. Father’s Day Program for all ages. This program
will include a special presentation to all fathers. Entertainment,
awards, and a lavish lunch will be provided. For more information, call
Margie Robinson at 645-3962.
June 19, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Randall Ballfield, South Capitol
Street, SW. DPR Spring Citywide Soccer Championship Games for ages five
through twelve. DPR Spring Citywide Championship games mark the end of
DPR’s spring soccer program. The games bring together kids from all
over the city to compete for the city title in all age groups. For more
information, call Abdullah Tunis at 671-0314.
June 19, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Benning Stoddert Park. Backyard Wildlife
Habitat Workshops for all ages. Discover a unique urban blueberry
understory habitat. 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 http://www.ddoe.dc.gov/habitat
Kelly Melsted, Director of Environmental Initiatives at 258-5337.
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