themail.gif (3487 bytes)

June 16, 2010


Dear Branders:

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 batteries.

It is in this tradition of brilliant corporate rebranding that DC Water and Sewer Authority officials decided to pretend to change its name,, 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 Radio Shack.

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.

Gary Imhoff


Jack Evans and Patton Boggs: Questions of Conflicts of Interest, Part Two
John Hanrahan,

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 (, “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,,, and 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, 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,

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 explanation.


Conflict of Interest
Ron Linton,

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 finances.


Is David Catania Serving the Best Interests of Youth in DC?
Richard Urban,

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,, 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,

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 Equality” ( 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.



Premiere Community Development Candidate Forum, June 17
Hazel Thomas,

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

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,

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 Avenue).

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, For more information, see the web site at


Christ United Methodist Church Open House and Flea Market, June 19
Terri Stroud,

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 Teen Choice Seminar, June 19
Richard Urban,

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 or call 558-5550. For more information, go to


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, June 18-19
John Stokes,

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 Kelly Melsted, Director of Environmental Initiatives at 258-5337.


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)