themail.gif (3487 bytes)

November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Washingtonians:

Don’t forget to celebrate, and to let yourselves be happy.


Mayor Fenty has finally put his budget proposal on the table (, so the city council budgeteers now have to put on their budgeteer hats and set off for the vast outer reaches of untracked budget space (, My guess is that they’ll come back with space junk, rather than gems. DC’s budget has grown rapidly since the Control Board was buried (though, as in Carrie and every horror movie since Carrie, the Control Board’s corpse isn’t rotting in its grave, but is simply waiting for someone to take a careless walk nearby, so that it can reach out and . . . well, that’s best left to your imagination). But cutting the budget’s fat can’t be done by trimming just the line items that the council has on the cutting slab.

Fenty and the city council will look for savings and cuts in the programs that serve citizens, where they’ll be lucky if they find spare change. They won’t look for savings and make cuts in the big-ticket programs where the real waste is. They’ll continue to flatter themselves that they’re first-rate city planners and developers, that they’re better businessmen than the people who really do business, and they’ll continue to offer multi-million dollar grants and tax breaks to companies who, in return for free or cut-rate land and massive construction subsidies, hold out the promise of returning big tax payments to the city two or three decades from now, when their tax forgiveness programs run out. Cut a few of these big projects, the ones that cost tens and hundreds of millions of dollars and that politicians pursue as trophies proving their greatness, and we can keep the bulk of our programs intact.


As long as we’re looking for smaller cuts in the budget, though, as long as we’re looking for pay and staffing cuts in the District government, let’s start with cuts in the staffing of the mayor’s office and the council, and with cuts in the top pay levels — for the mayor, councilmembers, and the many high-paid administrators who make more than the mayor. Their pay has grown at a much higher rate than that of lower level government employees, and their pay can stand much deeper cuts now. Councilmembers and top administrators shouldn’t ask for more sacrifice from the line workers than they are willing to make themselves.

Gary Imhoff


Vic Miller,

There is something very dispiriting in seeing Washington, DC’s, elite exulting about spending a quarter of a billion of taxpayer dollars on subsidizing the construction of a convention hotel, and then a week later seeing our new mayor telling us that we have to cut at least an equivalent amount from budgets that provide services to those same taxpayers.

It does seem that someone, perhaps (gasp!) the media, should dig for an explanation.


Parker’s Last Acts of Desperation
Candi Peterson,

In the first Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) election, two out of three teachers voted against WTU holdover President George Parker, whose constitutional term ended June 30. Since those results were tallied, the Liz Davis/Emily Washington slate and Chris and Ben Bergfalk slate endorsed the Nathan Saunders slate, on which I am running for the WTU General Vice President seat. Parker’s loss to Saunders has brought out the worst in him. In the final leg of the WTU race, Parker’s last acts of desperation reveal an underbelly of petulance, lies, small minded mean spiritedness, and pure hate.

The Parker campaign conducted mass robo-calling using union resources, which included repeated reminders about dental benefits and promises of meetings with teachers and another survey on IMPACT under the guise of conducting union business. Of late, Parker has distributed hundreds of pamphlets to schools that instill fear that a vote for Nathan Saunders will result in our union going backwards neglecting the fact that for the last six years under Parker’s leadership, WTU members’ democratic rights were destroyed, teachers’ due process rights have been trampled, and a thousand teachers lost their jobs under the Fenty/Rhee administration. Parker in his hate literature has alleged spurious, false, and exaggerated allegations about Nathan Saunders’ work history and left out pertinent details regarding an American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Executive Council investigation that resulted in a September 17 order that Parker and the WTU Executive board approve Saunders’ leave of absence and back pay forthwith. If we are to go down this road, then the obvious question is how these treasonous acts of Parker, subverting the WTU Constitution, as well as his refusal to comply with an AFT order from our parent organization, should be handled ? Further, how much is Parker paid in salary, how much salary should he (Parker) forgo by his refusal to have union membership and representative assembly meetings over the past year, his refusal to hold a timely union election last May as required by the WTU Constitution and refusal to comply with AFT’s Order?

Parker’s campaign has become an abomination, hell-bent on victory no matter the cost to teachers and school personnel. Hollow promises, empty promises, and more absurd promises have been made to union members. Parker will meet with teachers, provide edible treats and salacious lies, while guaranteeing teachers higher impact scores and better working conditions if they promise to vote for him. Parker’s latest campaign trick is offering to pick up union members ballots from their homes during the Thanksgiving season.

Residents understood teachers’ plight and voted against Mayor Fenty in part because of Saunders/Peterson activism in the community, media, and courtroom. Now, teachers must vote for progressive leadership with the Saunders/Peterson Slate. There is less than one week to vote in WTU’s runoff election. Mail your ballot now and mark it for the Saunders slate.


“Sensors and Sensibilities: A Smarter World Faces Many Hurdles”
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com

From this article in The Economist,, (emphasis added):

“For a city to offer smart services and save money, its departments have to work closely together, share their data and use a common IT infrastructure. London, for instance, has different payment systems for public transport, bicycle hire, and toll roads. Such fragmentation is costly and makes it more difficult to come up with new offers (say, reducing the congestion charge for those who often hire a bicycle). But getting a city’s islands of bureaucracy to work together tends to be difficult, says Mark Cleverley of IBM, who helps governments and cities develop plans for smart systems. The problem is not just that departments often jealously protect their data, something experts call TEP, as in ‘turf, ego and power.’”


“Expansion of Bike Lanes in New York Brings Backlash”
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com

From this article in the New York Times,

“Over the last four years, the streets of New York City have undergone a transformation: more than 250 miles of traffic lanes dedicated for bicycles have been created, and several laws aimed at promoting cycling have been passed. The efforts by the Bloomberg administration have placed New York City at the forefront of a national trend to make bicycling viable and safe even in the most urban of settings. Yet over the last year, a backlash has taken hold. . . . Outside the city, bikes have begun creeping into political battles this year. The Republican nominee for governor of Colorado, Dan Maes, wondered during the primary whether bicycles were part of a nefarious plot to ruin the nation’s cities. More seriously, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who lost his bid for reelection in Washington, found himself painted as out of touch with residents, in part because of his connection to new bike paths.”


Planners Versus Residents
Allison Bickers, Barney Circle,

I believe that you miscalculate and over generalize your assumptions in your November 21 column [introduction, themail] as to whom residents of the District of Columbia might prefer for the Office of Planning and the Department of Transportation. I am a resident and I support Smart Growth. Your description of Smart Growth is not wholly accurate and cuts short some of its most beneficial aspects. I don’t believe, based on your letter to residents, that I will change your mind about this. However, I do believe that you should know your generalization is far from accurate of who supports Gabe [Klein] and [Harriet] Tregoning and who does not. I am a resident and very much appreciate the job they have done as the heads of their agencies. I have friends involved in the Committee of 100 that I respect, so don’t believe that I discount their opinion. Please recognize that there are a variety of residents in the District of Columbia who appreciate the move towards increased walkability — a concept that was fully functional with the streetcar system until the 1950’s in the District of Columbia. The car is a recent arrival in its history and the newest generation of residents don’t give it nearly the credence that Baby Boomers do. That’s why the city is attractive to young residents over the suburbs.


Residents Versus Residents
Jesse B. Rauch,

Gary, I wish to dash a quick note to you in regards to “Planners Versus Residents,” [themail, November 21] Please note that I am a strong Gray supporter. I do not believe that your characterization of the “planners versus residents” is correct — I am a resident and I believe in many of the principles espoused by the planners you mention. I am a supporter of “smart growth,” which can also be described as “livable and walkable.”

Since I do not own a car, I ride my bicycle to get around, and Ms. Tregoning and Mr. Klein have been doing a yeoman’s work in making it safer to get around — in a green and sustainable way. Yup, even following traffic rules, I have been boxed in, grazed, and it won’t be long until I am put in an unsafe position. What Dave Alpert [Greater Greater Washington] often talks about is how I, too, can feel safe in my city.

I am happy to say that I am not alone in my support for their policies — not by far. If you wish to describe “smart growth” as a fad, then I invite you to read Jane Jacobs, who published The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961. Ms. Tregoning and Mr. Klein may be using newer technology, but it’s certainly not faddish or even part of this century! Bike lines are not faddish either — the first bike lanes were conceived in the 1890s, possibly along the Ocean Parkway in New York.

So, isn’t this really about different preferences among residents? I believe residents versus residents is a fairer description of the situation. The Committee of 100 and the Ward 3 Democrats certainly don’t represent me — as a proud Capitol Hill resident, I feel blessed for all of the transportation options that I have (well-placed bus lines, Metro and a new streetcar, plus Capitol Bikeshare and more bike lanes).


Unequivocal Support for MPD Assistant Chief Groomes
Naomi J. Monk,

I believe that Assistant Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Diane Groomes is one of the best, if not the best, police officer I have ever worked with. She is one of the most accountable, dependable, responsible and trustworthy persons I have ever known during my lifetime of 73 years. I have been a coordinator and facilitator for Police Service Area 104 (which was 110 and 107) since December 1999 to the present for the lack of anyone else’s stepping forward to perform this worthy job to improve safety amongst all in our neighborhood for free. PSA 104 has community meetings eleven months of the year. I have only missed three meetings from December 1999 to November 2010.

In my decade of working with other noteworthy Commanders and other policemen and women, Assistant Chief Groomes has been extraordinarily outstanding. When an incident of safety or crimes comes about, I have always been able to count on her to address these concerns promptly, like within minutes. She has the utmost compassion for all the people she service but upholds the law at all times while doing so.

It is so very important to support Assistant Chief Groomes starting yesterday, for there are those who do not wish her well. These people will state negativity over and over again to the point that an overall negative perception of Assistant Chief Groomes will occur that will prevail and stick regardless of the outcome of the investigation results.


Diane Groomes
Vic Miller, Adams Morgan,

My thanks to Mary C. Williams for her offering her unconditional support for MPD Assistant Chief Diane Groomes. I would like to also add my support.

During her period working in my immediate neighborhood of Adams Morgan (MPD District 3), no officer was more effective or more respected than Diane Groomes.

I cannot imagine a circumstance where Diane Groomes would knowingly act to bring disrespect to her uniform and to the force she has served so well.


DPR Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule
John Stokes,

In observance of Thanksgiving Day, all DC Department of Recreation (DPR) facilities will be closed on Thursday, November 25. On Friday, November 26, DPR will open the following recreation centers and aquatic facilities.

Recreation Centers: Ward 1, Banneker Community Center, 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW, 673-6861; Parkview Recreation Center, 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 693 Otis Place, NW, 576-5750. Ward 2, Kennedy Recreation Center, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 1401 7th Street, NW, 671-4794; Volta Park Recreation Center, 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 1555 34th Street, NW, 645-5668. Ward 3, Chevy Chase Community Center, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m., 5601 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 282-2204; Stoddert Recreation Center, 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 4001 Calvert Street, NW, 282-2193. Ward 4, Emery Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m., 5701 Georgia Avenue, NW, 576-3211; Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m., 501 Riggs Road, NE, 576-5224. Ward 5, Trinidad Recreation Center, 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 1310 Childress Street, NE, 727-1293; Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE, 576-9238. Ward 6, King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 201 N Street, SW, 645-7454; Sherwood Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 640 10th Street, NE, 698-3075. Ward 7, Deanwood Community Center, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 1350 49th Street, NE, 671-3077; Fort Davis Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m., 1400 41st Street, SE, 645-9212. Ward 8, Douglass Community Center, 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 2100 Stanton Terrace, SE, 645-3980; Fort Stanton Recreation Center, 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 1812 Erie Street, SE, 645-3970.

Aquatic Centers: Ward 3, Wilson Aquatic Center, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., 4551 Fort Drive, NW, 730-0583; Ward 7, Deanwood Aquatic Center, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., 1350 49th Street, NE, 671-3078.



Drayton Hall program on Palladian Architecture, December 1
Tara Miller,

Located near Charleston, South Carolina, Drayton Hall is considered one of the finest and oldest examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States. George W. McDaniel, Drayton Hall’s executive director, and Carter C. Hudgins, director of preservation, will give an illustrated talk about this National Trust property that dates to 1738. The program is moderated by Carl I. Gable, president of the Center for Palladian Studies in America. This program is presented in cooperation with the Center for Palladian Studies in America. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW (Judiciary Square Metro, Red Line), Wednesday, December 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

$12 for members of the National Building Museum, Friends of Drayton Hall, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America, and Center for Palladian Studies in America; $20 for nonmembers; $12 for students with valid ID. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability. To register, visit or call 272-2448. Complimentary tickets available for press with proper credentials. For more information, contact Tara Miller,, 272-2448, ext. 3201


DC Revenue Bond Program — A View from a Panel of Experts, December 2
Parisa Norouzi,

The Washington, DC, Economic Partnership will present a panel discussion of the DC Revenue Bond program at the Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street, SW, a DC Revenue Bond funded project, on Thursday, December 2, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. The District of Columbia Revenue Bond Program provides below market interest rate loans to qualified private enterprises that are located in the Enterprise Zone as well as nonprofit and manufacturing organizations citywide.

Join our distinguished panel: Richard Newman, Arent Fox; Karen Wasserman, JPMorgan Chase; Chuck Procknow, George K. Baum; Joe Berardelli, Arena Stage; John Gibb, Jones, Lang LaSalle; J.R. Clark, Squire Sanders, and Dempsey; Sean Glynn, Arent Fox; and William Liggins, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. They will discuss bond topics including: Why Bonds? Rate Advantage and Eligibility; Credit Profiles, Terms, and Covenants; the Rating Process; Public vs. Private Sales; Dealing With the Government; Buying vs. Leasing; Office Condos; Conduit Process; and Real Estate Tax Exemption.

This program is part of WDCEP’s speaker lecture series, inDC, which provides insightful, interactive discussions and high-level networking opportunities that feature emerging, candid, and thought-provoking conversations with DC’s most compelling leaders, thinkers, newsmakers, and authors. With an emphasis on economic development, the program is designed as a high-level networking opportunity that will offer insight and encourage interactive discussion.


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)