William O’Field writes below about the candidates who have
registered to pick up petitions to run for the at-large councilmember
seat vacated by Kwame Brown. It’s a short campaign period with a big
field, and there’s no party primary, so it could be a very interesting
and surprising election. It’s a nonparty election, so a Republican or
Statehood-Green candidate has a chance to slip in, against what is now
an almost all-Democratic field, with two independents. Does any big-foot
or long-shot candidate want to enter at the last moment? Do you have a
preference among the announced candidates, or for another potential
In the last issue of themail, Dorothy asked for your wish lists for
the Gray administration. So far, we’ve had only one response. Do you
wish for different appointees, different priorities, more emphasis on
other subjects? Or are you completely satisfied?
Also in the last issue of themail, I suggested that the mayor and
city council refrain from subsidizing a few large-ticket development
projects before they cut other government programs or raise taxes and
fees. If anyone agrees, do you have a project you would suggest cutting?
If anyone disagrees, do you think government subsidies for development
projects are so valuable that they should take a higher priority than
other government programs or than preventing higher taxes?
Citizens have the most influence on local government in the few
months before an election, when politicians are anxious to make promises
that will please citizens, and in the first few months after an
election, when they are setting their priorities for the next political
term. Get in your bids now.
In the last issue of themail, there was a message attributed to Toni
Ritzenberg. It was submitted under her name and E-mail address, but she
tells me that she didn’t send it and that her E-mail address must have
been spoofed, so I have removed it from the online version of themail,
and ask you to ignore it in your E-mail version.
Parsing the Inaugural Addresses
Len Sullivan, firstname.lastname@example.org
As an American octogenarian who first visited my capital city in the
late ’30’s, and has since been embarrassed often by it’s public
(global) persona, I scanned last Sunday’s inaugural addresses with
keen interest and some skepticism. That both our new mayor and chairman
emphasized continuing to try to improve public school education is good
news, particularly in the higher grades, and with greater focus on
parental participation. But after a decade of plugging away on this
theme with NARPAC http://www.narpac.org),
the failure to recognize that many of this fall’s unprepared parents
were last spring’s unprepared high-schoolers leaves me disappointed.
“Recycling” DCPS dropouts — or at least teaching them how to read
(and be parents!) — should become a mandated city function.
The new chairman’s emphasis on both fiscal belt-tightening and
municipal agency watch dogging was reassuring but obvious. But as long
as DC fawns over a Chief Financial Officer who presents himself as a
(pseudo-) “humble bookkeeper,” instead of hiring a bulldog
program/budget analyst, the council’s amateur politicos will have
little sway over the city’s professional bureaucrats. Failure to
acknowledge DC’s economic dependence on — and essential physical
linkages to — its daytime workforce is disturbing. So is ignoring its de
facto role as the region’s poorhouse.
The mayor’s promise to work much more closely with the White House
and Cabinet (and the Congress as well?) is of key importance.
Establishing an office to work with federal and elected officials who
also want to restore our capital city’s global image would be much
more productive than demanding to become our smallest, poorest, dumbest,
sickest, united state. DC doesn’t need more earmarks: it needs to
become a unique national institution. Why not just work the Feds, keep
Ms. Norton on the Hill, and find a way to get DC residents a greater
voice in Congress without the deceptive trappings of statehood?
The mayor used NARPAC’s “P-word” seven times, but only to stir
residents’ pride their city. DC has an inescapable and unique
obligation to all Americans, many of whose expectations for their
capital city go well beyond low buildings, trolleys, and bike racks.
Sadly, there was no mention of DC’s potential role as the essential
core city of our nation’s eighth largest metropolitan area. DC isn’t
destined to be a separate state: it’s the world’s most famous urban
hub. That neither the mayor nor the chairman deigned to stake out a
relationship with DC’s faster-growing, wealthier, smarter, healthier
suburbs is a worrisome failure. DC can’t afford to display itself as
some remote, self-indulgent island populated by smalltime idiosyncratic
xenophobes. Large metro areas are now the heart of US socioeconomic
growth and global competitiveness (though not represented per se
in Congress). DC should lead this inescapable evolution, not appear to
ignore or thwart it.
Special Election for At-Large Member of the DC
City Council, April 26
Bill O’Field, email@example.com
The DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) will hold a city-wide
Special Election on Tuesday, April 26, to fill a vacancy for At-Large
Member of the DC city council created when Councilmember Kwame Brown
successfully beat back his opponents to win the office of Chairman of
the Council in last year’s Primary and General Elections.
According to the DCBOEE web site, at http://www.dcboee.org,
thirteen candidates have picked up nominating petitions to qualify for
ballot access for the Special Election. They are Ward 1 Democrats
Stanley Mayes and Dottie Love Wade; Ward 4 Democrats Leo Alexander,
Sekou Biddle, Calvin Gurley, and Joshua Lopez; Ward 5 Independent George
Jackson; Ward 5 Democrat Vincent Orange; Ward 6 Independent Arkan Haile;
Ward 6 Independent Alan Page; Ward 6 Democrat Kelvin Robinson; Ward 7
Democrat Dorothy Douglas; and Ward 8 Democrat Jacque Patterson.
To qualify for ballot access, each candidate is required to file
three thousand signatures of registered DC voters (without regard to
party) on their nominating petition with the DCBOEE no later than 5:00
p.m. on Wednesday, February 16, which are subject to a ten day challenge
period. The challenge period will run from Saturday, February 19,
through Thursday, February 28.
Freeze Salaries for DC Employees
Maureen Flanagan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Why can the federal government freeze salaries for its employees
without issue, and the DC government, whose service is often marginal
and probably will get worse under a Gray administration, not freeze
salaries? Are we still operating under the attitude of the Barry
administration’s guarantee of DC government jobs for friends, campaign
supporters, and cronies?
William Haskett again writes that the DC city council needs to
discuss a lowering of the Estate Tax for District residents to match the
new Federal limit. Yawn!
As I stated in my last response, this is a tax that effects only
about 1 percent of DC taxpayers. Worrying about a fair tax policy for
the 99 percent of DC residents who do not stand to inherit over one
million dollars is more important than lowering the tax of those who are
the 1 percent wealthiest of DC residents. Someone needs to pay taxes if
we want to continue to live in the greatest country in the world. Having
the 1 percent of the wealthiest pay some taxes after they have passed
away is something that is fair. To quote Bill Gates, Sr.: “A common,
and misguided, criticism of the estate tax is that individuals who work
hard and save their money should be entitled to pass on the fruits of
that labor to their family. I am not against working hard, saving money,
or taking care of your family.
“We must acknowledge that the person who accumulates wealth in this
country was not able to do that independently. The simple fact of living
in America, a country with stable markets and unparalleled opportunity
fueled in part by government investment in technology and research
(something my family has plenty of firsthand experience of), provide an
irreplaceable foundation for success and have created a society which
makes it possible for some men, women and their children to live an
elegant life. So I believe that those of us who have benefited so
greatly from our country’s investment in our lives should be asked to
give a portion of our wealth back to invest in opportunities for the
My Wish List for the Gray Administration
Wendy Glenn, email@example.com
I started this journey with Chairman Gray on March 30, and saw it to
its successful fruition on January 2; I am proud to now call Chairman
Gray, Mayor Gray. Finally, I feel like we, as a city and as a community,
have won! You [Dorothy Brizill, themail, January 2] asked a very
poignant question, one that I think every District resident and native
Washingtonian should look introspectively to answer; it will invoke a
different response for everyone. As for my family and me, we would want
Mayor Gray to “return DC residents to work.” This has to be priority
No. 1. Qualified and competent District residents should be the first to
be considered for employment in their own government and in the First
Source Employment Program. There is a true need to return qualified
professionals to a place where we can contribute once again, to our
families and our government.
As I wrote in a letter to Tim Craig, in response to his article
entitled “DC’s Ward 8 pins its hopes for economic improvement on
Mayor-elect Gray,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/28/AR2010122803346.html.
I had the distinct pleasure and honor of working on the Vince Gray for
Mayor campaign in/with Ward 8 residents. I worked with current
unemployed residents of Ward 8 who are Ivy League and Big Ten college
graduates (Purdue and Dartmouth just to name a few), former mayoral
cabinet members (former Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic
Development and former DOES Chief of Staff), former DC councilmembers,
attorneys, doctors, educators, and many hard working homeowners, federal
government civil servants, and military personnel. This is the Ward 8
that I know and am extremely proud of. This is the Ward 8 that voted for
Mayor Gray in historic numbers. This is the Ward 8 that secured a 16-0
victory for Mayor Gray, both in the primary and general elections, and
never wavered in their support. This is the Ward 8 that gave both sweat
equity and money to this very worthwhile campaign because we believed in
both the message and the messenger. Those who truly have supported Mayor
Gray when he had limited to no support, the men and women of Washington,
DC, who gave of themselves and all that we had, either through
undaunting work ethic or by giving money that we “truly” did not
have, just be able to, in some small way, ensure the success of the One
City campaign. I like to call it the “all guts and no glory campaign.”
It has always shocked me the number of District residents who are
receiving unemployment insurance and the number of District residents
who are eagerly awaiting a return to work. These are the residents who
were displaced from employment because they were not favored by the
Fenty Administration. It further shocks me that over 50 percent of DC
government workers live in outlying counties and jurisdictions, with the
District having no means of taxing their income at its source. Returning
citizens to work would accomplish two very necessary goals; it would
eliminate the burden to our unemployment roles and it would increase to
amount of taxable revenue to the city.
No one but this group of unemployed District residents can truly
understand the emotional turmoil that was this past holiday/Christmas
season caused because we “suffered in silence” for the benefit of
family and friends. Many of us did not celebrate the holidays because we
had nothing to celebrate, many of us have lost or are on the verge of
losing our homes, many of us have had children who have either had to
leave college or not start at all because of the lack of income and
resources. Many of us gave of ourselves this holiday season to keep each
other encouraged because we had no money to do otherwise.
We are the homeowners, renters, and taxpayers who have paid our taxes
and supported our government even when it was not supporting us. We are
the mothers and fathers who, as Mayor Gray stated in his inauguration
speech: “this city means something quite different to us; to us, it is
home; it’s where we work . . . raise our families . . . build
communities . . . practice our faith . . . teach our children . . . and
live our lives.” As I stood at my volunteer post, yet again, for the
inauguration, these words resonated with me; these are the reasons that
my two son, aged 21 and 19 (voting for their first time), and I voted
for Mayor Gray, because we, as a family, believed that he shared our
love for this city and its residents as much, if not more than we.
Again, we put aside our fears and apprehensions about being still
unemployed going into another year and a cold winter, to outwardly
display our enthusiasm and loyalty to our new mayor.
Commitment, dedication, motivation, loyalty, involvement, investment,
and enthusiasm are among the descriptive terms that everyone that I know
uses when they speak about the pride that they have in the job they
performed and perform for DC residents. These are the feelings that I
and many like me would like to feel again, the respect of having
professional pride in performing a professional service. These feeling
can only be felt through a “return” to gainful employment in the
city that we hold near and dear.
Nominees for Potter Stewart Award
June B. Kress, Council for Court Excellence, firstname.lastname@example.org
What heroes do you know in the local and federal justice system?
Nominate these champions of justice for the Council for Court Excellence’s
15th Annual Justice Potter Stewart Award! Click here to access the fast
and easy online nomination form. The Justice Potter Stewart Award is
given annually to two individuals who exemplify the very best in the
administration of justice. Your nominee should be an individual or
organization whose contribution to the administration of justice, the
legal system, or the administrative aspects of government in the
Washington, DC, metropolitan area has been significant and sustained.
The Council for Court Excellence will present the award at our annual
dinner, which will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2011, at the US Chamber
of Commerce, 1615 H Street NW. To view a list of those who have received
the Justice Potter Stewart Award in previous years, please click http://www.courtexcellence.org/AboutUsNew/Stewart.htm.
We are counting on you to nominate outstanding honorees for this year’s
fifteenth annual event! In addition to our online form, we also welcome
nominations submitted by letter addressed to: Justice Stewart Award
Committee, Council for Court Excellence, 1111 14th Street, NW, Suite
500, Washington, DC 20005. The deadline to receive nominations is
Monday, January 31. Click http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5VDXSZB
to submit your nomination today.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
National Building Museum Events, January 10
Tara Miller, email@example.com
January 10, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., readings at 10:30 and 11:30 am.
Book of the Month: Henry Builds a Cabin. Free, drop-in program.
Recommended for ages three to five. Join us in the Building Zone for an
interactive reading of D.B. Johnson’s Henry Builds a Cabin, and
learn with Henry as he decides how to build his very own cabin in the
January 10, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Intelligent Cities: Makeshift Metropolis.
Prize-winning author, professor, and architecture critic Witold
Rybczynski discusses his latest book, Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas
about Cities, exploring the history of city planning, the kind of
cities we want, and the kind of cities we need. This program is part of
the Museum’s Intelligent Cities initiative, a yearlong effort to
improve the way our cities look, feel, and function. $12 members, free
students, $20 nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in
registration based on availability.
Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW,
Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
Woman’s National Democratic Club Luncheon,
Tonya Butler-Truesdale, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Bacevich, Sacred Trinity and Washington Rules: America’s
Foreign Policy for Over Fifty Years, a luncheon at the Woman’s
National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, at 11:30 a.m.,
Thursday, January 13. In his presentation, Professor Andrew Bacevich
will explain and critique “Washington Rules,” which dictate that
protection of the American way of life requires a global military
presence and a willingness to intervene anywhere, at any cost, and how
these Rules have forced the United States into a state of perpetual war
in an open-ended pursuit of national security. Members $25, nonmembers
$30, lecture only (no lunch) $10. Register at https://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5880/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=20946.
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