Committing Legislation in Public
If you’re wondering what stupid law will head toward the District
next, don't let Tommy Wells or Mary Cheh find out about the Arlington,
Virginia, proposal to ban children from going to that city’s dog
Some urbanists are so divorced from nature that they're paralyzed by a
fear of all animals. Certainly, there are statistically rare incidents
of people being seriously attacked by dogs, but those are practically
nonexistent compared with the incidents of people being seriously
attacked by other people. Dogs are the most domesticated of all species,
man's best friend, the species that lives most peaceably and lovingly
with people. Part of living in this world is learning to interact with
animals, and teaching children that they must fear and avoid all dogs is
just wrong. What’s next, passing a law to ban children from living on
farms or in rural areas, where they may come in contact with farm
animals, or passing a law forbidding people from keeping dogs in houses
with children? Whoops, now I've given Wells and Cheh another idea.
When the Office of the State Superintendent of Education released its
“investigation” of the 2010 testing violations in standardized tests
in DCPS (http://newsroom.dc.gov/show.aspx/agency/seo/section/2/release/21931),
Dorothy asked Mayor Gray and State Superintendent of Education Hosanna
Mahaly at a press conference to explain the methodology of the
“investigation” and to say whether it showed anything new other than
that the OSSE stood by the statement made months earlier by CAVEON,
dismissing the findings of the USA Today investigation of
erasures on student tests (http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2011/11-03-30.htm).
Gray and Mahaly both cut the questioning short. This week, Bill Turque
wrote a great column looking in detail at the OSSE's investigation.
Turque spelled out the OSSE “investigation’s” shortcomings and the
information and evidence it deliberately didn’t seek, http://tinyurl.com/3dtgv4m
The Associated Press reports that the US Attorney’s Office has
dropped the charge of assaulting an officer against the man in a
wheelchair whom Metro police arrested outside the U Street Metro station
He is still charged with drinking in public. On the welovedc.com web
site, Don Whiteside makes a good legal point (http://www.welovedc.com/2011/05/23/media-fail).
Many reporters have implied that it was somehow relevant that the man's
breathalyzer test showed he was intoxicated “beyond the legal
limit,” but DC law doesn't make it illegal to be drunk unless you're
driving. There's no “legal limit” otherwise. It's illegal to drink
in public — and, remember, we've had disputes in Mt. Pleasant over
whether that means the police can arrest you for sitting on your porch
and enjoying the beverage of your choice. But it’s not illegal for
someone to be drunk unless he’s behaving so as to “endanger the
safety of himself, herself, or any other person or property.” Side
thought here — where is the exception in the code that allows someone
to sit in a sidewalk cafe, which is public, and sip a Chablis or guzzle
a frosty mug?
Now that the council has approved the FY2012 budget, it will focus on
redistricting by redrawing the ward boundaries. According to the
council's web site, the “DC Official Code requires that the council
divide the city into eight ‘compact and continguous’ election wards,
each approximately equal in population size. According to the 2010
Census figures, DC's population is 601,723. The ideal size, then, for
each Ward in 75,215. DC Code allows for a +/-5% deviation so that each
Ward should have a population between 71,455 and 78.976.”
The Council Subcommittee on Redistricting, co-chaired by
Councilmembers Michael Brown and Jack Evans, has released a schedule of
subcommittee meetings and council votes on a draft redistricting plan.
Tomorrow, Thursday, May 26, the subcommittee will vote on the proposed
redistricting plan map, Bill 19-219, the “Ward Redistricting Amendment
Act of 2011,” at 1:00 p.m. On Wednesday, June 1, at 6:00 p.m., in Room
500 of the Wilson Building. the subcommittee will hold a public
roundtable for residents to offer their opinions on the plan. On
Tuesday, June 7, at 10:00 a.m., the council will have a first vote on
the proposed redistricting plan, followed by a second and final vote on
Tuesday, June 21, at 10:00 a.m.
Several important redistricting documents, including Bill 19-219,
draft maps for the eight wards, maps of the redrawn ward boundaries, and
the report of the Subcommittee on Redistricting, have been posted online
by Michael Brown's office at http://www.scribd.com/dmeadows9139.
Tommy Wells and Redistricting
Bryce Suderow, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the last election Tommy Wells won a huge victory in his reelection
to the Ward 6 seat on the city council. Since that election many people
who voted for him are wishing they had not voted for him. Wells has
betrayed his constituents on three issues. First, there’s the problem
of the area around DC General, known as Reservation 13. Wells has
allowed the area to become a dumping ground for social services that no
one else wants, such as a huge number of homeless shelters, methadone
clinics, and so forth. This has led to increased crime in the area. See
Jonetta Rose Barras’ column on this topic in today's DC Examiner,
Second, Wells is chopping off a part of Capitol Hill. Wells has
caught a lot of flack from the east end of Capitol Hill because of
Reservation 13 and he seems to be trying to retaliate by using
redistricting to send Hill East to another ward. There will be a rally
on Tuesday, May 24, to protect the present redistricting plan.
Third, Hine Junior High is due to get torn down. Wells supports a
high rise monstrosity with condos and offices that will dwarf the homes
nearby. Nearby home owners are very upset with Mr. Wells.
Mary Cheh Agrees to Testify
Johanna Farley, email@example.com
At the Chat with Cheh held at the Palisades Farmers Market on May 22,
DC Councilperson Mary Cheh agreed to testify to the Zoning Board about
the current AU Campus Expansion Plan on behalf of the Coalition of
Neighborhoods who will be unreasonably adversely affected by the
numerous objectionable conditions of the plan.
The neighborhoods of Wesley Heights, Tenleytown, Spring Valley, and
Palisades will all be impacted by a 30 percent increase in the
university enrollment cap, and by traffic gridlock at the intersections
of Massachusetts and Nebraska Avenues at Ward Circle, which is likely to
extend from Canal, Arizona, Loughboro, and Chain Bridge and the Clara
Barton Freeway, and beyond to Wisconsin and Connecticut, Maryland, and
Virginia. She also mentioned a special commission to look into the
effects of a proposed Homeland Security Expansion in this same location.
In addition there are pedestrian safety issues and issues of residential
density twice that of the surrounding neighborhoods resulting in noise
pollution, water runoff issues, vandalism, parking, and the probability
of increased crime statistics.
Cheh asked the numerous representatives of the various neighborhoods
present to help her prepare for her testimony by providing her with the
specific facts and figures that document the objectionable conditions of
the AU Expansion Plan, despite AU's claim that they have modified it.
DPW Observes Memorial Day
Kevin Twine, firstname.lastname@example.org
The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) has announced how services
will be affected in observance of Memorial Day, Monday, May 30. There
will be no trash and recycling collections. Trash and recycling
collections will slide to the next day for the remainder of the week.
For example, Monday’'s trash and recycling collections will be made on
Tuesday and Tuesday's collections will be made on Wednesday. In
neighborhoods with twice-weekly trash collections, Monday and Thursday
collections will be made Tuesday and Friday. Collections normally made
on Tuesday and Friday, will be made Wednesday and Saturday. Trash and
recycling containers should be placed out for collection no earlier than
6:30 p.m. the night before collection and removed from public space by
8:00 p.m. on the day(s) of collection.
Parking enforcement, including ticket writing for residential
parking, expired meters, street sweeping, and rush-hour violations will
be suspended. DPW also will suspend towing abandoned vehicles.
Enforcement will resume Tuesday, May 31. Since the Nationals will play
at Nationals Park during Memorial Day weekend and on Memorial Day, DPW
will enforce parking restrictions in the Nationals Park neighborhood.
The Ft. Totten Transfer Station (4900 John F. McCormack Road, NE)
will be closed Monday to residential customers and will reopen Tuesday,
May 31. Except holidays, residents may bring their trash and bulk items
weekdays (1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and Saturdays (8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
to Ft. Totten for disposal. The next monthly household hazardous
waste/e-cycling/personal document shredding drop-off day is Saturday,
June 4, between 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This service is provided the
first Saturday of the month, except holidays. Residents may bring
unwanted toxic items, such as pesticides, batteries and motor oil.
Electronics, including televisions, computers and cell phones, also will
be accepted. Residents may bring up to five boxes of personal paper
documents and credit cards to be shredded for free. For a complete list
of items, go to www.dpw.dc.gov and
click on Household Hazardous Waste / E-Cycling/Shredding. Compost also
is available to residents on Saturdays only. Other services suspended
for Memorial Day include scheduled street and alley cleaning and
nuisance abatement. All services will resume on Tuesday, May 31.
Trash Talk, DPW Online Chat
Kevin Twine, email@example.com
Do you know which items are to be collected with your regular trash
schedule and for which you need to schedule a bulk appointment? Are you
new to the city and still not sure of your collection date? Do people
dump or place trash illegally in the alleys near your home? Are your
neighbors setting out their trash correctly? Do you know what to do if
your trash or recycling can needs to be replaced? Are there alternatives
to purchasing a DC government can? Get answers to these questions and
more by tuning into the Department of Public Works (DPW) Solid Waste
Management Administration's live, online chat Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at
noon. Residents can join or follow the discussion at dpw.dc.gov/livechat
once the chat session begins. To submit questions in advance, send an
E-mail to Nancee.firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be the thirteenth in a series of monthly online chats with
DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr., and other DPW officials. Next
month’s online chat will discuss DPW’s rules and procedures for
citizens’ hauling items to the Ft. Totten Transfer Station.
Re: the elderly man in the wheelchair who was drinking in public
illegally [themail, May 22]. I not only saw countless replays of that
video yesterday but just an hour ago saw yet another. During each replay
I watched closely and intently, and in no instance was there a scintilla
of doubt in my mind that the officers actually lifted the man from the
seat and in so doing so lost their balance, and all three came crashing
The officers were 100 percent at fault. Yes, his drinking in public
is a misdemeanor but, more than that, it is outrageous that Metro’s
police department — like so many — immediately accused the man of
attacking the officers. The claim that he actually stood up is ludicrous
and not supported by the visual evidence. Metro police have a history of
heavy-handedness involving minor infractions. (Remember the young girl
coming home from school who was eating something on a train, and she got
pulled off, handcuffed, and arrested?) How can any of us feel safe when
Metro hires officers who are so unqualified emotionally that they go
nuts over small things and create havoc? They need to be gotten rid of
and management needs to invoke higher personnel standards.
I looked at the video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow4RU6PtslY]
and it looks like the Metro Police were just trying to do their job. The
people have been wanting more police in the Metro subways because of all
the robberies and fighting, so when they try to do their job, oh,
they’re wrong! So, be danged if they do, be danged if they don’t! I
just hope the Metro Police don't give up doing their job!
On another subject, do you notice that Mayor Gray is never around on
police crackdowns, like All Hands on Deck, like Mayor Fenty was. To me
he doesn't really care about the people like Fenty did! Fenty was
Drum and Dance Circle Time Correction
Afrika M. Asha Abney, email@example.com
There is an error in the brief summary [themail, May 22] highlighting
the drum and dance circle that takes place on Sundays at Malcolm X Park.
It actually starts at 3:00 p.m., not 5:00 p.m. Thanks to Phil Shapiro
for sending and posting the video.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Honk If You Hate Gridlock Traffic
Demonstration, May 26
Johanna Farley, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday morning, a coalition of residents surrounding American
University will walk around Ward Circle during rush hour urging
motorists to “Honk If You Hate Gridlock” in protest of the
anticipated impact on pedestrian and vehicular traffic caused by AU's
Proposed Campus Expansion Plan., as well as the nearby Department of
Homeland Security. It will be in Ward Circle, Massachusetts and Nebraska
Avenues NW (start at 4300 Massachusetts), 8:30 a.m., Thursday, May 26.
If allowed, AU, along with anticipated DHS development, will add several
thousand new students, employees, and vehicular traffic to the already
congested intersection of Massachusetts and Nebraska. That will make
Ward Circle and Nebraska Avenue a traffic and pedestrian nightmare. On
average almost 21,000 vehicles use Massachusetts Avenue daily and about
24,500 use Nebraska, not including heavy pedestrian use. American
University will be presenting its Proposed Campus Expansion Plan to the
Zoning Commission on June 9.
Foundry United Methodist Church, June 5
Peter Rosenstein, email@example.com
I am sending this invitation as a personal appeal in support of the
“Open Doors Fund” of the Foundry United Methodist Church. As someone
who fought hard to make civil marriage equality in the District a
reality I am now supporting Foundry in their efforts to make their
denomination more accepting of our community. I have long admired Senior
Minister Dean Snyder and Foundry for their community work in areas such
as AIDS and homelessness and for their effort at making all people’s
lives better. Today they are working to make life better for the LGBT
members of their church and I admire and support that effort.
Please join me on Sunday, June 5, at the Mitchell/Gold store at 1526
14th Street, NW, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. as we raise funds for Foundry
United Methodist Church's “Open Doors Fund.” Give what you can and
consider becoming a sponsor at the $1,000, $500, or $250 level.
(donations are tax deductible to the extent the law allows.)
The formal announcement is below, and you can donate by going to http://www.foundryumc.org
and clicking on the red Open Doors Fund icon or just send me an E-mail
at Prosenstein@oandp.org or
give me a call at 255-0850 and I will make sure your name or business is
added to the sponsor list.
CLASSIFIEDS — HELP WANTED
Summer Temporary Full-Time and Part-Time Legal
Jon Katz, mayapply[at]katzjustice[dot]com
Stimulating, fast-paced legal assistant work with existing
administrative team, for highly-rated criminal defense and civil
liberties lawyers. Full details, experience requirements, and
application requirements are at http://katzjustice.com/JOBS.htm.
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