Consent of the Governed
“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just
17 percent of likely US voters think the federal government today has
the consent of the governed. Sixty-nine percent (69 percent) believe the
government does not have that consent. Fourteen percent (14 percent) are
undecided. . . . Perhaps it’s no surprise voters feel this way since
only eight percent (8 percent) believe the average member of Congress
listens to his or her constituents more than to their party leaders.
That, too, is the lowest level measured to date. Eighty-four percent (84
percent) think the average congressman listens to party leaders more
than the voters they represent,” http://tinyurl.com/3uqlsznv
What would a comparable survey of DC voters find about their
attitudes toward their elected city officials? Would the city council
even reach the heights of Congress? What can our councilmembers and
mayor do to regain our confidence? So far, councilmembers have done
nothing except defend and try to justify their misuse of “constituent
service funds,” campaign funds, earmarks, and other tax funds (see
Isaac Arnsdorf’s article in Friday’s Washington Post, “DC
Council Members Use Non-Profit to Fund Favorite Charities,” http://tinyurl.com/3gc3bgg);
defend and refuse to retreat from their approval of online Internet
gambling and its attendant corruption (see the story in today’s New
York Times, http://tinyurl.com/3gwwk7v);
dismiss their constituents’ concerns and doubts about the honesty and
trustworthiness of their elected officials; and come forth with no plan
to restore their reputations.
Either councilmembers and the mayor do not care, or they think they
can just tough out a temporary rough spot until voters forget and
forgive them. Tim Craig has a story about Council Chairman Kwame Brown
in today’s Washington Post, “Brown Says He’s Not Down for
the Count,” http://tinyurl.com/3z3f7eh,
that portrays him as a victim of magical thinking — as someone who
thinks that all his legal problems will just dissipate and disappear,
and that he will never have to give a good explanation for where all the
money from his campaign funds went.
But if our elected officials do not act, it is up to us, the voters,
to act. If we don’t, we can’t blame the politicians. If we simply
reelect the politicians we have, the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our
stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.
With regard to Internet gambling, Robin Diener of the Library
Renaissance Project writes that “DCPL policy specifically prohibits
Internet access to gambling sites,” and provides a citation to the
Board of Library Trustees’ public Internet access policy, http://www.dclibrary.org/node/206.
I’m not reassured, since that policy can be changed at any time and,
if the policy change is done like other DC government moves to promote
gambling have been done, it will have been changed before anybody in the
public is aware of it.
DC Ambulance Fleet
Anne Renshaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
The DC Federation of Citizens Associations is troubled by the
worsening state of the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS)
fleet. It has come to our attention that many FEMS ambulances and
medical transports are in very poor shape. The city’s ambulance fleet
situation could even be deemed bordering on desperate. Ongoing air
conditioning problems, for instance, remove needed ambulances from the
streets on a daily basis. For example, four of the fourteen Medic units
(M-2/Chinatown, M-8 /RFK Stadium SE, M-7/National Stadium SW, and
M-21/Adams Morgan) have often been running in non-transport SUVs or
sedans because their transport units have broken down mechanically. For
victims and emergency personnel alike, this is dangerous.
80 percent of FEMS’ daily workload is EMS in nature. FEMS has
thirty-nine EMS transports (twenty-five basic (BLS) ambulances and
fourteen advance life support (ALS) paramedic units. For various
reasons, it has no dependable reserve vehicles, even though FEMS reports
is has thirty back-up units on hand. The BLS and ALS units, when they
are not in for repair, are in near constant motion. At the height of DC’s
tourist season, with a steady stream of special public events drawing
tens of thousands to the city’s center (for example, the August 28
dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial on the Mall), will FEMS be
able to reliably respond to both neighborhood emergencies while also
covering high-volume, high-profile special events with a downgraded and
reduced ambulance fleet?
Reportedly, ten to fifteen new ambulances are on order and may arrive
in a piecemeal fashion by the end of the year. EMS transports cost the
city over $150,000 apiece. As in any bureaucracy, multiple agencies,
including Procurement, are involved in and can slow down high-dollar
acquisitions. While FEMS has twelve EMS transport vehicles set aside, as
required by its Emergency Mobilization Operations Plan (EMOP), to be
used for the frequent special events and all the possible emergency
situations (think of the current London riots and acts of terrorism),
the regular ambulance fleet, including reserve units, needs to be
immediately upgraded to a state-of-the-art EMS fleet and well
maintained. The current condition of FEMS’ ambulance fleet is
precarious. We therefore request that Mayor Vincent Gray fast-track the
purchase of all new (not just reconditioned) ambulances. We need a
specific date by when the FEMS ambulance fleet will be entirely
replaced. This pending public safety emergency must be resolved well
before year’s end. FEMS’ ambulance fleet should be a top priority
for the protection of DC citizens, visitors to the nation’s capital
and, of course, our EMS responders.
Dying People Are at Risk of Losing Home Health Care
Shirley Tabb, email@example.com
The District of Columbia is the forerunner among states and other
jurisdictions in providing home health and good long term care services
, but that is about to change. The city reached its maximum of 3990
slots for personal care services under the Elderly and Persons with
Disabilities Medicaid Waiver Program for Home and Community Based
Services, and the city’s priority is to recertify current service
recipients to ensure continued care.
Some states use a waiting list and perspective recipients wait for
years. Many jurisdictions use a “first come, first served” system,
and hospice is not a priority category. The DC Department of Health Care
Finance (DHCF) demonstrated a desire to make hospice patients a priority
among EPD Waiver applicants, and expedited hospice reviews/approved home
health care for hospice patients within days to ensure the rights of
people to die at home, in familiar environments, and surrounded by
people who love them. Home care for people over the income/asset limits
for State Plan Medicaid is in serious jeopardy.
We must find a way to continue setting the standard for home health
care in the nation and keep hospice a priority, as the Medicaid Waiver
process is restructured, by allocating a specific number of slots for
hospice patients. Please E-mail me if you want to join advocacy efforts
Aeolian M. Jackson, firstname.lastname@example.org
I applaud your recent effort (themail, August 7) encouraging citizens
to run for city council seats or to nominate others to do so. As a
result of your suggestion a citizen wrote (themail, August 10) that he
decided to run for a vacant ANC seat. Another avenue for effective
citizen involvement is through the Office of Boards and Commissions (OBC).
The organizations listed by this office include 169 boards and
commissions, most with vacancies. Some have technical requirements that
members must meet. Many do not. Membership requires either city council
confirmation or mayoral appointment. The Application Form and Guide of
the OBC may be obtained at http://www.obc.dc.gov/obc/cwp/view,a,3,q,520782,obcNav,%7C31356%7C.asp
I make a special plea for citizens of the most affected communities,
Wards 7 and 8, to apply for membership on one of the sixteen human
services committees. The Child Fatality Review Committee, the
Developmental Disabilities State Planning Council, and the Mayor’s
Advisory Committee on Child Welfare have twenty, eight, and twelve
vacancies, respectively. The federally mandated Citizens Review Panel
(CRP) is not included on this vacancy list. It is an important panel
that now may include adults who have aged out of the child welfare
system. Its federal charge is independently to evaluate the degree to
which the child protective agency complies with its submitted state plan
to protect children.
End-of-Summer Pool Closure and Maintenance Schedule
John Stokes, email@example.com
The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) prepares to bring the
District’s outdoor swim season to a close. DPR has released the pool
closing schedule for its twenty-two outdoor pools and children’s pools
as well as the indoor pool maintenance schedule. A number of pools will
be open through September 5. The East Potomac Pool, which is heated,
will remain open through October 2. DPR’s Outdoor Children’s Pools
will close Sunday, August 21, with the exception of Barry Farms, which
will close on Friday August 19. All DPR Spray Parks will close on Labor
Day, September 5.
DPR’s indoor pools and aquatic centers operate year-round, but will
undergo scheduled maintenance to deep clean the pool and facility. For a
complete list of pool locations and hours, visit the DPR web site at http://tinyurl.com/42ayj9x
or contact the DPR Aquatics Office at 671-1289.
Coming Soon, Computerized Politicians
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com
I can see it now: electronic voting machines rigging elections in
favor of computerized politicians. Which will extend use of electronic
voting machines, which will. . . .
“IBM to Help Cities Predict Long-Term Effect of Municipal Policies,”
“IBM and City of Portland Collaborate to Build a Smarter City,” http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/35206.wss
Governmental Metaphors Running Amok
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our government needs to resolutely undertake a war on governmental
metaphors — or else be vanquished by verbs. We must rein in metaphors.
InTowner August Issue Now Online
P.L. Wolff, email@example.com
This is to advise that the August 2011 issue PDF is available at http://www.intowner.com
and may be opened by clicking the front page graphic on the home page.
There will be found news, commentary, and features content, including
the popular Scenes from the Past (this month titled “A Major Late 19th
Washington Architect Not Well-Known to Today’s Public”) — plus all
photos and other images.
This month’s lead stories include the following: 1) “Long-Awaited
PUD Application Filed for Controversial Luxury Hotel Tower on Champlain
Street in Adams Morgan”; 2) “1711 Florida Avenue Development Plan
Continues to Dominate Meetings With Reed-Cooke and Strivers Row
Neighbors”; 3) “African-American Civil War Museum Unveils its New
Home on U Street.”
The next issue PDF will publish early in the morning of September 9
(the second Friday of the month, as usual). For more information, either
send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 234-1717.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
DC Public Library Celebrates King Memorial Dedication, August 22-28
George Williams; George.Williams2@dc.gov
Starting August 22, the DC Public Library commemorates the Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., Memorial Dedication with a series of events and
exhibits. All events are free. For more information, call 727-1211.
August 25-August 28, library hours, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library. “The King Mural” Self-Guided Tour. Don Miller’s “The
King Mural” is the nation’s definitive visual documentation of Dr.
King’s great influence on modern American society. By researching Dr.
King and interviewing those who worked closely with him, Miller
chronicled Dr. King’s work from 1955 to 1968. Self-guided tour
information will be available at the information desk.
August 25-August 28, library hours, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library. Remembering King: Images from the Washingtoniana Collection
Exhibit. The Martin Luther King, Jr., Library will exhibit images of
King in DC, including the March on Washington.
August 25-September 4, library hours, Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Memorial Library, King in Magazines Exhibit (1957-1968). View the
emergence of Dr. King’s charismatic leadership and tragic
assassination in actual issues of Life, Time, Ebony, and Jet
Wednesday, August 24, 11:00 a.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library. Native Washingtonian Steven Silver, an accomplished actor,
poet, and activist debuts his latest DVD, featuring the King-inspired,
“I Have A Dream, Too”
Thursday, August 25, 12:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library. God’s Miracles Quintet will perform gospel and traditional
songs loved by Dr. King. The five-member group started out as a 70’s
doo-wop group and has shared the stage with groups like the Delfonics.
Thursday, August 25, 1:30 p.m., and Friday, August 26, 1:30 p.m.,
Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library. “A.D. King: Brother to the
Dreamer: Behold the Dream” film screening and discussion with A.D.
King’s widow, Naomi King. Rev. Dr. Alfred Daniel Williams King,
brother to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the main strategists
behind several civil rights campaigns including the Poor People’s
Campaign. This documentary chronicles King’s contributions and
includes interviews with John Lewis and Andrew Young. Following the
screening, the film will be discussed with A.D. King’s widow, Naomi
King, and Dr. Babs Onabanjo, the film’s executive producer.
Thursday, August 25, 3:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library. Kingmaker Foundation Reception. The Kingmaker Foundation
provides funding and scholarships to youth educational programs, youth
leadership development, global leaders, and community service projects.
Rev. C. T. Vivian, minister, author, and ally of Reverend Martin Luther
King, Jr., during the civil rights movement, will be the keynote
Saturday, August 27, 12:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial
Library, Morehouse College Glee Club and Quartet Concert. Morehouse
College is the only all-male historically black institution of higher
learning in the United States. The Glee Club has shared the stage with
opera great Jessye Norman, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan,
Trisha Yearwood, and soprano Indra Thomas. The Library performance will
include spirituals, gospel and Yuroba selections.
Sunday, August 28, 3:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Sing
Along. Music Specialist Sam Perryman will sing spirituals from the Civil
Rights Movement. He will be assisted by violist Phyllis Flemings and
students from the Levine School of Music.
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 http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.
All postings should be submitted to email@example.com, 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