themail.gif (3487 bytes)

August 31, 2011

Summer’s End

Dear Summerists:

No, summer is ending too soon. The best thing about Washington weather is that summer temperatures can hang on throughout September and October and usually through most of November. But summer is officially ending in just a few days. In honor of that:

When Summer’s End Is Nighing
A. E. Housman

When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.

So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

Gary Imhoff 


Corrupt Practices
Dorothy Brizill,

On Tuesday, August 30, Mayor Gray held a press conference to announce his selection of Christopher Murphy and Andrea Pringle as his new Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, respectively (see their resumes at and In a press release,, Mayor Gray stated that “Chris Murphy and Andi Pringle bring vast experience, expertise, political acumen and understanding of multiple aspects of how a government like the District functions. . . . More importantly, they are committed to ensuring we have an ethical, accountable, and transparent administration that continues working hard to advance my vision of ‘One City’ moving forward together.”

On Thursday, I will file a complaint with the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE), charging Pringle with having violated the District’s Corrupt Elections Practices Act (DC Code 1-1001.14). As her resume states, Pringle has lived in Bethesda, Maryland, for the past eighteen months, and the press release promises that “Ms. Pringle will move back into the District.” She has an extensive background working on a variety of local and national political campaigns (for example, for Howard Dean, Carol Moseley Braun, Bill Richardson, and Vincent Orange), and in that capacity she would be expected to have gained familiarity with basic election laws and practices — for example, that only duly registered voters can vote, and only in the jurisdiction where they live.

However, Pringle had lived in the District and registered as a voter here before she moved to Montgomery County. She lived and continues to live now in Bethesda, at least according to what she said at the mayor’s press conference Tuesday. And while she lived in Bethesda, she voted in the September primary election in the District, according to the records of the Board of Elections. Under DC law, any person who votes and makes “any false representations as to his or her qualifications” (qualifications that include include residence) may be found guilty of corrupt election practices and “fined not more than $10,000 or be imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”


Local Gardening
Denise Wiktor,

In line with Gary’s missive about something new, I want to report on my garden and canning. This year we put in an unusual number of Romas-10 because they are so good for sauce, and that they are! We have canned over two dozen jars of thick sauce and used the overflow of eatin’ tomatoes for whole tomatoes, about a dozen quarts there. Four quarts of dill pickles so far, with four to eight quarts of some kind of pickle waiting on a decision. We have frozen broccoli and are awaiting just what the heck the cauliflowers are doing. We will get some potatoes — the squirrels really loved them this year — and we have a bunch of butternut squash on the way. Add an herb bed and an old fish pond full of strawberries and peppers, and it’s been good eating. The year started with the harvesting of onions and carrots that overwintered. Now time for the fall crop. My husband got so bitten by the canning bug he went up to the Jessup produce terminal and got a case of white peaches and pears. We will pick apples in the fall from a friend or relative. My next door neighbor, who lives in the basement of an apartment building, intensively plants a strip about two and a half feet wide and eighty foot long with an amazing variety of peppers (cool to fatal), tomatoes, okra, some greens from his home country and more.

City living can be productive. We just keep eating foods away from the edge of the house and supplement. I got almost as much production intensive gardening at my old row house. Also a good hint — you can get an organic copper spray to deal with the blights that have plagued tomatoes these last few years, but you need to start before you have symptoms — though I cannot handle it, same for the fish tank version.


Political Sentiment
Deborah Bradford,

I am so sick and tired of these crooked politicians. All of them. They need to take a hike, mayor and all. Let’s not forget about that Norton. Who thinks Mayor Gray is going to repair all that nepotism and bad hiring practices and it’s going to make him a better person? He knew what he was doing, and it was wrong. Get the heck out, all of you!


OPC Files Petition Seeking Review of Verizon’s Service
Sandra Mattavous-Frye,

In response to consumer concerns throughout the District, on August 26 OPC filed a petition asking the DC Public Service Commission to convene a comprehensive review of Verizon DC’s quality of service. We have received numerous complaints from consumers in Wards 4, 6, and other areas, including complaints forwarded to OPC from councilmembers’ offices relating consumer frustration with poor quality service and restoration response. Because consumer complaints about Verizon are wide ranging, OPC is requesting a formal investigation that broadly examines numerous service related issues including the causes and resolution of telephone service outages and the reported poor quality of telecommunications services. By encouraging the Commission to use the full breadth of its statutory authority, I believe the investigation will be able to address the condition of the telephone system infrastructure in the city and identify the types of corrective actions necessary to enable the provision of safe and reliable service.

OPC will also ask the Commission to scrutinize Verizon’s efforts to resolve long-standing problems, such as whether Verizon is deliberately failing or refusing to adequately repair or upgrade infrastructure or service, Verizon’s efforts to compensate District rate payers and consumers for losses sustained, and whether Verizon has sufficient manpower to address the problem. OPC understands that thousands of consumers continue to rely on traditional land line telephones. The introduction of cellular service and FiOs services are welcome technology alternatives, however these services are not a one-size-fits-all communications solution. As the land line provider with the greatest access to District homes and businesses, I expect and the Commission must require a higher standard of Verizon. It is unfortunate that consumers must provide affidavits, and that a sitting councilmember must weigh in seeking regulatory support, rather than have the option to communicate directly with the service provider to address their concerns. Based on comments to OPC, Verizon has been unresponsive to pleas from the community; therefore we must seek Commission action if there is any hope of gaining relief for District of Columbia consumers.


DPW Observes Labor Day, September 5
Kevin B. Twine,

The DC Department of Public Works has announced how services will be affected by the observance of Labor Day, Monday, September 5. 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 Tuesday, and Tuesday’s collections will be made Wednesday. In neighborhoods with twice-weekly trash collections, Monday and Thursday collections will be made Tuesday and Friday. Collections normally made 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, September 6. Since the Nationals will play at Nationals Park during the Labor Day weekend, DPW will enforce parking restrictions in the Nationals Park neighborhood. The Ft. Totten Transfer Station (4900 John F. McCormack Road, NE) will be closed to residential customers on Monday, September 5, and will reopen Tuesday, September 6. 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/shredding drop-off day is Saturday, September 3, from 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 and click on Household Hazardous Waste / E-Cycling / Shredding. Compost also is available to residents on Saturdays only.

To accommodate residents whose religious beliefs prevent them from bringing toxic and electronic items to the regularly scheduled drop-off held the first Saturday of the month, DPW will accept these items at Ft. Totten Transfer Station on Thursday, September 1, between 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. DPW cannot accept items for shredding on Thursdays because the Department cannot protect these documents until the shredding contractor arrives the first Saturday of the month. Directions to Ft. Totten, 4900 John F. McCormack Road, NE: travel east on Irving Street, NW, turn left on Michigan Avenue, turn left on John F. McCormack Road, NE, and continue to the end of the street. Other services suspended for Labor Day include scheduled street and alley cleaning and nuisance abatement. All services will resume Tuesday, September 6.


DMV Locations to Close for Labor Day Holiday
Sylvia T. Ballinger, DMV,

In observance of the Labor Day holiday, all Department of Motor Vehicles locations will be closed on both Saturday, September 3, and on Monday, September 5. All DMV service centers, the vehicle inspection station, and adjudication services will open with regular operations on Tuesday, September 6. The day before and after a holiday are extremely busy at all DMV locations. Customers are encouraged to plan ahead or skip the trip altogether and go online to conduct many services at

Have questions about the Department of Motor Vehicles services and programs? Join the Director for a live web chat on Thursday, September 1, at 2:00 p.m. by clicking on


The Residual District
Michael Bindner,

The residual District of Columbia in Delegate Norton’s Statehood Bill is still too large, and too small. It is too large because it leaves the part of the national capital service area where federal commuters work outside New Columbia, so that they are outside the reach of nonresident income taxes. It also includes the military bases, and I can imagine military members bringing suit to have (Republican) electoral votes in the event of statehood, since where they vote is their option. It is too small because not all commuters work in the federal core, so the issue of nonresident income taxes is still an obstacle.

Statehood just won’t happen until the nonresident income tax issue is settled in advance, most likely by earmarking any such taxes for the housing of DC felons in the Virginia and Maryland prison systems, rescuing them from the federal/privatized system where they toil now as slaves (not exaggerating — I visited when I worked for the City Administrator). The residual district should be confined to the area controlled by the Architect of the Capitol (excluding the judiciary buildings and Library) because Hill staff are allowed to claim taxes in their home state under current law, so commuter taxes are not an issue. The other step to get a vote is to include a vote by the Maryland General Assembly on retrocession as part of the ratification process. Since they are sure to vote no, this carries no risk while at the same time quieting all Republican objections (at least the legitimate ones).


J. Ellingston, Ward 6,

Gary, I thoroughly enjoyed your anecdotal, reminiscent coverage of Irene [themail, August 28] by relating it to past, personal history followed by damage to your house. It was a relief to read a letter not drowned in local corruption (a.k.a. politics).

My introduction to wine was dinner with a bottle of Yquem at age eleven. I’ve been a devotee ever since.


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)