Here’s a scary thought: themail is going to go on a break for a
whole week, returning overnight on Sunday, November 6. Eat your candy in
the meantime, and see you then.
On Wednesday, October 26, the council’s Government Operations
Committee held an eight-hour hearing on ten ethics bills currently
before the council. Despite the lengthy, well-attended hearing, with
more than thirty witnesses, questions still remain as to whether the
mayor and council are truly serious and committed to ethics reform, or
whether they are merely pontificating. A practical case in point
occurred just twenty-four hours before the ethics hearing, when on
Tuesday, Council Chairman Kwame Brown held a confirmation hearing on
Yolanda Branche’s appointment as DC Auditor (PR 19-250, http://dccouncil.us/images/00001/20110708085019.pdf).
As I noted in the May 29 issue of themail, it is not clear why
Chairman Brown chose not to reappoint Deborah Nichols, who had more than
26 years of experience working at the DC Auditor’s office: “Brown’s
press release claims that Branche ‘is an attorney admitted to the
District of Columbia Bar.’ However, the records of the DC Bar
Association show that Ms. Branche’s legal license in DC has been
suspended. In an E-mail to me last Friday, Ms. Branche stated, ‘I
passed the DC Bar but I am not authorized to practice law in the
District.’ In her resume, that accompanied Brown’s press release,
Branche gives her address as being in the District, on Banneker Drive in
the Fort Lincoln section of Northeast. However, she isn’t registered
with the DC Board of Elections and Ethics to vote in the District, so I
queried Brown’s office about her actual residence. In response, Ms.
Branche E-mailed that ‘I am not a DC resident,’ although she pledged
to move into the District within the 180-day limit. Ms. Branche is not
an auditor, though she began working in the DC Auditor’s Office in the
past year as a senior analyst. Prior to that, she owned and operated a
greeting card company, Bayview Cards (http://www.bayviewcards.com) in
St. Leonard, Maryland, where she actually lives.”
At Ms. Branche’s confirmation hearing, I noted that if the council
were truly serious about ethics reform it could not confirm someone to
the critical position of DC Auditor who had lied twice on her resume and
misled the selection review panel about her residency in the District
and her qualifications. In addition, the written job qualifications,
developed for the position by Kwame Brown’s transition committee for
use by the selection committee (http://www.dcwatch.com/auditor/audit110526.htm),
call for someone who is a CIA (certified internal auditor) or a CGAP
(certified government auditing professional) and who has “a minimum of
five years of experience in governmental accounting and/or auditing.”
However, Ms. Branche has worked for only three years at the DC Auditor’s
office as a senior analyst, not as an accountant or auditor, and she is
neither CIA nor CGAP certified.
If the council is truly serious about addressing the culture of
corruption that is so pervasive in the District government, then the
office of the DC Auditor will and must play a critical role. Appointing
Yolanda Branche, who has neither the required skills nor background for
the position, and who lied on her resume to secure the position, is a
step backward, not forward.
Ethics and Term Limits
Larry B. Lesser, email@example.com
Gary, like you and many others, I’m disappointed (mild word in the
interest of civility) in the ethical standards of members of the DC
council and the mayor’s office. But I don’t support term limits.
Many of the greatest achievements of executive and legislative — and
judicial — branches at the federal, state, and local level have always
been spearheaded by officials with long experience in elected office.
And by contrast many of the most irresponsible initiatives have been
proposed and supported by the most inexperienced. The trick is to make
constructive use of the experience of officeholders while keeping in
check the tendency of power to corrupt. If we have faith in our form of
government we ought to have faith that it’s possible to perform that
Snow season is getting an early start this year and the DC Snow Team
(Department of Public Works and Department of Transportation) is
preparing to meet whatever winter weather comes our way. While the Snow
Team is clearing the streets of snow and ice, we also need residential
and commercial property owners to ensure their sidewalks are clear of
snow and ice 24 hours after a storm ends. This year, we are launching a
new web site — http://snow.dc.gov — with tips about preparing your
family, home and vehicle for winter. We also are using it to encourage
neighbors to form sidewalk shoveling teams or join those that already
We want to let people know how to sign up for their neighborhood
team. We can post your team’s contact information, organizer’s name
and method to contact, e.g., phone number, E-mail, Twitter, or
Facebook, on snow.dc.gov to reach residents who aren’t on the
listservs or missed the listserv messages asking for volunteers. So, if
you would like to have this information posted, please send it to Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your neighborhood does not have a shoveling team, please organize
one. Let’s make sure our sidewalks are clear so children can walk to
school and adults can reach public transportation safely. We also want
to help our elderly and disabled residents who cannot clear their
Report on Online Gambling Public Meetings
P.L. Wolff, email@example.com
We have posted at the top of our home page (http://www.intowner.com)
the schedule of community meetings announced by Lottery officials to
present their plans for implementing online gambling in the District.
Included in our short report are some observations about some of the
major objections that have caused considerable oppositions around the
city and a call for the city council to repeal its “Lottery
Modernization Amendment Act of 2010.”
Jack Evans and Conflict of Interest Laws
Wenzell Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Hanrahan, I am astonished at your asking [themail, October 26]
one criminal to reprimand another. Look here, http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/dc/dc-council-committee-tackles-ethics-reform-102611,
to read and listen to the audacity of councilmember Evans.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Ward One Meeting on the Online Gambling Law,
Andy Litsky, email@example.com
Should the DC government run a gambling operation? Now may be your
only chance to speak up. Is the gamble on the DC Gambling Law really
worth it? The Ward One meeting on the new Internet gambling law will be
held on Tuesday, November 1, at the Marie Reed Learning Center, 2200
Champlain Street, NW, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Here are some facts you need to know: no public hearings have ever
been held, but it became law anyway; gambling sites will be selected
with little ANC and even less civic association input; ANC-1C and the
Kalorama Citizen’s Association voted to support council repeal of the
gambling law; the DC Internet Gambling Law is only one page long,
leaving lots of room for interpretation; the Lottery Director and the
Chief Financial Officer will make all the decisions; there are no
consumer safeguards in the law; all claims are subject to significant
change, since no government official has ever testified before the
council under oath about how DC gambling will work; citywide gambling
will include poker, blackjack, and slots, the same as in any casino; DC
residents will be able to gamble $13,000 a year in their own homes on
their own computers and at major hotels, clubs, and restaurants; lottery
officials claim that gambling will all be conducted over our DC
government’s main computer system, but who will protect us from
hacking; cell phones and i-Pads will not be allowed for gambling —
currently; and only three million dollars in revenue is projected
annually. Is the gamble really worth it?
The DC government is flying by the seat of their pants on this. You
can help. Call Councilmembers Jim Graham and Vincent Orange. This law
must be repealed. We need to start over and do it right — if at all.
Insist the council go on the record before the April 3 primary. Don’t
let them run out the clock! For more information, visit http://www.stopdcgambling.com.
National Building Museum Events, November 1,
Stacy Adamson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, November 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Making Healthy Places: Complete
street in Copenhagen, Denmark. This complete street in Copenhagen,
Denmark encourages walking and bicycling. Dr. Howard Frumkin discusses
his book Making Healthy Places, co-authored with Richard Jackson
and Andrew Dannenberg, which details the latest scientific evidence on
built environment solutions for health, well-being, and sustainability.
A book signing follows the lecture. Free. Registration is required. Walk
in registration based on availability.
Saturday, November 5, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Temporary Urbanism Explored. How
can a city activate empty storefronts, abandoned lots, or even cultural
institutions? Harriet Tregoning, Director, DC Office of Planning; Kashuo
Bennett, RTKL architect and 24 Hour City participant; and Christine
Ewing, Regional Fine Arts Officer at the US General Services
Administration, share ideas on how to encourage commerce,
memorialization, and design in fleeting but powerful ways. Free.
Registration required. Walk in registration based on availability.
Tuesday, November 8, 6:30-8:00 p.m., the Thirteenth Vincent Scully
Prize awarded to William K. Reilly. Former administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency William K. Reilly receives the
thirteenth Vincent Scully Prize for his commitment to smart
environmental planning, comprehensive land use, and preservation of open
space. The award ceremony is followed by Mr. Reilly’s original talk,
entitled “From Military Base to an Urban Jewel: The Transformation of
San Francisco’s Presidio.” $12 members; $12 students; $20
nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on
availability. All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street,
NW, Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
First Ever Washingtoniana Book Sale, November
Jerry McCoy, email@example.com
The DC Public Library’s Washingtoniana Division will be having its
first ever book sale in its 107 year history, scheduled to take place
during the thirty-eighth annual conference on DC Historical Studies.
Highlight of the sale is hundreds of volumes/issues of the Records of
the Columbia Historical Society and Washington History that date back to
Vol. 2, published in 1899. The sale will be held in Washingtoniana, Room
#307, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW. Cash
or check only.
Hours of the sale, open only to conference attendees, are Friday,
November 4, 2:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m., and Saturday, November 5, 9:00
a.m.-9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. A preview sale for current and
new Friends of Washingtoniana will be held Friday, November 4, 12:30
p.m.-2:00 p.m. For more information on the thirty-eighth annual
conference on DC Historical Studies, November 3-6, go to http://38thdcstudiesconference.wordpress.com/
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