After weeks of promises and teases, day-after-day forecasts that
surely tomorrow or the next day the cherry blossoms will burst forth,
they have arrived. Finally, a few warm days in a row have arrived and
have encouraged the cherry trees to break into bloom.
How has the identity of our city grown to be so centered around a few
groves of trees? How have the nature-adverse urbanists of Washington
come to be so attached to a brief season marked by such a risky
dependence on undependable weather?
Or perhaps the question is, why don’t we plant more cherry trees all
DC’s Special Election
Early voting in the April 23 special election in the District of
Columbia will be held from Monday, April 8, through Sunday, April 20 in
the old council chamber on the ground floor at 441 4th Street, NW.
Because of budget constraints and the low voter turnout that is
anticipated in the general election, the DC Board of Elections will not
have early voting centers in each of the eight wards, as in the past few
elections. All District residents, regardless of party, may vote in the
special election. Even residents who are not current registered voters
can register on the same day they vote, either at the early voting
center or on April 23 at any of the 143 voting precincts.
DC voters will select an individual to fill the unexpired at-large
council term previously held by Phil Mendelson from a pool of six
candidates (Matthew Frumin, Perry Redd, Elissa Silverman, Patrick Mara,
Anita Bonds, and Paul Zuckerberg). Michael A. Brown withdrew from the
race last week, but that was after the forty-five day deadline set in
District law for the withdrawal of candidates (3 DCMR 1615), and the
ballots had already been printed with his name on them. BOEE will post
signs inside and outside of all polling sites to inform voters that
Brown is no longer a candidate for the at-large council seat.
Already appearing on the ballot will be Charter Amendment VIII,
providing for local budget autonomy in the District. The summary
statement of the amendment on the ballot states that, "Currently, the
Home Rule Act requires affirmative Congressional action with respect to
the entire District budget (both federal and local funds). This Charter
Amendment, if ratified, enacted, and upheld, would permit the District
to expend local funds in accordance with each Council approved budget
act; and would permit the Council to establish the District’s fiscal
year." There is a dispute over whether this Charter Amendment is legal;
the key phrase is "if ratified, enacted, and upheld." Further
information is available at the DC Board of Elections web site,
Dumb Growth in themail
[The pop-up building at 15th and V Streets is] dumb, truly, but
possibly less of a neighborhood impact than an all-at-once monstrosity a
developer is ramming down the throats of our area -- which the
powers-that-be are promoting, too. The esthetics of the conceptual
design look like a 1980’s suburban office park, alien to the small and
medium rises near us at Connecticut Avenue and Military Road. It’s a
junior version of Intelsat at Van Ness, but without the saving graces of
open area surrounding it or the nearby Metro stop for occupants to use.
This giant will be most overwhelming for the single family residences
that will be a matter of a few feet behind it. The developers and
sycophants evidently insist that not only can in-built parking be
inadequate for super-sized occupancy (so that our driveways will be
constantly parked across) but also that all traffic in and out of the
building occur via small side streets and not on Connecticut Avenue,
where it belongs. The intersections of Connecticut, Military, Nevada,
and Nebraska are going to be a mess. There is already substantial
vehicular back up at intersections in the morning and evening. So we’ll
also get even more commuters cut through on our residential streets.
It’s awfully ingenuous of planners to say everything was approved
twenty-two years ago, when no plans were submitted. As if even the
Empire State Building would be OK! Funny thing, though, the
TV tower at Tenley was stopped after its
construction was half complete, and it was right next to another one in
an area slated for high density in the wake of Metro.
Loved your April 3 post on "Dumb Growth." After a winter of slow
slogging, the pace of events is picking up in the fight over the Cafritz
plan for 5333 Connecticut Avenue, NW. We’re going to appeal two permits
for the project that were recently issued by the city. I continue to
believe that somewhere in the vicinity of this issue is a larger story
than one about just another development fight. For starters, just as
with Ivy City, the developer has run roughshod over the community: no
notifications, no response to community concerns, etc.
The Cafritzes are trying to wrap themselves in the "smart growth"
mantle. But I’ve been reading some of the big writers on smart growth,
and this proposal is about as far from smart growth as you can possibly
get. If smart-growth advocates in this city, of which they are many,
don’t speak out (as a few have) this could be the project that ends up
backfiring on them.
I think there could be a fascinating Style-section story about Jane
and Calvin Cafritz, art and design patrons whose building plans violate
all the design principles they say they hold dear. In meantime, we’re
working very hard to make a legally cogent case that the current plan
must be changed.
I’m wondering what you thought of that DC BOEE postcard, which
implies that the only polling place for the special election is One
Judiciary Square? That’s what I thought upon first read, as did a smart
lawyer friend of mine, so if we were fooled, many others might be as
well, causing panic on election day. I thought you might want to try to
embarrass them into sending out new cards.
[The DC Board of Elections’ explanation is that the postcards it sent
to voters to inform us of plans for the special election used the
language "voting center," which is what it uses to refer to early voting
sites, rather than "polling places," and assumed that people would know
the difference. In any case, they are sending a second postcard to
voters to make a correction. -- Gary Imhoff]
Regarding Mara for Council
It’s funny to see Mara’s ads with him and his dog; there’s more than
a faint whiff of Richard Nixon’s infamous "Checkers" speech. Do all
Republicans hide behind their dogs instead of their policies? It’s all
the more curious that Mara doesn’t identify himself as a Republican in
his ads. I sure wouldn’t vote for somebody who won’t even stand behind
his own party. Can we trust him to act in our interest when he’s so
duplicitous about his own political affiliation?
Correction for "Issues for April 23: One-Party
Rule, Ethics, and Transparency"
David Schwartzman, Perry Redd for City Council Campaign,
I trusted my memory when I put Pepco on DC Vote’s Board in "Issues
for April 23: One-Party Rule, Ethics, and Transparency." While there are
quite a few corporate entities represented on DC Vote’s Board of
Directors (Coca Cola, Barlays, Washington DC Association of REALTORS and
Patton Boggs), Pepco is not one of them. After checking, I found that
Pepco was listed as a "Defender" for DC Vote’s Champions of Democracy
Awards Dinner in 2008. Unfortunately, DC Vote’s annual reports do not
list Board members in recent years, so maybe my memory is not just a
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
The Friends of Tenley-Friendship Library invite you for an evening
with Martin Ganzglass as he talks about his book, The Orange Tree,
Wednesday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Tenley Library.
Set in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area, The Orange Tree
is the story of the unlikely friendship between an elderly Jewish lady
and a young Somali Muslim woman who cares for her in a Bethesda nursing
home. Both women are haunted by the prejudice and violence in their
lives. The book will be on sale after the discussion for $15. Cash and
checks accepted. Tenley-Friendship Library is on Wisconsin Avenue at
Albemarle Street, NW Take the red line to Tenleytown.
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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
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