themail.gif (3487 bytes)

April 14, 2013

Top of the List

Dear Listers:

John Merrow, who has covered DC schools regularly for years, writes that, "With the indictment of former Atlanta School Superintendent Beverly A. Hall and 34 other public school employees in a massive cheating scandal, the time is right to reexamine other situations of possible illegal behavior by educators. Washington, DC, belongs at the top of that list." Former schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and her-then deputy, current chancellor Kaya Henderson, have long maintained that there was no widespread cheating on standardized tests in DC public schools, and that if there was they had no knowledge of it. Merrow has now obtained a document from January 2009 that shows both that the standardized test cheating was rampant and that they were informed about it then. Read all about it:

John Merrow, "Michelle Rhee’s Reign of Error,"
Greg Toppo, "Memo Warms of Rampant Cheating in DC Public Schools," USA Today,
Valerie Strauss, "Why Not Subpoena Everyone in DC Cheating Scandal — Rhee Included),"
Valerie Strauss, "Yes, Rhee Saw the Test Cheating Memo,"

The Committee on Education will have a public hearing on Bill 20-109, "The Public Integrity Act of 2013," on Thursday, April 18, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 120 of the Wilson Building. From the announcement, "The purpose of the hearing is to provide the public and government witnesses an opportunity to testify on the bill, which would codify testing security protocols and procedures for statement assessments administered in the District of Columbia." But Education Committee chairman David Catania, a strong supporter of Rhee and Henderson, wants to continue the cover-up, and says he's not interested in revisiting the past.


Luke Rosiak and Jeffrey Anderson write about the shell companies that operate as Certified Business Enterprises from phony addresses and empty offices to function as "minority partners" to get DC government contracts in "Minority Contractors ‘Game the System,’ Find Safe Havens in DC Homes,"


Mike DeBonis and Nikita Stewart have an article on the Washington Post web site that is far from shocking, "2010 DC Mayoral Candidate Alexander Says Gray Urged Him to Quit Race," Last week, it was a nothing story that Senator McConnell in Kentucky had a campaign staff meeting to discuss strategy against Ashley Judd if she entered the race against him — politicians discuss how to run against their opponents in every race. Similarly, it’s a nothing story if one politician urges an opponent to drop out of a race. Alexander isn’t claiming he was bribed or threatened, just that Gray asked him to drop out. Why is this news?

Gary Imhoff


Desperate Campaign Tactics
Mary Rowse,

On Saturday, I received a large postcard in the mail from Elissa Silverman stating "She’s a leader who stands out from the guys on the DC Council" — nine of whom were pictured without heads or hands, wearing dark suits with the following words in white printed on their figures: "Corrupt," "Indicted," "Under Investigation," "Works for City Contractor," and "Tied to Special Interests." Silverman is pictured off to the left in color, with a halo, looking gleeful and self-righteous. Missing are the remaining four councilmembers. Is it because they aren’t corrupt or because Silverman doesn’t need them in order to lead?

On the reverse side, I see the words "she fought" and "Elissa has a record of fighting . . . ," "pushed for," "fought for," and "Silverman is the one candidate who can clean up the DC Government." This is classic Silverman — competitive, aggressive, argumentative, impatient, a lightening rod, "better than others" — ultimately a loner who probably won’t find many on the council she can work with. Do we really need more difficult people on the dais?

While this kind of negative campaigning has its place — especially for candidates who have nothing to lose and who are desperate for any publicity they can get — it has also been shown in some cases to suppress voter turnout especially among independents and swing voters. I doubt this campaign ad will have that much effect but just in case, I hope as many people as possible get out and vote by 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 23.



Federation of Citizens Associations on DC Electric Utility Service, April 23
Anne Renshaw,

The People’s Counsel, PSC Chairperson, and PEPCO’s Region President will speak on the reliability of the city’s electric utility service at the DC Federation of Citizens Associations’ Assembly to be held on Tuesday, April 23, 6:45 p.m. at All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church Hall, 2300 Cathedral Avenue, NW.

Guest presenters Sandra Mattavous-Frye, Esq, People’s Counsel; Betty Ann Kane, Chairperson, DC Public Service Commission; and Thomas H. Graham, President, Pepco Region will comment on electric service reliability performance and upgrades, as well as react to audience questions about such issues as power line undergrounding, tree pruning, proposed rate increase, future demand, outages and smart meters.

The Citizens Federation’s Assembly is open to the public. All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church is located at 2300 Cathedral Avenue, NW, near Connecticut Avenue and Woodley Park Metro (Red Line). A parking lot behind the church is located off Woodley Place. The church hall entrance is down the garden steps from the parking lot. The door will open at 6:30 p.m. Guest presentations, to include audience Q&A, will begin at 7:00 p.m., following Federation announcements. For further information, contact Anne Renshaw, Federation President at 363-6880. All ages are welcome.


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)