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May 12, 2013


Dear Above-Grounders:

David L. Kirp’s article in Slate, "Failing the Test: Why Cheating Scandals and Parent Rebellions Are Erupting in Schools in New York, Washington, DC, and Atlanta,", argues that, "Rather than succumbing to the Michelle Rhee-Michael Bloomberg siren song of quick fixes and promises of dramatic gains, successful school systems have stuck to a few time-tested, game-changing strategies. Encouraging teachers to collaborate, the strategy that [Century Foundation Vice President Greg] Anrig plumps for, is one element of this approach."

Bernie Reeves’ article in American Thinker, "Bike Wars," Http://, is another shot in the war between drivers and bicyclists, this time from the driver’s perspective: ". . . a zealous percentage of bicyclists believe they own the roads built for motor vehicles. This cadre of extreme cyclists appears to be increasing in numbers, some imbued with righteous dedication that makes them think they have the moral right-of-way, as well as blamelessness when they place themselves in harm's way against motorized vehicles. . . . One letter writer summed up the new trend in Big Apple biker rights: ‘Mayor Bloomberg's bicycle crusade has snarled traffic, made signage more confusing, crosswalks more perilous, parking more scarce, and sidewalks more congested — all for a tiny demographic using a vehicle whose practicality wanes in the winter months and on rainy days.’"

The proposal to issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants is only the latest example of DC’s acting as a Sanctuary City to resist and defy the federal "Secure Communities" program, writes Andrea Noble in The Washington Times, "Under Secure Communities, DC Goes Easy on Immigrants with Records: Few Illegals Get Deported," "The District’s ranking [in deportation/submission rates] puts it next to states with the lowest percentage of foreign-born residents, Ms. [Jessica] Vaughan [of the Center for Immigration Studies] said. Yet 13.6 percent of the District’s population is foreign-born and an estimated 4.5 percent — or about 25,000 people — are believed to be illegal immigrants, according to a 2011 study by the Pew Hispanic Center."

Gary Imhoff


Power Lines
Dorothy Brizill,

On August 6, 2012, Mayor Gray signed an order (Mayor’s Order 2012-130) establishing the Mayor’s Power Line Undergrounding Task Force to "advise the Mayor on the general causes of storm-related power outages in the District, actions that may be taken to reduce future storm-related power outages, and the undergrounding of power lines." Under the order, the task force was co-chaired by City Administrator Allen Lew and the Chief Executive Officer of Pepco, Joseph Rigby. It was to have transmitted "to the mayor no later than January 21, 2013, a written report setting forth the findings and recommendations of the Task Force."

Now, after many months of inertia and delay, the task force is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 15, at 9:00 a.m., in Room G-9 of the Wilson Building, for members to see for the first time a draft report that has been written by the City Administrator’s office. Immediately afterwards, at 11:00 a.m., the mayor is scheduled to hold a press conference with the task force members in Room 507 of the Wilson Building to announce the findings of the undergrounding task force.

Over the past few months, the Technical Committee of the Task Force has prepared a detailed report that analyses the factors that have caused the power outages in the District (for example, problem feeder lines in wards 3, 4, 5, and 7), and also makes recommendations on where undergrounding the power lines needs to take place. At Wednesday’s press conference, the city will reveal the total cost of the undergrounding project and who will bear that cost. Since the task force’s Finance Committee has yet to share its findings with the task force members, the total cost of the project, and the plans to pay for it, are still very speculative. However, it is believed that the final bill will top one billion dollars, with the District government and Pepco splitting the cost. In the end, DC residents are expected to foot the entire bill through a combination of taxes and Pepco rate increases. Information on the task force is posted at


Lucky You, Bubblers
Star Lawrence,

[Re: "Living in the Bubble," themail, May 8] Out here in the provinces, the fly overs, the sticks, the boonies, or however you refer to us (Arizona to be precise), we have heard your houses are even not upside-down and you can sell them without bringing a big check to the closing. Your malls — can this be true — don't have empty storefronts like teeth in an ill-kempt mouth. Former mortgage bankers are probably not making toffee and selling it in farmer's markets, am I right? Your doctors may even afford to see Medicare patients and fill up the Lexus. The problem is, you may think your gold-plated existence is everywhere and legislate and regulate accordingly. That is the moment this becomes horrible instead of just drolly amusing.


Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens
Mary C. Young,

[Reply to Willie Schatz, themail, May 8] You missed the point — on the one hand DC wants everyone out of their cars, and on the other hand they are willing to give drivers licenses to persons that will only increase the number of cars on our streets.


InTowner Issue Content for May Uploaded
P.L. Wolff,

The May issue content is now posted at, including the issue PDF, in which will be found the primary news stories, museum exhibition reviews, and community news which contains a preview of the 17th liquor moratorium renewal push soon to get underway as well as information on the status of the soon-to-be decided U Street liquor moratorium — plus all photos and other images. Not included in the PDF but linked directly from the home page is the What Once Was feature (this month about the disintegrating, historic Holt House on the Zoo property), as well as Recent Real Estate Sales, Reservations Recommended, and Food in the ‘Hood.

This month's lead stories include the following: 1) "Office of Planning’s Historic Preservation Plan Receives Some Highly Critical Yet Constructive Comment from Kalorama and Dupont Representatives"; 2) "Plan to Expand Two Kalorama Houses for Condos Blows Up as Major Donnybrook at HPRB"; 3) "Individuals and Projects in Dupont, Adams Morgan, Shaw Honored for Preservation Work." Our editorial this month despairs that our city council doesn’t work better. Your thoughts are welcome and can be sent by clicking the comment link at the bottom of the web page or by E-mail to

The next issue PDF will publish early in the morning of June 14 (the second Friday of the month as usual). For more information, either send an E-mail to or call 234-1717.


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