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July 28, 2013


Dear Cronies:

Will Sommer has grown into the Loose Lips seat at City Paper with his article on the Peaceoholics, "Peace at Any Cost?," Sommer was given access to a cache of E-mails that the Fraternal Order of Police spent three years suing the Metropolitan Police Department to get. Those E-mails show the MPD were worried that the Peaceoholics were doing more harm than good and that the Peacoholics couldn’t substantiate its activities with paperwork, but continued to give the group hundreds of thousands of grant dollars as late as 2010.

The comments on Sommer’s article all wonder the same thing: why have Adrian Fenty and his crony deals, including the questionable grants given to Peaceoholics, been given a pass by US Attorney Ron Machen’s office?

Gary Imhoff


Building a New Soccer Stadium
Dorothy Brizill,

On Thursday, July 25, Mayor Gray, on behalf of the District of Columbia signed a "term sheet agreement" with DC United regarding the development, construction, management, and operation of a new twenty-thousand to twenty-five thousand seat soccer stadium in the Buzzard Point area of southwest, near the Washington Nationals baseball stadium. The documents and renderings are at Under the terms of the agreement, the District government will assemble the real property that is needed to construct the stadium, but which is currently privately owned (in squares 605, 607, and 661, and the northern portions of Square 665) and lease the land to DC United for an annual base rent of one dollar. The city plans to swap District-owned property (e.g., the Reeves Center at 14 and U Streets, NW) with the property owners (Pepco, Akridge, and Mark Ein) in order to assemble to stadium site parcels. In addition, the District will "assume the cost of environmental remediation of existing conditions on the stadium site and perform demolition and infrastructure work in connection with the stadium and the ancillary development on the stadium site." For its part, DC United agrees to "develop, construct, manage, and operate the stadium" under the provisions of the term agreement. Currently, it is anticipated that the stadium will cost $150 million to build.

The term agreement details an ambitious, unrealistic timetable for the project. By January 1, 2014, the District must have concluded negotiations regarding assembling the land needed for the stadium and have secured "site control" of the land (excluding the Pepco substations). Moreover, the agreement required the mayor to "obtain the necessary legal approvals from the council and, if required, the United States Congress" by January 1, 2014. By March 1, 2015, the District is required to complete "the necessary infrastructure work and utility relations, . . . demolish all existing structures on the stadium site, . . . completed its environmental remediation obligations, and . . . obtained approvals to close any alleys or streets, as necessary, on the stadium site." Finally, the term agreement provides that "by no later than January 1, 2017, the Stadium shall be substantially complete and ready for commercial operation, provided, however, the Parties will endeavor and use reasonable efforts to complete the Stadium by March 1, 2016, or in time for the start of 2016 MLS season. . . ."


Ron Linton,

History didn’t start in 1962. And John Stossel’s is a superficial view of the Detroit catastrophe [themail, July 24]. My grandfather moved to Detroit in 1905 to work for the Ford Motor Company. I was born, reared, and schooled there, and loved the city greatly as it appeared to be in the 1930’s and 40’s but as I matured and became involved in city and state politics and governance (I was Secretary of the State Department of Workmen’s Compensation in 1956) I realized that the seeds of its demise were planted in the late nineteenth century and were nurtured by stubborn people and watered by self denial. Detroit was well on the road to ruin before 1962. For one of the best analyses of the city’s rise and fall read American Odyssey: A Unique History of America Told Through The Life of A Great City, by Robert E. Conot, McGraw-Hill. It only covers through 1974, but that’s more than enough to understand the hill it was rolling down.


InTowner July Issue Now Posted Online
P.L. Wolff,

The July 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 — 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 on hiatus), as well as Recent Real Estate Sales, Reservations Recommended, and Food in the ‘Hood.

This month’s lead stories include the following: 1) "Controversial Project for Construction of New Row Houses on Heavily Wooded Mt. Pleasant Site Raise Issues of Compatibility and Appropriateness"; 2) "Former Central Union Mission Building to Become High-End Residential Project;" and 3) "Officials Developing Plan for City Parks and Rec Centers; Charging Fees Being Suggested."

Our editorial this month comments on the city council’s taking off for summer break while leaving us dangling. 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 August 9 (the second Friday of the month as usual). For more information, either send an E-mail to or call 234-1717.


The Walmart Self-Esteem Attack
Perry Redd,

You may have heard the latest Walmart saga Walmart is threatening to pull three of its planned store locations from its newly touted DC market. The District of Columbia is in a controversial position: give in to Walmart, as the retail giant’s leadership is refusing to pay potential low-end workers a "living wage," or stand with the potential working class who are poised to become Walmart’s "poster child" for its successful entry into urban markets. Our mayor’s knees are a-wobbling. The term "living wage" is relatively new in the District of Columbia. During our recent Special Election for an At-Large seat, I was compelled to initiate and elevate the topic of the need for a living wage in DC. I brought that quest to the table primarily for three reasons: 1) in the fourth most expensive city to live in America, a working-class Joe has to earn above the poverty level to survive, 2) Walmart is infamous for low-balling its workers on wages, with the indirect effect of depressing wages for neighboring merchants and workers; I don’t want that to happen here, and 3) I find it immoral for the vast majority of those low-end workers — who are Black with the highest unemployment rate in the area — to work for poverty wages.

Once I pounded the concept of paying DC workers fair and life-sustaining wages — which, by the way, in DC is a minimum $14.50/hour — all but one of my opponents in the At-Large race eventually jumped on the bandwagon. Now, a living wage is one of DC’s hottest topics, and rightfully so. Walmart threatened to pull out of DC because our council voted to stand with — and for — the people. The 8-5 vote was somewhat surprising since our Council has repeatedly kowtowed to developers and corporate interests. I am of the mind that Walmart should walk anyway, but if it’s going to operate in DC, then Walmart needs to pay responsible wages, and even more, quit threatening DC. It’s disrespectful to our working class.

Walmart and DC politics-watchers are eagerly awaiting Mayor Gray’s decision either to stand with Walmart by vetoing the bill or stand with the people and sign the bill. The working class in this city has suffered great economic pain though our city enjoys successive years of budget surpluses. I hear the disinformation agents opining to DC constituents by framing the argument against Walmart as one that "singles out Walmart," rather than requiring other large-volume retailers to comply with the proposed law. How appalling, but I am not surprised to learn that some in our city’s media establishment seem very willing to do Walmart’s bidding by asserting that same mantra: this new bill picks on Walmart. It is true that Walmart is the chief motivation behind the bill. It has a sordid history of hurting workers and neighboring businesses in the communities where its stores locate. Walmart’s wages are so low that many of its workers rely on food stamps and other government aid to make ends meet. In just one Walmart Super Center in Wisconsin, workers had the unintended impact of costing state taxpayers nearly an extra $1 million — the taxpayers cost to subsidize Walmart’s low wages and scant, if any, benefits. (Most Walmart workers are part-time, making them ineligible for company benefits.)

Walmart has long been criticized for its pattern of paying wages that force its workers to enroll in public assistance programs. The recent study in Wisconsin gives credence to such criticism. The company had disproportionately more workers enrolled in the state’s public health care program during the 4th quarter of last year than any other Wisconsin employer.

A study by the Center for Labor Research and Education at University of California-Berkley found that the opening of the first Walmart store in any county in the USA where there previously had been none depressed the wages of general merchandise employees by 1 percent, and of grocery store employees by 1.5 percent. The counties surveyed did not include those that encompassed the largest east and west coast cities, where the gap between Walmart’s wages and those of other supermarkets is greatest. The bill in DC, the Large Retailer Accountability Act, doesn’t single out Walmart at all; it does justice by making large retailers socially responsible corporate citizens. The bill would require "large retailers" — defined as businesses operating an indoor store of at least 75,000 square feet and whose corporate parent has annual sales of at least $1 billion — to pay wages no lower than $12.50 per hour without benefits, or $11.75 with benefits. That "living wage" would be indexed to the local consumer price index every year.

Now, let’s be clear, I don’t consider $12.50 an hour a "living wage" in the least for DC; that number should be at least $14.50 an hour for a single person living in the District of Columbia. This is simply masterful framing. You see, our city’s median income is upwards of $63,000 a year, and $86,600 in the immediate surrounding area.

An hourly wage of $12.50 is nothing close to a living wage in the District of Columbia. As some of you may recall, I proposed a "living wage" of $14.50/hour during the REDD4Council campaign for DC council. Why so high? Well, it’s really not "so high." For one to make $12.50/hour (with no benefits, no less) is to gross $1,080/week (taxes: Federal $181, Social Security $67, Medicare $15 and DC $69) for a take-home pay of $747.25/week or $2,988/month. This is before utilities, transportation and/or food — or a child!

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit as of June this year and within ten miles of Washington, DC, is $1,813. One-bedroom apartments in Washington rent for $1,617 a month on average and two-bedroom apartment rents average $2,035. That equates to 60 percent of that $2,988/month salary! How can one live on that purported "living wage?" A person cannot. Thus, we must push back against the idea of this weak-kneed proposal that’s framed as a "living wage." But it is what it is, for now.

To the point about Walmart: Walmart is threatening to pull out of DC. I say, "Bye!" Some of us told thousands of you that Walmart cares nothing for people — only profits. Now, they’ve resorted to using the Black community as bargaining chips — by threatening to halt construction of three of its six — yeah, six — proposed stores in heavily Black communities where unemployment is highest.

Walmart’s public outcry is indicative of a spreading disease. You’ve got to catch the cancer before it spreads. Walmart shouldn’t even be in DC. Let alone six stores! Other large retailers would willingly step in if this devilish corporation (oh, "Corporations are people my friend!") pulls out. Let’s not allow this threat to attack our self-esteem. We don’t have to settle for less



DPW Monthly Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off, August 3
Linda P. Grant,

The DC Department of Public Works will hold its next monthly Household Hazardous Waste/E-cycling/Personal Document Shredding drop-off on Saturday, August 3, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Ft. Totten Transfer Station. The monthly drop-off is held every first Saturday, except holidays, at Ft. Totten, between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. During the monthly HHW/E-cycling/Personal Document Shredding event, District residents may bring toxic items such as pesticides, batteries, and cleaning fluids to Ft. Totten, along with computers, televisions, and other unwanted electronic equipment. Personal document shredding also is available that day, and residents may bring up to five boxes of materials to be shredded. No business or commercial material will be accepted.

To accommodate residents whose religious beliefs prohibit them from using the Saturday drop-off, DPW will accept household hazardous waste and e-cyclables on Thursday, August 1, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. While DPW normally offers personal document shredding during the Saturday event, items for shredding cannot be accepted on Thursday, August 1, because these documents cannot be protected until the shredding contractor arrives on Saturday. (DPW usually provides this alternate drop-off day the Thursday before the first Saturday of the month.) For a list of all household hazardous waste and e-cyclables accepted by DPW, please click on the HHW link at

DPW reminds residents that certain batteries (lithium-based and batteries greater than 9 volts) should be taped before being brought to Ft. Totten. Lithium-based batteries are most commonly found in cell phones, digital cameras and laptops. Also, hearing aids, watches, and keyless remotes typically use button cells, containing lithium. To safely dispose of batteries with lithium or batteries of greater than 9 volts, put clear, masking, or electrical tape on the batteries’ terminals. Flat button batteries can be sandwiched between two layers of tape. Place these batteries in a separate container from other batteries that don’t require being taped, e.g., A, AAA, C, D, 6-volt, and 9-volt batteries.

Directions to Ft. Totten, 4900 John F. McCormack Drive, NE: travel east on Irving Street, NW, turn left on Michigan Avenue, turn left on John F. McCormack Drive, NE, and continue to the end of the street. Directions from additional locations can be found at


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