themail.gif (3487 bytes)

August 18, 2013

School Is Back

Dear Scholars:

I dreamed last night of taking a tour of DC schools. This is not a fable or an invented story. It’s actually what I dreamed, so I’m not trying to draw any lessons from it. The dream started as just a trip from school to school, but it evolved into a full-fledged horror movie. It was a standard teen aged slaughterfest. I’d visit a school, and a teenager would turn up dead. What was my subconscious telling me? Are the schools in trouble? Are the children in trouble because of the schools?

Better yet, what are your experiences telling you about the schools? Not about test scores, but about the total experience of going to DC schools, public or charter? Are you satisfied? Are your children? Horror movie, comedy, or inspirational (Akeelah and the Bee, Dead Poets Society?)


Here’s an article that discusses another aspect of what I’ve been writing about for the past month, "The Stroller Ban: Are Cities Anti-Kids,"

Gary Imhoff


DC’s Political Past
Dorothy Brizill,

Over the weekend, the Washington Post published a story about a political fundraiser mayoral candidate Jack Evans held on August 9 that raised forty thousand dollars from "dozens of wealthy Washington area residents summering on Nantucket" (Nikita Stewart, While it is not unusual for District politicians to travel outside the region to raise funds, the Nantucket fundraiser, coming near the official start of the 2014 electoral season (nominating petitions will be available November 8), is significant. First, Max Berry, a lawyer and art patron in the District, was the principal host. While the Post is very good at including a brief mention of someone’s background in its political articles, especially if that background is controversial or touches on a Marion Barry scandal, it did not do so in this case. The Post failed to mention that, while Evans is trying to market himself to DC voters as a mayoral candidate who would be a "clean" alternative to the District’s past corrupt political leadership, Max Berry’s role in organizing the Nantucket fundraiser and as an advisor in Evans’ campaign calls that claim into question. Over the past more than thirty years, Berry has served as the chairman and principal fundraiser for a wide variety of political campaigns, including those of Walter Fauntleroy, Marion Barry, John Wilson, Dave Clark, and Anthony Williams. In 2002, for example, Berry served with Gwendolyn Hemphill as the cochairs of Williams’ reelection campaign when the Board of Elections refused to allow Williams’ name to appear on the Democratic party’s primary ballot after it disallowed thousands of fraudulent signatures on his nominating petitions. The DC Court of Appeals upheld the Board’s decision by finding "substantial evidence in the record that the integrity of the nominating process has been seriously compromised by the action of the circulators" (Williams v. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, Appeal No. 02-AA-854, DCCA, August 7, 2002). Hemphill was subsequently sentenced to eleven years in prison for embezzling money from the Washington Teacher’s Union.

Holding his first major fundraiser in the summer colony island of Nantucket also fuels the perception that Jack Evans is a candidate who is largely concerned about the District’s wealthier residents. In recent years, this perception has been gained traction by the fact that Evans fought, following the 2010 Census, to redraw the boundaries of his council seat, Ward 2, so that the poorer and most racially diverse neighborhoods, such as Shaw, were removed, leaving him with a ward that encompasses largely Georgetown, Logan Circle, and Dupont Circle.

Footnote: last Wednesday, Andy Shallal, the owner of the Busboys and Poets restaurants/bookstores, met with supporters and indicated that he may run for mayor in 2014. While various news reports portray Shallal as a political novice, it should be noted that he served as the chairman of Michael Brown’s 2012 campaign committee. This is the same campaign from which Michael Brown claimed the campaign’s treasurer, Hakim Sutton, stole $114,000, a case in which authorities have not yet determined who was responsible for the missing funds. This is also the same campaign in which there was so much turmoil and turnover in staff that Michael Brown lost to a political newcomer, David Grosso, by nearly seventeen thousand votes in the November general election.


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)