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November 10, 2013

The Same Applies to Transfats

Dear Eaters:

I was born allergic to cows’ milk. I couldn’t tolerate the stuff, which made me a fussy baby. My parents tried a variety of baby formulas, but I couldn’t tolerate them, either. Finally, at the suggestion of one doctor, they tried feeding me goats’ milk, which I could digest easily, and which finally alleviated my constant hunger. In those days, it was difficult to find a reliable source of goats’ milk (it certainly wasn’t stocked in our corner grocery store), so my parents bought a goat, which we they kept both as a pet and a milk animal. Eventually, somewhere around the age of six, seven, or eight, I outgrew my allergy to cows’ milk, but that didn’t solve the problem completely.

The milk that goats produce, in case you aren’t familiar with it, is much richer and thicker than cows’ milk. While I was no longer allergic to cows’ milk, I still didn’t like it. It tasted thin and watery to me, and I didn’t want to drink it. In fact, I hated it. My parents were very influenced by the advice of the nutritionists of the day, who proclaimed that a balanced, nutritious diet for children required several glasses of milk a day, and they tried to urge me, or force me, to drink that milk. Finally, desperate to get me on a healthy diet, they brought the matter up when I visited my pediatrician for a regular checkup. “Doctor,” my mother coaxed him, “doesn’t a growing boy need to drink his milk?” The pediatrician, whom I will always remember fondly and thankfully, didn’t pause or flinch. He said, with a proper measure of scorn in his voice, “Milk is for babies.”

After a longer and more complete explanation from the doctor, my parents no longer insisted that I force down a glass of milk with every meal, and I no longer believed in the faddish superstitions of dietitians and nutritionists. That disbelief has been strengthened by living through the past several decades, during which nutritionists preached that butter was artery clogging and margarine was the healthy alternative, during which eggs were practically poison and should be limited to one or two a week, and during which chocolate and coffee switched practically every year between being forbidden and being health foods.

Gary Imhoff


District Elections in 2014
Dorothy Brizill,

Nominating Petitions. On Friday, November 8, candidates running in the April 1, 2014, party primaries were able to pick up their nominating petitions at the DC Board of Elections. To date, there are three Statehood Green Party candidates, (for Delegate, Natali Stracuzzi; for Ward 1 councilmember, Ming J. Lowe; and for US [Shadow] Senator, David Schwartzman). There are two Republicans (for Delegate, Nelson Rimensnyder; and for At-Large Councilmember, Mac Morgan). Meanwhile the Democratic Party primary has a large field of candidates, with more expected to pick up petitions in the coming weeks (for Delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton; for mayor, Muriel Bowser, Christian Carter, Jack Evans, Michael Green, Reta Jo Lewis, Vincent Orange, Andy Shallal, Frank Sewell, Octavia Wells, and Tommy Wells; for council chairman, Phil Mendelson and Calvin Gurley; for at-large councilmember Anita Bonds and Nate Bennett Fleming; for Ward 1 councilmember, Myla Moss, Brianne Nadeau, Bryan Weaver, and Beverly Wheeler; for Ward 3 councilmember, Mary Cheh; for Ward 5 councilmember, Kenyan McDuffie; for Ward 6 councilmember, Charles Allen, Joseph Slovinec, and Darrel Thompson; for Attorney General, Paul Zukerberg; and US (Shadow) Senator Pete Ross, Paul Strauss, and Octavia Wells; and for US (Shadow) Representative, Antoinette Russell).

Currently, eight members of the city council will be running for elective office in 2014. If at-large councilmember David Catania and Ward One councilmember Jim Graham run, then that number will rise to ten. That will contribute to a contentious, unwieldy legislative body for the next year. Petitions, with the requisite number of signatures, must be filed by 5:00 p.m., January 2, 2014.

Circulating Petitions. This year, the DC Board of Elections and the council changed District law regarding the circulation of nominating petitions. Under that change, petitions may be circulated by a resident of the District or a nonresident, provided that the individual has “registered as a petition circulator with the Board prior to the circulation of the petitions.” The registration forms, with proof of one’s permanent address, must be signed in person under oath at the BOE’s office at 441 4th Street, Suite 280N. Meanwhile, it is unclear what measures the BOE will put in place to police the circulation of petitions by non-DC residents properly. When I questioned the BOE staff on Friday, their response was that they would rely on individual citizens to observe how petitions are being circulated and then assume that, if they note any irregularities, they would file the appropriate challenge to these petitions after they have been submitted to the BOE in January.

On Friday, approximately ten college students working in Jack Evans’ mayoral campaign arrived at the BOE en masse to register as nonresident circulators. The government ID’s that they submitted with the registration forms indicated that they were permanent residents of New Jersey, Maryland, California, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi.


Ward 1 Parking Plan
Clyde Howard,

The Ward 1 Parking Plan proposed by Councilmember Jim Graham and put in place by Terry Bellamy, Director of the Department of Transportation (DDOT), is a complete and absolute failure. It was stated that the plan would be good only if the parking restrictions were enforced. As usual, the implementers do not think outside of the box. The RPP (residential parking plan) is not enforced due to the easy pickings of violators of the Ward 1 parking only requirement. Thus the plan falls apart when street sweeping is suspended, and vehicle owners are not required to move their cars. So owners are warehousing their cars at the curb, tying up valuable parking spaces. Once we had the 72-hour rule that assured that there would be a turnover of parking spaces, but that was removed by a former councilmember for unknown reasons. What we have now is a series of parking rules that do not complement one another, therefore do not serve any useful purpose, since parking enforcement is unequal for many who live east of 16th Street, NW.

How can we develop a plan to provide relief for the residents of Ward 1 who are victims of the bar crowd that seem to be able to park with impunity? We can by simply demanding that parking be for all of Ward 1 with one exception, by identifying vehicles by the ANC, in which they live, thus making any vehicle not identified as such subject to an automatic ticket unless the vehicle owner has a guest permit like we do now. Further, take a stand against the Office Of Planning that wants to make it easier for the developers by reducing the number of parking spaces in their building. This causes problems with the residents due to the tenants of these condos/apartments who are reluctant to purchase a parking space in their building which they can afford.

Taxicabs should be removed from residential streets after business hours, because they are commercial vehicles for hire, or they should be charged with a five hundred dollar ticket like other commercial vehicles or be garaged. this should apply to all taxicabs all over the city. In major cities you do not see taxicabs parked overnight on the street, especially in New York City after business hours. The movers and shakers are so hepped on bicycles and public put the horse before the cart, and refused to consider the residents.


Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?
J. Polinger,

For the past several weeks, a DC government car, a white Toyota Corolla, DC tag DC 9805, has been parked on the east side of 14th Street, NW, about fifty yards shy of Pennsylvania Avenue during the morning rush hour (and perhaps for the entire day). It blocks a lane of traffic, specifically the inbound traffic in the morning. It takes away the curb lane and forces those who wish to make a right turn from 14th on to Pennsylvania Avenue out in to the middle lane, further impeding the flow of inbound traffic in the morning. On a recent morning, a call to 311 elicited heartfelt concern and a promise to dispatch someone to investigate. No word of what the investigation found, but we can assume it brought no enforcement since the car remains there. DC traffic is bad enough with city employees appropriating a lane of traffic for their own convenience. Does anyone in the Department of Transportation or the Metropolitan Police Department pay attention?


United Medical Center’s Future
Richard Layman,

Carol Jacobs asks some questions [themail, November 6] in response to Sam Jordan’s earlier post. I have written here I believe as well as in my own blog about the example of the Denver Hospital and public health system (also written up in Governing Magazine), the creation of a health and wellness campus by the St. Anthony Hospital in Chicago, and the rural health initiatives in Mississippi, modeled after best practices in Iran, and written up in the New York Times,

Widespread community care initiatives haven’t been developed in a very systematic way across the country. DC’s funding of community health care clinics like Mary’s Center or Bread for the World is in fact best practice, as is the health care program that provides access to medical care that DC Chartered Health Care used to be a part of. The opportunity that DC has is to take the next step and get the community clinics to function as an integrated network, and to develop structured ways to provide management of chronic health conditions and to do outreach public health initiatives, etc. Then would be to figure out how UMC can fit in such a network, probably more comparably to what St. Anthony will be doing in Chicago. (Note that PG County has the same opportunity presented to it with the creation of a new hospital in Largo and the takeover of their system by the University of Maryland.)

I am working very slowly on a position paper on how to interdict poverty in the city, particularly in wards 7 and 8. My motivation comes in part from being on grand jury duty earlier in the year and the comment by one of the court reporters (“Breaking the cycle?! We’re cutting the grass”) and my figuring that DC probably spends at least 40 percent of its budget on Wards 7 and anyway in terms of police, fire and emergency services, criminal justice, health care, human services, public housing etc., but we aren’t getting substantive improvement. Innovative health and wellness planning and services are part of the equation.


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