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March 2, 2014

Meteorological Spring, My Foot

Dear Winterizers:

It’s just too tiresome to continue to complain about a wasted winter. Yet one more snow keeps us from doing anything, either productive or fun, and I bore even myself by complaining about it. If we had wanted to live in Minnesota or Canada, we could have moved there and pretended that we enjoyed snow festivals and ice sculpture contests. But we live in Washington, where winter is supposed to provide a brief and mild contrast to spring and autumn, and where we’re supposed to be bothered only by the heat of summer.

I had a cousin who once lived in Atlanta. She wanted to move from there because the winters were too cold. We Washingtonians are not delicate flowers like her, but we’re not hearty snow bunnies, either. We’re not built for this. Even the kids aren’t thrilled by snow days anymore.

Oh, well, I give up. I’ve dug out the Christmas DVD of burning logs in a fireplace, and I’ll bake a loaf of bread. I have a good recipe for zopf, the Swedish egg bread that is a close relative of challah. I’ll share it, if anyone requests it. It will make your whole house smell wonderful, and then you can eat it.

Gary Imhoff


Open Letter to Shaun Donovan, Secretary of HUD
Karen Settles and Samuel Jordan,

We are the President and Special Advisor, respectively, of the Citywide Advisory Board (CWAB), Washington, DC’s jurisdiction-wide representative of public housing residents. In anticipation of the implementation of the “individual mandate” provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), CWAB, under the leadership of Ms. Settles, has proposed to the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) a comprehensive, systematic, and District-wide program of ACA informational and enrollment services for public housing residents. Our proposal to DCHA was submitted on November 26, 2013. To date, there has been no initiative taken by DCHA to adopt our proposal or to implement an alternative plan. Contact with public housing residents by ACA Assister organizations has therefore been episodic and without coordination.

Coupled with the lack of an effort by DCHA to implement a systematic, jurisdiction-wide, ACA informational and enrollment program, local officials have suggested that the ACA does not support expending resources on enrollment services for “this population,” although no citations to such provisions in the Act have been offered.

Because public housing residents are among the least “Internet connected” and least informed by public policy makers’ outreach efforts, it is our fear that upon the expiration of the open enrollment period on March 31, 2014, a significant number of residents of public housing in the District will be subject to “individual responsibility” penalties. That eventuality is avoidable. This letter is written not only to alert you to the above-described prospect, but to suggest that HUD should conduct a survey in public housing communities nationwide immediately. A well-structured survey would help to determine the need for health insurance services and to assess the steps being taken by state health benefit exchanges to assure the coordination of Housing Authorities and Assister organizations in the design and execution of effective plans to provide ACA informational and enrollment services to those residents eligible to enroll in qualified health plans with essential health benefits and to minimize the numbers of penalty-threatened public housing residents nationwide. We urge your immediate attention in this matter.



At-Large Councilmember Forum, March 12
Susana Baranano,

The Woman’s National Democratic Club, the Logan Circle Community Association, and the Dupont Circle Civic Association are hosting a forum for the candidates for at-large councilmember, shadow senator, and the national committeewoman and national committeeman of the Democratic State Committee. The DC primary election will be held on April 1, so the race is in full swing. Meet the candidates, ask questions and hear about their plans.

The forum will be on Wednesday, March 12, at the Woman’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Free. Cash Bar. Light snack available. Membership initiation fee waived if application submitted at event. Program: 6:00-6:30 p.m., meet and greet candidates; 6:30 p.m., welcoming comments; 6:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m., at-large councilmember candidates; 7:30-8:00 p.m., shadow senator candidates; 8:15-8:45 p.m., national committeewoman and national committeeman candidates; 9:00 p.m., forum ends.

Reserve by telephone, 232-7363, ext. 3003, or online at or at


Spanish Wine Tasting, March 19
Susana Baranano,

Join the Woman’s National Democratic Club for a tasting soiree with Spanish wines and enjoy tapas, small savory Spanish dishes, including croquettes, potato and egg omelet, and fried shrimp from DC’s renowned Spanish restaurant Taberna del Alabardero.

Wednesday, March 19, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the Woman’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Price: $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers. The membership initiation fee will be waived if the application is submitted at the event. Reserve by telephone at 232-7363, ext. 3003, or online at or at


Strategic Importance of Ethiopia in Africa Panel Discussion, April 1
Susana Baranano,

Join us for a panel discussion on the Strategic Importance of Ethiopia in Africa. Ethiopian tasting, coffee, wine and beer will be served at a speaker receptions. Learn about Ethiopia and its relationships with its surrounding countries: Egypt, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya. We will highlight internal political, social and economic issues, including how Ethiopians are uniting in a social justice movement. We will also discuss US-Ethiopia relationships, including sister city agreements between Addis Adaba and Gondar and DC and Montgomery County.

The panelists will be Naida Michel Saad, Retired Loan Officer and Project Manager, North Africa Development Programs; Obang Metho, Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia; Bruce Adams, Director, Office of Community Partnerships, Montgomery County; Ngozi Nmezi, Director, DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, DC; Dr. Getachew Begashaw, Professor of Economics at W.R. Harper College, Chicago; and Greg Toulmin, Country Program, Coordinator for Ethiopia, The World Bank Group.

Thursday, April 1, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the National Woman’s Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Ten dollars for members; fifteen dollars for nonmembers. Reserve by telephone, 232-7363, ext. 3003, or online at or


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