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September 3, 2014

Want More, or Want Less

Dear Washingtonians:

Sticking with the topic of how politicians and planners are trying to lower the expectations of Americans and demolish the traditional American dream, I recommend an article by Henry Grabar, “America Is So Over Homeownership: Why a Shift to a Renting Economy Might Actually Be a Good Thing,” Salon, The article doesn’t actually deliver on the promise of its title; it doesn’t enumerate many advantages of reducing the possibility that people will be able to own their own homes. Here’s the closest it comes: “But as a long-term development, it signifies an emerging model of American life released from the cult of homeownership. It would make Americans more mobile (as we once were), and more able to adapt to economic changes.” That’s like claiming that its good for people to have less money in the bank, because it makes it easier to switch banks. Small consolation.


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Gary Imhoff


Final Hearing on DC’s Plan to Underground Power Lines
Dorothy Brizill,

As I have written in recent issues of themail, next spring the city will begin a billion-dollar project that will span seven to ten years to place underground sixty of the worst-performing electrical feeder lines in the city, in an effort to address the problem of power outages and improve the reliability of the District’s electrical distribution system. The plan calls for the DC Department of Transportation to excavate certain streets and/or sidewalks in order to dig trenches and construct conduits so that Pepco can install a new underground electrical distribution system in parts of Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8.

As the single largest capital improvement project by DDOT over the next ten years, the project will have a dramatic impact on residents, businesses, and visitors to those neighborhoods as a result of the excavation, the loss of street parking, occasional street detours, the need for construction staging areas, attendant construction noise, and the increased presence of dirt and dust, as well as vermin activity.

During the heart of the summer, from July 21 through July 29, the District’s Public Service Commission held community hearings in each of the city’s eight wards to receive comments on the plan. However, few people attended the hearings because a detailed information on the plan (e.g., street maps showing where the excavation would occur) and the dates and locations of the community hearings were not widely disseminated. After I applied a great deal of pressure, an additional community hearing will now be held on September 9 at 6:00 p.m. in the 7th floor hearing room of the DC Public Service Commission, 1333 H Street, NW. Individuals and organizations can testify at the hearing by contacting the Commission Secretary at 202-626-5150 or Written statements may also be submitted by September 15 to the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, 1333 H Street, NW, Suite 200, West Tower, Washington, DC 20005.

The online site with the best detailed information on the undergrounding plan is the web site of the Office of Peoples Counsel at You can also review the material filed in the two related electric system reliability underground cases (FC1116 and FC1121) before the Public Service Commission on the commission’s web site,


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