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Volume 12, Issue 4, January/February 2006
3710 S Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
(202) 338-5164 phone/fax
in the Offing
Cherry Blossom Festival 2006
New Consumer Affairs Office
Cigareets and Whusky
Regional Traffic Congestion — Carroll Green, Manor Park
Officers and Board
President’s Message — George Clark
Doing the Right Thing
For Toastmasters and Other Public Speakers: How You Say It Counts
Police Performance in Michigan Park: Room for Improvement — Dino Drudi, Michigan Park
Warren Juggins Awarded Foundation's First Unsung Hero Award
Federation Assembly Meeting Dates
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
DPR’s Master Plan
Ms. Sandy Hoffmann, Petworth and Columbia Heights
THE CHARLES SUMNER SCHOOL
Delegates who support mayoral and city council candidates have until September 12 to lay their plans and volunteer for precinct poll duty and campaign assistance activities. Duty and campaign assistance activities. Sad for some, but true, is that the Democratic primary on September 12 is the election in heavily Democratic Washington, D.C. In this quintessentially blue city, one goes with the flow, or else one effectively bows out of the electoral process.
At this writing, mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty leads the pack of five mayoral contestants, including Council Chairman Linda Cropp, Communications executive Marie Johns, Councilman Vincent Orange, and Michael Brown. All are campaigning hard and have appeared at least once at a Federation luncheon, banquet, or regular assembly. Program planners like the variety the candidates add to proceedings; delegates seem to take the cameo appearances in stride.
Point: the Board of Elections could use more polling place staffers. It is reassuring to voters from a particular precinct to use a neighbor or friend manning the tables and passing out ballots, adding a welcome element of classic Americana to the election process. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, the work is easy and virtually always uncomplicated, and a small stipend goes with doing civic duty — and having fun meeting and greeting folks while on duty.
To sign up for precinct polling place duty, call or visit the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, 441 4th Street, N.W., telephone 727-2525.
The two-week annual event commemorating Japan’s 1912 gift of cherry trees to the United States will be held from March 25 through April 9 this year, and will feature family activities, concerts, kite contests, sports tournaments, and a parade. It’s the perfect time to have energetic relatives and friends visit. For more information, go to http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.com.
When someone says, "Go fly a kite," do it. At cherry blossom time.
The new DC Office of Consumer Affairs came into existence on February 6. The Washington Times notes, "More than a decade after the District shut down a consumer affairs office with 50 employees, city officials have resurrected the agency and sicced it on crooked building contractors and shady auto-repair shops." The new office went online in late February with eight employees, and will focus on the two categories of business that generate the most complaints.
City Councilman Jim Graham is apparently the moving force behind the new agency, and last year he reappropriated funds for its foundation and use. Mr. Graham, chairman of the Council’s Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, noted that, "This office is intended to help consumers when they have been ripped off, and that’s what this is really about."
Right on, and another good place to start will be with shady roof repair jobbers, who solicit a large payment up front and then fail to show up. Older female householders seem to be a favorite target. Associations may usefully have standing consumer protection committees, as many residents are reluctant to report scams. Committee chairs should be in direct contact with the new Office of Consumer Affairs.
If you thought the D.C. City council’s efforts to ban public smoking are draconian, the British and others have gone farther. The British parliament recently voted to ban smoking totally in all enclosed public spaces in England, following similar moves in Ireland and some other European countries. In the District, the city council recently passed legislation banning smoking in D.C. workplaces and restaurants as soon as possible, with the ban extending to nightclubs and bars in January 2007.
Mayor Williams declined to sign the council bill, which was sent to the Congress anyway for assured approval. While a likely majority of people will agree with prohibiting smoking in restaurants, many others will agree with bar and nightclub owners, who testified at the council that a smoking ban will chase business away to neighborhood jurisdictions.
While "faith and morals" are generally conceded to be within the purview of the states — or, by extension to the District, sort-of-states — is it any of government’s business to regulate out of existence a legal, long-established practice being situationally opposed? Reasonable people ask: what’s next on the goodness Index: fatty foods? Loud perfume? Low-riding trousers. We wait with bated breath to see.
|Patrick Allen, Esq.
Association of Oldest Inhabitants
Allen E. Beach, Treasurer
Francis M. Clarke, III
George Clark, Esq., President
Dino J. Drudi
Kathryn A. Eckles
Carroll Green. Past President
James H. Jones, Second Vice President
Ann Loikow, Esq.
Sally MacDonald, Secretary
Ann Renshaw, First Vice President
A.L. Wheeler, Esq.
Our last Assembly meeting on January 24 featured Mr. Bill Crews, the new Zoning Administrator. Mr. Crews took about 45 minutes worth of questions on everything from enforcing campus plans, to making land-use data available, to a wide variety of enforcement problems, some of which have lingered for years. Mr. Crews, a lawyer and experienced zoning administrator, is energetic and straightforward, and promised many improvements in the office. It is up to us to monitor the situation, provide information when it is helpful, and make sure that the important Office of the Zoning Administrator finally measures up to the enormousness of its task.
The Comprehensive Plan rewrite continues to move forward at a rapid pace. Individual elements are now being posted on the rewrite’s web site (http://www.inclusivecity.org). Please review and comment on those that are of most interest to your association. You can be sure the developer interests are doing exactly that.
On January 22, the program sponsored by the Committee of 100 on the Federal City concerning the establishment of a DC Planning Commission drew over 350 attendees on a rainy week night, before the Building Museum stopped counting attendees. Federation delegates are working with the Commission, with the goal of turning this vision into reality in the near term. You can expect to hear more about this.
Gerri Adams-Simmons, president of the DC Federation of Civic Associations, along with Greg Rhett, First Vice President, joined us at our holiday luncheon and spoke of their plans for trying to return vocational education to the DC public schools. I attended the January assembly meeting of the Civic Federation, and spoke about some of the issues we are focusing on. Both Federations hope this is the beginning of more cooperation between our two groups.
At its January 9 meeting, the Federation Executive Board:
Discussed municipal aggregation of electric consumer accounts
Reviewed campus plan issues with George Washington University
Heard a report on Metro station development project
Noted the Georgetown University boathouse project
Discussed the ongoing baseball situation
Considered action on the smoking ban bill
Discussed the Anacostia light rail matter
Discussed the May 96th anniversary banquet honors list
The District government passed legislation (DC Act 16-205) in late 2005 to enable District of Columbia employees who serve in the reserve units of the armed forces and who have been or will be called to active duty as a result of Operating Enduring Freedom, or in preparation for or as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom, to receive a pay differential. The new law specifies that: "Sec. 2(a)(7)(A) Any full-time permanent, term, or TAPER District employee who serves in a reserve component who [is] called to active duty . . . Shall receive . . . an amount that equals the difference in compensation between the employee’s District government basic pay and the employee’s basic military pay. . . . This amount shall be paid for any period following the formal inception of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, and period following the preparation for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002 and 2003, and for any period following the formal inception of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, during which the employee is carried in a non-pay status, from the time the employee is called to active duty occasioned by any of these military conflicts."
Turgidly put and perhaps overdue, but the new legislation is one important way our young District employees off to the front can be partially compensation for their service to their country. One hopes the authorization will translate into speedy execution, with the additional pay finding its way to the young personnel while they are fighting. Kudos to the mayor and council.
Now there’s another reason to polish your speaking skills. A new chapter of Toastmasters, the famous international speaking club with members who strive to perfect their pitch, recently formed at the Harry S Truman Building.
"There’s always something that can be improved, even among the most experienced members," says Norbert Tagge, an air systems specialist in [State Department] Political-Military Affairs and a longtime Toastmaster.
The mission is much the same today as it was in 1924, when founder and YMCA director Ralph C. Smedley realized a group of boys visiting his club needed training in communication to enhance their speech and accept constructive criticism.
The Truman Building chapter, about 40 strong, ranges from interns to senior executives. Their prepared and impromptu speeches, from the mundane to the controversial, are peer evaluated during their Thursday noon meetings. Nevertheless, it’s the presentation, not the subject, that counts.
According to Mr. Tagge, the dialogue between the speaker and audience is key, since "it shows what you’re doing well, what you need to work on, and brings the lessons home so you’re constantly improving."
For more information, contact Ms. Erin Harbaugh at 202-647-1039. [From State [Department] magazine],
Following a letter from the Michigan Park Citizens Association to Police Chief Charles Ramsey in late December 2005, regarding police protection for the new Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, Lt. Anthony Medoro contacted me on December 30 and requested a meeting with concerned citizens on January 10. Approximately a dozen neighborhood residents attending this meeting, including Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Frank Wilds; Assistant Attorney General Ronald Magnus, who lives across the street from the new facility; Brookland Civic Association president Robert Artisst; past Michigan Park Citizens Association president Ralph Bucksell; Cynthia Reed, who has been active in securing Fourth District police support for the new recreation center; and Turkey Thicket Recreation Center Director Vincent Caine.
To say the meeting proved unproductive would be a gross understatement. Lt. Medoro, because he did not like the citizens’ input, threatened to leave, and shortly thereafter made good on his threat. But what he proposed to the assembled citizens appeared to be more of the same strategies that had been tried before and that had not worked. When Messrs. Artisst and Bucksell attempted to recount the history of these failed strategies, Lt. Medoro stormed out of the meeting, taking with him the officers he had brought.
Commander Jenifer Greene was brought into the Fifth District in part because her predecessor had not gotten a sufficient handle on the robberies in the neighborhood, but today’s situation is more grim. The Michigan Park neighborhood’s last previous homicide was in 1997, but the interval between November 6, 2004, and November 6, 2005, has seen five. Catholic University urged its students to avoid the neighborhood, particularly at night, after even students in groups were assaulted and robbed; my neighbor was carjacked next to my house; I was injured in a robbery attempt at the subway station; and a monk visiting from Columbus, Ohio, was mugged and beaten near Catholic University just before Christmas, requiring a number of operations on his face.
At emergency meetings pursuant to some of these homicides, police response has been perfunctory, even tepid. In the thirty years I have lived in this stable, middle-class neighborhood, I cannot recall a crime crisis of this magnitude, and I cannot rule out the Fifth District’s poor police response as a key factor.
Editor’s note: for delegates who live in relatively safe, problem-free neighborhoods, it is useful to be aware of conditions in more beset areas, where it is vital for police to be in close cooperative contact with the local association, and properly mobilized and disposed to protect residential communities. Uncooperative or uninspired policemen have no business in challenged communities.
The Olender Foundation recently recognized Mr. Warren Juggins with its prestigious award for his role in defying racial inequality prevalent in the District of Columbia in the 1950s. At a time when the DC Bar’s membership was limited to Caucasians, Mr. Juggins secretly admitted African-American lawyers to the Bar library after hours, in violation of the rules of the Bar Association.
February 28, 2006
March 28, 2006
April 25, 2006
May 17, 2006 (Annual Awards Banquet)
June 27, 2006
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