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Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia

Federation News

Volume 3, Issue 3, November 1997

Candidates' Night at the Federation

What Are the City-Wide Issues?

Mini-Biographies of Candidates

The New Convention Center -- More Questions than Answers

It's That Time of Year

Stephen A. Koczak, 1917-1997

Welcome to New Faces

New Officers and Board

President's Message

Internet Resources -- Log on to Information You Can Use

The Many Boards and Commissions of the District

Key Telephone Contact Information

Federation Meetings

Federation Assembly Meeting
Thursday, November 13
7:00 p.m. sharp!

Candidates' Debate

David Catania (R) Arrington Dixon (D)

Philip Heinrich (D) Mary Martin (SW}

The four candidates on the ballot seeking to fill the City Council seat vacated when Linda Cropp was elected Council chair will appear before the Federation to advocate their causes and to answer questions.

Because they have another even/following our meeting, please be prompt; we will have a business meeting following the candidates 'forum.

The Charles Sumner School
17th and M Streets NW

Candidates' Night at the Federation

The quick succession of special City Council elections in the District has not yet run its course.

On December 2, District voters will cast ballots in still one more special election to fill the at-large seat vacated by Linda Cropp's election to succeed Clarke.

The four candidates are running in an open election, with no party primaries. The winner will serve for a year, until the November 1998 elections choose someone to fill a full, tour-year at-large term.

Arrington Dixon currently occupies the seat, having been nominated by Cropp's party to succeed her temporarily. He now faces another Democrat, Philip Heinrich, as well as a Republican, David Catania, and a representative of the Socialist Workers Party, Mary Martin.

Their backgrounds are briefly recapped on page 2, but in many cases, their positions on issues that are important to your community have not yet been made available.

Because the turnout in this election is likely to be very low, communities with particular cares about the future of the District - and their individual neighborhoods - can really make a difference.

The Federation candidates' night will be an opportunity to learn about the four candidates' positions - and to tell them about issues to which they have not been exposed.

Take advantage of this special program, and bring many representatives of your community to share in the evening. Then use your community's networking talents to make your support known to the candidate who can help make a difference. Phone contacts for each candidate are identified; all would welcome assistance, and grassroots advocates are always valued highly, especially in these "specials," when turnout is often problematic.

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What are the city-wide issues?

Some of the questions being put to Council candidates include: How do candidates see the oversight role of Council and its committees? Under what circumstances would a candidate, if elected, use subpoena power available to Council? What would the candidate change about the "bailout" package enacted by Congress? What important elements were not included?

What is the candidate's position on the Convention Center and its financing? On Children's Island? What protections are needed for each to protect taxpayers from future obligations?

What steps would each candidate advocate to pave the way hack to self-governance? When and how will the Council - and the Mayor's office -- demonstrate that together they can manage the District's governance)'

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David Catania
David A. Catania (R), 2127 California Street NW (20008), is a 1990 graduate of Georgetown University and a 1994 graduate of the GU Law School. He practices law with the firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, and he chairs the Sheridan-Kalorama Advisory Neighborhood Commission ID, having been elected to his single-member district in 1996. He has been a resident of the District since 1986. Phone: 887- 4504

Philip Heinrich
Philip Heinrich (D), 3003 Van Ness Street NW (20008), is President of Youth Venture, an organization helping D.C. youth form their own business and community service groups. Having graduated from Yale and received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he has been a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and a Peace Corps volunteer in southern Africa. His wife Sally teaches in the District public school system. Phone: 6865302

Arrington Dixon
Arrington Dixon (D), 2401 Shannon Place SE (20020), is a former Chairman of the D.C. City Council, having represented Ward 4. A native Washingtonian and graduate of Howard University and the George Washington University Law School, he has served on the National Capital Planning Commission and chairs the Anacostia Coordinating Council. He is also a member of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City and is a Colonel in the Army Reserves. Phone: 889-8767

Mary Martin
Mary Martin (SW), 2517 Mozart Place NW, is a veteran activist and labor organizer, having participated in strikes and worker actions against Caterpillar Corp. in Illinois and Pennsylvania; against the Detroit News/Press; against Boeing Corporation in Seattle; and against French government austerity in Paris. She is a long-time supporter of the revolutionary society in Cuba. A ground operations worker at National Airport, she ran for chairman of the D. C. Council, garnering 8% of the vote. Phone: 483-5146

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The New Convention Center -- More questions than answers

The Federation will withhold any support for the Convention Center until reliable answers are provided.

There were more questions than answers at the Federation's October meeting, when members of the Washington Convention Center Authority (WCCA) staff chose to join us for the panel presentation by members of the Shaw community and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.

Council Economic Development Committee Chairman Charlene Drew Jarvis apparently asked Authority staff to attend and answer questions that arose.

The delegates were quite surprised when nearly a dozen persons arrived. They all courteously listened through the presentations, but were unable to provide much information -- then or since -- about some key questions that arose during the program:

  1. By extending the life of the bonds that will finance the proposed center from 30 to 40 years, how much additional debt will the city have to take on?

  2. What is the justification for bonding over 40 years when we still owe $75 million on the 'old' convention center built just 14 years ago, which has been deemed noncompetitive in the hospitality industry?

  3. What other funding sources will be tapped to support the center, making them unavailable for other city projects? (It appears that much of the Highway money originally designated for the Barney Circle Freeway can be transferred for construction projects associated with the center.)

  4. Will the costs of any hydraulic relief (removing water from the excavated site) be passed along to ratepayers by the Sewer Authority?

  5. Why are contracts for tourism promotion being included in the financing bill?

  6. Why does the Council promote additional taxes on small businesses to pay for the center's operations, when every study done for the District Revitalization Plan advocates lowering such taxes to make District small businesses competitive with their counterparts in Virginia and Maryland?
    WCCA staff responded that the new taxes (surcharges) would be required only in the event that the convention center activities ran a deficit, and since they were not planning to run a deficit, they new taxes would never be imposed. Those attending the meeting seemed uncomforted by this explanation.

  7. Why are the economic development benefits of a new center so highly skewed toward the suburbs? According to one study, the District will receive only 14% of the financial benefits from the center's activities, while it foots 100% of the costs.

Because of these and other concerns, the Federation formally adopted a resolution to withhold any support for this convention center proposed until and unless reliable answers are provided.

Moreover, after the Federation meeting the Committee of 100 released the findings of a study it commissioned, which sought to assess how this proposed new center will compare with similar facilities being built around the country.

The Committee of 100 found that, far from being the sixth 'best' facility, as WCCA asserts, the proposed new center will be ranked 16th. And the scope of the difference is stunning: Chicago's new McCormick Place occupies 100 acres, with parking and expansion space.

The proposed Washington center will occupy barely 17 acres, with no parking capacity and no possibility of expansion. Despite these shortcomings, the WCCA projects holding from 64 to 84 events per year, attracting as many as 42,000 people at a time.

By the close of the Federation's meeting, staffer John McGaw, representing Councilmember Jarvis, announced that the Council hearings had been postponed until better financial information was in hand.

However, it should be noted that independent efforts were underway to have Congress authorize preconstruction activity that would allow utility relocation now.

Stay tuned. This is a very fluid situation that will have impacts for everyone. Those who share the Federation's concerns will be monitoring Congress and Council actions.

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It's that time of year

Actually, it's even later than that.

Federation 1997-98 membership dues are (over)due. Please have your association's dues ($60 per year} sent to Treasurer Gracie Baten at 7624 13th Street NW, Washington 20012.

If you need a covering letter, please let Gracie know.

If you'd like to make a contribution above the dues level, please don't feel inhibited!

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December 5 -- Save the date!

The Federation will once again enjoy a special holiday luncheon at the DACOR Bacon House. Make plans to attend and to bring special guests for this kickoff to a busy holiday season.

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Welcome to new faces

At our October meeting, we were pleased to see the new President of DuPont Circle Citizens Association, Margaret Young John Johnson of the Penn-Branch Civic Association joined us, as did Bonnie Hardy, new President of the Burleith Citizens Association. Joe Passoneau, the gifted planned and transportation designed, joined his Committee of 100 colleagues.

Official Washington paid a visit, too. Councilwoman Hilda Mason stopped by. And John McGaw of the Council's Economic Development Committee came for Charlene Drew Jarvis.

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Steven A. Koczak
1917 - 1997

With sorrow, we note the passing of Stephen Koczak, whose contribution to the Federation was great during the many years of kits service.

Stephen had an honorable career in the foreign service during the coldest days of the Cold War in eastern Europe, working to achieve safe passage for political refugees and to oppose the building of the Berlin Wall.

His neighborhood community of Cleveland Park benefited as well from his devotion and leadership.

Stephen is survived by his wife, Anna Koczak and his daughters Andrea Young, Christine Koczak, and Gabriela Sheppard and their eleven children.

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New Officers and Board

Patrick Allen, Citizens Association of Georgetown, 337-8760
Gracie Baten, Shepherd Park Citizens Association, 882-6162
John Batham, West End Citizens Association, 628-3527
Allen Beach, Chevy Chase Citizens Association, 362-2239
John Brown, Southwest Community Council, 479-4658
Larry Chatman,
16th Street Heights, 291-7381
Dino Drudi, Michigan Park, 526-0891
Kay Eckles, Residential Action Coalition, 265-5961
Guy Gwynne, Burleith Citizens Association, 338-5164
William Scheirer, Kalorama Citizens Association, 232-8827
M. R. Peggy Snyder, Chancery Court, 338-1972
Miles Steele , Hillcrest Citizens Association, 582-7832
Alice Stewart, Palisades Citizens Association, 364-1505
Al Wheeler, Oldest Inhabitants of DC, 337-00340
Barbara Zartman, Cloisters in Georgetown, 337-6505

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President's Message -- Barbara Zartman

It is fashionable to profess disinterest in the Council elections. The frustration of citizens with their own inability to impact the Control Board, the appointed School Board, or the anonymous consultants is great. It has produced declarations of apathy about who occupies the chairs on a City Council that has been sorely criticized for rubber-stamping the decisions made by others.

Recently Colbert King, a native Washingtonian who is also a member of the editorial page staff of the Washington Post, added his own rage about "looting" the District's appropriation by those who should know better. (He had in mind the tapping of $4 million for private-sector Georgetown University's Medical Center -- and the proposed transfer of 3200 acres of District-owned land at Lorton to the wealthy citizens of Fairfax County for nary a penny.)

But Colby King closes with an argument that is potent, both today and for the elections that will come next year:

"It's time for the District to get off its knees. This city is not unworkable -- or ungovernable by the people who live here. Despite the daily recitations of failure -- in our government, in our schools, in our communities -- we have (or can muster) the skills and competence to change the circumstances of the city and make it better. And it starts with ourselves.

"We -- not Congress or a control board -- should be the ones to identify and choose men and women with character and smarts who will lead our city, make tough decisions, and champion our cause., Reaching that point means getting fired up over the upcoming elections, in which the city's leadership into the next century will be decided. Only we can do that. District residents are neither Congress's nor the control board's passive playthings. It's time we begin acting like it."

Right on!

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Internet Resources -- Log on to information you can use

There are increasingly rich assets available through the Internet for community organizations. Some are arms of' national programs, and so are uniquely local. These are remarkably easy to access and provide immediate access to the kind. of information it normally takes long periods of listening to recorded telephone messages to simply place a request.

The Federation's own newsletter is carried by, a site maintained by our own Dorothy Brizill and others. It, like many others, contains hyperlinks (meaning you can click directly to other websites). The sites listed below are merely a sampling. Most specifically request feedback from users. Let us know, too, how useful these are, and share with us other sites that you value. All sites begin with http://www. '['his is the District government's official website, with links to the Mayor's office, to boards and commissions, and to published materials and data. It is an easy way to provide input, and it maintains a running total of the number of "hits" by persons accessing the site. The Control Board has opened this website to respond with detailed information about its activities; it contains the authorizing legislation, as well as all bills that Council has sent to the Control Board for approval. You can find reports, contracting standards, a database of contractors, and many other assets. This website is very useful for those who follow community interests; it contains information about Council, the Control Board, Police and the community, and election issues. It also hyperlinks to a range of' useful other sites, as well as editorials on key issues. This is a very active commercial site, offering information about theater, dining, athletics, weather, traffic (including radar traps!), and a rich range of chatrooms. This Georgetown university website is typical of' those available for each area college and university (i.e.,; it accesses the rules and information provided to the student body and, again, links with still other area resources. T his site operated by the National Capital Planning Commission is already useful to obtain reference documents (such as the "Legacy" plan); but it was last updated on September 14, so it does not provide agendas or staff' reports for current meetings. This is the site operated by the Library of Congress to keep users abreast of the work of both [louses of Congress. Use it to track legislation, to see transcripts of' floor debate, to monitor the work of' committees, to see biographies of individual members. You can download bills to analyze their provisions. This site links the research libraries of all area colleges and universities and is a tremendous resource for mole serious or scholarly research.

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The Many Boards and Commissions of the District:
A fortnight's sampling of the agencies that make the rules we live by

Monday, November 9
  • Economic Development Finance Corporation, 4 pm, 166 L Street NW (Room 308)
  • Zoning Commission, 1:30 pm, 441 Fourth Street NW {Room 220)

Tuesday, November 11

  • Chiropractic Board, 1:30 pm, 614 H Street NW (Room 109) Call: 727-7450

  • Real Estate Commission, 9:00 am, 614 H Street NW (Room 913) Call: 727-7184

Wednesday, November 12

  • Dentistry Board,1:00 pm, 614 H Street NW (Room 913) Call: 727-7454

  • Library Trustees, 5:30 pm, MLK Library, 901 G Street

  • Occupational Safety Board, 10:00 am, 950 Upshur Street NW [2nd Floor)

  • Public Defender Service Board, 5:30 pm, Beveridge & Diamond, 1350 I Street NW

  • Public Employee Relations Board, 9:30 am, 415 12th Street NW (Room 309)

  • Social Work Board, 9:30 am, 614 H Street NW {Room 913} Call: 727-7454

Thursday, November 13

  • Airports Advisory Committee, 6:00 pm, 44 Canal Plaza, Alexandria Call: 703-739-8745

  • Convention Center Board of Directors, 9:00 am, 900 9th Street NW (Exec.Office Suite)

  • Food Nutrition and Health, 11:00 am, Carnegie Library, 7th and K Streets (Board Room)

  • Washington Convention Center Advisory Committee, 5:00 pm, 900 Ninth Street Call: 789-1600

Friday, November 14

  • Drug Abuse Advisory Committee, 3:30 pm, Carnegie Library (Conference Room)

  • Professional Counseling Board, 9:30 am, 614 H Street (Room 109) Call:: 727-7454

Monday, November 17

  • Juvenile Justice, 2:00 pm,717 14th Street NW

Tuesday, November 18

  • Apprenticeship Council, 4:30 pm, 500 C Street NW (Room 216)

  • Education Licensure Commission, 5:00 pm, 717 14th Street NW (Room 801)

  • Housing Finance Agency Board, 5:00 pm, 1275 K Street NW (Room 600)

  • UDC Board, 7:30 pm, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW (Building 39, Room 301-N)

Wednesday, November 19

  • Alcoholism, 3:30 pm, 1300 First Street NE (3d floor conference room)

  • Appraisers Board, 9:30 am, 614 H Street NW (Room 913) Call: 727-7454

  • Building Code Advisory Committee, 10:00 am, 614 H Street NW (Room 309B)

  • Mental Health Advisory Council, 6:30 p.m. 2700 MLK Ave SE (Room 102)

  • Nursing Home Administrators Board, 1:30 pm, 614 H Street NW (Room 109) Call: 727-7454

  • Occupational Therapy Board, 9:30 am, 614 H Street NW (Room 109)

  • Soil and Water Conservation District, 9:30 am, 2100 MLK Avenue SE (Room 203)

  • Taxicab Commission, 9:00 am, 2041 MLK Avenue SE (Hearing Room A)

Thursday, November 20

  • Architects Board, 9:00 am, 614 H Street NW [Room 1006]

  • Environmental Planning Commission.2000 14th Street NW Call: 301-3414711

  • Historic Preservation Review Board, 10:00 am, 441 4th Street NW (Room 220)

Thursday, November 20

  • HIV Planning Council, 5:30 pm, 1133 15th Street NW (Room 550)

  • Redevelopment Land Agency Board, 10:00 am, 51 N Street NE (Room 515)

  • Veterinary Examiners Board, 9:30 am, 614 H Street

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Mayor 727-2980
Chief Financial Officer 727-2476
Zoning/BZA 727-6311
HPRB 727-7360
City Council 724-8080
Committee agendas 724-8554
Legislative services 724-8050
All are at 441 Fourth Street NW, One Judiciary Square
ABC, 727-7375, 1614 H Street, NW
DPW, 939-8000, 2000 14th Street, NW
Control Board, 504-3400, One Thomas Circle
School Board, 724-4222, 415 12th Street, NW
Fine Arts, 504-2200, 441 F Street, NW
NCPC, 482-7200, 801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

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The meetings of the Federation Assembly for the program year 1997-1998 are shown below. They will all be at 7 p.m. at the Sumner School.

November 13
January 8
February 12
March 12
Mary 14
June 11

On Friday, December 5, we will have our Holiday Luncheon, and in April, we will return to the Officers Club at Fort McNair for our annual banquet and awards ceremony.

In addition, your Executive Board will meet each month to consider business, and should you have issues you would like presented for consideration by the Federation, it would be most helpful if you contacted a Board member in time for consideration at a Board meeting.

Board Meetings
November 25
(No meeting in December)
January 27
February 24
March 24
April 28
May 20
June 23

(All meetings are at 1642 35th Street, NW; 7:00 p.m. starting time)

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