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Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia

Federation News

Volume 11, Issue 6, June 2005
3710 S Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
(202) 338-5164 phone/fax

Municipal Parking Mess
Stick ’em Up, Interloper!
Norton Introduces DC Voting Rights Bill
The Federation: Mother of Mayors
Upcoming Roundtable on Parking Meter Fees, Fines, Rates
Greening Roofs Conference
Sweet Smell of Success?
Election of New Officers June 28
Officers and Board
President’s Corner, Carroll Green
What’s in a Name? Facing Situational Realities
Federation Assembly Meeting Dates


Tuesday, June 28, 2005
6:30 p.m.

City Council Members
Pertinent Agency Personnel


Other Business

1201 Seventeenth Street, NW
(at M Street)

Municipal Parking Mess

AAARRGHHH! Parking in too many DC neighborhoods has reached a crisis point. The June 28 meeting will include prominently a Forum on municipal parking, with pertinent city council figures, activists, and useful participants. The meeting will be held in the top-floor auditorium of the Sumner School community center.

Too many citizens are avoiding the downtown district because of parking difficulties, including ubiquitous meter readers and outright lack of adequate parking. In response to sunny official and other encouragement to go downtown (or Georgetown or U Street, etc.) via public transportation, the question arises: when was the last time you took a bus downtown and went about on foot in 10-degree or 99-degree weather?

The Federation has sided with the Georgetown Kiwanis Club’s initiative to build, on an urgent basis, strategic underground parking in impacted communities like Georgetown and to arrange permission to park athwart one’s own driveway on the street. The glaring inability of homeowners and renters of houses to use street parking in front of their own driveways is calculated to account for over 300 parking spaces in Georgetown alone, and the principle is applicable citywide. The Federation, ANC Assembly, and Georgetown Kiwanis Club will all present testimony and lobby for this additional parking at the July 14 city council roundtable on parking-related matters, including street parking, meter fees, fines, and rates.

Meanwhile, a loopy but worrisome solution to inner-city parking pressure has been advanced by the mayor of London — a "congestion tax." You say: just what the District needs, another tax? The London mayor claims an improvement in traffic flow and reduced vehicle emissions in overly impacted areas. The Washington Post reports that the British fee is $9 for driving in congested areas. Another moneymaking traffic tax/levy/fine. Can DC be far behind?

ASSOCIATION ACTION ALERT: All associations in parking-challenged communities are encouraged to testify, in person or in writing, on this issue. For talking points or additional information, contact Committee members Carroll Green, 723-6063; A.L. Wheeler, Esq., 337-0030; or Jim Jones, 291-3203.


. . . Or street assailant, or gang offender. Senator Kay Hutchinson (R-TX) has introduced "The DC Personal Protection Act," to do away with the District’s near absolute ban on handguns to non-law-enforcement individuals. Citizen handgun advocacy is high on the no-no list of topics for quiet debate. It just may be possible, however, that there is a body of muffled opinion in the area in favor of regulated gun possession by ordinary citizens for self protection. Very likely, a sizable number of citizens quietly keep firearms at home already. Reportedly, some 38 states now permit concealed firearms. Arguably, the Hutchinson bill is in step with most of the rest of the country. The subject is apt to remain volatile and passion-arousing, however the Senate and House votes go on the bill.


One, two, three. That is the collective breath intake and hold by District would-be voters in important federal elections. Is a mere red face to be the result of this most recent Norton demand for DC voting rights? "The No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2005" is the hopeful designation of the new bill, and we can only hope the District’s feisty Delegate in the Congress will have some tangible success in her efforts. As for de facto representation in Congress, some believe the District, in Mrs. Norton, likely has better representation than some of the states.

Meanwhile, Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) has what strikes many area voters as an even more hopeless plan for DC voting rights, which would give the District a regular representative and award an extra representative to Utah, on the proposition that Republican Utah would balance out the Democratic District of Columbia. Apart from the minor merits of such an arrangement, it is likely to be fought bitterly and successfully by strict Constitutionists, Southern Congressmen, and people generally suspicious of a District nose-under-the-tent push toward achieving Senatorial representation as well.


Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Mayoral candidates have discovered the Federation’s annual award banquet as a great sounding board for a candidacy and excellent visibility for imaging purposes. Three (then-unannounced) likely candidates had their own table at the 95th Anniversary Awards Banquet in May. These were: Adrian Fenty, who announced that he would announce his candidacy the next Thursday; A. Scott Bolden; and Michael Brown. Each gave a brief campaign speech, lending an interesting note of novelty to the program. A good possible fourth candidate, Councilman Phil Mendelson, apparently just came for a good time, accompanied by wife Connie Ridgway and small daughter Addie. This showing harkens back to former times, when it was usual for the three governing District Commissioners as well as assorted members of Congress to join delegates for a festive banquet.

Another guest group with its own table was the AARP, which of course counted many members among the assembled delegates and guests. Still another novel point of departure was the Ward 7 representation, under the auspices of Capitol View Association president Maxine Nightingale. These active attendees declined to be confined to a single table, but preferred to circulate and missionarize as possible among the good-natured assembly.

A great time was had by all our guests and observers, and we look forward to hosting the future mayor, whoever he or she may be.


Councilmember Carol Schwartz, Chair of the Public Works and Environment Committee, will hold a public oversight roundtable Thursday, July 14, at 2:00 p.m., in the council chamber at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, to receive comments on recommended changes in the District‘s policy in areas such as parking meter fees and fines, simplifying parking rates, the Residential Permit Parking program, visitor and contractor parking, parking enforcement, expanding the times and days for meter parking in commercial areas, parking exceptions, existing taxes for private lots, and potential incentives for parking lot owners to convert daily parking to short-term parking.

To register to testify, contact Jim Slattery at the committee office at 202-724-8105 by Tuesday, July 12. E-mail contacts to Mr. Slattery should include the full name, title, and affiliation, if applicable, of the person(s) testifying. Witnesses should bring 15 copies of their written testimony. Organization representatives will be allowed 5 minutes, and individuals 3 minutes, for oral presentation. Written statements should be sent to Phyllis Jones, Secretary of the Council, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 5, Washington, DC 20004, no later than 5:30 p.m., July 28, 2005.


On May 4-6 the District government hosted the third annual international "Greening Roofs for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards, and Trade Show" at the Washington Convention Center.

The DC-based Casey Trees organization was a member of the conference Host Steering Committee and played a leading role in organizing the conference and related events. In conjunction with the conference, Casey Trees worked with Limno-Tech, Inc., to analyze different greenroof coverage scenarios in Washington, and assess their environmental benefits and feasibility. This information aided the mayor and his Environmental Task Force in developing a greenroof vision for the District.

Can it be that Washington will adopt the Mexican azotea concept? That fortunate building- and residence-roof custom involves often-lovely gardens, with trees and flowers, as added living space on roofs, with at least limited positive environmental impact. In their thousands, azoteas make a difference. One can envisage similar small penthouse structures and garden roofs on Washington’s large buildings and down the lengths of rowhouse streets. (Basic article from Casey Tree News.)


Eau de cologne, eau de vie, but . . . eau de DC mayor? The latter is about to suffuse the air of the District as, reportedly, the Estee Lauder branch Aveda has come up with a "Beau-Tie" blend named for Mayor Williams’s signature bow tie. The Washington Times reports that the firm will soon open a store in Washington. The new fragrance is a good market- and nostril-entry device that should appeal to District fashionistas; it reportedly contains jasmine and citrus oils — a sweet-sour combination to represent hardworking, successful politicians.


Just about everyone says the 2004-2005 (current) set of Federation officers and executive board members has done an excellent, high-quality job of directing and motivating the venerable organization, from identifying issues and testifying at the city council on them, to assisting individual associations with advice and even picket signs in local endeavors. Board meetings fix current city events and behind-the-scenes movements with a synoptic gaze. Much Federation city activity comprises quiet and thought-out lobbying for meritorious action with city council committees or city agencies.

A slate of candidates for Federation officers will be presented at the June 28 assembly. This insures that there is one willing candidate for each office, and it is not a recommended or official slate. Nominations — including self-nominations — will, as usual, be invited from the floor.

Delegates standing for office are:

President: George Clark, Esq. (Forest Hills)
1st Vice President: Ann Renshaw (Chevy Chase)
2nd Vice President: Jim Jones (Crestwood)
Secretary: Sally MacDonald (Woodley Park)
Treasurer: Allen Beach (Chevy Chase)

Executive Directors:

Patrick Allen, Esq. (Assn. of Oldest Inhabitants)
Francis M. Clarke, III (Cleveland Park)
Dino Drudi (Michigan Park)
Kathryn Eckles (RAC)
Elizabeth Elliott (Foggy Bottom)
Carroll Green (Manor Park)
Guy Gwynne (Burleith)
Ann Loikow, Esq. (Cleveland Park)
A.L. Wheeler, Esq. (Assn. Of Oldest Inhabitants)

Every delegate’s vote is important. Come and vote, nominate, or speak for or against any candidate.


Patrick Allen, Esq.
Association of Oldest Inhabitants

Robert Andrews
Foxhall Citizens Association

Allen E. Beach
Chevy Chase Citizens Association

Francis M. Clarke, III
Cleveland Park Citizens Association

George Clark, Esq.
Forest Hills Citizens Association

Dino J. Drudi
Michigan Park Citizens Association

Kathryn A. Eckles
Residential Action Coalition

Elizabeth Elliott
Foggy Bottom Association

Carroll Green
Manor Park Citizens Association

Guy Gwynne
Burleith Citizens Association

James H. Jones
Crestwood Citizens Association

Ann Loikow, Esq.
Cleveland Park Citizens Association

Sally MacDonald
Woodley Park Citizens Association

Ann Renshaw
Chevy Chase Citizens Association

Laura Richards, Esq.
Penn Branch Citizens/Civic Association

A.L. Wheeler, Esq.
Association of Oldest Inhabitants


On the eve of my departure from office, the challenges facing the residents of our city are no less daunting than two years ago when I assumed office. Although some progress has been realized in the quality of life in the city, much remains to be accomplished.

It appears that most of the 245 used car dealerships have disappeared, and I would say good riddance, since it was obvious they were selling something other than vehicles. Speeding in residential neighborhood has largely been controlled through widespread use of 4-way stop signs; our city has become less crime friendly with the curtailment of the issuance of paper vehicle tags; and the increase in parking enforcement officers to supplement the police is making a difference.

Unfortunately, enforcement remains problematic in every aspect of our local government, a fact we discussed with our City Administrator last month. Every agency with a regulatory function has its own inspectors for group homes, halfway houses, nursing homes, and/or building inspectors.

Our recommendation to Mr. Bobb: create a cadre of multiple-tasked inspectors trained primarily to perform a series of inspections, ranging from nursing homes to group homes and halfway houses. We also recommend that the Office of Aging, the Department of Health, and the Department of Parks and Recreation be required to coordinate their efforts to promote health and wellness, and that our city should take a very public stand on preventative health care, especially in view of the rising cost of Medicaid.

There are long-standing complaints from residents across the city that the police are conspicuous by their absence, extremely slow to respond, if they respond at all (if you want to find a police officer, go to the nearest 7-11). There is virtually no traffic enforcement; consequently speeding on major thoroughfares has become the norm.

Interestingly, the Chief has no problem finding additional officers when the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank schedules major meetings in our city. It is indeed a woeful sight, seeing representatives of these institutions being escorted to and from their hotels not by one, but by two police cruisers, with sirens wailing.

It is apparent that the Metropolitan Police has become a rent-a-force; for any organization willing to pay the bill, the department will provide security. Meanwhile, neighborhoods be damned.

Many residents had the mistaken notion that the increase in parking enforcement officers in the Department of Public works was an effort to supplement the enforcement efforts of the police department. Unfortunately, that was not the intent. Not long after the increase in staffing, these officers are being utilized to direct traffic at downtown intersections during rush hour. At the same time, vehicles are double-parked on major arteries and no one, no police or parking enforcement officers are writing tickets.

We suggested to the City Administrator that the creation of a night court or a police court would in many ways address some of the problems facing our police officers, particularly those who make arrests on the late night shift and then spend hours in court the following day, when they should be resting preparing to go on duty in the evening.

We also suggested ticket quotas for the police and parking enforcement officers. This, of course, met with a resounding NO. When queried why not, the response was that quotas would expose the city to lawsuits. For a city that has had more agencies in receivership than most, we thought this was a rather peculiar answer. The city jail is still not in compliance with court-ordered reforms, and this administration is concerned about possible lawsuits for doing what we expect them to do, wreak havoc on scofflaws by writing many tickets and towing many vehicles.

The city believes that more police officers are the answer. More police officers under the current management are not likely to bring about the significant changes that many residents are seeking. The Federal Triangle remains the best policed areas of the city.

The Mayor’s Call Center and the absence of a public phone directory of DC government management personnel gives managers a cloak of anonymity and a lack of accountability to those they profess to serve. There are stealth offices within our government, offices that many residents do not know exist, or know what their mission or function is. The Office of Urban Forestry is an example of a stealth office.

Far too often one must go to the head of an agency in order to address a simple problem. We pointed out to Mr. Bobb that most federal government agencies print phone directories listing all of their employees. We requested that DC government print a phone directory of all its management personnel, so that managers, in the final analysis, should be accountable to the public.

On the issue of short-term municipal parking garages, similar to the Montgomery County concept of constructing such garages in congested areas, we gained no ground with the current administration. Consequently, it is our intent to make this issue part of the public dialogue.

Over half of our elected officials are up for reelection next year. I therefore urge all residents and all of our civic organizations not to wait until the campaign begins and promises abound, but to start now to shape the public agenda, and to direct candidates’ attention to what we as residents consider critical issues.


After all the agony and speculation over the name of the District’s new baseball team (it could have been the Senators, the Diplomats, the President’s Own, etc.), it’s good to see one high school that is in step with Washington realities: the Cardozo Clerks. School yells may present a problem, however, when one considers the words that rhyme with clerk: work (okay), irk, jerk, lurk, dirk, berserk.


June 28, 2005 (election meeting)

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