Friday, December 28



IT DOESN'T GET MUCH MORE cynical than this: Adrian Fenty is jamming 23 pubic hearings on school closures into one night. The school system had originally planned one public hearing on January 17, but that would have attracted too many parents, teachers and media in one place, so now the scheme is to divide and conquer in one of the sickest political ploys we've seen in years.

"Holding hearings at 23 schools on the same day and time is irrational," said ANC commissioner Robert Vinson Brannum. "Parents could have kids at a number of different schools."

As school activist Marc Borbely put it: "The idea when people go to a hearing is that there is not just talking, but that someone is listening -- the people who have the power and are making the decisions. Who's going to be at each of these 23 hearings?"


DRAWING from a variety of data, the America's Most Literate Cities study of Central Connecticut State University finds DC the fifth most literate city in the U.S., over 250,000 population. The study is based on six indicators: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. Here's the 2007 list, which finds Minneapolis pushing Seattle to second place.

Minneapolis, MN
Seattle, WA
St. Paul, MN
Denver, CO
Washington, DC
St. Louis, MO
San Francisco, CA
Atlanta, GA
Pittsburgh, PA
Boston, MA

DC, however, ranks 31st in library support, holdings and utilization - based on such factors as number of school media personnel per 1,000 pubic school students, number of branch libraries per capita, volumes per capita, and size of library service staff.


REMEMBER MAYOR WILLIAMS' projected 200,000 new residents? Remember all those tens of millions of dollars allegedly spent to attract more people to DC? Well, between 2006 and 2007, according to the Census Bureau as reported by the Post, "The District had a net loss of 3,141 residents to other states but gained 3,358 through immigration. Gains from immigration and births produced a population increase of 0.5 percent, to 588,292.


RICHARD LAYMAN of Urban Places and Spaces has joined this journal in supporting a locally elected attorney general, something we have called for more than three decades. The DC Statehood Party also had it - along with an elected comptroller - in its first platform in the early 1970s. Layman also supports an elected AG at the national level, something Pentagon whistleblower Ernie Fitzgerald and I called for some years back.

TENAC - For several years the Kennedy-Warren has been rapidly evolving into high-end luxury status. This has created a constant state of turmoil for tenants there. As if large rent increases and building code violations were not enough, now Landlord B.F. Saul is hitting them with a massive capital improvements rent increase, as well. The upshot of all this, of course, is a rapidly diminishing number of rent-controlled affordable apartments at the Kennedy-Warren, a building rapidly becoming empty, as tenants leave or are forced out. All over this city, we are witnessing a "conversion craze" as affordable rental apartment buildings are taken out of the city's rental housing stock and converted into luxury, high-end condominiums. Emptying buildings like the Kennedy-Warren means great convenience for developers and re-developers. An empty building gives them ample sway to re-design and rebuild premises whatever way they like, which seldom coincides with the wishes of tenants.

- A nine-year ban on using city money for needle exchange programs was lifted Wednesday. . . President Bush signed the $555 billion federal omnibus spending bill, which includes a provision allowing the District to spend its own money on programs that provide clean hypodermic needles to drug users. Federal spending packages dating back to 1998 had blocked such a program. . . Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said in a statement Wednesday that needle exchanges will be included in a larger city program to reduce AIDS and HIV infections. About $1 million will be devoted to the exchanges. About 128 of every 100,000 Washington residents have AIDS, compared to 14 cases per 100,000 people nationwide, according to the study released in November.


At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When was the last time the writer was in the Kennedy-Warren? The new wing is beautiful, although expensive. The old wing is, well, old, grungy, smelly and needs to be updated. i would daresay that the old wing is probably a fire hazard.


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