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Last updated 18 October 1998

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SECTION 8 The Congress shall have Power .... (17)To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;
(18) To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
      - Constitution of the United States

Other Voices, Other Visions are here.

Please see the new Washington Metropolitan Police Department Page! Following reforms and investigations in and of the District Police.

Welcome to the Earth Operations Central Washington, DC Page!
Cherry Blossoms Surround the Washington Monument
The Jefferson Memorial Across a Blossom-ringed Tidal Basin.

The National Mall.
The Japanese Cherry Trees.

Welcome to the Nation's Capital!
Watch your step.
And even more, watch your back.

Welcome to Washington. You've always wanted to come here, and now here you are! Or maybe you're here.

Happy Birthday America on the Fourth of July
Washington Dies Young
The District's Poor, with highest mortality in the US, Cast Aside by Candidates for Mayor

7 July 1998
Recently, a national report was issued which noted that even despite the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area's recent selection by Money Magazine as the East Coast's "most livable city", the region remains the deadliest in the nation. Even as the murder rate (arguably) declines, Washington has by far the greatest number of cancer deaths, one of the highest rates of stroke, has the highest rate of incidence of high-blood pressure in the US, and, according to one dentist specializing in temporomandibular-joint disorders, is the "bruxing capital of the world". There are indeed many reasons to grind one's teeth in the region. This story, of monumental local importance, inexplicably remained unreported by the Washington Post, which has recently been, equally inexplicably, failing to report a great many things. While in the rest of the civilized world, even in the former USSR, the average age of death is on the rise, the average age of male mortality in Washington, the District of Columbia, is sixty-two years... and decreasing.

Perhaps the poverty here has something to do with it. Certainly, there are regions of the country where poverty is more widespread, or where the average income, while perhaps not falling inside the brackets of the Federally-defined poverty level, is not far above it. But few of those places have the costs associated with the District, which has a nine-percent sales tax, unusually-high rents, and is a city where it has long been said that one is "poor on sixty-thousand a year". I know that I certainly could not afford to live in the District of Columbia, even though I am single, have no children, and receive a disability payment a third-again as large as that formerly afforded to former Welfare recipients.

We wish very much to thank Michael Powell, of the Washington Post for his incisive analysis of 5 July 1998 entitled "But What About The Poor?". It's always nice to see something I've been saying for a few years echoed by one of the Post's rising stars. Mr. Powell notes with some dismay that the District's mayoral candidates are almost entirely ignoring the issue of poverty in the District. Why not? Everyone in the District, with the exception of the poor themselves, ignores the poor. The most destitute and needy, the disabled and homeless, are even to the working-poor, essentially invisible.

In Washington DC, some 15 percent of the population lives in poverty, quite often in a poverty which is some of the most grinding in the United States outside of the generally blasted and worthless rural lands given over to Reservations for our Native Americans. It should be noted that a great deal of the extreme poverty of Washington is a legacy of the failed Democratic entitlements system, a multigenerational relic of the well-intentioned, but poorly-thought-out Johnson Era "Grand Society" and "Great Society" projects. As the Republicans have come to be the majority in national politics, we have seen a stunning turn-around in the economy, as the ever-more-massive deadweight of the entitlements system was removed as a brake upon the engines of commerce, and investment risk became an attractive proposition rather than an eventual guaranteed loser. However, in Washington, a town of which there is no equal in the solidity of the Democratic Party - a party traditionally representing itself as the party of the poor, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised, there has traditionally been exactly one way to guarantee one's re-election, a way skillfully trodden by Marion Barry: get the poor to the polls, let them know that you'll fight for them.

This year, nobody is fighting for the poor.

Washington has been rated as having a Welfare-to-Work program at the very bottom of the heap. It is making no progress at all. We noted nearly a year ago, as did the Post, all around with much dismay and wringing of hands, that over half of the city's child-care and day-care centers, in particular those to which the poor could turn to place their children as they began training or a search for work, were operating without licenses and without inspection. To some degree this has been remedied, but still there is insufficient outreach to aid the working poor, and there is almost no city nor Federal funding actually in use to aid those who seek to join the ranks of the working-poor... training programs are essentially non-existant, and training programs that provide useful skills that demand a living wage are not to be found except at the hands of charity, personal mentors, or guardian angels.

To quote literally anyone who is remotely familiar with the state of local poverty-outreach affairs, "Washington's poor have never been more marginalized."

It is a clear fact that during the Barry-Cronies (tm) administration, the Barry Machine tended to promise anything to the poor to get them to vote, and that Machine was able to reliably deliver the poor to the polls. However, when it came to actual delivery of services, Barry's Machine was generally only able to deliver huge salaries to incompetent mid-level bureaucrats, who quite frequently merely lined their own pockets, and as a rule, whatever has been delivered to the poor has been delivered by charitable organizations, such as the Community for Creative Non-Violence, DC Habitat for Humanity, or DC Food Not Bombs.

During the recent years, it had become clear that despite fairly huge expenditures, almost no benefits were actually accruing to the poor. There were such ill-starred projects such as the notorious "homeless hotels", where local Barry-supporting slumlords received outlandishly-high payments for housing the "homeless" (more commonly career criminals and prostitutes). These "homeless hotels" became not only dens of iniquity worthy of Babylon, but also the foci of Washington's spiralling murder rate. Local outrage, occasional law-enforcement activity (spotty at best, if one is to find past police-department corruption, one need look no further than this), but more commonly simple incompetence in application for Federal funding eventually closed down this massively-wasteful and destructive system, the sole lasting benefit of which was to line the pockets of Barry Machine allies. Of the homeless-shelters which remain in the District, so far as I know, all are funded entirely by charity, and none are administered by the District government. For at least two years, the major contribution of the District government as regards homelessness has been failure to shut down DC-owned abandoned properties, which have been exposed by local news organizations as nothing more than shooting-galleries for junkies and "Heroin Hotels". One such shooting-gallery property in the Petworth Community was the site of a discovery of a body which has led to the arrest of a man charged with serial killings in Petworth.

Over the last few fiscal years, in particular since the DCFRA Control Board ascended to the reins of budget power, there have been budget cuts of some 65 percent in programs dealing with hunger, homelessness, and poverty-outreach.

Under the Barry Administration, a combination of rake-offs and incompetence produced job-training programs which interestingly have in some cases managed to spend budgets of millions of dollars without provably-spending even one dollar to provably-train even one applicant. We have also noted in earlier articles that as much as $55 millions of Federal Urban Empowerment Zones monies went unapplied-for. ( State of the Cities Report).

Washington's present mayoral candidates are, with the notable exception of Anthony A. Williams, are essentially turning their backs on the poor. Jack Evans, whom we had formerly tentatively endorsed, is paraphrased by the Post as saying he would, if elected, restore not one dime to any of the hunger, homelessness, or poverty-outreach programs. Rumor has it that the remark was paraphrased mostly due its vehemence and unprintability, as in "**** the poor". Both Evans and his opponent Kevin P. Chavous take the extremely-uncharitable approach that the recent major reductions in not only the unemployment payouts rates, but also the disability allowance rates, were long overdue corrections, according to the Post.

There appear to be, in this present race, only two actual supporters of a restoration (I would argue, "a first successful primary implimentation") of outreach programs for the hungry, the homeless, the impoverished, and in particular the struggling working-poor. These are Mr. John Gloster, of the DC Statehood Party (with whose political goals we otherwise strongly disagree, preferring to grant Maryland voting rights to residents of the District of Columbia as part of a limited retrocession), who argues that the city can best restore itself through vigorously investing in programs for the poor, in particular programs aiding the children of the poor, in particular training. Regarding this, please see our arguments elsewhere; there are fairly vast resources already available to the District government which would handily lend themselves to such projects, which we whole heartedly support.

Another supporter of expanded poverty outreach programs is mayoral candidate Anthony A. Williams. As the Chief Financial Officer who has presided over many of the cuts in the poverty-outreach programs, and as the man who brought the District its first budget surplus in years, we believe he can do it. Insofar as he will actually try, we will give him our total support. While it is not clear from the context in which his remarks are reported by the Post, we can ourselves add a context of which Mr. Williams should be aware and which he should "own": If money was being misspent, he knows where it was being misspent. If it was being used effectively in any given program, he should know that also. If his budget cuts were tantamount to a roundabout way of offloading rapscallion carpetbaggers taking the city to the cleaners and leaving the poor out in the cold, we absolutely applaud him. Mr Williams has said, regarding the budget cuts, and noting in an aside that he proposes accessing the vast Federal resources which are available but which remain unapplied-for, "Yes, we were in a crisis, and we did what we had to do... To say that we should invest in social resources is not a bad thing. It will redound to everyone's benefit.

We at Earth Operations Central could not agree more. And now that the City is on firm financial footing, now that the police department is under new, and hopefully incorruptable command, now that the new City Manager is in place and evidently looking forward to making heads roll and being a new broom sweeping clean in this rat-infested dung-pile of a formerly great city and with the aid of the DCFRA, Congress, the President and just-about everybody moving this mess right along into again being something of which America can be proud, we at Earth Operations Central intend to completely revise our focus on these Washington DC Pages.

At a recent meeting of the DC.Story city-issues mailgroup, I "un-stealthed" and announced to a visiting radio announcer, as part of a roundrobin introducing ourselves, that I pretty-much wrote web-pages which covered cronyism, nepotism, crime, corruption, and occasionally vice in our Nation's Capital, and also tried to cover such things as homelessness, poverty-outreach, hunger, the work-to-welfare transition, and firmly stated that I might not look like much, but I get out and I speak to, and with, and intended to speak for those who could not access the internet, who could not address the media, who had no ear willing to hear them, no hand to feed them, nor shake their hand, nor give them a hand up instead of a hand-out. I was promptly derided by a local wag as a classical paranoid which is probably not far from the truth. After all, this is Washington, and considering the heinousness of the classical Washington psychotic-bumrush to which I was subjected after this political slandering (let's just say I'll never eat at our meetingplace again, and wouldn't have it any other way), perhaps I feel that I have justifiable reasons for my paranoia. However, this has only cemented my resolve to do what I had said I would do - while we will of course cover, for the Nation and for the local oversight Powers-That-Be, all noteworthy news which comes to our attention (in particular that which we know to be happening but which remains unreported elsewhere), Earth Operations Central now has a new set of primary mission objectives.

We are now less about fixing potholes, and more about getting people off of the streets. We are now less about firing lazy slackabeds who lined their pockets in proportion to their contributions to the Barry-Cronies(tm) Administration, and we are more about finding competent, diligent, and above-all, caring, people to replace them. We are now less about tearing down the old, than building up the new.

In an agricultural nation second to none on Earth, in economic boom times not exceeded in living memory within a technical-industrial expansion unparallelled in the region, in a city where Masters' Degrees are literally unremarkable and commonplace, it is absolutely unforgivable that a single person who can rise to their feet could go hungry. In a city with a sudden budget surplus, with more surplusses expected to come, with a City University that is grossly underused, it is absolutely unforgivable that a single adult or late-teens person needing life-skills or employability-factors should go untrained. In a city with city-owned abandoned repairable housing, and a well-organized Volunteer Housebuilding Organization, available Federal millions only awaiting application, and a public housing receiver known for his approaches to - and successes with - restoring defunct public-housing systems, it's absolutely insupportable that people sleep amid the rats and trash of a Nation's Capital's streets. While we have a robust economy, training facilities, abandoned housing, and available federal funding and a pre-existing organization demonstrably skilled at teaching people how to build or restore houses, it's absolutely unforgivable that the homeless aren't getting fed and exercised as they're trained to build the houses that they will eventually own.

While the high-and-mighty bicker, while bureaucrats stall and jockey for advantage in office-politics and career-advancement, we will be quietly gathering information, marshalling resources, building coalitions, and where the homeless have not had a voice, they'll have one now. When the "untrainable mentally-ill" are passed by on the streets with a spit or a kick, that could be me taking notes for later distribution worldwide via Internet. Sure, I'm mad. Quite mad. Madder'n'hell to use a phrase that any politician should recognize and respect. When the impoverished are tossed out of their homes, and set onto the streets with their children and all that they own, it may well be that this will be the internet page that documents the accountable party, parties, or Party - if that person provably wound up on the streets because some bureaucrat lazily didn't fill out a form that would make childcare available to that person so that they could be trained and employed and start paying taxes, if there's a way to get that bureaucrat and whoever let them stay in that job up on this page and a hundred others, believe me - I'll do it. Anything I can, anytime I can, anyplace I can, if someone could be and should be helped and it's not happening, I intend to make a thousand voices angrily question why. It may be fashionable to march in lockstep and recite "let them eat cake". But fashions change, and in the grand American style, our institutionalized revolution, the election, is coming 'round again... and people vote what's most on their minds, and what's most on their minds is what they've been hearing the most. As best I can, while on the streets of this Nation's Capital a single person sleeps cold, hungry, unfed, and uncared-for, rest assured - you will never hear the end of it, not the voters, and not the politicians.

This page has been scathingly criticized elsewhere as a mere gadfly's raggings-on and as a rhetorical exercise devoid of any attempts at solving anything. Insofar as I can in the future arrange it, "I got your solutions right here". I've been on vacation for a year now, and since it's political season again, I'm coming out of retirement. There's a solution right there, above on this page. It's one that works; a variation of this has been trumpted far and wide as having been the great success of David Gilmore, the court-appointed Public Housing Receiver. Admittedly, utilization of available Federal "Brownfields" and "Empowerment Zones" funding to employ the homeless and welfare-to-work transitioners restoring abandoned housing and converting it into housing for said homeless and transitioners is going to be seen as a complete waste of time to anyone who's only interested in lining their pockets or the pockets of campaign-contributors, and besides, in the emerging class-struggle in Washington it's counterproductive - it's not moving all of the non-rich out of town.

This just isn't morally acceptable and besides, those non-rich might have other ideas. I think I'll go organize a voter-registration drive... and I think I'll organize it in Montgomery County Maryland's 8th Congressional District, to which many of the poor have fled. They'll be voting for one of the Powers-That-Be on the District Appropriations Committee.

Coming soon - links, and more links, to and between various organizations which feed, minister-to, house, provide medical care to, and empower, the poor.

Hmmm, the morning paper just came...

And it is with great pleasure that we announce that the "DC Department of Housing and Community Development is now accepting proposals to develop afordable housing through the homestead Housing Preservation Program. All properties require some level of rehabilitation to meet housing code standard; in some instances they require new construction. Properties will be sold for $250.00 a unit and must be developed for sale to first-time homebuyers. Priority will be given to proposals received from tenant and cooperative associations, as well as from nonprofit developers."

Well "jes' shut my mouth".

Some 32 properties, comprising 186 units (some occupied), three shells, and eight vacant lots, just came on the market for dirt-cheap. Some properties will be razed by the City.

Requests for Participation (RFP) may be had at:

Thank you, Richard Monteihl, Director DCHCD, and Lynn French, Administrator of the Homestead Program Administration.

Cleaning up the Streets
Some Things Just Aren't Pretty

18 July 1998
The alleys of the District of Columbia are something of a relic of former times. Unlike many more-modern cities, which are (outside of their downtown cores) largely a product of the rail or automotive age, Washington dates back to a time when the horse or carriage was the primary mode of transportation. Depending on the quadrant or section of the city, Washington's alleys range from little better than semi-paved carriage-wide trails suitable at present only for 4-wheel-drive vehicles, bicycles or foot-traffic, to a second set of streets, often connecting to interior squares or quads. In many cases, the alleys remain essentially as they have been since the time of the Civil War, relatively undisturbed. In other cases, the alley quads have been developed by the neighbors into pleasant courts in which the children may safely play, well-greened and beflowered sanctums which bely the hustle and grim facades of the outer streets.

In the alleys of Washington, which sometimes are distinguished from the secondary roads only by the fact that they wind circuitously through a leafy urban jungle where feral undergrowth returns to reclaim the Maryland swamplands upon which the city was laid. But in these alleys, more than the underbrush alerts you to the ever-present nearness of wilderness. At night, the rats come forth, and to walk through many of Washington's alleys without a nice set of workboots is to invite the risk of rabies as the rats of Washington, some of which approach the size of cats, are bold and hungry. Most of the rats, however, don't make it to the size of these mythically-proportioned monsters. At night one hears a rustle, and a squeal, and looking more closely, one sees gleaming the satisfied and wicked yellow eyes of cats. Entire, if simplified, ecologies and economies flourish in the streets between the streets.

The District's alleys and margins have also become increasingly populated by what some see as the "second city" of Washington. It's a part of the city with which tourists and visitors remain essentially unfamiliar, except for the occasional blundering wrong-turn downtown. However, in a city designed for pedestrians and carriages, yet increasingly taken over by the automobile, businesses large and small, legitimate and criminal, have taken to the alleys, to their quads, and the nature of these alleys - many of which are of limited vehicular access yet which provide much greater access to pedestrians or bikes - provides much of the small-town and close-knit secret life of Washington. It's no secret that this writer much prefers the alleys of Washington to most of the streets. I leave business to the streets and the tourists - the real Washington is in the houses, the parks, the offices, and the alleys.

An good example of this would be the quad enclosed by the hi-rise offices in the Golden Triangle area, between "L" and "M", and 18th and 19th streets NW. There are several shops, and a few popular bars. If you're trying to drive there, forget it. If you're on foot, it's mostly a pleasant respite from the traffic. Executives can get blotto and wander out on the patio and not have to keep an eye out for rampaging taxi-drivers.

But the alleys, the second city of Washington, can also be home to a great many things that are less than pleasant. In some areas, in particular those parts of town which have limited access to even the main streets due to construction or the terrain, there are alleys which frighten even the most bold of the rats. Discarded and infectious hypodermics glint amidst the piles of trash and abandoned furniture and stripped vehicles. Amidst the trash, homeless ragpickers scour for trinkets and baubles to work into "found art". Some of the vehicles - which may have not moved for years - are homes to addicts, or are used for purposes of sleazy two-minute trysts by the local street prostitutes. District officals have embarked on a series of ambitious projects designed to make the streets of the District of Columbia safer, cleaner, and more attractive.

In a move that is long overdue, for the first time, an end-to-end sweep of the District's alleys is to be made, with a first-run sweep removing accumulated trashpiles and abandoned furniture, and with a second run cleaning up the smaller stuff.

According to Public Works director Cellerino C. Bernadino, "For the first time, every alley in the city will be cleaned on a schedule.... This first round will set the benchmarks for performance tracking." We believe that Mr. Bernardino has little idea of what a job his crew has in front of them. In some areas, crews may enter alleys and find that they're a lot cleaner than are the streets outside. In other areas, they may enter and discover, in the inner city scrub-forests, jungles of infectious wildlife jealously defending the trash upon which it feeds.

Recently, Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey was hauled up before the DC Council's Judiciary Committee. He acknowledged that "[t]here could be better deployment". Ramsey is a leading proponent (one of the major innovators in fact) of "Community policing", in which officers and their superiors make a strong effort to get to know, and to heed input from, the neighbors whose safety they are tasked to assure. He notes that in many inner-city areas, there are simply not enough officers to ensure quick response times. We might make the suggestion that - as long as there's to be in increase in foot or bicycle patrols, and open-air roll-calls - a police presence be instituted in some of the alley-quads. Officers would thus deploy from, and not respond into, areas which are invisible from the streets.

Chief Ramsey, interstingly, is not averse to getting out and doing some neighborhood relations work himself. Nor is he averse to trying to do something about the wildlife in town. He was recently seen wandering the prostitute-infested neighborhoods of Logan Circle.

Washington DC has one of the country's largest per-capita populations of prostitutes, and in few places are they in such sad shape as in Washington. The HIPS Organization notes that nearly half of the local prostitutes, from call-girls to hardened streetwalkers, are not of legal age, quite frequently "owned" by pimps, and even so long ago as 1989, compulsory HIV tests of arrested streetwalking prostitutes indicated a nearly-99-percent HIV infection rate. Residents of the Logan Circle and parts of the Shaw Neighborhoods find that at nighttime, it can be almost impossible to drive in their own neighborhoods due to the immense numbers of motorists lined up looking for their preferred hooker(s). Services available on the street range from girls who should really be home studying their 8th-grade algebra, to terminally-diseased transvestite hookers who inexplicably seem to do a booming business near the Department of the Interior annex at Massachesetts and "L" NW. Both Chief Ramsey and his second-in-command Terrance Gainer have expressed a rather outraged and stunned dismay over the brazen boldness of the local hookers, wich Gainer characterized as being more out of control than outside of a Navy base on payday.

Past attempts to even-temporarily address this state of affairs have proved at best of minimal impact, including one approach which nearly led to a revival of the Civil War between the District and Virginia. At one time, officers had simply rounded up every single female dressed for streetwalking, written them a citation for soliciting, and marched them across the 14th Street bridge into Alexandria, where they promptly took up stations surrounding the Pentagon.

Recently, the DC Council passed a law, which would be valid for only 90 days, which would allow MPD officers very wide discretion and broadens the scope of what is considered soliciation. The law allows officers to arrest any person in a public space who repeatedly tried to engage passersby in conversation or stops or beckons to traffic for the purpose of prostitution. Formerly, the law required witnessing of money changing hands, or of a negotiated transaction. Also, the law had little provision for dealing with the customers, other than vehicle-seizures, which has not been widely accepted; also the law simply didn't much address the real problem here, which is the pimps. The average pimp may make as much as $75,000 per year per "property", tax-free.

Jack Evans, who is running for Mayor, is quoted by the Washington Post as saying: "We have to make it really hard for them to make a living here".

The Post also quotes Yolanda Pounds, of HIPS, and with this we must agree, as noting that there is almost no resource available for prostitutes, other than to continue to ply their trade. "If the city wants to do something, if should help us rehabiitate these young ladies and find different programs to get them into."

This brings up the issues of the City of Washington's extremely downsized poverty-outreach programs. While ranking next-to-last on the efficiency or success of national Welfare-to-Work programs, the city is home to some of the most grinding poverty in the "civilized world". Please see my diatribe above regarding the alleys of DC - there are people living in the alleys just about like our ancestors lived in caves, essentially hunting and gathering, and for very similar reasons: little or no education, and little or no society. Society is at best tending to increasingly regard the homeless and the poor as something to be eradicated. Homelessness and Poverty must indeed be eradicated, but those are Conditions which should be eradicated. Eradicating the People who Suffer under those Conditions, at present through mere attrition and turning a blind eye to the problems, is less than humane.

As I've said, I really do prefer the alleys. I meet people, some of whom are less-than-pleasant company, and I meet some who, but for the grace of god and me having been homeless in a state and city which had effective and speedy poverty-outreach systems (Austin Texas, 1994), would be myself. Often intelligent, certainly resourceful, pressed to the limits of endurance and sanity and quite-frequently beyond, I hear the same things repeated by one after the other.

What do the homeless, the poor, and particularly the disabled want?

Focus on the Schools

30 July 1998
In the long hot summer of Washington, when the mad dogs come out to play and only rarely does anything get done in Washington, we are at last pleased to report the stirrings of progress beneath the surface of the muddy waters that are midsummer Washington.

We also note with dismay the passing of two of the Nation's Finest, US Capitol Police Officers, Detective John M. Gibson, and Officer Jacob J. Chestnut, laid to rest today in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Those officers are due those honors, above and beyond their military histories, for they came under fire performing the essential task of simultaneously guarding, and permitting free access to, the United States Capitol Building, which remains open to the public as it ever must.

While the typically-paranoid Washington media have outlined assorted plans to turn the Monumental Core into an even more fortified seige zone, the wiser heads in Washington affirmed that the US Capitol, as the People's Hall, will remain freely accessible to all who come in peace.

DCFRA Control Board member Constance Berry Newman has decided that she will stay on into a second term of service. This unpaid postition will be retained as well as her formal position as second-in-command as Undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Her credentials include top-level leadership positions as Director of US Office of Personnel Management, Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA), Commissioner and vice-chair of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, and asssistant Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. she was at one point in time being considered for the position of Chairman of the Control Board, which position is being vacated by Andrew F. Brimmer, who reportedly remarked that she knows more "...about management in the government than the rest of us."

Ms. Newman is reportedly very well-liked by the other Control Board members and was effusively praised by the new Chairman of the Control Board, Alice M. Rivlin. Ms. Newman will assume the oversight of the reforms of the District's schools, which are now undergoing and extreme rebuild under the aegis of School Superintendant Arlene Ackerman.

Recently, Dr. Ackerman fired upwards of 600 personnel. The District Schools Personnel Office had been characterized by records-keeping so horrifically bad that there was no clear idea as to exactly how many employees were on the payroll. Dr. Ackerman has fired almost all personnel in the Personnel Office of the District Schools, essentially severing the neck of the ogre which has for decades been devouring the education opportunities of the District's children.

Nationwide, a great many school systems - beset by performance problems and mission-creep of the same order (if not scale) as the District Schools - have embarked upon massive reforms, and after a certain amount of practice a certain amount of expertise has been developed. Dr. Ackerman was considered instrumental in the reforms of the Seattle WA school-system. Dr. Ackerman has embarked upon a program of "reconstitution" of at least one school, a process wherein the internal operations and much of the poor-performer school are essentially gutted prior to complete re-organization. Dr. Ackerman enjoys a position probably unique in her career and certainly unique within living memory in the District; above her, she has in direct-oversight, Constance Berry Newman, an organizational specialist and administrator-supreme with experience in managing organizations far-larger than the District Schools. Dr. Ackerman herself is a re-organizational specialist also-blessed with nearly-impeccable credentials in education and a highly-touted track record. Below her, she has clean-swept the more useless and dysfunctional personnel, but before her, she has yet to replace the Personnel Office with functional systems. (This is of little consequence at this juncture, since a lack of personnel does no more good than, and probably less harm than, the former staff and system.)

Yet ahead of Dr. Ackerman are even more sweeping changes. First, she has fired, or given leave for early retirement, at least 20 principals, and has reportedly targeted at least 20 more, along with associated high-level staffers in schools slated for reconstitution or reformation. The Alternative Education department is targeted for almost-total reconstruction, with at least 50 staffers having been fired. The Alternative Education program, originally intended for specialized and intensive remedial efforts for disruptive, troubled, or pre-psychotic children and youths, had been categorized by some as merely an open playground for emerging monsters. We presume that this will be the presently-unspecified facility scheduled for total reconstitution. Dr. Ackerman has said that most of these staffers will be permitted to re-apply for positions elsewhere within the system. She's also sent a new budget to Congress asking for a budget for the schools of some $545 million, which is increased by nearly $90 millions. Unfortunately, the District Schools Special Education programs are among the most dysfunctional of such programs nationwide, with the second-worst performance record in the country. Legal actions from all sides have forced a massive cost-shifting of other District Schools funding into emergency remediation of these programs.

Also getting the axe was the director of Food Services. The food at the District Schools is considered by many as being unfit for animal feed, much less for consumption by the District's children. (Let's just say that the homeless don't go anywhere near the schools' dumpsters when snack-diving.) A proposal has been circulated to allow third-party vendors to provide food for the pupils. In any case, the fact that the District School remain extremely unsafe facilities, permeated as they are by non-enrolled dropouts, troublemakers and gangsters, could well be moderated by a co-location of vendors, concurrent with restrictions on off-campus lunches and concomitant enhancements of security under an "in-or-out-all-day" access-control policy.

Meanwhile, the repairs of the decaying physical facilities continues. Work proceeds apace, but there are some concerns that the District Procurement Office remains rife with corruption and is in fact the sole-remaining bastion of pure Barry-Cronies(tm) policies of pocket-lining between backroom buddies. (We are convinced of this, having submitted the proper applications to get on their Vendors/Bidders list, and have been notified to solicit for exactly none of the some-200 contracts under our vendor category.) However, there evidently remain a few true heroes bucking the tide, one Richard Fite is credited with doing an Herculean job of assuring multiple-teirs of backup contractors in case of primary contractor default or malfeasance/disbarrment in fulfillment of school-repair contracts.

Dr. Ackerman is attempting to secure additional budgetary increases to enable raises to attract and/or retain competent professionals to the District Schools. A hoped-for raise from an average of $27,000 to $30,000 per year is reportedly in the works. Keep in mind that this is a very low salary in a city where one is considered poor with an income of $65,000/year.

DC Budget Nearly Approved

Budgetary resources may be forthcoming.

The District financial outlook continues to improve. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the District, headed by controversial North Carolina Republican Lauch Faircloth, credits improved tax collections and the rebounding District real-estate market (the Washington-Baltimore corridor, outside of the District proper, led the nation in housing starts and other development since 1990) for much of the surplus. The District's tax and permits-fees collection agency, the District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), came under fire in the last two years as being incomprehensibly-byzantine, "dysfunctional to the point of collapse", and a "textboook example of how to not-run a city agency". The "newer, meaner" DCRA is now considered as having been "substatially reformed" and tax collection is now extremely aggressive, at least as regards tax-collection. Substantive questions still remain over their regulattory efforts, in particular within the intergrade between the DC Department of Health and the DCRA, as regards liquor licensing and sanitation inspections, and also in child-care-facility licensing.

The Senate version of the "consensus budget", slapped-together by outgoing Mayor Marion Barry, the DC Council, and the DCFRA Control Board. The Senate version included, above and beyond the consensus-budget's requested allocations, an additional lordly sum of some $250 millions, much of it dedicated to surface-road repairs, and also adding Metrorail Station development at the site of the finally-approved future Convention Center Site. The House Appropriations Subcommittee version of the bill slashes most of those additional surface-road and Metrorail development funds. The Senate version also includes (but it is unclear whether or not this language is retained in the House version; we hope so) a proviso that the District may not require employees of the District to reside in the District. Also included in the Senate version was a restriction which prohibits the District from using any Federal monies to agitate for its admission as a State, or to sue the Federal government for full voting rights for the residents of the District of Columbia.

Also included in the bill was an appropriation for spending by the US Park Police to acquire a helicopter intended exclusively for use within the confines of the District's airspace. This was, surprisingly, fought by DC Delegate (non-voting) Eleanor Holmes Norton. The dismemberment of the District's Metropolitan Police Department's helicopter fleet was, interestingly, one of the first "austerity" acts by Mayor Marion Barry as he led the city into a financial meltdown. It's no surprise that as he "mothballed" the fleet, violent crime in the District skyrocketed. The District's helicopter fleet, once touted as one of the nation's finest city airfleets, had for many years served as a major asset of District law-enforcement personnel, though many citizens would probably have preferred that the District's "choppers" had quieter engines. We note that at present, outside of possibly renting a blimp from Goodyear or begging to the military for satellite-access, District law-enforcement has absolutely no airborne surveillance capability, and no airborne response capability exists.

Congressman Charles H. Taylor, a North Carolina Republican and Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the District, is the leading Congressional proponent of a requirement for District employees to be District residents. Most of the other subcommittee members, both House and Senate, are from districts which adjoin the District of Columbia, and many of their constituents work for the District government. Taylor is quoted by the Washington Post as saying "I've long maintained that city employees should be the first leg of rebuilding the city... so it makes sense to require over time that they move into DC." We disagree for some reasons, and agree for others. First, the cost of living in the District is so high that city employees at present pay-rates will be forced to live in the worst neighborhoods, or will forever have their hands out for bribes in order to pay the bills. On the other hand, we can argue that the real business of any District resident is to be considered as legitimate only in the context of servicing the Constitutionally-defined seat of government, and therefor as a sort of second-tier Federal employee, akin to the military, residency might legitimately be required. It thus follows that it may be argued that a residency requirement is in reality an argument against any future Home Rule. Representative Taylor sums it all up best when he says: "...[t]he same people who beat you over the head not to trample on Home Rule are the same ones who ask you to help them on the inside... it's quite interesting to watch."

There have also been, within the various Appropriations Subcommittees' wanglings, questions over whether or no the statutory authority of the DCFRA Control Board, and their appointed City Manager Camille Cates Barnett PhD, should automatically extend to any reorganized or "spin-off" authorities created by management reforms of District Government. This issue remains as-yet unresolved. In any case, both the Senate and House versions of the approved DC Budget has yet to clear votes in the full House and Senate.

Management Reform Issues

City Manager (or more properly, "Chief Management Officer") Camille Cates Barnett had, for some months, conducted a nationwide search for top positions within several city agencies. From her candidates list, Mayor Marion Barry selected three new department heads.

For the position of Director of the Department of Employment Services (DES), one Gregory P. Irish of Santa Cruz California. We already like this guy, he agrees with our own assessment that the city desperately needs to reform DES to better provide people with jobs, instead of simply handing out the dole checks. We like him even better because Mr. Irish, much like Earth Operations Central, bases opinions on firsthand experience with these agencies. We like him even much more because he, much like Earth Operations Central, got his firsthand experience, and before actually taking the job, by dressing for the street and putting himself through the process of going through the system as a customer. His reported remarks? "I wasn't impressed". We hope that Mr. Irish will rapidly expand (or more properly, "initiate") functional training programs. We hope, in fact, that he will read some of our diatribes on the District's dearth of training opportunities, and will make some use of the horribly-underused University of the District of Columbia's staff and facilities. At any rate, he's got a huge and daunting task ahead of him: Mr. Irish gets to tackle the job of turning around the nation's worst Welfare-To-Work program.

Also selected, for the position of Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, is one Lloyd J. Jordan, a present staffer of the City Manager, a former chief administrative officer of St. Louis Missouri, and a lawyer. The Post notes that Jordan has come under fire in his native St. Louis for lots of personal business conducted on city time, and accusations of improper conflicts-of-interest in a city deal with a supermarket. We have none of the particulars and know nothing of these matters, but we can only hope that he was not selected by Marion Barry, master of corruption and cronyism, for being perceived as a kindred spirit.

Finally, we announce the final selection of one Suzanne J. Peck as director of the Office of Technology. Ms. Peck is characterized by the Post as a 20-year veteran of office automation and strategic-planning. Earth Operations Central wishes that either she, or her appropriate delegate, would return our calls. We did speak to one "Bill Clemens", who called us once, acted extremely paranoid and somewhat hostile, wanting to know "what we wanted" from our proposal to give a free Linux Internet Host System, hardware included, to the District government, totally free of charge. We also note that when we tried to reach her directly by telephone, in roughly mid-June, a call directed to her desk was intercepted by an individual who was not an employee of the City of Washington, who listened to my sales pitch and then attempted to mis-direct a written proposal to a mailbox at his evidently sole-sourced firm, Maximus. Enquiring minds want to know why the voice-mail at the DC Office of Technology is answered "Office of Technology/Maximus".

The Summer of Our MalContent

19 August 1998
Okay, it's been nearly a month since I updated this page. I've been slacking. This has been a relatively uneventful month, at least as regards political or economic developments which are of a purely-local nature.

However, I do not wish anyone to believe that this particular voice has been successfully silenced, although I will be blunt and state outright that it's not due to lack of trying.

August is a month in which, as a rule, very little happens in Washington. In particular, it's ordinarily the month when anyone with a lick of sense gets out of town, and also Congress vacates. As a result, the place tends to turn into something commonly described as a ghost-town. Tourism tends to decline, as our Washington Augusts are reknowned worldwide as true horrors for those who have allergies and don't tolerate the horrid humidity and heat. However, due to the political circus revolving around Kenneth Starr, the independent prosecutor investigating (among other things) the confessed Presidential infidelities, has consumed a great deal of attention here in Washington, among those who have remained. Little attention has been paid to local politics, even by local politicians.

But Labor Day will soon be upon us, when Washingtonians of means return from wherever it is that they vacation. Once again, the pundits will pontificate, myself among them. And as return the power-elite, so shall their staffers return, to swell the ranks of Washington's discontent, and as the fall marches on, we'll see assorted sortings-out in the mayoral and council races. We also predict that there is an excellent chance that once again Washington will gird for war. We will not cover that issue on this page, though we will of course add our voice to the cacaphony on UseNet and elsewhere. As has been remarked elsewhere, "World War III will be almost entirely an information war, with no clear line of division between the military and the civilian efforts". Now that the trivialities of the Lewinski Affair no longer occupy most local broadcast time, nor divert public awareness and opinion from more pressing matters such as the overrunnings of our borders combining with a degrading state of military readiness and dysfunctional internal insurgency-control organizations compromised by the FileGate Affair, we expect that there will be an increased public focus on these issues as well as increasing foreign-policy difficulties ranging from the terrorism of rogue states such as Iraq, or well-funded transnational terrorist organizations such as that of Osama bin Laden, or the North American threat of well-armed illegal-alien gangsters, whose increasing presence and deployment begins to resemble a map of a main-force insurgency, unopposed by a President whose main concern has apparently been to hide his zipper-control problem.

But I digress, and now on to simple Washingtonia, as a sleepy southern town with no real reason to be here (besides the fact that George Washington wanted it across the river from his wife's estate) dreams fitfully amid the summer's heat, all unaware that outside the gates the mad dogs gather.

New Control Board Members

President Clinton, in early August, appointed the final replacements for the members of the DCFRA Control Board. These members are:

Control Board Issues

On 6 August 1998, Control Board Chairman Andrew F. Brimmer cancelled a contract worth nearly $900,000, which was improperly awarded to an associate of Chief Management Officer (city manager) Camille Cates Barnett. As we reported in our last installment, there is increasing evidence that Washington has too long been steeped in the culture of corruption, and that that particular bug is catching. Perhaps all that's been done so far regarding management reform, in many cases, is that the old bastards and their cronies have been thrown out, and new bastards forcibly installed instead. The "erroneous" assignment of contract was claimed to be the responsibility of procurement specialist Richard Fite.

Both Control Board policy and Federal Law prohibit non-competitive contracts in excess of $500,000 dollars from being awarded here. However, Dr. Barnett exceeded her authority and granted a non-bidded contract to a former co-worker from Houston, one Cheryl L. Dotson of Houston, for management consultancy. Reportedly, Dotson had withrawn from competitive bidding because "side work" she was already doing for Barnett exceeded the purview of the contract for which she bid.

Dr. Brimmer has stated that he didn't think that this was cronyism, but we are less certain. However, as regards the actual progress of management reform, reportedly Dotson's work performance has been laudable. All that is in question is the impropriety of awarding a contract outside of proper procedure.

Regulatory Reform

The DCFRA Control Board has confirmed the appointments of:

Noted in Passing

The District of Columbia has seeded $900,000 to the creation of an effort to market the District as a place for businesses. Richard Montielh, director of the District's Department of Housing and Community Development, is reportedly set to aggressively promote the District as the perfect spot for corporate national-headquarters.

District Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has decided to appoint new principals at one-fourth of the city's schools. 39 new principals will be designated. 29 schools had vacancies for the position. She will also replace the entire staff of Shadd Elementary. Also in for a complete roll-over is the Alternative Education Department.

Congress has approved a District of Columbia issue of $685 millions in bonds, to finance the new Convention Center to be located to the north of Mount Vernon Square.

Addenda: Suburbia

Prince George's County, which is the eastern border of Washington DC from Takoma Park Maryland down to the Potomac River, has been having a little problem with law-enforcement. No, it's not that the police department of this majority-black county is being indiligent, they have in fact been making arrests at record rates. In particular, they've done a very good job of co-ordinating with the District's Metropolitan Police Department and with border-jumping Federal units such as the US Park Police, which has had an increasing role in the increasingly-Federalized District. What's been going wrong in Prince George's County rather lies in the office of the Sheriff. The Sheriff, the only elected law-enforcement agent in the Maryland system (all other law-enforcement in Maryland is part of the executive branch, with no public-oversight or recall mechanism), has been reduced to a status which is essentially disgraceful: the Sheriff is an essentially powerless tool of the courts, with duties restricted almost solely to the management of prisoner services. It is the Sheriff's duty to serve arrest warrants, and act as Bailiff. Prince George's County Sherriff James V. Aluisi has allowed a backlog of nearly 40,000 warrants to accumulate, unserved. Most county police officers, and even officers from other jurisdictions including the District, have been making arrests as they serve their own warrants. If you're a US Marshall, you might consider paying a visit to Prince George's County, which has of late become a local gangster-magnet due to the inability of the Sheriff's department to serve warrants.

Washington Unregistered

Local cops are very displeased in-general with the District of Columbia, including officers of the Metropolitan Police Department.

As many as 10 percent of DC motorists are driving motor vehicles with fraudulent license plates and/or inspection stickers.

The problem with the inspection stickers is extremely widespread. At least 300 motorists are arrested monthly for bogus inspection stickers. It should be added that, unlike the exhaustive one-time inspections in neighboring Maryland, District vehicle inspections are rather cursory, and mostly examine such safety equipment as headlights.

The bogus license-tags issue is a more thorny one. There is a thriving black-market in forged, altered, or stolen license plates. Extremely popular with the scofflaw segment of the population, this causes a major loss of revenue for the District (which has unreasonably low fines for bad-tagging), and places a great risk on the public: most of these tags are acquired for the express purpose of evading the insurance requirement for motor vehicles, or to evade tracking by the police or parking-enforcement employees.

Vacation's Over

11 September 1998
Ah, Labor Day. What can one say about Labor Day in Washington? After the sweltering of August, there's one last holiday for the locals and then as the tourists depart whence they came, the Federal lawmakers and regulators return from their own tourism of the home districts. Ordinarily, they return to a sleepy southern town still struggling in the torrid swampy mists of the pre-fall season. However, this year, Washington did not sleep-in, as is customary. Where ordinarily in August this city empties out, practically becoming a ghost town when there is no Federal activity, this year there was simply too much happening for this place to fall into the usual fitful slumber.

First, as we predicted in our last entry, in fact even as we typed, this nation began to gird itself for war. Some 70 cruise-missiles were launched against the Afghanistanian training camps of one Osama bin Laden, a millionaire fundamentalist formerly of the anti-Soviet Mujaheddin, and now an avowed foe of all things American. Other cruise-missile strikes were directed against a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, which target may have been mistakenly indicated as a manufactory of precursors for binary nerve gasses. These strikes were in retaliation for the bombings, linked to the organization of Osama bin Laden, of two US Embassies, in Nairobi Kenya, and in Dar Es Salaam Tanzania. At last, US policy recognizes that the War of The Future will increasingly be less a war between conventional armed forces, and more of a proactive effort against " Low-Intensity Conflict in Urbanized Terrain".

August has seen a local growth-industry in the emplacement of "jersey barriers" and other anti-truckbomb technologies all over town. One of the more publicized sites is the Washington Monument, which now has a protective ring around its base. In other locations, the increase in security is less obvious but nonetheless intensified. Abroad, there have been intensified security measures at US Embassies, which many have thought to be long-overdue. Also, as these security measures have been increased, there has been an increase in probings of those defenses. We can reasonably assume that the very large local population of foreign-born refugees and former dissidents will contain elements who will engage in a variety of similar probings of local defenses. Indeed, the former "justified-paranoia" of the old Cold War will certainly once-again pervade Washington. Yet, where before there was a limit to the activities of spies and saboteurs - as nobody wanted to risk a full-scale war between the US and other territorial governments - there may now be no limits to sabotage, assassinations and mass-murders perpetrated against Americans on US soil, enacted by suicidal fanatics funded by nebulous and shadowy overseas associations and organizations with no known address. We wish to note that as it became evident that the $70-millions missile-strike was less-than-successful in eliminating the bin-Laden organization, instead only increasing resolve against America in much of Islam, many of the local foreign-born communities seem to have become agitated and are presumed to be organizing their own militias. How many of these would act, either directly or in a more-covert mode, against Americans at home, remains to be seen. All that can be done is to stand ready and to always bear in mind that eternal vigilance is no longer the price merely of liberty, but also of mere life. Washingtonians may be expected, in the future, to be somewhat more vigilant than they have been in times past... and interlopers may soon learn that behavior which was tolerated before may now provoke massive responses.

Yet all of this falls under the province of the Executive Branch, which has produced a month of mixed results, to say the least. Commonly, August is something of a romp for the Executive Branch, which is both unrestrained, yet also unsupported by the vacationing Legislative Branch. The Presidency spent the month of August hardly whooping it up. Rather, it has been hamstrung by increasing pressures within the Legislative Branch, the general public, and in fact within the Department of Justice, itself part of the Executive Branch. While President Clinton's policies still garner wide support from the public, public censure of his morals has increased as it has become more apparent that simply having an improper relationship during working hours was the least of this sordid affair - it has also come to light that there has been a concerted effort to suppress factfinding, and witnesses, disinformation was generated and fielded, lies were made under oath and in general the official level of trust in the Office of the President has been tarnished to the point that Impeachment is almost assured. And it is in this atmosphere that the President must continue to "do the people's business" and do it well. Indeed, as world financial markets plunge desperately towards a global depression probably to be characterized by exceptional political upheaval, it will be essential to have a firm and powerful, and ideally trustworthy, hand at the tiller of US policy.

Local Washingtoniana

It otherwise has been a fairly slow month in Washington. Reform mostly proceeds apace, and at a pace commensurate with the sultry weather: dead slow. In some respects, it has in fact retreated.

Please see this series of articles summarising developments in (and issues surrounding) the Office of Information Technology. Briefly, the former Director, Michael T. Hernon accused Sheryl Dotson, an associate and former partner of Chief Management Officer Camille Cates Barnett, of having played fast and loose with the sole-sourcing of a Year 2000 contract reportedly worth $50 millions. The DCFRA Control Board is said to be looking into the matter. This was the second such matter to have been made public, although the first was not of quite so large a magnitude of expenditures. A third case has come to light, involving some $2000 worth of possibly fraudulent vouchers for per-diem expenses. It would appear that in the process of throwing out the old Barry-Cronies(tm), a new cronyism might well be in the process of establishing itself. It will be essential to keep close tabs on the new administration, lest it simply replace the old bunch of scammers with a new bunch of scammers.

Also, it should be noted that the old bunch of scammers, the Barry Political Machine, hasn't simply dried up and blown out of town. For one, that would be dificult for them to do; by and large they're all from here and getting a Washingtonian dislodged from Washington is as difficult as pulling the proverbial Hen's Teeth. This is even more the case when one attempts to dislodge a political structure that has for two decades permeated the city from the grass-roots through the entire governmental structure. It would probably be much more easily accomplished to move the Nation's Capital elsewhere than to dislodge the Barry Machine. Now that Marion Barry has declared his intention to abdicate the throne, it is no less pervasive and entrenched. All that has happened here as regards real political change is that the officers of the various departments no longer serve at the pleasure of the Mayor as was formerly the case. While many of those who had been simply slapped into place by Mayor Barry, as rewards for political services, are no longer in place, still there remains the issue of their appointees, who may simply have shifted their loyalties, from their direct superiors and ultimately the Mayor, to the Machine. This would have been a definite problem in the old days, had the DCFRA and Congress simply tossed Mayor Barry out and let a new Mayor be elected. However, in their wisdom, they have changed the system to make it very difficult for a Mayor, whether head or figurehead of a political machine, to appoint whomever they wish to reward. Yet political machines, like bureaucracies, have lifetimes greater than those of their merely human members - and like bureaucracies, they are dynamic (if not living) organisms which adapt to changing circumstances, and learn to strategize, if not intelligently, at least foresightfully.

And thus it is that we see elements of the former regime beginning to belly up to Anthony Williams. Please see this UseNet post noting this with some over-the-top levity - comparing the former Barry Machine to an immense and slimy amoeba of Party Machine sleaze. District Politics allegorized as some sort of heinous blob of mindless glop that flounders without direction yet expands without restraint as it fouls everything it touches that it doesn't digest.

Actually, we ourselves rather like Mr Williams. We note again quite commonly in the past, whatever was good in the world was touted by even the Communist Party as being a product of their programs or desired by their platforms. But being all for ending world hunger did nothing to make the Party itself any less ultimately authoritarian and oppressive. Mr. Williams is a good thing, but we would rather see him lose by a slim margin on a campaign of "sweep out the old" and remain untainted by the newly resurgent Cronies-Machine(tm), rather than see that Machine deliver for him a landslide victory with promises of government jobs for everyone who votes for him. Careful there, Mr. Williams, that could be the devil himself that's sleazing up next to you.

We have long decried the sorry state of affairs in the District's programs which ought to reach out to the most desperate and poor - and in fact, one of Mr Williams hottest competitors, Kevin Chavous, has been making political hay over the fact that most of these programs and agencies got an immense budgetary axe deliverd at the hands of Mr. Williams. In defense of Mr. Williams, while he did indeed make those cuts, what he cut were some of the most bloated, inefficient, and cronyistic of the hideously-corrupt District government. He has also gone on record, in early July, as supporting expanded social services.

The District now projects a budget surplus of some $300 millions for 1998. This is up roughly $85 millions over the original estimate. This devolves from extremely enhanced revenues collections, much-increased tourism, and a rebound in the real-estate markets. Also, earlier in the year, investment managers for the city were able to take record profits. But it must be noted that few of these gains can be expected to be recurrent, and indeed, very few of these gains are indicative of improved management in the District, but are rather better credited to the overall strength of the national economy. Such improvements as shall devolve from reforms in the District, and which might be expected to be lasting, include a new automated financial management system which hopefully will streamline all aspects of city finance by providing managers with reliable and instant detailed information.

Among other information which might at last be accurately known would be the actual extend of the District's "capital deficit". Of course, this cannot be properly known until the rest of the District's agencies and divisions have themselves acquired financial and administrative systems which can supply accurate data to the central budgeting authorities. The schools alone (the District Schools remain in administrative disarray and confusion regarding "where the money went") might cost several billions in repairs and upgrades. Other capital improvements in civil infrastructure will definitely cost billions.

Experts concede that the City's public health system is at the edge of financial collapse. Outbound DCFRA Chairman Andrew F. Brimmer notes, with an admission of uncertainty as to the exact degree of the problem (it remains very low-priority), that the DC Public Health Corporation is at the edge of exceeding its spending limits, and nobody seems to be sure where to get more money for it.

The programs which are in the worst shape are those that serve some of the most desperate of the District's population. As poor are the general health services provided for the general population, poorer still are those which deal with populations generally considered "marginal", at best. This is remarked upon by incoming DCFRA Control Board Chairman Alice M. Rivlin, who described her experiences trying to even find the headquarters of the Department of Human Services as "kind of surreal". Rivlin also notes that the surplus for 1998 might amount to a sort of paperwork fiction, generated by overcutting services which must eventually be re-funded. In this, we completely concur.

One example is in the city's outreach to the vast population of drug users in the city. Few cities were more scarred by the drug epidemics of 80s and 90s than was Washington DC. Even though at present Washington is no longer the Murder Capital, still there is a vast amount of crime, and quite a bit of it violent, which relates to drugs. Nationally there is a major shortage of space in treatment facilities, which have been demonstrated to be of major assistance in rehabilitiation, but in Washington the situation is dire. Literally hundreds of people now languish behind bars waiting placement in a rehab facility, and some of the people have been waiting for months for such placement, having served their required-time, but held on conditions of parole which require rehab. At the present time, less than 10 percent of the District's known substance-abusers receive any treatment whatsoever. In a recent survey conducted by Drug Strategies, 63 percent of District residents indicated that the city must spend much more on rehabilitation and prevention, and rely less on criminal penalites. In 1993, the city spend some $31 millions. This year, they spent $19.7 millions.

Also in dire condition is the city's juvenile prison, for which a receivership is being sought. The Oak Hill Center, which provided education for incarcerated juveniles, is characterized as being in terrible shape, with inadequate staff and supplies. At present, the school is run by the overburdened District Schools. It is not clear at this time what the success rate has been, for returning students to life "outside" and it's even more unclear what the facts are regarding prevention of recidivism. 65 percent of District residents approved of an expansion of youth recreation programs, which if combined with rehabiliation and job-training programs (also almost non-existant in the District) might immensely decrease both recidivism and new crimes.

The plight of the mentally-ill and homeless in the District is not at present amenable to statistical analysis, as outside of the St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Criminally Insane (which so far as is known has not yet been recertified as habitable) there are no real extant programs. Almost all mental-illness resources in the District of Columbia are at present essentially operated by private concerns. Almost all homelessness resources are managed by such charitable groups as the Salvation Army, the Community for Creative Non-Violence, and assorted local churches.

Noted in Passing: District Schools

Unlike last year, when the District's Schools opened a month late due to an ongoing court battle over the safety of physical facilities, this year the District's Schools opened on time. This event was greeted with much satisfaction by local parents. Still remaining underserved are the Special Education students. The Special Education department has been the subject of much debate and legal action over the last few years. Howevre, reportedly progress continues apace in reform efforts.

The Washington Post reports that 15 new Charter Schools, which are publicly-funded but which are operated outside of the administrative structure of the public school system. While Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman struggles to rebuild the mainstream-schools' administrative structure, the new Charter Schools forge their own internal administrative systems. We can only hope (and only time will tell) that these new administrations will be of higher quality than those which have been removed from the beyond-dysfunctional public schools. Also, only time will tell if the specialized, and often special-interest, cirricula of the charter schools will provide a quality, or a balanced, education for District children.

Police Special!

Time Out In Washington

26 September 1998
While the rest of the country staggered under the implications contained in the Starr Report, Washington itself had essentially no comment on the hijinks revealed in the cheesey and badly-done piece of publicly-funded smut, possibly the most-read exposition of sexual activity ever circulated. The simple fact of the matter is that we locals have always known what goes on in Washington. In a recent set of conversations with the local "man in the street", Earth Operations Central was presented almost unilaterally with a certain set of sentiments, of which we now present the general summation. "Man, you've been up to the Hill, everybody knows what goes on up there, probably ain't one of those Congressmen up on the Hill hasn't done the same thing. You know what time it is, we all know what those interns are for!" We've heard in our travels and visits to parks, bars, and alleyways, nothing but the same thing, repeated over and over, with a total lack of anything resembling outrage or even surprise at anything other than the fact that this actually managed to get press. Ah, the lovely decadence that is local Washingtoniana, so jaded that the revilable is expected and the exemplary is seen as suspect.

In offical Washington, of course, the Federal establishment and all of the carpetbaggers and bloodsucking hangers-on have essentially bounced from wall to wall in a dithering that could be easily compared to the molecular-level phenomenon of Brownian Motion. The Spin Factor here has gone so far beyond hyperdrive that it's a wonder that the various mouthpieces and talking heads haven't imploded entirely out of the time-space continuum with a special-effects department sound best transliterated as a deafening 200 decibels of "WONK!" - in any case, there's no question that Federal Washington, as far as goes anything resembling political sanity or any commitment to addressing national or international reality, instead is flying off where no man has gone before, at Reality Warp 9.

National partisan politics could be, at this juncture, easily be mistaken as clearly an American attempt to astound even the French with a public display of Surrealism, perhaps there was some announcement we missed of a citywide public-participation Drama of the Absurd? But no, this was indeed essentially spontaneous, a sort of Riot of Dadaism, thousands of spin-doctors dancing on the heads of pins as it were, rhetorically hurling at each other their peculiar and barely-dry Cubisms of questionable legalities and effectively imprinting a moustache on the Mona Lisa of the Office of the President, while the Congress itself exhibits the dime-store trifle of the Starr Report as a new classic of the avant-garde.

No better time could have been chosen for this mad costume party and orgiastic binge-venting of partisan bile and organizational autophagy, than at the moment when the rest of the world lies stricken in the hungerpangs of financial calamity, wars and rumors of war advance in grim arrays of starvation genocides and impending winterkills, while here in the US three out of five farmers face their own calamity of either catastrophic drought or price-collapses brought on by Canadian dumping of wheat while the "Freedom to Farm Act" has removed almost all Federal support of American Agriculture. Add to this the impending failure of one of the United States' largest investment funds, and it becomes clear - in the face of impending doom, the madness-that-is-Washington would rather gnaw itself to death than lead a successful fight. How far we have fallen from the generation that saved the world from Fascism and won the Cold War; the world ends not with a bang nor with a whimper, but rather with the inane and prurient tittering of the gibbering mad.

And now on to local politics, such as they are.

Local Washingtoniana

First order of business: The race for mayor in the District of Columbia boils down to two significant contenders. The first, and expected to win, although not without a hard-fought contest, is Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat. Long-time readers of this page will recall Mr. Williams as a candidate who is rather unusual on the District political scene. Almost utterly untainted by any form of scandal, and in fact a recent arrival to Washington itself, Mr. Williams has had a very successful career as a troubleshooter, something of a high-caliber hired gun with expertise in fixing broken government economies and organizations. How effective he could be as a politician, in the classical Washigton sense, remains to be seen. Endorsed post-election by outbound Mayor Marion Barry, and cozied-up-to by the Democratic Machine including a lot of questionable Barry supporters, Williams faces a daunting task and if elected he also faces a rather astounding learning-curve regarding the particulars and peculiarities of Washington's political establishments. It would be a difficult task indeed to adapt this system, which has for 20 years been imprinted indelibly with all that was Mayor Barry, and make it his own, without it adapting him, and making him its own. Williams received some 44,000 votes.

Carol Schwartz, a Republican and long-time resident of Washington, received (roughly) only 2500 votes, running unopposed in the Republican primaries. She will probably receive a large percentage of the vote in predominantly white and almost-universally upper-class Ward 1 in Northwest Washington. She's favoring a tax-cut, which ordinarily could be seen as a bad idea, but Washington has in recent years depended almost exclusively on income, sales and property taxation as a revenue system, as the agencies responsible for collection of debts and licensing fees was very badly broken. Substantial improvements in this system, due to DCFRA Control Board oversight and reorganization, are considered to be largely-responsible for much of the Districts budget surplus. Some tax abatement would certainly tend to attract businesses and their employees to the District, which over the last nine years has seen the population decline by one-sixth, along with a concurrent flight of business to the suburbs, away from the violence and infrastructural decay of the District.

House of Representatives "shadow delegate" Eleanor Holmes Norton, barring an act of God or Congress, will inevitably be returned to another term.

Massive Overhaul Needed For District Finances

8 October 1998
Brookings Institute economist Carol O'Cleireacain has released a
brief on the District's economic future.

She notes that the much-touted surplus in the budget has already been spent, and further notes that any proposed future budgets have almost no leeway for savings against future economic downturns.

The present surplusses in the District's budget result from "one-shot deals", such as a lump-sum Federal payout to the District, and a significant overhaul of the collections agencies dealing with licensing and taxes. Further improvements in the collections agencies are unlikely to be "significant" and in fact the increased efficiency of these agencies, with nearly-perfect colleciton of extremely high taxes and fees, may contribute to migration of various employers from the District, lowering overall revenue. Also, the District has experienced a major windfall in revenue through the nearly-unprecedented economic boom and a peak in tourism of an order previously unseen, and which is unlikely to be sustained. The District, however, is basing predictions of future surplusses on unrealistic expectations of a continuation of these conditions. Also, the District at present relies heavily on a heavily-stratified and overly complex tax system which should be revised to be more broad-based and less stratified. O'Cleireacain notes that taxes are already at the highest possible level and suggests that along with a regularizing of the tax-schedules, taxes should be cut across the board.

The District labors under many difficulties not imposed on other cities. Not only has the District no significant manufacturing or other industrial tax-base, fully 41 percent of the District's land is exempt from local taxes, due to Federal possession or management of that acreage. A Federal payment should be arranged to compensate the District for services which the District provides to that acreage, which would tend to shore up the District's ability to expand services for residents, which services are in general running at a bare-bones level at present. We note as an example of how far programs have been cut, in the last year efforts to stick to the budget caused a $20 million decline in Medicaid spending. We also note that black males in Washington have the second shortest life expectancy in the US, and ranks internationally about with sub-saharan nations such as Somalia or Ethiopia. The budget makes no preparatory allowances for any emergencies.

Congress - which had essentially sized power from locally-elected authority under US Constitution Article I Paragraph 17-18, and emplacing the DCFRA Control Board as an oversight and management-reform body - is now considering restoring a greater degree of autonomy to the District. While the DCFRA did indeed act fairly thoroughly in implimenting management reform in some of the most slipshod of the District Government agencies, slowing and in some cases reversing a slide into utter financial and organizational ruin, there is a sense in Washington that the City Manager's office is acting far too slowly in enabling a restoration of city services. Much ballyhooed at the time of selection, Chief Management Officer (city manager) Camille Cates Barnett has been disappointing in terms of delivery of services to the residents of the District. She has been criticized by mayoral-hopeful Carol Schwartz (Republican) for her improper awarding of a high-dollar contract to former business associate, and by mayoral-hopeful Anthony A. Williams for her slow pace at delivering revitalized city services. Barnett is characterized by Williams as spending too much time on developing a long-term strategy for the District, and insufficient effort on immediate delivery of improvements.

We believe that it would be foolish to simply rush in and throw money at the present problems, without sufficient thought as to how to maintain any gains in service delivery, especially in light of the O'Cleireacain brief. The District will, in the future, probably be required to stretch the dollar much farther than it must at present. A properly strategized system of interlocking infrastructure and operational facilities (not to mention resource allocation forecasting) will be essential to assure the most efficient and responsive government for the District.

At present, the Chief Management Officer is one of the most-powerful managers in the District, outside of the DCFRA Control Board and the members of Congress responsible for oversight of the District. There are many who believe that it would make some sense to increase the power of the Mayor, ideally at some time after outbound Mayor Marion Barry leaves the office. It was on Barry's watch that the city slid into massive social turmoil and organizational chaos. DCFRA Control Board Chairman Alice M. Rivlin, who is also with the Federal Reserve Board, is on record as being supportive of moves to return the District to a self-governed mode. Also giving some support to the idea of more mayoral power Rep. Charles H. Taylor (NC Republican), Rep. James P. Moran Jr (Democrat, VA), and of course Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the DC non-voting congressional representative. Others in high positions of authority over the District are less certain that this should be done speedily, though few are interested in congressional micromanagement of day-to-day affairs in the District, preferring to leave that to the DCFRA Control Board and to whomever they delgate their authority.

There is much to be said, however, in point of Mr. Williams assertions that much more needs to be done to improve the delivery of those services which have the greatest impact on the appearance of the city and the safety of the residents and visitors. Mr. Williams makes one remark that we believe may speak more truth, and a more important truth, than Mr. Williams intended. The Washington Post reports Mr. Williams as saying: "We need to operate at light speed... The Anacostia Highway is a disgrace. The New York [Avenue] gateway is a disgrace. The place is still a mess... there's an urgent need to get some traction. who cares if we have year 2000 performance management? How about 1950s industrial process that gets the street clean?"

It's a fact that there are huge improvements to be made in the city's streets, especially about the above-mentioned New York Avenue gateway to Washington. Drivers coming into the city in cars rented from the Baltimore-Washington Airport head south along the smoothly-maintained Park Service Baltimore-Washington Parkway, riding in relative comfort, take the exit to New York Avenue, which is where District maintenance begins, and instantly enter a wasteland of decaying roadway that literally looks as if it had been shelled for a few days. Truck-eating potholes loom only briefly before eating trucks, and the entire area has the air of a war-zone having a few minutes of quiet-time. Outside of one totally-private and entirely self-funded developer, there seem to be no plans to improve the corridor, other than the inevitable sprouting of fast-food franchises. This was once the heart of such industry as Washington had. It's just been allowed to go to seed for so long that nobody would for a moment consider opening up a facility served by "roads" that are guaranteed to devour any of their rolling stock within months.

Yet Mr. Williams does himself poorly by disregarding the need for addressing not merely the year 2000, but the Year 2000, the well-known and much-remarked impending collapse of the information infrastructure, at least in the arenas of administration and finance. DC Chief Technology Officer Suzanne Peck, at a recent hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee for the District, said: "What we don't know is which of the operations in our 75 agencies will fail... But what we do know is that some will fail." Only 25 percent of the city's computer systems are known to be Year-2000-compliant. City Manager Barnett is reportedly begging for roughly $130 millions to address the task, which - even if the money is given overnight - cannot possibly be completed in time, due to the scale and scope of the problem, other than by simply replacing every single computer and all software (and many embedded systems) not known to be immune.

Again, we reiterate our proposal to supply a base Linux operating system and a great deal of application software, which is definitely Year 2000-compliant.

We note in passing that as regards Mr. Williams' remarks about Year 2000 ("Y2K", only 14 months away) technology compared to 1950s technology, I can only hope that there's a lot of 1950s technology in good repair at his disposal, because if he does wind up as the next Mayor, after about one year in office, he's not going to have much at his disposal that works, except for the 1950s technology. Probably a minimum of half of the equipment emplaced in the District after about 1985 or so will simply stop working. And I won't be in town for that lovely New Year's Eve, I'll be out in the countryside somewhere listening to a tape of punker Wendy O. Williams (no relation) singing "at twelve midnight, say goodbye to the world as you know it."

Mr. Williams does have a fairly good shot at being faced with this daunting prospect - he has been endorsed by his former rival in the primaries, Kevin P. Chavous, who had come in at second place, with 35 percent of the Democratic party primary vote. Willaims had 50 percent. Also pledging support are outbound Mayor Marion Barry, and Jack Evans, who placed third with 10 percent of the primary vote.

We do note, however, that one of the tools that will most assist in any future streamlining or revision of future DC Budgets is now in place. After a period of testing, the District is now relying on the SOAR "System of Accounting and Reporting" software, running on Year-2000-compliant hardware. As other Y2K systems come online in the District, they are expected to interact with the SOAR system, which can give up-to-the-minute spending and budget information. It will also alert the central offices if someone tries to exceed budget, or play fast-and-loose with the city's money.

Noted In Passing

We at Earth Operations Central have long had a beef with the District's Office of the Medical Examiner, also known as the City Morgue. Basically, for at least ten years, it's been a dump. During the early 1990s, evidence came to our attention that the place simply wasn't functional. This is further backed by reports from the DCFRA Control Board's management reform teams, and the opinion of Medical Examiners nationwide, which professionally have regarded the DC Morgue as a complete joke.

Aside from the fact that the Morgue had policies which probably left something like half of all DC murders passed-off as "undetermined cause of death" instead of being forwarded to the police for investigation (not that that would have helped much, to be honest), there were little issues such as refrigeration-equipment failures, at one point leaving the dead to rot in the heat of a record-breaking Washington summer; constant turnovers of staff; and ancient and often useless disagnostic and chemical analysis equipment. But recently, it got even worse - due to a lack of funds and more-revilably, a lack of caring - over a hundred unclaimed dead were simply left stacked like so much cordwood, in the morgue's freezer. One body had been there since 1994. The rest had piled up since 1995 when the city abolished the burial-assistance program. The bodies will be either cremated or interred under the management of the new ME, one Jonathan L. Arden. While the identities and next-of-kin of most of these remain undetermined, at least if the next-of-kin are found, they won't find their dead ones buried in a stack of the frozen and disrespected.

We close on a mixed note - while the new Medical Examiner is much better than his predecessors, and gives close attention to those deaths which were formerly dismissed as "undetermined", the bad news is that he's discovered an unusually high number of infant murders in the District.

In the cash-strapped District Schools, which are also beset by a desperate shortage of qualified staff, over 2000 students were sent home because their parents had failed to document the students as legitimate residents of the District. Additionally, we can report that a long-overdue adviser has been hired for the Schools' Special Education program. The Special-Ed program in the District Schools has been under fire for at least a decade, and assorted litigation and court action has made reforming the program so expensive that other reforms are close to unaffordable. The special advisor, Frieda Lacey, has held the position of Director of Equity Assurance and Compliance in the neighboring Montgomery County MD schools.

Groundbreaking has occured at the site for the new Convention Center, a wasteland of parking spaces and empty lots to the north of Mt. Vernon Square. This has resulted in the displacement of seven trailers which served as a Womens' Homeless Shelter. Up to 126 women can be served by these trailers, which have been relocated to Fourth and "L" Streets, NW.

The Suburbs Are Occupied By Foreign Forces In Civilian Garb

18 October 1998
We have been invaded. We have observed, within recent weeks, deployment of large numbers of foreign young men of military age and bearing, and have also witnessed activities which appear indicative of organization of patrol areas, including radio-dispatched patrols. This may be nothing more than a deployment of gangsters, possibly Mara Salvatruca or 18th-Street Gangsters from Los Angeles, or it may be something considerably more far-reaching. In any case, we've been seeing well-organized stake-outs, radio activated response teams, and patterns of motion on these stake-outs which indicate that these individuals are practiced killers.

It may also simply be that as the time rolls around where former illegal aliens must either have been accepted for immigration or be deported, these aliens have determined to not only not go without a fight, but to carry that fight to the heartland. After all, illegal aliens in the United States far outnumber active-service military. Add to this the number of legal or semi-legal aliens, and we have the raw numbers for a very successful occupation, already in place, and only now flexing their muscles and showing their teeth.

We strongly recommend that loyalists keep an eye on foreigners, particularly in areas which are of vital importance, and make sure you're stocked up on supplies. I don't think these people would be carrying on so obviously unless they were ready to make an open move.

More commentary is to come!

Also to come is a revised, revamped, and intensely updated verios of the former Washington, the Weirdness Capital. We will continue to give DEFCON, and our own rating the WEIRDCON. The WEIRDCON is rather like the DEFCON scale which is: defense condition most-relaxed at a level of 5, most tense at a level of 1. The WEIRDCON measures the condition of local weirdness. It's a pure numeric value, weighted from a variety of factors. And what factors will those be? Get a clue from a page that has remained relatively-unchanged for nearly three years, when I wrote it in a fit of madness inspired by the hell I was living. Other than the changes in the governmental structure and the financial oversight authority, very little has changed since I wrote this. All that has really changed at all is the some of the cops around here seem to have gotten orders contrary to the former policy, which seemed to have been "just let everything go to hell and pretend this isn't happening". For a clue to the upcoming Washington, the Weirdness Capital site, start browsing around here.

Or don't. Just see the WEIRDCON rateing page.

25 September 1998 - On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the state of lowest alert, DEFCON in the suburbs is roughly 2 for the most part, at least in Montgomery County Maryland. Conditions in downtown Washington are not known at present, but are probably in the vicinity of 2.5 (travel and official business are okay, but otherwise why visit?). The Federal presence is in a state of advanced dither. THREATCON is essentially at stand-down though readiness remains high.

11 September 1998
regional DEFCON is roughly 1. Washington itself is as of this date actually rather calm if in a defensive mode. In the suburbs, there is the feeling which varies between impending lockdown or impending breakout - in the suburbs, war of some sort may be imminent. ThreatCON was Alpha for some time after the 20 August 1998 airstrikes on terrorist targets abroad. It has been observed that some populations of foreign-born have responded to the US military action abroad by increased insularity while others have been rather vocal in their displeasure. We believe that we will see the advancement of campaigns among sympathizers with terrorist groups abroad, with such campaigns including attempted identification of local assets and facilities, complete with surveillance of suspected assets and facilities. Local assets can expect to be the subjects of campaigns by local sympathizers of foreign terroristic organizations, which will probably secure the cooperation of local sympathizers by whatever means are available. Beware! Any odd or improbable stories which are circulated in or which originate with foreign-born communities should be considered extremely suspect. Also any visitors to this area should be extremely alert for any clandestine activity. The motif which will probably come to be dominant locally will be several foreign-directed groups in competition to see who can best manipulate formerly-unaligned potential sympathizers through campaigns of disinformation and intimidation. See also this page for additional clues. We personally expect to catch flak for this page and this entry.

19 August 1998
Regional DEFCON is now 1.1. For some reason unknown to me, roughly one week ago something changed in the local weltgeist and things began to "go bad". Visitors should exercise extreme caution and in fact visiting Washington at this time may be unwise. Washington itself may remain relatively safe and calm, if deserted, but in at least the Maryland suburbs their is the calm that comes before a storm. I suspect this is the same calm that was felt in Rwanda right before the genocides began.

30 July 1998
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the lowest level, we are now at DEFCON 2.9 in the suburbs, and in the District proper, due to the rampage of one psychotic, and his murder of two US Capitol Police officers, DEFCON is approximately 2. The suburban DEFCON is raised due to continued "spies and revolutionaries run amok" activitied, observed and experienced. Disinformation abounds in the Maryland suburbs; accept no story. Personal observations alone should be given any credence, and ideally only where backed by guaranteed-undoctered video or film. We have no assessment of Northern Virginia at this time.

19 July 1998
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the lowest level, we are now at DEFCON 3 in some areas of the suburbs, although for no explicable reason, roughly July 14th or so something happened, and in many Montgomery County MD public places, the level of tension seemed to rise rapidly. In those areas, DEFCON is headed rapidly past 2 and headed for DEFCON 1.9, In most parts of downtown, DEFCON hovers between 3 and 4, although the general public seems to be relatively happy and there has been little earth-shaking news, in many popular areas, there seems to be a ballooning wave of activities best-described as "spies and revolutionaries run amok". For the Dupont Circle/Adams-Morgan scenes, DEFCON now moves to 2 - watch your goddamned back and have someone else watching it too.

Please see, for a day-by-day account of those events of 1997 which set the stage for the Year Of Change, 1998, the 1997 Washington DC, Not a Pretty Site (nor sight) Page.

Please see also the events of the first half of this year, 1998.

As always, my thanks to the fine staff of The Washington Post for their diligence and forthrightness in reporting District issues.

Please search the Post for their previous coverages of:
Police Department Mismanagement
Control Board Coverage.
Get a District Government Executive Position!
Please apply your exemplary credentials and experience towards the reclamation of our Nation's Capital!

I am restructuring the Washington DC pages - the admittedly weird (but you ain't seen nothin' yet!) original Washington: Not a Pretty Site Page is here. Oh, before you go - a clue to the sarcasm-impaired: That page and most associated pages adhere strictly to my policy "if you can't beat them and you can't join them, mock them 'til their eyes bleed."

I'm also starting a page for the " other real Washington" - not necessarily the good parts, but the fun parts.

Other Voices, Other Visions

Fortress Washington. It's pretty sad how all of those concrete barriers have to be all over the place ruining the view.
DC OnLine - Analyses and Solutions. This is an excellently-linked page to a wide array of local-level and national-level thought concerning Washington.
Washington DC City Pages - Links to everywhere (including here!) complete with reviews, a top-10 list, dining resources, you name it.
DC News Service. More local commentary! Fairly good, actually.
An Outside View - please see the British National Party's Tale of Two Cities Page. Page down and see the review of Washington. Insofar as I can tell, a radical foreign British party shares most of Earth Operations Central's views of Washington. They rate Washington as a Third World City. Unfortunately they're right.
DC Darkside - Doug Thompson. As far as I am concerned there is no better reporter in this area. The Man should get a Nobel Prize. This, my friends, and my enemies, is the truth about Washington DC... and in many ways, eversomuch moreso, it's about life. Read it and weep for your society, for everything about Washington is merely a harbinger, a bellwhether, of everything the national society will accept as standard and de-rigeur ten years from now. So read, and weep, and fix Washington, DC - and adjust your nation's future. And get a kick right in the middle of your soul's heart as well. This site is only for the bold and those who take enough Prozac as to be unable to care... or you might just go out and do something.
National Association to Restore Pride in the Nation's Capital. "NARPAC, Inc. was formed last year because a small group of concerned citizens in the Washington, DC area believe that the Nation's Capital has become a national disgrace, and that it will take national attention and action to restore pride in it as a symbol of our hopes and dreams for the future." Earth Operations Central absolutely agrees, provided that the fear and loathing is also extended to the surrounding suburbs. They have an excellent links page.
DC Military. This website is run by Comprint Military Publications, a Gaithersburg MD outfit that targets military bases for delivery of Gazette-style newspapers.
DCWatch. Very informative, and covers most of the issues I don't cover, with considerably more local-level detail which would be of greater concern to neighbors.
Global Warming might put Washington DC underwater - from the Environmental Defense Fund.
Plausible Reality Extrusion Group. And boy can they extrude! They're considerably more extrusive than I am, but a lot less wacky. They've got some excellent resources associated with their pages, and lots of links to Washingtoniana.
The Washington Fun and Recreation Page.
Wash Web.
The Greater Washington Page. I don't know who's behind this slick piece of promotion, but these folks are determined to get people to relocate their businesses to the Greater Washington Metropolitan Region. Their Quality of Living page does have a lovely picture of the scenic grandeur of the Great Falls of the Potomac, but if you got this far in this page and can be convinced that there's anything remotely resembling a "quality of life" around this town, you need remedial education. This is, as best I can tell, a put-on by the Chamber of Commerce or something. If they don't get a grip, I'll have to parody them. This is a hugely-desperate attempt to sell Washington DC to the business community. As far as pages go, or as advertisement goes, this is indeed a lovely page, and very well-done.
Official Washington DC Homepage.

What Works Elsewhere

New York City Partnership & Chamber of Commerce. New York City has been praised nationwide as a city that has successfully revitalized itself. Crime is at an all-time low and the city's economy is booming. Perhaps people should take a look at what works there, perhaps similar approaches would work in the District.

Fun Stuff

Visit the Earth Page. Save your Homeworld!
Visit the Business MetaIndex Page.
Visit the Computing MetaIndex Page.
Visit the Sciences MetaIndex Page.
Visit the Earth Operations Central District Office. Try a Glimpse HTTP Search (searches HTML content).
Go back to the main EarthOps Homepage.