The Washington Syndicate

Higher Achievement’s Ward 8 Center Open and seeking Mentors

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 30, 2010

Wash Syndicate

After years of community anticipation, Higher Achievement opened its Ward 8 Center this summer at Savoy Elementary School at 2400 Shannon Place SE, a short walk to the Anacostia Metro station.

The formal ribbon cutting for the Ward 8 center held last month was attended by Mayoral candidate and City Council Chairman Vincent Gray and former Mayor and current Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, who led scholars in a chant, “My mind is a pearl. I can do anything in the whole wide world.”

“Young people motivated me to get back into politics,” said Barry, who has been on the City Council since 2004 and made a public pledge to volunteer with Ward 8’s Higher Achievement Center.

Higher Achievement provides an “additional lift” to schools and families in East Washington according to Gray. Thirty-nine percent of all children in the city live in Wards 7 and 8 said Gray who frequently visited Higher Achievement’s Ward 7 Center at Kelly Miller Middle School on 49th Street NE while representing the Ward on the Council.

In an interview, Ward 8 scholars K’Nihja Yong and Brooke Shelton-Epps, fifth graders at the Washington Middle School for Girls, shared an excitement for Higher Achievement. Both admitted to being talkative and sometimes disruptive in class, but with their summer experience at Higher Achievement, they confessed to becoming more focused and coming to the realization, with the support of Higher Achievement staff that they can use their personalities to help other students in their class who might need help. Higher Achievement has given them “confidence in helping others” and has made them role models amongst their peers.

Ward 8 Center Director Durham, a 1982 graduate of Higher Achievement, says the community is “very excited” about the program’s presence.

Before opening its Ward 8 Center, the organization raised funds to cover three years of operations.

“The communities of Ward 8 have a lot to offer and we have a lot to offer to the communities of Ward 8. We’re not going anywhere. This sense of longevity is refreshing and lets Ward 8 know that we have made a commitment,” says Durham.

In their initial year, Ward 8 has fifty 5th and 6th graders culled from an applicant pool of sixty-five. Recruitment for rising 5th graders will begin in January with staff visiting local schools and soliciting recommendations from teachers.

The staff and scholars of Ward 8 had a busy summer taking a field trip to the offices of Voice of America, the official radio and television broadcasting service of the United States federal government since 1942, and staying in the dormitories of Penn State University while on their college trip.

In the last decade Higher Achievement, started in the 1970’s at Gonzaga High School in NW, has undergone exponential growth and in the process built itself as a national model for after-school academic enrichment programs. Last November, First Lady Michelle Obama presented Higher Achievement with the Coming Up Taller Award in recognition of their outstanding community arts and humanities programs, one of 15 nationwide recipients selected from more than 400 nominees.

With centers in Wards 1, 4, 6, 7, and now Ward 8, Baltimore and Alexandria, Higher Achievement provides 650 hours of out-of-school instruction each academic year to 5th through 8th grade students known as “scholars” with the ultimate goal of placing students in competitive and selective high schools throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

By aligning their curriculum with DC Public Schools, working closely with the families of each scholar, and providing their own unique programs such as a citywide spelling bee, Higher Achievement “ratchets up the academic culture of excellence” according to CEO Richard Tagle. Using data tracking to hold staff and mentors increasingly accountable to produce scholar outcomes, Higher Achievement provides a “360 degree view of scholars” that has helped the organization to expand its sphere of influence.

Dominique Tucker, a resident of Fort Dupont, graduated from Higher Achievement’s Ward 7 Center in 2007 and is now entering his senior year at St. Albans High School in NW. This summer he has attended a program at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut before working as a summer instructor at Ward 8.

With after-school instruction on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, Higher Achievement has traditionally utilized area college students and community members to fill the ranks of their mentors who volunteer from 6pm – 8pm and lead small groups of scholars in workshops with curriculum that is supplied in advance and online.  

“Higher Achievement draws from an intellectually curious group of students making the enrichment of mentoring mutual,” says Rick Stoddard, a past mentor with Ward 6. “We are another adult outside of their parents or teachers who are expressing care and interest in their lives.”

Ward 8 is actively recruiting 50 mentors. Those interested in mentoring can email volunteer@higherachievement.org or call 202.544.3633 x233.

“MURDER” on Connecticut Avenue NW of old tree

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 17, 2010

The city comes at you raw. Most nearly every block and neighborhood of the known city has been touched by street stories of murder that have involved the loss of human life. Less infamous areas of the city are not immune from the loss of life, albeit tree life.  

Recently we observed trees being cut down at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Anacostia and now we see the same happening on a city street on the opposite side of town.  

WASH SYNDICATE

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“Jerry’s” story; 16 years old and leading a local DC Metro area MS-13 clique

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 10, 2010

This is the story of a former MS-13 member as told to The Washington Syndicate.

Wash Syndicate

“Jerry” was born in El Salvador and experienced the last years of the raging Civil War that claimed more than 75,000 lives from 1980 to 1992. Under Ronald Reagan, the United States began its long standing support for the Salvadorian military government.

At 5 years old, a step-sister would send him and his three brothers to sleep out in the streets. He can vividly remember hearing gunshots at night; being surrounded by an imminent danger he and his brothers were defenseless against.

At age 11, he was severely beaten, a common occurrence, by his Uncle causing blood to trickle down his back. Wandering in the streets, a local gang member saw him and said, “Hey kid, what’s wrong?  What happened to you?” Upon telling the gang member about the beating he had received at the hands of his Uncle, the gang member along with other members went to Jerry’s house and spoke directly to his uncle. They warned his uncle that if he ever laid another finger on Jerry there would be problems. 

After this incident, Jerry’s uncle left him alone to the point of not caring for him. Faced with no family of his own who he felt loved him, Jerry decided he would join his parents in the United States.  His father, who had left El Salvador when he was 2, was in Los Angeles, and his mother who left El Salvador when he was 4 upon not hearing back from his father who’d left to send money back home, was now living and working in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

By walking and utilizing an intricate system of buses, Jerry found himself in Los Angeles at the age of 13.  It was here, living with a father he did not remember, he met a cousin nearly ten years older than him who was heavily involved with the expansionist minded Mara Salvatrucha.  Seeing no alternative and upon the support of his cousin, Jerry was “jumped in” and became a member of MS-13. 

When Jerry was 14, a young man he had befriended in MS-13 was killed in a drive-by shooting by the rival 18th Street gang. Ten minutes beforehand Jerry had been with his friend on the same street corner where he was fatally shot. This served as a cathartic awakening. Throughout his time in LA his mother had reached out to him, encouraging him to move in with her in Maryland. At this time, his cousin had disappeared and gang members were actively questioning Jerry on his whereabouts of which he did not know.  Jerry called his mom and told her he was leaving LA. After taking a train cross-country, Jerry arrived in Gaithersburg Maryland in the fall of 2001 right around the time of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

He quickly realized, he didn’t really know his mother either due to their decade long separation.  His mother held down 3 jobs and he only saw her for “5 minutes a day”. To register him for enrollment at Gaithersburg High School, his mom took 2 days off. His English was limited and he began taking ESOL classes.

Due to his appearance, local MS-13 members approached him and questioned him. Was he with MS-13 or 18th Street? Jerry was reluctant to identify himself and avoided interaction as much as he could. As a result of his hesitancy to reveal his background, they suspected him of being down with 18th Street. He was deeply conflicted. He didn’t know what to do and didn’t know who to turn to. He remembers waiting up for his mom until 3 am, when she returned from her night cleaning job, to seek her advice. She was too exhausted to give him the attention and direction he was so desperately in need of. 

By this time he was into his first month at Gaithersburg and began to encounter animosity directed towards him by black and white students who would disparage him because he was a “wetback”. He began to get into fights and fought back. The gang members began to notice him in the hallways. Upon coming to Maryland he learned his cousin had re-located to Maryland without notifying leaders in LA, but had been using his MS-13 background to garner influence in Gaithersburg.  Jerry did not want to re-join his cousin in running with the gang life, but one day he saw how influential his cousin had become. 

Jerry reached out to his cousin. He was being bullied in school and needed him to come to school to help him out. Jerry thought his cousin was going to speak to the Principal or others in the school’s administration, instead, after the final bell, his cousin and a friend were waiting for him outside. When a group of six young men, who earlier in the day threatened Jerry with violence in the hallways, approached, to Jerry’s surprise they showed deference to his cousin. They knew Jerry’s cousin. Unbeknownst to Jerry, his cousin had already identified himself in the community to his classmates as an MS-13 member and because of his age and time in Los Angeles he was respected. Jerry’s cousin, told the gang members who had been harassing Jerry that he “is one of us.” 

At this point Jerry was at a crossroads. He was learning the basics of the English language. He had no family support, because of his mom’s hectic work schedule. He became infuriated with his mother, his father, the people he grew up, the school system, and the world at large. He felt he had no choice. He became involved with the gang again and began spending time in the streets. 

He became known to police. At the time, the dearth of Montgomery County Police fluent in Spanish made it difficult for Jerry to communicate. He admitted, only understanding “10 percent” of what officers were saying. He was fingerprinted in Germantown and arrested on more than one occasion for fighting and possessing a knife but was never convicted. He built a reputation in the hallways.

It was at this time there was a leadership struggle within the clique with the two standing leaders being deported and locked up.  Jerry by this time had proven himself and became the leader of the click. Jerry “got involved with the gang for protection” and was an aggressive leader. Due to his experiences as a youth in El Salvador, he had always despised bullies and he saw his gang as an extension of this philosophy in protecting him and his friends against intimidation. At the time of his joining the clique there was more than a dozen members. Due to his leadership personality and ability to empathize with others in similar situations they had fifteen new potential recruits who were from Peru, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, and even a Baltic country. Of these 15 recruits only one was born in the United States.

Wash Syndicate

Under Jerry’s, now 16, instructions the clique mainly defended itself against intimidation from other gangs or individuals who discriminated against them due to their status as immigrants.  Their main activity was fighting.  Jerry advised everyone “Just use your hands. If the police see us fighting they will arrest us and we will back on the street tomorrow together again. You don’t want to get 10 to 20 years for using a weapon.” By the time Jerry decided to leave the gang life, the click had graduated to using baseball bats, knives, and machetes.

To pay his dues Jerry worked at pizza hut while other members sold drugs, committed larceny, and extorted members of their community.

“You support them in any way you can. If they have no place to sleep, you take them to your house. If you have to stand outside in the rain and get wet you do that. They can understand you care for them. You are their family.”

As fate would have it, a guidance counselor who had taken an interest in Jerry reached out and told him about an organization that was moving to Gaithersburg that she felt might be of interest to him. He initially dismissed her as he thought he “couldn’t trust anybody”. She insisted the program would be of benefit to him. One day at the end of school, the guidance counselor “grabbed me by the ear” and physically took him to one of said organization’s programs.

Jerry had wanted to play soccer but didn’t have the grades to even try-out and was accustomed to the system working against him and only furthering his disillusionment. He began attending their bi-weekly after school sessions with the encouragement of their guidance counselor. While attending youth character development workshops and attending classes on conflict resolution he was, at the time, the undisputed leader of his MS-13 clique. 

The organization taught Jerry how to protect himself without being in a gang and resorting to fisticuffs.  Jerry began to see himself differently. He saw that he had value. He had potential.  “They gave me dreams. They gave me goals. I believed I don’t have to be in a gang to help others.” 

At this time after a Jerry had relinquished his leadership of the click and was now operating as a “right hand man.”  “Los Corre Voces” translated as “running voices” that traveled around the area checking on the status of each clique and dispatching new rules began to question his commitment to the gang. Congruently, Jerry had been speaking with the staff of Identity about his desire to leave the gang. They proposed re-location and Jerry was hesitant to follow through but knew he could not continue to be a member of the gang. Conversations had been on-going for nearly six months.

At this time, in the spring of 2005, “Los Corre Voces” had a mission for Jerry. The leaders in Los Angeles had by now identified his cousin and “green lighted him” meaning he was to be killed. The leaders handed Jerry a 9 millimeter pistol and told him he was to kill his cousin.  Jerry took the gun under reluctantly, expressing his objections but the leaders reminded that his allegiance was to the gang not his cousin. That same night, the leaders called him back asking for the 9 millimeter as it was needed in Langley Park. Jerry obliged.

Bright and early next morning he went to said organization and told him he wanted to re-locate.  For the past four years Jerry has lived in relative seclusion while selectively speaking to local community groups, churches, and youth organizations, about his life experiences. At one point, he even filmed a segment for Montgomery County Cable on the dangers of gang membership.  While on set after hearing his story, a female custodian approached him crying and embracing him, thanking him for speaking up and trying to make a difference. She and he both knew the great danger that he is putting himself in by speaking out against his former gang. 

When first relocating, gang members had thought Jerry had been locked up. When no word surfaced of his presence in any area jail, they suspected he had become an informant to law enforcement. Neither of which was true, in fact, he had re-located and remains re-located. 

All Jerry wants is to “have a family and go to college”. He recently passed his GED Practice Test and is preparing to take the certified test shortly.  This will enable him to begin college.  In the upcoming months he faces an asylum case that will decide whether or not he can stay in the county or will be deported to El Salvador where he is fearful he will not survive.

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Will Takoma Park be sued by DOJ for being a sanctuary city? Don’t bet on it.

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 9, 2010

The Obama administration and progressives conveniently have selective talking points for everything from the bullsh*t of green technology to immigration policy. As a former member of “El Barrio Street Theatre” (funded in part by the DC Employment Justice Center) and someone who at one point in time was closely affiliated with DC’s Latino community, you white-guilt and white privilege bleeding hearts of all hues can’t come at me sideways with your nonsense of which you know nada about.

Yesterday, Robert Gibbs was stumped by a reporter who asked him a question for which he had no talking points.

Maybe DOJ, led by the cowardly hearted Eric Holder, will go after Takoma Park which has affirmed its status as a “sanctuary city” as recently as October 2007 in a vote by the Takoma Park Council. I doubt it.

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GO-GO Alive and Well; Still Cranking

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 6, 2010

Go-go rhythmically pumps from street corner to street corner throughout the city, providing a soundtrack for the bustling activity that defines the cultural and social identity of working class neighborhoods of Washington, DC. The communal harmony is only interrupted, however briefly, when cars coming and going offer their own distinctive and competing soundtracks. 

From Wheeler Road SE to Benning Road NE to Florida Avenue NW, the city’s indigenous sound of choice is go-go. Similar to jazz and New Orleans or the Blues and the Mississippi Delta, go-go music is a sound that has singularly grown from within the city and continues to be cultivated and appreciated by the city, despite some who want to prematurely write its epitaph. 

DreamCity News Corp

 

Current Mayor Fenty has used go-go music as a platform to extend his campaign message to would be supporters of his re-election efforts. Radio ads and marketing efforts, such as T-Shirts associating Fenty with go-go, provide evidence to any doubters that go-go still holds cultural currency. 

Fenty’s nascent endorsement of go-go, and go-go’s endorsement of him, stands in contradiction to Metropolitan Police Department Chief Lanier’s well publicized “go-go report.” Morning briefings are used to identify potential locations where go-go shows might be happening so MPD knows where to divert extra police presence. An incident this year at Georgetown Day School in NW and a recent deadly shooting at Georgia Avenue & Peabody Street NW, near the MPD’s Fourth District Headquarters, serve as reminders that whether right or wrong, go-go has a stigmatizing connotation. 

Go-go’s longstanding reputation as being associated with violence began in the early 1990’s with City Councilmember Frank Smith (Ward 1) advocating against go-go in the city, and local media coverage which depicted go-go as violent. Many annual events such as Georgia Avenue Day, which prominently featured live outdoor go-go, and venues such as the Capitol City Pavilion, aka “The Black Hole,” are now only memories. While popular performance venues still exist in the city, many shows have now shifted to Prince George’s County, which have always hosted go-gos going back to the early 1980’s when go-gos were held at the now shuttered Rosecroft Raceway. 

Courtesy Rare Essence

 

One of the most internationally known go-go bands is Rare Essence; band leader and one if its original members Andre Johnson estimates RE has performed more than 200 times a year for the past two and half decades. Known as “RE”, Rare Essence was formed back in the 1970’s, first under the name Young Dynamos, and has achieved legendary status in the city, according to Charlette “Cocoa” Taylor, who introduced her daughter to RE. 

With classics such as “Overnight Scenario”, “Body Snatchers”, “Work the Walls” in their musical cannon, RE is releasing PA Tape #12 with its latest hit “Clap if it’s Good.” The album is available in stores and online while the lead video can be seen on youtube. 

Wash Syndicate

 

On a recent Wednesday night, the Zanzibar on the SW waterfront was abuzz as RE prepared to take the stage. Many of the self-described “grown and sexy” crowd had received text messages letting them know where RE was performing that night. New technologies such as texting and iTunes have allowed RE to reach its fans in a new ways, says Johnson. 

As city officials have changed their attitude towards go-go, “one thing hasn’t changed, people love this music,” affirms Johnson who maintains that RE, staying as “current as we can” has been successful in maintaining a rapport with its fans that transcends generations. 

A recurring theme when talking to attendees of RE’s show was the intimacy the audience feels with RE. Many described their shows as a reunion of sorts; never knowing who you might see. One woman told a story where she saw her junior high boyfriend and best friend who she had lost track of and hadn’t see for more than a decade. That is the essence of a Rare Essence show, she said. 

Johnson and band members are local celebrities in their own right which makes the connection with their fans that much more personal. “I might see them or they might see me during the day and you always want to let people know you appreciate their support as they appreciate what we do.” 

With a catalogue of individual songs on iTunes and numerous albums, RE can trace its fans to Germany, Australia, and areas that are well beyond a metro ride. Performing at Harlem, New York’s Apollo Theater, up and down the eastern seaboard at HBCU’s, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the 2005 MTV Music Awards, Rare Essence “is adored by the city, because of what they mean to us,” says Ms. Parker, a loyal fan for more than two decades. 

To some, their only experiential opinion of go-go is formed by makeshift street musicians who harness buckets together downtown along 7th Street NW. Johnson says this phenomenon, ongoing for years, is “flattering” and shows the self-determination of go-go to be heard and enjoyed wherever and whenever it can be as long as there is a demanding crowd. 

Johnson, in the go-go game for more than 30 years, can remember when he was classmates with the recently deceased go-go legend Anthony Harley aka “Little Benny” at St. Thomas More Catholic School on 4th Street SE. 

At this time Johnson was in a band that would rotate rehearsals from house to house and one day Harley, coming from his trumpet lesson, overheard the rehearsals and knocked on the door. He was given an audition on the spot. Johnson remembers Harley played Kool & The Gang’s Billboard hit “Hollywood Swinging”. This was 1976 and the rest is history. 

For more information on Rare Essence www.rareessence.com

The Smithsonian of go-go music, with archival CDs from the 1970’s until now, is American Shottas at 1346 Good Hope Road SE, according to its owner Manni. He is in the process of filming a documentary on go-go from its inception to where the distinctive music should go in the future. 

Stocked with a “plethora” of go-go CDs and DVDs, American Shottas prides itself as the best place to find go-go not only in East Washington, but the entire city and, in fact metro area. 

From newer groups such as Let It Flow, the Versatile Band, and Bela’Dona, an all female group, to classics from Chuck Brown and Rare Essence, the four year old store is stocked from the ceiling to the floor with go-go. “If it wasn’t relevant, it wouldn’t be in stock,” says Manni. 

When it comes to overall sales, “RE smashes everybody,” according to Mannie who says that the younger crowd consistently buys records from Backyard Band, led by Big G who gained national acclaim while starring as Slim Charles on HBO’s The Wire, and TCB. 

“Go-go is moving in a great direction. A lot of new bands are coming out,” says manager Damo who classifies go-go into three separate subgenres; hardcore which is strictly for the streets, grown-n-sexy which focuses more on R&B, and bounce beat which is usually consumed by younger gogo fans. However, there can be variations among and within bands as long as they “crank.” 

American Shottas is open Monday through Saturday 10am – 9pm. For more information call (202) 525-3438 or www.americanshottas.com 

George Washington University Professor and American music ethnographer Kip Lornell began studying and documenting go-go around 1997 in anticipation of writing, The Beat: Go-Go’s Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop, with Experience Unlimited’s first manager Charles Stephenson, which was published in 2001 as the first academic analysis of go-go. 

“Although it is true that go-go is the only artistic expression that originated in our nation’s capital, it’s often overlooked because go-go reflects popular, contemporary, African American culture,” says Lornell. 

“Folks outside of the DMV should know more about go-go: both the music and the culture surrounding it. It’s a truly unique musical form that deserves wider recognition,” says Lornell who predicts city leaders will eventually market go-go as a citywide treasure, much in the way that New Orleans has embraced jazz as its iconic music culture. 

jmuller.washsyndicate@gmail.com

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Happy Indepen-debt Day

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 4, 2010

Wash Syndicate

License Plate of the Day “BARCODE”

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 3, 2010

Wash Syndicate

Three new libraries in East Washington – Anacostia, Benning, & Deanwood

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 3, 2010

Courtesy Sylvia Brown

 

One of the most prominent developers in East Washington through the first half of this year has proven to be an unexpected and sometimes forgotten member of the community, the library

On June 25, both recent and long-time Ward 7 residents and community leaders joined Mayor Fenty and Chief Librarian of the DC Public Library, Ginnie Cooper, at the grand opening of a 63,000 square foot multi-purpose facility in Deanwood that includes a 7,500 square foot library at 1350 49th Street NE directly off Minnesota Avenue NE. 

With 20 computers, space set aside for children’s activities, a teen study area, and capacity for 25,000 books, the new Deanwood Library stands as a welcome upgrade for the neighborhood to those who remember the Deanwood Library Kiosk at 4215 Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE. 

Courtesy Virginia Spatz

 

All one hundred and twenty square feet of the kiosk were closed in the summer of 2008. Neighborhood jokes had circulated for years surrounding the library such as “Even (insert name) has read all the books in there.” Those jokes are now relegated to memory.   

Sylvia Brown, ANC 7C04 and past president of the Deanwood Citizens Association, has already observed a noticeable increase in foot traffic in the neighborhood, which she says is a great plus for the community with the prospect of future investment and development. 

“It’s great to see people walking from as far as Division Avenue and Foote Street,” says Brown, who hopes the Deanwood Recreation Center and Library, the realization of the community’s long history of civic activism and engagement, can be a source of hope for communities in other areas of the city. 

Along with the new Deanwood Library, in the past 3 months the city has opened new modern libraries for the Anacostia and Benning branches. The Benning Neighborhood Library, two-stories and 22,000 square feet, at 3935 Benning Road NE was the first new stand-alone library to open in the city in more than two decades. The library has an expanded children’s area, study rooms, and a wide range of materials for check-out from DVDs to new releases. 

Additionally, last fall, a new Parklands-Turner Library opened at 1547 Alabama Avenue SE, replacing the old kiosk still standing across the street in the Shops at Parkland strip mall in the same lot as the Giant. The new library has been a solid anchor for the surrounding retail according to neighborhood members. 

The Washington Highlands Library that stood at 115 Atlantic Street SW has been knocked down. A new library is scheduled to open in 2011 and will continue to hold the attention of an active community that has been very engaged in the planning process. The interim library has been opened at 4037 South Capitol Street SW in the intermediary. 

Wash Syndicate

 

On a recent afternoon a group of a dozen early and pre-teens from the immediate neighborhood were “chillaxing” in the Anacostia Library or “chillville” as they call it. The library keeps them “out of trouble and doing something positive” according to Kabula Samuel, 12, a daily visitor. 

“It used to be a miracle when you’d get a computer, now it’s no longer than a 30 minute wait,” said her twin brother, Mabula. 

Every member of the group held a library card. The DC Library Police Officer assigned to the Anacostia Library noted he has a good relationship with the group of young people he sees every day. 

At the time of the interview, the group of young people made it a point to show me the 8 MAC computers in the children’s section. I observed seven out of the eight were “out of service.” Popular consensus was that the computers had been down for a month, if not two months, or longer. However, this did not diminish their enthusiasm for their new neighborhood library, “We’ll be here tomorrow if you have any more questions.” 

Fulfilling the prophetic adage that “if you build it, they will come”, preliminary circulation numbers for the Benning and Anacostia Library, released by DCPL, indicate there is direct causality between increased circulation numbers and new libraries. 

The new Benning Neighborhood Library opened on April 5, 2010. From that date through May 31, 2010, this library issued 1,647 new library cards. In May 2010, the new Benning Library had 7,224 items checked out.  The Benning Interim Library had 1,928 items checked out in May 2009. The old Benning Library had 899 books checked out in April 2004.   

The new Anacostia Neighborhood Library opened on April 26, 2010 and from that date through May 31 had issued 669 new library cards. In May 2010, the Anacostia Library had 5,318 items checked out while in May 2009 the Anacostia Interim Library had 2,373 items checked out. In comparison, the old Anacostia Library had 1,000 books checked out in April 2004.   

One reason for increased circulation is a wider variety of materials available to the public, say DC Library officials. The old libraries offered books and CDs while the interim and new libraries offer books, DVDs, CDs, playaways [audiobooks on self-contained mp3 players] and other items that have been popular and thus circulated. 

In full library disclosure, we must acknowledge the Capitol View Neighborhood Library at 5001 Central Avenue SE and the Francis Gregory Interim Library at 2100 36th Place SE. The interim library will remain open during the construction of the new Francis Gregory Library, which is scheduled to open in summer 2011, according to the library’s website. 

While older and somewhat antiquated libraries in upper Northwest such as Cleveland Park and Chevy Chase have been long-time pillars of community life, the new state-of-the-art libraries in East Washington have opened with an enthusiasm of renewed civic prides that has been a long time coming. 

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White House double talk on lobbyists exposed by NY Times

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 2, 2010

 As a 17 year old Tupac Shakur suggested in a now famous taped interview that there should be classes in high school on politician’s double talk.

Last week the NY Times exposed a perfect case study within the current Obama White House that could be the basis for the potential syllabus; to circumvent the WH Visitor’s log, made public by the “transparent” [double talk] administration, WH officials have been meeting with registered lobbyists across the street at the Caribou Coffee.

This story is indicative of a White House that is flailing and floundering to radically alter this country and the way in which citizens interact with government. The Administration is filled with people, such as Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, who are intellectual lightweights and always look nervous.

The White House’s fake-me-out real talk talking points are not what Obama campaigned on and provided the qualifications to hold office, according to Obama. That is not double talk, but the truth. Yes we can expose the truth behind this fraud and his team of intellectual lightweights.

From the NY Times story below…

Attempts to put distance between the White House and lobbyists are not limited to meetings. Some lobbyists say that they routinely get e-mail messages from White House staff members’ personal accounts rather than from their official White House accounts, which can become subject to public review. Administration officials said there were some permissible exceptions to a federal law requiring staff members to use their official accounts and retain the correspondence.

And while Mr. Obama has imposed restrictions on hiring lobbyists for government posts, the administration has used waivers and recusals more than two dozen times to appoint lobbyists to political positions. Two lobbyists also cited instances in which the White House had suggested that a job candidate be “deregistered” as a lobbyist in Senate records to avoid violating the administration’s hiring restrictions.

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Wash Post says “Obama: First Female President”

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on July 1, 2010
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