Wednesday, October 8

DC WEDNESDAY

For several decades, we have been a lonely voice pointing out why Metro hasn't worked the way it was supposed to, one reason being that it encouraged people to move further away from the central city in what was essentially a development rather than a transportation scheme. Because Metro only served a minority of the development it encouraged, it resulted in more cars on the road, and things like this:

Washington Post -
So much traffic clogs Washington area roads that Cox Communications has to use 20 percent more trucks here to serve the same number of customers as in other regions. Metro has to add an average of 10 buses a year, at $521,980 a pop, just to maintain rush-hour schedules that have slipped because of congestion. Virginia-based Guernsey Office Products decided to build a $5 million warehouse in Maryland because it was becoming impossible to cross the Potomac River during the workday and meet delivery deadlines. . . Washingtonians have the dubious honor of having the second-worst commutes in the country, in terms of time spent on the road, after New York, according to data recently released by the Census Bureau. . . Fairfax County public schools, with 1,200 buses driving 18 million miles a year, has one of the largest bus fleets in the nation. The school system adds 20 to 30 buses a year, even during times of flat enrollment, because congestion has added to travel times. Routes that used to take 30 minutes now take 50, said Dean Tisdadt, chief operating officer for the school system.

Bill Myers Examiner - D.C. officials have "ineffectively managed" the city's historic Eastern Market, exposing the public's money to "a total lack of financial and management accountability," a new audit has found. City council auditor Deborah Nichols reviewed five years of deals at the market and found that city authorities and executives at Eastern Market Ventures, the private nonprofit company asked to run the grand old farm stand, routinely broke rules and laws on contracting and financial management. Conditions may have worsened after the August, 2007 fire that decimated the market, Nichols found.

Susan Meehan - Once a week, the first graders at Ross [Elementary School in Washington] are asked to write a postcard. The idea is for them to improve their writing, vocabulary, and even grammatical/sentence structure skills. Ms. Butler, their teacher, helps by putting words up on the blackboard that she thinks the children might want to incorporate into their postcard - words along the lines of, "kindness," "helpful," and "generous." The kids are asked to address their postcards to another member of the class. The subject of the card is thanking the recipient for a kind act the recipient had performed during the week. The cards are read out loud and the children are thanked. The children love doing this, and of course, they love being the recipient of cards. It is a wonderful behavior changer; there are no class bullies, and I suspect that none of these children will ever become class bullies. They are being trained to become kind, decent persons, and this early-age training will, I believe, stick. One interesting aspect of the Kindness Game is that at the beginning, the popular children received the greatest number of postcards, but this has gradually changed, and the spread of postcards is quite even.

Tom Sherwood reports that Vince Gray went to the international Paris auto show and the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association is paying for the trip. "Turns out Gray has gone before. Several council members were grumbling that the chairman was leaving town without any announcement about his trip just as the council is deciding on budget cuts."

In order to further serve non taxpaying commuters, the DC Council has voted to add up to $100 to the fee for an illegally parked car during rush hour. The new fee would be for towing. Thus the suburbanites who shouldn't be driving during rush hour and who pay the city nothing in taxes are being further subsidized by taxpaying city residents who are nice enough not to drive during rush hour and leave their cars parked.

A report by the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission
finds that only Only two percent of tenants in D.C.'s landlord tenant court and two percent of parties involved in domestic violence cases are represented by attorneys.

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