Monday, November 3

DC MONDAY

Dorothy Brizill, DC Watch - DC Watch has persuaded the DC Board of Elections and Ethics to establish a telephone hotline on election day to receive calls from voters who encounter problems at their precincts or who witness any improprieties at the polls. The number is 727-2194; it will be staffed by the Board's General Counsel, Ken McGhie, and by seven attorneys. The Board has also agreed to admit representatives of a variety of civic groups (for example, DC Watch, the DC Federation of Citizens Associations, the ACLU of the National Capital Area, and the DC Voter Education and Participation Project) to observe BOEE's counting center as the voting machine cartridges and ballot boxes arrive for tabulation. Representatives of these groups and others will also visit polling sites at different times during the day to speak with voters about their experiences and to make their own observations.

Letter from David Schwartzman to Vincent Gray
- I read Nikita Stewart article in today's Post. Since I have welcomed the breath of fresh air you have brought to Council proceedings, especially by starting to hold our Mayor more accountable for his actions, I was dismayed to read that you met with all At-Large Council Candidates but me when considering endorsement. Patrick Mara is a McCain Republican who has contributed $2000 to McCain's campaign. Did you meet with him because he backs the Fenty/Rhee top-down, non-accountable approach to school "reform" and so-called fiscal responsibility which would continue to balance our budget on the backs of our working people? Or was it because Patrick Mara received the endorsement of the Washington Post, the usual mouthpiece of the Federal City Council?

I was also disturbed by your endorsement of Michael Brown who has openly admitted that he changed his registration from Democrat to Independent to take Carol Schwartz's seat. Do you really welcome one party rule in DC? Will the election of Michael Brown really promote more democracy when he is one of the biggest recipient of corporate campaign donations (by mid October his campaign contributions totalled $220,000) ? I suggest to you that the biggest threat to the well-being of our majority and to real democracy is the continued corporate domination of our District government.

Bill Turque, Washington Post
- For the past 12 years, a Dallas nonprofit group, Advanced Placement Strategies, has targeted more than 100 Texas high schools with predominantly minority and low-income students, offering up to $500 for top scores on AP tests in English, math and science. A new study by Cornell University economist Kirabo Jackson found that the program produced a sizable increase in the number of juniors and seniors taking AP or International Baccalaureate exams. Jackson also linked higher SAT and ACT scores to the effort. But the Texas initiative also rewarded teachers, with annual bonuses of up to $10,000. Gregg Fleisher, former head of Advanced Placement Strategies, said instructors are "the missing big variable" in a lot of incentive programs. . . A new New York program inspired by the Texas effort but that does not give cash incentives to teachers has not fared as well. The privately funded Rewarding Achievement offered up to $1,000 to students at 31 high schools for high AP test scores. More than 340 additional students took the tests this year, but the number who passed dipped slightly. Collective bargaining agreements in New York sharply restrict incentive pay for teachers.

Bill Myers Examiner - District of Columbia officials routinely violated city spending laws, burning through tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and raising disturbing questions about whether the public's purse is being carefully watched. The D.C. Anti-Deficiency Act sets strict limits on agency spending. City officials racked up more than 400 violations of the law between fiscal 2005 and 2007, internal reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show. Agencies exceeded their budgets by at least $1 million nearly 100 times in fiscal 2006 and 2007, the reports of the Anti-Deficiency Act board show.

The worst offenders were the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration, which exceeded its appropriated budget by $18 million in fiscal 2006, and the Department of Mental Health, which went more than $4 million above its budget in fiscal 2005, the board reported. The budget busting forced the city to scramble for new funds and endangered the city's bond rating, the board's reports show.

Washington Post - Eastern canceled its season Oct. 7 when it could not attract the minimum 18 players for a game, forcing the seven Ramblers who didn't want to see their season end to find other schools. Five moved to Anacostia and two to McKinley, giving them a chance to play for teams that, a few weeks ago, would have been Eastern opponents. . . Last spring, though, D.C. Public Schools announced that Eastern would lose a grade each of the next four years, before the school is closed and redesigned. Plans for a new Eastern have not been announced, but with no freshman class this year, Eastern lost the future of its football team. When they told us in the spring that we'd be losing ninth grade, and then losing the 10th grade" next year, said Eastern's Burnell Irby, who has coached the Ramblers since 1997, "I said: 'There goes the football program. How are you going to build anything?' "

The DC Statehood Green Party reports a number of their signs have been stolen. There was also a report that a man putting Schwartzman signs up in thomas circle noticed someone ripping them down. so the man and his wife approached the person, at which point the vandal punched the Schwartzman backer in his face, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him multiple times. A passerby called the police bringing an end to the incident.

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