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Considering the unflattering attention the D.C. Auditor’s Office has lavished on some advisory neighborhood commissions (ANCs), you’d think the last thing commissioners want are more number crunchers. Guess again. This week, the ANC assembly, which includes past and present commissioners, drafted a resolution requesting three additional staff auditors, noting that the Auditor’s office is “significantly understaffed” to review finances for local agencies and ANCs. Lawrence Guyot Jr., whose own ANC 1B was impugned two years ago for a missing sum of $10,400, is one of the resolution’s sponsors. Guyot sees no irony in the proposal. “We have a lot of financial problems,” he admits. “But they all can be cleaned up in one meeting, and they’re going to be….ANCs are only as good as the agencies we have to work with. That’s what this is about.” The assembly has forwarded its recommendation to the mayor and the D.C. Council.
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Bats Left, Throws Left The Baltimore Orioles’ decision to fly south to Cuba has many anti-Castro activists crying foul. And that’s before they hear that many younger recruits will be going as well. Some 75 D.C. area kidsincluding those who play in the Northwest Little League in Ward 3 and the Satchel Paige Little League in Ward 4will travel along with the team for its historic game in Havana. Major League Baseball as well as some corporate sponsors and local groups will pay the youngsters’ travel costs. “The Cuban national team, along with the Orioles, will offer some clinics,” says Keith Jones, vice president of the Satchel Paige League. Jones says that some parents have expressed concerns about sending their kids to one of communism’s last strongholds, but he maintains it’s just good clean fun: “It’s a goodwill ambassadorship, like the Chinese government did with pingpong.” No surprise that José Cárdenas, Washington director of the Cuban American National Foundation, a virulent anti-Castro group, doesn’t see it that way. “[H]ow would people react if they played in the height of apartheid, when there was a self-imposed ban on athletic teams playing South Africa?” asks Cárdenas. “Here we are sending Little Leaguers to play ball with an equally despotic regime in Cuba….It’s unconscionable, in our opinion.”
Dirty Lyrics Last Thursday morning, the Community Coalition for Clean, Safe Schoolsa group of 40 parents, school-system employees, and union leaderssang a couple of protest tunes before testifying at a D.C. Council hearing in opposition to janitorial cuts that have left D.C. school buildings filthy and hundreds unemployed. A choir of 10 performed “Keep the Schools Clean” (sung to the tune of “Hit the Road Jack”), whose lyrics implored: “Arlene, Arlene, we’re on your case/’Cause the situation’s a disgrace/Conditions are a dirty shame/And your budget cutbacks are to blame….” The rendition was, ah, spirited, but if they still have their day jobs, they should probably hang on to them. Julie McCall, who adapted the lyrics, says, “Parents are upset about how bad things have gotten in the schools since [School Superintendent Arlene] Ackerman laid off over 300 people. The songs are one way of venting that frustration.”
The Long Arm of Regulation Logan Circle residents have complained for years to the Department of Public Works (DPW) that public pay phones in the area attract drug dealing and prostitution. “That’s really a police issue,” says DPW spokesperson Linda Grant, but department regulations proved mightier than the badge: A DPW investigation found that many business owners had not secured the necessary public space permits before installing phones in front of their stores. The department is currently removing 40 phones from Logan and Dupont Circle area streets.
The Dog Ate It Last week, D.C. public school principals informed parents who had toiled over federal Impact Aid forms that the completed papers had been lost when the school system moved administrative offices this fall. The Impact Aid program offers additional federal funds to the school system through the Department of Education. Though the school system claims to have already processed the paperwork, parents are being asked to fill out the forms again.
Reporting by Laura Lang and Elissa Silverman.
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