Front Page - Search 

Taking note . . .

Observations about public affairs in the nationís capital
by the editor of The Common Denominator

A SKEWED VIEW: D.C. Board of Education members, led by District I representative Jeff Smith, expressed great concern for D.C. Public Schools’ interscholastic athletics programs last month, holding a highly publicized Feb. 22 "Public Roundtable on Athletics" to seek the views of those most concerned about the challenges facing current programs and how to overcome them.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges facing the programs may be gaining the attention of the public officials who profess to care about the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association’s programs. It seems nobody at school headquarters bothered to check the winter sports schedule before selecting a public hearing time in direct conflict with the first day of the DCIAA girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball playoffs. Coaches, athletic directors, parents, student athletes, school staff and other high school basketball fans were busy cheering on 16 teams at four different venues when the school board conducted its hearing at Eastern Senior High School, which did not host any of the playoff games this year.

Maybe Superintendent Clifford Janey was equally clueless about why the turnout was so horrendous for his 6:30 p.m. "public dialogue" session about the schools’ fiscal 2007 budget that same night. About 20 people – including about 10 DCPS employees and journalists – showed up at Spingarn Senior High School to meet with Janey.

Meanwhile, the DCIAA East Division fourth-seeded Spingarn Green Wave’s boys varsity basketball team was warming up for its 7:30 p.m. tip-off against the DCIAA West Division champion M.M. Washington Yellow Jackets – whom the Spingarn boys defeated by one point on the Yellow Jackets’ home court in the biggest upset of this year’s playoffs. Among those missing the exciting contest were Spingarn Principal Reginald Burke and other school personnel whose presence was required to keep the building open for Janey’s meeting.

MISSING A PUZZLE PIECE: Taxpayers might well ask what they haven’t been told yet about the Williams administration’s steadfast determination to bulldoze through its deal with Howard University to build a publicly financed $400 million National Capital Medical Center, without undergoing the normally required "certificate of need" process to publicly justify the project planned for the former D.C. General Hospital site. If the certificate of need process is required, as advocated by some powerfully placed city council members, "the deal is absolutely dead," City Administrator Robert Bobb declared March 3 in answer to a question on WAMU-FM’s "D.C. Politics Hour with Kojo and Jonetta."

Copyright 2006 The Common Denominator