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All Opinions Are Local: November 14, 2010 - November 20, 2010

A cleaner bay begins with cleaner farms

In the Nov. 11 Metro article “Potomac River report cites farms and forests,” Valerie Connelly, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Farm Bureau, obscured the facts about how to clean up the Potomac River when she said, “We need to figure...

By Hilary Kirwan, Washington  | November 20, 2010; 9:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Chesapeake Bay, HotTopic, Maryland, Virginia  
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Mall rallies in a meet-up age: Getting the numbers right

I was at Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Oct. 30 rally on The Mall, one jumbotron from the stage. The crowd was blissful, but we were packed together like sardines. Meanwhile, thousands more milled around the periphery, roamed nearby streets...

By Jenifer Joy Madden, Vienna  | November 20, 2010; 2:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  D.C., National Mall  
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A needed conversation on welfare in D.C.

Recently, D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) and I introduced legislation that would — consistent with federal regulations — limit Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits to five years. My legislation, while imperfect and incomplete, is intended to...

By Marion Barry, Washington  | November 20, 2010; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, Fenty, Marion Barry, Vincent Gray, economy  
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Poor kids deserve good teachers, too

The uneven distribution of teacher talent in the D.C. schools is unacceptable in a nation that views education as the path to the American dream. [“Top teachers have uneven reach in District,” Metro, Nov. 13].Across the United States, school districts...

By Edwin C. Darden, Washington  | November 19, 2010; 7:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, education, schools  
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Will U-Md.'s new president get on board the Purple Line?

This month marked the beginning of a new era for the University of Maryland in College Park, as Wallace D. Loh officially took over as president, replacing C. Daniel Mote, who led the campus for over a decade. Considering the...

By Marcus Afzali, College Park  | November 19, 2010; 7:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, Montgomery County, PG County, Purple Line  
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Fair questions for the Fairfax police

Brook Hailu Beshah’s Nov. 14 Local Opinions commentary “The police killed my son. Why can’t they answer my questions?” was even-handed, articulate and convincing. The questions that Hailu Brook’s parents have are important and entirely reasonable. If what is described...

By Lisa M. Macey, Fairfax  | November 19, 2010; 7:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fairfax County, crime, police  
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Walt Whitman of the escalators

I am always thankful that the Dupont Circle Metro Station’s Q Street entrance provides the beautifully carved inscription of a Walt Whitman poem about his work in Civil War hospitals. However, if Whitman were alive today, and had to experience...

By Gray Pedersen, Washington  | November 19, 2010; 7:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  D.C., Metro  
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Sink riverboat gambling in Virginia

There's a movement afoot in the Old Dominion to bring in riverboat gambling to help rescue transportation finances. Let's hope it springs a leak. Norfolk City Councilman Paul Riddick thinks that bringing in water-borne gambling palaces would be a...

By Peter Galuszka  | November 19, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Baltimore, Chesapeake Bay, HotTopic, Local blog network, Maryland, Va. Politics, Virginia, crime, economy, media, recreation, slots, sports, taxes  
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The urbanist divide, put simply

Much has already been penned about the competing interests of Washington's urbanist groups. Specifically, about the Committee of 100, with its preservationist bent, vs. the blogosphere and its smart-growth bent, led by Greater Greater Washington. I've thought about the...

By Dan Malouff  | November 19, 2010; 12:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network  
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The generation gap dividing D.C.'s planning activists

As we wrote this morning, the Committee of 100 on the Federal City fired off a letter to Mayor-elect Vince Gray earlier this week asking that he sack Department of Transportation director Gabe Klein and Office of Planning director...

By Martin Austermuhle  | November 19, 2010; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Local blog network  
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Let the black woman's pain be heard

Apparently Courtland Milloy is so disturbed by Tyler Perry's movie "For Colored Girls," that even when speaking of the FBI sting operation resulting in the arrests of Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife, Leslie, he still...

By M. E. Schertzer, Silver Spring  | November 18, 2010; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  HotTopic, PG County, crime, domestic violence, media, race  
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And you thought flying couldn't get any worse

Going to the airport has always kind of sucked, hasn't it? Long lines, terrible food, expensive parking, people running all over the place like headless chickens with rolling luggage -- don't even get me started on what it's like...

By Aaron Morrissey  | November 18, 2010; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network  
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How Georgetown found its grid

If there is one thing that people love the most about Georgetown, it’s the small blocks filled with 18th- and 19th-century homes. But how exactly did it come to be that way? GM has written about Georgetown’s past a...

By Topher Mathews  | November 18, 2010; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  D.C., Georgetown, history  
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Lifting up Tobytown's abandoned

Regarding the Nov. 14 Metro article "Poverty amid plenty in Potomac": I volunteered alongside a worker in the Volunteers in Service to America program in the mid-'60s in Tobytown near Potomac, so I read with interest reporter Annie Gowen's account...

By Judith Church Tydings, Ijamsville  | November 17, 2010; 6:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Montgomery County, development, economy, education, housing, schools  
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A fair way to fill vacancies on the D.C. Council

The Nov. 14 editorial "Getting a leg up on D.C. Council" called the process for filling at-large D.C. Council vacancies flawed, but it itself was flawed by a lack of balanced reporting. Instead of questioning whether "connections" are the key...

By Jacque D. Patterson, Washington  | November 17, 2010; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic  
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Who's bringing home the bacon in Va.

Looks like Virginia Reps. Rob Wittman and Randy Forbes brought home the bacon before rolling the pork barrel out the door. Granted, when House Republicans announced that their caucus would observe a party-wide moratorium on fiscal 2011 earmarks, the...

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | November 17, 2010; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia  
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Legal corruption in Montgomery

How delicious it was to read about Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson being carted off in handcuffs the other day. It feels so good to see the arrogant get their comeuppance. I have trouble accepting how shady populists...

By Keith Berner  | November 17, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Maryland, Montgomery County, PG County  
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Eliminating the 'F' won't eliminate failure

Regarding the Nov. 14 front-page article “West Potomac High pushes F off the grade book”:I wish West Potomac well on its initiative to increase learning, but I am skeptical.First, labeling poor achievement as “F,” “I” for incomplete or even “GREAT”...

By Thomas Kinder, Springfield  | November 16, 2010; 6:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Fairfax County, HotTopic, education, schools  
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Boosting minority inclusion at Thomas Jefferson

Many thanks for the Nov. 12 editorial “A diversity deficit,” on the low number of minority students enrolled in this year’s freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. With only four African American and 13 Hispanic...

By Robert E. Frye Sr., Springfield  | November 16, 2010; 6:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Fairfax County, education, schools  
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The coming zoning fight

Next Monday, the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) will hold its November meeting and the topic of the night will be zoning. While this topic sounds a bit dry at first, it is an incredibly important topic for the...

By Topher Mathews  | November 16, 2010; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  D.C., Georgetown, HotTopic, Local blog network, real estate  
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Serious fixes for WMATA (cont'd): Bring in the CEO

Previously, we discussed two of the six elements of the Riders' Advisory Council's report on WMATA governance: setting high standards for board members' attendance and ridership, and the board focusing on high-level policy. Another very important element of the...

By David Alpert  | November 16, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  D.C., Local blog network, Maryland, Metro, Virginia, transportation  
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Roadside conspiracies in Takoma Park

Two weeks ago, a firestorm broke out in Takoma Park. It seems that the city council was about to vote on (and probably approve) a road swap with the state of Maryland. Under the deal, the state would take...

By Keith Berner  | November 16, 2010; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Maryland, Montgomery County  
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Snap-trap ban puts pest companies in a bind

Last week, the D.C. Council granted final approval to legislation banning professional pest-management companies from using snap traps to control many rodent species, making it the most extreme, overreaching, unreasonable and restrictive wildlife-management measure in the entire country.The bill’s proponents...

By Gene Harrington, Fairfax  | November 15, 2010; 6:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, environment, wildlife  
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Shut out on Mall security

Thank you for publishing Philip Kennicott’s commentary alerting the public to the travesty of the National Park Service’s “public” scoping meeting last week for Washington Monument security [“A public failure of monumental scale,” Nov. 10]. Mr. Kennicott’s piece is a...

By Judy Scott Feldman, Rockville  | November 15, 2010; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  D.C., National Mall  
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Why the federal gas tax isn't covering our needs

A few short decades ago the United States built the Interstate Highway System, one of the greatest public works of all time. It’s a good thing we built it when we did, because we couldn’t afford it today. We...

By Dan Malouff  | November 15, 2010; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  taxes, transportation  
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Top 10 bus paint jobs

We have a lot of different bus providers in this region. In addition to WMATA, every county or county-level locality has its own system. Last year BeyondDC ranked them by ridership, providing a basis for meaningful comparison of service...

By Dan Malouff  | November 15, 2010; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Maryland, Metro, Virginia, transportation  
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A business-friendlier Virginia, no matter the cost?

The Old Dominion usually ranks in the top four in the usual business media listings of the most business-friendly, tax-easy, anti-labor-union states. Yet, some politicians are so conservative that they want to squeeze even more blood from a rock....

By Peter Galuszka  | November 15, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Va. Politics, Virginia, development, economy, energy, environment, military, taxes, traffic, transportation  
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The sound of Metro getting older

I have noted with interest your reporting on the $225,000 study that Metro hired Vertical Transportation Excellence to conduct into the sorry state of the system’s escalators and elevators [“Inspections reveal escalator problems,” Metro, Nov. 11]. I am sure that...

By Mark Thompson, Kensington  | November 14, 2010; 9:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  HotTopic, Metro, transportation  
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One way to get more working escalators

Metro’s repair and maintenance contract for its 588 escalators and 275 elevators pays its contractor to fix things when they go wrong. This creates the wrong incentive. Metro’s contract should provide for a fair annual overall price to keep the...

By Edward Steinhouse, Columbia  | November 14, 2010; 9:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  D.C., Metro  
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The right way to boost diversity at TJ

Regarding Jay Mathews's Nov. 8 Metro column, "Diversity: A tough test for Jefferson": Mr. Mathews seems to believe that Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology should lower its standards to admit underqualified students, without considering what happens to...

By Nancy Stoepker, Sterling  | November 14, 2010; 9:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Fairfax County, education, schools  
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