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The Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan, wants Vince Gray– who African Americans overwhelmingly voted for in DC’s 2010 mayoral primary– to denounce the electorate that disapproves of Rhee and her divisive approach to implementing school reform in D.C.

Duncan recently told Newsweek that he will talk with Gray about keeping Rhee.   Newsweek reported, “Duncan has some influence with Gray, since the federal department recently announced that D.C. was one of the winners of the national Race to the Top school-reform competition, and stands to win $75 million if it implements the reform Rhee’s administration outlined in its application.”

How dare he attempt to regress this country to the pre-civil rights era when government sanctioned policies “masking taped” the mouths of African Americans and silenced their voice.  The will of the people was expressed at the polls on September 14, 2010.  It is sovereign, inalienable and even the highest ranking government officials are required to respect it.  A presidential appointment doesn’t endow Arnie Duncan with the authority to disregard the democratic process and superimpose his personal wants over the will of U.S. citizens.

To express your concerns regarding Arnie Duncan marginalizing D.C. voters; please contact the White House Office of Public Engagement at 202-456-1111 or via email at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

I just listened to an audio of Chancellor Michelle Rhee admitting to abusing children when she was a teacher at an inner-city Baltimore school.

Chancellor Rhee tells her new Teach for America employees about how she used masking tape on the mouths of 35 children to keep them quiet.  She jovially elaborates on how their mouths were bleeding and the children were screaming and crying when the masking tape was yanked off.  That’s not the worst part.  What’s more repulsive is that the Chancellor of DC Public Schools (DCPS)—Michelle Rhee—and her new Teach for America employees  found the story hilarious.   Here’s the link to the audio from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/08/13/VI2010081305444.html .

The irony is that Chancellor Rhee made false child abuse claims against 266 DC teachers in a national publication, when in fact she’s the one with the questionable judgment and past.

She would have never placed masking tape on the mouths of dogs or children from higher income households; she would have placed them in the “naughty corner,” including Fido.  If this happened to one of her daughters she would have immediately fired the teacher.

For this reason,  DC parents and residents are encouraging all invested parties to express their concerns regarding this debacle. It’s time for the chancellor to be held accountable for her actions.

Please listen to the audio and if you are appalled as we are, please forward the “masking tape abuse” audio, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/08/13/VI2010081305444.html , with your complaints  to everyone you know and the following contacts:

Meet the Press – Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Robert Bobb and Randi Weingarten joined David Gregory to discuss education reform.  Here’s the link to contact Meet the Presshttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6872152/

David Gregory, host of Meet the Press –  Here’s the link to tweet David Gregory at: http://twitter.com/davidgregory

Oprah Show – Chancellor Rhee appeared on Oprah on September 20, 2010 : http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Waiting-For-Superman_1

Good Morning America in reference to their story on September 16, 2010 on why DC needs Chancellor Rhee:    http://abcnews.go.com/Site/page?id=3271346&cat=ABCNews.com%20comments

Vince Gray , DC’s elected Democratic Mayoral candidate: http://www.vincegrayformayor.com/onecity/

DC’s Chairman Vincent Gray’s Office, dslonneger@dccouncil.us

DC’s Councilmember at Large Phil Mendelson’s Office, cduffie@dccouncil.us

DC’s Councilmember at Large Kwane Brown’s Office, iesparza@dccouncil.us

DC’s Councilmember at Large Michael Brown’s Office, lwhartonboyd@dccouncil.us

Joe Madison, contact@joemadison.com

Russ Parr, russparr@therussparrmorningshow.com

Michael Baisen, hotnews@minglecity.com

Tom Joyner Show, karyn.wheat@reachmediainc.com and sheena.lester@reachmediainc.com

Again, here’s the link to Chancellor Rhee explaining how she used masking tape on the mouths of 35 third graders:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/08/13/VI2010081305444.html

The Washington Post, recently reported that the D.C. government  revoked “93,773” registered voters of their official “active” status. The article stated the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) purged “93,773” registered voters because they haven’t voted since, at least 2002.

According to a news release from the BOEE, the decision to delete “93,773” registered voters was based on a “comprehensive review of the voter registration database” and, “none of these voters has cast a ballot in the District in at least eight years, nor responded to repeated notices from our office.”

Here’s the million dollar question: why did the BOEE wait 22 years to correct the problem of its database retaining information on individuals who haven’t voted since 2002 and in some cases as far back as 1988?

Based on the BOEE’s news release and justification for the purge, one can conclude that the voter’s registration database needed to be audited but the questionable timing is prone to raise doubts about the motive.

To be knowledgeable of a problem for decades and wait three months prior to the 2010 election to implement an untested solution is indicative of poor planning and can be perceived as politically motivated.  This sudden purge of 93,773 registered voters is bound to have errors; alienate legitimate voters and taint the mayoral election.

In our brief review of BOEE’s list of purged voters we noticed several individuals that had re-registered to vote as recent as 2009, but haven’t actually voted since 2002.  They were classified as inactive and removed from the list of eligible voters.  What if these individuals, who haven’t voted in years, re-registered for the sole purpose of voting in 2010 and are denied the right to cast their official ballot on Election Day?

In one of the most highly anticipated mayoral elections since 1974, that has the potential for a historic voter turnout, the purging of 93,773 registered voters doesn’t promote a climate of trust or confidence in the District government.

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To check if you or anyone you know is on the list of purged voters, click here. If you have questions or need to have your name removed from the list, please call the Board of Elections and Ethics at 202-727-2525.

In the midst of the 2010 election season, Mayor Fenty finally gives up the ghost of arrogance and steps down from D.C.’s epic political sideshow—Ticketgate “07”, “08” and “09”! As the creator and leading man of a drama that most constituents and even onlookers despised, Mayor Fenty suspended Ticketgate on March 11, 2010 by forfeiting 19 of the 86 Nationals baseball tickets to their legitimate owners—D.C. City Council.

Just as Fenty premiered Ticketgate in 2007 for no rhyme or reason, he ended the saga in the same fashion. This vacuous, one sentence blurb was sent to the Council via his understudy, aka, Neil Albert, City Administrator:

“Pursuant to our practice of the last three years, enclosed are tickets and parking passes to Suite 61 of the Nationals Park for the 2010 baseball season.”

Is the City Administrator serious? Pursuant to our practices of the last three years . . .!! Did Webster change the definition of “pursuant to” and, was Fenty’s understudy the only one who received the notice?  No, according to thefreedictionary.com, “pursuant to” still means: “according to, consistent with or in accord with.”

For the 2010 to be “pursuant to practices of the last three years” there would have been a repeat of the following senseless episodes:

2007 Ticketgate Season: Shortly after being elected Mayor, Fenty flipped the script on his former colleagues and refused to share with the City Council a luxury suite at the Verizon Center that the late Abe Pollin gave the District to help promote economic development.   According the Mark Seagraves, WTOP Radio , Fenty maintains the suite is the sole domain of the executive. Seagraves also noted that, most of those invited to D.C.’s Luxury Suite at the Verizon Center by Fenty, either contributed the maximum $2,000 to Fenty’s campaign or worked on the campaign.

2008 Ticketgate Season:  Fenty seized the Council’s allotment of Nationals baseball tickets and only rationed-off some to council members who weren’t on his blackball list.  And, according to a statement from Chairman Vincent Gray in The Washington Post, the mayor’s office would send tickets to selected council members, hours before each game, leaving no time to give tickets to constituents, a common practice of many council members. In a testament to democracy, the Council refused to participate in an autocratic style of government and returned the tickets to Fenty. Gray declared, there will be no leaving out of members, everyone will be treated equally.

2009 Ticketgate Season: Yes, Fenty did it again! He kept all 86 baseball tickets to the Nationals’ games, including two sky suites. Gray told The Washington Post, “it’s déjà vu, we were assured this fiasco would not happen again, and here we are with no tickets.”

Although the mayor wasn’t agreeable to sharing with the Council, he freely handed-out the District’s baseball tickets to his deep-pocket donors. Mark Seagraves, of WTOP noted, Fenty has given thousands of dollars worth of baseball tickets to campaign contributors, longtime friends, several of his running partners, as well as a few members of Congress, according to records provided by the mayor’s office.

After weeks of negative publicity, public outrage and tiffs with the media, the Attorney General had to intervene and Fenty ultimately gave the Council 19 of the 86 tickets. Fenty kept the remaining 67 tickets.

As for now, Fenty has placed Ticketgate on hiatus due to the 2010 election season.  In a few months, District residents will cast their vote for mayor, and if the electorate base their decision “pursuant to” Fenty’s Ticketgate drama, his chances of getting their support might be slim to none.

With poll numbers down and a dismal approval rating amongst majority of the residents, one ponders the same question Council member Mary Cheh recently posed to The Washington Post, “the price he paid for those actions surely could not have been worth it?”

One would think that the DC government’s earshot proximity to the Feds would provide teachable moments and prevent the City from repeating Big Papa’s blunders.

In the late 80’s, Big Papa (the federal government) put United States taxpayers in an uproar when it paid $600 apiece for toilet seat covers. On January 1, 1990, The Times Magazine reported,

the pentagon procurement officers gave a new meaning to the term royal flush. They paid a vendor $600 apiece for airplane toilet-seat covers that should have cost about $25. Other examples of military largesse: a $7,622 coffee machine, a $400 hammer and a $659.53 ashtray.”

Now, fast-forward to the Council’s hearing on April 15, 2010 when it was disclosed that the DC government paid $48,000 for an $8,000 survey. That’s approximately a 600 percent price mark-up!  Here’s the web the Council unraveled:

Contractor A hired by DC government subcontracted to contractor B who sub, subcontracted to contractor C, who actually conducted the work Contractor A needed. Sub, subcontractor C was paid $8,000 by subcontractor B for survey work. Subcontractor B, in turn invoiced Contractor A for $48,000 for sub, subcontractor Cs survey, which cost subcontractor B only $8,000. Contractor A, invoiced the City $48,000 for the $8,000 survey and, you guessed it, the government of the District of Columbia paid it.

I know this sounds concocted and my brief rundown doesn’t give details, therefore, I’ve provided links to the Hill Rag and Washington City Paper, for full news coverage of this government approved pillage.  

Also, sub, subcontractor C must have watched the Council hearing and is now peeved-off. He told the Hill Rag that Contractors A and B exploited him and DC taxpayers, and he’s ready to testify against them.

Yes, this math is fuzzier than what President Bush had trouble comprehending.  And, to obfuscate the equation even more, players (A and B), excluding dissed C, are friends of the Mayor. 

Almost 30 years after one of the loudest blunders to awaken taxpayers out of their suspended complacency, one would assume the Mayor would not emulate Big Papa’s flush that was heard across the nation.

I guess this 80’s teachable moment wasn’t included in the Mayor’s grade school lesson.

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Contractor A –  Banneker Ventures  /  Subcontractor B –  Liberty Engineering & Design (LEAD)  / Sub, subcontactor C   –  Currie & Associates

(To watch the entire Council hearing, click on the link below, scroll down to 4/15/2010, PUBLIC HEARING, COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES, PARKS & RECREATION, Harry Thomas Jr., Chairperson and click on “view meeting.”  Here’s the link.)

Pam Johnson; 4/20/10

Last week on Fox 5 Morning News, Mayor Fenty kicked off the perennial mirage that voters have to endure every four years. During the campaign season politicians are known to bend the truth where fiction becomes fact and reality morphs into fallacies.

Within 58 seconds on Fox 5, Fenty painted the illusion that the City Council’s actions, not Chancellor Rhee’s, caused 266 teachers to lose their jobs. He repeated over and over again (a total of five times within an eight minute interview) that the Council eliminated $20 million from the budget, thereby forcing Chancellor Rhee to layoff 266 teachers in the Fall of 2009.

Ironically, back in October 2009,  during a Council hearing, Chancellor Rhee acknowledged that she defied Council’s orders by not cutting the summer school’s budget, thereby creating a deficit. Fox5TV.com reported,

“After speaking with the chief financial officer for the schools, it was revealed Rhee virtually created the budget shortfall by ignoring the council directive to cut $9 million from the summer school program. It’s a decision that created a budget gap which then set the stage for mass firings. What made matters worse, it became clear Rhee was aware of the pending budget issues and still hired an unprecedented 900 new teachers. Council members and teachers allege that it was all part of a bigger plan to clean house and then put the blame on the council.”

Therefore, based on “Just the Facts, not Campaign Fiction,” Mayor Fenty gets a “Gong Show” gong for his inaccurate rendition of Chancellor Rhee’s 2009 mass firings of DC teachers.

Pam Johnson; 4/20/10

How can DCPS’ budget be sacrosanct to an elected—independent–governing body that is duty-bound to provide oversight of the taxpayers’ coffer?

The term sacrosanct should not be referred to when dealing with the management of government affairs, because oversight immunity should never be granted to any public policies, agencies, directors and, most importantly, government budgets.

Council member Graham suggesting the tacit inference that DCPS’ budget is untouchable justifies why the council needs to exercise its authority and methodically scrutinize DCPS’ FY11 budget.

Even the divine scriptures are open for  interpretation.

Peter Nash; 5/25/10