Letters to the editor: April 26, 2017

D.C. officials kicked off the 2016 Potholepalooza in the 3200 block of Brandywine Street NW. (Brian Kapur/The Current/April 2016)

District needs better contractor monitoring

I would like to follow up on Tom Snowden’s recent letter to the editor [“City must maintain its new facilities, April 5]. I applaud the mayor on the prudent spending increases in the latest budget. But how one spends is as important as how much one spends. In this regard, the lack of monitoring and due diligence on the work of the contractors used by the city is disappointing.

Mr. Snowden notes the poor quality of work done on the lampposts in the Newark Street dog park and in Newark Park renovations. The potholes on almost every major road in Northwest are also a case in point. Why do these have to be done and redone, all within months? The winters are not always harsh, and last winter was not. I urge the city to be conscious about the quality of spending as well.

Ritha Khemani, Woodley Park

Shelter supporters won’t feel effects

The proposed family shelter would sit adjacent to the 2nd District Police Headquarters at 3320 Idaho Ave. NW. (Rendering courtesy of D.C. government)

Patrick Phillips’ letter [“Shelter’s approval marks positive step,” April 20] reflects a common response from the vast majority of those who are unreservedly in favor of the proposed homeless shelter on Idaho Avenue NW. Asserting that the shelter will fit into the site with no difficulties is typical of those supporters who live nowhere near the proposed site.

I note that Mr. Phillips lives in American University Park, a bucolic neighborhood of single-family homes with nice yards, and little to no mercantile structures, save a small collection on Massachusetts Avenue. Yet he seems to be quite knowledgeable about how things are going in a neighborhood nearly two miles away.

As a neighbor who actually does live near the proposed shelter, I would point out that the immediate area around the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2nd District Headquarters has become significantly more congested and busy in the past two years, principally due to the opening of the Cathedral Commons project. Jamming yet another large structure into this already congested area will only create more problems for those who actually are in close proximity to it.

Walter Ford, McLean Gardens

Date don’t support minimum wage fears

What a bunch of claptrap from Jeffrey Higgins in your last issue [“The moral case against the minimum wage,” Viewpoint, April 20]. Most sane economists (among them Nobel laureate Paul Krugman of The New York Times) have demonstrated through statistical analysis, as opposed to summoning the hideous specter of Ayn Rand, that raising the minimum wage has no adverse effect on local or national economies. For Mr. Higgins to state that raising the minimum wage is a moral failing on the part of government is repugnant Trumpism, plain and simple.

Michael Judge, Washington, D.C.

‘Stop’ markings could improve traffic safety

The District plans to remove the stoplight at 46th and Van Ness streets NW. (Brian Kapur/The Current/March 2017)

Although I don’t disagree with the plan to remove the traffic signal at the intersection of Van Ness and 46th streets NW, I am concerned about safety. One thing that could lessen the chance of an accident until people really get used to it being a four-way stop is for the D.C. Department of Transportation to paint the word “Stop” on the pavement in all four directions.

Once the signal is removed, they could make the lettering permanent. I emailed Ward 3 D.C. Council member Mary Cheh with this suggestion but didn’t hear anything one way or the other. Hopefully the Transportation Department can be persuaded to take this simple step to promote safety.

Dr. John DesMarteau, American University Park

Kudos to Metro for addressing E6 issues

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has heard our complaints about the Oregon Avenue NW water project and its effects on the E6 bus line. In mid-April, Metro adjusted service on the Chevy Chase line, adding the so-called E6/Cut through the end of 2018 because of construction work in the area, which has tied up traffic and affected service along the bus route.

What this means is that besides the regular schedule, five buses now depart from Pinehurst Circle NW at 7:35 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 8:55 a.m., 9:40 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. These buses bypass a temporary loop to the Knollwood senior community — Metro’s workaround for the blockage of Oregon Avenue — and head to Friendship Heights over Broad Branch Road and McKinley Street NW. And in the late afternoon, Metro also added five E6/Cut buses from Friendship Heights at 3:10 p.m., 3:50 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:35 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. (I believe the regular schedule will continue serving the normal route, including Knollwood.)

Kudos to Metro, supervisors at the Western Division and individual bus drivers on the E6. All have been extremely responsive to our concerns. I applaud their efforts to work with the community and quickly make needed adjustments to service while work is being done on Oregon Avenue.

Thank you from a grateful E6 bus rider.

Michaela Platzer, Barnaby Woods

Nonprofits get funds from paid-leave critic

The District’s nonprofit charities have lobbied the D.C. Council for years to do better for homeless, poor, sick and unemployed residents, and for children and seniors living in poverty. This year, the charities are urging the D.C. Council to fully fund implementation of paid family leave. What is not widely known is that at least one of the foundations that funds the charities lobbying the council to implement paid family leave is heavily entangled with the Federal City Council, which has launched a campaign to sabotage the paid family leave law passed by the D.C. Council in December.

The Meyer Foundation — which gave a grant of $200,000 last year to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, through the Center for Budget & Policy Priorities — has five of its senior management team serving on the Federal City Council.

The Meyer Foundation has two “leadership council” members who are officers and trustees of the Federal City Council: Josh Bernstein (until the end of last year the chairman of the board of directors at Meyer) and Donald Graham (scion of the Graham family, former owners of The Washington Post). Further, three other active directors of the Meyer Foundation’s 10-member board of directors are trustees of the Federal City Council: Nicky Goren (new president and CEO and director of the Meyer Foundation); Deborah Ratner Salzberg (chairman of the board of directors of Meyer); and Michael Harreld, a regional president of PNC Bank (active director of Meyer). Mr. Harreld is also a vice president of the Federal City Council along with Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Graham. So the Meyer Foundation has five agents of the Federal City Council lurking in its leadership.

The Fair Budget Coalition is one of the key organizations used by D.C. charities to lobby local officials on the budget. At least eight members of the Fair Budget Coalition received 2016 grants from the Meyer Foundation totaling $810,000.

In other words, the Meyer Foundation — whose leadership is heavily affiliated with the Federal City Council, which adamantly opposes the paid family leave law — gave a total of $810,000 in 2016 grants to the Fair Budget Coalition and eight of its members who are lobbying the D.C. Council to fund implementation of the paid family leave law. Yet there has been zero disclosure by the Fair Budget Coalition or its members that they are so dependent on the Meyer Foundation, and zero disclosure by the Fair Budget Coalition or the Federal City Council of the Meyer Foundation’s connections to the Federal City Council.

David F. Power, Forest Hills/Van Ness