Here are some of the other locations to learn more about the DC and its problems, both operational, non-profit, and informative:
INDEX OF RELEVANT WEB SITES
The Affordable Colleges Foundation (ACF)
This is the official site of the DC government. Current activities provide some insight into the way the city functions. The Mayor's own "Transformation Plan" was developed whereby the city would try to solve its own problems. The DC Council has made its own recommendations for additional assistance from the President's Plan.
This is the official web site of the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority, popularly referred to as the DC Control Board. There are many useful documents posted here for the serious observer on what this agency is trying to accomplish-including its current strategic plan.
The Control Board has also produced or commissioned a great many more--and much longer--reports dealing with each specific function and branch of the DC government. The earlier reports, from fall of 1996 to summer of 1997 are primarily functional--from public education to procurement and contracting. NARPAC, Inc. has now summarized these reports. See Control Board.
A later set of 15 reports was released on October 17th, subsequent to the Control Board take-over of the nine major DC agencies. NARPAC, Inc. will eventually summarize these too. Together, they form an irrefutable "indictment" of the management of the DC City Government since home rule, as well as providing literally hundreds of recommendations for rebuilding these essential city institutions.
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The official web site for DC's Chief Financial Officer has a variety of uptodate basic budgetary information on DC's finances. The entire FY97 Appropriations Bill from the Congress can be found here, along with tables concerning personnel levels, and the FY97 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Taxpayer information and data on grants and contracts are also available. Most of the data is in /pdf format.
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A new organization, officially empowered as the Board of Trustees and Chief Executive Office for the DC School System has taken over from the still-existing "elected school board" most of the functions relevant to "fixing" the DC school system. But the elected school board still performs routine management of the public school system.
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One of the most promising near-term innovations of the new Williams administration is to provide a web site for residents wishing to report local problems from potholes to fallen trees, and from flickering street lights to dead animals. Early reports indicate that it is working well--to the amazement of many skeptical residents.
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Most of those who visit Washington as tourists or for business can only marvel at the condition of the capital's "monumental core". Many do not realize that this is the work of the National Park Service, which also maintains thousands of acres of parks throughout DC, and many more throughout the metropolitan area. In fact, the Park Service now provides valuable assistance to DC in both ground and airborne (helicopter) police/emergency services.
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o The Metro Washington Council of
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This extensive web site provides extensive information on the Conference of Mayors, including their leaders, their adopted policies, affiliated organizations, products and services, and membership information. Of particular interest to NARPAC are the resolutions adopted at their annual national conferences dealing with virtually all aspects of urban/municipal problems--and beyond. Their 1999 resolution on regionalism is included in our section on Regionalism.
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The District's sole representative in Congress (and currently with only limited in-committee voting rights) is Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Yale graduate lawyer and veteran of the civil rights movement of the '70s. She has been an outspoken advocate for greater home rule and full representation in the Congress, and presently has more political influence than any other elected DC official. Though NARPAC, Inc. does not support all her views and goals, she is a powerful-- and relatively independent--voice for reform in DC. Her House web site contains many of her proposals to Congress and the President, and they are worth reading.
Read NARPAC, Inc.'s commentary on Norton's Economic Recovery Act here;
Read NARPAC, Inc.'s summary of her Memo to the President re the Control Board here;
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The FTA is a subordinate agency of the US Department of Transportation, and deals with all aspects of American public transit systems. Its web site is a good starting point for accessing various research and statistical data, including the NTD.
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This enthusiastic and lively web site supports the association's basic role of "advocating better public transport since 1937". Its purpose is to provide information and campaigning about better public transportation through trams, tramways, streetcars and light rail systems. NARPAC doubts there is anything even remotely associated with light rail worldwide that is not covered on this site, which also includes very useful photovgalleries.
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In its own words, the DC Tax Revision Commission was established in August 1996 as an independent advisory commission comprised of 19 citizen representatives appointed by the Mayor and the DC Council. The Commission is committed to creating a tax system that is easier to understand and manage than the present system; that is equitable to residents and businesses; and that makes the District competitive with other governments for attracting and retaining businesses and people. The Commission hopes that its recommendations will restore confidence in the District's revenue system, and warns that developing such recommendations will require embarking on new research initiatives, challenging popular wisdom, and taking fresh views of old problems.
The Commission, under the executive direction of Dr. Philip Dearborn of the Greater Washington Research Center, has established an outstanding--albeit very technical- -web site that provides the background of the Commission, a complete workplan, as well as its meeting schedule. It includes a series of current research reports which are extremely informative for anyone wishing to really understand DC's tax structure relative to other jurisdictions both regionally and nationally. NARPAC, Inc. fully supports this effort and this site. The research reports include:
o Taxes and Economic Development in DC;
The Tax Commission's final report on overhauling the DC tax code was published on May 4, 1998 and is present in full on its web site in easy, readible fashion, including nost of their back-up documentation. It is worth visiting. It is also summarized on this site.
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The Nation Capital Planning Commission is the central planning agency for the federal government in the Washington Region. The Commission includes three members appointed by the President; two members appointed by DC's mayor; the Secretaries of Defense and Interior; the The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs; the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight; the mayor and the chairman of the DC Council. Before the advent of home rule in 1973, the NCPC was responsible for all planning within the District, but now focuses almost exclusively on the "Monumental Core".
In a combined effort with city officials, it has very recently published its major new effort "Extending the Legacy: Planning America's Capital for the 21st Century". There is, of course, no comparable document, or visionary long-range planning, for the rest of the city--the source of our national embarrassment. This impressive, almost "slick",federal effort, endorsed by the President, and other relevant reports can be found at NCPC's own web site:
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The National Capital Chapter of the American Planning Association was asked to comment on the National Capital Planning Commission's new effort to "Extendthe Legacy" (above). They responded with a statement that NARPAC, Inc. fully supports: "Washington will not survive unless its region, with its incomparable intellectual, managerial and financial resources, can be made one with the city and its federal establishment.". For more on the APA:
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The web site describes APTA as a "nonprofit international association of over 1,200 member organizations including transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions, and state associations and departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit systems and products. Over 90% of persons using public transportation in the US and Canada are served by APTA members. Its web site provides an extraordinary range of relevant data, statistics, and even a glossary of terms for those with a deep interest in the subject. It was a major source for NARPAC's article on The State of American Urban Transportation.
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The National League of Cities, founded in 1924, is now the largest organization serving municipal governments. Both directly, and through state municipal leagues, NLC now represents over 17,600 municipalities. The site provides information on state leagues, local, state, and federal governments, and links to a variety of general research and public policy sites.
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Not surprisingly, there is a National Association of Regional Councils dedicated to encouraging the formation of more metro area regional organizations. Among their publications is a 1992 summary of regional councils and their activities. They alsi publish a quarterly journal, The Regionalist, and a monthly paper The Regional Reporter.
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This nationally recognized institute is a major source of information and analysis. By its own word, it " is a nonprofit policy research organization established in Washington, DC in 1968. The staff investigates the social and economic problems confronting the nation and government policies and public and private programs designed to alleviate them. The Institute's objectives are to sharpen thinking about society's problems and efforts to solve them, improve government decisions and their implementation, and increase citizens' awareness about important public choices. " A particularly germane study analyzes poverty in the DC metro Area:
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This non-profit organization was formed in 1974 and asserts that it is "the only national organization dedicated solely to ending America's affordable housing crisis. The NLIHC is committed to educating, organizing, and advocating to ensure decent, affordable housing in healthy neighborhoods for everyone. ...(It) provides up-to-date information, formulates policy, and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions." While NARPAC cannot certify these claims, NLIHC's new 1999 Advocate's Resource Guide presents more information--and more clearly--than even the most ardent student of affordable housing could ever need.
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The Washington Archdiocese maintains a major, and very informative, web site dealing with all aspects of the Catholic mission from social concerns and ministries, to parishes and education. It is the information on area primary and secondary schools that attracted NARPAC's attention--including their basic "mission statement" and the status of each of the 106 schools in the Washington region. It is a true regional organization, covering DC, Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's, and St. Mary's Counties--under the guidance of a total of nine central office administrators (!), and a 13-member appointed Board of Education.
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According to their website homepage, NCEA has been providing leadership and service to Catholic Education since 1904. The largest professional association in the world, its 200,000 members serve 7.6 million students in pre-schools, elementary and secondary schools, catechetical/religious education programs, diocesan offices, colleges, universities and seminaries. It is located in DC, and advocates recognition and support for Catholic education in parish, school, and university communities and fosters local, national, and international collaboration.
This excellent organization came to NARPAC's attention because of its data sources comparing the effectiveness of parochial school education to the alternatives.
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This organization is part of the DC LEARNS coalition, and its mission is to enable adults and older youth within the DC metro area to acquire needed skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, etc. It describes its programs and offers links to other literacy-minded organizations.
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is an independent federal organization leading the national effort toward a fully literate nation in the 21st Century. Its mission is to ensure that the highest quality of literacy services is available to the 40 million US adults needing stronger literacy skills.
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The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is--in their own words--a non- profit, private association with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status that represents state and territorial boards of education. Their principal objectives include strengthening state leadership in educational policymaking; promoting excellence in the education of all students; advocating equality of access to educational opportunity; and assuring continued support for public education. Their web site provides a variety of useful information, including extensive inputs on state education profiles and forms of governance. For more on the NASBE:
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The mission of the Public Education Network is, in their own words, "to create systems of public education that result in high achievement for every child...We work to educate the nation about the relationship between school quality and the quality of community and public life. We believe that equal opportunity, access to quality public schools, and an informed citizenry are all critical components of a democratic society. Our goal is to ensure that the availability of high-quality public education is every child's right and not a privilege."
PEN believes that "improving public school systems is the responsibility of parents, individual citizens, and whole communities. Students, teachers, and school districts all need to be held to high standards. The network advocates for significant changes in how school systems are funded, overhauling curriculum and assessment practices, ensuring authority and decision making at the school level, providing ongoing professional development for teachers, and engaging the public in building relationships between citizens, schools, and the communities they serve."
Local education funds (LEFs) have been formed across the United States over the last fifteen years with the goal of supporting and challenging public school districts to do a better job of serving low income children and their families. The DC "LEF" is the well-known Parents United for the DC Public Schools. PEN also operates a very comprehensive "Weekly NewsBlast" referencing all the education-oriented articles appearing in the last week.
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o National Assn for Business Economics (NABE)
The NABE is an association of idividuals who have an interest in business economics, and who want to utilize the latest economic data and trends to enhance their ability to make sound business decisions. Founded in 1959, it claims about 3,000 members from around the world. The Washington Chapter has been moribund for many years, but is now being revitalized to provide a discussion forum for the economic changes sweeping the region. More details can be found on their web site.
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This office supports programs that assist in educating children with special needs through its Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), provides for the rehabilitation of youth and adults with disabilities through its Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), and supports research to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through its National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). OSEP also operates the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) which provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators, and other professionals, including a wide variety of publications, fact sheets, parent guides, and issue papers, most of which can be printed off their Internet web site.
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The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a non-partisan research organization and policy institute that conducts research and analysis on a range of government policies and programs, with emphasis on those affecting low- and moderate income people. The growing disparity between rich and poor families (most prominent in DC) is a matter of deep concern to CBPP, and their web site provides extensive up-to-date data and reports.(albeit in big files!). NARPAC's summary is discussed under growing disparities between rich and poor.
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DCFPI operates as a project of the CPBB (immediately above this entry). It was established in 2001 to engage in research and public education on the fiscal and economic health of DC. It analyzes local and federal tax and budget policies that affect low- and moderate-income residents. It strives to provide timely, objective, and accessible analysis to policy makers, residents, and the media, and engages in fiscal analysis and community education. It appears to be an excellent source of detailed and accurate information that NARPAC surely cannot match!
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The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-partisan, non-pofit organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. It is the Center's mission to expand the base of public knowledge and understanding of the need for an immigration policy that gives first concern to the broad national interest. A recent study indicating that immigrants are no more likely to become individual entrepreneurs than native Americans brought the Center to NARPAC's attention.
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This web site provides a great many comparative statistics comparing all the qualities of 207 American metro areas, and the national average. Data are available on everything from weather and economic criteria to crime rates. It has the major advantage of comparing like jurisdictions (metro areas) rather than, say, comparing DC (inner city) statistics with those of states. Nevertheless, the Washington metro area ends up better crimewise only than the Gary (Indiana), Newark, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Detroit metro areas, and only one rung below Baltimore. For a comparison between Baltimore and Washington crime rates, see metro area comparisons.
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In its own words, "the National Academy of Public Administration is an independent, nonpartisan organization chartered by Congress to assist federal, state, and local governments improve their effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability. For more than 30 years the Academy has met the challenge of cultivating excellence in public management and administration.
"Federal agencies, Congress, state and local governments, and education and philanthropic institutions frequently seek the Academy's assistance in addressing both short-term and long- term challenges--including budgeting and finance, alternate corporate structures, performance measurement, human resources management, information technology, devolution, strategic planning, and managing for results.
"The Academy's most distinctive feature is its membership of 480 fellows: current and former Cabinet officers, Congressmen, governors, mayors, public managers, etc. who serve on project panels and guide other major endeavors. A recent panel report authored by resident scholar Dewiit John, addresses the particularly germane subject: "Building Stronger Communities and Regions: Can the Federal Government Help?" summarized in NARPAC, Inc.'s section on regionalism..
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This US Department of Transportation Center in Cambridge, Mas., was set up many years ago to perform research and special programs administration. It is involved in everything from air traffic management and highway/rail safety to strategic planning and economic analysis. It also has a first rate, very responsive library service. It provided NARPAC with much of the relevant information sources required to develop Is There a MetroLite in DC's Future.
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Founded in 1975, Public Agenda states that it is "a nonpartisan, nonprofit public opinion research and citizen education organization based in New York City. Its two-fold mission is to a): help leaders better understand the public's point of view on major policy issues. Through in-depth analyses and opinion studies, Public Agenda gives public officials and leaders a unique opportunity to discover what Americans are really thinking. This critical research enables government, industry and organizations to address constituent concerns thoughtfully and effectively; and b): help citizens better understand critical policy issues so they can make their own more informed and thoughtful decisions. Drawing on its research, Public Agenda prepares a broad array of educational materials that help explain policy issues to the public in a balanced and easy-to-understand way. Citizens can use this information to weigh various choices and make educated decisions.
"Public Agenda has addressed a wide range of issues through its research and citizen education work including school and health care reform, national security, AIDS, crime, economic competitiveness and the environment. By helping Americans understand the challenges the country faces, Public Agenda enhances our ability to find workable solutions that will assure a more prosperous and secure future for every citizen. Public Agenda maintains a nonpartisan balance in all of its work. Its materials have won praise for their credibility and fairness from elected officials from both political parties and experts and decision-makers across the political spectrum." Recent polls on changing school attitudes towards social promotions and testing brought this excellent web site to NARPAC's attention.
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With more than 13,000 members in over 70 countries worldwide, the American Political Science Association is the world's largest organization for the study of politics. The Association has an extraordinary range of programs and services for individuals, departments, and institutions, and brings together political scientists from all fields of inquiry, regions, and occupational endeavors to expand their awareness and understanding of political life. NARPAC has summarized their 1999 roundtable discussions on the federal role in regionalism.
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With a diverse membership composed of more than 10,000 practitioners, scholars, teachers, and students, ASPA is the largest and most prominent professional association in the field of public administration. It is devoted to advancing excellence in public service--and a powerful source of professional information for those in government operations. ASPA has a very active Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management (SIAM) which deals with matters of regionalism, inter alia.
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ICMA describes its twofold mission "to enhance the quality of local government and to support and assist professional local government managers and administrators. Toward that end, the association develops and publishes a vast array of publications and reference material to help improve the process of local government management. ICMA serves as a major clearing house for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information and data about local government." In addition, "the ICMA Center for Performance Measurement is dedicated to helping local governments measure, compare, and improve municipal service delivery. ICMA's Comparative Performance Measurement Program currently assists approximately 120 cities and counties in the US and Canada..."--and DC is currently being added to that list, along with many other regional and national jurisdictions. DC;s Chief Financial Officer is counting on this organization to help streamline DC's government over the long haul through "benchmarking". Unfortunately, ICMA does not deal with DC"s several, costly, "state functions".
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Many professional organizations within the US are concerned for America's failure to keep up with essential maintenance and expansion of its national infrastructure. DC's problems in this regard are not that different from those of many other American cities. The umbrella organization for some 25,000 public and private sector professionals is the American Public Works Association. They say they "are engineers, technicians, public works directors, business people, contractors, and many others involved in bringing critical public projects and services to make communities run efficiently.". Through their national association and 67 chapters in the US and Canada, they offer a comprehensive array of services to provide education in the related areas of public works.
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Closely related to the APWA (above) is the Rebuild America Coalition, founded in 1987 by APWA and now an alliance between more than 70 public and private organizations, whose stated mission is to:
"o to reverse the decline of infrastructure investment at the national and grass roots levels through research, public awareness and the education of policy makers, the media, private industry and the general public, on infrastructure issues and how infrastructure impacts the economy and quality of life, and
"o to promote public/private partnerships at national and local levels."
Neither the APWA nor the RAC has considered giving any special attention to the current problems of their nation's capital, preferring to remain neutral supporters of infrastructure investment nationwide. Their more immediate concern is to counteract the current efforts of pundits to turn federal infrastructure funding into political hay by branding it as "pork"
. Moreover, neither organization differentiates between state and local needs, nor singles out regional or metro area requirements as being more appropriate zones for analysis. On the other hand, if a regional organization such as the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) were to request a regional estimate of infrastructure needs, the RAC, under a newly started program, would apparently be willing to prepare it.
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According to CNU's homepage: "Since 1993 the Congress for the New Urbanism has advocated for the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions.....CNU is one of the few organizations addressing the confluence of community, economics, environment, and design in our cities, and the only one asserting that these issues must be addressed simultaneously through urban design and planning. (They) believe that the task of rebuilding neighborhoods, cities and regions is profoundly interdisciplinary.... CNU also works with government agencies, nonprofit housing and community developers, and neighborhood activists to shape federal and local policy and to promote the importance of neighborhood vitality, plan- specific investment, and physical design". (emphasis added by NARPAC: we clearly support such objectives.)
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Governing is a monthly Magazine published by the Congressional Quarterly, Inc. and widely read by elected and career officials of state and local governments, as well as journalists, academics and citizens with interests in their governments closest to home. Of particular interest to NARPAC, Inc is the very extensive list of relevant web sites irreverently called "Wonk Heaven". And among those other web sites, the metro area statistical data base available from the University of Virginia's Regional Economic Information Service (REIS-- based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data) is particularly valuable to those interested in the steady growth of metro areas.
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o Greater Washington Board of Trade
The Board of Trade presents an annual award to a "Leader of the Years" in the Washington area. In May of this year, that award was presented to Katharine Graham, now the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Washington Post Company. As a leader in the movement to gain home rule for DC, her remarks about--and evident disappointment in--the current status of the District are worth reading.
In its February, 1998 issue, the BoT News Editorial claims that DC "our region's central city is well on its way to realizing its potential to become a world- class city", and asserts that the BoT has "set as a goal to mark the 200th birthday celebration with this great city being recognized as a world class city and region for the next centuiry."
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Board of Trade [[www.bot.org]]
The purpose of CUWMA is to "further cooperation among our thirteen member colleges and universities, promoting excellence in education through sharing resources and working together to solve common problems. CUWMA coordinates the joint efforts of our members and offers a number of programs directly." For a while early in 1998, it was rumored that the Consortium might find a lecturer's role for a retired Mayor Barry, but the notion was quickly quashed.
In addition to details about campus events, class schedules, and faculty grants, CUWMA provides information on admissions and financial aid, student fellowships, and adults returning to school. According to their web site:
NARPAC, Inc. has no detailed knowledge of the extent of the impact of this limited venture into "regionalism", but does note that only three of the colleges are beyond the DC boundary, and only one beyond the beltway. The Consortium employs over 150 full- and part-time staff in its central office and programs to "keep the machinery of cooperation running smoothly and provide an environment where innovative programs and productive relationships can grow strong."
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The SBSC is a strong an effective advocate for creating an American business environment that stimulates small business entrepreneurship, and maintains a crisp web site in pursuit of its objectives. In its words:
The SBSC has developed a Small Business Survival Index that measures and ranks the 50 states and District of Columbia according to some of the major costs imposed on investment, entrepreneurship, and business. NARPAC, Inc. has summarized their latest (July 1998) report under comparisons of state and local revenues and expenditures.It shows DC in a disasterous last place relative to the 50 states, and its neighboring jurisdictions.
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The Federal City Council is a non-partisan group of 150 civic leaders and government officials dedicated to the improvement of the Nation's Capital. It, in turn, has sponsored the DC Agenda Project to bring together interested parties from the public and private sectors to improve the governance and quality of life in DC. It has addressed many fundamental issues and stimulated some fine new initiatives, but seems to suffer from perpetuating the myth that the District can function as an entity totally separate from its metropolitan area.
In late 1996, the DC Agenda Project established a very broad-based Task Force on District of Columbia Governance--in which NARPAC, Inc. was privileged to play a very small part. Three major products were produced by the spring of 1997. These included:
o A set of Principles to Guide Policy Recommendations which essentially set the ground rules for the subsequent deliberations of the task force;
o Position Paper Number Onewhich "set forth the position of the Task Force on the issues raised by the President's National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Plan (The President's Proposal)" in time to meet the tight schedule for submitting that plan to Congress: and
o Final Report and Recommendationswhich contained major proposals in five separate areas:
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This fine organization has "provided faculty and student resources
as a community service to support collaborative efforts addressing the
needs of the District of Columbia". It has provided extensive and
highly credible support to the DC Agenda project, publishing an excellent
"Summary of Research and Seminars of the Task Force on DC Governance".
This NARPAC, Inc. web site draws heavily on that report, and the five
other Background Briefing Reports listed below for its substantive input.
They are available by clicking on the titles below, and are must reading
for serious students:
o George Washington University (GWU)
(DC History, Culture, & Politics)
One of the finest old institutions of the nation's capital is its historical society. It is "the local historical organization devoted to making the history of the Washington metropolitan area and its people accessible and understandable to the public." The Society divides its efforts into the four broad categories of: educational programs; publications; research library; and exhibitions. On its new web site (spring 1998), it invites the reader "to explore the history of Washington,DC as a city of crossroads where North and South, federal and local, urban and suburban, national and international, native and newcomer, African American and white, Hispanic and Asian meet and become America."
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For those interested in responsible conservation, there is no better organization than the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which acts as "a catalyst for bold and creative solutions to Bay problems". Staff members set the agenda, serve as watchdogs, and speak out on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay to business, government, and the public. Their Resource Protection Program has three major elements: a) protecting the Bay's natural resources; b) restoring the Bay's essential habitats and filtering mechanisms; and c) involving citizens in CBF's environmental efforts. They are active in a very broad variety of issues, many of which involve DC directly or indirectly. An excellent effort weith a web site to match.
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This scholarly web site provides a "forum for serious discussion, and a bulletin board for news of new collections, upcoming conferences, etc." For a more detailed discussion see NARPAC's DC History page or...
...Leave NARPAC web site for Michigan State University's H- Net.
According to their brochures, Mount Vernon has entered one of the most exciting years in its history. Throughout 1999, the Friends of Historic Mount Vernon will commemorate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's death with a nationwide celebration of his life and legacy -- the George Washington Bicentennial. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Assn believes there is no better opportunity "to reflect upon the character and leadership of our Founding Father, and given the current events of our nation, perhaps no better time." This web site provides a wealth of vaulable information on the life and death of George Washington.
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The US Navy maintains a very extensive web site covering many aspects of naval history, managed by the Naval Historical Center. The site also contains some useful information on the Washington Navy Yard, now undergoing a major modernization to bring thousands of jobs (back) into DC from Virginia.
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According to senior external affairs officials, The DC Public Library,
committed to creating a revitalized library for the 21st Century, has
recently expanded access to its resources via the Internet, and in all
of its 27 facilities. A new, powerful, user- friendly online library catalog
and circulation system, nicknamed CityCat2K, now replaces the Library's
online system which was installed in the mid-'780s. With CityCat2K, the
public will now be able to access DCPL resources on the Internet -- in
their homes, offices, or schools, as well as at the library--via the Library's
home page. In the near future, Library customers will also have secure
access to the individual library card records, and be able to renew or
reserve titles online.The system is the same one installed in the Montgomery
County Department of Public Libraries in the summer of '99.
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The Brookings Institution is a nationally known "think tank" respected for the professional views of its many resident and visiting scholars. It has an active new Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy organized on four "defining principles": 1) Cities matter, and metropolitan communities matter; 2) Cities and Suburbs are inextricably linked; 3) Private sector matters; and 4) Ideas and solutions should come from the "ground up" (italics added). The Institution produces important policy papers and publishes relevant books.
One of the many outstanding (non-taxpaying) non-profit organizations in the nation's capital is the Heritage Foundation, widely regarded as the leading conservative think-tank. According to its home page, it is "celebrating 25 years of leadership for America", and "is committed to rolling back the liberal welfare state and building an America where freedom, opportunity, and civil society flourish". Its interests are national and only occasionally impinge directly on DC. It has come to NARPAC's attention because of its recent analytical report "Comparing Math Scores of Black Students in DC's Public and Catholic Schools". This work is discussed in NARPAC's section on Public Education Reports.
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Several of the large non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the DC area try to "make a difference in their community". The World Bank is one of these with its "Dollars for Doers" and "DC Community Outreach Grants" programs (from which NARPAC, Inc. has benefited). It offers volunteers, grant funding, technical cooperation, and facilities to assist in three priority areas: education and youth; employment and neighborhood economic development; and municipal services to attract business and new residents to the District.
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The DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice was started in 1995 by concerned members of the Washington Community and focuses on in-depth quantitative analytical reports concerning very specific issues. It is the DC Chapter of the national Appleseed Foundation, dedicated to "sowing the seeds of justice". It states its mission as "to effect and enable constructive systemic change leading to a more just, equitable, and sustainable society". DC reports have received well deserved praise, and have often been accepted as authoritative positions. They have included "The Case for a More Fair and Predictable Federal Payment for the District"; "The DC's Pension Dilemma -An Immediate and Lasting Solution"; "Criteria for Analyzing Federal Proposals for Financial Assistance to DC", the need for major reforms at the DC Council, and a recommended management and funding structure for DC's stormwater program. It has also helped reverse the practice of relocating federal facilities outside the district--which has been contributing to the drop in employment for district residents. It will release a major evaluation of the governance of the DC public school system in September, 1999.
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The well-known and highly respected League of Women Voters operates at three levels in and around the DC area: there is a local (District) organization, a regional organization, and, of course, the national organization. The local organization "supports self-government and full voting representation in Congress for DC, and accepts statehood as a means of achieving this goal." The regional group is now undertaking a study to determine a sound "baseline budget" for the DC, against which to judge the adequacy of various proposed remedies. The national organization was very instrumental in trying to pass a consitutional amendment which would have given the District full representation in both the House and the Senate (but not Statehood).
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This is the official web site of the DC Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), a group of private businesses that have banded together to help improve their downtown environment. It is an extremely professional and informative site, and provides an interesting map of the 60-odd developments planned or underway within their boundaries.
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This light-hearted web site matches the intent of the DC Arts and Humanities program to take "the enduring symbols of this country's two major political parties, the donkey and the elephant," and have local area artists decorate blank sculptures "that will stir up the whimsical side of the nation's capital". NARPAC believes they succeeded very well, and includes photos of some of their works on this web site.
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The PBIC is a clearinghouse for information about health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education, enforcement and access and mobility. The PBIC serves anyone interested in pedestrian and bicycle issues, including planners, engineers, private citizens, advocates, educators, police enforcement and the health community. It provided information for NARPAC's analysis of DC's transportation plan revisions
Leave NARPAC, Inc. web site for PBICo Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)
WABA's mission is to create healthier, more liveable region by: promoting biking for fun, fitness and affordable transportation; advocating better biking conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe biking (and NARPAC too!)
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The Committee of 100 is a venerable and respected Washington institution dating back to 1923 and is comprised primarily of professional architects, city planners, and now a variety of special cause activists. The Committee's basic mission ias "to safeguard and advance the fundamental planning, environmental and aesthetic values inherited from the L'Enfant Plan and the McMillan Commission that give Washington its historic distinction, natural beauty and overall livability. In more recent years, the Committee has expanded its interests and membership, but its basic purpose remains the same. This relatively new site has an excellent exposition of the Committee's objections to the current WWII Memorial design for the Mall. In a recent more positive paper, the Committee summarizes its subcommittee's views of "10 Good Ideas for Transportation in the Federal City".
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This committee was established by a group of concerned Washington activists, led by lawyer Larry Mirel, seeking "responsible discussion on the long term solutions to problems of governance and finance in Washington, DC." They believe that full voting rights, Congressional representation, and financial viability form the core of these solutions. Based on its own analyses, this group feels strongly that "the reunion of the City of Washington with Maryland (via "retrocession") is the most feasible and logical, given historical and economic ties between the two jurisdictions". NARPAC, Inc. agrees with this group that solving the basic problems of getting the DC within some "state-like" jurisdiction, Maryland or otherwise, is essential. Some of the Committee's argumentation is available from their web site.
Read CCC "Questions and Answers" here
oThe Coalition for DC
Representation in Congress
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oWashington Regional Alliance
This local regional organization advocates transportation investments, land use policies, and community designs that enhance existing communities and the environment of the National Capital Region. WRN's goal, according to their web site, is "to create and sustain a network of walkable, bikeable communities linked by quality transit, laced with parks, and surrounded by greenspace, with the District of Columbia as the hub of the region". Their web site contains a long, thoughtful "vision" of what principles should be included in their "smarter growth scenario". These include:
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This new nonprofit was organized in 2001 "to help the citizens of Maryland, Virginia and the District work together to make our community a better place for all of us to live, work, and raise children, not by duplicating the roles played by existing regional organizations, but by bringing the leaders of these organizations together in a shared vision of regional interdependence." NARPAC strongly supports this effort.
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In its own words, "The Institute for Local Self Reliance(ILSR) is a small organization with a remarkable track record for breaking new ground in promoting sustainable communities.....ILSR has researched the feasibility of communities generating a significant amount of wealth from local resources and has worked with the increasing numbers of communities interested in moving in that direction. In our initial years we focused on our surrounding Washington, D.C. neighborhood, Adams Morgan... Later we widened our lens to examine cities, and then regions. We became a national organization and worked with state and national governments. Yet our work continued to be informed by our projects in communities and our connections to grassroots organizations, small businesses, farmers and local governments...
ILSR was the first to systematically apply the concept of local self-reliance to urban areas.... ILSR has always believed that with the proper public policies, communities could become far more productive places. Our energy and solid waste work reflects this orientation....With regard to solid waste, ILSR has always argued that these are valuable resources that, if recovered, could strengthen local and regional economies.... Since 1990, our efforts have helped to establish 15 largely locally owned businesses with more than 250 employees and to attract more than $20 million in new investment to low income and working class communities...In October 1992 our work on plant-derived plastics led to our co-hosting the first International Workshop on Biodegradability... In the 1990s, the new kid on the block is "sustainable development". And ILSR is playing a key role in integrating the concepts of human scale, community development and intra-generational equity into a concept that tends to be purely focused on natural resource protection."
ILSR is currently active in trying to get neighborhoods in some parts of DC to turn their derelict properties into affordable housing for those threatened to be forced out by 'gentrification'.
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This web site serves a regional audience of people concerned about the impact of aircraft noise on their neighborhoods. It is "the principal coalition of citizens and civic associations in the District, Maryland, and Virginia challenging the powerful economic and political interests that perennially force National Airport to fly larger aircraft farther and more frequently than its location and limited circumstances reasonably permit."
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College Bound is another example of a charitable organization working towards improving the lot of DC's less fortunate kids. This organization was launched in 1991 with a group of 15 volunteers and 12 students. Since then, the program has grown to include 100 volunteers, and 85 students in grades 8-12. College Bound believes that every child in DC should have the opportunity to earn a college degree, and provides educational, social, emotional, and financial support.
Students are paired with adult mentors, or "partners", and they work together weekly on a core curriculum of math and language arts. Students also receive help with SAT preparation, college applications, and homework. Scholarships, contributed by community residents, businesses, and foundations, are offered as a reward for finishing high school and applying to college.
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Another intriguing approach to volunteerism has been developed by the Single Volunteers of DC. These are single people seeking to develop social contacts with other single people while doing good works together--rather than drinking together. They accept a broad range of operational tasks (but always in groups of six or more to honor their basic motivation) in such diverse areas as: planting trees in parks; home deliveries to the homebound; helping with affordable housing under DC's Habitat for Humanity; fixing up overgrown cemeteries; and working with the The Trash Force.
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This non-profit organization was founded in 1991 by Kent Amos, who had successfully encouraged 87 underprivileged black youths in the DC area to succeed in high school and, often, go on to college--by boarding them in his home. He recognized the interdependence between the student's environment outside the classroom and that in school, and is now dedicated to addressing the many interrelated problems of the impoverished parts of DC as a "system". The mission of the UFI is to "create urban neighborhoods in which every family has the resources and support necessary to realize their full potential--individually and collectively--and to ensure that no child grows up without the close guidance, discipline, and nurturing of caring adults". He proposes to provide educational opportunities for the parents as well as their children. The UFI web site in not yet operational, and NARPAC, Inc. is providing access to some of UFI's basic materials in the belief that this systems approach to the relief of poverty and ignorance is fundamental to gradually phasing out inner city ghettos.
Read about the Urban Family Institute here [[ITXUFI]] (not ready yet)
Read about the Urban Family University here [[ITXUFU]] (not ready yet)
This is a relatively new branch of Criminon, International, a non-profit international organization dedicated to helping prison inmates and juvenile delinquents once again become productive and honest members of society, as well as promoting prison reform where required. Through its field groups, Criminon provides educational programs and self-study courses to over 400 prisons and juvenile facilities in the US, England, Europe, and Australia. According to their literature, in any one week, over 1700 inmates take part in their programs. It also operates programs inside juvenile halls, youth camps, and other detention facilities. Trained Criminon volunteers go into these facilities and administer courses which improve the juvenile offenders' attitudes, and give them the life skills (including literacy) needed to be productive members of society once released. Criminon has received grants from, and is supported by volunteers from the Church of Scientology, but its teaching in non-sectarian. NARPAC, Inc. supports this effort to "recycle" the wasted youths from the DC Public School System.
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This national non-profit organization has set as its goal "to assure children have meaningful and continuing contact with both parents and extended family regardless of the parents marital status." As one means of drawing attention to this cause it publishes an annual compendium of "The Best States to Raise a Child". The latest version is available on its web site.
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This nonprofit organization, supported almost entirely by private donations, is devoted to raising awareness of this key issue and attracting new voices and resources to the cause. It provides access to an extensive set of the latest "Facts and Stats" by which to understand the scope of the problem.
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This underplayed site provides basic information on the Children's Scholarship Fund, "created to expand educational opportunity for low-income families.... (The founders) have underwritten CSF with $100 million and have raised matching funds around the country to award 40,000 scholarships. By awarding up to 75% of a child's private or parochial school's tuition, CFS gives disadvantaged families more choice in the child's education. On April 21st, 1999, those scholarships were awarded, using a computer drawing from the 1,250,000 (!) applications received. Rather cryptically, CSF concludes its recent award announcement, saying that "We marked CFS's one-year anniversary on June 9th, 1999. We are proud of our accomplisments, but we are setting our sights even higher and hope at this time next year, we will be one step closer to providing equal opportunity in education." A worthy objective.
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This new web site, opened in June, "contains information on all DC public charter schools and on the activities of the DC Public Charter School Coalition, including the full text of Coalition Issue Alerts and letters to public officials regarding issues affecting the public charter schools movement in DC. Users of the FOCUS site will also find the full text of the DC Public Charter School Law and links to the sites of individual DC public charter schools and to national charter school organizations."
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KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the US. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. In NARPAC's view, bettering kids' very beginnings is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty in American cities.
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There remains a significant political force devoted to eventually obtaining complete statehood for the District of Columbia--to become the state of "New Columbia". It puts up candidates for local elections, and is rooted in the desire of the majority of DC residents to have complete autonomy and full voting rights. They are unswayed by arguments that DC is less than an inner city, and lacking its own suburban wellspring of wealth and competence. It has a web site, and some of its summary materials are offered here.
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This small activist group is working at the other end of the spectrum. They believe that the District should eventually become a state, and that it city legislature should be radically expanded to match the size of "other small states like Vermont". It does NO ADDRESS YET enjoy a web site, but summaries of its arguments are provided here.
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This association has its roots in the local Advisory Neighborhood Associations (ANC's) which are the grassroots end of the current structure of DC governance established in the 1973 "Home Rule Act". There is also a Federation of Civic Associations--the difference being primarily one of race. According to a recent Washington Post article by the well-known columnist William Raspberry:
According to DC INDICES, (NARPAC, Inc.'s reference "encyclopedia on DC") there are 37 ANC areas, established by the Council and subdivided into 323single-member districts. The function of the ANCs is to advise the DC government on matters of public policy and to review and make recommendations concerning zoning changes, variances, public improvements, licenses and permits of significance to neighborhood planning and development. The ANCs are involved in the District's planning process". But the ANCs have fallen into disuse for a variety of unfortunate reasons, some financial, and undoubtedly some simply out of discouragement.
The FCA strives to reinvigorate these local bodies, and NARPAC, Inc. supports that effort at the base of the governance pyramid.
The Federation of Citizens Associations does not maintain its own web site, but its monthly newsletter is posted by DC Watch
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The Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Council is involved in actively pursing the development of its own neighborhood (and is separate from the Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association listed below). One of its current activities is to develop a consensus on the character and location of the controversial new DC Convention Center. It is the kind of organization that can be instrumental in revitalizating the District--one neighborhood at a time.
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This is one of the DC neighborhood associations clearly committed to its community. Its mission is to "improve the quality of life in the Cardozo Shaw neighborhood, and to work with individuals, groups, and businesses to accomplish this goal". This is the type of grass roots effort essential to making District residents proud of their own communities--and, by extension, of the capital metro area in which they live.
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This is one of DC's citizens' associations clearly committed to its community, one of DC's most 'upscale' neighborhoods "located in Northwest Washington along the Potomac River, essentially between Key Bridge and Chain Bridge....with its high bluffa and breathtaking sunsents, the Palisades is a treasure of green spaces in the nation's capital." It is a very enthusiastic group, and its site is worth visiting.
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This very thoughtful web site prepared by the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) provides an interesting and comprehensive look at one quadrant of DC that still has enormous unfulfilled potential. As the web site suggests: "SW, DC is a thriving community of homeowners, businesses, and government agencies found at the heart of our Nation's Capital". For those interested in getting a better visual understanding of this "low-rise" city, the site's extensive aerial photographs will prove very informative.
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Each year the Urban Design Studio at MIT's School of Architecture and Planning investigates current urban design and planning issues in one of the world's dynamic urban settings. Ideas and recommendations for such strategic areas are based on field study, and a systematic exploration of a variety of proposals for future patterns of place, activity, and access (according to their web site introduction). These ideas are then prepared for final preparation and publication. The studio's pedagogic objective is to introduce students from different backgrounds to the issues that can be addressed through good urban design and planning. The Washington DC Urbn Design Studio in the Fall of 2000 continued this tradition and had as its focus the Waterfront Area of DC's Southwest. The site is worth a visit for those interested in urban planning, and some informative graphics about this area of DC.
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This refreshingly iconoclastic web site is operated by one Cecil Adams, self-proclaimed to be the "World's Smartest Human Being". He claims to have been fighting ignorance since 1973, and that it's taking somewhat longer than they thought it would. His quirky site promises to "provide your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks." Nevertheless, he knew when President Carter had his run-in with a killer rabbit, and for that, NARPAC is eternally grateful.
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This long-established weekly newspaper provides extensive and thorough coverage of all the business and business-related news throughout the Washington metro area. Its archives provide ready retrieval of articles on virtually every subject of interest to current and prospective area entrepreneurs. .
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One of the city's broadest reaching local newspapers is the Washington City Paper, published weekly with extensive coverage of city events, including scathing commentary on its political situation. One of the best ways to keep up with local goings on is to visit their "Loose Lips" section dealing with hometown politics.
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Another well-read local monthly newspaper is the InTowner, in business for 30 years and providing insightful local coverage, often focusing on the City Council and its members. Its editorials reflect a keen interest and knowledge of local affairs.
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This local newspaper calls itself Washington's Independent Hometown Newspaper, and has good coverage of local events. It has also added a moderated online forum called "Common Interests" to its web site for sharing ideas on "just about any topic dealing with DC", and getting feedback from other residents.
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One of DC's longest serving media correspondents on DC matters is Tom Sherwood, also co-author of Dream City , who writes a weekly column for a local paper (Northwest Current) in addition to his regular reporting on Washington's Channel 4 (NBC). He clearly has an inside track which results in both sensitive and balanced reporting.
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In their own words, "DCWatch is an on-line magazine that covers local city politics and public affairs in Washington, DC. In addition to articles and columns about political issues and politicians, DCWatch features resources for civic activists and background material on legislation and current events in the District of Columbia". NARPAC, Inc. finds this very professional site outstanding in presenting the prevalent "mindset" in the nation's capital city, and in linking to virtually all of the "players" on the Washington scene. One sample article from a recent issue is referenced below. In August of 1998, DCWatch took over the local discussion group "DCStory" and is now publishing it twice weekly under the title of "the mail @ DCWatch".
Leave NARPAC, Inc. web site for DCWatchhere [[http://www.dcwatch.com]]
Read What Farrakhan Said here
Another prolific source for witty commentary and serious inputs on the plight of the District comes from this site which is updated almost daily with the latest information on major happenings around town, irreverently entitled "What the Hell Is Up in the District of Columbia". Don't look for solutions here, just some very good exposition on the problems.
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In 1999, EarthOps added an extensive search engine treating virtually all of the local web sites in the Washington Metro area--totalling some 700 pages on 53 purely DC-servers. If its on a local web site, this searcher will find it!
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DC Online is a different kind of site, "designed to be entertaining, a useful reference tool for business and pleasure, and to inspire users to participate in a wide range of activities in the community". It is intended to promote a positive image of the Washington region to those who live here or might want to come--something this city sorely needs. It claims to provide the "most comprehensive Web-based guide to the Washington DC region, plus a grassroots view of persons who are improving the community and helping to solve its problems". Users may find its interactive map of the DC area fascinating and useful.
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This twice-weekly e-mail discussion forum is maintained by DCWatch (above).
It provides 8-12 pages of commentary from local opinion-makers that is monitored closely by local politicos and media. NARPAC posts its monthly update here, and frequently offers comments that are recorded on this site under correspondence.
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The Washington Post www.washingtonpost.com has grown to be one of the nation's most
respected papers, even though some consider it too liberal, and some feel
it is always "down on the District Government". It is by far
the finest day-by day accounting of what is going on the DC area, and
is widely used by NARPAC, Inc. to keep track of all that is going on.
It has its own web site which is very widely used. A few of its articles
are so relevant that they have been pulled down and stored for easy reference
at this site, but they are clearly the property of the Washington Post.
The Affordable Colleges Foundation was organized in 2011 with the mission to provide strategies and information about pursuing an affordable higher education. It provides free community resources, materials, and tools spanning a variety of topics such as: financial-aid and college savings strategies; affordability and scorecard rankings; opportunities for Veterans and people with disabilities; and online learning resources. Its objective is to get these free community education resources into the hands of students. ACF has been featured by over 250 top universities in the United States, Canada, and the UK as well as by many US state and local government organizations.
The ACF has created a higher education political science and career guide tailored to the needs of current and future students. It includes industry resources, career paths, scholarships, supplemental free online courses, and internship opportunities.It has also created the first database of Not-for-Profit accredited online political science programs that is updated on a quarterly basis. While online learning continues to grow, it is critical to educate students about accreditation as it can significantly impact financial aid and credit transferability.
-- (TO BE EXPANDED -- SUGGESTIONS WELCOME) --
This page was updated on May 18, 2014