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Taking note . . .

Observations about public affairs in the nation’s capital
by the editor of The Common Denominator

BASEBALL’S BETTER DEAL: A coalition including parents and teachers of D.C. Public Schools students plans to rally outside Robert F. Kennedy Stadium during the Washington Nationals’ home opener April 14 "to demand that city leaders invest in our school buildings just like they have chosen to invest in Major League Baseball," according to a flyer promoting the rally.

The DCPS Full Funding Coalition, which includes several local groups of public education activists, says it is demanding $200 million be invested in repairing and modernizing the city’s aging schools during fiscal 2006. The coalition also wants full funding support for the school system’s facilities master plan, which the D.C. Board of Education has at least temporarily sidelined in favor of a plan that spreads around limited resources to make smaller repairs faster at a greater number of schools.

Organizers of the rally are considering distributing free bags of peanuts to baseball fans on their way to the game, in addition to offering them literature that explains the rally’s slogan: "$Millions for Stadiums – Peanuts for Schools."

ORANGE DISCLOSES: Ward 5 Councilman Vincent Orange on March 22 released a list of individuals and companies that have donated $140,565 to his mayoral exploratory committee. In addition, Orange said he has returned $100,000 to contributors who asked that they remain anonymous as his supporters. The councilman has not disclosed how his committee is spending its money.

Orange’s committee – a mechanism that allows individuals to raise and spend money to "test the waters" for seeking elective office without legal requirements for public disclosure – listed names and contribution amounts, without including addresses or affiliations of individuals, which is required for contributions to official political campaign committees.

Several contributors to the exploratory committee gave more than the legal limit of $2,000 that would restrict contributions to an official campaign committee. Orange listed the following as his largest contributors: D.C. Legal, $5,000; Wava Ltd. Liab Co., $5,000; Dr. Peter Shin, $5,500; John Ray, $10,000; Sarah Ray, $5,000; Bill Marcellini, $10,000; Daniel Marshall, $10,000; Carmen Group Inc., $5,000; Carl D. Jones, $15,000; Mrs. C.D. Jones, $10,000; Pedro Alfonso, $2,000; Kimberley G. Alfonso, $2,000; Big Stuff Inc., $2,500; Recycling Solutions Inc., $2,500; Brian H. Jackson, $2,500; Andrea M. Chen, $2,500; CH Support Services, $2,500; Dallas Evans, $5,000; Tina Ang, $2,000; Capitol Hill Community Hospital, $2,000; Mckinley L. Battle, $2,000; Helen T. Battle, $2,000; Duhaney Consult Services LLC, $2,000; Benjamin Zindler, $3,000.

REST IN PEACE: Friends and family members gathered April 2 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Northeast Washington to remember D.C. statehood activist Floyd Agostinelli, who succumbed to cancer March 21 at the age of 74 after a long illness. Later that same day, mourners at a Mass for Pope John Paul II, celebrated by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in downtown Washington and attended by the President and Laura Bush, also were asked to pray for Agostinelli., a lifelong pacifist who became a church deacon in 1991.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator