Neighborhood Residents Fined for Trash

Some members of the Georgetown community raised a complaint for receiving fines for garbage placed in front of their homes by Georgetown students at the meeting of Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission on Tuesday night.

The complaint specifically cites students living on N and O Streets for leaving their trash in the streets in front of several different homes.

Recently, the city enacted a new policy mandating that no trash be placed curbside before 6 p.m. on the night before pick-up. If garbage is found in front of homes prior to this time, the resident is fined $75.

One important aspect of the new plan is that fines are given immediately, without any notices or warnings. Numerous residents said in the meeting they feel as if the fines have been sprung on them unexpectedly, giving them little to no time to adjust to the new rules.

ANC Commissioner Jenna Lowenstein (COL ’09) said she does not think students are to blame for the local trash and rodent problems.

“I really don’t think this is a problem stemming mostly from students or from the university community. I also don’t believe that students are intentionally leaving trash in front of their neighbors’ homes,” she said.

“Those students and neighbors who leave their trash out for extended periods of time might just not know which days and times are appropriate to leave out the trash,” Lowenstein added.

– Kelly Sawyers and Victoria Fosdal

Taxi Strike Hampers Travel in D.C. For Day

Many District taxicab drivers went on strike on Wednesday in protest of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s recent decision to scrap the zone fare system for a meter system.

A number of drivers have said the new system, which was approved last month, would reduce earnings and place a strain on the taxicab industry.

The Associated Press reported that the Taxicab Industry Group, a group representing taxi drivers, estimated that about 90 percent of drivers participated in the strike.

Fenty’s decision came after an August 2007 Zogby International Poll of D.C. cab users found that 80 percent of users frequently have difficulty understanding the zones.

The poll also found that users are almost evenly divided over whether to switch to meters, with 48 percent favoring the change and 49 percent in opposition.

Many expressed dissatisfaction with the Mayor’s office for not better informing the public of the strike and alternative methods of transportation.

Fenty, however, told the Associated Press that the city has “some transportation alternatives,” including the Metro subway system and buses.

In a statement responding to the strike, Fenty stood by his decision while recognizing its controversial nature. “We respect the right of people to disagree with that decision and hope this will be a productive process,” he said.

Cate O’Gorman (COL ’08) said she was out in D.C. on Wednesday night and had a difficult time finding a cab.

“We couldn’t get a cab anywhere,” she said. “We then got to Union Station, and [police] were making sure the maximum numbers of people were getting into each cab, many [of which] were from Maryland and Virginia.”

– Karen Cook

Student Panel Addresses Myanmar Crisis

Two alumni and a student sought to raise awareness about political turmoil in in a panel discussion yesterday.

Lin Aung (GRD ’06), her husband Dominic Nardi (SFS ’05, LAW ’09), and freshman Pyi Thein Khine (COL ’11) described the hardships that many Burmese people face daily to the approximately 20 students in attendance.

Aung, who spent the first 19 years of her Burma and now works for the International Youth Foundation, reminisced about the difficulty of growing up amidst military control and government censorship.

“We had our phone tapped and two military guards watching our home,” she said. “I remember the military coming at night time in taxis and taking people away. They created a sense of fear in all of Burma .they still do.”

Khine, who prefers to be called Bobo, spoke about the physical destruction of Burmese villages by Myanmar’s military junta and the poor living conditions of the Burmese people.

“Out of 54 million people, 85 percent live in rural areas on less than two dollars per day,” he said. “Villages are burnt down by the government, and everything is destroyed.the people are there to suffer unless they can escape.”

Nardi spoke of the historical importance of the Buddhist monks in helping to de-legitimatize the government of Myanmar, and the importance of the Saffron Revolution in contributing to efforts of de-legitimatization.

“Buddhist monks have played a Gandhi-like role in the resistance against British colonial rule in Myanmar,” Nardi said. “Their active role in the revolution has shaken the last pillar of legitimacy for the government.”

The event was hosted by Amnesty-GU.

– Natalie Punchak

Liberal Student Groups To Launch Web Site

The Georgetown Progressive, a new online publication produced by the Progressive Coalition, an alliance of Georgetown organizations working for progressive change, is set to launch on Monday.

The Web site will contain a wide range of features, including a news section providing coverage of progressive activities on campus and throughout the country, an opinion section and an entertainment section with video and audio clips, humorous stories and artwork.

Adam Feiler (SFS ’09), communications director for the Georgetown University College Democrats and the founder of the online publication, said he launched the site out of the desire to “bring progressive groups on campus together to produce content, share information and unite to develop leadership and build alliances.”

According to Feiler, the majority of its features will be created by Georgetown students, although the site will also feature links to popular late-night comedy shows and YouTube clips. Students can register to take advantage of the Web site’s interactive design by creating a personal page, writing blogs and contributing other forms of content to the site.

Feiler said that he believes many students organizations, including GUCD, GU Pride, H*yas for Choice and the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, will contribute to the online publication. According to Feiler, the Web site will ultimately serve as a forum in which the many progressive groups on campus will be able to discuss a wide range of political issues, including political campaigns, policy and activism.

– Spencer Fertig

Administrators Discuss LGBTQ Admissions

Three university administrators discussed the plausibility of affirmative action for LGBTQ students during a forum yesterday in White-Gravenor Hall.

Marjorie Powell, director of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action, said that Georgetown University does not include LGBTQ students in its affirmative action policy, but also said the university works hard to create a comfortable and diverse atmosphere for LGBTQ students.

“We use equal opportunity laws, non-discriminatory laws, to include LGBTQ students,” Powell said.

Jaime Briseno, senior associate director for undergraduate admissions, said the university wants to ensure a diverse campus.

“We would like to have a diverse community – including LGBTQ students,” Briseno said. “We welcome students who have different voices, different backgrounds.”

Briseno said that Georgetown does not ask or make inferences about an applicant’s sexual orientation, as it is illegal to do so.

“We leave it up to the student to reveal their sexual orientation,” Briseno said.

Bill McCoy, coordinator of LGBTQ community resources, said diversity benefits all types of students by increasing interaction between different types of people.

“Studies show that the more diverse a student body, the more likely a white student will have an interaction with a non-white student,” McCoy said. “Unrelated studies show that the mere factor of knowing a member of the LGBTQ community decreases homophobic fears.”

After the speakers’ comments, the audience of about 30 students had the opportunity to discuss their views.

The forum was sponsored by the student organization On the Docket.

– Courteney Lario

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