Talk:Washington, D.C./Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4


Washington and D.C.

While the City and County of San Francisco (49 sq. mi) may have always been co-extensive, not so with Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia was established as part of the Residency Act enacted by Congress in 1790, which provided that the capital of the United States would be in a federal district, beginning in 1800, established in a 100 square mile area taken from Maryland and Virginia with the interim capital being in Philadelphia beginning in December 1790; the first capital having been New York City. The Virginia portion, now comprising Arlington County, VA was retroceded to Virginia by Congress in 1847 while Georgetown was a preexisting town in Maryland that had existed for decades as a port on the Potomac River. Beyond that, most of D.C. west of Rock Creek was rural prior to the First World War with the emergence of the Chevy Chase Land Company and the trolley to Chevy Chase, Maryland at that time beginning the development of D.C.'s suburbs. Today the issue of D.C's representation in Congress is a burning one, particulary in the context of D.C. history where slavery was abolished by act of Congress in 1862 during the Civil War. A monument to the approximately 500 D.C. residents, black and white, exists in the form of a small ancient Greek monument near the Lincoln Memorial dedicated circa 1930 at a ceremony attended by President Herbert Hoover.Tom Cod 05:20, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

... I'm confused, are you commenting on something in the article, or just writing an essay on Washington? --Golbez 06:57, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

D.C. picture request

For the Georgetown, Washington, D.C. article, I believe photos of Hyde Elementary School, Hardy Middle School, and Wilson High School would be good for that article. WhisperToMe 05:42, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

In reality, D.C. public schools are quite awful; Many families, especially in affluent neighborhoods such as Georgetown, instead send their kids to private school. So, I don't think the schools are notable enough aspect of the neighborhood to need pictures. Though maybe one is needed for the Woodrow Wilson High School article. --Aude (talk) 07:03, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Or maybe a picture of the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School or something like that? --Aude (talk) 07:08, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Done - Added to a "Gallery of private schools" section :) WhisperToMe 23:38, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
The Georgetown article already has a lot of pictures, maybe too many for an article of its size. If I were going to add anything, it would be a picture of Georgetown University. The public schools are visually uninteresting. --dm (talk) 19:47, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I concur with AudeVivere and D Monack. --Thisisbossi 23:11, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
If Wikipedia already has an article with the university, I'm adding that. Anyway, I believe Georgetown's elementary school, at the least, attracts several from the neighborhood. WhisperToMe 23:32, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
EDIT: Hardy Middle School and Wilson High School have articles already, so pictures of the two schools would be a good idea anyway. WhisperToMe 23:34, 7 February 2007 (UTC)


Why is Our Lady of Victory lumped in with a bunch of prep schools? There are probably at least a hundred parochial schools in the District of Columbia and OLV isn't even the most notable -- Holy Trinity (associated with the oldest Catholic Church in Washington, DC) or Blessed Sacrament would be -- so it's sorely out of place. Mrw1975 06:14, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Should the Parochial schools have their own subsection? --Jvv62 04:20, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

You can make parochial a subsection of private schools, and list the prep schools as "other private schools." WhisperToMe 04:26, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

"The University of the District of Columbia is the city's public university; it is the nation's only urban land-grant university" - UC Berkeley was originally a land grant school, and is located in an urban setting. Remove this misleading statement, please. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:52, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Representation discussion in first paragraph

"Although there is a municipal government and a mayor, Congress has the supreme authority over the city and district, which results in citizens having a different status and less representation in government than residents of the states."

This sentence's construction isn't correct. The issue of Congressional dominion is separate from whether DC residents have congressional representation. DC could have complete self-determination and no representation, and vice-versa. Therefore it's incorrect to say that Congressional dominion "results" in less representation. I am going to draft something to make that distinction a little clearer.


German wikipedia has the following paragraph: "Pierre Charles L'Enfant was given the task to design the „Federal City“. He was inspired by the city plan of Karlsruhe, probably following an advice of Thomas Jefferson who had been fascinated by Karlsruhe's layout during his trip of Germany in 1788 to the extent of making a sketch of it and taking it with him to the USA."

The article mentions only "planned cities of Europe". Any other candidates apart from Karlsruhe? If not it should be mentioned. --Kipala 18:48, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Before integrating this into the article, you're going to need to find a reliable source for that information. I was never aware that the layout for DC was inspired by any european cities, though I suppose it's possible. The sentence on this in the German Wikipedia article is pretty vague and unreferenced as well. Dr. Cash 19:32, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

We need a citation one way or another concerning the selection of the DC site as being in a "southern state" or a "neutral area" between the north and south. If I remember my history correctly, I believe the latter is the accurate statement. Bpiereck 17:40, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Washington (disambiguation)

Can someone explain why people looking for the capital city of the USA on wikipedia go to an article on Washington state instead? The Washington article should at least redirect to a disambig so that people less familiar with USA states and cities understand that a difference even exists. Take a look at Georgia for an example. Even better, let Washington redirect to "Washington, D.C." and leave the Washington state article at "Washington state". Any comments? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tritium6 (talkcontribs) 19:30, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Oppose - I right-out disagree with a redirect from Washington to this article on the US Capital. I would expect people looking for the capital to put in some form of D.C., DC, etc. As for your recommendation for a disambiguation, however, I am not entirely against such, but I do not believe it necessary. Consider also that the only other item on the disambiguation page worth giving a run for the keyword is George Washington, which is listed twice (specifically: right at the top) and that people should know well enough to enter in "George" when searching for him. Likewise with other individuals, places, etc.: people should be reasonably expected to enter in at least a second keyword which will take the user to the desired article. Considering that many of those items are named after George Washington, anyway, if Washington is to redirect anywhere, I'd put my vote George. The only item which does not have a second keyword inherent within its name is the current return of Washington state. As for Georgia, that relation is complicated by the fact that there are two highly notable places which both have "Georgia" as the single keyword: that being Georgia the US state and Georgia the country. --Bossi (talk ;; contribs) 00:11, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Comment - In America, the precedence always goes to the state first. New York > New York City, Washington > Washington, D.C., etc. Georgia is a unique case because it shares its name with an independent nation, and this being the English Wikipedia, and the state of Georgia being a prominent part of a prominent English-speaking nation, a disambig page was used, rather than having to choose which was more important. Having "Washington" redirect to George Washington would be nothing doing, however. It COULD be a disambig, but that requires a lot of discussion I think. And no, Washington state would never be at Washington state, it would be at Washington (state). --Golbez 02:23, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
FOR If people know what to look for, they will find it by using the right keywords. But then they probably don't need an encyclopedia at all. I live in Washington, D.C., and when I travel on the East Coast and tell people where I am from, the followup question (if I forgot to add the DC) is still very often, "DC or state?" I think we should think of disambiguation pages as places where people who are not sure what they are looking for can find some help. An encyclopedia is supposed to help people at the beginning of their search for information. That would be when they need the most help dealing with confusing names. There should probably be more, not fewer, disambiguation and cross reference pages. -- Jvv62 01:29, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Comment - I may know the keywords I need, but I'll still read its entry in the encyclopedia. Just because I know a place like Arkhangelsk exists doesn't mean I know much else about it. Quick tip: I just say I'm from around "DC" and it seems to work well enough -- never had a mix-up. Alrighty, time to educate myself a bit on Arkhangelsk... Cheers! --Bossi (talk ;; contribs) 03:07, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Comment - I live in the Washington D.C. area, and have lived in many other states of the Union, no one, really, no one, if I say: "I live in Washington" would assume I meant the State. It's a wonderful state, nothing against it, but gravity of power, of history and influence, people know exactly what "Washington" means (in the USA -- I don't pretend to know international opinion).

I would hazard though, that most other folks don't even know of the "State of Washington." Generally, common usage, is for those living in the state, when asked where they live, will either give the city and state, or if short hand, say "Washington State." I would defer to anyone saying that the procedure for wikipedia is the the larger division goes first, but then again, DC is not a state, it's unique in the U.S. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Saxonthedog ([[User talk:SaxonthedogSaxonthedog (talk) 04:04, 3 June 2008 (UTC)|talk]] • contribs) 06:12, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

List of articles?

Hi. I just wanted to alert you all to the presence of the article on Borf, that should be linked to somewhere within the DC article piles... FYI. - Freechild 23:09, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Gotta disagree. This is a single issue in a city. Why not include all major crimes nearby too? BQZip01 talk 02:26, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

September 11th

The Pentagon is in Arlington not Washington D.C. it shouldn't be listed as a D.C. event. The wiki shouldn't perpetuate myths or misunderstandings. Johnny lunchpail 21:15, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Well I'm not sure I would launch right into any sort of great legendary myth, though I do agree with you otherwise. However, the event itself is highly relevant to DC and most closely associated with it, not to mention the Pentagon's administrative links to DC (zip code, phone #, etc.); but geographically it is indeed Virginia by the current boundaries of DC. I believe that after the edit by Doops, the current incarnation of the article is adequate as far 9/11 goes. --Bossi (talk ;; contribs) 23:16, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the Doops edit, Thanks Johnny lunchpail 16:47, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Washington Pentagram

Why is the fact that the White House sits at the bottom of a giant pentagram made from the layout of the roads in Washington not included in this article? Or that Congress has a design of an owl around it which is another satanic symbol?—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 09:26, June 15, 2007

Without commenting on the merits of your claims, I note that sources supporting your claims have not been provided. Please note that original research is not permitted in Wikipedia. --ElKevbo 15:53, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
He's talking about the whole "Freemason Conspiracy" in which Freemason designs were incorporated into the layout of DC. A map is here. I think it's all crap. Also note, Rhode Island Avenue doesn't go all the way through. There have been things on it on the Discovery and History Channels. I still don't feel that it should be noted in the article. --MPD T / C 05:35, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
If there have "been things on it on the Discovery and History Channels" then it sounds to me like it's notable and has reliable sources. It shouldn't be given undue weight but if someone were to add this material with proper references then I'd be hard pressed to support its removal. --ElKevbo 13:12, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
This "fact" may belong on a Freemason conspiracy page, but it definitely doesn't belong on the standard DC page. Anyone who wants to add this sort of thing to wikipedia, should add a new page with a link from this page.
-- Jvv62 00:59, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Note that almost any 5 points will form a pentagram from some angle. BQZip01 talk 02:24, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Removal of link

Hello, I posted a link to VegDC in the external links and it was removed. I was told to bring it to the talk page if I thought it should be re-added. is a guide to the many vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurants, grocery stores, etc in the D.C. metro area. I think this link is as relevant and useful to visitors as any of the other tourist attractions or tourist/travel guides.

Am I off-base here? 17:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

It's a useful link for some people, but it's basically advertising, a directory of businesses. If we included that, we'd have to include links to kosher food, halal food, the Buyindie directory for DC, and many other kinds of directories that are interesting but not necessarily about or unique to Washington, DC. If this article were "Vegetarianism in Washington, DC" then it'd be fine, but since it's only one small part of DC, then it's not in here. These guidelines are at Wikipedia:External links --AW 17:44, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

including on wikipedia

I am the publisher of Under media, I have added a reference to We are the major listing of blogs and information about blogging in the Washington DC metro area. We've been in operation for more than two years. Blogging is citizen media and bloggers, in total, provide important and often original news and analysis about this community. With their stories about life, they help humanize this city and reach its residents in ways that other media do not. We are a news source and directory about local blogging. provides daily summary of some new and interesting post and provide a live feed of hundreds of local bloggers -- it's akin to an AP wire. We are media in every sense of the word. Thank you for your kind consideration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dcblogs (talkcontribs) 13:38, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not the place to advertise your blog. Dr. Cash 00:26, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Latin concept of the "Columb" : important to the establishment of D.C.

Why is there nothing on the significance of the Latin origins of the words Columbus, Columbia, etc., specifically in relation to the establishment of the District of Columbia?

It's important to note that the Latin "columb" translates to "dove". Queen Semirimis was represented by a dove, or "columb" on earth by the Ancient Romans. You can now see her statue (which some people call the "statue of liberty") in the US and a replica on the River Seine in France. I feel this has just been casually swept under the rug, or completely overlooked...for reasons unknown to me. How prominant is the concept of the "columb" in America? Very. People really need to do their homework on the origins of this word and how it related to the democratic societies in Europe and their plans for America (the District of Columbia being the crystalisation of their plans).

It should be clear to any historian that the establishment of the District of Columbia in 1871 (on the seal) (from the Congressional Act of the same year which established a sovereign government in DC) was an establishment of a European democratic society. The Columbian faction of Europe had democratic (not republican) interests. There is a reason why the French Columbians gave the gift of Semirimis to America to celebrate the establishment of the "Columb" at the heart of US political power... the District of Columbia.

Please - this is not insignificant. Casually referencing "Christopher Columbus" as to whom this district's name was derived from is just a throw-away, broad brush reference that only further supports the fairy tale American children are indoctrinated with in the United States' District of Columbia run education system.

Not wanting to change anything at this stage - just want to discuss... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:51, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Do you have any references for any of this? Columbia (name) is an interesting article on this topic. It doesn't mention European democratic societies or doves. --D. Monack | talk 17:07, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Is Washington an independent city?

As it's not in any county, wouldn't it be an independent city? Iamanadam 19:26, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Does Washington currently exist?

Related to the question above, does Washington even exist? There was a Washington, DC until the late 19th century but there is currently no city or any other administrative entity called Washington. All of the current admin functions are carried out by the District of Columbia as provided for in the District of Columbia Home Rule Act. If there is any statutory unit still known as Washington, could someone please add it to the article? There was some earlier discussion of this here. Thanks. — AjaxSmack 01:12, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

There are still valid statutes which define the establishment of the City of Washington (even if it coextensive with the District of Columbia) and none of them have been specifically repealed. It just so happens that thanks to the various federal acts, charters, statutes and amendments the "City of Washington" currently has no administrative entities as all of its functions are part of the District of Columbia government. So, to answer your question... Yes, "Washington" still exists, but it's really in name only. Epicadam (talk) 19:57, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

GA comments

While this isn't a full re-review of the article, a couple of observations note that the article most likely would not pass the current Good Article criteria. Most of the article is complete unsourced (like the bulk of the history section, and many other sections that follow), and citations of any important information is necessary for inclusion as a [{WP:GA|GA]]. There are also organizational issues, as many sections of the article seem to go off into tangents of very dubious and minor information, which present some problems with the flow of the article. It would be a good idea if editors cited sources as well as formatted references (single URLs alone are not acceptable as citations), or else this article will be delisted.

As an additional note, who promoted this article to A-class? I see now evidence of an A-class review on this article, either? Dr. Cash 00:36, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Regarding your second paragraph, the class was changed in this edit without any apparent agreement. I've demoted back down to GA, which could indeed be up for reviewal. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 00:54, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Transclusion limit

I have commented out the climate data because it caused the article to exceed the transclusion limit. The effects included the references not displaying at all. The two possible solutions are a permanent removal or hardcoding the conversions - i.e. 1 inch (25.4 mm). Comments, please? MER-C 11:58, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

I have subst'ed the whole thing. --Morten LJ 10:58, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Quadrant article names

Are Washington, D.C. (northeast), Washington, D.C. (northwest), Washington, D.C. (southeast) and Washington, D.C. (southwest) really the best names for articles? I'm not sure they should be that, Quadrant, Washington, D.C., Quadrant (Washington, D.C.) or something else. Jason McHuff (talk) 11:59, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I'd prefer them the way they are. "Quadrant" just adds in a word that I don't think is particularly necessary. Nobody in DC really refers to them as quadrants; rather they're just "Northwest" and "Northeast" -- as if they were their own cities with those names. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 14:05, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Let me clarify. I'm not saying "Quadrant" should be in the article title. I was using "Quadrant" as a placeholder/variable to represent "Southwest", "Northwest", etc. The actual article title would be "Southwest, Washington, D.C." or maybe "Southwest (Washington, D.C.)" or something else. Jason McHuff (talk) 23:54, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Ahhhhh yes, I completely misread that the first time around. Looking at it now, it makes perfect sense. I agree with your recommendations and I think I prefer Quadrant, Washington, D.C. of the two recommendations (though my opinion could be swayed either way). This might be more applicable at the DC Wikiproject -- I've copied over this discussion onto the Wikiproject's talk page. To keep the discussion in one place, I recommend that future responses be posted there. Cheers! --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 01:02, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Attractive city ratings

Before we get into a reversion war: this link says that DC is the 24th most attractive city; not the 2nd least attractive. Being 24th is probably not particularly notable in itself. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 05:37, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't know where I come down on the competing interpretations, but it's kind of a silly poll anyway. Only slightly more notable than something like having the third highest consumption of lifesavers candies or having the most sneakers per capita. --Beaker342 (talk) 05:42, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
The main page for the poll states that it was also conducted by CNN Headline News and received over 60,000 responses. If the poll results are really considered notable, perhaps DC's being ranked as most worldly among the 25 cities, or 4th in intelligence (and diversity), would be more worthy of mention. Similarly, it ranked second in overall culture, and just behind Orlando for family vacations. [1]Adavidb 07:22, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


What state is Washington D.C. in? Or is it an independant city in the country? Bretonnia (talk) 16:51, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

The latter: it is independently-administered directly by Congress and is not part of any state. It would be like if Ottawa ceased to be in Ontario, instead becoming its own "province", of sorts, under control by parliament. This section may provide some additional information of interest. Cheers! --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 02:26, 21 December 2007 (UTC)


I have been trying to figure out the scheme by which addresses are determined to be on the north/south or east west of roads in DC (or even if there is a scheme). But I have not been able to find any source. The only scheme I've been able to come up with that I can't disprove (off-hand) is:

NW: even south/west, odd north/east NE: even north/west, odd south/east SW: even south/east, odd north/west SE: even north/east, odd south/west

Does anyone have information on this? Any sources? --Peter Talk 10:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I recall having read (maybe in an ADC map book?) that odd numbers are on the right as you face in the direction of increasing numbers. I'll try to find a reference to that effect. Doctor Whom (talk) 20:28, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That would certainly match what I've been unable to disconfirm. There doesn't seem to be any reference to the scheme online—I'll thumb through the map books at the gas station & see if I can't produce a reference. --Peter Talk 13:31, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

hello —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


I read two sentences of this article and I couldn't help but laugh. No wonder you guys have such a negative view from other people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:50, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

I’m unclear of Narcissism’s statement? What impression could have been left by these two sentences and more importantly what does it have to do with information about Washington D.C.?

“Washington, D.C., is the capital of the United States. Washington (the city) covers the same area as (i.e. is coterminous with) the District of Columbia (abbreviated as "D.C.").”

Or is he/she mentioning two different sentences somewhere in the article? If this is the case shouldn’t he/she have noted which sentence? Aren’t these just statements of facts as to what Washington, D.C. is? And what does he/she mean by “you guys” and “other people?” Isn’t this just an inflammatory statement? If so, shouldn’t it be removed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:40, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Change to Television shows

I added "24" as one of the tv series featuring Washington, DC. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Typo regarding population...

Did I miscount the zeroes in the "Population" section? It says that there are a billion people living in D.C. I know it's crowded, but I'm pretty sure there aren't more people there than in the entire continent!!!-- (talk) 21:05, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Benjamen banneker

Someone should mention him —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:47, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Name of the city

I've not got a real clear answer to this either in the article or in the talk page (or archives) - or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. Either way, "Washington, D. C." is the only national capital I've seen (though not always) that is referred to with the name of the area it's in, as opposed to others. For example, the capitals of Canada, Australia, and Mexico are pretty much always referred to (especially in a list with other national capitals) as Ottawa, Canberra, and Mexico City respectively, not Ottawa, ON, Canberra, NSW, and Mexico, DF. Is the actual name of the city "Washington, D. C." and not "Washington"? (Am I making any sense??) --Canuckguy (talk) 01:19, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Washington, D.C. is referred to as such so as not to confuse it with the state of Washington, which is on the other side of the country. Dr. Cash (talk) 18:39, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Good article reassessment

This article has been nominated for good article reassessment to determine whether or not it meets the good article criteria and so can be listed as a good article. Please add comments to the article reassessment page. As Chicago strives to regain its WP:GA status, it is looking at other comparable municipalities to strive toward. Unfortunately, this is not what I believe it should be striving toward. The WP:LEAD is more than the max four paragraphs and large blocks of text are uncited. I do not consider this article any better than Chicago, which was duly delisted.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTD) 14:59, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I have combined two shorter paragraphs in the lead. It is now four paragraphs in length. Majoreditor (talk) 18:35, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
The article needs additional citations. I have tagged the appropriate spots. Perhaps some of you can help by adding the needed references. Thanks, Majoreditor (talk) 05:35, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

This article was nominated for good article reassessment to determine whether or not it met the good article criteria and so can be listed as a good article. The article was delisted per consensus. Please see the archived discussion for further information. PeterSymonds | talk 20:39, 22 March 2008 (UTC)


This is the location of the 1952 UFO Incident in which this place had a major UFO sighting that caused the CIA to create the Robertson Panel in 1952 to "reduce" intrest in UFOs by ridiculing all who see and report them, alien contact. This shouyld be mentioned. See UFO: List of major UFO Sightings. (talk) 04:25, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Diminished capital representation in other countries?

I'm sorry, but the line "Some nations that have built capital cities from scratch, including Australia, have diminished representation for a federal district", is bunkum.

Canberra, the capital of Australia, is the main (pretty much the only) population centre in the Australian Capital Territory or ACT.

The Australian Commonwealth Parliament has two tiers of representation: the House of Representatives, and the Senate.

In the House of Representatives, the ACT is treated no differently than anywhere else (apart from Tasmania which is guaranteed 5 HoR seats in the Constitution, regardless of whether its population would justify them). The ACT has the largest population-to-representation ratio in the country at the moment for its 2 HoR seats; but that is because it is just 'under quota' in terms of population needed to get 3 seats. (If I recall rightly, it's had 3 seats in the past before a population dip.) There is no systemically "diminished representation" for the ACT in the HoR.

In the Senate, the ACT directly elects 2 senators. Just the same as Australia's only other (continental) Territory, the Northern Territory. All States elect 12 senators. The lesser number of senators is a product of the fact that the ACT is not a state (and as such, does not have guaranteed rights for senators under the Constitution). As its equivalence with the Northern Territory shows, it's all about its status as a Territory, rather than because its population base is in a 'capital city built from scratch'.

Residents of Canberra do not receive 'diminished representation' in the Senate as a result of living in the ACT anyway. Imagine that the ACT had never been created as a territory of Australia, and Canberra would simply be situated in NSW (the state that surrounds it on all sides). In those circumstances, 330,000 Canberrans would share 12 senators with about 6 million New South Welshpeople; or to put it another way, their votes would account for less than 1 senator (who they could not directly elect anyway; their votes would just be distributed throughout the NSW melting-pot). A Canberran's vote carries over twice as much weight as a NSWperson's vote, and Canberrans have Senators directly responsible to them, as a result of the creation of the 'federal district' of the ACT.

There might be another example around the world that bears out the claim that some nations that build their capital cities from scratch and put them in a special federal district, give diminished representation to the residents of that district. But Australia and Canberra ain't it. (talk) 12:37, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

New picture that was added

I just wanted to say that I think the new picture that was added at the top of the article should be removed, no offense to Jarekt. Looking at it, you can hardly tell what it's a picture of. I think it should just be removed, but since it seems to have survived for a few days without anybody altering it, then I think a discussion is in order to determine if that picture gets to stay there. Epicadam (talk) 18:50, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm inclined to both agree & disagree. On the one hand, I think it is handy to have a high-resolution panorama of the city, as it helps reinforce the height restrictions on buildings & the overall environment of the city. On the other hand, I feel that its current location in the intro breaks up the aesthetic form of the article. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 19:16, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. A panoramic photo is neat, but I do think it looks strange just sitting there at the top. Perhaps it would be best to add a caption and move the picture to the Geography section, possibly in the "Nature" subsection. Thoughts? Epicadam (talk) 20:02, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
I just moved it out of the intro into the first section (History). The Nature section might be a better fit for a photo of a trail through Rock Creek or along the Potomac in the Georgetown area -- something showing less buildings and more trees. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 20:33, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Sister Cities

In the sister city list of New Delhi Washington D.C has been mentioned as sister city but the reverse is not true, New Delhi is not included in the sister city list of Washington D.C ? (talk) 08:26, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Confusing information

"Its population is about 588,292.[1] The Washington Metropolitan Area is the eighth-largest in the United States with more than five million residents, and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area has a population exceeding eight million."

The article states that D.C. hosts only 588,292 and at least 5 million at the same time. The second claim doesn't seem to be supported by anything though it is reasonably more believable.

Leemute (talk) 10:40, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

I described the 588,292 figure better (as the official 2007 estimate), and requested verification of the (seemingly low) area population figure from the WMA article. —Adavidb 13:25, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's at all confusing. The city of Washington, DC (the 68 square miles of it) has an estimated 588,292 residents. If you include what is considered the Washington Metropolitan area, according to the census, has an estimated 5,306,565 residents (the eighth largest in the country). If you include the City of Baltimore and its bedroom communities along with the Washington Metropolitan Area, the combined statistical area has an estimated 8,241,912 (the fourth largest). I will provide the source information on the main page. Cheers Epicadam (talk) 15:43, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Misleading Federal taxation and spending figures

At the end of the introduction section, the article includes this following bit of information... "In the financial year 2004, federal tax collections were $16.9 billion while federal spending in the District was $37.6 billion."

First off, I think those numbers are wrong... the Tax Foundation says that the Federal government spends $5.55 dollars in the District for each dollar in taxes paid (, which means the figure should be up around $93.7 billion, which sounds about right.

Either way, as it stands, by just stating the information on its own in the first section, the article makes it sound as if DC residents are getting a great deal without any clarification of what those numbers actually mean. For example, the city has to spend millions to meet federal security requirements which aren't directly reimbursed to our police or anti-terrorism units. The city also has a daytime population of nearly twice the resident population. All of those commuters use city services (roads, police, emergency services, etc.) yet Congress bars the city from taxing those commuters to help pay for them. Finally, there are many organizations housed in the District besides federal agencies that are exempt from paying taxes altogether (embassies, consulates, etc.) yet they clearly also use city services as well.

If there are no objections, I'd like to move that information (once we determine how accurate it is) to the local government section where the figures can be explained in context. Cheers! --Epicadam (talk) 17:10, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Since nobody seemed to have any comments, I went ahead and made a few changes. I moved the tax collection information down to the local politics section and I removed the bit about the 25% of the District's budget coming from the Federal government. The reasoning for removing the information is this: $2.069 billion of the District's $8.4 billion FY08 budget came from the Federal government, which is certainly around 25%. [1] However, as the article mentions, all states receive federal grants to pay for mandated programs (e.g. Medicare). The District received $2.02 billion in Federal grant money to cover the cost of those mandated programs.[2] Therefore, the total funds the Federal government so generously donates to the District government to cover all those extra "state level costs" is a whooping $49 million, or 0.5% of the District's total budget.[3] Which, really, is hardly worth mentioning.
Further, I removed the $37.6 billion spending figure from the article because as the nation's capital, there is undoubtedly greater Federal spending within the city. However, just because the Federal government is (technically) spending the money in the city does not mean, necessarily, that the residents of Washington, DC are benefiting from those expenditures. So to compare the amount of Federal money spent in the District versus what DC residents and businesses pay in Federal taxes is misleading at best. Epicadam (talk) 06:14, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Comment: This discussion is missing some important context in the relation of the District to the Federal Government. First, there is no specificity of the type of grants that the Federal Government provides to the District, funding above and beyond what actual states get. From the most recently enacted consolidated appropriations act:
Plus the fact that Medicare and Medicaid, and other Federal programs, are provided to the District just as if it were a state. Furthermore, the city is home to the Federal Government in terms of a permanent worker base -- no other city in the U.S. can claim to have thousands of workers that has a work base that stable -- that's one reason state cities are proud to be the capitals of the various states. And finally, perhaps most importantly actually, is the amount of income that flows into D.C. due to its status as a world capital: Not merely untold numbers of American tourists who flock to the City to see the memorials and sights, but also the fast inflow of foreign visitors, all of whom spend money here and leave their money in the form of sales taxes, use of commodities and services -- all of which contribute to the economy of the city. The description of DC should reflect at least the facts, of course one fact is that the city would be a backwater if it were not for it's status as the capital of the U.S. In fact, it would not exist but for that fact. I added certain language to somewhat to that effect, but it was deleted, I don't believe justifiably. I'm not asking anyone else to do the work that would describe this status, but having in deleted, improving the objectivity of the page seems pointless. —Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:SaxonthedogSaxonthedog (talk) 04:08, 3 June 2008 (UTC)|Saxonthedog]] (talkcontribs) 06:40, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Saxonthedog: Thanks for your comments about the page's objectivity. I apologize if you feel like all your work was being undone unjustifiably, but please allow me the chance to address your concerns:
1) I have gone ahead and made some changes to the local government section that hopefully help balance the article's objectivity. I don't think anybody on Wikipedia intends to simply delete user contributions; however, as we're attempting to get the page back to "good article" status, we have to ensure that all new facts are cited appropriately. If information is added that doesn't provide the necessary references, it really just detracts from the page. Also, details (and things like block quotes) should be mentioned in the numerous sub-topic pages so as to keep the length and size of the DC main page to a minimum (also a good article requirement).
2) I don't think that anybody is under any illusions that D.C.'s government and economy benefit greatly due to the presence of the Federal government in the city. In fact, the section on the District's economy makes it abundantly clear that the presence of the Federal government (and the jobs and tourism it creates) is not just the main driving force behind the city's economy, but that of the entire metropolitan area as well. However, like I said above, hopefully the changes made in the local government section address those concerns.
3) As for the Congressional appropriations you listed above, all of them are included in the D.C. budget or else relate to the court system and/or law enforcement, which you'll notice I also mentioned separately.
Thanks for your help in improving the page, it is certainly appreciated. Best, Epicadam (talk) 18:48, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Television and radio section

I've gone through and tightened up the tv and radio sections on the main page. As a main article on Washington, D.C., information about call letters and transmitter signal strength is unwarranted; it detracts from the overall quality of the page. Should readers care to learn more information about individual TV and radio stations, the links are provided to learn more.

In all seriousness, even having the lists of stations is a bit of a stretch and is not directly in keeping with the "good article" guidelines. Only particularly noteworthy pieces of information and how they relate to Washington, D.C. itself should be mentioned. Cheers! Epicadam (talk) 19:47, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Page overhauls

Hi all. I'm sure you've noticed many changes to the page over the last few days. Hopefully these changes are for the better and will help the article regain it's "good" rating.

I have been removing significant amounts of information from some sections and adding information in others. My reasoning is this: as the main article page for Washington, D.C. the article is not only supposed to be useful but above all concise. There's a comment on the to-do list that perhaps the history section is too long. Perhaps for another city it would be, but I think it is safe to say that Washington is unique in that history is one of the city's defining features. Same goes for the museums, monuments, national sites, etc. So I think, at least, that it is appropriate for those sections to be a little longer than normal.

Many places where I trimmed down sections had to do with much the information being repeated elsewhere or, such as in the case of the sports section, has a great main article for DC sports that goes into much better detail. The goal, I think, is to keep the page at around 100,000 bytes. That seems to be about right for a city of this importance. New York is a little bit more at around 117,000 bytes, while Paris hovers around 104,000 bytes.

I very sincerely appreciate any feedback you have about the sections I've re-written: Geography, Historic sites and museums, sports, television, radio, demographics, local government and federal representation. Cheers! Epicadam (talk) 19:03, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not able to give detailed suggestions or help out at this time, but have noticed your edits here. But, the article has definitely improved a lot with your changes. --Aude (talk)
Comment: I added a section related to the very reason that DC exists, and that was out of the incident in Philadelphia where Congress was basically left unprotected by the City and State; but that was deleted. Of anything related to the existence of the District, that, in all my reading about the city, is common. That the page makes no reference to it, is a flaw. Giving back Arlington (then Alexandria) to Virginia is immensely important in understanding the geography of the city; or a few pictures or references to the city budget, but certainly those are no more important than the proximate reason for its very inception by the writers of the Constitution. Any overview of the District, no matter how concise, if it omits that event, I think will be incomplete; it punctuates the very need for insularity that Congress desired when it created the city (per the authority provided in the Constitution). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Saxonthedog (talkcontribs) 05:01, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Hi Saxonthedog, I added the info about Philadelphia, but in brief so as to keep the article's size to a minimum. Thanks! -Epicadam (talk) 15:49, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Inaccurate/unsupported statement about Congress's Oversight of D.C. policies

In the "Local Government" section, the article states: "Recently, Congress has used its power to to reverse city policies such as those in regard to gun control and the D.C. public school system."

This is incorrect.

1) I do not believe Congress reversed any city policies about the public schools. AS the D.C. public school article explains, Congress did pass a law to FACILITATE the mayor's plan, which required amendment of D.C.'s home rule charter.

2) D.C.'s gun law was overturned by a federal court (NOT Congress), as the Home Rule article explains:

Some gun rights advocates argue that this violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Although several gun-rights advocates in Congress have, at different times, proposed to repeal the District's gun control laws, such proposals have never been enacted due to protestations regarding District home rule. However, in Parker v. District of Columbia, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found the District's ban on handguns unconstitutional; the District has appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari to hear the case

I agree. I'll remove the information unless somebody can provide a source for specific examples. Epicadam (talk) 16:24, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Comment: The statement that Congress overturned D.C.'s gun policies is not correct -- but what is correct is that during consideration of the D.C. home rule voting bill ([2], there was a Republican "motion to recommit" which is nothing more than a vote to amend the bill, and which would have overturned the D.C. gun laws in large part. The amendment was set to pass, since many Democrats as well as Republicans were intent on voting in favor. The bill was pulled from consideration when it became apparent this would occur. Simply saying that Congress did so is no accurate, but that there was sentiment to do so in one House of Congress, except for procedural tactics of the House Leadership, is quite accurate. Whether this merits mention in the page, I'd leave to others. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Saxonthedog (talkcontribs) 06:55, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Final fixes before GA nomination

Hi all. I think the page is almost ready for GA nomination status. If any of you have any thoughts on what should be added, removed or changed, please let me know.

In specific, I would like your thoughts on removing the "Infrastructure" section altogether. Browsing through other city pages, very few articles (and none with GA status) have information on health systems, etc. Please let me know if the Infrastructure section should be removed and whether you think the article is able to proceed to GA reassessment. Thanks for all your help. Best, -Epicadam (talk) 19:09, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

History subsections

I removed the history subsections so that Washington, D.C. follows the same organization of other GA and FA articles. Featured Articles on North American cities do not use history subsections such as: Ann Arbor, Michigan; New York City; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Vancouver; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Erie, Pennsylvania. In keeping with the general consensus among promoted articles, Washington, D.C. shouldn't use history subsections either. Best, epicAdam (talk) 15:48, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

This is actually not true. There is nothing in guidelines anywhere that forbids using subsections in the history sections of articles, and in some cases they are warranted, depending on the material. There is a general consensus that articles at GA & FA should not have unnecessary 2nd and 3rd level subsection headers, mostly to help articles flow better. But this is mostly directed at articles where editors have inserted multiple 3rd level headings with a single sentence or two, and even 4th level headings in some places; e.g. they are using the extra headers to more or less list information without actually writing prose. But this should not be confused with an outright ban on subsection headers in articles. Dr. Cash (talk) 18:27, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Hold up a second. I didn't say anything about a "ban" on subsection headers. I was just giving PRRfan my reasons for removing the subsection headers that he/she put in the history section. That's all. Nowhere did I say that subsection headers are somehow evil and to be avoided at all costs. Best, epicAdam (talk) 20:07, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

GA Review

The GA review has been archived and can be accessed via this link. Dr. Cash (talk) 02:15, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Peer review

Now that the article is back to GA, I've gone ahead and listed the article for peer review to get additional comments and make any needed revisions before proceeding with WP:FAC. The peer review talk page can be found here: Wikipedia:Peer review/Washington, D.C./archive3. Best, epicAdam (talk) 17:31, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Upright vs right thumbnailed images

What's exactly the difference between them re: this diff? I looked at Template:Image but that's a completely different template, so I'm confused. Toliar (talk) 23:24, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, upright images are those which are taller than they are wide. Without this designation, tall images are set to the same width as other images, often making them substantially larger. I have removed the "right" designation from the image formatting, since images are right justified by default, so this is really two different changes I made, one to remove the unnecessary formating information, and then to set it to use the height to size the thumbnail.--Patrick Ѻ 01:56, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Ah! Upright as in like a book. I thought it meant a format chosen for the upper right of a section, but some pictures weren't positioned there. Thank you, that clears it up. Toliar (talk) 02:07, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Revolutionary War debt footnote

It was a suggestion made in the peer review that the information be included on the main article, just not in the article's main body text. I do think including the information as a footnote is the right move as it is integral for understanding why the capital is located where it is, even if it's only tangentially related to the understanding of Washington, D.C. itself. -epicAdam (talk) 20:41, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

That's fine. I wasn't going to delete it. This certainly should be in the History of Washington, D.C.. I think there is a specific level of detail that the top level page, as this is, should go into, with everything else on the subpages. Also, should we continue with the "Notes" section? I used the ref template rather than the normal markup so that it uses letters for those notes. Is there anything else that should go in it? The fact about Paris' sister city status was also previously a reference.--Patrick Ѻ 00:37, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Hey. Yes, I like the notes section with the ref template and think the bit about Paris can go in there as well. I'm about to work on getting the History of Washington, D.C. article back up to some type of standard (you know, readable prose, perhaps even some references! /sarcasm) and I'll make sure the information gets in there. I personally think the history section for the top page is an okay length. It's a bit longer than the history sections of some other city articles, but I think it's appropriate for Washington, D.C. given its unique history, etc. Best, epicAdam (talk) 01:00, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

New infobox image

A montage of D.C. landmarks to replace the (rather tired) current main photograph

Hi all. After New York City put up their new photo montage, I thought I would attempt to do the same for Washington. To the right, you'll see a collection of photos that I put together. No worries, they all have free Creative Commons licensing.

I wanted to put together images that reflected D.C. as a whole (not just the federal buildings and museums downtown). A description of the images is as follows:

  • Top: panorama of the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument. I decided against trying to find a panorama of the city's skyline because, well, D.C. doesn't have much of a skyline to speak of. Every skyline picture that I've found (and tried to take personally) doesn't come out well; the buildings are all too small, and besides the Washington Monument, you can't really decipher anything else in the photographs. I figured that just a nice image of the mall area would suffice instead of a city skyline.
  • Middle left: Healy Hall at Georgetown. I wanted the city's universities to be represented and, frankly, Georgetown is the oldest has the most distinct buildings, so it got the spot.
  • Middle center: US Capitol. As the Capital, it seemed kinda strange not to have an image of the Capitol. I'd probably remove the other image of the capitol that's already on the page under "Government".
  • Middle right: Dupont Circle Fountain: really, it's there because its a major landmark outside of downtown and the photograph is just gorgeous.
  • Bottom left: African American Civil War Memorial on U Street. I definitely wanted a picture that would really represent U Street and some of the more diverse areas of the city. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of anything recognizable in southeast, and pictures of the Lincoln Theatre or Ben's Chili Bowl just didn't look right in the montage.
  • Bottom right: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast. It's huge, it's often overlooked, and lets people know that there are other places in the city outside of the National Mall and upper Northwest. Plus, it's a really fantastic picture.

Let me know what you guys think. If you have general comments or suggestions about what photos should be present in the montage (or, for that matter, if we should even do a montage at all) please let me know. Also, it's extremely difficult to find good, vibrant, high-resolution, freely licensed photographs online. If you want to make a photo suggestion, please provide a link to the photograph at Wikimedia commons. Thanks! -epicAdam (talk) 08:25, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

That's a very nice looking mix, I think the choices are good. I note London also does the montage. The vertical black border looks like it should be thicker on each side of the capital and between the shrine and the memorial. Also, I'm not sure you need to remove the other image of the Capitol, again it would be odd not to have one there.--Patrick Ѻ 15:44, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Hi Patrickneil. Glad you like it. I fixed the borders between the photographs and I can readd that other image. -epicAdam (talk) 16:05, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I also wanted to add that I like that the U Street photo includes a typical DC streetlight. This is an under utilized symbol of the city that I've used often in my photography.--Patrick Ѻ 04:25, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Whoever took that top photo is awesome. *cough* APK like a lollipop 03:08, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, yes. All hail the great APK. ;-) But seriously, it's a great photo. -epicAdam (talk) 04:17, 31 July 2008 (UTC)


About the acronyms: I was instructed when Georgetown University was under FAC that putting acronyms in parentheses is unnecessary unless that acronym is used later in the article. I note there are a lot of these, from the federal agencies in the lead to the TV stations in media. The MOS specifically mentions putting acronyms in the first usage, but doesn't mention excluding them when not used again. What are your thoughts on this? Also, how can I help with the FAC?--Patrick Ѻ 17:42, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, I provided the acronyms just because many people refer to places simply by their acronyms. I'm not opposed to removing them, but the issue never came up in any of the peer reviews (that I saw). As for the FAC, I would be happy if you could lend me some support with the editors over there, as this is my first nomination. If you care to respond to any editors concerns or make any of their suggested changes, please be my guest. Thanks for your help. -epicAdam (talk) 18:00, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Page move with possible implications for Washington, D.C.

There is a proposal to move New York to "New York State". The page "New York" would then become either a disambiguation page or redirect users to New York City. A decision to move the pages could affect Washington, D.C. in the following ways:

  • There would be strong arguments in favor of moving the article about state of Washington (currently at Washington) to "Washington State".
  • The page currently at "Washington" could be made into either (1) a disambiguation page or (2) redirect to Washington, D.C.

If you would like to provide comments for discussion on the issue, please see Talk:New York#Requested move. Thank you. -epicAdam (talk) 05:08, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Burning of Washington

The aricle says August 24, but many articles cite August 24 and August 25, examples here, here, here, here, and here. It was the heavy rains of the 25th that ended the fires. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:54, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

I went ahead and made the change to the dates using those sources. The original source said "night of August 24", so it makes sense that the fires would have burned overnight into August 25. In terms of the dates, I feel caught in the middle between editors who are insistent that dates be linked and those who say they're unnecessary. Personally, I don't really care about the dates, only that editors continuously bicker about whether or not they should be linked, and if they should, then which ones. Any guidance on this would be appreciated. Thanks, epicAdam (talk) 19:05, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I have no opinion one way or another on the issue of linking or not, but if you do link dates, then you have to be consistent throughout. Month-day combos like July 9 are linked. It's solo years and month-year combos that are unlinked, as they don't affect user prefs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:40, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
And how would I link date spans? The other issue is that people think that only "relevant" dates be linked. In that case, how would one make a determination as to what's relevant? I've seen editors rip through articles delinking all the dates then others go back and relink all of them. It seems like Wikipedia should have a clearer "link all" or "link none" policy on this. -epicAdam (talk) 20:47, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Date spans are a problem; date linking is in flux at MoS. Don't worry about it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:56, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

The L'Enfant Plan

There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding the paper engraving of the L'Enfant plan. The engraving was made by Andrew Ellicott, based on L'Enfant's plans. It is for this reason that the Library of Congress credits L'Enfant for the engraving. Calling the caption "Andrew Ellicott's plan..." is misleading at best. It would be akin to me forging a Monet painting and passing the work off as my own. In this instance, the idea behind the engraving is what's important, not the engraving itself. Best, epicAdam (talk) 21:17, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Taking my cue from the description accompanying the image file, I've amended the caption to credit both L'Enfant as originator and Ellicott as reviser. This is, as best I can tell, accurate and complete. Can we all agree on it? JohnInDC (talk) 22:55, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I am actually thinking of moving that picture down to the cityscape section, possibly replacing it with this one: Image:Burning of Washington 1814.jpg (or possibly another old picture showing Washington in the late 18th century). And then I think I'll move the information about Andrew Ellicott's roll in the city's planning out of the notes section so that it can all be tied together. Thoughts? -epicAdam (talk) 23:06, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
A bit more discussion about Ellicott might be nice, and then the image and caption will have better context. Good idea. (I'm not too crazy about that Burning of Washington image, though, because I think at 230 pixels or whatever it will be a bit muddied, and not very distinctively "Washington".) JohnInDC (talk) 23:37, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Re: L'Enfant's and Ellicott's plans

The picture is that of Ellicott's 1792 "Plan of the City of Washington". The caption should therefore identify it as such.

The Library of Congress does not credit L'Enfant for Ellicott's engraving. The Library holds a copy of L'Enfant's 1791 "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government ....", which people can access at].

The Library of Congress also holds a copy of Ellicott's 1792 Plan. The picture in the Wikipedia site shows that plan.

Ellicott's plan was not a simple engraving of L'Enfant's Plan. There are a number of significant differences between the two plans. In fact, L'Enfant strenuously objected to the changes that Ellicott had made.

See the following webpage for more discussion of this subject: Plan of the City of Washington in Washington Map Society official website

I have added some information to the Streetscape section of the Washington, D.C. Wikipedia page that clarifies L'Enfant's and Ellicott's activities and plans. The information contains references, including the above.

Corker1 (talk) 01:46, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for responding. The caption as you have it is, however, not correct. Or to be more precise, you have not cited a reliable source to support it. Indeed the source that you do cite contradicts your characterization. Here's what it says about this map:
The Washington Map Society has chosen this early map (Courtesy Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, 21 x 26 cm., scale ca. 1:39,000, annotated in lead pencil on verso "1st printed edition of the L'Enfant plan", G3850 1792 .L4 Vault) as its logo. The map portrays the final version of Pierre Charles L'Enfant's plan of the city of Washington, and is one of the earliest printed maps of Washington.
Plan of the City of Washington. The page goes on to explain more or less what you've described in the article, namely, that L'Enfant was hard to work with, didn't produce anything usable, and was eventually fired. Ellicott took over and made "some" changes to L'Enfant's plan. In other words, this source neither credits Ellicott with substantial changes, nor describes the image as anything other than "L'Enfant's Plan". Indeed if the text is to believed, the map itself is labelled on the back as the "L'Enfant plan". The only caption supported by *this* source is one that credits both L'Enfant, as the originator, and Ellicott, as the reviser. I am therefore changing the caption back to conform to the source. If you can provide a reliable source that indicates that the 1792 image is the plan of Ellicott - to the exclusion of L'Enfant! - then please do so. Meanwhile I ask that you leave the caption the way that it is, as it is most consistent with the sources. JohnInDC (talk) 02:48, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Incidentally, another user mentioned this looming revert war on the Requests for Editor Assistance page. That's what led me here. I've asked that others come and weigh in on this disagreement. Please do not change the edit back again - I haven't tallied it specifically but if you haven't violated WP:3RR yet, I suspect the next reversion will. JohnInDC (talk) 02:56, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Well in fact I have gone over am up against the limit myself, so I am done acting on this caption for the time being. I reiterate my caution. Your next reversion (not counting your original change) will be your 5th in the last few hours. It could well lead to a block, particularly since the change is not supported by the source you've provided. JohnInDC (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Considering that Corker1's own comment here says only that "there are a number of significant differences between the two plans", not that they are completely different plans, it seems clear that Ellicott's plan is a revision of L'Enfant's, as the current text says. I don't understand what the basis would be for saying L'Enfant had nothing to do with the plan in the image. —KCinDC (talk) 03:34, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Here too is a Library of Congress link specifically describing this same image as, "Pierre Charles L'Enfant Plan of the City of Washington, March 1792 Engraving on paper". This citation was supplied previously by [[User:Epicadam]. While it is certainly fair, and accurate, also to credit Ellicott here, the sources are pretty clear that this engraving is called "L'Enfant's plan". JohnInDC (talk) 03:40, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
The link in the most recent comment by JohnInDC is one to a site with links to sites describing the U.S. Capitol. Whoever designed that link may not have known that the plan was Ellicott's, rather than L'Enfant's. That also seems to be the case at Arlington Cemetery, where a historical marker in front of L'Enfant's grave illustrates Ellicott's Plan, rather than L'Enfant's original plan. As L'Enfant objected to Ellicott's revisions in his letters, he would probably not be very happy about this misidentification. Fortunately, his grave is covered by a slab containing a copy of a portion of his own plan. However, the public usually only sees the copy of Ellicott's plan (or revision).
As to the caption of the pictures on the Wikipedia pages, the people who have commented above should all visit the website describing the Library of Congress' holdings of L'Enfant's and Ellicott's plans in the Library's catalog at The summary of the holdings states: “Summary: Includes plans by Pierre L'Enfant (facsimile maps published in 1887 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey) and Andrew Ellicott (1792) and … “.
In its most definitive site, the Library of Congress therefore identifies the plan in the Wikipedia pages as Ellicott’s plan. I will leave it to others to revise the caption on the plan in the Wikepedia pages, as I do not want to revise it again myself.Corker1 (talk) 18:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Since there seems to be no controversy over the fact that Ellicott's plan is a revision of L'Enfant's, not a completely original design, I don't see any justification for omitting L'Enfant's name. Whether it should be "Ellicott's revision of L'Enfant's plan" or "L'Enfant's plan with Ellicott's revisions" or even "L'Enfant and Ellicott's plan" is another question. I disagree that a summary of holdings describing two plans as "plans by L'Enfant and Ellicott" somehow definitively shows that the plan is Ellicott's alone. —KCinDC (talk) 18:22, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with KC. The passage you just quoted indicates co-authorship of the plans. Notice the word "by"... plans by L'Enfant and Ellicott and a map by Langdon. There is no doubt that Ellicott actually produced the physical map that we can all look at today; however, the visionary behind those plans is L'Enfant. I prefer the way it was rewritten by JohnInDC since it is unambiguous and reflects all the other sources (Crew book, Historical Society, National Park Service, etc.) -epicAdam (talk) 18:36, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Diamond vs. square

Rather than be drawn into another silly edit war I will simply put the question up for discussion - does it make more sense to describe the original conception of the District as a "diamond", or as a "square"? To my eye, "square" describes something lying flat on one side whereas "diamond" conveys the notion of an object resting on a point, like the District. Although the precise definition of "diamond" appears indeed to describe a "figure with four equal sides forming two inner obtuse angles", there is certainly well-established colloquial precedent for "diamond" meaning "a square resting on a point", viz, baseball "diamond" (unquestionably also a square). I think "square" as used here is more misleading than the (admittedly imprecise) use of "diamond", and thus prefer the latter. Comments? JohnInDC (talk) 21:01, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

The American Heritage definition (which is ultimately what Corker1 is citing) differs from Merriam-Webster, which says "a square or rhombus-shaped figure usually oriented with the long diagonal vertical" (though that definition is poor, since a square doesn't have a long diagonal). I can't work up any reason for caring much one way or the other. How about using "a square" but explaining how it's oriented? Not sure what the best way to do that is — "a square with its corners at the four compass directions"? —KCinDC (talk) 21:18, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I prefer square for several reasons:
  1. A square has equal sides and right angles, like the district — not necessarily true for diamond shapes. When I think of a classic diamond shape, I think of an elongated rhombus, like the diamond on playing cards (♦).
  2. It is designated as "10 miles square" in the Constitution.
  3. "Diamond" is a matter of perspective, isn't it? If your map is aligned on a north-south or east-west axis (admittedly, this is true almost all the time), then it's a diamond, otherwise it isn't. A square is a square from any angle.
D. Monack talk 21:29, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't mind one way or another. The term "square" was dropped because an editor during the Peer Review thought that square was ambiguous and the National Park Service refers to the District multiple times as a "diamond". I don't think calling it a square would require an explanation, but if we wanted to get really technical, we could call it an equilateral diamond, since that would mean that all four sides and angles are equal.
However, I think the District's orientation is plainly evident based on the map. I would like to find a nice map that shows the District as it was before 1846, but most maps tend to be exceedingly bad and difficult to read. I did make this one animated gif that shows the progression of Washington, D.C. through the years, but I don't think it's refined enough for the main Washington, D.C. article: Image:Dcmapanimated.gif. Best, epicAdam (talk) 21:44, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
All diamonds are equilateral. "Equilateral" just means the sides are equal, not necessarily the angles, but it's mainly applied to triangles, where equal sides necessarily means equal angles.
I now think just plain "square" is the way to go. —KCinDC (talk) 22:07, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

The original District of Columbia is "a square resting on a point" only when north, south, east or west is at the bottom of a page. The square does not rest on a point when it is oriented on a page in another direction. Considering the square to rest on a point is a classic example of "thinking inside of a box".
More to the point, Wikipedia currently describes the word "diamond" as: "Diamond may also refer to: ... Lozenge, ◊, a form of rhombus and symbols with that shape; also see polyiamond."
It appears that nobody has recently made any changes to the Wikipedia definition (according to the definition's History section). I therefore consider that Wikipedia articles should not use the term "diamond" at this time to describe a figure that is in the shape of a square.
Consistent with Wikipedia's definition, the Free Online Dictionary defines "diamond" as "A figure with four equal sides forming two inner obtuse angles and two inner acute angles; a rhombus or lozenge." ( This definition may have originated in the American Heritage definition; however, it may come from somewhere else.
Also consistent with Wikipedia's definition, the Reverso Online Dictionary defines diamond as "a. a figure having four sides of equal length forming two acute angles and two obtuse angles; rhombus."("
The Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "diamond" as: "3: a square or rhombus-shaped figure usually oriented with the long diagonal vertical." (
According to Merriam-Webster, a "diamond" shape can therefore be square or rhomboidal. However, the use of this term to describe a shape creates an unnecessary ambiguity. Wikipedia and some other on-line dictionaries avoid this ambiguity by not including a square in the definition. Wikipedia articles should do the same.
The article should therefore describe the shape of the original District as a square, not as a diamond.

Corker1 (talk) 22:48, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'm hardly going to fall on my sword over this one but I think that adhering strictly to one particular dictionary definition doesn't do the article any favors. "Diamond" is more descriptive, and concise to boot. Again I note the (precise!) correspondence to a baseball diamond. (And yes, we can abandon the "north is up" perspective but if we do that then we may as well quit describing Michigan as a mitten and Italy as a boot. Are there really that many maps that orient to the NW or SE anyhow?) If it's important to convey the notion of 4 equal sides and angles, it might be better to say that the District "as initially drawn described a perfect square". The slight circumlocution makes it clear that it's not just a square sitting there. All that said, I have no more to say on it and will go with the consensus. JohnInDC (talk) 23:01, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't mean to belabor this point but Michigan is still a mitten and Italy is still a boot no matter which way you rotate them. And many maps in fact are oriented to NW or SE. Here's a famous one of D.C. with NE on top: ! --—D. Monack talk 23:24, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Famous perhaps, but incomprehensible and scarcely mourned in passing! With that I rest my case. JohnInDC (talk) 23:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
See "Boundary markers of the Nation's Capital : a proposal for their preservation & protection : a National Capital Planning Commission Bicentennial report. National Capital Planning Commission, Washington, DC, 1976; for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office". That government publication (which I consider to be the best published reference on the history of the District's boundaries) positions the sides of Ellicot's map of the entire District parallel to the sides of a page. In that position, the map fits rather nicely on the page. Corker1 (talk) 23:46, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think mittens and boots cease to be mittens and boots when they're in a different orientation. I don't even know what the average person would give as the "standard orientation" of a mitten if you asked, and surely the standard orientation of a boot is standing straight up, not turned like Italy (about the same angle as the square is "turned" for D.C.). How is "diamond" more descriptive, when it's a broader term? "Diamond" is not wrong (in any of the definitions, since a square is a type of rhombus), but the more specific "square" seems preferable. —KCinDC (talk) 23:59, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
"Diamond" is more descriptive because it immediately conveys to the reader the shape and orientation of the original District. "Square" does not, and in *my* (evidently minority) opinion, it confuses the issue of orientation more than "diamond" confuses the issue of geometry. (The argument that I am unduly north-centric I take as facetious. The infamous and execrable taxi map, plus another one evidently oriented for the printer's convenience, are not persuasive on the point!) Finally I have to note that I can't be *that* much of an outlier on this point, if Epicadam is correct that back in the day, this very issue was actually debated the decision was made to leave it as "diamond".
All that said, I appreciate that I'm swimming against the tide here and am content to leave it as Corker1 revised it. JohnInDC (talk) 01:45, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Interstate highways

I feel like a list of highways is unnecessary on the main page, especially when there are two tophat links that provide the same information. Best, epicAdam(talk) 18:17, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


The numbers given didn't go with the source. American Baptists were left out even though they have more adherents in DC than the Southern Baptists and so forth. I changed the lines strictly adhering to the given source. A very good and detailed source by the way. Much better than those newspaper surveys. Mk4711 (talk) 17:22, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

The numbers definitely go with the source, they're just presented as percentages as opposed to raw numbers. You're definitely right about the American Baptists, so I pulled them out of the "other" category and made them their own group. I definitely prefer not mixing percentages and raw numbers with data like this; with percentages, it's easy to make comparisons and see that all the groups add up to 100%. Best, epicAdam(talk) 17:48, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

It turns out that the site has gone offline until next spring. This was a fantastic resource for information about D.C. provided by WETA-TV, our local PBS station. I asked them what happened to the site and I got this response from WETA via email: " is indeeed a wonderful site. Unfortunately, there is a lot of work to be done to make it available again. The site was being housed at a server owned by a company that is no longer in business. It will also take time to integrate it into our current website. We are shooting for a re-launch of the site sometime in the spring of 2009."

Luckily, the Internet Archive maintains a copy of the pages that were cited in this article. I have gone through and replaced the links to the direct to those archives. Since the information cited in this article is historical, I believe the links to the archived pages will be sufficient until the site is back up and running. I just wanted to post a note so this article's contributors are aware of the situation. Thanks! -epicAdam(talk) 17:04, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Grammatical Corrections

Sorry, I'm not yet autoconfirmed, so I can't make this change myself. It's minor. In the Government section, third paragraph, there is a word missing. I've added it in [brackets]: "The administration of Mayor Anthony Williams oversaw a period [of] greater prosperity," That's it. Thanks. Wmburke (talk) 22:08, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Done; thanks JohnInDC (talk) 22:26, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Average wages

I agree that the $70k wages of non-management workers did not appear in the online article of the Washington Post. I don't suppose the entire paper is on the web. The figure came from a box about management vs worker salaries and, to tell the truth, seemed a bit out of place. But the figure was surprising enough that it seemed to belong here. (Put a lot in an article unrelated to DC). Paper just printed Saturday. Still available just about anyplace if you happen to be in the DC area. Check it out! On the very front page.

I would be more concerned with what happened to all the rest of the income, housing, poverty figures, etc. that came from the census, were dumped in here by bot and got deleted somewhere along the line. Those need to be recopied to form the basis of the economy article. Student7 (talk) 15:05, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

We assume good faith that you aren't making it up. Paper sources are used here all the time. It's not your fault they make you pay to see it online. Grsz11 →Review! 15:14, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I do assume good faith, but I also verify. The good thing about the Post is that they do publish the full versions of articles online. I did find the graphic in question, and the statistic is from the Census Bureau. I would like to get more information about the statistic. As is, it's just thrown in here with absolutely nothing to compare it to. Is $70k high? How does it compare to other cities or states? What constitutes at "non-management employee"? The graphic says "salary", does that mean that that hourly workers are not included? Does "District workers" mean residents of the District, or does it include residents of Virginia and Maryland? Does this statistic only apply to "for profit" companies or does it take into account the numerous non-profits and government jobs as well?
I'll look through the Census Bureau to see what information I can come up with. As it stands, however, I think the statistic is rather trivial and meaningless without knowing what exactly the graphic is referring to. Further, despite being on the front page, the graphic is just a teaser for another article by Heather Landy on page A8. I'm not sure how to best reference this since the source isn't the Washington Post, but rather the Census Bureau. Hopefully if I find more about it and will be able to provide a direct link and reference to the census. Best, epicAdam(talk) 22:40, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Ok that works. I hate publications that make you pay online. My local paper which serves maybe 90000 does that. Irritating. Grsz11 →Review! 22:52, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
So I've hopefully reached a compromise solution here. I couldn't find the exact $70k figure in any of the Census Bureau's reports. So either the Post has access to an unpublished report or the reporters made their own calculations based on other Census Bureau data. So instead of using that exact number, I've gone back and edited the "personal income per capita" and poverty figures to state the actual numbers, using the Census Bureau as the source. The reason for doing so are as follows: 1) the reference is much clearer since readers can now link directly back to the census bureau as the source of the data; 2) the information and who is being counted is unambiguous; and 3) the data makes logical sense in the context of the section by putting it in relation to other data. Best, epicAdam(talk) 01:00, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I confess it seemed out of place. But they were trying to make a point about management salaries as opposed to workers. The front page graph (which I no longer have) said "District" on it but wasn't too specific. They may have meant manufacturing or Metro, but it didn't use either word (it said "non-management"). I supposed they were trying to make it germane to local readers having already done the work on the national figures the graphs of which wound up inside and are pointed to above. I agree about the local data (from census which is missing). Since it included non-workers, it would certainly be a lot less.Student7 (talk) 01:23, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I take the point as to the divergence between management and worker salaries, but looking at that as a local issue (especially a Washington issue) seems strange. The issue, as discussed in the article, is more of a national problem, and since there are so few for-profit large enterprises operating in the District it makes even less sense to talk about "non-management salaries" in the city. More to the point is the fact that there is an extreme difference between the affluent and the poor in this city, which I think is now described better and in more detail. Best, epicAdam(talk) 01:45, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Note that the $58k family income, just added, isn't that far off from the 70K single worker figure. Student7 (talk) 15:28, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Private schools relate to the city

I don't know how much discussion they deserve, but this article is about the geographical DC entity. When it gets robust enough, a separate article will be spun off called the "Government of Washington DC." Private schools definitely have a place in this article. Private anything has a place in the article! In most place articles, the private schools are just listed however. In the forked article, "Education in DC" (if or when there is one), a comparison could be drawn between public and private schools. Whether this is important enough to be brought up to the summary, is really up to the editors. It certainly gets national headlines when President's children are sent to private schools.Student7 (talk) 13:22, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

It would also get national headlines if they were sent to public schools. The newsworthy aspect of it is the President's choice about where to send his kids to school - not that the school happens to be in the District of Columbia. Let's bear in mind that this is an encyclopedia article about a constitutionally-unique subdivision of the country with a history stretching back more than two hundred years. This personal decision by a president-elect is trivial in the context of this article. JohnInDC (talk) 14:11, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
But if your point was the more basic one that private schools in the District of Columbia deserve some mention in the article, then I agree. They're *there*, for goodness' sake, and many if not most of them are notable in their own right. JohnInDC (talk) 14:16, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Hi John and Student7. I removed that information last night about all the Presidential daughters with the intention of replacing it with more general information about private schools, which I found this morning from the NCES. I never had any intention of sanitizing the article of information about private entities in the city; I apologize if that's the way it came across. I have several reasons for replacing the information. First, as Student7 pointed out, in keeping with summary style guidelines, the entire list of List of parochial and private schools in Washington, D.C. is hatlinked at the top of the section. While it's true that some schools can be mentioned in the main article, it's unclear which ones. With universities, we stuck to listing only the nationally-accredited research universities, since those are clearly the most notable. However, with private schools, I can't see how we'd pare down the list of 83 schools. Second, as you said Student7, the information about where the Obama girls are going to school is newsworthy, not necessarily encyclopedic. I don't believe it's appropriate to make an exception for three girls especially when no other famous DC school alumni or notable residents are mentioned anywhere else in the article. Best, epicAdam(talk) 16:12, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I pretty much understood what you were doing, Adam, and take the point that it's pretty hard to know how to keep the list of 83 manageable without stepping on toes - JohnInDC (talk) 16:29, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I forgot to mention that most geographic places I maintain are not as large as DC. No way we can put all private, mucb less public schools in this high level article (or maybe even all colleges!) (though they can be "hidden" I suppose, a bit of a cop-out). Don't know how you select out for notability or if you do. Hard to maintain if you allow any. Need to follow "big-city examples. But thanks for recognizing my point that private schools, if space allowed (which it probably doesn't) could be in the article (or better:forked article). And yes, the Obama business seems too transitory for here. Student7 (talk) 22:33, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Metropolitan areas

Epicadam has correctly deleted material not belonging in this article. For the benefit of other editors, material significant to the metropo litan areas can go into article Washington Metropolitan Area and Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Student7 (talk) 02:52, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Consistency with the name in the introduction

In the introduction of this article, shouldn't District of Columbia be placed before Washington, D.C. for consistency? After all, District of Columbia is the offical name of the location. "Washington, D.C." is just a very common name applied to the District of Columbia. I am not proposing we rename this article "District of Columbia", I am just proposing a small reorganization of the introduction. [|Retro00064 | (talk/contribs) |] 09:29, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

If you have a reference that states that the formal name is really the "District of Columbia" only, then I suppose it should go in here somewhere, but hopefully not at the very beginning. Student7 (talk) 14:13, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Student7 here. It's hard to say what the "official" name is. If anything, I would argue that they're "co-official". I think that's reflected in the fact that the license plates say "Washington, DC", its cited in the news and government as being "Washington". I think the distinction is that the "District of Columbia" is the legal name for the entity that governs the Federal territory (since 1871), whereas "Washington" is more of a standard place name (since 1791). To me, if Congress passed an Act tomorrow and replaced the District of Columbia with an entity called the "Insular Federal Territory", the city would still be called Washington. Further, I don't see how readers would be aided by reversing the positions of the names... the detailed explanation in the next sentence I think provides all the clarification needed. Best, epicAdam(talk) 17:05, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Recent changes

I do not think "Health care" should be its own section because there is not enough material in that section to sustain itself. We could pull more out of the subarticle, but then it just becomes a list of hospitals or overly detailed.

As for the information about education, I believe test scores are overly specific for a main topic article. The recent additions that were included from the Time magazine article should probably go under District of Columbia Public Schools or Michelle Rhee. The "government" section already says that Fenty took control of the school system... the board wasn't actually dissolved, just made an essentially advisory group. Best, epicAdam(talk) 22:49, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

One of the problems with keeping two unrelated topics together is that a potential editor is a bit mystified as to where to put anything.
The idea of the statistic was to show why Chancellor Rhee was given extraordinary powers. I have, however, placed it in the PS article. We'll see if it is allowed to exist there. (WP is not censored, right?  :) Student7 (talk) 23:50, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure if an editor would be "mystified" by combining two topics, nobody has yet. The two subjects are actually more related than you would think. Both topics deal with human/public services in the city and since most of the hospitals in DC are related to medical research and education, it makes sense to provide that information alongside education. If you can find more information to put in a health care section (beyond just a listing of hospitals), then making health care its own section would be something to look at.
As for the education statistics, I believe the statement "DCPS has one of the highest-cost yet lowest-performing school systems in the country" informs readers why Rhee's actions are necessary. The citation provided from Forbes magazine's ranking of public school systems is also better because it gives readers a comparison of how well the school system performs in relation to others. Second, the rankings are based on common nationwide indicators of student achievement (standardized test scores, matriculation rates, college acceptance rates, etc.) as opposed to using a vague term like "proficient". Best, epicAdam(talk) 01:13, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Accurate observation on "having no say"

A recent edit observes that residents "have no say" in the appointment of US Attorneys to prosecute cases. This is accurate. However, it seems to me to be also WP:YESPOV, that is, taking a position that DC should have a say in their appointment. (Not that the rest of us do either, BTW. I can't remember the last time anyone asked me who the attorney should be and I have lived in quite a few states, so the importance (unimportance - even uselessness) of this is lost on me as well - and probably on readers who aren't Americans). Student7 (talk) 22:36, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I definitely see what you're getting at. I rewrote the sentence using a cited source showing that all other local prosecutors are either elected or appointed by local officials. Thanks for catching that! Best, epicAdam(talk) 23:35, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and to answer your question about the importance of the information, it's just another way in which DC doesn't have control over its local affairs. Many in DC feel that the US attorneys should focus on federal cases only. In recent years, the US attorneys have prosecuted fewer and fewer felony cases, which means that more criminals are released back onto the streets. This is the latest case where the US attorneys declined to prosecute and a suspect in over 20 robberies was released from custody. There isn't anything the local residents can really do about this sort of thing because the US attorneys and other federal law enforcement agencies aren't accountable to them! Best, epicAdam(talk) 00:15, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying that. It never struck me before that DC has no "local" prosecutor per se. Makes sense I guess.
You've mentioned the Park Police. Do they turn over all suspects to the local (DC) police? You mentioned they "helped". I don't know whether another sentence is warranted or not. Aren't there a lot more police? Federal buildings maybe? Thanks. Student7 (talk) 14:13, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, the criminal justice system is very, very complicated, and I think I've clarified the statement a bit. Essentially all federal law enforcement agencies (there's a link to the list in the paragraph) have jurisdiction in the city. There are some agencies that only provide security at certain sites, such as the U.S. Capitol Police, and others like the U.S. Park Police that essentially patrol the entire city. 20% of DC is considered parkland, including the National Mall, all the monuments, and the huge Rock Creek Park, so that's why I said that they're the "most visible" Federal law enforcement agency in the city. You don't really see the FBI or Secret Service out patrolling around neighborhoods like the Park Police does.
As for the how law enforcement actually works (or really, doesn't work), each agency (both local and federal) behaves as its own entity. When an agency arrests a suspect, that person is held by whichever respective agency made the arrest, and whether the suspect is being charged with a felony. If the suspect is charged with a felony and the US Attorneys decide to prosecute, the suspect is then turned over the U.S. Marshals. So in essence, the federal agencies don't turn anybody over the local DC police, all federal agencies and the DC police turn their suspects over to the U.S. Marshals. If convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison time, adult offenders would enter into the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Obviously, its much more complicated than that but everything is! Best, epicAdam(talk) 17:07, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
I can understand that it would be too much for this article. City articles, like the states, will one day have forked "Government of DC" etc. articles. Too bad a kernel can't be written now for "Law Enforcement in DC" or somesuch with those ideas fresh in your mind. I can apreciate that it is well down your list of priorities!  :) Student7 (talk) 22:50, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
This information is actually present in the article Crime in Washington, D.C. There should probably be a government of DC article, but I'm not sure what else I would say there... most of the content about home rule is already covered in District of Columbia home rule and District of Columbia voting rights, and much of the information about the mayor and council are covered in their own respective pages. Is there anything else you can think of that would go into a "Government of Washington, D.C." article? Best, epicAdam(talk) 06:05, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Native American history

I have two objections to the information about Native Americans. First, the information is uncited. Second, and more importantly, is that the information is not relevant to the history of Washington, D.C. People often confuse people/places that were located in or events that happened in Washington with the history of Washington itself. The fact that Native American tribes inhabited the area in the 1600s is not relevant to the founding of Washington 200 years later; unless, of course, the presence of Native Americans had a direct affect on the city's geography, demographics, culture, government, etc. As far as I can tell, they did not. The information about Native American tribes belong, at best, in the history sub-article (if it is to be present at all). Best, epicAdam(talk) 22:28, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

First, the information on Nacotchtank can and will be cited, no problem. Second, nearly every reliable book, travel guide, history etc. on DC you can find nowadays mentions this, but the Wikipedia article cannot, because one editor believes the first inhabitants there are "not relevant"??? The view that Native Americans who lived there, have no place in history, totally smacks of the very same racist white supremacist attitudes that Native Americans have lived (and died) with for centuries. I guess America is for everyone, and everyone is entitled to have their history mentioned, right - everyone except Natives. I didn't think you were actually making this argument on the other talkpage, but now I see you are, I think this may be a case of systemic WP:BIAS and I will have to report it as such if you insist on suppessing these historical facts. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:41, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Look, I'm not suppressing historical facts. The history of Native Americans in the United States belongs in several articles, just not this one. The fact is that the history of Washington, D.C. started in 1790, when the city was founded. Everything prior to that is the history of the Province of Maryland. You can slander me all you want, I could even accuse you of having your own bias, but it's not going to change the fact that including information about things that happened before a place even existed is inappropriate. Best, epicAdam(talk) 22:54, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Discussion of pre-European inhabitants of the area that eventually became "Washington DC" is appropriately set forth in History of Washington, DC and I have commented to that effect on the Talk page there. This article, however, is about the political entity "Washington DC", not the geographic space it occupies. Indeed following my quick review of the article, it looks like *no* history prior to 1790 is discussed. Early settlement of the area can go in the History article. I don't think it has a place here. JohnInDC (talk) 23:16, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
I have commented here to the effect that the references provided are unverifiable: the first reference effectively cites a library, not a specific source, and the second is either wrongly cited or nonexistent as the American Anthropologist's own website lists no such edition as 'Volume 103'. Maralia (talk) 23:20, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected on the second cite: I was in the subdirectory for the wrong publication (Anthropology News). My apologies. Maralia (talk) 23:23, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
The other cite from the 1920 Records of the Columbia Historical Society is acceptable, and available on Google Books [3]. The article is "A Brief History of Anacostia, its name, origin and progress", p. 167-179. Of course, if this is cited, more details like title, author, and pages numbers are necessary, along with the Google Books link. --Aude (talk) 23:31, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I think that mention of the early settlements is appropriate in the history subarticle. The history section here needs to follow summary style, thus possibly a very brief mention of native settlements might be appropriate. Though, could go either way. If mentioned, I'm not sure what would be a good way to work it into the text. Possibly the sentence, "and the City of Georgetown, founded in 1751." could be reworded to say, "and the City of Georgetown, founded in 1751, and there had been native Nacotchtank settlements in Anacostia." Thoughts? --Aude (talk) 23:25, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

If there were Native American settlements in the area when DC was founded then I obviously have no objections to including that information. However, as a more practical matter, it may be best to make a hatlink either in this article or the subarticle. Something like "For the history of the area prior to the establishment of Washington, D.C. see History of Maryland and History of Virginia" makes infinitely more sense then trying to include all the pre-history of the area in this one article. Best, epicAdam(talk) 23:44, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
It's fine to leave that out. The details of native settlements are too tangential, when this article needs to be a summary and can't mention everything. --Aude (talk) 23:50, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Apparently, the source in question has been found, on my talk page. Here is the full text

Apparently, there are some here who think that Native Americans are non-persons, irrelevant, and will use any excuse to keep them from being mentioned on this article at all. Hence, I am going to be reporting this discussion at WP:BIAS, because it's precisely the same old racism that's been directed at Natives for hundreds of years. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 23:38, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Ok I feel like you've misunderstood what was being said, we want your input, really. But the way it was listed and the seemingly hostile edit summaries kind of put people on the defensive. I'm sure that even if this was put into the article with sources, it would have been moved to a different page for the same reasons that JohnInDC has stated. I think this page is more about the political area that is D.C and not the History of D.C, for which there is a completely different page. And I'm sure that page would put up no fight as to the inclusion of what was stated here. Please in no believe that we are being biased or racist in this matter, because that was the furthest thing from my mind when I reverted it. Like I said, I lead campaigns against unverifiable sources and that was all that went into it. But if you still believe that, honestly, I'm sorry for ANY inference you may have that I am against Native Americans.--EmperorofBlackPeopleEverywhere (talk) 23:45, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

FYI - report at WP:Bias. JohnInDC (talk) 00:04, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Consensus hasn't been reached on my suggestion, though I see it was added in some form to the article [4]. I was just throwing the idea out there for discussion at this point. Please keep discussing, and I suggest even letting this rest for now, everyone cool off, and come back tomorrow or some later point. --Aude (talk) 00:31, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Folks, please get serious about this

I just checked New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Budapest. All of them have short mentions of the original inhabitants. (though Boston falls down a bit) It's the most common thing in the world to want to know who were the original inhabitants. It may not fit in with your conception of what DC is all about, but it fits in with the conception of very many people. And of course, it is our nation's capital, the capital of all American. To me it's a slam dunk - include a sentence about the original inhabitants with proper references of course. Smallbones (talk) 00:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

I think the question is whether there were Amerindians in the area when Washington was founded. There certainly were when NYC, LA, Boston, etc. were. There they should be included if for no other reason than their influence on the founding of those towns. But if local native peoples had all been killed or driven off by the time DC was founded, then I would agree that they would not be of much relevance in a summary of the history, any more than the Etruscans are relevant to the Vatican. kwami (talk) 02:19, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
An a quick glance, it looks like they had merged with the Piscataway Indian Nation and vacated the area (or were driven out?) decades before the founding of Washington. This is certainly of interest for the DC history article, since plenty of people will wonder what had happened to the native population, but IMO it's of dubious value in a summary. kwami (talk) 02:28, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Smallbones is correct, it's a slam dunk, "dubious value" is the subjective opinion of some editors, but it doesn't trump policy. The argument that nothing before 1790 is relevant is pure speciousness, and is offensive. You have not heard the last of this, mark my words... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 02:46, 10 December 2008 (UTC) The hypocrisy of this attitude is plain to see: It's okay to mention that there were other settlements before 1790, such as Georgetown in 1749 so long as they were white colonists. The original occupants were never legitimate and never will be legitimate in the eyes of some backwards people, but to see that here is nothing short of appalling. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 02:51, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Washington, D.C. is different from most other (more organic) settlements-turned-cities like the foregoing in that Washington was founded by decree, literally carved out of wilderness to be transformed into the young nation's capital. Unlike New York, London and the others above, Washington did not slowly evolve from an ancient settlement up into a great city; it was created instead by fiat. It is an inherently political entity. Indeed in a way like none of the others, the story of "Washington, D.C." can be fairly neatly divided into a time when there was no "Washington" and the time after which there was. The main article here does a very good job, I think, of concentrating on the period following the actual formal founding of the city - a focus which I, anyhow, consider quite appropriate given that the city is, at its core, artificial.
I agree that the story and pre-history of the region, including the habitation of the area that became Washington, is interesting, encyclopedic and important; which is why the subject should be covered as thoroughly as the sources may allow in the separate History of Washington, D.C. . That said, I think that the same information in the article about the political entity - particularly when there appears to be no real connection between prior indigenous settlements and the establishment of the capital - is largely beside the point. JohnInDC (talk) 02:51, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I would add that, in cases where there is such continuity between an original settlement and the city to emerge in the same place - for example the adjacent, and now included, city of Georgetown - the reference makes good sense. JohnInDC (talk) 02:58, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
(Although, sigh, reading the Nacotchtank article more carefully it appears that the indigenous settlement had vanished there too before the Europeans settled it.) JohnInDC (talk) 03:26, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I get the "point" loud and clear, it isn;t inclusive of the original inhabitants in your POV, but I think it is appalling to see that you will not even suffer a link to Nacotchtank to appear in the article because of some false idea that it is not relevant to the District. Part of the district is still called by a form of this name today, but we can't mention it? This is ridiculous and offensive and racist, in a supposedly "neutral" project. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 02:56, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Smallbones hit the nail on the head when he said "It doesn't fit in with your conception of what DC is all about". Plainly a very exclusive and elitist conception, I might add. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 02:59, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Hm. Well, so long as you insist on implying that I am a racist, then no - I don't think you do see the point. I've had my say, and I'm not inclined to continue this discussion if that's the level to which the discourse is going to fall. JohnInDC (talk) 03:01, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree that even if there were no Indians in the area at the time Washington was founded there ought to be discussion of the area's prior history (minus Till Eulenspiegel's harsh words). There ought to be some brief recapping of the early settlement section of history of Washington, D.C. A few sentences would suffice, perhaps along the lines of: "Humans had settled in the area that became Washington, DC since 2000 BC. The earliest peoples recorded in historical sources were the X and Y. White folks visited in 16XX. X and Y died out/were pushed out in 17XX. The first European established settlements were in 17XX."--Cúchullain t/c 03:30, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

I'll ask User: Til Eulenspiegel to cool down a bit. Accusations of racism don't help. Most likely these guys are just very narrowly focused on their own interests, and haven't yet come to their senses enough to say "Hey, one sentence on Native Americans in DC wouldn't hurt anything. And, gee whiz, some people might think it's important who the original inhabitants were." Come on guys, don't you really think that many people would be interested in this?

For the record DC is the 27th largest city in the US. 21 of the larger 26 cities have Wikipedia articles with a sentence or two (sometimes more) on the original inhabitants, usual right at the top of the history section. It's rather funny in its own way which cities don't mention the original inhabitants: Houston, Indianapolis (think about this one), Baltimore, Nashville, and Denver (seat of Arapaho County). With all due respect to these cities, I'd guess that Washingtonians would prefer to be in a group with NYC, Philly, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Jacksonville, etc.

Smallbones (talk) 05:03, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

I think comparing DC to other cities is a lost cause; DC is not like other American cities in just about every way. However, I did go ahead and redo the start of the history section to mention all settlements that predate the District of Columbia, both Native American and colonial. The edit only added about 500 characters of readable text; however, I'm still not sure if I like how the information is presented. I think including even one sentence about Native American settlements almost requires that we explain what happened in the 200+ years between the first colonists arriving in the area and the establishment of the District. To me, that's just far too much detail and probably violates WP:SUMMARY, if we aren't already doing so. Luckily, we can always revert the edits but I wanted to get other editors' takes on this. Best, epicAdam(talk) 07:45, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. In just about every other U.S. city, the story of the indigenous inhabitants leads directly into - may even explain - the origin of the eventual city founded by Europeans. For example you can't tell about Manhattan without talking about how the Dutch bought it for a few dollars' worth of jewelry. By contrast, by the time Europeans settled the area that would one day become Washington, the preceding inhabitants were - as best I can tell - entirely gone, having left of their own accord. They weren't bought off, relocated, conquered, assimilated, or wiped out by disease - they were simply gone. When Washington was settled - and when, unlike any other major American city, it was simply *invented* in 1790, it was just empty forest and swamp, abandoned by all predecessors. The name of the original inhabitants survives in today in the Anacostia River, and that warrants mention in passing, but otherwise - again - the larger history is beside the point of this *particular* article. It belongs in History of Washington, D.C.. The only thing keeping this contested discussion from being a "non sequitur" is the technical fact that it precedes, rather than follows on, the main article. JohnInDC (talk) 12:02, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe the information to be necessary. That said, I'm fine with the history introduction as it currently stands and have full confidence in the way Adam phrased it. I think the focus of the article should stick to the topic, and I'd probably oppose any additional sentences on this. I very much disagree that there is any race based prejudice going on here, and resent that it was suggested on this talk page and in edit summaries. Conjecturing that any disagreement a result of racist editor is not the way to settle issues on Wikipedia. Back to the article in general, I'd say the history section is bursting at the seams, and whatever we can do to slim it's growth is encouraged.--Patrick «» 02:35, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
I have done a small amount of trimming, removing some unnecessary detail. Hope that helps. --Aude (talk) 03:28, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your help there, Aude. Because I do absolutely believe in the principles set forth by WP:SUMMARY, I went ahead and added the information; if we're going to include a section about previous settlements in the subarticle (as the consensus appears to be), then it should get a brief mention in the article. While the history section here is large, I'm not sure this is a problem as the history of the city is truly unique, which in turn requires additional explanation that would not ordinarily be required in most history articles. In fact, the history section is about par for the course among Featured U.S. city articles: DC (1,200 words); NYC (1,000); Boston (1,300); Detroit (1,200); and SF (1,300). So I think we may be at a good spot right now. Best, epicAdam(talk) 05:13, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

List of think tanks

Hi. I removed the list of think tanks for the following reason. 1) It appears to be WP:PEACOCKing; no other companies or organizations are mentioned by name in the economy section, except for the top 5 employers in the city. 2) It's unclear why those three think tanks should be mentioned ahead of all others; the edit claims that they're the largest, but does not provide a source. Best, epicAdam(talk) 04:30, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary, made up rules vs actual policy

Someone here yesterday made up a "new" rule that is totally arbitrary and seems to have no legitimacy rhyme or reason whatsoever other than as a pretext to suppress making information about native inhabitants accessible. After switching goalposts; the first pretext for removing the info was 'lack of reference', until references were provided, and then a new convenient 'rule' was made up: "Articles about cities are not allowed to mention any previous settlements that were there before them, if there was no continuity." Why no continuity? This is a made up arbitrary "rule" proclaimed by an editor, that has no support whatsoever from any policy, guideline, or style manual. And the true nature of the argument becomes apparent when we see this is exactly identical to arguing:

  • That the article on Wellington, NZ cannot mention any natives ever having once lived there, because the city was first built by English in 1839
  • That the article on Podgorica cannot mention that it was built in the 11th century on the site of a former Roman city, because anything before the 11th century is irrelevant by this 'rule'.
  • Sarajevo has no history worthy of mention before 1461, for in that year it was built by the Turks. Several previous settlements on the same ground before 1429 thus are irrelevant to the article, and cannot be mentioned.
  • That the article on Addis Ababa cannot mention the Oromo name of a previous settlement Finfinne, because the ground had been abandoned by the Oromo some time before it was built as a planned capital. (Anyone actually making such a specious argument would quickly get tagged as a racist, and rightly so)
  • Canberra had no history or previous inhabitants that may be linked to or mentioned, until white people built the city, because that's what's really "relevant".
  • Nobody would care that before La Paz or Managua was built, there had used to be native settlements, because "continuity" with it cannot be established. So since its irrelevant, the fact cannot be mentioned.
  • We can't mention that Brazzaville was built on the site of a previous native settlement recorded as Nkuna; nobody needs to know this so it's irrelevant, because everybody knows its history doesn't begin until the Europeans built their city there.
  • It is irrelevant, and therefore cannot be mentioned at all, that Bridgetown had once been occupied by Arawaks, because it was abandoned when the British built it. All people really need to know is that true history begins with the arrival of the whites; we don't need to dignify their predecessors with even a mention, because... because... uh... because there's no "continuity", yeah that's it...

I'm sure I could come up with more examples from capital cities around the world.

There is NO policy, guideline or style manual anywhere that would justify removing this referenced, valid and 100% relevant information about previous settlements being in the same location; but there is plenty to justify including the information. So, where then does this absurd new "rule", made up on the spot, about "continuity" being required, come from? Why "continuity"? What makes this city any different, according to any guideline, policy, or style manual? It sounds exactly like the kind of technicality / pretext that the famous anti-Indian racist Mr Plecker was famous for, denying Native Americans any mention of their history in the history books in the early 1900s. He even tried to get Frank Speck's books on Indian history banned by law, because they gave out too much "information" that Plecker for hiso wn reasons did not want made accessible. This sad kind of elitist thinking is still with us even today, as has been proved here by the actions of certain wikipedia editors.

Please note that the information is nowadays readily available by turning to many other resources, that are more sensible. This page is actually an evaluation of 26 Guidebooks on DC that uses several criteria, including how much or little they mention about the first inhabitants of what later became the district.

A group of like-minded editors cannot get together on an article and overturn policy, no matter how much they may dominate. So stop the race-based WP:bias and let the info in the easy way, because if not, I am more than willing to pursue due process to correct this blatant injustice as far as necessary. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:18, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

A thousand apologies, I am just now catching up with my watchlist from last night. I guess saying all of this wasn't necessary after all. Thank you for changing your mind! Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:30, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Til, if you would ever footnote your stuff the first time, it would help a whole lot instead of putting in unreferenced material and then saying "gotcha" when an objective editor correctly reverts it as "unreferenced".
The history here is supposed to be a summary of History of Washington D.C. Please insert it there as well. Also, since this summary is supposed to be short you might suggest (discuss) history to delete to make room for it. Student7 (talk) 02:42, 11 December 2008 (UTC)