12 Feb 2010

Dodd Lifts Sledding Ban for a Weekend

image by valkyrieh116 on Flickr

image by valkyrieh116 on Flickr

The lawn of the Capitol will be open for sledding this weekend, under a special waiver obtained by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., according to his wife, Jackie Clegg, who shared the news with many happy parents of young tobogganers on Friday.

According to Ms. Clegg,  Dodd and his office dealt with the office of the Sergeant at Arms, and everything was approved as of Friday afternoon for sledding at this popular, but forbidden spot where many a Hill child takes a run or two before being asked to leave by security officials. Dodd moved on getting a special waiver after he himself was kicked out with the couple’s two daughters, ages 8 and 4, according to his wife.

“You may need to let officers know that it is allowed this weekend, but it beats a trek to NW. “Happy sledding,” Ms. Clegg wrote in an email to the Moms on the Hill listserv.

“My husband tested the sledding with the girls this afternoon and there was no trouble,”  she said in an email to me after THIH queries.

She had posted a communication from a Dodd staffer noting that he had just spoken with the Sergeant at Arms and although the regulation hadn’t been officially changed yet, the S-at-A had talked with the Architect of the Capitol and had managed to get the sledding ban waived from Friday through Monday, Presidents Day for a “special sledding weekend.”

Sledding has been banned since security concerns after September 11th tightened all types of sport and access on the Capitol grounds, a stringency which many longtime Hill residents have not yet come to terms with, having used the lawn a their backyard for years.

Attempts to get responses form the S-at-A and the Architect of the Capitol were unsuccessful as of late Friday evening.

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4 responses to “Dodd Lifts Sledding Ban for a Weekend”

  1. IMGoph says:

    here’s hoping this can become a more permanent thaw, moving us away from silly security requirements (some things just make no sense)

  2. Dan Sheerin says:

    The holy spirit of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who long sought a more open Washington, is smiling down on this decision and the Capitol Hill sled riders!

    For more on Moynihan’s view on such issues, here is an excerpt from one of his speeches given in 1999 …

    “Resolved: A National Conversation on Terrorism is in Order”

    “The capital now swarms with black armored limos filled with agents and protruding automatic weapons. Pennsylvania Avenue itself, the sector in front of the Treasury, the White House and the Executive Office Building has been sealed to regular traffic. (One reassuring aftermath. The Treasury Department has carved up part of the sealed avenue into numbered parking slots for the civil service. Some American values endure.) In the meantime the Capitol as the White House has been surrounded with jersey barriers, squad cars and armed officers. So also our office buildings.

    “We all know the events that have led to this profound change; events at home and abroad. And yet we have reacted to events, rather than reflecting on them. I recall the morning of November 8, 1983. At about 11:00 pm the preceding evening, a bomb had gone off in a hallway space just outside the Senate Chamber … Had we been in session, there would have been a massacre … I was the first Senator on the scene the next morning. I went in to survey the damage, as the term has it. Went out to describe it to a gathering of journalists who were being kept at a distance, lest there be more explosions to come. I described what I had seen, but added, ‘They can blow up the building. But they cannot blow up the democracy.’

    “This is our challenge. To keep our nerve in the face of obvious but scarcely overwhelming threat … Some years back I wrote: ‘Architecture is inescapably a political art, and it reports faithfully for ages to come what the political value of a particular age were.’ Surely ours must be openness and fearlessness in the face of those who hind in the darkness. Precaution, yes. Sequester, no.

    “There is a risk to such a conversation. Call for more openness, and the next day there may be a new atrocity. But more is at stake than personal reputation. The reputation of democratic government is at stake.”

    End quote from Moynihan.

  3. Kirsten says:

    Dear Senator Dodd-
    You have single handedly made this the most memorable winter. Getting a lot of snow is one thing, but being able to walk with my 3 year old (who has a very limited distance maximum) to the Capitol (the wonderful symbol of our great city and neighborhood) and being able to SLED has just made it perfect.

    I regret that you will be retiring- as how will we sled without you? If you have any gumption to take on this issue for those of us who lack real representation in Congress, and make sledding permanently allowed- we’d be forever grateful! As what could be a greater symbol of our open, inclusive, family values centered, and democratic government?

    Thank you Senator Dodd. We hope that you continue to live on the Hill no matter what future role you pursue!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Kirsten & 3 year old Sebastian (soon to be 4)

  4. Elizabeth Festa says:

    Dan–thanks for imbuing Hill is Home and Dodd’s good deed with the lofty spirit of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan!

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