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February 12, 1996

The 400 Barrier

Dear Neighbors:

Thank you. Just this morning we broke the 400 subscriber barrier. Our winner is Roger Burns of Cleveland Park. His prize: mention at the top of this newsletter. That's about as generous as we can afford to be. Onward and upward to 500.

I'd like to draw your attention to the next letter, which rightly focuses on the DC's management problems. If you'd like a quick sketch of dc politics at the moment, here's mine: Congress, the Control Board, Tony Williams (the Chief Financial Officer), and Patterson, Evans, and sometimes Lightfoot of the Council want to squeeze waste out of the city government. Barry has positioned himself to oppose any more cuts and has built a constituency around the need for more revenues. Some of his arguments have merit--Fannie Mae, commuter tax, larger federal payment--except no one of the hill wants to give the District a dime until they clean up their management act. Barry is expected to make a feint at management reform with a reorganization plan to be announced soon--on BarryTime. Most of us skeptics are dubious that the plan will be worth the paper it's printed on. Thus, no one is managing the city. Since nature abhors a vacuum, one scenario is that Congress will appoint a receiver, ousting Barry of all but ceremonial duties. To which Barry cries bloody murder and counterattacks with a civil rights agenda, based on the constituency he had developed around the "it's all about new revenues" agenda. Or, more likely, he uses the threat of such a counterattack to remain in charge as we muddle through.

Hey, if you wanted good news...well, I'm not sure where you can find good news. BTW: I filed my Digital Ink column this week on the homeless situation in Tenleytown.


Jeffrey Itell


District Government

Sam Smith is right on the money with most of his recommendations about how to get out of the mess we're in. My approach, which I presented to City Council members over a year ago was a team based Total Quality approach that started with a mission, goals, and plan for the District. It was not based on decimating the city's services, but, rather, to do more and better with the existing work force. It evolved the traditional bureaucratic top heavy organization into one that was so flat you could slip it under a door. The functional organizations would be reformed as empowered, autonomous teams with a Steering team at the top to identify broken processes and establish teams to reengineer these processes. This is not "rocket science". I have used this TQL (Total Quality Leadership) approach in my last full time employment over a three year period and started a Federal government agency evolution on this path in '95 as a consultant to the Health Resources and Services Admin. I'm now doing the same thing at a university in New York on a two day a week frenetic retirement basis. If it can work at a federal agency and a university (long known as havens of slow learners) it can work with the D.C Government.

The approach that Sam proposes is what I call BootStrapping. The neighborhood approach could work very well in Washington where there are very defined neighborhood and community boundaries. Forming resident and small business teams in these small communities would go a long way to improving things for all the residents of this city. If someone ever wants to start a pilot project, just let me know. I'd volunteer to get them started. One small step for a man...

Ed Barron



Looks like the quality of life in Northwest D.C. is about to slip yet another notch. I'm speaking of the D.C. Taxicab Commission's recommendation to end the reciprocity agreement between the District and the suburbs that has up to now allowed Northwest residents to arrange pickups at their homes by Montgomery County cab companies. My A.U. Park household has been a longtime customer of Barwood Cab of Maryland for two principal reasons: (1) they show up when expected; and (2) the drivers are familiar with the neighborhood and know the fastest routes from our house to the airports. None of the D.C.-based cab companies I've dealt with over the years has even approached Barwood's level of reliability.

What's with this closed-border mentality that seems to be taking hold at City Hall? Don't they realize that when you shut suburban suppliers out, you also shut D.C. residents in, preventing them from exercising the full range of choices they're entitled to? And isn't it a little paradoxical, if Montgomery County cab companies are viewed as interlopers, that the District had no problem formalizing Northwest's reliance on the BCC Rescue Squad for emergency services?

I read in this morning's Post that Kathy Patterson supports the switch to meters, but her position on ending the reciprocal agreement was not reported. I would urge her to spend some time determining the impact of ending the agreement on her constituents before throwing her support behind the entire Taxicab Commission package.

Lorie Leavy



I think this can go in the "have they no shame" category.

There was an article in the Washington Post about how several members of Congress (or their friends and relatives) took advantage of their positions and went to the National Gallery of Art to see the Vermeer Exhibit. They did not have to wait in line for day passes. They did not have to have the forethought to obtain or order tickets in advance. They just called the courtesy desk and asked for special passes. And attend they did. I guarantee you many of them are the ones cutting funding for the Arts. Further, because of their idiocy, the Exhibit was closed for 20 precious days, where the "masses" were prevented from going to see it. I think they should be punished by making them give up their parking spaces on the Hill and at the area airports.

Leila Afzal


Chevy Chase

I will let you know that HCCDC - Historic Chevy Chase DC had its annual meeting last evening to elect the BOD Board of Directors for 1996 and then elect officers. I am happy to report that I am now the President of HCCDC - Well somebody had to do this job.

HCCDC will hold a Spring Lecture on Frederick Law Olmstead given by Charles E. Beveridge - author of a new book out about Olmstead. On Thursday March 28th 1996 at 7:30 pm. Place to be announced.

The Avalon theater is still awaiting its Histo Presto Board hearing - Would you believe that the mayor has yet to appoint people to that board? Actually this is good because our research firm is getting more info on the building that will really build up our case for interior designation. Not very many buildings get Interior Designation. We hope that we can get that for the "Longest Continually Operating Movie Theater in DC".

Main Street has yet to have a formal meeting this year. We have met with the DC department of landscape and trees and are going to set up some more meetings with other DC folks. This is so that we can get this master plan underway.

William Hopper



Here's what I know about the now-vacant Peking Cafe space in Cleveland Park.

I mentioned to Peter Anastopulos of Cleveland Park Wines & Liquors that I noticed that he had lost a neighbor. He told me that an Italian Restaurant was moving in (he knew the name; I don't), and that he would be working with the owner on the wines. Watch for some appropriate wine/food pairings, and of course, even more signs announcing that Le Beaujolais Nouveau C'est Arrive (although after tasting the '95s, I'm not sure that that's something to brag about). Also, please bear in mind that my written French is even weaker than my nonexistent spoken French.

On other neighborhood comings and goings, I'm not ashamed to admit that I will miss the Kenny Rogers' Roasters. While I don't claim that it was great food, I always considered it to be far and away the best cheap meal in the neighborhood. I now have no idea where to go for an under-30 minute under $7 dinner.

Bruce Abramson



While we are talking about grocery stores here, I want to nominate my favorite new store in DC. Market Day on Connecticut Ave. in Dupont Circle. I think it is absolutely *wonderful*. The prices are low {except for seafood, but it is the freshest, best seafood I have seen since growing up in Miami}, the selection is great, the staff is knowledge and personable, AND (very important to me) it is a small business and not a chain.

After eight years of my choices being Brookville, Giant and Safeway I was practically salivating when they opened. And no I am not an employee ;-)

Catherine Lancaster

[An entire issue without folks debating the merits of Bread and Circus versus Fresh Fields? Perhaps this isn't quite the "life or death" issue the buzz would have us believe. Or is it? jeff]


February 13, 1996, 7PM. Ward 1 Council February Meeting: Strategies for a Cleaner Ward One The Reeves Municipal Center, 14th. & U Streets, NW. Large Conference Room. Free parking available. Enter from U St.

The February meeting will present a panel discussion on citizen action for a cleaner Ward One. Panel members include: * Mr. Bill Shields-Superintendent, Rock Creek Park * Mrs. Sheila Blake-League-of-8000 * Mr. Frank Smith, Ward 1 Councilmember * Mr. Tom Day, Department of Public Works (DPW) You can expect a lively discussion along with practical tips on what you and your neighbors can do to bring about a cleaner community. Contact Deborah Dougherty at


March 12, 1996. At 7:00 pm The Tenley-Friendship Branch Library and the Friends of the Tenley Library Presents: Skin Deep: Black Women and White Women Write About Race. A lecture and book signing by Marita Golden and Susan Richards Shreve. District of Columbia Public Library, Tenley-Friendship Branch, Wisconsin Ave & Albemarle Streets, NW, (202) 727-1389. (Take the Red Line Metro to the Tenleytown Station). Contact



The ACLU Brings Civil Liberties Activism To Cyberspace

The American Civil Liberties has launched its new World Wide Web site -- the ACLU Freedom Network -- with special features for students, activists and all Americans concerned about protecting and preserving liberty. Internet users can find the Freedom Network by directing their web browsers to:


The End


Jeffrey Itell Publisher: dc.story

Tel: 202.244.4163 P.O. Box 11260 Fax: 202.362.1501 Washington, D.C. 20008-0460

"For People Who Live Inside the Beltway... But Outside the Loop."


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