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February 16, 1996

You Be the Judge

Dear Neighbors:

Here's the federal job you've been waiting for. D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton is accepting applications for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court. The nominating commission will evaluate applicants based on personal and professional qualities, including integrity, legal ability, experience, and impartiality. I think being a Democrat also improves your chances. Does this sound like you? Then submit 18 copies (I kid you not) of a completed questionnaire to Norton's office by March 15.

Otherwise, I'd like to throw out a discussion topic for response. As bad as basic city services have been, It appears that they are going to get worse. At least that was the message I heard from Gary Burch of the Department of Public Works. The city has almost no money to repair residential streets (which account for 60 percent of the city's streets) or take down dead trees (which will come a tumblin' down when the spring storms start). Other DPW services will be curtailed as well. (DPW announced that recyclables will be picked up every other week now.)

My question (which you may discuss amongst yourselves): How should residents respond? Suck it up? Protest? Organize their own services? Tax strike? Let's get creative here. Your neighbors want to hear what you think.

Jeffrey Itell


District Government


Ed Barron: your suggestions are appreciated, but I am afraid you have missed the point. No one in authority in the District government is remotely interested in improving performance in the delivery of services to taxpayers or to tax consumers. The only thing District government wants is to keep paychecks flowing to government employees. We taxpayers are hostages. We are good enough to pay taxes, but not good enough to demand adequate city services. We are hassled to the nth degree: witness the several thousand $100 parking tickets delivered during the blizzard, even to the vehicles of volunteers who transported emergency personnel to and from hospitals and had to park on the street.. Besides government employees, district residents largely fall into two camps: welfare recipients ("losers") and taxpayers somehow or other "suckered" into moving here or into staying here. In a larger sense all of us suckers are also losers. The only way to improve district government is through geopolitical restructuring.

Richard Levine RL44W@NIH.GOV



On Saturday, February 10, I attended the annual meeting of the Federation of Friends of the DC Public Library, the umbrella organization for all the "Friends" groups of the respective branch libraries throughout the city. The new president is Melissa Kundstadter, who is also the president of the Friends of Tenley Library. Despite the dark cloud hanging over the DC Public Library System, I left the meeting feeling confident that should the Control Board propose significant budget cuts to the library system through the reduction of library positions and/or reduction of operating hours, the Friends groups will be able to lobby heavily in support of the libraries, and call upon their members to call/fax/e-mail/write to the powers that be in voicing their opposition to any measures that would further deplete a system that is currently struggling to provide patrons with the books/magazines/videos, CDs that they want, and the professional information services that they deserve.

The Friends of Cleveland Park Library has been in existence since 1981 and has worked hard to support the Cleveland Park Branch primarily through semi-annual booksales, the proceeds of which have been donated over the years to supplement the book budget, purchase magazine subscriptions and CDs, support the children's Summer Quest reading program, and purchase shelving and furniture. This year, our annual spring booksale is scheduled for May 18-19 from noon to 4:00 PM.

I would urge those of you who are concerned about libraries and the quality of life in DC to join your local "Friends" group. Membership forms for the Friends of Cleveland Park Library (they are day-glo green, you can't miss them!) can be found in the rack of community brochures/flyers next to the shelf of travel books near the reference desk, and also on the bulletin board in the south exit vestibule. I'm not sure where they are at Tenley -- just ask the librarian.

Jill Bogard President, Friends of Cleveland Park Library jill_bogard@ace.nche edu



Can anyone provide contacts (e-mail is great, but snail-mail or phone numbers would be fine too) for local history groups? The Zoo is planning a lecture on Mary Vaux Walcott, a scientific illustrator, and I want to spread the word among history fanatics. Thanks!

Margie Gibson Office of Public Affairs, National Zoo NZPEM053@SIVM.SI.EDU



O.K., I've finally found time to go to both of these (whoa, expensive) gourmet supermarkets. They're similar in many ways but c'mon, there's no contest. Bread & Circus is simply awesome....where has it been all my life? The only advantage I can see is that Fresh F. is near the metro. But since I don't like to grocery shop via the metro.....

They're both a lot like Alfalfa's in Denver (and in Boulder), Co. where I lived until 3 years ago. Speaking of, I'm beginning to get very depressed about living in the District. It is distinctly "un-fun" lately, dodging potholes, praying for trash/recycle pickup, shoveling a ton of snow, watching my walls bleed water, getting my jeep stolen (while it was still covered with snow!). And I have this sneaking suspicion that Congress is just going to sit back, watch the Control Board/Barry sparring, and that nothing is really going to reverse this downward spiral until the District, and property values, hit rock-bottom, flat broke. How can we let this happen in the nation's capital?

The District not only "warehouses the region's poor," (from the Sunday Post), but it's like Sam's Club for the nation's finest fence-sitters and bull-shitters. Well, I feel better now. I'm off to B&C.

Nancy Jackman-Brown



Catherine Lancaster's laudatory comments about Market Day, the recent newcomer to Connecticut Avenue shops at the old Larimer's location were right on the mark! I've been shopping there fairly regularly since they opened, welcoming their great produce section. And by the way, I've checked their fresh seafood prices, and they beat Cannon's prices substantially every time, and the quality is every bit as fine. This is an exceptional market with some familiar old Larimer's ex-employees back working their trade. (I'm not an employee there either, just a happy customer tired of Safeway garbage).

Wallace Gordon Dickson



Does anyone know why Kenny Rogers closed? I can't believe it really was because they didn't have a drive-through, as I just read? They validated parking at the Park n'shop. All I know is that some always hungry teenagers (especially mine) are going to be mightily upset -- Kenny Rogers filled those vaccuums nicely.

And any rumors about what it going into that space, as well as the WIZ space?

Margie Siegel MASiegel@



Well, the Cafe Northwest "East" has opened in Woodley Park. Suddenly. I was abusing my bank account at Nationsbank, and as I walked back up Conn. Ave, I passed a fully functional coffee shop, where it seemed only days before had stood an empty store. Since the sign has been up for perhaps over a year, it's high time (no pun intended) for the coffee shop to finally arrive.

I think perhaps the reception this coffee house might receive was best expressed by two people standing outside its bright, cheery windows. I overhead a snatch of conversation (this is true, this is not some Itell-like attempt at re-created fiction. We'll leave that to Jeff, not his erstwhile and one-time cub reporter)

"You know, I've been waiting forever for this to finally open" said one "Yeah, me too! And now that it's finally open...." replied the other "It's really disappointing. I thought it would be bigger, more open, more spacious" "It's small, and there's not going to be any place to sit outside because of the subway vent system." "Really? I think the counter inside takes up half the space. Very disappointing."

Now, granted, it is small, and the atmosphere of the Georgetown branch is more relaxed, more "Seattle-like". I would say, however, that if you want a student atmosphere in your coffee shop, you need students. I've been inside, the coffee is better than Charbucks, and I bet they'll find a way to create some kind of outdoor seating. Maybe they can rent space from the Flower shop and the bank.

I admit--I thought it would be more spacious--but perhaps the small size of the coffee shop will lend itself well to romance and intrigue, cozyness and hand holding. Go down and see for yourself--the only thing that matters is that Woodley Park now has a coffee house in place to go with all the other eating places.

Doug Goudie The Center for Post-Soviet Studies



In the last edition (February 12) Lorie Leavy asked about my position on the actions taken by the Taxicab Commission -- on meters and on the reciprocity agreement. I think moving to meters makes sense, as long as the fare system that is set up, itself, makes sense. On the reciprocity agreement: I think it's important to maintain the ability of D.C. residents to call reliable cab companies -- including firms in Maryland and Virginia. When the commission raised the specter of cancelling the reciprocity agreement several months ago I heard a lot of criticism from constituents on that part of the agreement.

There may well be other items within the reciprocity agreement that should be renegotiated. For example: D.C. cab drivers have expressed concerns to me about their ability to provide service to Dulles airport. Apparently D.C. cabs can take fares to Dulles but must deadhead back into the city -- based on an exclusive agreement with one company to provide service FROM Dulles. I am not sufficiently familiar with the reciprocity agreement to know what other items it encompasses. The other, political, issue here has to do with Representative Davis and the fact that he intends to see that the reciprocity agreement remains in effect; he clearly has the power to bring that about.

Kathy Patterson Ward 3 Councilmember



Ft. Reno Fields. For anyone interested in Ward 3 playing fields: there is a meeting scheduled next week on February 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. on the proposal by Capitol City Little League to build additional baseball and soccer fields at Ft. Reno Park. The meeting will be held at the auditorium at Wilson High School. As envisioned, the plan would raise private funds to build a field Wilson High's baseball team could use as a home field -- and there are other elements as well. The meeting next week will include a presentation on the plan as it has developed thus far. Nothing is official yet -- but a lot of people from various sports and other current users of the park have been talking, and this is a chance for the broader Ward 3 community to hear from them and to ask questions. The land is National Park Service land and one of the possibilities here is creating a public-private partnership model that might be utilized in other parts of the District.

Kathy Patterson Ward 3 Councilmember


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David Jeffrey Horowitz


21 March 1996. The National Zoo will recognize Women's History Month and the Smithsonian's 150th anniversary. Andrew Connors, associate curator at the National Museum of American Art, will present an illustrated lecture, "Art for Science: Botanical Illustration and Photography by Mary Vaux Walcott." At 7:30 p.m. in the Education Building Auditorium at the National Zoo.

When Walcott was in her twenties, she made her first trip to the Canadian Rockies, where she became a mountain climber, photographer, and botanical illustrator. As a woman, she received no recognition for her drawings or her photographs, which were exhibited only under her surname. In 1913 on one of her research trips to the Canadian Rockies, she met Charles Doolittle Walcott, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. They married the next year. In 1925, 400 of her illustrations were published by the Smithsonian in a five-volume set titled "North American Wild Flowers." Connors talk will be richly illustrated with slides of the Canadian Rockies, the desert Southwest, and other locations where Walcott focused her artistic and scientific talents.

Be sure to enter at Connecticut Ave. and park in Lot A. The program is free, but please RSVP.

Margie Gibson NZPEM053@SIVM.SI.EDU


The End


Jeffrey Itell Publisher: dc.story

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