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February 23, 1996

The Pat Buchanan Tribute Issue

Dear Neighbors:

Some of the issues raised in this edition deal with city services. I neglected to mention that my Digital Ink column last week addressed this issue. The outlook for the repair of major roads is good, for residential streets and other services bleak. The city has only three crews to fix potholes on residential streets. And the dead tree removal program--for the trees that inevitably will crush a NW resident in their car during a summer storm--is, well, dead. I haven't discussed electronic reprint rights with Dig Ink so I can't run the article on dc.story. However, when Digital Ink moves to the web within the next couple of months, I hope to be able to "point" you to the story.

Meanwhile, I'm writing today on the Sheraton Hotel's application for a zoning exemption, which the Sheraton folks argued before the BZA on Wednesday. So please send me any information you think is important for me to know.

As always, I'm encouraging the lurkers to join in the conversation. In particular, I would encourage readers to file reports from your neck of the woods. Burleith, Georgetown, Wesley Heights, Columbia Heights--we want to know the burning issues in your neighborhood. You don't need to express an opinion. A simple reporting of facts would enlighten us all.

I can't let another day go by without throwing my two cents of slime at Chevy Chase Home Boy Pat Buchanan. It amazes (and sickens) me that Buchanan gets a bump in the polls in the days after his campaign co-chair temporarily withdraws after his ties to white supremacists are revealed. Only a few years ago, such a tie would have meant immediate disqualification. Gary Hart had to pull out because of infidelity. It's a sad comment on what the American public and press is willing to tolerate. Perhaps we should start a real moral majority.

And, finally, I would encourage all readers to encourage at least one email buddy to join the subscription list. Our readership is now close to 500 but my marketing guy tells me that I need double that amount to sell sponsorship to cover the costs of this service. Please help me out. Thanks.

Jeffrey Itell



What can you make out of a combination of recycled aluminum, plastic, glass, newspapers and magazines? I was just wondering because, when I've seen the recycling truck on my street all the stuff is being mushed together. Is this what thesis, antithesis and synthesis is all about?

sam smith ssmith



Regarding recycling and other city services, I like market solutions, a lot. If the City can't make recycling work, let's find some group that thinks they can do it and make some money. Or rival groups!!! Recycling wars. Clearly the financial equation isn't working out for the D.C. Administocracy, or the recyclables would get picked up ... or am I missing something. But then, I like the notion of school vouchers, too, so I'm probably wasting my bandwidth.

Pat Hahn



on another note, i would like to take issue with 2 points from sam smith's proposal of how to get the city back in order. i forget the exact numbers of his proposal, but one addressed the idea of making dc the "black and green capitol" of the country. what a joke! sorry to be offensive, but dc is far from being green anything! as your last few issues show, dc can't even collect recyclables, let alone recycle them! i've been hearing for a while now that once these things are collected, they go to the regular dump with the rest of the garbage. and if they're separated, they still sit there anyway, not recycled. even in the midwest, which people out here put down, the recycling programs are extensive and very much a community effort. the people there pay a lot of attention to sorting and cleaning their recyclable objects and depositing them in the appropriate places. of course, in michigan, bottles are good for 10 cents, and many homeless persons live from collecting and returning them. there is not nearly as much trash or debris on the streets and in the parks as there is here.

the other suggestion that mr. smith had was to build only housing and stores in dc. what??? what will we do with more stores? are we only consumers who can use our dollars on more and more goods that aren't even necessary for living? aren't there enough stores with enough goods to suit our fancies currently? and why do we need more housing, when there are perhaps thousands of vacancies --for rent and for sale-- as it is? what about contributing instead to more cultural development?

janine micunek



A member of Friends of the D.C. Libraries wrote in an earlier edition seeking support for the libraries. That's good, but the outlook seems bleak. Does it seem that libraries will end up with shorter and shorter hours, as they land at the bottom of the budget heap? Case in point: After the recent budget cutting, all branch libraries are open the same night. You want a public library any other night? You're out of luck. Why should D.C. taxpayers put up with this? I suggested that volunteers staff the branches on the other prime nights (Monday-Wednesday- Thursday). The answer was that union rules prohibit it, that it would be a bad precedent for other agencies and that employee morale and service would suffer. Possibly, but it seems like citizen morale and service already have suffered. Don't we need creative solutions (maybe someone out there has a better one), or must we all suffer such service cuts?

Ted Gest 73652,



Regarding an earlier note on the demise of Higgers in favor of dreaded CVS, let me add my two cents. I am a lifelong Washingtonian and grew up in the Higgers neighborhood, attending nearby Ben Murch elementary school from 1969 to 1975. I fondly remember shopping with friends at Higgers on my way home from Murch. The high level of inflation hit home for me at Higgers, driving the price of candy bars up from 10 to 15 cents. I remember losing a tooth in a Hundred Thousand Dollar candy bar purchased at Higgers. I remember when the Safeway called it quits, and Higgers expanded from the much smaller space next door. I remember the old guy delivering Higgers prescriptions in an AMC Gremlin.

I will be very sad to see Higgers go. Can't we organize some kind of bake sale to save Higgers and keep CVS out?

Taylor Simmons



Here's the latest hot restaurants to open (or close) in DC:

Ozone night club will be opening in the next few weeks in the former Roxy at 18th and M St., NW.

Pizza Huts in Georgetown and Van Ness have closed - any idea who should replace them - contact me!

Old Peking Restaurant in Cleveland Park - an upscale Italian restaurant is moving in.

Be Du Ci restaurant in Dupont is moving a block a way to the former Donna Adele at 21st and P St, NW.

Louise's Trattoria has closed both of their restaurants - one in Georgetown and in Bethesda. [The national company filed for bankruptcy protection. jeff]

Hamburger Hamlet closed Georgetown, Chevy Chase and Alexandria.

New brew pub: Dock Street Brewery underneath the Warner theatre at 13th and Penn., small bar with decent food, opened a few weeks ago.

Roy Rogers chain is for sale - Wendy's local franchisee is talking to them.

Feel free to contact me directly with any questions, suggestions or restaurants looking for new locations - that's how I make a living.

Charlie Adler Fischer Organization ph.(202)783-3333


City Services

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from the Mayor's office yesterday inviting me to be part of a small (not in the U.S. Air Arena) select (I'm not a member of the mayor's entourage) group to meet with the mayor when he will describe his D.C. Government Restructuring Plans. The communication link between here and the Mayor's office has been a one way street for the last eight years. The only communications were going from Northwest to Southeast. Could it be that someone has finally opened (or even read) one of my many missives to the (pardon the pun) leadership of this city.

About a year and a half ago, when Mayor-for-life Barry was about to take office again, I wrote to the mayor, to a few of the Council persons, and to Andy Brimmer (Control Board Chairperson) to make some recommendations on how to rescue our bankrupt city and to put it on the path to be a model for major cities in the U.S. The recommendations were straight forward and involved no Rocket Science. they were based on:

* Establishing a Mission Statement for the city to give everyone a target direction
* Define the essential, basic, support services that the city must provide and focus all efforts on providing the best services possible
* Restructure the D.C. government into autonomous, empowered teams to reengineer and to administer the city's processes
* Eliminate the entire bureaucracy leaving only a small steering team to provide support and resources to the process teams

This technique has proved to work and to save about 40% in costs and personnel yet results in higher quality services and results.

I received responses from John Ray and Dave Clark on this proposal and even made a formal presentation (downtown) to John Ray and his staff. I exhorted the Council members to stand up and take charge. I reasoned that the Council represented all wards of the city and with their consensus decisions they could make the city well. I encouraged the Council to be the implementing arm of the Control Board in light of the expected lack of leadership from the mayor.

Alas, the Council Members have proved to be interested only in being reelected and, therefore they continue to act a lone rangers for their wards instead of acting as a team.

Interestingly, I never received any response (or even a courteous acknowledgement for my three page letter from my own, Ward 3, Council Person, Kathy Patterson. A sure fire way to ensure not getting my vote in the next election.

I will eagerly attend this presentation by the mayor to learn if it is just another run off at the mouth by hizzoner or if we will really see something concrete by someone who intends to make things happen. It will be most interesting to see who has been invited and will attend this affair. I'm keeping one hand on my wallet and will take good notes for the Net Buddies with my other.

Ed Barron


City Services

i also recently discovered that, to complain/notify the DPW about potholes and other calamities, one needs to call their so-called emergency hotline, 832-4357. and, okay, maybe their operators know how to take down notes about the locations of various potholes. however, it's rather ironic that the 2 operators (called operations information specialists) cannot define a snow emergency or tell callers why and when these s.e.'s occur. it seems that mr. kirk johnson is the only one in that division who knows when a snow emergency is put into effect!!!! not even his assistants know!!!! or maybe they just don't want to answer such BASIC questions from the public, which is whom i thought i they were supposed to be serving. i learned all this when researching the topic after being slapped with one of those hefty snow emergency route fines -- how is one to know when the s.e. is put into effect without being glued to the tv and without a working radio in the car?!!! at the last snow, fri. feb 16, a s.e. hadn't been called even with at least 3-4 inches on the ground, much to the surprise of a mr. payne at this emerg. office. being from michigan to begin with, the idea of calling 4 inches of snow an emergency is very hard to get used to.

as for potholes, didn't someone report recently that marion barry said that dc residents should not expect the potholes to be fixed this year because there are no funds left for it? well, in my humble opinion, all that money the city is collecting for parking tickets, snow towing, car registrations, tag renewals, etc. (and there should be GOBBBBBBS of it) should more than take care of street repairs, let alone the beautiful curb reconstructions we were seeing on conn. ave. at kalorama triangle.

janine micunek



Sorry to have missed the poll... but I have to say, I'm betting the nominee will be Alexander. Let's look at the race, now three-man. Buchanan is, quite simply, unelectable. Unless he wins straight out in delegates -- and I'm betting that his support will be a hell of a lot weaker outside of IA and NH -- there is no way a brokered convention is going to throw him the nomination. Conventional wisdom says he can't win the presidency, and party politics are nothing if not conventional.

That leaves us with Dole and Alexander. Dole is on a downward slide -- front runners who stop being front runners at all just cannot win back that position in this environment. His losses so far are going to keep him from winning the number of delegates that he will need to walk off with the nomination, unless he pulls off a major resurrection of his campaign and his image. I'm betting that this particular old dog can't learn any new tricks. Despite his willingness to be Ronald Reagan, he is simply unable to be anyone other than Bob Dole, and I believe that he doesn't have it in him to become anyone else.

Alexander, on the other hand, is still the cypher. I don't believe that the people who have voted for him, or his supporters around the country, really have much clue as to what he's about. His best course of action will be to keep it that way -- all he has to do to win the nomination in a brokered convention is to just not be Dole or Buchanan. What more does he need to do? I don't see him gathering enough votes to walk into the Convention as the heir apparent, but I do see him walking out with the prize.

I'd much prefer Dole or Buchanan as the nominee -- I think that Clinton has a much better shot against either of them. But I'm still willing to bet that Clinton can beat Alexander as well -- the Republicans have been doing an awful lot of bloodletting this year, and I'm happy to say that the Dems are showing more cohesion than past events would have allowed us to hope for.

Jeff Porten



After some 30 years of tinkering in the lab with various ads, slogans, and thinly veiled buzz/codewords designed to anger and divide the country ("law and order," the Willie Horton commercials).....recent legislative attempts by the radical Shiite GOP House freshmen to clamp down on immigrants, ban abortion, kill affirmative action, re-pollute the environment and impose their cretinous moral and social values on anyone breathing.....with all of the above and more fanned and inflamed by the plethora of talk radio creeps...... ta da.....the GOP finally has in Pat Buchanan a veritable poster boy who walks and talks and actually believes the voters buy all this crap. And now that they've reaped what they've sown, the Republican "mainstream" -- a misnomer if ever I heard one -- is fleeing their political monster in sheer panic. Talk about sweet irony!

Alan Grossberg



People who like bad ascii are will find a wonderful repository at

Messenger bird with Longan flower.

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Carl Dahlke



Scrubnik Lawn Care. Professional, Reliable, & Courteous service. Serving Upper N.W. D.C., Chevy Chase & Bethesda, Md., G-town, A.U. Park and many more locations. Services Include mowing contracts, mulching, seeding/sodding, shrub trimming, fertilization packages, and clean ups. Call today for a free estimate. 301.864.5082.



The New Orleans Jazz Fest is fast approaching. For anyone thinking of attending there are two excellent electronic sources of information about my home state. NICK COGNEVICH Louisiana Information All the information you ever wanted to know about visiting Acadiana and New Orleans from hotels, Cajun cooking and Zedeco to 'gators along the Atchafalaya. Just ask Nick to send you the Cajun Newsletter and his masterpiece of Louisiana tourist information. Tell him I sent you.

Edward J. Branley Moderator New Orleans Mailing List Visit VIRTUALLY NEW ORLEANS To join the mailing list address send a message to with "JOIN NEW-ORLEANS" in the body. This is a active (15 messages a day) local group which discusses all aspects of New Orleans life: best and worse places for food, entertainment, and tours. Ed Branley can also send you an address where you can get the schedule of bands and events.

Joseph Poisso


The End


Jeffrey Itell Publisher: dc.story

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

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