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May 8, 1996

The Boss Is Back

Dear Neighbors:

In this issue you will learn more so much about Boss Shepherd that you'll forget the mayor is in retreat.

I am also interested in testing the waters on a spinoff newsletter devoted to District tax issues. Randy Wells and others want to explore, organize, agitate over Washingzens' tax situation and I'm here to exploit (help). Send me an email with a note saying taxes and I will add you to our nascent list. And don't worry about email overload--we won't post this list anymore than once per week.

Incidentally, I just completed my spell check and you all receive an 'A" for spelling. Stop by and I'll put a gold star on your forehead.

Lurkers! Is it time you peeked out behind those dark shadows and start posting to dc.story? We want to know what's on your mind. What's happening on the Hill? Across the Anacostia? We know you're out there? Give us a ring.


Jeffrey Itell



I propose starting a DC Tax Discussion Group, which Jeffrey Itell has graciously offered to help set up. The obvious first question is: Does anyone know whether it would duplicate an existing group out there somewhere, of which I am unaware?

Second, would such a group be of interest to many dc-story users. My bet is a definite yes, and several user have already expressed interest. I for one prefer the format of a moderated group over the more wide open News Groups format (such as dc.politics dc.general etc.), as the moderated group tends to stay more focused. In either case, I would expect to cross post summaries to dc-story and perhaps occasionally to related discussion and news groups to attract interest and broaden the scope of the effort. My commitment is that this be a "spread the word" group, to enlighten and educate, but also a group that will spawn action.

Please let me know if you are interested in the idea, know of existing duplicative groups, or have other comments on DC tax issues.

Randy Wells


In regards to Randy Wells inquiry about who did or did not pay DC taxes, you might be interested in learning a bit about Karl Hess. You may or may not remember Mr. Hess as Barry Goldwater's speech writer, who proposed sawing off the Eastern Sea Board and letting it drift into the ocean. Several years later, Mr. Hess saw the light and became a self-proclaimed anarchist. He lived in Adams Morgan / Irving Street neighborhood in the mid-70's (where he raised trout in the basement) and became a real community activist. He wrote several books on the subject. He also refused to pay any income tax, and lived on a barter system. The last I heard, he was living in an underground house and had left the city. You can probably still find his books at Kramers or the other politico bookstores around Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan.

Dianne Rhodes drhodes@fenix2.DOL-ESA.GOV


The Boss

Re question about the Shepherd statue:

Back in the early 80s, when I lived in Shepherd Park (SP), several of us living on Kalmia Road were working with the ANC, the Shepherd Park Citizens Association and the District DPW to reduce commuter speeding on Kalmia (which borders Shepherd Elementary, incidentally). In response to our concerns, the District installed several new stop signs, removed the yellow center line from the roadway, and established parking on both sides of the street where once we had only single-side parking (thanks, Tom Downs). At one point during this process, the Post ran an article on the Shepherd statue and we SP neighbors discussed--very briefly--the idea that we use it as the center of a mini roundabout at 14th & Kalmia. Turns out very few wanted it, not because of the roundabout idea but because many viewed Shepherd as hideously corrupt and didn't want to glorify his reign. That he was also a white overlord of the city may have made a difference as well.

SP seems to me the most appropriate place for such a memorial, if the memorial itself is something DC residents can agree on, but perhaps the statue really belongs in an historical context rather than memorial/ceremonial.

Barbara Bovbjerg


By all means let's return Boss Shepherd to a place of prominence and honor. Marion Barry has done the dubious service of making him look good. Sure, he bankrupted the city government (his debt literally did not get paid off until the next century), but at least the money went for something useful -- infrastructure improvements we still use today. Bring him back, in more ways than one.

Incidentally, what is it with Courtland Milloy? He's got delusions of servitude: In yesterday's paper he made some statement about D.C. being built with "slave labor." Would somebody please explain to him that even the minuscule part of D.C. in existence before 1864 was largely built by Irish immigrants and other poor white people? That most of D.C. was built after the First World War, and most of *that* after WWII? And that D.C. was a majority white city until the "white flight" of the 1960s? After reading his most recent Barry columns, I feel like I have to go wipe the slobber off my hands.

Incidentally, there used to be *two* restaurants named after Shepherd in this city: the Shepherd Grill, opposite the State Department, and then Boss Shepherd's on 17th Street. Who's going to open the third, now that the first two are gone?

stephanie faul


Jeff, in response to Dan's comment on relocating Boss Sheppard's statue from the sewage treatment plant to a more appropriate location. (dc.story 6May96). Dan may wish to contact Mr. Harold Gray, of the DC Society of Oldest Inhabitants 202.966.5037. Mr. Gray is a well known local historian and is championing a movement to reinstate the "Boss" as we speak.

Nick Kauffman


Some of us in Shepherd Park toyed with the idea awhile back of asking the city (are we dreamers, or what?!?) to relocate the statue to our community, since it's the only place in town named after da boss. The triangular park at 13th and Alaska seemed like a good possibility, or perhaps the Alexander Shepherd Elementary School. Suffice it to say that we let the idea die...before the D.C. government could even tell us all the reasons why it wouldn't be possible.

[Sorry. I lost the attribution. jeff]



If my neighborhood is an indication, the D.C. government has effectively gutted the recycling program. On a drive through the community this morning, which is our biweekly pick-up day, barely one-third of households had recyclables by the curb. Before the shift from weekly to biweekly, compliance was probably in the 75-80% range, if not higher. However, the added inconvenience of holding onto bottles and papers for an extra week has undoubtedly convinced some/many that it's too much of a hassle. Has Sierra Club or any of the other litigants from earlier recycling battles looked into this? Are there any statistics comparing weekly pick-up tonnage now with what it had been previously?

Ralph Blessing


regarding the issue of bottle returns in dc: is stephanie faul living up to her surname? maybe there are some people out there who would like to revive the issue of establishing bottle deposits in dc? i know i would! and i'd also be interested in knowing the story about the issue from past years, because it sounds like a good one, dc style. as i mentioned in a previous post, in ann arbor, many homeless people make a pretty good income (ca. $3,000 a year) from collecting and returning bottles and cans, and they get to know students on campus in the process. but then, maybe i'm just a naive dreamer to think that can work here.

janine micunek


City Operations

I thought you might want to hear some good news about this city for a change. We filed our tax return on March 31, 1996 and were requesting a refund from the city. Three weeks later we received our check. Whenever I have requested a refund from the federal government it has taken at least eight weeks to get our refund, and sometimes even longer.

Also, my driver's license was due to expire at the end of the month. I went down to the Municipal Building during my lunch hour to renew it. It took one- half hour to get my new license. This includes getting the application, filling it out, handing it in, paying for the renewal, getting my picture taken, and receiving my new license in hand. Not bad.

Leila Afzal


Washington Mysteries

Does anyone have any explanation for the signs on the east side of 19th Street just north of Dupont Circle that say "Begin Cleveland Park"? Whose definition of Cleveland Park is that?

I'm always happy to help clear up Urban Mysteries. The signs that read "begin Cleveland Park" on 19th Street refers to a so-called official Bike trail that begins there, continues across the Ellington Bridge on Calvert Street and winds its way through Cleveland Park on 34th St, etc.


I don't know anything about the cemetery, but have another mystery to add to the list.

Outside the Belgian Embassy on Garfield St., (in what I've recently learned is called the "tree box") there is a device on a stick which is clearly a set of meteorological data gathering mechanisms. (Wind speed, direction, that sort of thing). Whose is it? Where does this information go? Where (beside the entrance ramp to 495 South from the Clara Barton) are others?

David Black


Caffe Italiano

Just noticed yesterday that Caffe Italiano, next to the Cleveland Park Metro station, has closed. Doesn't really surprise me, since it never did seem to have much business.

Evan Roth


Have you had any luck finding out what happened to Cafe Italiano?

Leila Afzal


Requests for Help

I am the editor of the Northwest Side Story (the print precursor to this forum) and am seeking persons or businesses in NW DC that have been affected by government downsizing. Even seemingly minor occupational tremors (such as smaller cubicle space) are of interest, so don't think that you weren't affected just because you still have your old job. I would love to have as many contacts/stories/anecdotes as possible by May 20 for a story I am working on. Find me at 202/966-3665.

John Briley


Can anyone recommend a local outfit to clean and repair a deck?

Greg Jones



i strongly believe that these petty arguments about smoking are not political or cultural issues related to dc, which is what i personally think your newsletter should focus on. however, i'm compelled to respond especially to the last issue; if my message did not contain food for thought for others, i would gladly only send my comment to ms. crawford alone. and if you want me to, i will.

maybe ms. crawford has an asthma problem, but does she ever consider that it's due to other reasons besides smoking?! come on, by now all offices, most restaurants and other buildings, and even some bars have smoke-free environments. but has her condition worsened since these changes? sounds like it.

i was recently in tucson, the "promised land for asthmatics," and there one does not have to contend w/the humidity, heavy air, and pollen, and perhaps the daily emotional stress, like here (which all aggravate asthma), but the area is building up so quickly that anyone's lungs will become black with the exhaust of cars and trucks. at least in the foothills, there's not a single mode of public transportation to be found. and i can verify that biking is a complete safety hazard.

especially as a jogger and a person who likes to be outdoors, i've had it with all the air pollution (have you ever flown into dulles airport and seen the big ring of it surrounding our area?), not to mention noise pollution (from - mostly unnecessary - horn honking as well), that comes along with the american people's laziness to walk or bike a few block to the store, and the american society's refusal to design decent public transportation systems (here in dc, where it is relatively advanced, it can add 2 hrs. to your activity) in order to keep the auto industry in business. instead, everyone has to get into their cars, whine about all the potholes they've created, and take out all their aggressions on the road.

granted, i'm not a big fan of having smoke blown into my face, but at least i can politely ask the people who do that to refrain and then "get over it." of course, one can hardly do studies on the effects of the pollution from the automobile, because i'm sure they are much worse on human health. and no one wants to think of it because then THEY would have to change THEIR OWN habits.

janine micunek


If you are planning on attending the screening of Spirits of the Rainforest on 9 May, you might want to get here early--looks like there are going to be a lot of people that evening.

5 June 1996 7 p.m. Book signing and refreshments 8 p.m. Lecture Education Building Auditorium National Zoo Enter at Connecticut Ave. and park in Lot A Free, but please RSVP by calling (202) 673-4801 or e-mailing to

Stephen Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan, authors of "The Forgotten Pollinators", will explore the often overlooked, but vitally important link between plants and animals in this evening's program. Learn about the central role of pollinators not only in preserving biodiversity but also in bringing food to our tables.

Buchmann is a research entomologist at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center and an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona. Nabhan, author of eight books, is the director of science at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Office of Public Affairs, National Zoo Washington, D.C. 20008 (202) 673-4866, FAX (202) 673-4607


The highly acclaimed international studies program at Wilson H.S. is sponsoring a garden party on Tuesday, May 14 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the historic Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St. NW. The $10 per person donation includes food, soft drinks and entertainment. Tickets are available from Sheri Furlott, the program coordinator, by calling 282-0120 during school hours. Tickets must be purchased no later than Thursday, May 9. The Wilson H.S. program is one of the few (if not the only) opportunities for D.C. students to participate in international affairs and to travel abroad. It is totally dependent on private donations and student contributions. Proceeds from the garden party will be used to purchase curriculum materials for the program. Here's a chance for us to show our support for something positive in the D.C. schools. Hope you can make it!

Ralph Blessing


The Friends of Cleveland Park Library holds its annual spring booksale on Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19, from noon to 4:00 PM. Get some great buys and support the Library at the same time!

Cleveland Park Library (first floor auditorium) Connecticut Avenue & Macomb Street, NW

Jill Bogard President, Friends of Cleveland Park Library


Co-op for Sale by Owner. 1 bedroom. 3409 29th Street, N.W. (2 blocks from Metro.) Owner financing -- no points, no bank hassles. $74,900. Call Bill or Peggy at 202-686-9132

Bill Adler


For fast, reliable Internet services and cutting edge Websites contact Michael Mann at Interstate Internet Web:


Jeffrey Itell Publisher: dc.story

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