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June 3, 1996

Pot Pouri

Dear Neighbors:

First, dear friends, here are a couple of news items that you may have missed. Karen Lundegaard reports in the Washington Business Journal that Cineplex Odeon has closed the West End 5,6,7 theaters, the ones tucked away behind the trees, next to the Bread and Chocolate. The reason? No one goes there. No word on a retail replacement but good money's on either a coffee shop or a bagel emporium.

Second, Amy Koval of the Washington Times reports that the D.C. Council has approved Mayor Barry's plan to hire 20 more parking polizei. That's right, more parking nazis. But it's not such a dumb move. Each agent costs the city about $30,000 (a figure I don't believe but that's the one reported) and each one brings in about a half million in revenue. Twenty extra folks are expected to bring $11.4 million into the city coffers, to be frittered away in myriad and sundry manner. The really good news--depending upon whether you registered your car in the District when you moved from Sheboygan--is that the city plans to deploy the agents to residential neighborhoods to get those folks violating the two-hour limit. That means more city parking for residents.

Third, we are having our second "Electronic Backfence" party at Pizzeria Uno in Cleveland Park on June 10 at 7:30 p.m. So we can chill enough kegs of beer, please send me a message if you plan to attend. A simple PARTEE!!!! on the subject line will suffice. Jan Morton reminds us that WAMU ran a segment about DC Story. "It was nice recognition, talked about the recent get together at UNO's and was clearly an acknowledgement that the Story is the leader of the pack!" To which I reply: "It's not a very large pack but thanks."

Now, on with the show.


Jeffrey Itell

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' The District's Coffers

The financial death spiral described in Jeff's D.C. Story is very real. Congress will not increase the federal Payment or enact any legislation that will make the situation any better until the residents of this city elect a credible Mayor. The only potential candidate that I can see who has a chance of commanding the repect of Congress is Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Ed T. Barron


Couldn't you please write something a little more cheerful?


Very well done piece on Washington's financial crisis. Until now, I had a hard time grasping the key issues driving our demise, but appreciated your analagy to an anxious American family.

One thing missing: I recall hearing Mayor Barry eloquently point out on WAMU last year (just before the Control Board was appointed) that much of the city's spending is mandated by various court orders, which renders something like 75% of the budget "off-limits" for reductions. Was that right? Is that still right?

[Don't be shocked but the Mayor uttered an untruth. A fair portion of the city's expenditures are under some form of court jurisdiction which costs the city money. But the figure is nowhere near 75%. The mayor was probably mixing in entitlement funding which, though based on need, is also based on city policies. jeff]

Personal outlook: My wife and I plan to remain city residents for at least the next couple of years, and would therefore root strongly for the curtailment of federal taxes. Long term, we're looking for a house on a quiet, secluded street with a big back yard. We may leave Washington. Incidentally, I would be willing to pay the extra eighth of a percent in interest on our mortgage that would allegedly stem from Fannie Mae having to pay its fair share of corporate income taxes to the city.

Taylor Simmons



According to the latest Northwest Side Story (the print version), 51 autos were stolen from the Forest Hills/Chevy Chase area between January and March. That's a lot of cars. Does anyone have any information about these thefts? Where are all these cars are disappearing from?

Alison Kamat

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Roads

Have they stopped fixing potholes? There are tank traps on southbound Conn. Ave. between Devonshire and Woodley in the next to right lane. Ordway east of Conn. is a disaster. How can they spend all that money to put in pre-cut granite curbing all around town when there isn't any money to spend? Whose brother-in-law got that deal?

G. Maxson


Thanks for all the info on road repairs in the district. however, it seems to me that 40% of DC's roads should include more than conn. ave. If so much wasn't spent on fully replacing entire sidewalks and curbs, and repaving streets that aren't in half as bad condition as some of the sidestreets, then $90M should cover plenty of pothole repairs! the sidestreets are, after all, "of national significance," i would argue; they're located in the US, aren't they? what committee decides these issues?

[What committee? The United States Congress. There are national roads, state roads, county roads, city roads, and, I suppose, District roads. Each entity pays for the upkeep of its roads. How do the powers-that-are decide what's what? Politics with a dose of logic. If the federal government paid for filling the District's potholes, it would have to fill every pothole in the country. So what's the cause of the problem? In a $5 billion budget, District officials have higher priorities than filling potholes. Our leaders have budgeted virtually no money for road work. Don't blame me. Call a politician. jeff]


Does anyone know who to call about getting a sidewalk replaced? My neighbor's sidewalk has frost heaves, it looks like, and has cracked and buckled upwards. He does not speak English well enough to communicate with the government over the phone, and I will be doing the calling.

Stephanie Faul


Spiritual Rejuvenation

i also heard mayor barry's speech and i wasn't sold. does he think he has divine rights now, or what? i thought there was a separation of church and state in this country. i have nothing against a person's spiritual development, don't get me wrong; quite the contrary. i just don't think it belongs in that way in the political arena. i think he's preparing for his next election campaign, because such talk is what appeals to many people in this city.


Merchant News

I thought I regretted moving from Cleveland Park a year ago when a new management company took over the McLean Gardens tower and raised my rent 21 percent, but with all the closings in the area -- Bob's Famous Ice Cream, Caffe Italiano, Herman's, and now probably the Crown -- I actually feel lucky I got out when I did.

As for DTerr's surprise at the efficiency of the DMV, I think maybe Mayor Kelly deserves a little less of the residual hatred for her term in office. Overhauling DMV was one, at least, of the promises she made and kept.

Alex Johnson


Just this past week, the GAP at Van Ness Center (4400 block of Connecticut, east side) closed down and shipped all inventory to some other GAP location(s). Took down all trademarks, logos, signage, everything, but for the tiny "gap" decals on the bottom of each display window. Out of there in a flash, not so much as a formal announcement or warning or nothin'. Of course, the GAP's landlord at the Van Ness Center has a huge FOR LEASE sign right in the middle of frontage on Connecticut Avenue.

The same week, the "Kitchen Bazaar" at the south end of the same block, just north of Calvert-Woodley Liquors, also held a storewide inventory clearance. The staff at Kitchen Bazaar say the same company will reopen some other retail operation at that location, but it won't be kitchenware.

Of course, everyone knows about the Herman's Sporting Goods in Cleveland Park going bankrupt for the second time and leaving by July.

Is this a trend, or just a coincidence? There is a curious number of other former retail operations along the 4400 block of Connecticut that are vacant and for lease. Have there been recent rent increases by commercial landlords? Or are retailers finally giving up in disgust? Any clues?

David F. Power


> Frozen yogurt is a good idea, but I could really go for a Dairy Queen in the neighborhood or somewhere in the DC Metropolitan area.

I worked in a Dairy Queen in Iowa during my high school years, so may have a "bias" toward this kind of thing, but -- I, too -- have noticed a complete lack of DQs in the DC metro are -- nearest one I've seen is Lewes, DE. Maybe they're more of a midwest/western phenomena...I really like the stores that only deal in ice-milk goodies (no burgers, etc), perhaps cause that's the type of Mom&Pop DQ in which I worked!

Donna J. Loop


City services

>Having just moved here last month from Atlanta, GA, I had been dreading the >day of becoming an official DC driver by registering my car & changing from a >GA license to a DC license. .... >.... Nonetheless, I was rather impressed with the efficiency of >the process.

I've had the rare fortune to schlep over to 315 C Street NW *twice* in three months this winter to get a driver's license, and both times I got by with much less documentation than what was required. In December, I showed up to trade my old Pa. license for a District one and discovered that, according to the xeroxed signs decorating every third wall, I would need my original birth certificate as well as my lease and two forms of photo ID. Having discovered that after an hour's worth of waiting on line, I decided to wing it. And it worked; nobody raised an eyebrow. The second time around, needing to get my three-month-old license replaced, I showed up with just a passport, my sole remaining photo ID at the time--again, less than the DMV's box specs--and scooted in and out of there in something close to record time.

Of course, the guy in front of me the second time was trying to prove his D.C. residency with just a copy of his gas bill, so, relatively speaking, I probably looked like a model of proper documentation.

Rob Pegoraro <>



As a candidate for the D.C. City Council (Democratic, At-Large), I'm eager to learn more about issues of concern to all neighborhoods in D.C. I believe in getting out there and meeting the people I plan to represent. It's my goal to go to every ANC meeting, block party or other neighborhood event that I hear of to find out what the people want from their City Council members. If you know of a neighborhood event, please call my office at 544-0821. Thanks.

John Capozzi


Woodley Park

The Woodley Park residents concerned about the Boston University residence might want to consult with people down around 22nd and O sts, where Cornell University has had a student residence for about ten years, probably more. As far as I know, the students have not been a major problem. I worked there for two years when it first opened, many moons ago now, and they have resident staff people. I don't know how the BU facility will be run. Virginia Haufler


Capitol Hill

Seems the majority on the list are from Woodley Park. Who on this list is on the Hill?

We've got some big issues -- one of which is the City's procrastination about renewing the lease for Cap. Hill Day School -- seems the District govt. just doesn't know what it wants to do.

Problem for us: We're not parents (won't be!) but know that 200+ students and their parents may decide this is not a good place to live w/o the school.

Not to mention our crime.......and Eastern Market ... and .. well it does go on!

Joan Eisenstodt



>Jim Lieberman asked: Anyone know if phone books can be recycled?

I asked the DC Recycling Office and was told yes - they would pick them up w/ the regularly scheduled recycling. But's a District office so I'd not be sure. We're putting ours out on Tuesday.

Joan Eisenstodt



Would you ask your subscribers for any recommendations they may have for places in and near D.C. where a couple of almost-fifties can dance to oldies from the 60'd and 70's. Basically we're looking for a safe, fun place, with either live music or a good DJ, where we can dance the twist, locomotion, and maybe a few slow tunes! Decent food would also be nice. An in-house registered nurse or chiropractor would also be a plus...

We've been to places like Deja-Vu and the River Club, but would like to expand our horizons.


Has anyone had any dealings with the Amazing Computers store on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. You can e-mail me directly if you have any info.

Larry Levine


Does anyone know what the dispute is involving the Presbyterian Home on Military Road? Several homes on Military have yard signs opposing the Presbyterian Home expansion. Is there going to be a hearing on the expansion, and if so when and where?

Marty Ganzglass


Is anyone else outraged at DC Cablevision's choices to add to their cable line-up?! The Sci-Fi and Sega Genesis over ESPN2? I've had it with those people. Does anyone know of a consumer friendly resource comparing the various satellite services?

Tracy Greer


Adding insult to injury, two nights during the Biograph's final month will be taken over by Travesty Films--those zanies who gave the world such films as "Hyattsville Holiday," "It Came From Marlow Heights," "Phantom of the Beltsville Drive-In," and "Insurance Salesmen From Saturn."

Travesty Films: From Here to Obscurity: screens June 10 (After the Backfence Party) and June 11, Monday and Tuesday. There's no guest list, but mention my name for a real big laugh.

David Nuttycombe


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 over-looked, 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.

Margie Gibson NZPEM053@SIVM.SI.EDU


mall, friendly exercise studio in Woodley Park looking for P/T receptionist. Hourly wage + free classes. If interested (or if you know someone who is), please e-mail us : or fax: 202/3191938

Rachel Posell


I'm looking for a summer sublet--from approximately July 1 through August 17--for a friend of mine coming over from Seoul. He is looking for a one-bedroom, near a metro, in a secure building or safe neighborhood in NW. His family will be joining him for the last month, so it should be a fairly large one-bedroom.

A house-sitting opportunity also would work well. My friend is a high-level official in S. Korea's National Assembly--a very reliable and lovely person!

Also, he is looking to enroll his two children (approx. ages 6 and 8) in some type of ESL course while they are here. If anyone knows where he might find short-term English classes for children, please let me know.

Cheryl Donahue

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