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June 4, 1996

Something Nice to Say

Dear Neighbors:

The mayor's stalwart support for Vernon Hawkins, the nearly and dearly departed czar for the undelivery of health and human services (what we once called welfare), is a fabulous illustration of the mind of Marion Barry. Hawkins welfare is placed far ahead of the city's neediest residents. Today's Washington Post editorial places Hawkins at the scene of many of the city's failings. It's worth reading and remembering when Barry pirouettes into his next nice-guy phase.

Please remember to R.S.V.P. for our Electric Backfence Party this Monday night at Pizzeria Uno in Cleveland Park.


Jeffrey Itell


War in the District of Columbia

If there is to be a war, then let it begin. If the District government is ever going to get straightened out it must start with a war between the Control Board and mayor Barry. Once the Control Board clearly demonstrates that they have the power and the will to run the District, then Barry will lose his support and will not run for reelection. If a new mayor is elected who shows a willingness to run the city efficiently and effectively, then Congress will provide the needed financial support to get a real rejuvenation started. Let the war begin and let there be no prisoners.

Ed T. Barron



There are, so far, two people who have declared their intention to run for Ward 3 Member of the Board of Education which Erika Landberg is vacating. One is Don Reeves, a parent at Murch Elementary School, and the other is Howard Grimmet, a retired federal worker and parent of Janney, Deal and Wilson alums. The Northwest Current reported that a Woodley Park resident is also interested. Since petitions are not available for this nonpartisan race (no primary in September, just an election in November), there may be more candidates by then.

Anyone interested in meeting Don Reeves is invited to a coffee at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, at the home of Murch parent Marlene Berlin. The address is 4526 30th Street, N.W. (east of Connecticut, between Albemarle and Brandywine). Don will talk about his qualifications and expand on his platform, which stresses accountability -- from the Superintendent on down -- and directing resources to the local schools. He also wants to hear from Ward 3 parents about specific needs in their schools and problems with DCPS. For more information, email

Barbara Somson


District Government

Check out this site on the World Wide Web: Once you're there, be sure to click on the face of Hizzoner. As the text explains far better than I could, "With the unwavering support of family, friends, and supporters Marion Barry, Jr., brings to his new administration a lifetime of experience to lead a troubled city into an era of rejuvenation." [The web site leads you to home pages on District Government and the Library System. Neither page contains any useful information about either institution. jeff] Yrs in rejuvenation,

Janet Hess


Griping About Gripers

Most of the "correspondents" who send messages to D.C. Story have nothing good to say about the city. Sure, the potholes are bad, the panhandlers can be annoying (although supporting groups like SOME is a better response than simply disdaining their presence), taxes are too high, and the city government leaves a lot to be desired. But there is still a helluva lot of good things about living in D.C. I've lived here since 1974, and my wife and I own a house in the North Cleveland Park/Tenleytown area. We have chosen to stay and raise our three kids (ages 7,4, and 2) in the city. Here are some of positive things about living here:

1. Despite the closing of several retail stores on Connecticut Ave., there is a renaissance of commercial activity on Wisconsin Avenue (Tenleytown Metro) area. How about the new Fresh Fields and Hollywood Video? And the new, larger Hechinger's that just opened across from the Tenley metro? A few blocks down, Cafe Deluxe, Starbucks, and Cactus Cantina are doing great business. Clearly, there are businesspeople who continue to view D.C. as a favorable place in which to locate.

2. Just this past weekend, my family and I enjoyed walking down to Starbucks (a three block walk), paying a visit to the new Hechinger's (even the service was friendly!), and taking another walk to rent a video at Hollywood Video. On Saturday, we had a birthday party at the Zoo (five minutes away) for my four year old On Sunday, my seven year old son and I enjoyed biking in Rock Creek (four minutes away by car). Where else can one live that offers so much, so close?

3. Crime is a concern in any neighborhood, but my family and I have never been victims of a serious crime. That's not to say I'm complacent--I take sensible precautions, and am teaching my children to be so. But by and large, those of us who live in Upper Northwest D.C.--and who exercise reasonable caution--are not likely to be victimized by serious crime.

4. There is reason to have optimism that the Financial Control Board will help bring about more accountability, fiscal responsibility, and competent management to the business of governing D.C.

5. Metro is one of the best subway systems in the world. I can commute door-to-door to my downtown office in 30 minutes in clean, safe, and generally reliable trains. How many others can say the same? And when comparing the relative merits of living in the city vs. the burbs, keep in mind that we mass transit users are not at risk of having one of those horrible--and life threatening--commuter car accidents that occur daily on the Beltway and I-95.

6. The Victorian architecture, tree-lined streets, traffic circles, etc. bring a grace and beauty to D.C. that is rarely matched elsewhere-- in this country or abroad.

Isn't there anyone else out there who actually likes living here? One wouldn't think so after reading D.C. Story.

[Bob: I screen the comments carefully so nothing positive ever gets posted. If you skipped Irony 101, I'm joking.]

Bob Doherty


Update on Cleveland Park merchants - frozen yogurt has come back to Cleveland Park -- bob's has now reopened as the Uptown Scoop and has hard frozen yogurt, along with ice cream. They promise that next week the soft frozen yogurt machine will be operative.

Crown books staff assures me that they resigned their lease, and will be in the neighborhood, and their management is thinking about maybe converting Herman's into a Super Crown, when Herman's closes. so, while the retail picture remains relatively bleak in town, there is some light.

Anyone know anything about possible tenants for the Wiz and Kenny Rogers sites? Since my last wish was fulfilled, I'm going to hope for a Sutton on the Run, coffee shop (the NY variety, not Starbucks) or other place that has tasty prepared food for takeout for those nights when making dinner seems like an impossible burden.

Margie Siegel


As a suburban subscriber to dc story, I can tell you that there is a dairy queen on Georgia avenue in wheaton--near the gates of heaven cemetery. it is in the middle of an old commercial strip center and a bit difficult to see from the road.

Also, does anyone know where poetry readings are held? I used to frequent the kala kala club on 18th street in Adams Morgan on Sunday nights for GREAT live poetry but the club has a new name and no sign mentioning readings.


Coffee Taste-Testing in Cleveland Park

Ever wonder why three major coffee chains are located within arms distance of each other in Cleveland Park? So that the coffees can be simultaneously taste-tested! We tested Brother's, Quartermaine's and Starbucks Iced Cafe Lattes with skim milk, decaf and Sweet and Low. Our findings are as follows:

Brothers: Watery; moderately bitter. Red/brown color (for what it's worth). Best buy: (Small, 16 oz. $2.59 includes tax; Large, 24 oz.; no Medium) Lots of ice -- this obviously made it watery... Other comments: Best place to hang -- lotsa games, least "chain-store" looking. Outdoor seating is shaded, but is in a parking lot. Worst feature: door is way too hard to open, especially before that first AM cup.(Overall: Andy's favorite*)

Quartermaine's: Somewhat bitter; slight aftertaste. Like melted coffee ice-cream. Not enough ice. Limited outdoor seating, but good people-watching window. 12 oz., $2.31 (small); Large available. No Medium. (Overall: Carole's favorite*)

Starbucks: Small is small: 8 oz; Medium is 12 oz., $2.37; Large available, but smaller than other large lattes. Good outdoor seating, (especially if sweating and tanning are goals.) This is the non-coffee drinkers coffee. Good for the calcium-deprived. This is basically a milk drink with a shot of coffee. (For breakfast, add cereal to it and make it a meal!) Weak. Smooth, not bitter. Whitish (I wonder why...)(Overall: Cindy's favorite*)

The three judges have disparate coffee histories and tastes. Andy is addicted to caffeine, drinking three cups of black coffee every morning. His espresso drinking began in France in 1977 with cafe au lait, continued intermittently with social espresso drinking in the 80s, and went through double cappuccino to latte drinks in the 90s. Cindy drinks no regular coffees, doesn't like the taste of coffee, but has been doing latte irregularly for about 10 years. Atmosphere is important in her choice of coffee bars, and she likes latte because of high inputs of milk and sugar. Carole had her first taste of latte in April of 1996, when she took a sip of Cindy's at Politics and Prose. Though she also dislikes coffee, she is a lover of milk and sugar and now does a latte a day. It was Carole's newly-found love of iced latte that triggered the Cleveland Park taste test.

(Note: See Washington Post Food Section, 15 May 1996 for analysis of caffeine content of these and other espresso drinks).

Andy Clark


Cable Television

Tracy Greer wondered whether anyone else was amazed at District Cablevision's choices for 3 new channels. My hand is raised. I heeded the call when someone suggested that those interested write DC to add the History Channel. I had written to them before about the HC and got the same answer. I omit the details: the answer was NO. And now this! They're going to raise fees, add blather to the other blather now offered without even a survey or vote of those paying the tab! That seems unreasonable.

Barbara Goodman


Reply to <Tracy Greer> in the June 3 issue regarding her unhappiness with the addition of the SciFi Channel to DC Cablevision:

Oh Pooh, you just have your snout stuck in the honey jar again. The sports channels are adequate, if you include WB50 (cable 18) and HTS (cable 36) with our fab Orioles, plus ESPN (cable 37), plus FOX baseball (cable 5), plus continuos Atlanta Braves wherever you look.

We have been DYING to get Scifi channel since we heard it would include Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). The "SciFi" label is just a front, don't you get it? Plus what about Jazz?

David F. Power



Tenleytown have been working for a year to get the fast food establishments, restaurants, and convenience stores along Wisconsin Ave. to control the trash and litter that their customers scatter throughout the neighborhood. Some of the merchants have agreed to provide employees to police the area. Matt Pasquinelli will be overseeing the clean up of the litter in the neighborhood, using staff from McDonalds, 7/11, Popeye's, and Armand's -- hopefully, on a daily basis. The area to be covered is:

Wisconsin Ave. from Veazey to and Albermarle (including the Circle) and east of Wisconsin about a block and a half.

We hope to involve the new businesses that are revitalizing the area (Hechinger's, Fresh Fields, Hollywood Video, etc.) as well as the other, long-term establishments. If you would like to participate in this effort, or have any suggestions, comments or concerns, please contact Matt Pasquinelli (244-8487 (H) or 364-8399 (O)) or ANC Commissioner Scott Strauss at

Jon Goldstein



For Evan Roth: Here's my personal approach to street people. I never give money to anyone on the street, no matter how hard they ask, how worthy their cause seems, or how dire their appearance. I have no way of surmising what someone's situation is or how he or she will use the money I give them, and I want to avoid any potentially dangerous confrontations.

Lots of street people are honest, decent folks who are just down on their luck, lots of them are hustlers, lots of them are mentally or physically ill. You have no way of determining which a person is after seeing them for five seconds, and you're both arrogant and ignorant if you think you can.

Instead of giving people money on the street, give them a smile and a quick "Sorry, I can't today." Then follow up by doing some research, choosing a good area organization to support and making a decent donation of time or money to help with their work. You'll feel more in control when you've gotten some information, have stopped assuming this isn't your problem, and are working towards a solution.

Amanda Revere


Linda Neethling's London experience in learning that the closing of facilities that once held most of what we now call the Homeless, is exactly what has happened here in the U.S. For sure, many of the facilities that were closed (and some of those that are open still) deserved to be closed due to their inhumane living conditions and treatment (or lack thereof). The result - a casting out of the non-violent and non-criminally insane blokes.

Ed T. Barron, edtb



For the past week or so, I've noticed a stub of a tree trunk on Devonshire Pl., just off of Connecticut Ave., that someone seemed to be trying to chunk away, and consequently leaving much rotting bark littering the sidewalk. Yesterday, walking back from lunch, I spotted the culprit: a piliated woodpecker, happily pecking away at a smorgasbord of succulent spring insects. I stopped to watch this turkey-sized bird (O.K., I'm exaggerating a little, but not much!) for a few minutes, and a second piliated woodpecker swooped down to join in the buffet. The second woodpecker was a bit shyer, or perhaps less hungry: it took a few bites and ran (or rather flew off) into a nearby tree. The area where I saw this is very near to a branch of Rock Creek Park, so that probably helps attract the birds.

I'd be interested in knowing if any of you have spotted unusual local fauna in the last weeks.

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


The friends of Volta St. Park are having a picnic and Softball game to raise funds for the renovation of the Volta St. Park on Sunday 6/9/96 from 12:30 - 4pm, the softball game is at 2pm. Come on by, it's for a good cause and a good time will be had by all.

Bob Levine


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Jeffrey Itell Publisher: dc.story

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