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July 21, 1996

Arnold and Me

Dear Neighbors:

Please help me out here. Phillip Murphy reports that in the film Erasure there seems to be a copy of the Northwest Side Story lying by the phone in the home of a reporter from the Washington Herald (or something like that) who is a friend of the female lead. Though Phil can't bear the thought of sitting through the film again to confirm, I was wondering if anyone else caught this strange sighting?

All Things Considered (NPR) ran a story yesterday on the Norton Flat Tax proposal. I was the designated crank in the piece. If you want to hear it and you have Real Audio plugged into your browser, check out the following web address. It should be posted within a few days. Look under July 23.


Other email newsletters: Short movie reviews and movie discussion

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Jeffrey Itell



Get out your appointment books -- a hearing date for Delegate Norton's DC Federal tax cut proposal has been scheduled by the DC Subcommittee.

Date: July 31st Time: 10 am Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2154

A witness list is not yet available, but as soon as I can get it I will put it up.

Randy Wells


Re: your coda to my posting about the Norton tax proposal: My point is, why not give the "dubious tax relief basket" a shot? Nobody has come up with any better ideas that stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting enacted.

Pat Hahn


Children's Museum

I have heard that the new Children's Museum development on the island off of RFK is now going to happen and that they will break ground in one year. I've always thought that such a project would improve the neighborhoods in that general are at the end of Capitol Hill, bring money, interest, etc. Does anyone have an opinion or any hard news about this project?

[President Bubba signed the bill turning the land over from the national government to the city. The city, in turn, is turning it over to an associate of Sharon Pratt Kelly, if memory serves. The National Resource Defense Council doesn't like the deal one bit. Others see it as an economic development opportunity. jeff]


Cable Television

It turns out the new cable channels added by DC Cablevision in late June are not so hot. Apologies to those who I criticized, such as Pooh25 and others, who correctly predicted continued lame performance by our local cable monopoly. The Sci-Fi channel has almost no original content, and does NOT carry old Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K) episodes, as I thought it would. Nice to see Max Headroom back, but that's the only half decent show that didn't debut in the 1970's.

As numerous of your correspondents have reported, the cable "reception" is a joke in upper Northwest. We had better icture, fewer ghosts, living on N Street than we do now. There is even a special new bogus feature-- the 5-minute "warm up" during which there is NO picture! Even if we can force TCI/DC Cablevision to perform its franchise commitment to supply 79 channels, how do we force it to tune the picture?

David F. Power


Ma Bell

When Bell Atlantic came out to install a new phone line (4 hours early, but fast and nice), they suggested I get cable for my internet access (smart installers!). I told them the story about DC Cable telling me it would take 6 weeks just to come to tell me whether I could get cable, let alone actually getting me cable. They said (1) there is cable on the telephone pole next door to my house, so it should be extremely easy to put in cable, and (2) there's an FCC regulation which says they have to come out to see whether I can get cable, then install it, within 5 days.

Is this for real? Not (1) -- I know that's probably true -- but (2). That would be an amazingly intelligent thing for the FCC to require... :)

Dan Turner



Art Spitzer presents some legal background for his opposition to the loitering law. Then he asserts that the problems discussed are due to inadequate expenditures for education, community involvement (whatever that is), substance abuse treatment and the like.

I suggest that Mr. Spitzer take a few minutes away from the law books to review the D.C. budget. For example, approximately $1,700,000,000 is spent by the human services department alone. In light of such huge expenditures, it is naive to claim that money is the answer.

While I am not a lawyer, and while I certainly cherish the bill of rights, I believe that it is within the purview of society to assert standards of conduct. Otherwise, for example, we would not have zoning, bans on child pornography, and prohibitions on yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater.

When residents are intimidated to the point of being house-bound in their own neighborhood, some remedy is urgently needed. I would suggest that lawyers should serve society better by crafting laws that resolve such problems, within the framework of the constitution. Taking pot-shots at the city council as they fumble with these issues is not particularly useful. Given Mr. Spitzer's ivory tower stance, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" becomes pure nonsense.

Larry Seftor 74740,


I do appreciate Art Spitzer's filling out the legal background on the loitering law decisions. That he sees the solution in the DC Council "improving our education, early intervention, employment, community involvement, and substance abuse treatment programs" suggests to me that he not only does not live in Shaw, but that he might be an extra-terrestrial. I noticed that he did not specify what he meant by "our own neighborhoods" or respond to my curiosity about where he lives. Hell, maybe he's one of my neighbors, but I wouldn't know because it's too dangerous to go outside and meet them.

My choice of words, e.g., "disheveled," may not have been the best to convey my views, which are very similar to the other subscribers who posted on this topic. The police need the ability to legally disperse the - to me obviously - threatening congregations of people in situations which are preposterous in terms of our basic right of assembly.

Now for a prediction. If the city does not do a dramatic turnaround, the rest of us law-abiding taxpayers will be out of here. Part of that means taking serious steps against crime. Part of that means anti-loitering actions and legislation. Art may be right in that it will be overturned. If we continue on that path, the city is finished.




Checking my old email tonight, I realized you had asked me to get back to you about the "progressive electoral organization" I had told you that I worked for way back in April. It's the New Party, the local chapter of which is called DC New Democracy. In DC, we are assembling a progressive slate of 20-40 ANC candidates for the November elections, and may have one or more of our members enter a school board race. Nationally we are running dozens of candidates in mostly nonpartisan races around the country, as well as running several ballot initiatives on school funding and minimum wage increases.

Strategically, we deliberately avoid the two common pitfalls of third party activit: the tendency toward being marginal or being spoilers. WE only enter those races we think we can win, while working hard to build strong local chapters and change the rules that limit third-party organizing. As part of changing those rules, a landmark lawsuit we brought last year won in the Eighth federal circuit appeals court earlier this year, and will be taken up by the Supreme Court this spring. You can find out lots more about the New Party at It would surely be a shame if all the articles written about independent politics this year in the Post and the City Paper covered only Ross the Boss and Governor Gloom. They are not the most exciting story.

Tom Hucker



The police say there is a lot more random violence and thievery in the neighborhood this summer. I know--I've been victimized twice.

Margie Siegel


"Theft from auto" is a thriving business in my neighborhood. One thing that has struck me is that radios are still popular, but not any old radio. My brother's radio is the kind where you can remove the face plate with much of the electronics and take it with you. This does not seem to bother the thieves. They break the window and steal the remaining shell. So there is apparently a market for radios without their electronic faceplate suggesting those faceplates can be obtained in another fashion. My neighbor's car was similarly burglarized (multiple times.)

When my brother's car was broken into, it took the police 6 hours to show up. Apparently, the evening shift didn't was to deal with it and they handed the problem over to the night shift. Those fellows were terrific. They said they were not allowed to use the fingerprint kit on the car for theft from autos. The best they could do was take a report for our insurance purposes. I had read in the newspaper that Soulsby did not want to waste time on petty crimes like this.

I am right now calling the 2nd District. The officer said that it is too hard to investigate theft from auto where there is no suspect. Prints are too hard too get, but that my understanding about Soulsby's order is incorrect. She also confirmed that the faceplateless radios are very popular.

Leila Afzal


ANC 3F ("serving North Cleveland Park") is looking for a new Commission Administrator. We need someone who is interested in the community and in pursuing issues that are generally -- though not exclusively -- of local concern. Ability to deal with residents, DC government personnel, and ANC 3F Commissioners essential. Bookeeping skills would be helpful, as well as minimal computer/word processing skills.

We are looking for someone who can devote roughly 15 hours per week (spread over 3-4 mornings) in a nice office located in the Intelsat Building (at 3400 International Drive, N.W.), and attend one monthly meeting (lasting 2-3 hours). If interested, please contact Scott Strauss @ 202-879-4035.


For sale -- Internal 14.4 modem (Best Data Smart One model 1442 FQ). $25.00 OBO.

Liz Hoopes



Super 3 BR rowhouse on Capitol Hill, near Eastern Market, next to Lincoln Park. We need one (or two) roommates for September, our lease is up in October. Stay on for the next full year -- it's a lovely house with front and back yards, 2 parking spots, elevated deck off of the kitchen, dark hardwood floors, washer/dryer, spacious, windowy rooms, skylights, lots of built-in shelving for those avid readers, 2 bath (one with a fabulous old-fashioned 3 foot deep bathtub that has feet!!) and more. I'd love to stay on in this wonderful house, but most of my roomates have fled from DC, and everyone else I know already has a place to live. Best of all, rent is only $1350 -- with 3 people living there, comes to $450 mo. + utilities. We've had a fourth live in the den -- there's that much room!! If you're looking for a group house, this is definitely a great place to nest. Please contact Vera: and I'll tell you more....Thanks!!


Home PC Computer Assistance. I'll help you chose and buy the best model for the lowest price, get your computer up and running, teach you the ins and outs of Windows 95 and applications, show you how to maintain your system, build special applications for you, and get you up and running on the internet. $60/hour. 202.244.4163.

Jeffrey Itell


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