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August 9, 1996

The Head of Alfredo Garcia

Dear Neighbors:

Primary elections for City Council and school board are only a short time away. Most folks aren't going to pay attention until they return from the beaches on Labor Day. But I'd like to start early with some non partisan political organization. To wit: a home work assignment for you.

Please send me questions--good questions--that you would like candidates to answer. Let's accumulate them, debate them, and then pose them to the candidates as a group. I'll put on my stripped shirt and referee.

Now, I don't want just any old question that a slippery politician can back away from. I want accountability questions. I want blood and guts questions like "When did you stop beating your administrative assistant?" Or more seriously:

Linda Cropp (who's not up for reelection but we can direct the question to at large candidates): Vernon Hawkins was performing so miserably that the Control Board had to fire him. But you never stated that he was not fit for the job or held hearings to determine he was fit. Therefore, what makes you fit to be a council member?

Ok, maybe we tone down the questions, but you get the drift. Start sending the questions my way and I'll figure out how to organize the material on this newsletter. If you're generally a lurker and don't want your name attached to your question, let me know. I'll make the call if I can post a question without a name.

Also, just so we can play catch up here, I've noticed a bunch of new businesses have opened in D.C. (though many more have left). Has anything opened worth a visit? (Please don't toot your own horn.) Let us know.



Also free! Short movie reviews and movie discussion. To subscribe, send an email message to and note the name of the newsletter in the subject line or body of the text.


Jeffrey Itell



EPA has set up a local number that is devoted to DC's water quality issues. The recording is updated daily and provides the latest and most comprehensive information on the city's water quality. The number is 202/260-6100. Even though my employer (U.S. EPA) says DC's water is generally safe for most of us, I will continue to avoid drinking the water until the chlorine levels go back to 'normal'.



Is there any way someone can report on the condition of water in the surrounding metro areas? I'm curious because I heard something mentioned on public radio one morning about Alexandria and another suburb's poor water condition, but I wasn't awake enough to remember the details. I would like to get the facts straight before pressing the issue with my DC-hating, suburban-dwelling friend.



As further evidence of the declining services in the District, the trash removal on Mass. Ave. and in AU Park (originally scheduled for Tuesday) was not made until yesterday evening. The reason - NO FUEL FOR THE TRASH TRUCKS. It is rumoured that they finally got the needed fuel by siphoning it from non-operational fire trucks and squad cars. Is this place for real?

Ed T. Barron



I have just finished reading the newspaper story on the failure of the Superintendent and the Board to use almost $7 million in funds to repair our schools. I think we should begin a drive to have Smith resign. He has proven himself completely incompetent. Whether or not he has good intentions is irrelevant, he is in over his head. He can't handle the job. And why should he really care, he gets his paycheck and his son doesn't even go to the public schools.

Leila Afzal


Surprise, Surprise. Once again our D.C. School Superintendant is surprised that the judge is keeping schools closed due to life threatening code violations. And Franklin Smith is surprised to learn that many schools don't have adequate numbers of textbooks. This is the same head of D.C. schools that cannot (or will not) tell us how many students are enrolled in D.C. schools. This is the same lunkhead who cannot tell us exactly how many teachers are on the payroll.

And now we have information that Smith wants to award a multi-million dollar school lunch program without competitive bids. That's not limburger you smell out there, gang. It's a rotten school leader who doesn't have a clue about what is happening in the D.C. schools. It's time for a new surprise for Franklin Smith. Fire this dud and get a proactive administrator who will take on the daunting challenge of reforming our school system. The only long term solution to solving D.C.'s problems in the minority communities is to reform our schools to give the youngsters in D.C. a chance to improve their lives.

Ed T. Barron

[I hate making predictions because you get few points for being right (unless you accurately predict the stock market or outcomes of football games) and tons of derision if you're wrong. But SuperSmith is being hauled before the Control Board to explain why, among other matters, six of 18 high schools are not ready to open. Control Board member Joyce Ladner who oversees schools said something like, "If I see him, I'll kill him." Not exactly those words, but similar. I predict <boldly> that Smith's head will be served up on a platter before the school year starts. Out of town by sundown! The guillotine may drop anyday. An important way to get these instititutions serving the citizens is to make examples of incompetent leadership. That's why I expect the Control Board to pull a "Vernon Hawkins." Next up on the chopping block? How about Larry Soulsby, embattled chief of the embattled police department? Or Tilden LeMelle, head of UDC, who spent his money so recklessly, that UDC can't open again until the new fiscal year? And bring us the head of Alfredo Garcia, while we're at it. Robespierre]



"A new exercise facility is due to open Fall'96 at U & 16th Sts. Intro offers like..$45/mo. + $0 initiation fee. Fact or fiction?"

Fact, if blueprints can be believed. I was walking by the old Adams-Burch building, on U next to Stetsons, the other day. There were workmen inside doing heavy lifting and construction. They'd left their blueprints on a table facing one of the big plate glass windows. If I read them correctly, upside down and backwards, they're putting in two street level restaurants with a gym below (above?). The next day, announcement of the gym was on the windows in purple poster paint. No verification of the rates, sorry, and they've moved the blueprints in the course of construction.

I had fantasies that the space might become a decent size supermarket, or funky condos. The building used to be an auto dealership - check out the cool delivery ramp going up to the second floor, where they once drove cars in to the showroom, and the "flying wheels" in cornice and marquee. All new U Street street life welcome!

Daniel Emberley


[P.J. Greene writes about Jim Lieberman's intermittent observations about the fate of a tree in Chevy Chase. He suspects someone has killed it and its replacement to provide an unobstructed view of the American Diner. I think Jim's observations are correct. However, I find Greene's posting funny. So with apologies to Jim and thanks to P.J., let the chips fall where they may...on my head, probably. Jeff]

To Dr. E. James Lieberman:

I am very interested in discussing with you your passion for uncovering the truth about the tragic murders that have taken place at the corner of Morrison and Connecticut, N.W. You see, I have read with increasing interest your e-mail postings of the last year. I am of course referring to the death of the great old oak tree that once stood in front of the Riggs Bank, but was surreptitiously cut down in the middle of the night, and the sinister (apparent) poisoning of the baby oak sapling that was planted as its replacement. I have long been a student of these arbocides, and am currently working on a number of theories, the chief of which being the following:

From 1959 to 1963, the old oak tree was used as a listening post for anti-Castro forces. From their vantage post (a cavity was hollowed out, accommodating two or three Cubans), they monitored Communist communications that were secretly transmitted from the rooftop of the old Peking Restaurant. The Peking was actually a front for veterans of the Boxer Rebellion who'd migrated to Havana to overthrow Battista. On summer evenings, both the pro- and anti-Castro cabals dined al fresco and elbow-to-elbow at the Picadilly. Cuba Libres and Mai-Tais flowed freely. One particular evening, a young busboy named Jeffrey Gildenhorn was introduced into the "anti" group, on the pretense of delivering Havana cigars, and a secret plot was hatched to one day move the operations to a diner that would be built in the 1980s at the site of a gas station at the opposite corner of Morrison Street. Unbeknownst to locals, both the gas station and the adjacent Drug Fair harbored elements of subversive right-wing, anti-Khrushchev fronts (Nixon practiced one-liners for the Kitchen Debates at the Drug Fair lunch counter). Ike knew of the BlackOps initiatives, and tacitly gave them his approval. Funding was buried in a bill for interstate highway construction. The deal was sealed with champagne from Circle Liquor, and fresh sturgeon caviar from Chevy Chase Seafood Market served on rolls from Schupp's.

In early 1960, an ambitious scheme was planned to erect a giant billboard, purportedly for the use of the to-be-built diner. To the unwitting public, the billboard heralded the Yankee-kitschy-newsreely aspects of the diner, however through the use of imbedded subliminal messages, the billboard broadcast sensational right-wing propaganda to the masses, which at this time included young Patrick Buchanan.

When newly-elected President Kennedy learned of the billboard, the oak tree and the plans for the as yet unbuilt diner, he put the kibosh on the initiatives, and ordered an immediate cessation of funding. Tensions mounted at the Pentagon. The enraged Oaken Cubans, as they were called, demanded more cover. A former Soviet defector/Free Cuba operative was recruited to the cause. An unidentified cigarette smoking man was frequently seen loitering around the tree. Plans were drawn up. A certain Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was purchased mail order. A site was selected, a certain Texas city, a particular Friday afternoon motorcade, an umbrella curiously opened on a sunny day...

But too much was known about the old oak tree. People had gotten sloppy, too many rum and Cokes, too much bragging to the waitresses, familiar faces had appeared in the Zapruder film (hey, isn't that the guy who hangs out in front of Riggs?). And there was too much evidence in the old tree; it had to come down. A special traceless poison had been introduced into the tree box, but it wasn't working fast enough. Besides, the tree in its weakened state was deemed a hazard to the CubaOps team, who banked at Riggs' Christmas Club. So, the tree was cut down in the middle of a snowy night by a contractor hired by then-Baltimore Colts owner Robert Irsay. It is believed that enough residual poison remains in the soil to kill any tree planted there for the next 30 years. But I could be wrong about all of this.

If you are interested in discussing this further, I am all ears. Unfortunately, today's no good (I'm lunching with Oliver Stone to discuss the mysterious fire that gutted the High's Dairy Store on Brookeville Road), but perhaps early next week?

Sincerely, P.J. Greene


FOR RENT: Great apartment, three bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths in Forest Hills. Living/dining room, washer/dryer, cable tv, central air, 2 private entrances. Use of large back yard and 2 off street parking spaces. In a quiet neighborhood only 100 yards to metro bus, 4 blocks to Van Ness Metro. Near neighborhood shopping. Available 8/31. Call 202/362-1814 or

steve gresham 70621.3357@CompuServe.COM


From: (Ann Kessler) Subject: Computers for Wilson Content-Length: 387

Wilson Senior High School in NW is in need of 386 or higher IBM compatible computers for the use of students and teachers. If any reader has such a machine (or any other computer equipment) to donate, please e-mail or phone me. All donations are tax deductible. We will gladly pick up any donations. Thanks! Carl Kessler, Technology Committee, Wilson High School. (202)363-1588.


Yoga Class in Mount Pleasant

Next Session Begins Thursday September 5 Classes held from 7:00-8:30pm

Beginner Class Description: Each class will begin with a short period of relaxation and focused breathing to give students a chance to unwind and refocus. We will progress from stretching and balance poses to the more invigorating standing poses such as the Warrior series. Emphasis is on a gentle thorough practice of classic postures to develop flexibility and strength. Students will also learn poses that can be done at home to add to their yoga practice. Each class will end with a period of deep relaxation and a short mediation so that students leave feeling lighter and stronger, committed to living with confidence and contentment.

Cost per session (4 weeks) is $40.00

Call Deborah Dougherty @ (202) 462-6234 or send e-mail to


I have a specalized hybrid bike to sell. It is an 18 speed with a rack and a bell. handlebar gear shifts. I don't have much room in my apt. and I love the extra space. I am asking $225.00/OBO. It includes a helmet. If interested please call me at 234-4525.

Rob Meisnere


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


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


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