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August 13, 1996

Optimism to Pessimism

Dear Neighbors:

Thank for the good questions for the candidates who want our votes. And for the merchant updates. Please keep them both coming.

My optimism about the "fixing" of the District has recently turned to pessimism. Nope! It's not the Mayor's serving shrimp at the Republican party that's done it. My mood change stems more from conversation from District residents. I suppose it's a natural tendency to blame others for out misfortune, but when I engage folks about the city's problems, the most often cited answers (Richard Dawson please) are structural flaws, the city isn't a state, bad deal at home rule, Congressional meddling, the unfunded pension liability---almost anything but holding our elected city officials accountable for performing their duties.

Foster kids get treated brutally by the city? That's because of the unfunded pension liability. Schools won't open on time? That darn home rule charter. Drinking water is not as potable as pool water? It's because we got saddled with St. Elizabeth's.

I find this way of thinking disheartening because it allows our elected and appointed officials to get away with (in some cases) murder. There may be merit to these other issues (though I think they are far more problematic than others do). But making this a liveable city where the net population grows (instead of people fleeing for the suburbs) is as simple as residents holding their politicians accountable. I would even go as far to suggest a tax strike as leverage against city officials.

But I suppose it's just too darn easy to excuse the situation away. Or to move away. Pity, though. It's only the nation's capital at stake.


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


Ask the Experts

Considering the following disturbing facts, I would like to know what DC School Board members will do to improve the state of adult basic education in the District.

- The District of Columbia has the third-highest drop out rate (40-45%) in the nation. According to the US Census, 30.2% of DC residents age 16 and over are out of school and have no high school diploma or its equivalent.

- According to the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) published in 1993 by the US Department of Education, DC adults have the lowest literacy skills in America. Even graduates from DC Public Schools often test at second to fourth grade reading levels.

Apparently, the school board is doing nothing in response to these appauling statistics. Recently Andy Hartman, Director of the National Institute for Literacy, wrote in a memo that literacy services in DC are in a state of neglect and disrepair. He stated the following as evidence:

- Funding. It is not clear that all funds from the Adult Education Act that flow to DC from the federal government end up supporting literacy services. Literacy service providers under contract to the DC government have been known to wait up to six months for payments for services. It is even less certain that DC is meeting the federal requirement for a 25% state/local match of thes funds, putting this funding at risk. There does not appear to be a specific line item for adult education and literacy in the current DCPS budget.

- Administration and oversight. DC Public Schools acts as both the State Education Agency (SEA) and th major local literacy provider (LEA). This seems to stand in the way of having any individual or office with the clear responsibility of carryng out both program and fiscal oversight of the program. By fedral law the SEA is supposed to ensure that all service providers (public and prvate) have equal access to federal funds. In DC, the same people who should be enforcing this provision are competing for the funds as an LEA.

- Service delivery. There does not appear to be a plan for how literacy services will continue to be offered in light of the recent closing of the two main adult schools in DC (Carlos Rosario and Armstrong). Statements in the press indicate that these school closings will not have an impact on services, but conversations with local literacy providers suggest that there is no plan for continued adult education and literacy services.

- Leadership. There does not appear to be any person in a leadership position within DCPS, the DC City Council, the Mayor's Office, or the Control Board who is an advocate for aduult educaton and literacy. Again, in statements to the press city officials stated that, because adult education and literacy were not "mandatory," they were in effect expendable.

LeAnna Marr


Here is a question I would like put to every city council candidate, and every serving city council member:

Are you going to do anything to reverse the massive cuts in Metrobus service that have taken place over the last few years, especially the cuts of March 1995, or are you going to continue to play dead while the Metro board pursues its obvious goal of totally dismantling bus service in the District of Columbia?

Herschel Browne


Name One incompetent Barry appointee whom you have called for the termination of?

name one incompetent city worker whose termination you have called for?

In february 1996, the city paper wrote a cover expose on the collapse of the DC public health system, documenting the rise in communicable disease, failure of the water system, decay of the solid waste management system. Name one tangible action you took based upon these reports, and did you even read the article?

Please list the ages of your children, and are anyof them enrolled in the DC public schools, if so which ones?



Buck Naked

Saturday night at about 9:30 my fiance and I saw two guys biking *buck naked* (except for their bookpacks) up Vermont towards Logan Circle. Now, our neighborhood is pretty eclectic, but this was definitely a first for us. We figured they were just having some reckless fun, would probably head around the circle and go off towards Dupont where they would melt into the crowd haha. Instead they went zipping past us, around the circle and kept going up Vermont towards Shaw. I know Shaw has taken some significant leaps in neighborhood safety, but this behaviour still seemed to be borderline suicidal.

Did anyone else see these guys? Does anyone know what they were doing (is this an organized occurence or random mania)? Inquiring minds want to know!

Elizabeth Frazee

[I was home that night. Baking cookies. Yeah, baking cookies, that's right. Jeff]


New businesses

If you haven't strolled down U St. recently, do. Just opened, U Bistro is a chic little wine and tapas bar. Goodwood has great antiques in fine shape for reasonable prices. Republic Gardens has a stunning interior. The Lincoln Theater is gorgeous. And there's a new little antiques shop at 1801 Vermont Ave. that's worth a look.

Andrea Carlson


Glover Park Books & Music just opened & appears to still be in lift-off (books only at the moment, music coming soon; hours aren't posted, probably because they're still experimenting). It's a small store with a private-library-looking interior, VERY conveniently located a few doors toward Georgetown from Bread & Circus.

Now one can pick up a copy of the Japan Times & obtain a cappuchino fix without leaving the neighborhood... Are things looking up? (Bonus: B&C validates parking in their garage - I think there's a $5 minimum purchase required but they don't really seem to be sticklers about it. A stop light is allegedly going in soon for the parking lot - "by the end of July").

Beth Johnson


THE GYM is the name of the place opening in the ex-E.B. Adams building. They have a recording (202)RESULTS, which gives details on the equipment they'll have and the pricing structure ($45/month for the first 100 people, $55/month with no membership fee for the next 200 people). They also have a number to call to get a more complete sales rap: 518-0001. I was interested in the fact that they noted that they had a men's sauna, no mention of a women's sauna... roof deck and healthy food cafe sounds like it might almost make up for the fact that the price is almost as high as the Y but has no pool...

Andrea Berman 70451.3463@CompuServe.COM


Bat Post

For many years now I've been enthralled by The Bats of Cleveland Park. (There are those who hint that I've become one myself, but that's another story). A veritable bombardment of bats swarms around the skies over Connecticut and Macomb, and they're decidedly here now. For an eerie treat, stand around that intersection just as twilight descends. You can't miss them.

The library may attract them. Perhaps they have specialized tastes, because several times I've found select bats darting about the bookshelves (and other things)in my apartment. I live in The Parkway, just across Macomb from the library. Our resident manager assures me than no other tenants have complained of bats.

Does anyone know the story behind the story? Do we abut a notorious bat cave? I know the bats have lurked this way for at least the past 15 years. It's wild, no?

Janet Hess



I'm looking for a recommendation for an affordable and honest auto mechanic somewhere in Northwest, preferably on either the Conn. or Wisc. Ave. corridors.

Michael Buckley


Does anyone in the neighborhood attend the Washington Apple Pi meetings? Want to go to them together? Is anyone willing to spend some time helping me learn more about getting the most out of my Mac? I'm not a total beginner, but some of the more sophisticated graphics and sound capabilities still baffle me. Can pay or trade.

Randi Rubovits-Seitz


Car Breakins

Apparently there has been a rash of these incidents recently in Chevy Chase. Some neighbors in the Jocelyn St. area have organized a meeting with 2nd district police to seek solutions. Meeting is at Wesley United church at the corner of Connecticut and Jocelyn next Monday at 7PM. I am not directly involved but understand they would like people concerned to attend meeting.

Mark Whitty


The Toastmasters Club which meets regularly in Chevy Chase is active, great fun, and looking for new members. The Club meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month, at 7:30 p. m., at the Chevy Chase Community Center, located at 5601 Connecticut Ave., N. W. (just south of Chevy Chase Circle).

We look forward to potential members joining us! If you would like to give it a try (no commitments, whatsoever!), please appear at our next meeting, at 7:30 p. m., on Monday, August 19th. Or, if you want more information on the club, please contact Club President Michelle Baylor. Her e-mail address is

Ed Kane


NetDay96, a new grass roots, volunteer initiative to get every public, private, and alternative K-12 school in the nation wired for connection to the Internet, is coming to the District of Columbia this October. Originating in California last March, over 50,000 technical and non-technical volunteers turned out to wire more than 3,000 schools in a single day.

Activities taking place in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia are being overseen by the NetDay East coalition. Events in the District are being coordinated by Tech Corps-DC, a non-profit organization that has already begun working closely with several schools in the area.

Each weekend this October, parents, teachers, students, and other volunteers will help wire schools in the District. Tech Corps-DC is looking for volunteers, sponsors, and endorsements for this exciting initiative. Interested parties may get involved in the following ways:

WWW: E-mail: Phone: (202) 628-TECH (8324)

Tech Corps-DC is the local chapter of US Tech Corps, a national, non-profit organization of technology volunteers dedicated to helping improve K-12 education at the grass roots level through the effective integration of technology into the learning environment. Tech Corps-DC is committed to bringing the power of technology and the Internet to D.C.'s schools. Current projects include the wiring of Bunker Hill ES, Hine JHS, McKinley/Penn SHS, and W.B. Patterson ES.

Faith Williams



The DC area is a hotbed of Internet activity -- business, consultants, trainers, user groups, etc. For a view of the local Internet community, subscribe to the very low-volume mailing list operated by the CPCUG (Capital PC User Group, local 6000-member PC user group) Internet SIG (special interest group). To subscribe, send email to


containing only the following line in the note

SUBSCRIBE NETSIG-L firstname lastname

You'll receive simple instructions for confirming your subscription, and then will receive four or five emailings monthly about SIG activities and other local Internet happenings.

The next SIG meeting is Tuesday, August 13, at 7 pm at Washingtoon Gas Light Corporation in North Springfield, VA. Visit the SIG's Web page at for meeting details or other information.

Gabe Goldberg CPCUG Internet SIG Chair


Strayer College is looking for part-time English and math instructors (Masters degree required). Please call Susan Bahcall at 202.364.3853. Classes begin on Sept. 23rd.

Beth Johnson


For Sale - Beautiful patio furniture - $350. Large, white table with removable center leaf and five reclining, padded chairs with built in ottoman type leg rests. I hate to give it up but I just moved from Arlington into the District and don't have anywhere to put it. W(202)298-3052/ H(202)337-7285.

Paul Mamalian Paul.Mamalian@SLMA.COM


Home PC Computer Assistance. I'll help you choose 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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