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August 25, 1996

Bacon Defense

Dear Neighbors:

Posted around town are signs stating "Brazil At-Large." If this is true, then law enforcement officials ought to round him up and bring him to justice. FYI: No reward is posted for information leading to Brazil's capture.

But perhaps we ought not to count on D.C.'s finest to bring Brazil to justice. According to Stephanie Mencimer's article in this week's Washington City Paper, our cops are preoccupied by assaulting their wives. And getting away with it. Remember the police recruits hastily recruited in 1989-1990. You know, "Damn the criminal charges, hire away." Well, Mencimer uncovered that nearly 25 percent of them "had been charged with crimes involving domestic violence."

Mencimer introduces us to the "Bacon Defense." Current Deputy Chief of Police Charles Bacon--who is a leading candidate to replace the hapless Police Chief Larry Soulsby--was, in 1981, "charged with assault with intent to commit murder in Prince Georges' County for allegedly firing shots at his girlfriend." The girlfriend refused to testify, perhaps due to pre-crime witness intimidation?--but the police department recommended demotion. So, naturally, Bacon has been promoted through the ranks. (Bacon got involved with another alleged assault in 1993. No charges were brought and the police force again failed to discipline him. Probably gave him an extra merit badge.)

Because of Bacon's lenient treatment, all cops are now entitled to the "Bacon Defense." Union leader Ron Robertson told Mencimer " There's a guy [Bacon] who shot and tried to kill his girlfriend on more than one occasion and nothing happened to him. Rank and file should have the same treatment." I agree. They should all stand before Bacon while he shoots and tries to kill them.

A veteran New York Times reporter told me months ago that he expected major corruption to break out in D.C. police department. The mayor and council cut their salary and, he claims, the rank-and-file are going to find a way to make up the difference. I have no doubts.

Since the mayor introduced his transformation plan, we have witnessed deterioration of the already pitiful police department and school system. We should have determined which direction the mayor wanted to transform these institutions. Without solid city institutions, Del. Norton would have flatten our taxes to zero and add combat pay to keep residents from leaving the District. The schools and police department are among the best funded city institutions in the country, yet they deteriorate.

So what has the mayor been working on this week between conventions? Hassling Chief Financial Officer Anthony Williams. Williams has started firing city employees who don't have the minimum qualifications to hold their jobs...and I believe we are talking about the ability to read, add, and write. The mayor sent the press (and then Williams) a scathing note about due process, heartlessness, etc. Meanwhile, Barry and company is thought by some to be behind the agitation that led Police Chief Soulsby to suggest bodyguards for Williams.

While this power struggle occupies the mayor's time, the Washington Times reports that 300 fire hydrants--many downtown--don't work. Public works knows about the problem, but can't afford to fix them. Transform that, Mr. Mayor.


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Jeffrey Itell


City Council

The best candidate for the At-Large Democrat City Council seat is Phil Mendelson. Although this may not be a widely known name in DC resident's portfolio, let me say that we couldn't ask for a more honest, hard-working dedicated and knowledgeable candidate. I would qualify him as being issue oriented, not political; a resolver of problems, not a pushover; an individual who knows the facts and foibles about our lovely out-of-control budget and an individual with knowledge of zoning, planning, and other city "nuances" critical to our city's future and strength.

A combination of Patterson, Mendelson and Schwartz on the Council would certainly make for a tough group of people willing and able to make the tough decisions that need to be made to keep some semblance of Home Rule intact; Phil's background on the ANC 3C Commission as well as his direct employment for Jim Nathanson and the Council budget office not to mention his unending dedication to this city makes him a perfect person for this lousy job of governance in our city. VOTE FOR PHIL!!

Ian Gordon Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Woodley Park IanG250848@aol


Thanks for the invitation for candidates to write in. It's appalling that there has been so little news coverage of the election upcoming in two weeks; 260,000 Democrats will be expected to vote. Most probably don't even know there's an election.

Who am I? I have lived in the District since 1970 and in McLean Gardens since 1975. I was a tenant leader in the 1970s, I have been an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner since 1979, and I am an officer of my condominium. I also spent 7 years on the staff of the city council. So I know City Hall from both sides.

Above all, I consider myself an activist. I'm tired of "leaders" who don't lead. This is why our government is always being reactive, usually in the form of crisis management. I intend to be proactive. I will also be a full-time councilmember, i.e., I won't have another job, so that I can devote full time and attention to the city's problems.

My qualifications are better than almost any Councilmember's when he or she was first elected. Yet I am considered an underdog because I don't have the name recognition of someone like Harold Brazil who is already on the council. Voters are always more comfortable with someone they know.

But voters have a right to expect their legislators to attend meetings and vote. I will. Brazil doesn't. While he talks tough about crime, public works, and the budget, he's missed about half of the Judiciary Committee mark-ups and all but one of the Public Works Committee meetings over the past year. Recently he also missed 3/4ths of the votes in committee on next year's budget. When pension reform came up in July, he denounced the Control Board and then walked out before the vote.

Harold also talks tough about taxes -- my specialty the last 16 months I staffed the Council. What he doesn't say is that he's the only Councilmember who moved to kill the newly created tax revision commission. This commission is something like the Rivlin Commission in membership and independence, but will focus solely on the whole range of city taxes with an eye toward restructuring them to be more fair, competitive with the suburbs, and possibly lower.

Also, Harold has twice pushed legislation to freeze taxes, but I think we need to try to lower them. His freeze of property tax rates is actually a booby trap, since property taxes are a function of rate times value, and property values always rise over time.

I'm the only candidate who has been willing to criticize an incumbent like Mr. Brazil, and I've done so because we don't need to "re-elect" someone who's already on the Council and who's done a poor job. We need to elect people who are willing to speak out. What we've got now is like a conspiracy of silence throughout the government: no one is criticized, disciplined, or ever replaced.

Phil Mendelson


The Needle and the Damage Done

Everyone who takes up residence in D.C. becomes an instant expert on the quality of life in town. One of the city's most time-honored hobbies is scouring the streets for the biggest pothole, the newspaper for the biggest scandal, and the allies for the biggest rats. And every time spot a crisis, we declare that it's the final straw for this embattled city.

Anyhow, Washington City Paper in March began monitoring quality-of-life trends in a special monthly column titled "The Needle." The column looks at the key and not-so-key events of the month and rates their impact on the District's quality of life. If you have tripped across any news or events or whatever that affects the quality of your life in the District, please send me a note at I am interested in any quality-of-life development whatsoever--the opening or closing of a restaurant, the falling of an important tree, and so on. Thanks

Erik Wemple



The Umoja Party was started in the last or next to last election campaign by a group of young black activists. They easily achieved ballot status and have become a significant force in the city since. Mark Thompson, who is running at large, has been a talk show host on the very popular WOL and Rahim Jenkins is an ex-inmate who started a group called the Righteous Men's Commission which has been dealing with issues such as drugs -- particularly east of the river.

These are two impressive guys -- smart, militant, and committed. Ward Threeers may not like all their politics but if you want to know what's going on in town, at least give them a listen.

DC New Democracy is affiliated with the New Party and loosely with ACORN. Again, good people trying to produce positive change. The New Party is not really a party at all since it avoids directly challenging the Democrats, hence its involvement in non-partisan races like the ANC contests. But as reformers go, they're good.

Besides, they're absolutely right about the ANCS. Many commissions were co-opted by the city government and/or Democratic pols and need to be returned to their original function as the grassroots voice of the city. Just as during the long years of three-commissioner rule, the city's neighborhood associations spoke for the people, now the ANCs need to fill this function far better than they currently do.

Sam Smith the progressive review

PS: Can anyone help me with the source of the quote: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." I need it for a book I'm writing and so far as I can determine it WAS NOT Einstein, who usually gets the credit. In fact, one Einstein expert said he might not even have agreed with it.


DC New Democracy

DC New Democracy is the local chapter of The New Party, one of the more successful of the third parties. They have endorsed/nominated a hundred or so winning candidates, mostly to local races. Their politics are progressive (at least to some extent the decentralized version than the Big Federal Government version). Their tactics are to enter only races that they can win (usually local races like ANC ones) and to endorse candidates of other parties where appropriate (with a New Party line on the ballot, where election laws allow it). The national party has a web page at; the DC chapter does not have a web page (other than a listing in the list of chapters on the national page). The web page also has a list of 14 DC New Democracy-endorsed ANC members who were elected in 1994.

Jim Kingdon


A Family Affair

Yes, that's what the invitation reads. "Mayor and Mrs. Barry invite you to a Family Affair at their home at 161 Raleigh St. SE - Saturday, Sept. 7, 1996 - 1-7 pm". This was addressed to me at my home. Is it possible that there is more than one Ed Barron in D.C? Is it possible that the Mayor has not gotten the message that I'd like to see him tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail? Am I still considered a "Special Friend of the Mayor"? This must be a fund raiser for all registered Democrats (I am a registered Dem only so that I could vote for John Ray in the last Primary Election). In very small print at the bottom of the page (1 pt. Helvetica) it notes "Our thanks to Pepsi-Cola of Washington,DC for their generosity". I think I'll pass up this "Do".

Ed T. Barron


That Helicopter Thing

Kathy Crawford (another DC Story type) and I were coming back from a dinner party on 8/15 at that same time. We saw all of the police cars on Cleveland Avenue as well. Isn't it odd that so many DC Story folks were around the area or passing through during this event? Coincidence? I don't think so.

Peter Luger


Speed Trap

Speed Trap Once again I must caution those brave enough to return to D.C. via Glebe Road. As you head East toward Chain Bridge, just before you get to the hill leading down to the bridge there is a clearly marked sign Speed Limit 25 MPH. Just around the bend immediately after that sign await the Virginia Police. They delight in ticketing D.C. cars. At 25 MPH it feels very slow. But you can save quite a few bucks by slowing down at that point.

Ed T Barron

[Ed: What's the speed limit in your driveway? Jeff]


The End to the Population Exodus

Our illustrious Pres., Slick Willie, has decided to end the population exodus from the District. He has okayed a new Welfare Bill which exempts the District from the Five Year Limitation on receiving Welfare Benefits. This will be very helpful in assuring that many new people will be moving to the District in about four years. Of course, most of these persons will be coming here to take advantage of the very generous welfare program that D.C. will be administering. Has anyone asked the President where the District will get the money to take care of these new residents? Will Congress realize that the Pres. has made a grievous error further exacerbating the financial problems that the District faces, and allocate a higher payment to the District? Not on your life, baby. The death spiral continues.

Ed T. Barron


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

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