one reader inquires: "i've been wondering when there will be another gathering of the dc.story group?" frankly, the notion slipped my mind. signal your interest by sending back this message with "partee" in the header. if enough folks are interested, i'll get a space and set a date. i'll even invite some candidates to solicit your votes.
my apologies for formatting in lower case. the webmaster has experienced technical difficulties and doesn't feel like spending the rest of the afternoon correcting his blunders.
though we talk a lot about obtaining self-government, we don't spend enough time talking about how we govern ourselves. remember the city council? one of the criticisms leveled at it (among many) is that it's not well organized to deal with the city's issues. virtually every member chairs a committee. given the lack of an opposition party, the chairs act more like patrons than elected officials.
after the next election, council members will reorganize committee assignments, chairmanships, and rules. some councilmembers have proposed rule changes to limit the number of committees, converting them from satrapies into deliberative bodies. but chair-alien dave clarke has so far resisted. usually this process occurs behind closed doors, but if the public makes it an issue, clarke, et al, will be forced out of doors (which has got to be healthier than hanging out in the wilson building). linda cropp has failed to oversee health and human services, harry thomas has stewarded the deterioration of public services, and hilda mason--though not too old to serve on the council--is far too senile. the poor deserve better. the kids deserve better. and the potholes deserve better.
bringing public attention to this matter can serve the city as effectively as casting a ballot.
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has our man itell lost his senses? the pieces in last sunday's post lambasting congress for dc's plight were right on target; this is something that i've been telling folks for a while now. congress is ultimately responsible for the whole damn mess we're in. q: what great body has rubber-stamp approved the dc budget every year since before home rule? a: congress! congress "is" responsible for governing dc. and since we're on the subject of responsibility, let's quote harry s truman: "the buck stops here." all congress has done is pass the buck. first, it set up a home rule situation that has saddled dc with an unfunded pension plan that continues to strangle the district. then last year it created the financial control board to further isolate itself from its ward, dc. brian kelly is right: let's sue the creeps. it's in our best interest because congress has no interest in us.
having been a passive reader of "story" for far too long, i appreciate the opportunity to vent some thoughts. i do, however sense that others feel the same way, yet there has been no focal outlet for us other than simply "venting" here in "story." i think we have the beginnings of a ground swell going and i hope i live long enough...in the district...to see some sanity put back into the local political scene and all dc residents gain what is entitled to them, equal status with any other us citizen.
tom berry email@example.com
coup de brimmer
general brimmer & the junta (soon to be the warmup act for dr. jeff & the itells at the 930 club) have taken to threatening people with criminal prosecution if they don't vote in an appropriate manner. this is a tad arrogant and unconstitutional (not that either seems to matter in dc). it also brings into confusion and disrepute the worthy notion of legislative instruction.
back when state legislatures selected senators, the senators were subject to instruction by these bodies. some of america's most famous names found themselves giving speeches on one side of an issue and then voting the other. citizens in 16 states can still instruct state legislators by a form of referendum.
how does this differ from what it going on under the brimmerkreig? simply that under legislative instruction, the orders came from the same people who elected those who were instructed. brimmer and company have no constitutional right to tell anyone how to vote and their attempt to do so is yet another sign of how quickly their megalomania is outstripping their limited competence.
sam smith firstname.lastname@example.org
control board criticism
eleanor holmes norton's criticism of the control board has a little merit (very little). i don't think their actions are driving out any of the real taxpayers of the district. my suggestion to the control board is that they come up with a real plan for the evolution of the district and then go for it. i would like to see a formal plan from the control board with their targets and a time line. if they were to develop this plan i firmly believe the board would get some volunteer professional support for implementing their plan from the residents and the business that are still here in d.c. i offered my services to the board just after brimmer was named as the chairman and never heard back from him or anyone on the board. there's much that can and should be done besides slash and burn. it has to start with a plan and a schedule.
let's go andy.
ed t. barron email@example.com
i take issue with the tone of the piece suggesting that people drive through anacostia and record their reactions to what they see. i can just imagine someone doing this with his/her doors locked, windows rolled up, and peering through the glass as if viewing an exhibit at the zoo. i have lived in the district a total of five years. i have been to anacostia twice -- once to visit the home of frederick douglas, and once to deliver food and christmas gifts to a needy family. each time i felt "uncomfortable," not because of anything seen or heard, but because of all of the news reports and general opinions about how horrible the area is.
that i felt uncomfortable was quite ironic given that one year, while attending an area university in n.w., i lived across the street from what my roommates and i believed to be a crack house (this was not more than five or so miles from the white house, i might add) and witnessed a drive-by shooting on the corner. the violence and crime are everywhere. so are honest citizens who want to put a stop to it. while some might find anacostia a "foreign" place, let's not forget that the majority of the people who live there are honest citizens who want the same thing everybody else wants (and some take for granted) -- a safe place.
tracy mcferrin firstname.lastname@example.org. com
i would be very interested in taking the outing suggested by mr. barron and mr. itell, but only in one of three vehicles: 1. bulletproof limo 2. sherman tank 3. hummer with extra plating and gun mounts. one question about the trip: would this be at night or day?
jeff lins email@example.com
tax assessment appeals
the best way i know is to check the assessments of the other houses in your square. if yours is much higher, you can uses the equity argument and get the assessment lowered. market value does not seem to work.
jury duty in the district is becoming a laborious "duty." i just received my third notice for dc superior court in the last 4 years. four years ago i spent a day as a juror in a real life trial. two years ago i spent a day hanging out with the other lemmings before being dismissed. a clerk proudly announced as we were leaving that he would see all of us in two years. (he knew something we didn't.) now it's time to report again. according to the notice one receives, the according to the summons for service the selection process is based on "'random' (quote marks are mine for emphasis) selection from voter registration and motor vehicle department rolls." religiously every two years is random? or is this a marion barry vendetta against those who voted for his opponent?
tom berry firstname.lastname@example.org
traffic routes to georgetown university
thanks for many responses on how to get to g.u. in under half an hour. i now have several routes to try and will duly report on the best. my favorite was the suggestion that i buy a tank and take the direct route.
s. gallagher email@example.com
skedaddling to new york
i've never tried peter pan bus, but greyhound is much cheaper than the train and takes about the same amount of time (metroliner is a little faster, but much, much more expensive). one other point i did not see in the other postings: last time i checked the statistics, intercity bus was a few percentage points safer than the train. of course, either is approximately ten times safer than private automobile, but that goes without saying.
charlie wellander firstname.lastname@example.org
has anyone out there ever heard of the dc singles on sailboats group? i'm a sailor who wants to crew but, alas, no longer have a boat. if anyone knows of that organization, please let me know.
jean freeman email@example.com
try taking a canoe tour of the eagle's hang out at mason neck state park. the tour is only $6! saturdays and sundays. it's very cool.
laura womack firstname.lastname@example.org
truth is stranger than fiction
what would you do if a friend fixed you up on a blind date with a beautiful woman (man) who was young, rich, free to travel and lavish her (his) money on you? your best bet is to hang up the phone as soon as you can.
a woman who's a friend (i dated her a few times in the past, but we didn't have much in common) called me on tuesday to fix me up with her french cousin, who's rich, young, beautiful, lives in california (jewish too!), and had an hour to spare on her visit to washington, d.c. my reply: "that wouldn't be a problem."
i got a call on my answering machine on wednesday from a woman named dominique, who was staying at the key marriott in rosslyn. i called her back and we talked for a few minutes. she asked me if i was interested in having dinner at sesto senso on thursday at 9:15 pm and would i mind if her limo picked me up? my reply: "that wouldn't be a problem".
the next night i nervously looked through all my clothes for something interesting to wear, put a bottle of bubbly in the fridge, set up a few wine glasses, and prepared for any circumstance. a knock came at my door at 9:30 and i opened the door to find an extremely attractive brunette woman with brown eyes and a sexy dress standing at my door. in front of my apartment was a white limousine.
we proceeded to sesto senso, and as soon as we arrived at our table, she passed a $20 bill to the waiter - she said it was to guarantee excellent service. we talked about personal hobbies and interests, but i really believed that she was interviewing me for something from her line of questioning.
we ordered the antipasto for two and she ordered a g & t, and i had wine. as her interviewing me for my interests continued, a really strange, nerdy guy with unbelievably thick rimmed glasses sat at the table next to us and stared at my date. the geek ordered a pitcher of iced tea with about 20 lemon quarters on the top of it.
about 10 minutes into our antipasto, the geek walked right up to me, placed his pitcher of iced tea next to me and asked my date: "would you go have ice cream with me after your date?" a long silence commenced after which she replied: "i'm sorry, but we're engaged". the geek, grumbled and quickly left the restaurant.
at this point, her line of questioning became more directed at which point i asked her what she really wanted to know. she replied: "i want to live permanently in the us, but in order to get my green card, i need to marry someone. of course, i would support that person in the lifestyle i'm accustomed to." i pondered the question for possibly one second or less and replied: "let's get married" - i figured, what do i have to lose?
she said fine, but that we needed to go back to her hotel right away to talk things over. my reply: "that wouldn't be a problem".
feeling rather ecstatic, but definitely concerned about how long the marriage would last, why this girl was so ditzy, and seemed to have a rather poor french accent and where was that geek anyway, i proceeded to a new world of possibility by escorting her outside the restaurant.
as soon as i stepped outside the restaurant, i saw the geek waiting for us and a state department type fellow quickly come right up to my face and say: "stop right there, i'm an official with the ins, you're under arrest for violating american security laws for attempting to marry a french spy! "put your hands behind your back."
i did what any red blooded american would do in such a circumstance: i began laughing hysterically and yelled: "that's a lot of bs, i know you from somewhere, wait, you're on some kind of tv show, right?" i had been set up. i was being taped on an mtv series called "buzz kill."
just remember, if you get fixed up on a blind date, watch out for a woman (man) who offers to pick you up in her (his) white limo.
charlie adler, san quentin, prisoner #198345, immigration violations email@example.com
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jeffrey itell firstname.lastname@example.org
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