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October 16, 1996

Yielding the Floor

Dear Neighbors:

Subscribers have a lot to say this week and I don’t .So I yield the floor to my esteemed colleagues.


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


Carl Bergman

I think Jeff makes an excellent point about looking at statistics neighborhood by neighborhood. I don’t think his point should be limited to crime. It also holds for many other comparisons. Simply comparing DC to the states, or comparing it to other large cities almost always has some distortion.

It’s not DC’s population total that is out of kilter, it’s our geography. we forget how small DC is, and that its size is fixed. This small size distorts many of our statistics compared to larger jurisdictions. Our crime, for example, may be no worse than others, but we lack other substantially balancing geographic areas. For example, Queens moderates NYC’s crime statistics. Buckhead and Northeast Atlanta’s lower that city’s crime averages. If we look for a similar area, perhaps only San Francisco compares to DC in both population and area. .

Due to this problem, I believe that the only useful DC comparisons would stack census tracks here versus tracts in other places. Does anyone know what the incidents of poverty, various crimes, or infant mortality are here if you can hold constant for the area?

Similarly, comparing DC’s employees usually compares them to totals for either a state or a city. I’d like to see a comparison to Baltimore or Boston, for example, that included all state employees in the city as well as city employees. If you think this is nitpicking, remember employee counts for DC usually include the city’s whole judicial system, but leave out any comparable state judicial employees.

DC’s uniqueness cuts many ways, how it appears in common comparisons is one of them.


Barry’s Quote
Bob Doherty

I have a book titled "Political Babble: The 1000 Dumbest Things Ever Said by Politicians" , which is written by an allegedly reputable reporter from the Globe and Mail, includes the Barry quote in his book:

"Outside of the killings, we have one of the lowest crime rates in the country." —Marion Barry, mayor of Washington, in 1989

The forward to the book says that all statements in it were made for the public record. So you do have a secondary source for the claim.

By the way, I’ve used the Barry quote often in speeches around the country to illustrate the different way that people in D.C. look at reality.


Virginia Johnson

Marion Barry made the remark about the crime rate not being very high except for the murders when he was Mayor during 1989 or ‘90 .It's an OLD quote, in other words, that got a lot of play then. Why is David Brinkley bringing it up now? Did the Mayor say it again?


mary karstens

"our crime rate is not so bad if you don’t count the killings"

I remember this quote from several years ago — in his last mayoral reign. that would make it 90-91.


Jury Duty
Aaron M. Knight

I greatly appreciated Stephanie Mencimer’s comments on jury duty — I, too, have been called up for service twice in my 5 years of residence in the city, and while it’s certainly not a joy (it’s rather depressing, I think, to be there and see from the judicial side of the fence how many serious problems there are in Washington), I really agree with Stephanie that: "Jury duty is not the hardship d.c.story contributors seem to think, and it is not just a privilege but a duty of citizenship in a democratic society. You have no right to complain about the state of the justice system if you aren’t willing to participate in it fully."

On a related note, I was saddened by Jill Poznick’s conclusion at the end of her comments on rising crime in the NW neighborhood of Quebec, Porter, etc. that "Maybe it is time to move to the suburbs!" Maybe, instead, it’s time to become more involved in neighborhood and community efforts to stop crime, make changes, address the massive problems our city and its residents face, … Probably you are involved, Jill; I don’t mean to imply that you aren’t .Believe me, I need you and others in this community to hold me accountable to living out this espoused view of being committed to building up our city — or even taking an interest in what’s really going on here. It’s taken a tragedy directly impacting my life to make me truly see and face directly the violence, crime, corruption, and despair in this city — and to begin to do something about it. Not that I think I can make a world of difference — but I can try to make it just a little bit better. At least I can try.

Thanks for listening. I will post again with requests for actions or information updates as I learn of them.


Senor Grappa

Since Mr. Berry is the one who started the juror duty responses, he feels obliged to respond to Ms. Mencimer’s intimation that all writers should be ashamed of themselves. Regrettably, Mr. Berry is feeling so low over this fiasco that he has asked me, his agent, limo driver and ghost writer to respond for him. Therefore, in defense of all accused, Mr. Berry regrets that readers were given the impression that he was attempting to avoid his civic responsibility and privilege. The truth be known, in his previous tours of jury duty he has met and retained some fine friendships with fellow potential jurors. In fact, they all look forward to these two year reunions. There is great comradery in their private jurors’ waiting room where they play poker, catch up on each others’ lives and share nips of the demon rum from smuggled hip flasks. What Mr. Berry was trying to point out was that, despite the statement of "random selection" on the back of the summons to appear, there seemed to be something peculiar about the regular routine of one’s calling to duty. Especially when he knows of others who have lived here for twenty or more years and have been called for Superior Court duty only once, if ever. And it certainly can’t be random selection when a clerk proudly tells the assembled masses that he will see them two years hence. The other writers simply reinforced what Mr. Berry had stated; he does not recall anyone attempting to shirk their duty and privilege.

There are folks in this burgh who get paid to influence lawmakers to assure that law are created and changed to suit their purposes. So, why can’t we simply use this electronic rag to point out a seemingly gross error in the DC Superior Court jury selection system?

Since his initial posting here, Mr. Berry has queried one Superior Court commissioner and two judges about the selection process and none of them know how jurors are selected other than through DMV and voting registration records. The two judges, however, indicated that there is such a large calling of potential jurors because so many citizens avoid their privilege and fail to appear for their civic responsibility. Good heavens, Mr. Berry and the other writers would never dream of being so irresponsible.

Mr. Berry, however, will gladly pay someone to serve his duty for him! Please submit your low bids ASAP. Just kidding, Ms. Mencimer.

Thank you for allowing me to respond on Mr. Berry’s behalf.


UDC - A Taxpayer’s Nightmare
Ed T. Barron

If you’ve been following the string of revelations about UDC you may have been wondering why the University is still open. That’s a real good question and taxpayers should realize just what this is costing those who pay the taxes in the District. The UDC gets $38M from the District and is, reportedly another $17 M in the hole to complete this academic year. That’s a total of $55M. The UDC also receives some Federal funds but let’s ignore that amount for the time being.

Channel 9 said las thursday that enrollment is off by two thirds for this Fall semester. That translates into a total of 3000 students. Fifty-five Million divided by 3000 students means that it will cost D.C Taxpayers over $18000 to send each student through UDC for this academic year. UDC is not Princeton, Yale or Harvard. Why are we subsidizing students at this horrendous rate for a much less than first class university? We could get U MD or U VA to run an off campus program using the UDC facilities at probably half that cost. And since UDC is likely to fold before the start of the next semester why not let the faculty get their official notice tomorrow since they have a sweetheart clause in their contract that gives them a full year’s pay beginning the day they are notified (whether or not they teach). This is an enormous drag on the D.C. budget and an onerous burden on the taxpayers. Let’s cut it loose.


Coppi’s Community Support

Paul( said: "Regarding the comments on Coppis in Cleveland Park, let me offer a bit of insight from his first restaurant on U Street, near my home. Pierre, the owner, doesn’t like to get involved in community efforts."

I went to a fund raiser this summer for the AIDS Ride. Coppi’s (and another restaurant who’s name has escaped me) donated the food. My company donated some of the liquor. Other people cooked. From the 30 people there, the rider raised over $3,500. Maybe Pierre is just picky about his support…


Cleveland Park Restaurants
Jeff Porten

I’m mourning the loss of Uptown Cafe — used to eat the $10 dinner special all the time. (The fish entrees were always good.) I noticed that Alero’s now has a window screened with the words Uptown Cafe and an art deco image — anyone know the story on that?

Yenching isn’t the best Chinese food I’ve had, but I’ve rarely had a bad meal there. Food, service, and atmosphere are all so-so… which mates it a comfortable place for a quiet meal. Sort of a Chinese diner.


D.C. Deeds
Paul Williams Kelsey and Associates

As part of my business of commissioning house histories for old homes in the district, I have to use the DC deed office. Any of you with houses older than 1900 should be alarmed at the condition and storage of the original deed ledgers. We need these not only for interesting historical fluff, but also when questions arise with deed and title disputes.

The 1,000 or so ledgers represting deeds before 1900 are in the slow if not halted process of being moved where they are stored at the corner of 6th and D Streets. Some are in a wet vault in the basement, and some are on the floor of the attic; in direct sunlight. Add to this mess a complete disarray of order (years and ledgers) and a few dozen legal aids tossing them about looking for a particular numbered volume, and what you have is a quickly disappearing essential record of DC history. I don’t even want to think about a fire.

Most competent cities and towns adhere to standards for curation; a fire proof vault and a second micro-filmed copy for users. I shouldn’t allowed to be touch a 1840 deed, open in intense sunlight, completely unsupervised. What is to prevent people from just ripping out their deed avoiding a $2.50 per page copying fee and having a neat wall hanging for the living room?


Ma Bell

I tried to be a good citizen and called 1-800-334-BELL to request the Whitman-Walker Clinic donation but no one was ever home. Has anyone else had this problem?


Ever wonder what’s inside the gates of the Russian Embassy on Wisconsin Ave.?

Now you have the chance to find out. Come to the Art Show & Auction to benefit St. Luke’s Shelter Saturday November 2. Heisman Fine Arts Gallery will provide art buys to meet every budget, including a number of limited edition prints of works from the Barnes Collection recently at the National Gallery as well as works by Agam, McKnight, Neiman, Hibel, and Wyeth. Entertainment, door prizes, and refreshments from local restaurants.

Tickets are $10 per person and are available only in advance by calling Kate Ransom-Silliman at 202-337-9268. Become a patron by buying 6 tickets for $50. Proceeds go to help St. Luke’s Shelter maintain and strenghten its program. Auction begins at 7 p.m. with preview of art at 6 p.m. Enter embassy at 2650 Wisconsin entrance. Free parking will be available at St. Luke’s Church at Wisconsin and Calvert across the street.

Judie Guy


The Friends of Cleveland Park Library holds its annual Fall Book sale this Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20 from noon to 4:00 PM. On Sunday, please use the Newark Street entrance.

Jill Bogard


Moving and need to sell:

-Sleeper sofa and matching love seat, black textured fabric $300 for both -Small window A/C, casement style $100 -White and natural wood kitchen cart $35 -Concept II erg, model B $150

Susan Wise


Learning Software for Kids! — Parents & Teachers

If you’re searching for educational & edu-tainment software titles for your kids at home or at school, contact the KidTECH Lady for a list of programs that are suited to your end-user(s) needs. Prices are significantly discounted for Mac/PC, hybrid CD-ROM (Mac OS, Win 3.1, Windows ‘95) or MPC-Windows floppy 3.5 formats. ** Private, Academic Tutoring Services are also available for all subject areas, including *special* remediation or enrichment from experienced educator.(8—14 yrs., Gr. 2—8)

Barbara Gollon


FOR FREE — 24 Foot Extension Ladder

Old-fashioned wood extension ladder. Good condition; stored in garage. Has become too heavy for me to carry around. Email me to make arrangements to pick it up.




I have one pair of excellent tickets to each of the 7 operas in the 96-97 WASHINGTON OPERA season at the Kennedy Center. I am interested in selling some of them. If you’d like to attend an opera or two this year sitting in seats that are normally unavailable to non-subscribers, respond to me by E-mail or phone, and I’ll tell you shows, dates, prices. (Note: unfortunately, they are not cheap!)

Steve Hoffman" phone is 301/270-8520


JOB ANNOUNCEMENT STAFF ATTORNEY American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland

Position Open: Immediately Deadline for Applications: As soon as possible, but no later than Friday, October 25.

The ACLU of Maryland (ACLU-MD) seeks a staff attorney for its Baltimore office The staff attorney will work with the Legal Program Administrator and three other staff attorneys in the ACLU-MD’s Legal Program. S/he will report to the Executive Director.

Specific duties include:

Direct litigation on ACLU-MD’s public housing suit, education suit, and other large cases;

* Supervision of other cases - includes supervision of the case intake and screening process, case development, pro bono attorney recruitment, placement of cases with pro bono attorneys and supervision of work of pro bono attorneys;

* Legal Program Administration - includes filing systems, legal docket, legal panel, law clerk program, grant reports;

* Development of legal program grant proposals;

* Legislative counsel for the ACLU-MD in Annapolis during spring legislative session; and

* Public relations program development.


The candidate must possess a law degree and litigation experience (prefer five years or more). Experience in the fields of public relations or communications preferred. Lobbying experience a plus.

The candidate should have a demonstrated understanding of and commitment to civil liberties and civil rights.

Salary: Depends on experience, commensurate with that of other public interest organizations. Excellent benefits.

To apply: Send letter of interest, a resume and brief writing sample (5 pages maximum) as soon as possible to: Susan Goering, Executive Director ACLU of Maryland 2219 St. Paul Street Baltimore, MD 21218 Phone: 410-889-8555 FAX: 410-366-7838


Three Bicycles for sale.

One 10-speed ‘AMF’ mens in great condition. This bike has a 19 inch frame and flat (ie, moustasch style) handlebars. It is grey, has no rust and is a terrific city bike for only $65.

One grey 3-speed Truimph (German) women’s commuter with head and tail lights, rack, skirt guard and fenders. In excellent condition and a bargain at $100.

One Mens Hercules (English) 3-speed, $45. 17 inch frame. This unique 30-plus year-old bike is red and plenty of fun for urban cycling. Call or e-mail Brian at (202)537-5803 or

Brian Kemler work: 703.264.6065 marcall: 8*273-6065


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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