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November 1, 1996

Election Strategies

Dear Neighbors:

There’s plenty of controversial material in this issue to pique your interest. Let fling your barbs and arrows. Let sling your rubarbs and marrows. Whatever.


Also free! Short movie reviews and movie discussion. Send an email message to to subscribe.

Jeffrey Itell


Harriette Phelps

As a long time member of the UDC faculty I do forget that reminders are necessary as to our role, mission, etc. UDC was born from the riots of the time of the 60’s (sorry, don’t remember exact date) in DC because it was recognized that though DC has a larger population than five states its citizens had no access to public higher education. Our students and their proud achievements bear witness to UDC’s success. Most of our graduates go on to higher degrees, medical school, law school, etc. UDC has the same function as the University of Maryland, Ohio State University, etc. exactly. Visit our campus. Speak to our students, many of whom fit classes in between jobs and children, and who can AFFORD and appreciate their chance to move up. Our students have won the East Coast Honda competition over all other predominantly black institutions (academic excellence). Then say that UDC should be a two-year institution? Is just for poor folk? I don’t think so.


Dan and Don for Board of Ed
Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson KpattDC3@aol

I’m pushing Dan Harrison (at-large) and Don Reeves (Ward 3) for the Board of Education. Dan was an early member of the Ad Hoc Parents Coalition several of us founded four years ago, and we have worked closely on public school issues since that time. He’s a manager at the Park Service; travels widely in his job; knows there are solutions Out There. Example: looking up at the decrepit gutters at Murch Elementary School during the fall fair Saturday, Dan advised seeking a historical designation for the additional support that might provide, including private sector — has experience trying to get private partners for DCPS, including offers that were spurned by the current leadership. He’s solid — father of two, one at Duke Ellington and the other at the Capitol Hill cluster schools; lives in Anacostia. He has paid dues in the form of citywide leadership spots; served on Kelly’s Inter-Agency Council on Education which was a rare intergovernmental effort that had Council and executive plus parents and others working constructively (though not conclusively what with a change in mayors). He wants the current DCPS leadership gone, on accountability grounds. He is a grown-up who will stay on the case of administrators in order to deliver for kids.

I’ve known Don Reeves for a shorter time and am impressed at the homework he has done in preparation for his campaign. He can hit the ground running in January as an assertive board member who, like Dan, will hold people accountable. In comparative terms, it’s a stronger field in Ward 3 than elsewhere. Don, too, wants the current leadership gone, and I think will stay in close touch with constituents on local issues.


Willie Schatz

I second Jeff’s emotions about the school bored. At last week’s Kathy Patterson Ward 3 confab, at least three candidates—there could have been more, but they did not make themselves obvious to this cum-political-prisoner-temporarily-turned-voter. None of the trio approached me to explain what it’s all about, Alfie. If someone had taken a collective electro-cardiogram, this trio’s line on the chart would have made Kansas look like the Front Range.

The slogans all seem to be variations on a theme: The Kids Come First, made famous last time around by Jay Silberman, an acquaintance of mine, former Janney School parent and the object of Ward 3’s affections and the focus of our great expectations.

But the Jay-Bird has been as bad as the rest of his sorry colleagues. The kids haven’t come first. They’ve been last and least. I don’t see anything/anyone who’s going the Tigers into the Yankees. Put me in the "Abstain" column.


The Post’s endorsements for D.C. council
Larry Seftor

While I cannot speak specifically to the Post’s endorsements for D.C. council, I do have strong feelings about the atmosphere in D.C. that leads to this kind of contradictory behavior.

Although I have now lived in D.C. for 6 years, I still feel like an outsider when I see how those with interests in D.C. respond to our problems. There is an incredible acceptance of the status quo. Outrageous situations persists with barely a peep from the citizenry or our leadership.

For example, our school system does not know how many employees it has. What is more shocking, however, is that in a Post story of October 10, only one of three ward 3 school board candidates thought this important enough to address. After all, this is D.C., and such problems are the status quo.

I really believe that our declining population reflects the fact that there is no new blood entering the city, and those resident with a little spunk and common sense are leaving. There are no fresh candidates for the council because anyone with a little sense is gone. It is quite depressing.


Bullet Voting
Ed T. Barron

To assure that Carol gets elected just vote for one At Large candidate. This used to be called Bullet voting. Now, I guess, we should call it Wizard voting. I still think they should have called the D.C. NBA team the Potomacs. That represents all the major communities in the area.


Presidential Election
sam smith the progressive review

For a person wishing to leave the polling place with some sense of self-respect this is clearly the worst election since 1968. The Greens, to be sure, offer an answer and one of no small moral appeal. Notwithstanding the quirky and sometimes annoying approach of their candidate, the Nader effort at the very least flies a brave flag of virtue over the barrens of American politics. But there are those of us who marched under a flag of virtue in 1968 — casting a third party ballot or none at all. That year we actually may have made a difference, for Nixon won by less than one percent of the popular vote. We did not know then, however, that after our moral action more than half of the American deaths in Vietnam would occur. Learning such things makes you a little more cautious and a little less morally certain.

There further the argument that one is not just voting for Clinton; one is voting for allowing the children of illegal immigrants to stay in school, for a few dollars more for this program and a few less cuts in that, for keeping the Environmental Protection Agency and protecting endangered species and not making life worse for blacks, latinos, and gays. In the end there is the argument that a Clinton administration will kill and maim fewer people, that the choice lies in the body count — between mere surgical strikes on human decency and massive carpet bombing.

Progressive commentator Saul Landau suggests that one should "enter the polling booth in November, say ‘Here’s to you Robert Reich,’ pull the Democrat lever, shed a few tears and throw up in the street."

Doug Henwood of the Left Business Observer thinks not: "Every four years, leftish apologists for the Democrats twist themselves into ever more complex knots to explain why a vote for whatever horror is running under the party’s flag is essential." He points out that the Clinton-signed welfare bill will throw 2.5 million people into poverty and cut the average food stamp allotment to 66 cents a meal. He quotes David Brower as saying, "President Clinton has done more harm to the environment and to weaken government regulations in three years than Presidents Bush and Reagan did in 12 years." And finally he notes that "Clinton’s record on civil liberties and privacy issues is at least as bad as Reaganbush’s and probably worse." Henwood concludes that had a Republican president tried what Clinton got away with, "Opposition would have been loud and forceful. With a Dem at the helm, advocates for the poor, the environment and civil liberties have been partly or wholly silenced. And in the likely event of Clinton’s reelection, we can probably look forward to the privatization of Social Security. Could Dole get way with that?"

For me, the election’s no big deal. Living in DC with its 80% Democratic registration, I get a free and safe protest vote whenever I want. I’ll vote for Nader because it’s easy. I don’t know what I would do if I lived elsewhere. Those in other places where one more vote for Clinton would be merely gilding the kudzu, may wish to follow suit. As for the rest of you — residing where your choice might actually make a difference — just do the best you can, remembering that the system is so rigged there just might not be a right answer anyway.


Re Tom Berry’s question about President Clinton’s formal residence:
Randy Lilleston

It’s not well-known, but at least as of a couple of years ago, the Clintons owned a condo in Little Rock. Hillary’s folks lived there for a while, although with the passing of her father, I’m not sure that’s still the case.

Anyway, you have to remember how easy it is to have an "official" residence. Lots of members of Congress have rented apartments in a congressional district for a few months to "establish residency," and George Bush’s official residence, while he was president, was a hotel room in Houston.


Votes for Sale

[This email message crossed my desk. I’m afraid it’s not a hoax. Jeff]

Find out how much you would save under the Dole- Kemp tax plan! Come try the new Dole-Kemp interactive tax calculator to figure out what the Dole- Kemp plan would mean in real money to you and your family.

By entering your projected income for the year, how many children you have, and whether you are married, the calculator will tell you roughly how much you would save if the Dole-Kemp tax cuts were fully implemented.

No games. No gimmicks. No rhetoric. Real tax savings in dollars and cents.

Because Bob Dole believes it’s your money, not the government’s money. And you shouldn’t have to apologize for wanting to keep more of it.

To see what the Dole-Kemp tax cuts would mean to you, visit the interactive tax calculator at:


Starbucks Discount Coffee House?
John Whiteside

Gaelyn Davison writes:

"All of these chains gobble up choice real estate and put local, non-chains out of business by appearing on every corner and initially undercutting prices."

People buy coffee at Starbucks because of the discount prices? This is the funniest thing I’ve heard in days.


Park Traffic
Ted Gest 76710,

Do any outbound evening commuters out there know why Rock Creek Park traffic around 5-6 p.m. seems worse than ever, e.g., a backup from P Street to the Beach Drive cutoff many nights? It’s hard to believe it’s simply more traffic, given the reported moves of many employers to the suburbs. Some nights it seems to be exacerbated by Park Police motorist stops, but that can’t be the only answer. In any case, does anyone know the status of the National Park Service’s study of further curtailing traffic? I’m sympathetic to bikers/joggers/ walkers, but reducing rush-hour availability even more—thus clogging other major arteries—seems no solution.

[I’ll take Traffic for $50, Alex. Or at least I’ll take a wag. There’s lots of construction going on in the west end of the city, bottlenecking the Mass. Ave. exit off Rock Creek Park, macArthur Boulevard, and a few other places I can’t remember. Folks from the Potomac quarter probably adjusted their rides to head down the Wisconsin and Connecticut corridors, free now that the Taft Bridge reconstruction is finished. This is just a hypothesis. Any takers? Jeff]


Uptown Theater
Art Spitzer

Add my vote to the grousers. I am 5’7" and I left _Vertigo_ with a backache. And it’s not just the seats at the back that don’t recline; the seats in the middle don’t either. And I felt very crowded by the medium-sized guy on my right.


Carrie Staff

Lynn Mersfelder asked for recommendations on veggie/organic restaurants in the area. She might try Thyme Square in Bethesda. It is fairly new — it opened over the summer and it is very good. They serve food with organic & healthy ingredients (not exclusively though) & they serve free-range chicken. Their dishes are very creative and it is fairly gourmet (not like Food for Thought), but it is moderately priced (less than Nora, I believe). They even have organic wines on their wine list. Check it out sometime.


District Cable Curiosity
John Keefe

Found an interesting flyer from District Cablevision in my mailbox last night. Seems I can get a discount on installation if I subscribe to a bunch of channels. Hmmmm. Sounds interesting. But hey, what’s this fine print at the bottom? "Install required prior to October 31, 1996." As I write this, Halloween is tomorrow. I suspect it’d be quite a trick to get this little treat installed with less than a day’s notice.


Radio Producer
Michael Bindner

Local political activist seeks radio producer for partnership in developing, marketing and producing radio call-in program entitled "The Voice of the Christian Left" .EOE.


Wanted: Apartment-sized washer and dryer. It has to be skinny - no more than 24 inches wide- to fit through the basement door. And, of course, it has to be reasonably priced.

Linda Wheeler


ISO bed and breakfast

Can anyone recommend a good, reasonably-priced bed and breakfast in the Shenandoah Valley, eastern West Virginia or western Maryland?

John Heaton


Beautiful 1 ½ bedroom condominium in Foggy Bottom/West End.

Brand new kitchen; wood floors; secure parking; 24 hour desk attendant; storage locker; pool; a/c. $194,500. Please call (202) 785-2246 .

Philip&Melissa Urofsky


For Sale: Dining room, Duncan Phyfe, hutch with pediment top, buffet, drop-leaf rectangular table and four chairs, also extra material for upholstering, ?850. Please call (202) 623-1327 before 5:30.


Bicycle For Sale

Schwinn Sidewinder all terrain, 18 speed, men’s, 19", excellent condition, $175 or best offer. Call 202-332-5663 evenings or e-mail anytime.



free 5 foot step ladder and 3 foot flourescent bulbs to good home.



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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