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December 20, 1996


Dear Neighbors:

Help! If you ae holding tickets or have seen "Whistle Down The Wind," I need to talk to you this morning. Please send a phone number where I can reach you. The interview will last less than five minutes. Thanks.


Full disclosure regarding your moderator. I work part time at WTOP-AM. I also have affiliations or work for Washington City Paper, the Northwest Side Story, The Washington Post, Slate, The New York Times, and Fox Morning News. And probably others. I don’t believe THESE biases affect my "moderation," but I’m sure you’ll let me know if you think they do.


Here’s the corrected address for the Control Board strategic plan. Sorry for the incorrect address. I was one "l" short of a full url.


Also free! Free movie passes, short movie reviews, and movie discussion. Send an email message to to subscribe.

Jeffrey Itell


Charter Schools
Randy Wells

My niece was enrolled in one of the first charter schools (International Bilingual Charter School), set up last year before the Congressional mandate. The school started with kindergarten through 5th grade, but we were "given" use of a multilevel school building unappropriate to the size and age of the children: Burdick Career Center on Allison and 13th Street.

I wish we had felt so "autonomous"—perhaps Burdick could have fulfilled its potential. Instead, we were hit by many of the problems facing the school system as a whole: supplies, books, equipment and repairs never ordered or delayed, teachers’ aides unavailable, and parents & teachers trying to make up out of their own pockets.

Recently, Burdick became one of the few school buildings to be closed. The campus around Burdick is enormous. Properly run, this charter school could have (I believe) attracted many commuters’ children—and their out of state tuition dollars. The winners would be District students (who could attend a top notch school), commuters (who could enroll their kids at a school enroute to work), taxpayers (who could harness private commuter dollars, leverage limited tax dollars, and I believe quite readily attract additional private sector support). This model would build on the structure of the District’s work force as a strength, instead of only focusing on the weaknesses....And finally utilize some of the underutilized school structures sitting all over the city.


Steph "Overeducated at a wide variety of institutions" Faul

You asked for opinion, you got it: Public money means public ownership and public oversight. The people who go to Sidwell pay handsomely for the privilege out of their after-tax dollars — I believe current tuition is $13,000 or more per year. (Full Disclosure: I am a Sidwell graduate. Also a Deal graduate, for balance.) The people who go to charter schools have their tuition paid by the tax dollars of the public. In my opinion (F.D.: I have no children) the charter schools should meet the same certification and other requirements, follow the standard curriculum, and give the same standardized tests as other publicly supported schools. Fortunately, in the District this shouldn’t be too onerous a requirement. If anything, charter schools should be examined *more* closely and held to a *higher* standard, because of the potential for Kedar and Marcus Garvey-type fiscal and personnel management.


New Stories
Jim Farley (yeah....this is not an unbiased post.....I work at ‘TOP)

In the last dc.story there was a string of discussion about why the President is finally talking about D.C. And another with folks talking about WAMU or WETA as their sources for radio news. I would humbly suggest that the President is finally talking about D.C. because the all-news station WTOP has been doggedly going after him to get him to talk about it ! WTOP’s Dave McConnell asked the question at the President’s news conference last week, just as he has been asking it for months. WTOP did an editorial pointing out (before Election Day) that the President was about to get a free ride from the very District voters he was snubbing. If you want to know what is going on in D.C. you really should check out 1500 on your AM dial


Lorie Leavy

I read in the Post the other day that due to the budget crisis at UDC, the university’s FM radio license was being shopped around for a reported $5 million. There was more than a little irony in this news for me because, back in 1980, I and other volunteer staffers from Georgetown University’s WGTB-FM fought the transfer of the station’s license to UDC on the grounds that UDC could not afford to operate a radio station. Our allegation was as true 16 years ago as it is now, but as we’ve all since learned, affordability has never been an important criterion for District expenditures.

But now that the chickens appear to have finally come home to roost, I’m curious about potential buyers for the station. The Post item mentioned WETA as one interested party. Does anyone know why WETA would be seeking another outlet—and who else might be in the running?


Abuse of the English Language (1984 revisited)
Larry Seftor

A recent poster to dc.story asserted that: "A minority, as a term in government used for anti-discrimination purposes, does not mean the smaller of a group or the group differentiated from the whole."

This reminds me of Orwell’s novel 1984, in which the meaning of words and the purpose of Government institutions were flipped 180 degrees to meet a sinister agenda.

The Government uses the term "disadvantaged" (as in Small Disadvantaged Business) to address those who have suffered from past discrimination. There is no need to change the meaning of the word "minority." By the dictionary (which, rather than the Government, is the arbiter of word usage and meaning), and whether it is politically correct or not, white people are in the minority in DC.


Accidental Alignment
Philip Murphy

In response to Rich Mintz’s posting about the new tower at National Airport. It just so happens that I brought this up last summer with a friend of mine who works with Cesar Pelli and who contributed designs for several elements of the new airport including the tower.

The tower, from what I understand, proved to be a big headache. The FAA had as much, if not more, to do with its final configuration as any architect. Many of those working on the project were disappointed with the outcome because so many compromises had to be made. When I mentioned to my friend that it was neat that the tower still lined up with 19th Street he was elated. Being from New Haven, he and the others had no idea that 19th is a fairly common route when travelling to the airport from Midtown. Plus, with so many other things to worry about, no one thought of trying to align the tower with anything.

He said that not only was the alignment not deliberate, but that if it had been, the FAA would probably have made them move it just for spite.


Rock Creek Ruminations
Ted Gest 76710,

It’s too bad that the discussion of park traffic has become more rhetoric than facts, as evident by the last post. No one wants to ruin the park or turn it into a "commuter freeway." I hope that the Park Service and the rest of us examine the evidence on whether the flora and fauna really are being depleted by park pollution (as distinct from general pollution in the area) or car accidents (deer also stray onto Military Road—so we should close Military, right?) While public transport could be improved, its shortcomings aren’t a major factor here, in my view. Another concern is crime (a friend of mine was murdered in the park, but does that mean we should fence off the park or station cops every 500 feet? No.) Let’s look at the facts. And the "correction" offered in the last post itself is wrong. The park is closed to traffic on weekends (properly so) to the Beach Drive-Broad Branch split, which is .3 of a mile north of Pierce Mill (I measured it), not to Pierce Mill.


Driving in the District.
Suzanne Gallagher

Will someone please explain the hostility to cars/drivers/commuters so frequently expressed in dc.story? It’s the same attitude embodied by the sneer "love affair with the automobile." Commuting is a fact of life, cars are a fact of life, public transportation in the District is a joke, Rock Creek Parkway was not built as a bicycle path so presumably cars should be allowed on it; HOV lanes would only make other congestion even worse. Closing streets will not make public transportation any better. All it does is make it more difficult for those who actually have very good reasons for driving their cars. How about some traffic management that actually improves the FLOW of traffic rather than blocking it?


Jury Duty
Kirsten Sherk

I hope I can enlighten Tom Berry with my jury duty experience. After my third call in as many years, I think I figured out the trick. The courts draw off of two lists: the voter registration rolls and the registered drivers rolls. I say this because when I was called last year I received the summons at my moms house—the address on my drivers license, while the summons from the year before was at my home address—listed on my voter registration card.

By the way, you only get two years off within the same court system. I was called one year to Federal District court, and the next year to the DC Superior court. Since they weren’t within the same system the two year rule didn’t apply.


Catherine Lancaster

I don’t understand this at all. I have lived in DC for 9 years and have been a registered voter the whole time and have been called for jury duty *ONCE*. It was about 2 ½ years ago and I was sent home around 4:30. It wasn’t a hassle at all, if anything it was kind of fun although I wasn’t disappointed about being let go.

These people complaining that this is some kind of big conspiracy that DC calls you on exactly the shortest amount of time possible, really baffles me.


Progessive Preview Free DC News Service (Excerpts)
Sam Smith Free DC News Service™ 72067.1525@CompuServe.COM

UDC Advocacy meeting: 10 am Sat Dec. 21, All Soul’s .Supporting UDC. To volunteer your support in the efforts to save UDC, call 274-5664 or write UDC Advocates, MB 4801, 4200 Conn. Ave NW DC 20008.

Service and democracy are not mutually exclusive despite what some of the media try to tell you. In fact, it is the anti-democratic junta that is allowing services to deteriorate in the name of fiscal control. City services were demonstrably better under home rule than under the current congressional control.

We do not have a fiscal crisis; we have a congressional crisis. If Congress were to restore its federal payment to the level at the beginning of home rule, if it were to permit us a non-resident income tax; and if it would end the exemption of corporations like Fannie Mae from local taxation, the DC budget would show a surplus.


We’re told that the only reason the junta hasn’t closed down UDC is out of fear of the public reaction.

Junta vice chair Stephen Harlan says that "It’s very clear that the home rule charter is financially, fundamentally flawed. It will not allow the city to survive and it has to be revisited." Shouldn’t the home that is going to be ruled have something to say about this?

According to the Washington Post, Franklin Raines, Clinton’s budgetmeister and former chief of the city’s biggest tax freeloader, Fannie Mae, told the Control board that giving DC additional money would be like giving drugs to a drug addict. Raines denies he said it, but the Post quotes sources present at the time.

A few good reasons to save UDC

It’s a fully accredited institution that awards more than 850 degrees annually, many to students who could not afford to go elsewhere.

It graduates more BA’s than all but four of the 177 traditionally black colleges and universities in the US.

It ranks 14th among the traditional black colleges and universities in the number of graduates who have gone on to get a Ph.D.


The mysterious non-disappearing middle class.
Data compiled by local activist Peter Farina and from the DC government’s own files, shows quite a different picture about the middle class than that frequently portrayed. The number of DC taxpayers earning over $30,000 has actually increased over the past decade despite the overall population decline of the city. In 1984 there were just 66,000 such taxpayers. By 1994 there were 102,000. While the data does not take into account the effect of inflation, the picture is nonetheless dramatically at odds with the conventional wisdom. For example, in 1984, persons earning over $30,000 represented only 56% of DC resident income. By 1994, the figure was up to 77%. Meanwhile, the city’s AFDC caseload rose only slightly after dipping in the mid-eighties.

One reason that middle-class flight from DC has been exaggerated is due to counting gross population numbers rather than taxpayers. If a middle-class family of four moves out the District and is replaced by two middle-class single persons, it may appear that the size of the city’s middle class in that particular house has dropped fifty percent. If fact, what has been lost is not taxpayers but children.


Come to the Noodle Club!

The Noodle Club is a monthly informal dinner gathering of D.C. area progressive "twentysomethings" (aka Generation X). Young professionals, political activists, struggling students, and more come together to share ideas, meet other interesting people and swap information. The venue provides us with an opportunity to "network", promote current activities and projects, recruit helping hands for things that need them, and generally have an enjoyable time.

Join us for our January get-together on Monday, January 6th @ 6:30 pm. We’re meeting this time at Pan Asian Noodles & Grill (2020 P Street, NW — near the corner of 20th and P near the Dupont Circle Metro — we’ll be seated in the upstairs section). If you want to be added to our announcement-distribution list or would like to RSVP, please zip a note to:

Aaron M. Knight



1989 Isuzu Trooper RS 4WD sport utility. Rare 2-door model, 5 speed, all black, alloy wheels (& spare!), AC/PS/PB, cruise, towing, fuel injected 2.6L 4 cyl. engine, Alpine CD, Clifford Security. Approx. 91,500 miles, SUPER clean inside & out, fully serviced, MUST SEE & drive! Asking $7,500 (negotiable). 1996 model of this 4WD is now about $27,000! Call me at home (202) 667-2996, or work (202) 434-6294, or e-mail for more details.

R.J. Fox


Does anyone have any old maternity clothes that my very poor pregnant co-worker could have in kind? (Size 16/18).

Ellen Harris


DC Market - Macintosh Powerbook Duo system

Complete Duo system for sale as a whole or in parts:

$600 Powerbook Duo 230 w/ 12 MB RAM and 80 MB hard drive Licensed copy of RAM Doubler installed for effective 24 MB RAM Apple keyboard upgrade installed - no stuck keys! Amazingly compact and lightweight (6.2 lbs) laptop $200 Duo Dock II with 230 MB hard drive - turns your Powerbook into a desktop system Includes coprocessor and internal floppy drive, keyboard & mouse $200 14" Performa Plus color monitor $ 75 Global Village 28.8 Fax Modem $125 ZIP Drive w/ 10 ZIP disks and all utility software $ 50 External 4X CD ROM $ 50 ALP GlidePoint touch-pad to replace mouse, with 3 programmable buttons

Or, take everyting for $1150.

John Whiteside


Am interested in information re experiences with multi-level marketing. Please send email or phone 202-337-4906.

Edna Small


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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