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January 9, 1997

Meet the Mayor

Dear Neighbors:

You’ll notice that in this issue I’m placing signatures back in their usual place—for the totally utilitarian reason that it took too long to move them up front.

Naming the writer up front was a noble experiment. And one whose time will come—but not during my lifetime, please.


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

Jeffrey Itell


Meet the Mayor
Scott Strauss

Mayor Barry is holding a meeting with Ward 3 ANCs next Tuesday, January 14 at the Capitol Memorial Church (3150 Chesapeake Street, NW; the location of ANC 3F’s monthly meetings). The meeting is scheduled for 7-9 pm. The Mayor intends to bring several "cabinent members," including the Chief of Police, the heads of DPW and DCRA, and the City Manager.


Satellite Dishes
Pat Hahn

Has anyone ditched District Cablevision and installed a satellite dish recently? The last round of District Cablevision channel substitutions were appalling as far as I’m concerned, and it’s only a matter of time and satellite dish price declines until I defect from DC cable. I’d be interested in others’ experiences and satisfaction levels with satellite dishes and whatever subscription(s) are needed to go with them.


District Cablevision has outdone itself this time. Janet Hess

After this last round of cable station changes and additions, I have no idea what it is that comes streaming into my apartment of an evening. Sunday’s Post TV booklet is full of listings for all the old stations. Half the time, cablevision’s own channel guide (on channel 95) isn’t working; when it is "working," it’s likely to contain incorrect information, like telling me that VH-1 is on channel 31 until 10 p.m. when channel 31 reveals no such thing. But channel guide told me to watch my bill for more info. Bill arrived today. Info? Nada.

And some of these new channels! What the devil is Plex? I don’t know, and I even did a web search to try to find out. Does anyone know who owns Plex and what it shows? So far I think that Animal Planet is a rather nice idea, but each time I check it out I find another program about reptiles (except when they’re showing reruns of "Flipper.") I’m glad that Cablevision spared Baltimore’s channel 11, but that’s about where my cable pleasure ends.


Reception Sites
Leila Afzal

A writer asked for information on reception sites for a wedding. The Cleveland Park Club does rent out its club house. If interested, call 202-244-9332. The Club House is an old Victorian home with a breezy wrap-around porch. It is within walking distance of the metro and is located in the heart of Cleveland Park.


Federal Prisons
Art Spitzer ACLU

Dianne Rhodes ( says that "The courts have consistently ruled that sending someone to prison thousands (or even hundreds) of miles away from their families and friends is unconstitutional and consists of cruel and unusual punishment. I know, because two people I knew personally were transferred from one federal prison to another so they could be closer to their families."

I am delighted that Ms. Rhodes’ acquaintances were transferred to be closer to their families, but she is mistaken about the law. A great many prisoners are housed hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their families and freinds. The courts have consistently ruled that this does *not* violate the constitution. Readers may recall that a few years ago, hundreds of DC prisoners were transferred to prisons in Texas, Louisiana, Washington State and other places because of overcrowding at Lorton. Litigation filed by the ACLU and the DC Prisoners’ Legal Assistance project was able to assure that those prisoners had access to DC law books and to minimal health care, but there was nothing litigation could do to bring them closer to home.


Taxis to D.C. from National Airport
Beth Johnson

Some time ago a friend tipped me off to an airport strategy I loved the first time I tried it. Rather than waiting in the taxi line, simply call your preferred cab company as soon as you have your luggage, and request a pickup. I’ve had good experiences with Red Top - I’m usually able to walk out of the terminal and go directly to MY cab, which is waiting in one of the outer pickup lanes (legal if the cab is responding to a specific call). No more cab company roulette - what a relief!


Hacked On
Carl Bergman

All this talk of cabs reminded me about their lights. All DC cabs must have a cruise light. Does anyone know for certain what an ‘on’ light means. I always thought it meant they were available. Why would you want to see a light telling you it’s not, but this may be the case? Any hacks or ex know?


John Whiteside

Art Spitzer and others helpfully explained the rules concerning cab fares that start or end on zone boundaries. But I have to observe that a system that requires passengers to know rules that many long-time DC residents aren’t aware of is inherently confusing and unfriendly to visitors.


Metro Crime Stats

Metro could be trying to cover up crime by making it difficult to report incidents. As a DC person who fled to the suburbs, I park at a Metro parking lot. One night after returning to my car, I noticed gym socks on the ground near my car. I looked into my car to find my gym bag ransacked. I told the metro parking lot attendant who told me other cars were broken into that day. He then claimed to call the metro police. 25 minutes later no police came. I asked to speak to them directly. He told me only he could use the phone in the booth and he had called twice (I never saw him call once). Finally, I grabbed the phone out of his hand and spoke to a metro police dispatcher who told me she had no request for an officer.

When I asked for the phone number so that I could call directly, the man in the booth said he could not give me the phone number. Actually he didn’t even have the number when I requested that he give it to me. The metro dispatcher ultimately sent an officer out to my house to take a statement. Could metro employees be instructed not to telephone for help, to avoid raising crime stats? People who park at Metro lots should be very careful. Because the lots are unattended before 2 p.m., they are prime targets for would be thieves. Since Metro employees don’t call the cops, Metro can’t keep accurate statts on crime.


Stephanie "Next I’m going to work on perpetual motion" Faul

Friday night an important government somebody was socializing on my street, so for nearly four hours a trio of good-looking young men in suits stood around on the street keeping an eye on things. For a while, at least, I felt totally crime-proof.

Meanwhile, a quarter-mile away at Wisconsin and Jenifer, a diplomat was robbed at gunpoint, and D.C. police were prowling the alleys looking (unsuccessfuly, I believe) for the perp. The security guys were right on it, and one of them was talking to the policeman who told *me* about it when I was crossing Wisconsin and asked what was going on.

This gave me a great idea for a way DC residents could get more and better crime prevention: I propose the "Invite An Official To Dinner" program. What we do is, we up a network covering the entire city and apportion out ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, vice-presidents, and similar high-ranking officials on a random, rotating basis. Every neighborhood would get at least one social visit a week from a person guarded by the Executive Protective Service. Think of the peace of mind this would bring! Of the added security to our city’s streets! Of the beneficial use of Federal dollars in keeping District citizens safe from crime!


Diplomatic Immunity
Larry Seftor

In light of the tragic death of a 16 year-old-girl, we have heard reasonable sounding arguments about the need for diplomatic immunity. But let us examine what has really occurred. A 16 year old girl is being sacrificed so that our career diplomats can feel safer in posts that they voluntarily accept oversears. Furthermore the State Department, in aggressively defending this policy, is (understandably) showing a bias that supports its staff, while passing the costs to innocents in our society.

At a minimum, and as a first step, I would suggest that the decision as to whether to ask for waiver of diplomatic immunity be made by the U.S. Attorney, rather than the State Department itself. Letting the State Department decide is a conflict of interests, and imperialism at its worst.

It is clear that foreign governments have many ways to pressure the U.S. that do not involve applying their laws to our diplomats. And the U.S., in turn, has many ways to respond. This is a minor issue in the play of international affairs, and certainly does not justify our allowing persons to live with impunity in our midst.


Street Sweeping
Randy Wells

Halting street sweeping for the winter may reduce legal parking restrictions. But at least where I live in Shaw, the trash is rapidly filling those newly available spots.

What ever happened to management’s abilty to _decide_ through the winter which days are warm enough to sweep and which are not? Not to pile on, but this policy seems an abdication of management responsibility.

By the way, if I am not mistaken, Wards 3 and 8 are not included in the street-sweeping...I recall something about the street sweeping being ncessary only for the "urban neighborhoods"…


Parking Tickets
Nick Keenan

Like every DC resident, I get a parking ticket now and then, try as I may to obey the law. Until recently, I thought I had stumbled upon the perfect strategy for dealing with them. The Washington Times claims that 26% of all tickets written are appealed, and that 53% of appealed tickets are dismissed. Those must be big numbers. So I just started appealing every ticket I got, by mail — an easy process if you have a computer.

For about a year, it seemed like I had hit the jackpot — I mailed the tickets away, and they never came back. Ever. No hassles with DMV or boots. Nothing. A plan beautiful in its simplicity. Almost Zen, using the bureaucracy against itself. But last week, my bubble burst. I guess BTA finally got a word processor of its own — in my mailbox were five form letters, all telling me my appeals had been rejected. The final insult: while the average round-trip time of my appeals was nine months, I was informed that if I did not pay up within five days (rather than the customary 15) , the tickets would be doubled.


Queries: Reliable haulers?

I have some stuff that would have been carted away by bulk trash a year ago. Now I have to hire somebody. Can anyone recommend a good "U-call, we haul" guy?


Rev. Dr. David Wong Senior Pastor, Washington International Church,

Washington International Coffee House - Saturday, January 11 7:00 to 9:30 pm. Rumors has it that Elvis was sighted at one of these monthly event and may appear again this time. The building is located at the Fellowship Hall of the St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on Wisconsin Ave. and Calvert st. NW. in Glover Park. Great Coffee, Food and entertainment. Free admission. Donations welcome. For more information, please call 202 298-6110.


Upcoming ski trip: Seven Springs — Jan. 31 - Feb. 2, 1997
Lisa Needleman

Package includes: *2 nights lodging at Ramada Inn, Somerset, PA (indoor pool, jacuzzi & sauna) *Roundtrip transportation via lavatory equipped, non-smoking, video motor coach. *4 all you can eat meals *Free lessons of ANY level *Free ski rentals *Dancing, parties and non-stop fun.

Bus departs at 7pm from Grosvenor Metro in Rockville. Prices are $195 for 4 in a room; $205 for 3 in a room; $215 for 2 in a room. Full payment is due by 1/5/97. Limited availability after this date.


Rock Creek Park
Ralph Blessing

I propose that all who’ve weighed in on the Beach Drive debate—and any other park lovers—get together for a clean-up day on January 20 (Martin Luther King/Inauguration day) to tackle the problem. Meet at the ranger station at 10:00 a.m. I’ll make sure we have garbage bags and will arrange for the park service to dispose of those we fill. And since it’s a holiday, there won’t be any car fumes to breathe! (If Jan. 20 is not a good day for most folks, feel free to suggest an alternate day during that or some other weekend.) Please RSVP by e-mail or by phone at 202/686-6236.


Seeking database author/coach

Help! I need some assistance moving from dbase III+ to dbWin. I’d love to find an hour of assistance with a good author/teacher. I have an interesting, current, relatively straightforward project. I understand tech code better than the new Windows interface, and I sense that once I understand their new tools I’ll be fine. Would prefer to trade expertise (I’m a consultant), but am willing to pay fee if you’re good, quick, & available.

Chip Levy


Honda Accord, 1988 4-dr, 100,000 mi., one owner. $2,000.

E. James Lieberman, M.D.


free to the dc.story reader who’ll come and get it (in Kalorama, you need to come by in the evening or on the weekend): ALPS Glidepoint touchpad mouse replacement for Macintosh. Includes pad, software, everything you get out of the box except the box. Perfect condition; I got a new windows PC and don’t need it.

John Whiteside


Roommate wanted N/S cat-friendly M/F to share two bedroom apt. CATV, AC, Carpet, fireplace, Dishwasher, secure buliding. Across the street from the new DCJCC. Three blocks from metro. Available Feb. 1st. Please call or e-mail for more information. 202-234-4525

Rob Meisnere


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