Pizzeria Uno in Cleveland Park has agreed to rope off its bar and patio for a dc.story Spring Fling on April 8 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Theres no need to RSVP just yet. I will call upon you when the date draws nigh. But please mark your calendar. (In case of rain, well meet in Ed Barrons driveway. Please make sure you drive and park willy-nilly in Spring Valley. It drives the residents nuts.) ******************
Washington City Paper is putting together their monthly "Needle" column and seeks your help:
Eric Wemple email@example.com
I attended Saturday nights kick off opening of the Kennedy Centers Millennium Falcon...whatever...the Centers free daily performance. A couple of quick comments. First, Hiz Honor and Lady Cora showed uplate, as alwaysbut remarkably, Barry didnt speak and the audience didnt stick around for glad-handing. Why would any mayor show up when theres no politicking possibility.
About the show? Oi vey. The Kennedy Center has to rethink this series and we have to rethink the Kennedy Center. The concert was a fire disaster waiting to happen. (Screenwriters, please inquire. Ill feed you the treatment for the next blockbuster disaster film.) The crowd jammed into the Eastern top of part of the T-shaped lobby, trying to pick out four-foot elementary school kids performing on a 12-inch riser. During the one-hour jostle, I had more body parts rubbed against me...sorry, I really dont want to go there, but you get the point.
As for the performance, it was more propaganda than show. Compared with many performing arts center, the Kennedy Center passes itself off as an elitist institution. Its locationapart and aloof from the city, the Metro, and the citys residents is telling. Great cities place their arts in the heart of the metropolis. Viennas Stadt Oper, for one, is a populist joint right off Viennas inner ringstrasse. Its encouraging that the Kennedy wants the unwashed masses to open up (their wallets) to them. But the Center would come off a bit more sincere if it didnt treat the masses as unwashed cattle. More respectful crowd control and less patronizing banter about supporting the arts("Hey, Cuthbert, weve been supporting the indigenous arts in town for years.") would do much to overcome two decades of aloofness.
Also free! dc.movie: Free movie passes, short movie reviews, and movie discussion. Send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe.
DC Property Tax Assessments
This year they are "on hold" because DFR is supposed to be working on the problems that surfaced last time around. There should be a note, maybe on the back of the assessment form, explaining this, and ALL assessments are supposed to be frozen at last years level.
Steph "At least that 59 percent isnt going towards fur coats, gold jewelry, and controlled substances, which may be progress of a sort" Faul email@example.com
I just got my real estate tax bill same amount as last year, even though the house is probably worth less now, but never mind *that* and was astonished at two facts:
1. The check is to be mailed to Richmond, Virginia. Presumably once it reaches that rival capital, it will be quickly and efficiently processed by one of the helpful, competent District of Columbia government employees who live there in a secret outpost.
2. A sentence at the bottom informs me, "59.0 percent of your tax year 1997 real property tax is used to pay the general obligation bonds debt service requirement." Wow. I mean, WOW! And here I thought *I* was a loser for paying interest on one of my credit cards. No wonder the city doesnt have any money its already spent itself into bankruptcy and is struggling hard to come up with the minimum payment on its Mastercard. Which I knew already of course, but hadnt fully understood the extent of the damage. Its tough to run a city on 41 percent of your income.
We wont even address the issue of the waste inherent in still using those silly reusable envelopes that now have the wrong address on them.
Taxes, taxes, taxes Randy Wells firstname.lastname@example.org
Just received my property tax assessment for the upcoming year. As per the freeze on assessments, there is no change in valuation from this year. Seems to indicate appeals can still be lodged like normal. Also, I filed 1995 DC income tax forms several months late (November 96?), with a check in the amount of taxes due. In a model of efficiency, I just received a notice of tax due for that year: $3.39 penalty for late filing, and $1.83 interest. Conclusion? If you evade by not filing at all, no one notices. If you are honest, but pay up late, whack! Oh well, I am a sap, so this particular $5.22 check feels good.
Following is a list of the criteria being considered for school closings:
Using the criteria set forth below, the CEO (General Becton) shall submit to the Trustees the list of schools recommended for closing. The selection of any school shall be within the sole discretion of the CEO. The CEO may consider any or all of the following factors when making this recommendation:
a. underutilization; b. physical condition and cost of repair (building condition assessment), e.g. age and American w/ Disabilities Act compliance; c. composition of student population, including number of out-of-boundary students; d. educational and other programs; e. proximity to other schools; f. demographic projections; g. public transportation h. potential value if sold or leased;
Absent from these criteria is existing school/program performance. Given these, a successful school like Hearst Elementary, in Ward 3, (sitting, as it is, on choice real estate location and w/ many outof-boundary kids) would be prime target for closing. I think the Board should open its deliberations to the public and not just give us a done deal.
Excerpts from Free DC News Service
Eleanor sees the light. Congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton who has been a whirling dervish of misplaced good intentions has finally begun to find the right target. After her drumming up support for a congressional junta, pushing a poor-evicting tax plan and praising the presidents disastrous fiscal proposal, we had just about written her off. So it is with overwhelming joy that we find Norton pushing for DC to have the ability to tax 36 non-profits including Fannie Mae that have been exempt from local taxation for years thanks to congressional exemptions. One targeted freeloader is the Brookings Institution. Says Norton, Brookings "ought to be ashamed of themselves. Brookings has never stepped up and said, We want to do out share. The bribe-us-to- stay crowd (i.e. down business interests) have raised the usual flak. Ignore them and celebrate Eleanors redemption.
Secret school body gags elected official. The DC schools hyper-secret board of trustees has even gagged the president of the elected if virtually ceremonial school board. Don Reeves is the only elected trustee and says that "Im prohibited from saying anything about the trustees" and is thinking of resigning. Among other dictatorial powers granted by Congress, the trustees consider themselves exempt from sunshine laws as well as countrywide normal standards of openness for public bodies at every level. Chair Bruce MacLaury, who apparently thinks he is heading a private club, says, "If we are going to operate within a system of trust in each other, we cannot got running off to the press, to our bosses or to anyone else to register our personal views. We need coherence and agreement among ourselves and to forge a condition of trust amongst each other in order to get the job done."
The aforementioned Bruce MacLaury is president emeritus of the Brookings Institution, a non-taxpaying body that has distinguished itself lately by coming up with the second worst (next to Bill Clintons) fiscal plan for the city. The chairman of Brookings, incidentally, is none other than James Johnson, chair of noted local tax deadbeat, Fannie Mae. Johnson earns $5 million a year from the firm.
John Ray former mayoral candidate for life has popped up as a lobbyist for a private prison corporation that has already cut a 20-year deal to run a 900-bed facility in SE and wants badly to get more of our incarcerated into their pens in Ohio and Arizona. Were talking a billion bucks for the two deals. Nearly 2,000 prisoners would be involved and the city would have to guarantee a steady supply. So much for reducing the crime rate.
1. If someone wants to set up a private security force for Friendship heights, I have a check for $50 for them. Actually, to be fair, Ive seen a fair amount of police presence lately, which is reassuring, and have had good experiences with the Second District. But a foot patrol or two along Wisconsin Avenue wouldnt hurt. As to Barrys claim that the city is doing a good job providing services, do we need any *more* proof that hes back on drugs?
2. CVS is evil. I dont even care about the Macarthur theater one way or another, although I did have many pleasant evenings there seeing Alec Guinness movies as a child, but CVS is a menace that should be stopped. You remember how in the 80s every storefront that became vacant turned into a bank? And how in the early 90s every storefront that became vacant turned into a coffee bar? Now every storefront that becomes vacant turns into a CVS. Recently a checker at Safeway told me CVS has bought Rite-Aid, thus eliminating one more competitor. Remember, once CVS has a hammer lock on the area, and they pretty much do already, they can charge whatever they want for whatever they feel like selling. This may not be what you want to pay or buy but your other options are severely limited.
My buildingand many other DC apartment buildingshas a security guard, and I dont hear a whole lot of moaning about "bunker mentalities" concerning this very common practice.
So what is wrong with doing it on a neighborhood level? If you asked the neighborhood activists in DCs poor neighborhoods, I dont know what their reaction would be, but I would think it would be as likely to be "it would be nice to do that here too" as "why do those darned rich folks want to be safe?"
Did anyone pick up on the Booze Allen data that only 10% of DCs police force is actually out on the beat? Only 120 officers are on scout car patrol during any shift although there are 138 beats (areas) to cover. This confirms complaints about the lack of police presence made by community groups; complaints which have been downplayed by police officials.
This number is shocking given the large number of police we have (~3600). In fact, D.C. with ~650 police officers per 100,000 residents has the highest police to citizen ratio in the country as well as a violent crime rate triple the US. national average. The police response that officers are on special detail (guarding the mayor?), sick leave or in court just does not cut it. Could any business survive where only 10% of the employees actually deliver the product consumers want? Are the police operating like the DC school systemtop heavy with central administrators?
Increasing the overall number of officers does not seem to be the answer (we already have more per capita than any other city!). Better use of personnel including reducing time spent in court and downtime for paperwork through better data systems; use of ancillary personnel for quality of life arrests (public drinking, etc.), use of mobile computer systems to determine outstanding warrants and real performance by related city agencies (e.g., in the removal of abandoned cars or boarding up of abandoned houses) are some of the changes that should be implemented now.
Harold Goldstein email@example.com
Nick Keenan was angered that UDC faculty are upset about the 40 days of severance pay. Let me explain. We do not want ANY severance pay; we want to complete our contracts! Our work terms are different from all other DC workers, and like almost all University faculty everywhere, in that we have 1 year renewable contracts with a built in terminal contract clause - meaning that we are due a contract specified to be terminal. In the real world that is legally binding and I and others plan our lives around it.
And, by the way, it is not a gravy train, it is a job, Mr. Keenan, one that paid as much as 30% less than what Id have been making if I had kept other jobs or taken other offers years ago. When I hear people who are so patently uneducated as to the facts of a situation spouting off so self righteously, well that makes me mad.
The City just sent street cleaners out to clean our American University Park neighborhood streets for the first time in ages. It looks great! Also, Public Works fixed a broken alley light within one week of a call. Sure seems like things are getting a little better. Now. if theyd just trim and care for the street trees, respond faster to missing stop and do not enter signs. but them what would we complain about then
Seeking Summer Housing
Im a professor of Russian whos going to be living in Washington, D.C. for a single month to do research. Im looking for a one-bedroom, furnished apartment, preferably on Capitol Hill or near Dupont Circle, for the month of August, for two people, for under $1000.
Julie Cassiday Williams College Julie.A.Cassiday@williams.edu
Has anyone had their homes heating ducts cleaned out recently? Were shopping for a company to do it.
Phil Greene firstname.lastname@example.org
The Potomac KnowledgeWay Entrepeneur Program invites you to the following two events:
"Digital Dilemmas: Defining Ethics in the Internet Age," and "Challenge and Change in the Digital Age, a series of speaker panels on important issues related to doing business on the Internet."
To find out more information about either of these events, follow this link: http://www.his.com/pshapiro/dc.story/announce5.html
Brian Adams email@example.com
Come for breakfast, share leads and business tips with Northern Virginia Business Referrals Tuesdays, 7 to 8:30am at Metro 29 Diner, Lee Hwy at N. Glebe Rd., see page VA 22 in Restaurant Maps book. Youll have a chance to tell us what you do and how we can help you do more. We listen and will laugh at your jokes. More info at http://www.his.com/~p shapiro/dc.story/announce7.html
Don Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction To Shambhala Meditation
The Shambhala Meditation Center of Washington D.C. is offering a seminar entitled "Introduction to Shambhala Meditation" on March 7-8. This seminar consists of a Friday evening talk at 8:00 P.M. (free) and a workshop on the following morning from 9:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. ($25 donation required) If you would like more information or would like to pre-register, please call the Shambhala Meditation Center at 301-588-7020, or e-mail email@example.com. The complete announcement is hyperlinked at http://www.his.com/~p shapiro/dc.story/announce6.html
David Uglow firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly Gathering of Home-Based Business People
Where: Buffalo Billiards, Dupont Circle, 1330 19th St. N.W. (between Dupont Circle and N Street) When: Thursday, March 6 from 4:30-6:30 Why: To network and socialize How: Whatever it takes, just be there!
Jenna Norwood email@example.com
Charlie Adlers St. Paddys Day Party
"Grab a Beer and Have a Wee Bit O Fun!" .Sunday, March 16th, 7:30PMtil?. Planet Fred, 1221 Connecticut Ave., NW (between M & N St.). DJ, Dancing, and Lots O Beer! Cover 10. Cash Bar. Charlies looking for a few entrepreneurs who want to make $$$'s - call (202)333-8992 to get the details. Need Directions? Call Charlies Hotline (202)333-5588.
Charlie Adler Adlerparty@aol.com
An Irish Treasure Comes To America
On Saturday evening, March 15, straight from county Kerry, Ireland, master storyteller Batt Burns will show Washington audiences why he is one of Irelands best-loved performers. Steeped in the wit and humor of his native country, Burns will perform "whisperings of Ireland," a one-man show drawn from vast repertoire of Irish legends, myths, and narrative poems.
The performance takes place at 8 PM at St. Patricks church, 4700 Whitehaven parkway, just off foxhall road. Safe, convenient parking is readily available. For reservations and information, call 202/ 291-2170.
Robert Revere firstname.lastname@example.org
Reasonable priced desk and office chair for small space. It could also be a small square (dining room type) table if a chair can fit under it for home office.
Peggy Miles email@example.com
I know a scrupulous, thorough, efficient and eminently reliable pair who would welcome more houses to clean. "Sr." and "Sra." have been cleaning mine weekly for over 2 years, skipping only a week in early 96 when I begged them not to brave the blizzard. They make up in hard work, cheerfulness, and inventiveness of communication what they lack in English fluency. Call me (202-543-4952 (H) or 202-707-9492 (W)) for Senoras phone number and a glowing reference.
Liz Layton firstname.lastname@example.org
Buying one shouldnt be so scary. Setting one up shouldnt be so scary. Getting on the Internet shouldnt be so scary.
Jeffrey Itell Story@intr.net 202.244.4163
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