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March 23, 1997

Spread’m

Dear Neighbors:

Toga! Toga! Toga! That was my favorite response to the April 8 dc.story party at Pizzeria Uno. About 90 folks have dared to say yes—which is more than enough to say, "It’s going to be a party." I’d still like to hear from the rest of you sitting on the fence—waiting for a better opportunity perhaps?—so Uno can properly staff the event. Please send me an email message with the word "Party" in the title and the number of members in your party. Festivities occur from 7 PM to 9 PM.

I still need someone to help me handle name tags. "Hi, My Name is Jeff (story@intr.net) and I bitch about taxes." All this volunteer needs to do is bring labels and markers, sit up front at the bar, and ask people to fill out their tags. The lucky person gets to meet everyone! I’d do it myself, but experience tells me that I’ll be sorting through all sorts of other requests. So, please, will a reliable soul help me out?

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The following story came from a friend who asked that I publish it anonymously. (No, it’s not from Joe Klein.) It’s an incredible story on its own. But it’s also the second time in recent days that I’ve heard a similar story of the conduct of District Police. What’s your take on this story?

Two weeks ago Friday, at 7pm, as I was on my way to a dinner for my brother’s b-day, I ran a light (supposedly) at Wisconsin and Rodman streets. I was pulled over 3 lights later in front of the old Maggies restaurant. When the policewoman informed me that I had run the light, she asked me for my license. As I passed it to her I had to admit that it had expired but that I had just noticed it because the city is no longer notifying people that it’s time for renewal (by the way, I learned that on your site!). So, she said OK, went back to her squad car and did her thing (she supposedly calls in to see if you have a record, etc). As I sat and waited, 3 other squad cars pulled up and surrounded me. They all got out of their respective cars and went to speak with her about the situation. A few minutes later, I was asked to get out of my car because "driving with an expired license in the District is a criminal offense." I was shocked but got out. Then, I was told to put my purse on the roof of my > car and to turn and spread my legs. Yes, it’s true. I was FRISKED, HANDCUFFED and THROWN INTO THE BACK OF HER SQUAD CAR. So, the story goes on and on. Bottom line, I (the prisoner as I was referred to many times) was taken to the station near the Giant on Wisc, Ave., allowed to make one phone call (to my brother...sorry, I can’t make dinner...oh well) handcuffed to a wall for 2 hours while they questioned me, wrote up the report, fingerprinted me and fined me $75. Luckily they have an ATMmachine so I was able to walk out without any further issues. Nice service, eh? So, it was a pretty bizarre evening all around. I can’t figure out for the  life of me why these cops would spend the time on such an idiotic thing.

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Computers. Buying one shouldn’t be so scary. Setting one up shouldn’t be so scary. Getting on the Internet shouldn’t be so scary. Jeffrey Itell. Story@intr.net. 202.244.4163.

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Also free! dc.movie: Free movie passes, short movie reviews, and movie discussion. Send an email message to story@intr.net to subscribe.

Cheers,
Jeffrey Itell

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Senator Faircloth Meets With DC Citizens
Judy Hubbard Saul jandrsaul@aol.com

I was one of the people who protested in Senator Faircloth’s office after his outrageous statements in The Washington Post two weeks ago. The Senator met and heard from 25 (he set the number) us today, March 20th, in a hearing room on the Hill. He really got an ear full about the lack of representation, taxation without representation, the importance of home rule, etc., etc. from a number of very articulate spokepersons. I must say he did seem to listen and as Congressman Norton (who was also there) pointed out, a 2 hour meeting (he called it a hearing) was a milestone for DC residents with any Senator or for that matter with any Representative from another jurisdiction. We must keep up the pressure & continue these dialogues.

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School Trustees
Stan Wellborn swellborn@brook.edu

The whining and bickering over lack of access to the deliberations of the emergency school board of trustees is both annoying and counterproductive — and I speak as someone who has sent three children all the way through DC public schools.

What the whiners fail to grasp is a simple fact: This is NOT a democracy. Until General Becton and the trustees complete their work, the board will remain what it is — a temporary, emergency, appointed group that was established to do what the elected school board and the city failed to do: improve public education in the District.

To those who contend that it is wrong to make tough decisions in private, away from public scrutiny, I say that is a necessary evil in the current atmosphere. What*s more, private meetings on public matters occur in this town every day. If they didn*t, little would get done.

For now, the board of education has been reduced to an advisory role. Members should use that role to bring to the attention of the emergency board the concerns of their constituents. But the school board is powerless to make policy, because that responsibility now resides with the trustees. It*s that simple.

Am I happy it had to come to this? Of course not. I would prefer that our elected and appointed officials had been able to close superfluous schools, fire incompetents, raise standards, fix roofs and furnaces, and reward good teachers and principals. But the fact is, they couldn*t or wouldn*t. Too many children continue to suffer as a result, and the quality of life in the city has declined.

The sooner we get through this emergency process, the sooner the elected officials can once again perform their jobs. That process can be accelerated if the whimpering subsides and constructive engagement returns.

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Government in the Sunshine
Ed T. barron edtb@aol.com

The recent complaints about the appointed school officials holding closed meetings reminds me of the five years I spent as a school board member. We frequently held meetings in executive session without public attendance. The reason for these meetings was not to deny the taxpayers of the school district information about what the school boar was planning to do. The rationale was that we learned quickly that we could make better consensus decisions and work more closely as a team by arm wrestling and avoiding posturing by holding these sessions. When it came time for a vote, the vote was always held in public and the different points of view that had been raised in private discussions (without attribution) were always noted. The votes were generally a unanimous vote since they had been reached by consensus as being the best decision for the right reasons. This system is not unfair to the taxpayers and should result in better decisions and recommendations.

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Emissions
John Whiteside whiteside@mindspring.com

Phil Greene asks if he has any recourse for a ticket he got after his emissions sticker expired. I doubt it; and frankly, he shouldn’t .(Sorry, Phil.) I’ve had cars in three states with inspection programs (Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts) and in no case did you get notification in the mail. I think the theory is that a sticker on your windshield with a date on it is enough reminder. Mailing out reminders would cost the District at least several hundred thousand dollars in postage, printing, and administration; isn’t it reasonable to spend that on other things and expect those of us who own vehicles to take care of this ourselves, just as we remember to change our oil, buy gas, get tune-ups, etc? Especially when there are no cost savings to the District for reminding us (as there are when registration renewals are done by mail rather than in person)?

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To Phil Greene
Andrea Gates Sanford scdi@his.com

Yes, Phil, you’re screwed. My front license plate was stolen—in front of my house—and I got ticketed TWICE (one day after the other) plus my inspection had expired, which the cop didn’t notice thankfully. I’m self employed, so decided to fight the $50/each tickets in court. I spent the *entire* day there, and was the last one to testify therefore heard every argument before me in detail.

The bottom line—unless there’s some technical problem (like the address or the licence plate number is wrong on the ticket) you’re responsible. Many many people claimed that they weren’t informed which was the worst possible thing to say. District law requires that you are inspected. You are required to obey the law. They are not required to inform you of this, any more than they’re required to inform you every time you stop at a red light that it was the law to stop at the red light. They’re very fierce about this.

Unless you’ve got proof that they were wrong, you’ll spend a long, frustrating, hot, hungry, angry day at DC Parking, they’ll ticket you while you’re in court, you’ll end up wasting money and *really* hating the District. It’s not worth it, unless you’re into studying the interaction of the huge variety of District humanity passing through the adjudication building. Proof needs to be photographic evidence, or certificates from the inspection station saying inspection was done before the ticket.

I’m moving to Seattle (no coincidence) and have spent the last month before my departure scrupulously keeping my car (still no plate nor inspection) off District streets. It’s been a challenge, but I see it as sort of a personal flaunting of the District’s parking patrol, refusing to give the District the satisfaction of my compliance. And BTW, they didn’t care about any of my arguments except that the cop had written the address wrong—there was no 4200 block of 43rd Place—so I got the tickets dismissed. I should have paid the $100.

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Is "Barely Legal" Really Enough?
Larry Seftor Larry_Seftor@compuserve.com

All the ink lately about fund raising at the Federal level makes me think of my time in the U.S. Air Force many years ago. Once a year I was required to read a regulation on integrity. This regulation stated that I was not only to avoid a conflict of interests, but I was also to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interests. In other words, because I was part of the Government, even at the lowest levels in the Air Force, I not only had to obey the law, but I was also held to a higher level of conduct.

In light of this lesson, I am constantly disappointed by the behavior of those in Government, particular those in the highest echelon. Time and again we hear the refrain that "I did nothing illegal." While that is enough to avoid punishment, it also represents the lowest possible standard of conduct. As citizens, instead of being governed by the best and the brightest, we find ourselves governed by the barely legal. We deserve better.

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dc.queries

Brick Mason

Does any one know a good brick mason? I need to have a retaining wall repaired.

Zinnia Zinnia@CompuServe.Com

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Food Donations

Luther Place Women’s Shelter is in dire need of donated canned and prepared foods—those frozen meals for an army would be perfect. Their cook/food collector has had a stroke, and the place is understaffed. If you’re interested in donating food, take it to the Luther’s Place shelter, 1327 N Street; for more information, call Ellie at 202/483-2444.

Minna Morse Minna123@aol.com

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Volunteers Needed for Shaw Historic District!

The DC Preservation League (DCPL) and the Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association need a few volunteers to add to those already working on finishing up the last few areas of research, historic survey, photography, and census research that will help finish the final stages of writing a historic district nomination for this area bounded by S Street (incl French St), 5th street, 13th Street, and Florida Avenue. Every hour you spend is counted as matching funds!

Please call or Email and help out! I will put you in touch with the contractor assisting in job, Traceries. Paul Williams via DCPL at 202-737-1519

Paul K. Williams pkelseyw@aol.com

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Donate Used Books

Donate your used books in good condition to the Academy of Hope, a nonprofit GED program in Adams-Morgan serving low-income and homeless adults, for its annual Book and Bake Sale. You can drop the books off M-Th, 9 am to 9 PM, or Fri, 9 am to 5 PM, at 1501 Columbia Road, NW (second floor, entrance on 15th St., 328-1072), or call 986-0736 or send an e-mail to the address below to schedule a pickup.

Tracy Gath tgath@aaas.org

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dc.events

Forum on the Future of DC

A citizens’ forum on the future of DC will be held on Saturday, April 5th from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM at the MLK, Jr. Library, 901 G St., NW. Moderated by Jonetta Rose Barras of The City Paper. We will examine: the Home Rule Charter, city finances & various economic plans, and different forms of city governance. Don’t sit idly by while others make decisions for you. Come learn and be heard. Sponsored by the DC Democracy Initiative. For further information, please call (202) 966-4062.

Judy Hubbard Saul jandrsaul@aol.com

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One of my colleagues informed me of a panel discussion and reception being sponsored by the AU School of Public Affairs Alumni Chapter on Monday, March 31. If you are interested in attending "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: DC Government and the 105th Congress," call AU to RSVP on 202-885-5967.

Monday, March 31. Reception 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Panel: 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Q&A to follow. Location: 6th Floor Board Room, Butler Pavilion - AU Campus

Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA), Chair, House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on DC

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Member, House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on DC

Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward2), Chair, Committee on the Judiciary-DC City Council

Mr. Mark Plotkin, Political Analyst and Co-Host, "DC Politics Hour," WAMU-FM

Moderator: Dr. Joseph McCormick, Director of Master of Arts in Public Administration, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences, Howard University

Rebecca Burka@nas.edu

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Book and Bake Sale

Mark your calendars! The Academy of Hope, a nonprofit GED program in Adams-Morgan serving low-income and homeless adults, is holding a Book and Bake Sale in April. Join us at 1 Dupont Circle for the preview sale on April 17-18, 11:30 am to 1:30 PM or at the Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Road, NW, on April 19 (10 am to 5 PM) and April 20 (11 am to 4 PM). Most hardcovers only $3! Most paperbacks only $1!

Tracy Gath tgath@aaas.org

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dc.market

Wine Rack For Sale

50-bottle unpainted pine wood wine rack for sale. Wine not included. Best offer.

Jeffrey Itell Story@intr.net

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Spiritual Support Group for Jewish Men and Women Living with Illness.

Because of the many requests we have had, we are starting an additional group. It will meet for 6 Wednesday evenings starting at 7:30 PM in NW Washington, led by a rabbi and a psychologist.

Carol Hausman 202-966-7851 popky@aol.com

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Employment

Journalist needs a politically savvy, self-starting assistant to work 30 hr week. You’re resourceful, adaptable, detail-oriented, and proficient with wp/Internet. You think creatively, are flexible, and can juggle multiple tasks while meeting deadlines. This is a home office in Georgetown; non-smoker and dog lover only. Duties include general office work, clipping papers, writing, editing, research, fact-checking, marketing, scheduling, and some driving. A media/PR background is helpful but not essential. Must be available to start immediately. E-mail or Fax letter/resume.

Karen Feld BTWM32A@Proidgy.com fax: 202-338-4750

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In Search of Roommate

I’m looking for a M or F NS house mate (preferably Jewish) to share a 4-bedroom, 3-story Victorian townhouse in Mount Pleasant. For $600 plus ½ utilities, you get two bedrooms and private bath, share rooftop, "deck," garden, laundry, guest room, and gorgeous first floor (hard wood floors, exposed brick, etc.), large kitchen (w/dishwasher). Close to buses, 15-20 minute walk to Cleveland Park, ample parking. Prefer someone Jewishly involved, "biblical kosher" and/or vegetarian. (If strictly kosher, let’s still talk.) Available mid to late August, possibly earlier. Call me at 202/986-1484.

Minna Morse Minna123@aol.com

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