Final Party Reminder
Heres a final reminder that were expecting well over 100 revelers at our dc.story Spring Party on Tuesday, April 8. No cover, no R.S.V.P., and happy hour prices. At Pizzeria Uno (the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Ordway Street, NW, from 7 PM to 9 PM). Well be the group in the bar and on the patio.
These may be old rumors but they are the latest I have. I hear that Jack Evans is considering a run at the vacant City Council chairpassing on his attempt to climb Mount Marion. Also, my unofficial pollster has Sharon Ambrose with a comfortable lead over Howard Croft in the Ward 6 council race.
Also free! dc.movie: Free movie passes, short movie reviews, and movie discussion. Send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe.
Government By Cafeteria Plan
In an article on curbside recycling in D.C., the Washington Post reported that acting public works director, Cell Bernardino, said that "people who receive the recycling service should pay for the service." (Mr. Bernardino is apparently unaware that we already pay through taxes.) He believes that recycling should be provided "on a voluntary or subscription basis."
After thinking about it I must admit that Bernardinos the idea of a "cafeteria plan" for Government services is really terrific! Think of the possibilities. The D.C. Government would provide each of us a menu of services. Then we would "check off" only those items we wanted and were willing to pay for. For example, I think I would select trash removal, recycling, police, and fire and rescue services. But since I dont have any school age kids, Id pass on supporting the schools. Each of us would only pay for those services that we chose to partake!
On a serious note, I dont know who Cell Bernardino is, but he certainly has no understanding of the role of Government. The premise of local Government is to collect money from all and then to provide services to satisfy the common good. Roads, police and fire protection, universal access to schools, aid to the less fortunate and, yes, environmental clean-up are suitable goals that the citizens of D.C. have chosen and pay for. The $2.5 million a year the recycling program is claimed to have cost is less than 1/20 of 1% (that is .0005) of the D.C. budget. We pay the money now provide the service.
A "knowledgeable source" tells me that the reason for the recommended closure of Hearst is, in addition to being politically/racially palatable, motivated by money. Reportedly, Sidwell Friends has been drooling over the property for a long time. And they would appear to have the bucks to buy it.
In the purely fluff department of public interest, Im hoping our next "mall-er" will be Jamba Juice, which is an absolutely terrific juice bar chain from San Francisco. That area also has great carry-out "fast pasta" chains, and noodles to go. Makes our subs and hot dogs seem less than exciting.
Life at the lowest common denominator
My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend several days in London in December. As we cris-crossed the central part of the city, we took many trips on the London subway, the tube. Despite recent reports about the decrepit condition of that system, there were two pleasing aspects of the escalators in the tube: during our brief visit they all seemed to run, and they ran at full speed.
For those new to the Washington area or somehow out of the loop, the escalators on Washingtons Metro system have been slowed down "for safety reason." Those of us who ride on the system have become acclimated to the reduced speed. And it was only after riding on another system that I realized the pleasure of a full speed ride to get where I was going.
This is not to say that escalators are not dangerous. In fact, I remember being warned as a child to be mindful as I approached the end of the escalator, and to carefully walk off. Since I have never had trouble with an escalator, I had wondered how a person could get a shirt caught. Then last week I saw a man sitting on the escalator as he rode down at Friendship Heights.
The point is that the world is full of dangers and each of us must take care of ourselves. The residents of London have certainly learned to cope with their escalators. And despite recent attempts to the contrary, society cannot protect each of us every minute of our lives. It can never work, and the side effect is that we will all find ourselves reduced to the lowest common denominator, riding slow escalators and viewing only Web sites that are suitable for children.
Working with DMV
OK Ive got a question to pose to all of you dc.story readers. If DMV is not mailing out car registration renewal forms and not answering their phones does anyone know how to re-register a car by mail or do you have to go down there. My car registration needs to be renewed next month and Id like to do it by mail is at all possible.
Arrests are optional
Two years ago a man ran a red light and hit my car. He had no license, no identification of any kind, but he said he had a green light despite witnesses to the contrary. The police officer let him go.
He was Hispanic. I am white and the officer was a African American woman.
Anyone else having trouble with mail delivery? The postman says my mail slot (Ive lived in same house in Georgetown for 17 years) doesnt meet specs so he refuses to deliver mail. No one at post office (friendship station or main branch) can tell me what specs are, and its never been a problem before. Now I havent had mail delivery in 10 days. Customer advocate at post office has been looking into it without a resolution. I called my congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes norton, and asked them to look into it for a constituent. In true dc fashion, I was told that they cant do anything until they mail me a
"privacy release form" (has anyone heard of this?) , And I sign it and mail it back to them. I tried to explain that the problem was that I wasnt receiving mail and therefore, would not be able to receive the form by mail, could they fax it? No, they dont have anyone there who can fax, I was told. It has to be mailed. There must be a caseworker there somewhere with a little common sense!
Neighborhood Commissions: The Real Story
Thanks to Mary Treadwells alleged light fingers, neighborhood commissions are once again under fire by the politicians and mediacrats who never liked them. From the start, the ANCs were seen as a threat, so much so that prospective home rule politicians such as Walter Washington and Walter Fauntroy secretly lobbied against them when Rep. Don Frazier proposed them as part of the home rule package in 1974. Those politicians at the heading the pack at the beginning of home rule didnt want anyone gaining on them from the rear.
Someone it was never found out who even quietly changed the Senate ANC bill to require that their creation be approved by a majority of registered voters not just a majority of those voting. Fortunately this knife was pulled out of the legislation before it became law.
After the ANC idea was approved by voters anyway, the next assault came from Sterling Tucker and the city council, which loaded the ANC regulations down with restrictions. Among them, ANCs could not incorporate, sue the city or use public funds to meet together all to keep the ANCs from becoming too powerful.
Meanwhile, citizens were meeting to come up with their own ideas. At one such meeting, someone suggested that the city give the commissions; opinions "great weight." A lawyer present asked what that meant. I said, "Damned if I know, but lets put it in and find out." The language got into the legislation.
As it turned out, the phrase meant a lot. When, as one of the first neighborhood commissioners, the ABC board treated my testimony on a bar license with just short of contempt, I went back and reported the fact to my fellow commissioners. We decided to test the law and - - with the help of the Harrison Institute went to court despite the prohibition on legal action against the city. The court agreed we had standing since we were suing as individuals and not as the commission and it also upheld and defined the "great weight" portion of the regulations.
But the city still had other tricks up its sleeve. What it couldnt prevent, it could always co-opt. It began to set up bureaucratic and fiscal hurdles for the fledgling commissions to jump over and it adopted the implicit view that the ANCs were just another part of the city government. At workshops and in regulations, it treated the ANCs as subservient and ancillary. Many commissioners, unschooled in either ANC history, law, or politics accepted this more menial role without question. They also accepted the gross and widespread falsity that ANCs were banned from meeting with one another. In fact, the law only prohibited them from spending city money to do so.
The political unsophistication of neighborhood commissioners and many neighborhoods also hurt. Instead of seeing themselves as a sleeping giant a grassroots political system that could actually be run from the grassroots the ANCs tolerated a lesser role and accepted attempts by pols like Barry to stack ANC seats with their own cronies. At one early meeting, I said that the first job of the commissions was to take the A out of ANC. It was a war cry that fell on deaf ears. Some ANCs became strong neighborhood organizations but too many never got the help or the fair treatment that would have allowed them to become so. From the mayor to the Washington Post there were just too many in power who were happy to see them fail.
The ANCs are still a sleeping giant. Properly organized they could take on the congressional occupation forces in a way the city council and mayor never will. There are few signs of this happening, but whatever their faults theyve done considerable good and where they have failed it has not been costly. In fact, the entire system of ANCs is less expensive than just five of Andrew Brimmers hypersalaried assistants. That seems a fair price for letting the people has their say once in a while.
I am looking for a good inexpensive moving firm to move from Cleveland Park to Kalorama Triangle. Any suggestions?
David Burka email@example.com
Young Jewish Leadership of Washington, D.C. will be conducting two up-coming programs that I thought you should know about.
First, on Tuesday, April 8, we will be having a meeting with Rep. Dave McIntosh (R-Indiana) on the U.S.-Israel relationship. Given the volatility of recent developments, this should be a timely and interesting event. It will be held in the law offices of Morrison & Foerster, at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., on the fifth floor. There is no charge for this event. R.S.V.P.s are required, and seating is limited. If you would like to attend, please call 202/342-7679.
Second, on Wednesday, May 7, Young Jewish Leadership will be hosting its first annual Spring Fling party at Ozio Martini and Cigar Lounge, 1835 K Street. There will be hors doeuvres provided and a cash bar. The cover will be $18 for members and $25 for non-members. More information will be provided as the event approaches.
Additionally, the National Institute for Public Leadership will be presenting a talk by prof. Alan Dershowitz on the subject of his new book, The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century. The talk will take place on Monday April 14 at 7:30 in the new D.C. Jewish Community Center. For tickets and reservations, please call 202/518-9418.
Kenneth Marcus firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday morning April 12 there will be a workshop entitled "The Language of Fertility: The Mind-Body Path to Conception and Parenting." This workshop, which is being offered by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, will be conducted by Niravi Payne, founder and director of the Whole Person Fertility Program in New York. The workshop will be held at the Washington Ethical Society on 16th Street, just a few blocks south of the D.C./Maryland line. For more information, call the Center at 202/966-7338.
For a full description of the workshop, see http://www.his.com/~pshapriro/dc.story/announce4.html
Kay Halpern email@example.com
Adams Morgan Auction
Benefit for Amazing Life Games PreSchool, 1844 Mintwood Place, Sunday, April 27 from 12-4. Treat yourself to enticing goodies like a weeks stay in a sleek apartment overlooking Mont Blanc, a many-course Moroccan meal delivered to your door, water-skiing lessons, and more. And for what a good cause!
Andrea Carlson BintaGay@aol.com
Employment Opportunity in Travel Business
Small but growing NW DC travel company seeks a 20-30 hr a week person with good computer and office skills to work flexible hours. Working knowledge of geography, especially Europe, a plus. Please respond with resume and availability (when you can start and hours you would want to work).
Pattie Absher firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Green fabric covered green standing partitions available for cheap in home office
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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