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May 7, 1997

Tony Takes Control

Dear Neighbors,

Tony Williams: No More Pennies in the Fuse Box

From the day Congress dumped Boss Shepherd, the District government’s been a Holy Roman Empire. Each agency’s been an independent fiefdom. They’ve pretty much run on their own, usually without any direction outside or in. Despite some slight feints toward accountability, no mayor, or council has ever really tried to alter this pattern. Agencies have been and are free agents, especially in money matters. Once an appropriation is passed, no one watches how they spend. Small wonder they seem bent on producing scandal, irony and inanity.

That’s changing. Tony Williams, the District’s Chief Financial Officer, has taken a simple step. One that should put an end to years of misfeasance. Williams earth shaking action? Appointing agency controllers who report to him, not to the department director. Until now, agency controllers had no clout. Their job was to insure budgets were implemented as passed. Instead, they played second banana to an agency budget director. In some cases the controller was both, budget director and implementation chief. This meant the agency had no internal check on spending.

This persisted for several reasons. We’ve never had a mayor with any real financial management experience. If he’s done anything, hiz honor built a structure impervious to accountability. As for the council, its forays into financial management were either devoted to more high flying issues, or were simply clueless.

Tony Williams action is both overdue and welcome. In a government with a penchant for ignoring warning signs, he’s gone the other way. He’s taken the penny out of the fuse box, fixed the short, and put in a circuit breaker.


How Old Is That In Cab Years?

First Municipal Passenger Barry wants to cure city cab woes with several changes. Meters, and a make over of the city fleet. He’s gotten much, ahem, mileage from his proposal to retire any cab over six years old. I knew there was something familiar and off the mark about this measure, but could not remember what. Then I remembered the wisdom of Indiana Jones’s - "It’s not the years, kid, it’s the miles."


About Time Something Good Happened to the District

The United States Tennis Association, Monday picked the William H. G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., as the site of the Davis Cup semifinals between the United States and Australia. The Fitzgerald Tennis Center will feature a hardcourt surface and seats 7,500. The matches will be held Sept. 19-21.

The match winner will play the winner of the Italy-Sweden match in the Davis Cup championships. The United States has won 31 Davis Cup titles, the last one in 1995. Australia is second with 26. Washington beat out Indianapolis, the other finalist. Indianapolis was not chosen partly because it is hosting the RCA Championships from Aug. 11-17. The United States defeated Brazil and the Netherlands to reach the semifinals, while Australia ousted France and the Czech Republic. <<<<


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Apres Roma
Phil Greene

Here is a supplement to your item on the businesses that will occupy "the Roma enclave." Apparently, one of the Roma’s wait staff will open a new restaurant where the defunct Cafe Italiano now sits. (Just south of the Cleveland Park fire station and Yenching Palace, and just north of Uptown Circle).

Vira, the Roma’s Italian-Romanian waitress, shown in the Post’s recent obituary/trashing of the Roma kissing the stuffed tiger, told me she will open a new restaurant on May 15. It is tentatively called Caesar of Roma.


Bike Code Query
Bob Kulawiec

In the May 1 DC Story, s. gerard said, in reference to "Bikes on sidewalks": "This [presumably riding bikes on sidewalks] is actually legal in the District." This statement raises a question I’ve had for some time (well, for the five years I’ve lived in the District): How does one find out *exactly* what the traffic, bicycle and pedestrian regulations are here in our fair city? In California, every office of the DMV has stacks of a cute little pamphlet that concisely outlines all of the state’s traffic laws. If anyone knows of such a thing for DC, I’d like to hear about it (I’ve never seen anything like it at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles).


Roads are to serve people
Larry Seftor

In response to Randy Wells posting on roads let me offer the following observations.

1) Roads are not free, we pay for them through a variety of taxes. Although it does seem to be in keeping with the D.C. mentality of paying more than once for the same service.

2) The demand for roads is not just demonstrated by payment in cash. The hours and inconvenience that commuters pay to use the roads is manifest proof that the need is there.

3) Calling the city "overly suburbanized and exburbanized" will not change the fact the many must live in the outlying areas. They are there. They pay taxes. And they deserve services such as roads. Sticking one’s head in the sand to a real need is simply childish.

4) Our local economy is predicated on the fact that people can get to jobs. More and more the jobs are not in the city core, and Metro doesn’t respond to this fact. Heavy rail will never be a cost effective means to move citizens to jobs in low density areas.

My own preference is to walk to work. If that is not possible, I’d like to ride Metro to work. But since neither of these is possible I drive. Would Mr. Wells or others suggest that I quit my job to reduce the auto population by one? If so, the District will be losing a substantial revenue stream that apparently requires no outlay of services in return.


Tit for Tat
John Whiteside

R. Allen wrote, regarding the Clinton plan for DC and the city council: "But the city council has decided that being on the federal tit is a too secure and warm place."

The federal payment isn’t some sort of giveaway. It’s compensation for revenue lost to DC because the federal government is here: lost property tax revenue because of federal property and height limitations, restrictions on taxing income earned in DC, etc. It’s ridiculous that the Clinton administration is treating it as a handout. It’s amazing that anyone in DC is falling for it.


Excerpts From Free DC News Service On-line Report #18 (April 14, 1997)
Sam Smith

The Real Facts On Crime

The actual crime trends in Washington are dramatically different from those suggested by the White House, congressional leaders, the local junta, its consultants, and the media (led by the Washington Post.) In fact, in major categories of crime, only auto theft has been steadily rising over the past decade and a half. Auto theft is the crime that provides major funding for a drug economy whose prices are artificially supported by the misdirected efforts of the war on drugs.

Although murder has increased since 1981, it has actually declined since 1991. The congressional junta’s consultants created an artificial murder increase by using 1985 for their base year — the year with the least number of murders in recent times. In fact, all of the increase in murders occurred during six critical years at the beginning of the Reagan drug war.

Middle Class Harassed By Cops, Too

A number of recent incidents suggest that it’s not just poor DC citizens who are being harassed by a police department under pressure from the right-wing colonial government and Congress to produce impressive arrest statistics. In the guise of fighting crime, the police are ticketing, arresting and humiliating normally law-abiding citizens for petty offenses such as having license stickers obscured by license plate frames or driving without a license. Here are just two of the incidents that have been reported to the office of Councilmember Harold Brazil:

o A young chef was stopped by police for having a frame around his license that obscured his stickers. The officers found that he had no license on him and had some outstanding tickets. He was taken to the 5th District where he was incarcerated in what he called "a vomit-covered cell." He was later transferred to the central lockup and released only after ten hours of imprisonment. Meanwhile, his car was towed and has faced charges of up to $800.

o In another case, a woman was taking her nine-year- old child to Capitol Hill Day School when she was stopped for not having made a complete halt at a stop sign. She discovered she had left her purse at home. When police found that her license had expired a few months earlier, she was handcuffed and taken to the police station where she was put in a room with a woman who was a HIV-positive prostitute. According to the mother, she was examined by a police officer using the same gloves that had been used to check the prostitute.

Several similar incidents have been reported elsewhere in the city, including Ward Three. There is a suspicion that the police, under pressure to improve arrest statistics and not wanting to avoid confrontation with armed drug dealers, are increasingly choosing hapless ordinary citizens as targets. On Capitol Hill and Anacostia, for example, residents are finding their cars ticketed for things like license frame infractions even though they’ve used the frames for years.

WARNING: Police are stopping and arresting persons for minor violations. In some cases, ordinary citizens have been handcuffed and held under arrest for hours at a time. Triggering events for these extraordinary tactics include expired licenses, not having license, license frame obscuring sticker, faulty brake lights, driving through yellow lights, and having tinted glass in windows.

The Death Penalty

Carrying out a death penalty costs from $1-3 million depending on the state. Life without parole costs $500-700 thousand.

Nine out of ten people the federal government tries to put on death row are either African American or Latino.

Texas, which leads the nation in total executions since 1976, also led the country in number of cops killed for at least six of the past ten years.

Over 20 innocent people have been executed since 1900. Over 60 innocent people have been releases from death row on grounds of innocence since 1976.


General Becton has provided high-paying jobs for some of his old Army comrades, most notably one Herbert R. Tillery, who before he got his $90,000 a year job as the number two person in the school system’s operations office, was in fact in charge of 124 counselors, vocational trainers, teachers and analysts. The only problem is all these people worked for Tillery while he was director of the Department of Defense’s only maximum security prison. More recently Tillery was deputy director of the US Army Criminal Investigation Command. Almost his entire career has been spent in military police activities of one sort or another. . . According to city-provided signs along Connecticut Avenue "Woodley Park Prefers Visa." We don’t recall a referendum having been taken on this.



Party Site Needed

In search of an inexpensive place to rent for a party on a Saturday night in late June, for 100-200 people, dancing, a bar, and preferable in NW Washington, where parking is feasible. Perhaps a large dance studio, school hall, something like that? Please send word if you have any ideas!

F. Luzzatto


Macintosh for Community Group

Does anyone know of a good charitable organization, school, etc. that would be interested in some old but functioning computer equipment (Macintosh)?

John Whiteside


Looking for the Opening Tape of Atlanta 1996

Looking for the tape of the opening of Atlanta Olympic Games, my brother was there with the Spanish team and I would like to get the tape as a birthday present for him.

Maria A. Gomez


Losing Weight

I’m hoping to find a few other people interested in meeting informally, maybe once a week, to deal with the struggle over weight — with no fees, no weigh-ins, no "higher powers," no "sponsors," no food plans, no product tie-ins, no ritual recitations — just mutual support in wrestling with the chocolate (or potato chip) beast. If you e-mail me, I will collect names and oversee the search for a convenient place and time.

Cynthia Harrison


Springfest plus more:

An old-fashioned, family-centered Spring celebration in Arlington at the Lyon Park Community Center takes place on Saturday, May 17, 11 am to 3 PM. The historic community center and privately-owned park is located at 414 Fillmore St.

Besides games for small children and pony rides, this year we offer a craft sale, unusually good used book sale (I am the chair), garden plant sale made up of donations from the community and a silent auction. Directions from Washington: Arlington Boulevard (Rt. 50) to right turn on Pershing Drive (across from entrance to Ft. Meyer); follow Pershing across Washington Boulevard to next light at Fillmore. Community center is on left. Profits are used to maintain the building and park. Please join us.

Linda Wheeler


Glover Park Day

Glover Park Day, Saturday, June 7 from 11 AM to 5 PM on the grounds of Guy Mason recreation center. It’s our 8th annual neighborhood festival with food from local restaurants, live music all day, about 30 or so crafters, prize drawings, children’s activities and more. We get anywhere from 1500 to 2000 people during the day.

We still have space for crafters/artists and a couple more bands. We’ll consider all genres of both. We are most interested in crafters other than jewelry and pottery (we already have several lined up). We are open to all types of music as long as it would be considered reasonably family friendly. Send email if you’re interested in participating to:

Judie Guy


Cleveland Park Library Booksale

The Friends of Cleveland Park Library will hold its annual Spring Booksale on Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11, from Noon to 4:00 PM. This year the sale will be held in the north meeting room on the second floor. Enter on Newark Street and take the stairs one flight up. The room is bigger and much brighter than the first floor auditorium.

All the books for sale have been donated by your friends and neighbors in the community and cover nearly every subject. Many of them are brand new review copies. Proceeds from the sale are used to supplement the Library’s collection. Past proceeds have helped us purchase encyclopedias, magazine subscriptions, videos, CD’s, a TV/VCR, shelving, and furniture.

Jill Bogard, President, FCPL


The National office of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays cordially invites you and a guest to a special "Ellen Coming Out" event. The television character Ellen Morgan will come out to her parents one week after the landmark episode. This gathering is designed to encourage discussion about the issues facing gay and lesbian people and their families.

Date: May 7, 1997 Time: 8:00pm - 10:00pm Place: Trumpets 1603 17th Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009

A cash bar will be available.

Ellen Harris


Minichello Book Signing

Wednesday, 28 May 1997 7 p.m. Book signing 8 p.m. Lecture Education Building Auditorium National Zoo

Enter at Connecticut Ave., Park in Lot A.

Kent Minichiello, co-editor of "From Blue Ridge to Barrier Islands," will sign copies of his new anthology and present a talk, "Reflections on Nature: 400 Years of Mid-Atlantic Literature." Through the writings of people such as John Smith, Thomas Jefferson, and Rachel Carson, Dr. Minichiello will explore the rich, literary heritage nurtured by this region’s natural beauty.

Office of Public Affairs, National Zoo Washington, D.C. 20008 (202) 673-4866, FAX (202) 673-4607

Free, but please RSVP by calling (202) 673-4801

Margie Gibson


Brick Sidewalk Worker

I am looking for a reliable and capable (albeit inexpensive) person to lay a brick walkway in Cleveland Park. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Horace Howells


Car for Sale

1986 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport, 4dr., auto, 112,000 miles, 2nd owner, all records, oil changed every 3K, good DC inspection through March 1998. No A/C, no stereo, needs a new power steering rack (a $500 job). Price: $500, firm. Call: 202-333-8486 or email.

Stacey Patmore


Summer Sublet (and beyond)

MT. Pleasant group house seeks 4th person for June 1 start! Corner townhouse w/wraparound lawn; off-street parking; 2 porches; high ceilings; hardwood floors; W/D; D/W; and cool, established house mates. We’re looking for responsible, interesting nonsmoking male/female. $443/mo gets you the larger room. $343/mo gets you the smaller, sunnier room. Prices include utilities. Call 202/332-5434 and talk to anybody for details and to set up a tour.



Patio Furniture For Sale

Beautiful patio furniture - $300. Large, white, plastic table with removable center leaf and five matching reclining, padded chairs with built in ottoman type leg rests. I hate to give it up but I moved from Arlington to the District at the end of last summer and, since I no longer have a patio, it has been sitting in my dining room!

Paul Mamalian



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 202.244.4163


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