Riding around west of the park indicates that the business climate seems to be picking up. In Cleveland Park, build out continues at the Magruders in the Park and Shop and in the Vietnamese Restaurant taking one of the five Roma/Poor Roberts/Oyster Bar store fronts. I believe construction on the cigar bar has also begun since a liquor license appears on the door and my sinuses started acting up.
The Italian Restaurant/Sports Bar opened in the Café Italiano location near the fire house. Any impressions from patrons would be welcomed. I also noticed a new restaurantSpicy Noodle Cafein Van Ness. It may have been there for years, but Im not the most observant driver. And across the street, the defunct Safeway is making way for Golds Gym. Finally, a tenant is building out the Maggies location in Tenleytown, but I couldnt tell who was going in. Im guessing its a wrap sandwich joint because they couldnt possibly squeeze in another coffee house. But what do I know from retail?
Faithful readers of the Washington Post (and only the Washington Post) for their local news may believe that because the District Council and the Control Authority are submitting different budgets to Congress, this indicates the failure of the citys budget process and the Councils inability to make hard choices. Theres probably evidence for both points, but two separate budgets doesnt support either. The budgets are mostly similar...which the Post articles tell you if you read deep enough into the story. The tow budgets differ at the margin on schools, police funding, and certain revenue estimates. The Authority has its priorities and the Council has its own a point made by Chair Andrew Brimmer buried at the end of the last Post story on the subject.
The two bills are mostly similar. Congress version is likely to be the one that winds up two standard deviations from the mean. The Post is right to harp on the ridiculously lengthy and convoluted budget process. But theyve also missed the boat in discussing how little budgets matter. The budgets may be balanced but dont expect to see revenues and expenditures mesh by the end of the year. The city still lacks the means to execute a balanced (or otherwise wobbly) budget. Note to editor: hows that for a story idea?
Carl sent me a note about my comments in the last issue about the most "unsordid act in history." I was aware that Churchills quote referred to the Lend Lease program and not the Marshall plan, as has been widely reported. I was trying to make a joke on the basis that everyone else knew that as well. A feeble joke as it turns out. Carl also notes that Daniel Shore quoted H. Rap Brown as saying "violence is as American as cherry pie." But it was Bill Fulbright who said "Violence is as American as apple pie." Which raises one of those questions we may never know the answer to: What the hell does the H. in H. Rap Brown stand for?
I own no stock in Hechingers, but my recent experience with a kitchen planner at the Wisconsin Avenue store was the opposite of Steph Fauls .He was happy to plan the renovation of a small (7x7) kitchen. He was on time for all appointments, at the store or at home. He seemed to know his business, and had several creative ideas. Everything was done on time and within budget. The kitchen planners name was Chuck Studholme, if anybody needs one.
Complaints about Hechingers
I filled out one of Hechingers customer response postcards to complain about lack of educated staff in the hardware dept. They sent me back a gift certificate for 10% off my next purchase. I still havent seen much improvement, but I appreciated the 10% off at Xmas time!
Has anyone noticed that the main door to Boston Chicken at Conn and R open inward, an apparent violation of fire code? Sure hope Im not inside when there is a fire and the people pile up trying to get out.
DC General disgrace
I agree with Carl Bergmans point about DC Generals disreputable state and what the DC government spends our money on cake and circuses for the mindless well-off while offering 3rd World facilities for the rest. Its also a good point that the elite are better equipped to work around the bureaucracywe know how to make trouble, whereas the less fortunate are really at the mercy of their civil (sic) servants (sic).
I disagree, however, with his statement that those affected "have no voice or are easily dismissed." Alas, many of those "disaffecteds" are the ones keeping our egregious politicians in office and the system thus in failure modewho do you think keeps voting for Mayor-for-Life Mobuto? Its Ward 8 by a mile, the poorest, worst-served people in the city, followed in votes by the next poorest and worst-educated wards. The least ablest voters are the ones most susceptible to demagoguery, and thats essentially how the Mayor and some of the councilmembers get by. Id bet hed win again if he ran, because hed be carting the disaffected and the dismissed to the voting booths.
Carl Bergman has a point of view which we all respect, but he does not need two pages to express it. He is assuming we all need to be educated about the obvious problems encountered living in D.C. On the contrary, we are adults.
Mr. Bergmans submission, "I Vont a Camera" was perhaps the most powerful and moving criticism of the DC governmental jungle I have ever read. I hope it gets wide replay.
Carl Bergmans piece about DC General is right on. I work in homeless services in Ward 3. DC shut down the Office of Emergency Shelter in 1994, received a pilot project grant called the DC Initiative from HUD which provided for 20 million $ over 3 years to be matched by 14.8 million $ per year by DC. Now into the middle of the third year, DC has never made its full match. FY 1997 appropriation is 7.6 million instead of 14.8 m. We hope that HUD will continue to fund the last $6 m.At the end of the third year of the Initiative there is no plan for how homeless services will be provided or by whom.
This may not interfere with our lives like potholes, but it greatly affects the quality of life....and life itself in some cases of the poor, vulnerable citizens of the District. There are currently over 550 families on the waiting list for shelter ....not housing...emergency shelter. Moms hide their kids wherever they can to protect them from child protective services. Rumored are plans that when the money runs out the city will abandon all services to singles and only serve families. That means, among other things, CCNV housing over 1400 single adults would be shut down. In a meeting with Anthony Williams this winter homeless service provider and advocates told him how much District dollars are leveraged by individual donations, foundations, HUD and religious contributions. He responded by saying that homeless services were essential in the triage exercise that is the DC Budget. He has not kept his word.
Scratch Two MD Cars
Lest anyone forget the dangers of running red lights in the District, they should have seen the corner of 49th and Mass. Ave. at about 5:40 PM last night. Two female MD drivers tried to occupy the same space at the same time at that intersection with the result of totalling two relatively small pre- air bag cars. One was traveling at high speed south on Mass. Ave and the other was going through the intersection, or turning left onto 49th St. Its hard to determine who barged the light, but both now are without wheels and with minor injuries (thanks to the good old seat belts). To run a light is always dangerous. To do so at rush hour is sure to result in a bad day for several folks, including those who were tied up in traffic trying to escape from D.C. Traffic at the beginning and at the end of the rush hours moves very quickly down and up Mass. Ave. If the police would ticket all drivers that were exceeding the speed limit by 5 MPH or more, the Districts coffers would be awash with doubloons.
I sent on Paul Conlons comments on security to a friend of mine in Derry, Northern Ireland. He had just returned from a trip to Belfast. His comments:
The building I work in is shaped much the same as the Murrah Building that was blown up in OK City. But the security is really much better than it ever was in the past. Dont forget that part of the Capitol was bombed back in 70s .Think of how much things have changed since then. A lot of the security you dont see.
I can understand the bellyaching about DC potholes up to a point. Its very simple, really. Just call 645-7055, give them the precise location, and, believe it or not, the pothole will be repaired promptly. At least thats been my experience over the past year. This phone number has been publicized in the Post and elsewhere.
I considered the designated taxes idea a couple of years ago, when Virginia started giving about 10 choices on the state income tax form for your extra rebate money. The problem with allowing the public to choose precisely what program to fund is that all of the government offices, departments, agencies, etc. will then funnel money away from the programs that they sponsor and into advertising. For example:
"Real Americans Will Check Box Dod-14,567: B2 Bombers"
The U.S. Postal Service adds for their pseudo-overnight "Priority" service are bad enough
As a resident of Georgetown I have to say that Georgetown University student group houses make lousy neighbors. The occupants of the houses have no connection to the neighborhood and want none other than their relationship with the university. Georgetown University will take no responsibility for their students living off campus, and if there is a problem with a group house the University will tell you that is not a responsibility of the university and if you need to you should call the District Police Department. This attitude contrasts to the policy of George Washington University. GWU wants to maintain good relations with the citizens of Foggy Bottom and holds their students responsible for their behavior in the community. Given the problems and many nasty incidents we have had with group houses filled with Georgetown University students I will support a ban on group houses in Georgetown and Burleith until Georgetown University is willing to discipline its students who live off campus.
The Bland Leading The Bland (Ballston)
The Bland leading the bland. After working for many years at 18th & G, near the Renwick, Corcoran and cherry blossoms I now work in Ballston. It has yet to develop any character. With the exception of the Food Factory (which is its own story), the local restaurant choices are blah (Marys cafe is ok and Bistro Bistro is trying) and the coffee weak. You have to walk to Clarendon for any interesting food. Theres little greenery (much less than downtown), lots of construction (sort of like K street in the 70s, without the charm :-) ) and office window views will soon turn into bland, shadowed office building canyons. it couldnt support the nice Kramerbooks that was there and there is one lousy bookstore at the mall. (another one recently closed). And they give parking tickets just like the city. The marginal good news is that the parking is somewhat cheaper than downtown and there is a nice library in Quincy park, but if someone can point out other amenities Id like to hear about them
Be Careful What You Wish For
I recently complained of high speed traffic on my quiet neighborhood street, and sought the assistance of DPW and Kathy Pattersons office as to looking into the possibility of speed bumps and other such devices. In addition to providing information, Pattersons office forwarded my letter to the local police district, and within a few days I received a call from the 2d District informing me that they would be monitoring my street, and likely would set up some speed traps. I was elated, and thought to myself "Hey, D.C. isnt always non-responsive! The system DOES work sometimes!"
No, I didnt get a speeding ticket; actually, Ive not yet seen any speed traps. But over the weekend, at 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning to be exact, I got a Barney Fife-esque $25 ticket for parking my car, right in front of my house, but in the wrong direction, left wheels to curb. I didnt even know it was illegal. There are no houses on the opposite side of my street, just Rock Creek Park, and to park on that side might invite theft from auto (with the woods as cover). I know, I should have turned the car around, its my own fault.
My point? When you invite the police into your neighborhood, behave yourself.
Are We Crazy?
We are considering a move from Dupont Circle to W. Hyattsville, are we crazy or is the area decent? Any information would be much appreciated.
Alexis Martin Legalex@aol.com
White Water Rafting
Spend a day of action-packed adventure Saturday, June 28. Lunch and transportation included. Call Jim @ 703-549-5087.
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Have Your Apartment Or House Thoroughly Cleaned
Extremely honest and reliable. Excellent references. Large houses for $50. Call Rosemary 703-641-5666.
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