Two Tales of One City
Congress may not be able to pass our budget, but theres no deterring authors from writing about our fair city. Our first entree is Carol OCleireacains "The Orphaned Capital: Adopting the Right Revenues for the District of Columbia." Carol is a a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Control Board consultant. Previously, she served as New York Citys Finance Commissioner and Budget Director and as an adjunct professor at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research.
OCleireacain will be talking about her book on Monday the 28th at Toast & Strawberries, 1608 Connecticut Ave., NW (Q Street at Dupont Circle) at 7 PM. She will be signing books from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Heres a blurb from the promotions department to tell you something about Carols efforts.
For a sharp political take on the District, New York, and Los Angeles, check out Fred Siegels book, "The Future Once Happened Here: New York, D.C., L.A. and the Fate of Americas Big Cities." Freds book will be released in September, but its already receiving rave reviews from within the publishing world. I quote from Publishers Weekly (July 14, 1997).
Fred and I met when he started this project and have talked at least weekly since. Ive also read the DC part of the book. Even if you think you know DC, Freds take will surprise and challenge you.
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You didnt have to put your ear to the ground to hear some of dc.storys move voluble filers lately. Jeff took out a piece of Mike Tysons psyche on the Canadian Broadcast Corporations "As It Happens," following up his Slate article on the boxer. (<http://www.slate.com>http://www.slate.com)
NPRs Morning Edition heard about the dangers of aggressive driving from Steph "get out of my way you bozo!" Faul. Being banned from Radio Free Ward Three (WAMU 88.5), specifically Derrick McGintys show, figured prominently in Sam Smiths Book schmooze at Politics and Prose. Attendee Mark Plotkin confirmed that Sams been shunned for being too ironic. Among Sams best lines of the night: "Having an literary agent is like having a therapist who works on commission."
Let a Thousand Consultants Flower
Congressional Republicans (not necessarily a collective noun) caved rather easily to Eleanor Nortons objections to a city manger government. Marion IV, the Post and most the council were aghast at Congress daring to shift city powers around. Nortons got Faircloth (R-NC) among others in tow for her approach cloning the MPDs government by consultant to the rest of the government.
This is a more home rule approach? Following the MPD model, contractors and consultants will flood the city bureaucracy with auditors and experts wholl draw up a reform blueprint. Theyll negotiate among themselves and with the big players. When theyre done, you might get a peek at the citys future.
This is a more home rule approach? Sure, a congressionally imposed form change isnt exactly a great move for self-determination, but those who objected to a manager on autonomy grounds confused process with substance. Our process isnt democratic. Congress can do what it wants in DC. This isnt right, but it is what is.
Automatically objecting to congressional changes regardless of content not only makes no sense, its hypocritical and stupid. Hypocritical because everyone in this town with an ax to grind tries to get the hill to go their way. Often its to stop them, but for every letter, column or editorial denouncing congressional interference I can show you as many that begin with Congress ought to in DC. Stupid because Congress has what the city government lacks: money and power.
Confusing process with substance has lead us to the absurdity that a closed, secretive mechanism is being sold as a more autonomous solution than one that would have been public, open and accountable. Remember the manager plan would remove none of the citys power. The manager would be selected by Marion IV, but as with Tony Williams could not be fired by him.
Importantly, the Council as well as the Control Board would have to give their OK. The Manager would have been a public figure whod have to justify public policies publicly. Calling this less democratic than letting a thousand consultants flower is nuts. The kicker: all thats happened is that one form of congressional intervention has been substituted for another.
Childrens Hospital Site
Im a new reader and first-time writer. My first edition contained a tidbit about the proposed use for the Childrens Hospital site on 14th Street. I have heard only that Fresh Fields is rumored to be considering the site (a rumor they will neither confirm or deny). Is there a more concrete proposal that Ive missed hearing about? As a resident of the area and ANC commissioner Id sure like to know.
I find many failings in Mr. Wilsons last posting, the two most glaring examples being- how does one equivocate Mr. Reeves current position in the School Board with Mr. Barrys "dumbing down" policies, since these two distinct governmental groups have shared an ocean of disparity since the inception of home rule; I find no convincing correlation to this argument. Furthermore, openness and privation on "public issues" warrant a vast range of response, particularly from those in the know, that require a mature handling of matters. Democracy, which Mr. Wilson continues to allure to, is and will always be vague(at best) issue, dealt best with integrity and straight-forwardness. Lets stop second guessing the control board, the emergency trustee board for schools, and all of the other measures that the citizens of the District have been looking and waiting for, yet demanding. And lastly - what do Ghandi and Mr. Reeves have in common?
No To Recycling
I am probably going to freak everyone out by wondering why in the world we need to pay for recycling. If it doesnt make economic sense, it probably doesnt make sense from any other standpoint. Take recycling bottles, for example. Bottles are made from sand, one of the most abundant minerals on the earth. As individual consumers, we must go to a lot of trouble to collect and sort bottles for recycling. If we were paid for our time and effort, it would be even more unfeasible to recycle bottles than it already is.
But, forget for the moment about the time spent by consumers. Maybe they would do it for sheer enjoyment anyway. The bottles are then picked up by paid employees, driving obnoxious vehicles which pollute the atmosphere and deplete seriously non-renewable resources (like oil and molybdenum and helium), and spread seriously poisonous toxins like lead. These bottles are then sorted from other trash, and collected again and maybe stored, again at a cost. Then they are shipped to some distant point, at a further cost in energy, resources and pollution. There, the bottles are crushed, more cost, to return them to a state somewhat like sand. After that, the ersatz sand is melted to produce an inferior product, using as much or more energy than it would have taken to produce high quality glass from fresh clean sand.
The alternative is to throw the bottles away, in a landfill with other trash. The bottles are chemically inert and non-polluting. They are returned to the ground whence they came. If this alternative is cheaper, it is probably also less polluting and more conservative of resources. A similar argument can be made for not recycling newsprint. In this case, there is the added advantage that carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere by the growing of trees for the purpose of producing newsprint. Recycling is justifiable to the extent that it is economically rational.
Often the true costs of producing a product are not borne by the producer or the consumer, but by third parties who have no choice in the matter. For example, neither the car manufacturer nor the gasoline producer nor the consumer of these products pays for the adverse health effects of air pollution, the time wasted by traffic gridlock, or urban sprawl. Therefore, the solution to the recycling problem is not to pass laws to force people to participate in uneconomical recycling. Rather, it is to assign the true costs to the producers and consumers of the products in question, via pollution taxes for example. Also, if individual residents were asked to pay for trash pickup based on the actual volume of trash set out for the collectors, they would have a monetary incentive to reduce the trash volume by any means, which would include recycling.
Removal Of Dead Trees And Their Parts
A large branch of the tree in front of a neighbors house (on Capitol Hill) broke off and fell into our yard it did not damage but did shatter into large chunks. The trash folks will not remove it weve tried for a week. Ive called the City .. and received no help and lots of buck passing.
Two concerns: What DO we do w/ this wood (nope, no fireplace!) and more, since we are told the area where the tree grows belongs to the City, who is responsible for the tree, and how do we find out if the whole thing might topple .. and if so, who is responsible for its removal??
Settling For Crumbs
I guess when you are starving, a few crumbs seem like a feast. And that is one of the real tragedies in D.C. today. All of us, well to do and in need, have given up our expectations of what should be.
Steph Faul felt quite good when she got her sidewalk fixed even though the repair was performed with asphalt instead of concrete as it should have been. Unfortunately, if someone is shot and killed on that repaired sidewalk the chances are pretty good (50-50) that the shooter will never be caught. And if one of the houses facing that sidewalk is robbed the chances are 12 to 1 that the burglar will never be caught. As Jim Moran noted, D.C. is presenting itself as a target for criminals.
For those who believe that shootings only happen in Southeast, that is incorrect. People are being shot in my neighborhood, Friendship Heights, which is pretty far from Southeast. I know of a lawyer who worked late one night (as lawyers often do) and was shot near his car, within half a mile from my house. The last I heard that shooter was in the lucky 50% that got away.
My sixth grade teacher made us read and understand a little statement that used to be on the editorial page of the Washington Post: "There is no hope for the satisfied man." I wonder what she would think of citizens of D.C. who continue to tolerate, and sometimes praise, what is arguably the worst local government in the U.S.
Report on Nam Viet (Pho 69)
Saturday night I ate at Nam Viet, the newly opened Vietnamese place on Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park. (It used to be in Clarendon for those who remember its "Little Vietnam" days.) The new restaurant still has some kinks to iron out: One entree was incorrect, service was slow and erratic, and they were out of green papaya, a dish I particularly craved. But overall I think it has promise. One thing Story readers may want to examine carefully is the addition: our $6.95 and $8.95 entrees had mysteriously become two $10.95 entrees when the check arrived. We pointed out the error and they were very polite about repairing it, but still.
[After receiving Stephanies message, I checked out the restaurant with two names. Both exceeded expectations and our waiter could add. The food was solidas solid as soup getsand the prices reasonable. Its still eerie walking into the Roma entrance without seeing animal heads hanging on the wall. But then the restaurant was always eerie with the heads as well. Jeff.]
Shemalis Middle Eastern Carryout
One of the areas best Middle Eastern carryout is Shemalis, which is tucked to the rear of the Cactus Cantina/G.C. Murphy shopping center on Wisconsin Avenue. Because of Shemalis wonderful and reasonably-priced fresh-made humus, falafel, dinners, baba ganoush, baklava, packaged foods, and other delights, I told the very nice owners that I would recommend them on this website. Shemalis is at the rear of 3306 Wisconsin Ave., NW, (202) 686-7070. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m.
[A strong concurrence from your moderator. Try the pita zatar. Jeff]
I am completing my studies in public relations and media communication at the Technical University in Berlin. Does anyone know of (or can offer) an internship in the DC area starting in October? My experience also includes onstage and backstage work with theaters and orchestras in Berlin.
Christin Zacher email@example.com
Carrie Staff Asks About TV Repairs
Go to Bethesda TV; Ive found them to be reliable, efficient, prompt, helpful, and reasonably priced.
Alex Morin firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington Tasting Societys Mixology Event
"Mixology 101: How to Mix Drinks and Entertain at Home." Thursday, August 7th, from 6:30-8:30PM at Fellinis Restaurant, Washingtons Hottest New Italian Restaurant and Club, 1800 M St., NW, Washington, D.C. Washingtons Best Bartender will show you how to mix martinis, margaritas, and other popular drinks, and you get to sample them too! You will learn about proper equipment for a home bar, quality differences between various spirits, and you will also get tips on home entertaining. Light hors d oeuvres will be served. $25.00. Please R.S.V.P. with your name, phone number, and number of reservations as space is limited, phone (202)333-5588, or email at email@example.com.
Charlie Adler firstname.lastname@example.org
Orioles Tickets For Sale
See if the Os can beat the Rangers at home --- four seats on the third base line in section 354 (upper deck, lower section) full of season ticket holders and devoted Os fans for sale for Wednesday July 30, 3:05. p.m. this game usually is full of people playing hooky from their offices and is great fun! Tickets $16 apiece. 202/244-4636. Offers accepted for two of the four, as well as all four.
Margie Siegel email@example.com
Two young museum professionals seek two-bedroom apartment to rent for one year. Looking for a sunny and large 2BR apartment/condo preferably in Adams Morgan/Dupont Circle area. Hoping to move in September 1 but we are flexible if the right place comes along. If you are an owner and have an apartment to rent or if you have any suggestions for us please email MaurySully@aol.com or J-STEWART@nga.gov.
Maury Sullivan MaurySully@aol.com
Dining Room For Sale
Duncan Phyfe, includes china cabinet, buffet/server, drop-leaf rectangular table with ball and claw legs, and four chairs upholstered in cream brocade. Extra material available. ?700 or best offer. Please call (202) 623-1365 (o) or (202) 363-8571 (h).
Carla White 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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